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Updated August 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best baby rockers

Did your parents ever take you for a drive as an infant to keep you calm? It’s not just a tall tale — the gentle rhythm of the ride simulates rocking, which helps relax babies to prepare them for a snooze. 

While effective, hitting the road isn’t always ideal when bedtime approaches. We’re here to tell you about a useful alternative: a baby rocker. A baby rocker creates rhythmic vibrations that soothe and calm the child.

Many quality baby rockers serve as entertainment centers. They may be outfitted with overhead bits or other extras to engage babies. Some even feature musical components with lullabies or classical music. 

A woman and child smile at an alert baby in a rocker.
Babies should never sleep in a rocker. When your baby begins to get sleepy, remove them from the rocker and take them to a safe sleep surface.

Key considerations

Safety

When it comes to buying anything for your baby, safety is your first concern. Babies need a safe sleeping environment, and sleeping on an incline is not a safe position. If your baby appears sleepy, move them to a safe sleep surface. You’ll also notice a reasonable clearance between the overhead toys and your baby to prevent suffocation and choking hazards. 

Expert Tip
Babies should always be placed in flat, firm cribs to sleep. They should not sleep in rockers.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Comfort

Baby rockers feature soft, breathable materials over cushioning or padding. The cradled design offers a sense of security and embrace that mimics rocking the baby in your arms, so they'll be comfortable while they engage with the visual stimulation of suspended toys.

Stimulation

Baby rockers can provide three types of sensory stimulation to your baby:

  • They provide visual stimulation through suspended toys. Babies can best see 8- to 10-inches from their face, and that is the distance that most of the toys are suspended, which is great for visual stimulation. 

  • Some rockers also provide auditory stimulation as many of them play music or other soothing sounds.

  • Rockers provide stimulation through movement and vibration to keep your baby calm and allow their brain to process the movement and vibration. This type of stimulation helps babies establish a sense of balance and equilibrium because it stimulates the inner ear. 

Features

Bassinet

The bassinet inside a baby rocker is the place where the baby sits. Most are egg-shaped to cradle the child in a close and secure manner. A baby rocker on the compact side may have a bassinet with modest padding. Often, these products are portable and intended for travel. A baby rocker that’s more developed and luxurious will have plush cushioning, and these products are intended for home use rather than travel.

When comparing baby rockers, take a look at bassinet materials. Most are covered with either polyester, microfiber, or cotton shells. Polyester is the easiest to clean of the three, but microfiber and cotton are much softer and cozier.

Some baby rockers have removable bassinet covers for easy washing. You might need to shimmy them off and on the bassinet, but it’s well worth the peace of mind knowing you can do more than just spot cleaning. 

Expert tip
Babies should always be supervised in rockers.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Overhead objects

The arc above the rocker features suspended objects, namely toys and mirrors. Simple toys consist of plush characters or plastic keys and rings. Some of them are also textured yet soft and smooth enough for tiny hands to enjoy them. In more advanced rockers, babies can pull on these toys to activate sounds and lights.

Rocking modes

Baby rockers come with a series of rocking or vibration modes. Basic and compact rockers typically have three modes, whereas high-end models can have as many as 16 modes. Costlier rockers may also come with timers and separate swinging modes.

Musical elements

A baby rocker with music may cost more than one without, but the sound adds a pleasant sensory dimension to the rocking experience. Certain rockers have soundboards with a set number of songs. Others are MP3- or Bluetooth-enabled to play your favorite tunes.

Expert Tip
Never place a rocker on a bed or table or sofa. They are safest on the floor.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Power source

A baby rocker may run on battery power or electricity through an AC outlet. Those that plug into outlets end up being a bit more cost-effective, as batteries drain quickly. Not every rocker takes the same type of battery, so check this before you buy. Some run on AAs, but others require C, D, or specialty batteries.

Accessories

Baby detergentKeep your baby rocker bassinet cover clean with a gentle baby detergent that won't irritate your infant's skin.

OnesiesIt’s easy to secure babies with lap and shoulder straps when they’re wearing onesies rather than bulky, fussy clothes.

Baby rocker prices

Baby rockers cost between $30 and $300. The higher the cost, the more modes and features they tend to have.

Inexpensive

Baby rockers priced at $60 and less are simple, offering only a couple of rocking modes. Many are lightweight, collapsible, and ideal for travel.

Mid-range

In this range, rockers sit in the $75 to $150 range. These products tend to have more rocking and vibration modes than cheaper models. Their designs have more developed bassinets, too, and they often have musical components.

Expensive

The most expensive baby rockers cost $175 to $300. These have the most advanced features, including innovative bassinet designs and more elaborate technological features.

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Caution
Lean in when you’re adjusting the music volume. What sounds faint to a standing adult may be overpowering to a baby only a few inches away from the speaker.
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Take your time during assembly. Like any baby accessory or furniture, baby rockers usually require assembly. In some models, it’s pretty straightforward. In others, it could take tools and a couple hours of your time.

  • Check the recall list. Before finalizing your purchase, check recall lists to see whether your baby rocker is on it. Keep in mind that an older model isn’t necessarily an outdated or recalled model. A model that has been around a long time has withstood the test of time, which can be a good thing.

  • What suits one baby might not suit the next. Your friend might rave about their baby rocker, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one you should consider. Explore as many models and styles as necessary, and trust your gut when it comes to choosing the best for your baby.

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If you’d like a baby rocker but the sticker price is a bit high, add it to your registry. Guests can get together and give it as a group present.

FAQ

Q. Is a baby rocker a staple accessory, like a car seat, or is it considered a special item?

A. Parents of yesteryear will tell you that you can successfully rear a child without the aid of a baby rocker. More than anything, it’s a creature comfort for your baby that adds to their sensory stimulation and frees your hands. There are some parents who swear by baby rockers and others who are happy without them. Make the choice that's best for your baby and your family.

Expert tip
Babies should not spend more than 20 minutes at a time in a baby rocker to avoid flat head syndrome.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Q. Can I invest in a compact or travel rocker for home use?

A. Absolutely. In fact, if you’re short on space, it’s probably your best option. Other than the pared-down cushioning and simplified details, compact baby rockers are no different than full-size ones. While they may offer fewer rocking modes and features, they’re still plenty effective at engaging and calming your baby.

Q. What are convertible baby rockers?

A. Unlike regular rockers, these styles grow with your baby. Once your little one is more independent, you can adjust the rocker to turn it into a toddler rocking chair. These rockers usually accommodate children up to 40 pounds, but it varies between manufacturers.

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