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November 10, 2022  |  Baby & Kids

What's the difference between a crib and a mini crib?

Even though they are so small, there's an awful lot you need to buy for babies. If you're looking for somewhere your little one can sleep, you might be wondering about the difference between a crib and a mini crib. 

While the clue's in the name — mini cribs are smaller than standard cribs — you'll find some other subtle differences. Once you've learned more, it may be easier to pick the right one for you and your baby. 

In this article: Delta Children Twinkle 4-in-1 Convertible Baby CribGraco Hadley 5-in-1 Convertible Crib and Babyletto Origami Mini Portable Folding Crib.

What are cribs?

Cribs are a type of bed for babies and young toddlers. While you can use them from birth, many parents start by having their babies sleep in a bassinet. Legally, cribs must measure 28 inches wide by 52 3/8 inches long, and the top rail must be 20 inches high when measured from the mattress in its lowest position. 

Cribs are often convertible, so they can grow with your babies and last well into childhood. That said, you'll need the appropriate conversion kits. Generally speaking, they don't come with mattresses, but these are easy to source since all standard cribs are the same size.

What are mini cribs?

Mini cribs look similar to standard cribs but are smaller. Unlike cribs, which have legal size requirements, there's no universal size for mini cribs. They're usually somewhere between 36 and 43 inches long and 22 and 26 inches wide, so they're significantly shorter and a little narrower than full-size cribs.

This gives you more freedom to choose a crib that's the right size for your space, but it also means that sourcing bedding and mattresses can be trickier. While they're not always included, it's reasonably common for mini cribs to come with mattresses. 

What's the difference between a crib and a mini crib?

Now that you know more about standard cribs and mini cribs, what are the differences between them? 

  • Size: The obvious difference is the size. Mini cribs have no standard size, so anything smaller than the measurements listed above is considered a mini crib. The various sizes make mini cribs easier to fit in small or unusually shaped spots that are too tight for a standard crib. 
  • Convertibility: Most full-size cribs are convertible, switching into day beds and toddler beds with separate conversion kits. Some mini cribs are convertible, but most aren't, so children tend to outgrow them more quickly. 
  • Portability: Since mini cribs are smaller and lighter than full-size versions, they are much easier to move. Some even come on wheels, so you can push them from room to room to keep an eye on babies while they nap. 
  • Storage: Because of their space-saving designs, mini cribs don't usually have built-in storage. Standard cribs tend to have drawers, shelves or even changing tables built-in, which some parents find convenient. 

Best cribs

Delta Children Twinkle 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Crib

Thanks to the minimalist style with clean lines and no flourishes, this crib looks stylish in a modern nursery, coming in gray, white or dark chocolate hues. It's convertible into a toddler bed and a daybed as well as a full bed with an extensive conversion kit. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Graco Hadley 5-in-1 Convertible Crib

With three slatted sides and one paneled side, this crib has a classic design. It has a convenient drawer for storage and converts into a toddler bed, daybed or full bed, though you'll need the right conversion kits. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Storkcraft Steveston 5-in-1 Convertible Crib and Changer

If space isn't an issue, you might like this crib with an attached baby changer and storage area. You can convert it into a toddler bed, day bed or full bed, so it grows with your child. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best mini cribs

Babyletto Origami Mini Portable Folding Crib

Despite its compact size, this crib is suitable for newborns and children up to to 18 months old. It has a height-adjustable mattress and comes with wheels for extra portability. It also folds flat for easy storage. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Mini Crib

You have more conversion options with this mini crib than most — it turns into a mini daybed, toddler bed or twin bed with the appropriate conversion kits. It has a classic style and comes in five colors: black, white, chestnut, gray and espresso. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Dream On Me 2-in-1 Folding Portable Crib

Not only is this wheeled crib easy to move around, but it also folds, which makes it handy for travel or occasional use. It comes with a mattress pad and is available in seven colors, including cool gray and cherry. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.