Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for best baby rattles

It’s exciting to watch your little one grow and graduate from simple toys to more stimulating ones. When they’re ready for a baby rattle, it’s a milestone to celebrate — but how do you choose the right one?

Baby rattles are designed to stimulate your baby with the sound of beads, balls, or even bells as they bounce around inside. If you want a cuddly rattle, there are plenty of plush styles with friendly faces — favorite animals, TV characters, and more. If you want a more structured and textured rattle, there are plastic, silicone, and wood ones to choose from.

In addition to their signature sound, some baby rattles include other sensory features. These rattles may have various textures for touch and teething, or they may have interactive elements like music or flashing lights for visual stimulation. There are even rattles that challenge babies to pull, roll, bounce, or bop them to elicit sounds and lights.

Ready to choose a rattle? Our buying guide will help you find the right one to help your baby shake, rattle, and roll into their next developmental phase.

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Consider purchasing more than one of the same rattle. In the event that a treasured rattle gets lost, you have a spare on hand for immediate replacement.

Key considerations

Main rattle features

What makes up a rattle? The concept of a rattle has been around for at least a couple thousand years, and primitive versions consisted of a simple gourd with seeds. The design has carried over into modern times and consists of a hollow body, interior rattle materials, and some sort of a grip. Grips are small enough for tiny hands to grasp and hold onto, and in more advanced designs, rattles feature multiple areas to hold.

Baby rattles by material


These rattles are generally made of food-grade plastic. Some of them are BPA-free and use food-grade dyes, as well. While they’re highly durable and easy to clean, some parents don’t like how hard they are.


These rattles are made of soft, flexible food-grade silicone. They’re especially popular in baby rattles that double as teethers. These are easy to clean, and depending on their design, they may be able to be refrigerated for a more soothing bite.


These rattles are typically made of cotton or plush and often come in the form of stuffed animals or blankets. They may have other parts for tactile stimulation, such as textured fabric or embellishments like ribbon. Fabric rattles are ideal for babies who like to cuddle with their toys.


These rattles, often made of eco-friendly or recycled wood, are usually simple in design. It’s common to see them as maracas or interlocking rings. They’re ideal if you’re looking for a natural material choice but be forewarned: some softer woods are susceptible to permanent bite marks.


Rattles are sized to be small and light so babies can hold them independently. They are also designed to be much larger than a baby’s mouth to prevent choking. For the most part, rattles typically weigh only a few ounces and are between 5 and 10 inches long. Some rattles are a bit larger, such as rolling, plush, or blanket rattles. These are closer to 12 to 14 inches long.


Rattle materials

The material that makes the rattling sound often consists of plastic pellets or beads. Musical rattles may be filled with small bells, some of which are different sizes to make various sounds. Some rattles are made entirely of natural materials such as dry beans, seeds, or even nuts.

Interactive features

Sound-enabled rattles: Some rattles have sound capabilities that go beyond the traditional rattle noise. Babies can squeeze, pull, or push buttons on these rattles to begin songs or sounds.

Light-up rattles: There are rattles that light up when squeezed. Some larger rattles, such as those that can be rolled across the floor, feature LED lights for additional brightness and fun.

Safety features

Like other baby toys, baby rattles are required to receive certification through the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Rattles have a dedicated category, which verifies that it not only stays in one piece during rigorous testing, but that it’s also designed in a way that makes it impossible or unlikely to enter a baby’s mouth or block air passages. Rattles are also prohibited from having sharp edges or pointed parts. Even with these regulations, though, it’s still important to conduct testing to your satisfaction as a parent before giving your baby a new rattle.

Baby rattle prices

Baby rattles are some of the most affordable baby toy options. They’re priced between $2 and $40, but you certainly don’t need to pay at the top end of this price range to get something good.

Inexpensive: You can expect to find basic plastic and fabric rattles for less than $6. These tend to be simple in design, but they’re every bit as cute and stimulating as they should be.

Mid-range: If you spend between $6 and $20, you’ll find a broad range of multi-sensory or interactive baby rattles, as well as some quality plush baby rattles.

Expensive: For premium baby rattles, you could spend anywhere from $20 to $40. These rattles offer the best in durability, safety, and stimulation. As mentioned, however, you definitely don’t need to venture up this high to get something of excellent quality.


  • Check for product recalls. Before you buy a baby rattle, check whether there are any product recalls on the model you’re considering.
  • Confirm seal or closure. To make sure your baby rattle is a safe choice, check every inch of it to see if it has any integrity issues. Specifically, you want to make sure the rattle will not open or burst.
  • Keep a spare rattle in your vehicle. If you need a space-savvy toy to keep in a vehicle for your baby, a rattle is an ideal choice.
  • Consider a teething rattle. If your baby is in a teething phase, consider getting a rattle with stimulating textures for nibbling and biting.

Other products we considered

We were impressed with the cute Taggies Sensory Stuffed Animal Soft Rattle with Teether Ring. This rattle features a variety of textures to stimulate your baby, including a silicone ring, plush body, and soft ribbon tags. It’s easy to hold in more than one way, so in addition to sound stimulation, your baby can practice motor skills. This friendly sloth is ultra-soft and may quickly become a treasured bedtime buddy.

For a unique take on the traditional rattle, we’re fascinated by the Splashin’kids Tummy Time Roller Rattle. Babies can roll, pull, or even toss this big, clear rattle with colorful jungle graphics. In addition to two rattle balls, the set comes with an LED light ball to keep things interesting. Best of all, it’s quick and easy to inflate, so it’s an incredibly convenient choice if you’ll be traveling.

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If you have pets, be mindful if the baby rattle is left on the floor. Fido may confuse the rattle with a chew toy, and it could become a choking hazard.


Q. Are there any rattles that don’t necessarily need to be held?
. Yes, there are baby rattles that can be attached or secured to various surfaces. Suction cup styles stick to tables and other plastic or wood furniture. Other styles can be hung from a bassinet; these are suitable if you want your baby to practice reaching and grabbing overhead. There are also some rolling rattles, which are large enough for crawling babies to push around the floor.

Q. Should I stick to the same rattle or upgrade it to a more advanced style?
It depends on how attached your baby is to the rattle and whether they’re getting enough stimulation from it. Some babies may require more of a challenge after they’ve mastered their first rattle, which means you could explore rattles that are multi-sensory, have cause-and-effect elements, or are more challenging to hold. Certain babies embrace their rattle through the duration of their developmental phase, so they may be disinterested in a different one.

Q. Is there a way to repair a broken baby rattle?
It’s not recommended to repair a broken rattle; it’s best to simply replace it. Once the closure or seal has been compromised, the rattling pieces are at constant risk for escaping and becoming a choking hazard. If you feel the rattle is defective, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer any coverage or warranty.

Q. Is it worth buying a rattle set instead of a single rattle?
If you’re looking to buy more than one rattle, a set is definitely the most cost-effective route. With that said, you get what you pay for with value sets. Inexpensive sets won’t last long and have very basic designs. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll have a set with a few interesting features that are more durable and better in quality.

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