The Quest for the Best Bassinet
Which bassinet is the best? In this review we took 8 of the top rated and most popular products on the market to discern how they compared side-by-side. Since the many details found in modern baby gear can be mind-boggling for an expectant parent, we put each bassinet through a series of hands-on tests and rated them on the following metrics: health and safety, ease of use, portability, quality and ease of set-up. Read on to see how they compared.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Best Overall Bassinet
Read Full Review: BabyBjörn Cradle
Best Bang for the Buck
Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper
Read Full Review: Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper
Top Pick for Post C-Section
HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
Read Full Review: HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
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Analysis and Test Results
travel crib or two, but there is still one more option when it comes to types of baby beds: the bassinet. As a new parent, your primary question when considering a category such as this might be why?. Not as clear cut as the decision to buy diapers or a stroller, these fall into that somewhat grey area when it comes to necessary baby gear. Originally, they were designed with the concept of the stay-at-home mother in mind, a convenient place to keep your tiny babe close by in their earliest days. In modern times however, mothers' and fathers' roles in the family are more varied than they have ever been, and the industry has been forced to rise to the challenge of designing products to match the ever-evolving modern parent and their various lifestyles. Because of the myriad of ways we live, most are are designed to fulfill very specific needs, from co-sleeping to portability, to a simple, yet elegant space to rest your little one. In the end, we found that it was indeed nice to have our new baby close at hand in a compact yet safe and secure environment. Read ahead to see what else we have to say about the products we tested and how we think they just might fit into your life.
For even more on choosing the right product for your family, visit our companion article, How to Choose the Perfect Bassinet.
Types of Bassinets
Visit your nearest baby super-store or search on Amazon and you'll quickly realize that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this concept. In selecting a variety of popular competitors, we found that each of the eight we tested were clearly designed with various functions in mind. We've broken down some of these details to help you discern which might be more suited to your lifestyle. While some of them fall under just one of these categories, others fall under two or more.
Portable and/or Travel
Several, like the Brica Fold 'n Go Travel were designed with portability in mind, specifically travel outside the home. They break down, usually quite compactly, making them convenient to throw into the backseat of your car on your way out the door. Others, while they may easily fold up, we wouldn't consider "travel" bassinets, but more for simply moving about the house as needed. These beds may need to be transported with greater care, so as not to damage the nicer materials. Regardless, we found the folding feature to be convenient both for portability and storage reasons.
Two were also co-sleepers, meaning they have passed extra tests assuring their safety when used bedside to mom and dad. This extra detail is an added convenience for some parents who wish to stay in bed when nursing in the middle of the night, and also for mothers who are recovering from labor or a C-Section. We know co-sleeping isn't for everybody, however, and our Best Value award went to the versatile Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper which happens to convert from a co-sleeper to a free-standing unit, making it ideal for parents who aren't sure yet if they intend to co-sleep with their new bundle of joy.
Though not necessarily portable, a few we rated stood out for their sheer elegance or classic design. They would be ideal for a parent who wants something to match their decor, but who isn't as concerned with a piece of gear they can tote around to accommodate a busy lifestyle outside of the home. Some of these are modeled after a full-size modern crib, and others take on different concepts all together, like the eye-catching Cariboo Folding Bassinet which is made of Radiata Pine from New Zealand and Organic Drill Cotton.
Criteria for Evaluation
We completed our in-depth, hands-on testing to assess how each performed individually during day-to-day use, and then scrutinized how well they functioned compared to each other based on the following criteria.
Health and Safety
BabyBjörn Cradle, since, as is typical of the folks at BabyBjörn, they exceeded national standards for safety and clearly paid extra close attention to assuring your new bundle sleeps in a safe environment.
HALO Swivel Sleeper was the best choice for a mother who just had a C-section, as it is engineered specifically to cater to a parent who needs from-the-bed access to their baby.
Chicco LullaGo are designed specifically with travel in mind, and the Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock 'n Play Portable folds nicely as well and is made of sturdy materials that can likely withstand a little wear and tear. If you intend to use it outside of the home, the ability to fold up compactly and easily without any loose parts will be an important consideration. The BabyBjörn Cradle, though technically not "portable", compacts beautifully with the simple removal of two screws.
Ease of Set-Up
Babyletto Bowery baffled us and our reviewers during set-up, as it included various parts, vigilant study of the instructions, and likely two people to properly assemble on first attempt.
The basic concept of a bassinet is fairly simple, but from that starting point, there are a million different way you can go with it. Each different design can be more practical for specific situations, so it is important to find the style that suits you best. We tested and found the most useful features in each model to help you find the one. If you're still unsure of which style is best for you, or if you even need a bassinet in the first place, we invite you to read our Buying Advice article for more info.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, & BabyGearLab Team
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