The HALO Bassinest Essentia is a versatile and adjustable bassinet that is great for mothers with c-sections and parents looking for a bedside bassinet for safer co-sleeping environment. We like the breathable mesh fabric in the sleeping area of this product and the dip side access that makes reach baby a breeze. The height of this bassinet adjusts to most beds, and we think parents will love that it can swivel around and smoothly moves when you need to get out of bed. With a reasonable price point, there isn't much to dislike about this bassinet, and we think it is an excellent choice for most families and an especially wise choice for mothers with limited mobility.
HALO Bassinest Essentia Review
Pros: Mesh breathability, swivel versatility, easy access to baby bedside
Cons: Spot clean only, hard to move from room to room
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HALO Bassinest Essentia
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|Pros||Mesh breathability, swivel versatility, easy access to baby bedside||Budget-friendly, super accessible and portable||Natural materials available, adjustable height, easy to reach baby||Good at soothing, stylish, effective safety features||Very breathable, machine washable|
|Cons||Spot clean only, hard to move from room to room||Not as eco-healthy, frustrating setup||Expensive, hard to move||Concerning EMF, expensive, may not work for every baby||Expensive, easy to compress mattress, MDF board|
|Bottom Line||Great for c-section moms and parents who'd like a safer alternative to co-sleeping||Great portable co-sleeping bassinet with a nice price||Easy access to baby in a quality wood co-sleeper that looks great||A well-built bassinet that might help soothe but we feel the EMF exposure is risky||Nice bedside cradle with machine washable mesh and mattress|
|Rating Categories||HALO Bassinest...||Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper||babybay Bedside...||SNOO Smart Sleeper||BabyBjorn Cradle|
|Ease Of Use (35%)|
|Sleep Surface (20%)|
|Eco Health (5%)|
|Specs||HALO Bassinest...||Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper||babybay Bedside...||SNOO Smart Sleeper||BabyBjorn Cradle|
|Assembled Weight||33 lbs||22.1 lbs||28.6 lbs||35.1 lbs||12.1 lbs|
|Open Dimensions||36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" (bassinet) x 21.8"W (bassinet)||34.8"H x 34.5"L x 20.3"W||37.1"H x 36"L x 20.7"W||31"H x 35.5"L x 20"W||26"H x 31.5"L x 18"W|
|Age/Height/Weight Limit||5 Months or 20 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees, Pulls Up, Rolls Over, Sit Unassisted, Can Move Out Of The Security Of The Walled Sleep Area||5 Months or 18 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees||5 Months Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees Discontinue As An Attachable Baby Bed When Infant: Rolls Over Or Pulls Up To A Kneeling, Sitting Or Standing Position||6 Months or 25 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees||6 Months or 18 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees|
|Product Care||Sheet: Machine Wash Base and Mattress: Spot Clean||Mattress: Wipe Clean Mattress Sheet: Machine Wash Metal Frame: Wipe Clean Lining: Machine Wash||Wipe Down||Sleep Sack, Sheet: Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Mattress: Spot Clean||Machine Wash|
|Bassinet Mattress Height Above Floor||26.5"-33"||19.5"-25.5" Adult Mattress Height 24"-30"||3"-27" Adult Mattress Height 10"-31"||22"||15.4"|
|Special Features||Rotates 360 Degrees, Sidewall Lowers||Adjustable Legs||Made From Solid Wood||SNOO Sack Attaches To Safety Clips, 3 White-Noise Sounds, Rocks Baby When Baby Cries, Adjustable Settings, Mobile App For Alerts, Reports and Settings, Ambient Light Sensor||Springy Movement|
|Modes||Bassinet Bedside Sleeper||Bassinet Bedside Sleeper||Bedside Sleeper||Bassinet||Bassinet|
|Chemical Flame Retardant Free||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mesh Sides||Yes - Full||Yes - Full||Wood Slats||Yes - Full||Yes - Full|
|Included Accessories||Fitted Sheet||Fitted Sheet||None||Snoo Sacks (Small, Medium, Large), Fitted Sheet||None|
|Available Accessories||Fitted Sheet, Mattress Pad, Mobile Sleepy Owl, Mobile Whimsical Birds, Storage Caddy, Newborn Insert||Arm's Reach® Clear-Vue™ Au Naturel Mattress Pad, Puppy Luv Music Box, Replacement Strap and Plate||Classic Mattress, Cooling Comfort Mattress, Eco-Organic Mattress, Cloud Comfort Mattress, Cooling Comfort Jersey Sheet, Snuggle Comfort Terry Sheet, Dry Comfort Mattress Protector, Classic Comfort Mattress Pad with Cotton Cover, Cooling Comfort Mattress Pad with Dry Comfort Mattress Protector, Organic Comfort Mattress Pad with Dry Comfort Mattress Protector, Cloud Comfort Mattress Pad with Dry Comfort Mattress Protector, babybay Organic Babynest, babybay Patterned Babynest, babybay Solid Colored Babynest, Bassinet Conversion Kit, Rolling Casters, Canopy Holder, Organic Canopy, Patterned Canopy, Solid Colored Canopy, Bed Frame Anchor, babycare Organizer||Snoo Sack, SNOO Smart Sleeper 100% Organic Cotton Fitted Sheet, SNOO Leg Lifters (2-pack), SNOO Shorty Legs||Fitted Sheet, Canopy|
|Set Up Time||27:10:00||29:20 (58:34 total with redo)||39:14:00||7:19|
|Materials||Polyester Fiber, Polyester Fiber Batting, Polyurethane Foam||Strong Nylon Cloth, Cotton Polyester Blend, Nylon Woven Strapping, Polyurethane Foam||Beechwood, Water-Based Finishes, CFC Polyurethane Foam||Sleep Sacks: GOTS certified organic cotton and polyester mesh Fitted Sheet: 100% Organic Cotton Mattress Cover: Polyester, Polyurethane Mesh: Nylon, Polyester||Polyester, Cotton (website), Polyurethane (Manual)|
Our Analysis and Test Results
In 1991, Bill and Cathy Schmid lost their daughter, Haley, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). After the loss, Bill began researching the latest medical information and recommendations for safe sleeping environments for babies to help other families avoid the same tragedy. As an engineer, Bill became devoted to creating new ways to limit sleep risks. With the loose fabric risk in mind, he started HALO Innovations and developed the SleepSack Wearable Blanket. The SleepSack is sleeveless and worn over pajamas replacing blankets and other bedding. The HALO SleepSack is the nation's bestselling wearable blanket and is used in hospitals nationwide. As an advocate for safe sleep, HALO continues to use innovation to create safer products including their Swivel Sleeper bassinet which lets parents sleep close to baby while reducing the risks of bed-sharing.
This comparison chart shows the overall scores for each product tested in this review including the HALO (blue). The HALO earned an impressive third place rank and an Editors' Choice award.
The metric sections below include details on the HALO's performance during testing compared to the competition. Individual metric scores are used to calculate the overall score with an emphasis on ease of use and breathability.
Ease of Use
The HALO earned a 6 of 10 for ease of use.
This metric includes the features and functionality you will encounter in everyday use of your bassinet.
This bassinet is one of the best options for accessibility. The bottom of the stand can slide under your bed, and the height is adjustable to preference.
If that isn't enough, it swivels 360 degrees for better access to the sleeping area and the side dip down slightly for better access to your baby (above left). This dip makes it an excellent choice for C-sections mothers who will want to avoid getting out of bed or lifting baby while standing. The height is also adjustable (above right) to match the parent bed.
This product weighs 33 lbs, measures 36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" (bassinet) x 21.8"W (bassinet), and has no wheels. This weight and size make it heavy and awkward for moving on a regular basis, so you'll want to set it up where you plan to use it and leave it there. It also isn't good for travel, but it doesn't claim to be nor does it need to be.
The Essentia model only comes with storage caddies on each end of the bassinet. For additional features, HALO has three other levels of "Bassinests" with a wide variety of included options from baby soother centers to waterproof mattress pads.
Ease of Setup
It took about 27 minutes to set this bassinet up for use. Almost half of that time was spent unpacking the parts. The assembly itself requires attaching the legs to the base and connecting the sidewalls and clicking in the bassinet. It looks much worse than it is and is actually relatively easy to put together.
Unlike the BabyBjorn Cradle with machine washable fabric and mattress, this product is spot clean only including the mesh and bedding. The bed and frame wipe clean without a hassle, but a blowout or spit-up on the mesh will be a more significant undertaking.
The HALO earned an 8 of 10 for breathability.
This product has mesh side walls with two seven inch panels of fabric, one at the head and one at the foot of the bassinet. This design is similar to the BabyBjorn Cradle which has two four-inch panels. There is also an additional strip of fabric in the middle of one side. Both the mesh and fabric are taut and do not appear as though they would impede or limit breathability.
The HALO earned an 8 of 10 for the sleeping surface. This score is the highest in the sleep surface metric.
The mattress on the HALO is .8 inches thick where the maximum allowed is 1 inch. This mattress is the firmest in the group with the least amount of compression in our tests.
This limited compression could translate to potentially better support for little bodies. The bassinet is very stable and has a tiny tilt when you press on the sidebars. The side is designed to do this and doesn't impact the bassinet's stability.
The pad has a snug fit inside the bassinet frame, and we can only get fingers in with a lot of effort and not as easy as the competition.
The HALO earned a 9 of 10 for quality. This score is one of the best in the group and stands out for its price point as very impressive with only the Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper earning a higher quality score with a lower price.
This product has a stable design with sturdy metal legs that allow for tilting and swiveling without concern. It also has smooth edges, taut mesh, and no imperfections with apparent attention to detail. The overall fit and finish are simple, functional, and clean.
The HALO earned a 5 of 10 for eco-health whic is slightly below the high of 6 for the group. Thanks to the use of polyurethane foam in all of the bassinets, none performed that well in this metric.
This product is JPMA certified and conforms to ASTM F2906-11, ASTM F2194-12a, CPSC, Health Canada, SOR/2010-261 (Canada). HALO describes the materials used in this bassinet as:
"The polyurethane foam mattress pad and fabrics used in the Bassinest Swivel Sleeper do not contain any toxic flame retardants. Additionally, all the plastic and paints used on the Bassinest are lead, phthalate and BPA free. The Bassinest is independently tested and certified to meet all Consumer Product Safety Administration and California chemical standards for flame retardants."
This bassinet earned points for the lack of flame retardants but the foam type and lack of third-party certifications hurt it in the end.
HALO offers a few items that make handy accessories to go with your HALO.
- HALO® Bassinest® Swivel Sleeper Mattress Pad — This waterproof mattress pad helps keep stains and liquids from reaching the HALO mattress. It is made of three layers of 100% polyester material that is machine washable and hangs to dry. This pad has an envelope design that helps prevent it from coming off the mattress.
- HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Fitted Sheet — This fitted sheet is made specifically for the HALO bassinet. It is made of pre-shrunk 100% cotton and has an envelope design that keeps it in place and helps prevent the sheet from detaching from the mattress where it could become a breathing hazard. This sheet is machine washable.
HALO offers a variety of different bassinet options that are similar to the Essentia we tested but with additional features.
- Halo Bassinest Swivel Luxe Series Sleeper — This Bassinest is an upgraded version of the Essentia with a few accessories included for an additional price. The Luxe comes with a floor light for better nighttime visibility, a storage caddy, baby soothing center with a nightlight, soothing sounds, lullabies, vibration and a back to bed reminder, and back to bed reminder.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz