The Best Baby Rockers
The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing rocks, swings, and provides various features, more than most of the competition. These include a mirror bottom mobile, music selection, and recline swinging in different directions. We appreciate that you can choose from swinging that moves side-to-side or front to back, and we feel the ability to turn the mobile on or off is useful depending on your baby's mood or need for stimulation. This product has a 5-point harness and works until little ones begin to crawl.
This rocker swing is large and fills more space than the competition, making it a potentially poor choice if your space is limited. Also, it isn't portable, so if you want something to stash in the car to take to Grandma's, you should probably consider something else. Those minor issues aside, we believe products like this are underrated, and most parents and babies will find some benefit by including this kind of option in their baby gear lineup.
The Maxi-Cosi Kori 2-In-1 Rocker is a straightforward rocker that is big on style and quality. This rocker has stylish wood accents and high-end materials than much of the plastic competition, and we love the way it looks. It folds flat for travel or storage and comes preassembled. The frame fabric is removable and can be washed in the machine giving it a leg up on the competition when it comes to cleanup. We like the cozy feel of the seat and that there is a kickstand to keep it stationary if you want to feed your little one or they don't like the motion.
This straightforward baby rocker might not be stimulating enough for gregarious babies who need more to settle. It also doesn't have any electric power, so it depends on a parent or the baby to make it move, which could be rough if you're trying to multi-task. Overall, we love what the Maxi-Cosi has to offer and what it doesn't, making it an excellent choice for younger babies and those who prefer a less is more approach to parenting.
The smaller Graco Glider Lite LX is a compact rocking swing great for smaller spaces or anywhere where floor space is limited. We appreciate the deep, cozy cradle-like baby seat and 5-point harness and think the toy bar is just enough to keep little ones engaged without overstimulation when you are hoping for relaxation. Unlike a typical rocker, this option offers a smooth gliding motion, and babies in our tests enjoyed the experience with smiles and calm all around.
The timer setting on this rocker is not intuitive, so you'll be reading the manual more than once, especially if you don't use it often. Also, it only offers one path of motion, which some babies may not find inspiring. However, if you need a compact solution for rocking the good life and require more features than a basic rocker, then the Glider Lite should make it to your shortlist of options.
If you hope rocking leads to sleeping, then the Fisher-Price Rock with Me Bassinet is the potential baby rocker for you. This bassinet can rock or sit motionlessly, and it has mesh sides, a mirror, and an attached toy for subtle interactive play. We like the simplicity of this rocker and that it folds in half for easy stowing or travel in the trunk. This bassinet provides a safe place for napping wherever you need to be, and we think babies will appreciate the manual rocking for peacefully slipping into slumberland.
This rocker has a larger fold than the smaller competition, but it still manages travel better than the full-scale swings. It also has a shorter lifespan as it isn't designed for older babies. However, if your goal is an occasional alternate safe sleeping location, this is the only option in our review designed with sleeping potential, and we believe it's the solution many parents are looking for.
The Graco DuetSoothe can rock and swing, bringing you two products in one. The rocker with optional vibration can detach from the frame for easy movement from room to room, and the swing offers six speeds and songs, and nature sounds. The Duet has a soft theme appearance and should go nicely with most nursery or home decor, making it a stylish option that isn't an eyesore.
This product is a better rocker than a swing with a seat that lacks the deep, cozy feel of other swinging competitors. The non-moving mobile is somewhat dull and not as engaging as some of the competition, and it would be better if it moved or had a mirror. Despite these minor concerns, the Graco DuetSoothe is a good choice for parents who can't decide between a rocker or a swing. With multiple uses and the ability to easily move the rocker wherever you go, we think multi-tasking parents will love what it has to offer.
The Fisher-Price Circus Celebration is a brightly colored rocker and bouncer combination that provides interactive batting toys on a removable toy bar and the ability to vibrate. This compact chair has manual rocking, and a kickstand can keep the product still if bouncing and vibration is more your speed. This rocker has a wallet-friendly price and fun look.
This product is very stimulating, from its bright colors to hard plastic clacking toys; it is designed to engage and stimulate instead of lulling peace. While this isn't for every baby, it might be what you are looking for if your baby is high-energy or hard to engage.
The Summer 2-in-1 Bouncer & Rocker Duo is a small rocker and bouncer that folds flat for storage or travel. This simple rocker includes a toy bar with two toys and the ability to vibrate on its own. We like the simpler design that avoids being overstimulating, and testers liked the ability to switch between rocking, bouncing, and vibration quickly.
This rocker isn't the highest quality, and the harness is difficult to tighten for smaller babies. It also has a short, somewhat choppy bounce and rocking motion that may not be the best fit for all babies. However, we think this fold-flat choice might be a potential fit for those who want a versatile option without buying multiple products to save money or space.
If you want a basic rocker your little one can later use as a chair, the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is a rocker to add to your shortlist. This simple plastic chair has a removable toy bar, dual rocker runners, and a padded machine washable cover. It is smaller in size and can potentially be used past the baby stage.
This rocker has less impressive quality, and while it might be suitable for toddlers, we aren't convinced it will always survive this long. Also, it is uninspired with no real standout features or design choices for modern-day expectations, instead of giving a feel of something that's been around forever. However, if you have a smaller budget and need a place to put your baby that rocks for potential soothing, this might meet your needs, even if it doesn't last forever.
The 4moms mamaRoo 4 is a genuinely unique rocker and swing that does everything differently than the competition. This futuristic-looking product has an egg shape and unique movement options dictated by using a Bluetooth-connected app you access from your tablet or smartphone.
This product has a high learning curve that could take time to figure out and definitely takes time to master. Also, the movement isn't always soothing and can shift to a more herky-jerky feel, which is potentially disruptive if little ones are drifting off to sleep. Overall, we think this rocker is more than anyone needs or likely wants. It is harder to use, and we aren't convinced that the higher price is worth the final product. In our tests, babies were just as content in products half the price with easier start-up directions than this option. However, if money is no object and you love all things high-tech and want your nursery to reflect this love, then the mamaRoo 4 might be the one for you.
Why You Should Trust Us
Several BabyGearLab experts contributed to this rocker review with a combined experience of 18 years testing baby products. This review is led by Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor and mother of 2. Wendy reviewed test results and provided analysis for ranking and award winners. Bob Wofford, Senior Review Analyst, and father of 7, we instrumental in product assembly, testing, and analysis of test data. Abriah Wofford, a Senior Review Editor, helped with product selection, testing, and photography. Each competitor was tested side-by-side with similar options and compared against the competition for ease of use, assembly, and features to determine which options outperform the rest.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased and tested the best rockers on the market to determine which options are the best for every baby-centered goal.
Ease of Use
Harried and sleep-deprived parents need options that are easy to use and straightforward. Trust us; you'll want a rocker that works with little input from your brain and body when your infant has kept you up all night. We looked for options with simple user manuals, intuitive interfaces, and thoughtful designs that parents can quickly decifer or instinctively know.
The 4moms Mama Roo 4 is by far the most complicated option in this lineup with an associated app you download and a high-tech design and feel that could have you staying awake reading a user manual instead of sleeping when your little one drifts off. There are also products with a small section of buttons that allow you to choose swinging speed and direction, music or other sounds, and sometimes even mobiles that move. The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing and the Graco Glider Lite LX are good examples of this type of product. Not hard, but sometimes not obvious; we think most parents will dial in the details on these feature-full products in short order.
The goals you have for your rocker will influence the kinds of features you'll want and what you might be willing to accept. If your goal is a simple soother to lull your infant into peaceful bliss, then fewer literal bells and whistles might be what you want. But, if your little one has a personality that loves extra stimulation for distraction from a potential crying fit, then a rocker that sings, swings, vibrates, and does your taxes (we wish) might be a better fit.
In our experience, we often discover that less is better when it comes to entertaining and calming little ones. While it might be nice to feel like you have versatile or exciting options, these kinds of entertainers often go unused in the real world, as babies often prefer simplicity over excess stimulation and complication. The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing has lots of features with a mirrored bottom twirling mobile, music and other sounds, and the ability to change the swinging positions and speeds. You can also remove the cover and wash it in the machine, which, trust us, is a priceless feature you'll use frequently. This competitor includes more features than the average option, but it keeps things subdued by limiting the bright colors and lights. Finding the best balance of useful features your baby will respond to and simplicity can depend on your parenting style, goals, and your baby's personality and needs.
Finding the ideal rocker to soothe and engage your baby can be the difference between selecting a good choice to catch a much-needed break or feeling overwhelmed with an unengaging product and a crabby baby. We chose the top rockers for testing in this review to bring you the details you will need to find the right rocker for your little one and budget. No matter what you want from a rocker, we believe there is a product in this lineup that can meet your needs.
— Wendy Schmitz