Best Baby Rocker of 2020
The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing rocks, swings, and provides more features than most of the competition with its mirror bottom mobile, music selection, and recline swinging in different directions. We like that you can choose from side-to-side swinging or front to back, and we think the ability to turn the mobile on or off is useful depending on your baby's mood at the moment. This option has a 5-point harness and is suitable until your little one starts to crawl.
This rocker swing is big and takes up more room than the competition, making it a poor choice for small spaces. It also is not portable, so if you're looking for something to stash in the car for Grandma's house, you'll need to look elsewhere. Those minor hiccups aside, we think products like this one are underrated and believe most parents and babies will benefit from including this product in their baby gear toolbox.
The born free KOVA Baby Bouncer doubles as a baby rocker, providing two products in one compact baby soothing machine. We like that the Kova comes preassembled, folds flat for travel, and has a straightforward design that anyone can use without delay. The simplicity of this rocker lets little ones enjoy the world around them without the overstimulation of lights and sounds often found in baby products today. We think the removable toy bar is just enough to entertain infants, and the natural baby-led bouncing and rocking is womb-like enough to trick little ones into real relaxation.
This straightforward baby rocker might not be enough for gregarious babies who demand more stimulation. 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 Kova 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 that is great for smaller apartments or anywhere where space is limited. We like the deep, cozy cradle-like seat and 5-point harness on this rocker and think the two toy bar is just enough to keep little ones engaged without over stimulating them when you are hoping for calm. This rocker has a smooth gliding motion, unlike a traditional rocker, and little ones in our tests seemed to enjoy the feeling.
Setting the timer on this option is a little tricky and not intuitive, so reading the manual is a must. Also, it only has one motion, which not all babies love. However, if you need a compact solution to your rocking needs and want more features than a run-of-the-mill rocker, then the Glider Lite might be a good bet.
If you're hoping rocking will lead to sleeping, then the Fisher-Price Rock with Me Bassinet is the baby rocker for you. This bassinet can rock or hold motionless, and it comes with mesh sides, a mirror, and an attached toy for entertainment. We like the simple design and the fact that it folds in half for easy stowing out of the way or placing it in the trunk. This bassinet offers a safe place for napping wherever you need to be, and we think babies will appreciate the manual rocking for peaceful drifting off to sleep.
This rocker has a larger fold than the smaller options, but it is still better at travel than the larger, full-scale swings. It also isn't intended for older babies, so its lifespan might be somewhat shorter than the competition. However, if your goal is an alternate sleep space, this is the only contender designed with sleeping in mind, and we believe it's the solution many parents want.
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 it is 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 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, form its bright colors to hard plastic clacking toys; it is designed to engage and stimulate as opposed to 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.
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, 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, then this might be 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 through the use of 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 8 of 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 products that are easy to use and straightforward in their designs. Trust us, you'll want a rocker that works with little input from your brain and body when your infant is keeping you up all night. We looked for options with simple user manuals, intuitive interfaces, and thoughtful designs that parents can quickly figure out or instinctively know.
The 4moms Mama Roo 4 is by far the most complicated with an app you need to 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 sleeps. Alternatively, the easiest is arguably the born free Kova that comes assembled and has no buttons or complicated options to decipher. All you do is flip up the kickstand that keeps it still, and your little one will be rocking under their own steam or with your help in no time. Anyone can step in and use this rocker with no tutorial. In between these two, there are the products with a small section of buttons that allow you to choose swinging speed and direction, music or other sounds, and sometimes even moving mobiles. The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing and the Graco Glider Lite LX are god 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.
Your rocker goals can influence the type of features you'll want and what you might accept. If your goal is a simple soother to lull your little one into peaceful bliss, then fewer features might be your goal. But, if your little one requires increased stimulation to distract them from a crying jag then a rocker that sings, swings, vibrates, and does your taxes (just joking) might be a better fit for your needs.
In our experience and tests, we often find less is better, and while it can be nice to feel like there is versatility or exciting options, they often go unused in the real world where babies often seem to prefer simplicity instead of over-stimulation and complication. Little testers loved the more relaxed, laid back,
and low stimulation design of the born free Kova with its two hanging toys for batting and the ability to switch between a rocker or bouncer. This useful product has a smaller footprint, folds flat for travel or storage, and comes in a calming grey that complements most decor. The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing has additional features with a mirrored bottom twirling mobile, music and other sounds, and the ability to change the swinging positions and speeds. Also, you can 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 more subdued by limiting the bright colors and electric lights found on some competing baby products. Finding the best balance of useful features can often depend on your parenting style, goals, and your baby's personality and needs.
Choosing the best rocker to soothe and engage your baby can make the difference between finding a good option for a much-needed break or feeling overwhelmed with your hands full and an unengaging product. We chose the top options for testing in our review to provide the details you'll need to select the best rocker for your baby and wallet. No matter what your rocker needs might be, we feel confident that there is an option in this review for you.
— Wendy Schmitz