Is your baby craving motion? A baby swing might be the perfect solution. Our comprehensive review features today's top baby swings. We've evaluated several options over the years, from travel-friendly swings to traditional baby swings. While a baby swing isn't intended for your baby's sleep time, it can be a helpful tool to entertain or soothe a fussy baby. It also gives parents a much-needed break from holding their baby. When testing and comparing the competition, we considered various factors, like assembly, portability, quality, entertainment, and more. Our findings can help you decide which swing suits your baby's needs and your goals.
Finding the right gear to soothe your baby may require trial and error. However, we can help. Our list of the best baby soothing gear can help prepare you for whatever comes your way. Also, take a look at the best bassinets and baby cribs for your baby's sleeping time.
Safety Alert The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning about some Fisher-Price infant rockers and other similar gear with more than a 10-degree incline, including swings, bouncers, and rockers. They warn against letting little ones sleep in the gear and remind parents that babies should always be monitored when using the equipment. Babies should be appropriately restrained according to manufacturer guidelines, and no bedding should be used with the devices. Should your baby fall asleep in a swing, bouncer, or rocker, they should be immediately moved to a firm flat surface, such as a crib, bassinet, or play yard.
Editor's Note: This review was updated on August 10, 2023. With new products added to the lineup.
Power: AC Adapter/Battery | Usage Range: 6 - 20 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Bells & whistles
REASONS TO AVOID
The Ingenuity InLighten Swing is loaded with all the bells and whistles to dazzle and entertain your baby. With several speed settings, music, soothing sounds, two recline positions, vibration, lights, a spinning mobile, and a 180-degree rotating seat, this swing offers it all. We appreciate the easy-to-reach controls and the higher-off-the-ground child seat, making it less uncomfortable for parents to access. If your baby thrives on stimulation to distract and calm, this contender may meet your needs.
The Ingenuity InLighten Swing has a few flaws to consider. It's one of the most challenging swings to assemble, and its quality isn't on par with higher-scoring contenders. It's also a giant full-size swing, and it will take up space in your home. If you can overlook these shortcomings and prioritize entertainment for your baby, the Ingenuity InLighten Swing offers an abundance of entertaining features that many babies enjoy.
Power: AC Adapter/Battery | Usage Range: 5.5 - 30 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Sometimes simplicity is all you need, and the Graco Simple Sway Swing is a standard, full-size baby swing that offers enough entertainment at an affordable price. It has a more extended usage range, accommodating babies up to 30 lbs so that you can potentially use it for longer. The easy-to-reach control panel and intuitive operation enhance the overall user experience, and there are several swinging speeds and sounds to select. Some infants enjoy the deeper seat, keeping them in a position that firmly cradles and maintains proper hip flexion.
The Graco Simple Sway Swing falls short in some areas, so it's important to align your expectations for this contender. The swing's quality is average, and it lacks the extra comfort found in higher-quality competitors. The seat doesn't recline, and the stationary mobile is basic; it may not attract your baby's attention for long. Assembling this swing was more difficult, and it doesn't fold, which impacts portability and storage. Despite these shortcomings, the Graco Simple Sway Swing is a budget-friendly option with potential longevity.
The 4moms MamaRoo Multi-Motion blends high-tech features and a sleek design. It has unmatched quality, and we love the swing's 5-point safety harness, which is significantly better, leaving other competitors in the dust. There are several ways to customize your baby's experience with this swing. The reclining seat offers a variety of positions, and you can select among the five motions, various speeds, and four sounds to accommodate your baby's mood. It also has Bluetooth functionality, allowing you to stream your baby's favorite tunes. The touch-sensitive control panel at the base is easy to operate. For a modern touch to the swing's functionality, you can use the 4moms app from a compatible device to make setting adjustments.
Premium products often come with a premium tag, and the 4moms is no exception. It's expensive. The mobile doesn't spin, but the interactive toy balls provide high-contrast visual stimulation. It's also a little noisy when in action. While it doesn't fold, it's more compact in height, which is space-saving compared to the traditional full-size giants. If you like this unique swing and have money to spare, the 4moms may make a soothing environment for your baby.
Power: AC Adapter/Battery | Usage Range: 6 - 20 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Dual power option
REASONS TO AVOID
The Ingenuity Portable Swing is a convenient, lightweight option for parents with on-the-go lifestyles or who have limited space at home. It offers multiple swing speeds and music options, all while operating with a quiet motor. We appreciate its versatility, offering the choice between a battery-powered operation if you desire the freedom to roam or the convenience of an AC adapter, especially to conserve battery life. The child seat is adjustable, and the 5-point harness has some features for added comfort.
This swing is not a top contender for quality, and we suggest adjusting your expectations. The adjustable seat isn't our favorite as it has a more upright incline, and we wish it offered a flatter angle for newborns. Also, the toy bar has a tendency to pop off, which is a minor inconvenience easily. However, if your primary goal is to have a portable swing, and you're willing to overlook some flaws, consider the Ingenuity Portable Swing.
Our hands-on testing protocol for baby swings is very detailed and thorough. We conduct more than 15 individual tests to evaluate the competition, and since we began reviewing this category in 2014, we've tested more than 14 baby swings.
We begin with the same step of researching potential contenders before making our final selection. During this process, we consider online reviews, popularity, or unique products that we feel deserve possible recognition. We purchase every product ourselves and do not accept freebies from manufacturers to ensure complete independence. Our team determines the weighting for each rating metric by considering its importance. Performance in our rating metrics determines each competitor's overall score and rank.
A set of 4 test metrics create our testing process, all with varying weight distributions:
Quality (35% of overall score weighting)
Entertainment (35% weighting)
Portability (20% weighting)
Assembly (10% weighting)
Among the metrics, Quality and Entertainment hold the most weight. We prefer a product with quality, stability, and customization so you can choose the settings that best fit your baby's needs. We also have a preference for baby swings with features that are engaging and fun for babies. This type of baby equipment is designed to provide a short break for parents, deliver a soothing movement for babies, and entertain. It's not a place for babies to fall asleep.
Our reviews are led by pediatrician Juliet Spurrier. She brings her experience as a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), mother of two, and founder of BabyGearLab to guide our selection and testing processes, keeping health, safety, and quality at the forefront of our reviews. Senior Review Editor, Molly Bradac leads the testing and research for this review. Molly was a long-time professional nanny and newborn care specialist. Also contributing to this review is Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, who has been with BabyGearLab since 2014. She rounds out our review process with her experience as a mother of two and many years of in-depth baby gear research.
Analysis and Test Results
We spent hours buckling and unbuckling harnesses, listening to the lullaby melodies, exploring speed settings, and feeling fabrics for our in-house testing. Although it is hard to get a clear opinion from infants, we put real babies in the baby swings to see how well they fit in the seat, how entertained they appeared to be, and how happy they seemed. To determine award winners and rankings, we test each swing side-by-side with the competition for assembly, portability, quality, entertainment, and more.
When it comes to soothing a fussy baby and giving you a much-needed break, you may think of value differently. Baby swings come in a wide range of prices. Some are more affordable but don't bring much to the table, while some other products are more costly, but are they worth the expense? When evaluating the competition, we noticed that finding a product that shines in performance and value can be challenging. You will likely have to spend more money to get something decent. The Graco Simple Sway Swing is an economical choice. While it doesn't offer all the bells and whistles, it may be enough, and it has a more extended usage range of 30 lbs, and some parents may consider the longevity factor to hold value. The Ingenuity Portable Swing is also an inexpensive swing that has the benefits of portability and taking up minimal space, which might be at a premium with all of your recent baby gear additions.
Various factors influence this metric, including the seat recline, the strength of swing motion, frame stability, and harness material and components. We prefer a swing with high-quality materials and components and durable construction that can potentially last through multiple babies.
We prefer options with higher-quality materials as we believe there's a greater likelihood that they will last the test of time. Interestingly, many contenders use basic, lower-quality materials and components, which may be reflected in the product's cost. Some common observations include flimsy plastic buckles, unsoft harness webbing, and a lack of padding or material to cover straps for added comfort. Very few contenders come close to what the 4moms MamaRoo Multi-Motion offers, especially for the child harness. This product is a high-quality all-star, and we greatly appreciate the extra steps it takes, setting it apart from many others.
Now, let's talk recline. It's one thing for a baby swing to offer more than one recline position, but not all seats offer a helpful recline. We prefer seats that provide a satisfactory recline that's flatter and more suitable for newborns, mainly to avoid the chin-to-chest situation. A few products that provide a flatter recline on the lowest setting include the 4moms MamaRoo Multi-Motion and Ingenuity InLighten Swing.
Other reclining contenders did not provide the same level of quality. The Ingenuity Comfort 2 Go Portable Swing and Ingenuity Portable Swing adjust in a clam-like fashion, and the seats are more upright, even on the lowest setting. The Graco Glider LX Swing reclines, but there's not much of a difference between the two options.
We noticed some options had flimsy toy bars that easily popped off; however, this didn't happen as often with the Graco Glider LX Swing toy bar. It's also easy to move forward or backward, so there's room when loading or unloading your little one.
The primary purpose of any baby swing is to soothe a fussy baby; if a swing cannot do this effectively, there's no point in having one. For this reason, the ability to completely customize directional movement, swing speed, vibration, sound, and volume is crucial. Each baby is unique and may prefer different ways of soothing at other times, so being able to tailor the swing to your baby's needs is a huge advantage.
The Ingenuity InLighten Swing is a shining star in this metric. It excels by offering types of entertainment, and it has many different settings to choose from, increasing your chances of finding one that will work best for your baby at any given moment. It has a moving mobile, which can be an eye-catching feature for a fussy baby, and the seat rotates, allowing it to swing in different directions.
A contender that does not perform well in this metric is the Graco Slim Spaces. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer much for entertainment, such as no vibration, sound, or lights. It has a very simple mobile that's attached to the frame. It might not be enough for all babies, which is something to consider.
Depending on your swinging plans, the weight and footprint are important factors to consider before making your final selection. If you want something you can effortlessly move from room to room or travel with, you'll want a small, lightweight swing that folds reasonably flat. If you have the space to dedicate a corner of your home to a swing semi-permanently, then the weight and size may be less important to you. Some swings may be a no-go if your home is small, as many have extra-large bases.
The Graco Slim Spaces, Ingenuity Comfort 2 Go Portable Swing, and Ingenuity Portable Swing shine in this metric. They all are lightweight and fold for easier storage and transportation. They all have some slight differences thought, but nothing that makes them better in this category than another. The Graco Slim Spaces and Comfort 2 Go operate on batteries alone, while the Ingenuity Portable Swing uses either an AC adapter or batteries, depending on your needs.
The Ingenuity InLighten Swing takes up a lot of space. It can slightly collapse and has plastic wheels to help move it around, but it's not something we enjoyed doing. We preferred to leave it where it was set up because it's cumbersome to move.
All competitors vary in the effort and time it takes to get from unpacking to swinging. Some have complex assembly instructions with multiple parts and steps, while others are more streamlined. If you're someone who's not a fan of a complex, time-consuming assembly, this is a metric that may be of importance to you.
It's hard to beat the 4moms MamaRoo Multi-Motion in this metric. We often wished that other competitors had an easy assembly process like the 4moms. After unboxing, you'll find several parts, but it's a quick and straightforward task, and the instructions are easy to follow. The swing that gave us the most trouble was the Ingenuity InLighten Swin. It has several parts, and we experienced a hiccup during the process that we had to sort out. It took us 30 minutes to complete, and it's much more complex than the others.
Other swings that required more effort and time to put together are the Graco Simple Sway Swing and Graco Glider LX Swing. They weren't quite as tricky as the Ingenuity InLighten Swing, but we felt slightly drained after the process. We found the instructions to require more concentration to follow than others.
Important Safety Considerations
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continually updates its safety recommendations for baby swing use, establishing standards all manufacturers must adhere to. All swings have a user manual outlining safety features and operating instructions to ensure proper use. Some general guidelines include the following:
Never leave a baby unattended in a baby swing
Use in full recline until the baby is four months, or they can hold their head up unassisted
Discontinue the use of a swing when the baby can sit up unassisted
Always use the harness as instructed
Installation of the baby swing base should match the manufacturer's instructions
Swings are not recommended for sleeping
Keep fabric away from the baby's nose or mouth to prevent possible airway obstruction.
In addition to these tips, you'll also need to use some common sense. When set to the highest swing speed, some swings can generate strong momentum, especially if you place a larger baby inside. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that you assemble the swing according to the manufacturer's instructions and that the base has complete contact with the floor while swinging. To ensure stability, follow the assembly instructions carefully and test the swing beforehand on its highest setting with weights or a stack of books inside.
Do you need a swing?
Maybe? A swing takes up a lot of space and can be expensive, so you might ask yourself if you really need one. The answer is complicated and not the same for all families or babies. If your space is limited and you can't imagine where you'd put a swing, you can stop stressing and skip this gear. However, some babies find the swing to be ultra-soothing, and if your baby is colicky, you might be able to find a space out of desperation. Alternatively, some babies don't care for swings and would rather be held, and a baby carrier would be a better fit that saves you space and money by offering double duty. If you aren't sure, you can wait until after your little one is born and base your decisions on your baby's needs.
A baby swing can feel like a significant investment for something with such a short lifespan, but once you experience the magic of the swing, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one. Before selecting your final choice, we suggest deciphering the kinds of motion and distractions your little one prefers. Knowing what soothes or entertains your baby can guide you in choosing the most helpful swing in this lineup. Also, we recommend buying from a retailer with a good return policy if your baby doesn't like your swing. No matter what, every baby enjoys the rhythm and movement of rocking, and having a baby swing can give you a moment to yourself while your baby is safely comforted.