The Best Baby Cribs
The Storkcraft Equinox 3-in-1 crib is a modern take on a familiar classic with simple styling and playful crisscross end caps. This primarily solid wood baby crib has chip-resistant paint, a sturdy stance, and is one of the easiest in our tests to assemble (setup under 30 minutes). We like the overall appearance, which at least attempts to hide or disguise fasteners, unlike most contenders that leave them exposed. This frame converts to a toddler or daybed with parts you need to buy separately.
The Equinox has one of the lowest sitting mattress levels, which is both a blessing and a curse. While its depth is excellent for standing or climbing toddlers, it can be challenging for petite parents to reach deeper into a crib to soothe a distressed baby. The mattress height is adjustable, which will alleviate some of the potential problems but not all of them or all of the time. Overall, we love the unique look of this straightforward crib and find the design matches or complements most modern nursery designs, with a look that takes center stage or allows other elements to shine. We think many parents will adore this lovely crib.
The Dream On Me, Ashton 5-in-1 is a sleigh-style bed that uses solid wood for a sturdy build. This crib feels like it will last for multiple siblings and still look good. It is a 5-in-1 convertible bed that transitions as your child grows, with parts sold separately. It comes in various finishes, so there is almost certainly something to match your nursery style. This crib has one of the tallest mattress heights in the group, making it a good choice for shorter parents worried about reaching a low-sitting mattress. However, the crib walls are somewhat taller than the more minimalistic choices.
This option's assembly is harder than it needs to be with some mislabeled parts and confusing instructions in our box. We had to take some of it apart to swap parts around before figuring out the parts were improperly labeled. It also has a lot of exposed hardware, which some may find distracting from the overall look. However, this baby crib is sturdy and feels like it can stand the test of time. In fact, one tester used this crib through two children and passed it on to another family who used it for two more, proving it has what it takes for the long haul.
The Carter's by DaVinci Colby 4-in-1 is an unassuming, lovely option that lets your baby and fitted sheet shine like a framed priceless work of art. With a simple rectangle and slat design with a contrasting color scheme, this product feels comfortable letting other nursery pieces stand out. This crib is solid wood with multi-step, non-toxic paint. it is also GREENGUARD Gold Certified and includes four mattress heights. The Colby was one of the easiest in the group to assemble, taking only 40 minutes with fewer dowels and bolts than some competitors.
The Colby wood feels softer than some of the competition and it easily dents (we experienced this during testing), or the paint might transfer to object that knock into it. We think this crib might start to show its age before it has outlived its usefulness, which is something to consider if you find long-term perfection important. Overall, we love the simplicity and peacefulness this crib offers and think most parents will love it as much for what it is as they will for what it isn't.
The Graco Benton 4-1 convertible crib is a wallet-friendly wood crib with a traditional style. This crib is primarily wood with hardboard on the back under the arch. It felt sturdy and was easy to assemble in our tests. It comes in various fashionable colors, including a natural option, and ours came with the paint in good condition.Because this option is painted, like other painted cribs, there is a chance the paint could chip under ordinary use. Also, the front rail doesn't feel as sturdy as the competition, though it isn't flimsy or fragile. Overall, the price is right on this traditionally-styled crib, and we think parents looking for a simple convertible crib will like the look and price tag of this Graco product.
If budget is a concern, you can still find a stylish winner in the Union 3-in-1. This simple, understated crib is a go-to must-have for families pinching pennies or who want to put their baby money into more fun things without compromising on safety or looks. This crib has a fashionable modern aesthetic, is easy to assemble, has an unconfusing design, and gets the job done. It is solid wood and boasts non-toxic paint. It can convert to a toddler or day bed (with purchase), and the mattress has four adjustable levels. The crib is GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
The wood on this crib is soft and dents easily, and the paint could chip over time. We think there is a chance this baby crib could look shabby as your toddler grows and spends time banging into it or hitting it with toys. However, for the price, it is a sturdy crib that will stay together even if it looks a little worn. We also think for families on a budget that it would be hard to find a nicer, all wood crib without sacrificing something.
If you plan to give birth to the next royal baby, the Evolur Julienne 5 in 1 might be the fancy sleeping arrangement you've been hunting for. With intricate detail designs on the high back and four corners and scrollwork aplenty, this high-end crib stands out from the pack with bling to spare. This crib is easy to assemble at just over 30 minutes, and it has three mattress positions for changes as your baby grows. Much of this crib is hardwood, which is more substantial and of better quality than the New Zealand Pine, we saw in the competition.
While this crib is high-quality, no doubt, the additional details might be more than some parents want. It is unlikely that this crib will be your thing if you aren't into bling. However, plenty of parents want the best and enjoy the look of a detailed finished product, making this their crib of choice as most modern-day cribs lack the frills you'll find on this brand's cribs.
The Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 is somewhat of a standout in the group as one of the few that includes the conversion kit with nothing else to buy. This modern style crib comes with everything you need for a baby all the way to toddler graduation and still manages to look good doing it all. We like the simple style of this crib and the lower mattress height options. Its low profile design is great for smaller space and minimalist style, and the solid wood constructions mean it can make it through toddlerhood without breaking a sweat. It is also GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
This baby crib is one of the most difficult to assemble, taking our expert assembler over an hour. That being said, you typically only assemble a crib once, so don't let that scare you from this crib but do plan extra time for setup. The wood is also reasonably soft, meaning nicks and dents are likely in your future, even if you are careful. Overall, we think this stylish wood crib will work for most nurseries and is a shoo-in for smaller abodes.
The modern-looking Delta Children Tribeca 4-in-1 is an excellent choice for smaller spaces or those with a minimalist flair. This simple crib is low profile, uses sustainable wood, and can convert to a toddler bed or headboard with parts sold separately. It does include the daybed rail, which is helpful and not found in most of the competition.
This crib only has three mattress height levels, which is true for about half the competition. While not a deal-breaker, four levels often translate to a longer lifespan as it creates a space harder for toddlers to escape. Also, the wood is somewhat soft, which could impact the crib's look as it ages with your baby. Overall, we like the look and feel of this crib and think most parents will too.
The Babyletto Modo 3-in-1 has much in common with the other Babyletto offerings, except for a variation in style. This solid wood crib has a lower profile and comes in a handful of colors, all GREENGUARD Gold Certified. The crib has hidden hardware for a more finished look, and the design feels sturdy and solid with blocky feet and simple angles.
The Modo pine wood is softer than hardwood, and as much of the competition, it is likely to dent or scuff easily. It is also harder to assemble like the Hudson that took us close to an hour to setup. Despite the extra time, we think the effort is worth the final product. We think shorter parents will appreciate the lower profile and mattress height choices. Those with less square footage will appreciate the smaller footprint.
The classic DaVinci Jayden 4-in-1 is a solid wood crib with four mattress level heights and sturdy construction. It is GREENGUARD Gold Certified and can convert to a toddler bed, daybed, or headboard with the purchase of additional parts. The Jayden has a traditional look, and there are matching furniture options you can buy to coordinate your nursery. It is available in white or slate grey to help match almost any nursery decor.
This baby crib is more substantial than much of the competition, and while they all take the same size mattress, this one will use square footage in your home than some of the smaller options in this review. It also has more exposed hardware than some, which is somewhat distracting to the overall look. Minor flaws aside, we like the traditional high-back style and think it will appeal to parents looking for a classic feel or a more stately nursery standout piece.
If you need a full-size crib on wheels, the DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 could be your go-to choice. With very few cribs offering a sleep surface on wheels, this crib stands out from the rest of the review with its easy mobility. While not a bassinet, this does mean you can roll baby closer to your bed for easy nighttime peeking or place it across the room for some privacy with ease. We like the solid wood construction, four mattress height levels, and that it is GREENGUARD Gold Certified. The Jenny Lind comes in various colors, and there are other furniture pieces available for coordinating your nursery.
This crib has a traditional look and feel, and some might even find it more feminine than they'd want for a boy's room. While this is good news, if it fits your design plan, it isn't for everyone. Also, the wheels can be annoying if you do not need to move your crib. While this crib may not be for everyone, we do think it fills a niche and could be the exact thing some parents have been looking for, which is why it is a style that has been around longer than some parents have been alive.
Why You Should Trust Us
We at BabyGearLab have been testing baby gear for 8 years. We evaluate and test products taking them through side-by-side comparisons to determine which competitors are real standouts in their categories. Bob Wofford, the Senior Test Analyst, built the cribs in this review and put them through their paces in our lab to rank how easy they are to assemble, how easy they are to use, and overall quality to determine which options are the best. Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor at BabyGearLab since 2014, and mom to two boys researched and assessed the contenders to determine the award winners.
Analysis and Test Results
We evaluated a variety of cribs before settling on 11 options from a variety of brands and styles to help you find the right fit for your needs and your wallet.
Ease of Use
You might think all cribs are the same, and in some regards, this is true. All of the baby cribs sold in the US must adhere to specific safety guidelines, and these restrictions often make them very similar in design and materials. All of the options in this review are primarily wood, with most being sustainable New Zealand Pine and one being hardwood. They all have adjustable mattress levels with three to four variations, and they all come un-assembled.
However, they all have different designs, styles of slats, overall dimensions, and mattress heights. Mattress height, conversion capabilities, and the crib size can all impact how easy they are to use or how much use you will get from them.
Only a handful of the competition came with parts for converting the crib to a toddler bed or day bed. Those include the Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1, Delta Children Tribeca 4-in-1, and the Babyletto Modo 3-in-1. The rest of the competition requires an additional purchase. This feature is kind of cool if you use it. We don't think many parents end up using the conversion kit, as they often reserve the crib for the next child or are just tired of looking at it and want to mark the transition to a big kid bed with the purchase of something new and exciting to encourage the change from sleeping in the crib to something new. However, some parents will use this feature, and if you think you might, it can save you money to buy a crib that includes the part you'll need to make this change.
Mattress height options varied in this group between three and four height levels. Both variations are fine, but four potentially gives you a longer lifespan for crib use as taller toddlers will find it more challenging to escape a lower sitting mattress. Alternatively, a determined Houdini will escape no matter what height you offer (trust us), and climbing toddlers usually indicates a toddler or big kid bed is due. More importantly, we think the higher levels genuinely help some parents as some petite parents won't want to bend down and over into the abyss to retrieve their baby. What we are saying here is, one is about the same as another unless you have a physical reason for needing something special.
Another consideration for ease of use is the overall crib footprint. Depending on where your crib will reside, some options might fit better than others. If you plan to keep it in your bedroom, you may need one of the smaller options. If you have a vast new nursery that echos due to size, then a larger, more stately crib might be just what you want. The smaller cribs include the Babyletto Modo, Union 3-in-1, and Babyletto Hudson. Like the DaVinci Jayden 4-in-1, some cribs can be up to 5 inches longer than the smaller minimal-style cribs.
Drop sides are NOT safe and should not be part of your baby's crib. Modern cribs no longer include a drop-side feature (by law) as babies were historically injured and even died from drop-style products. So, while it might be sweet that your mom saved the crib she used with you, it isn't safe, and you should find a crib that fits current safety standards.
All of the baby cribs have a similar mattress opening size. Still, experience has taught us that a headache could be waiting around the corner as crib mattresses seem to vary slightly in size and could result in a pair that doesn't play well together. If your mattress fits too tightly, this will be a regularly occurring frustration as you'll be lifting the entire thing out to change a sheet (frequently). If there is too much gap, then the combination isn't safe as little arms and legs could become entrapped (or worse). Given that sheet changes could potentially be a daily occurrence, you'll want to check your mattress size with your crib opening as soon as you get it to ensure a proper fit before your return period is over. Most of our review options had a 1-1 3/4 inch gap on one or both ends of the mattress, with a snug fit or up to 1/2 inch gap on the sides. You want a snug fit for safety, but if it is too snug, it will have you cursing in the middle of the night, changing sheets after a diaper blowout.
Ease of Setup
Many of the cribs were similar in parts, instructions, and design. We suspect some probably come from the same manufacturing plant. However, there was variation in assembly difficulties. The Babyletto cribs were more challenging than most, and the Hudson took over an hour to put together with poor instructions and backward pictures, which required us to start over. The Storkcraft Equinox 3-in-1 was the quickest setup with a time of just under 30 minutes and extremely simple instructions. The parts are labeled well, as are the pictures in the instruction guide. The Graco Benton 4-1 is also a quick setup with an assembly time of 32 minutes, though this option is probably easier with two people. The Dream on Me Ashton had mislabeled pieces that threw us off for a while and added time to the assembly resulting in 47 minutes from start to finish. Most were all under an hour, but only a few were closer to 30 minutes. On the upside, they all came with a wrench for setup, and typically you only need to assemble them once or twice.
Except for the Evolur Julienne 5 in 1 (which is hardwood), the majority of the cribs use similar materials and have the same quality level. All of the options in our review boast wood construction with New Zealand Pine and non-toxic finishes, with more than half claiming GREENGUARD Gold Certifications. All those we built felt sturdy and solid, and not rickety. The wood is soft and dents easily, but this was true for most cribs we tested, making it hard to use it as a deciding factor concerning quality. The main quality difference you might notice is exposed hardware (visible screws) versus hidden. This difference is a level of detail that can create a sleek, more finished look or leave visible distracting bolts. This issue is more of an aesthetic thing as opposed to how well the cribs are built. While it doesn't appear to affect the functionality or longevity, it does indicate more effort and consideration to the crib's overall design, which might translate to better quality. The cribs with the most exposed hardware are the Dream On Me, Ashton 5-in-1 and the Graco Benton 4-1, and yet, they feel sturdy, and we know from experience that the Ashton (at least) can go the distance through multiple siblings and still stand tall.
A real standout for quality in our group is the Evolur Julienne. This fancy schmancy crib feels sturdy, is mostly hardwood, and offers impressive attention to detail with intricate scrollwork and some features we didn't see on other contenders. However, it also comes with a list price that is double or triple the cost of the competition.
Cribs typically take center stage in most modern nurseries. Parents often choose to decorate their nurseries or theme around the crib style. Your crib's style, quality, and ease of use will impact your long-term happiness with your choice and how you use your crib. In short, finding the right crib might be more important than you first thought. We think most families will find enough information in our detailed analysis and first-hand knowledge to select the perfect crib for their baby.
— Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Review Team