In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Quest for the Best Bassinet

It is easy to reach in for little ones when using the HALO bedside.
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
Tuesday August 28, 2018
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Looking for a bassinet to keep baby close while sleeping? With the variety of options growing all the time, it can be challenging to figure out which option is the best for you and your family. That's where we can help! We considered over 15 possible test products and purchased 13 products for testing. After months of testing, we can now share our personal hands-on experiences with you. We tested and compared each option side-by-side in metrics like the ease of use, breathability, sleep surface, quality, and eco-health and ranked them according to their performance. Read on to see how each product performed and which options won awards.


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Displaying 1 - 5 of 13
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $435.00 List
$365.00 at Amazon - 16% off
$150.00 List
$149.99 at Amazon
$200.00 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$390.00 List
$349.95 at Amazon - 10% off
$300.00 List
$209.00 at Amazon - 30% off
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Pros Natural materials, adjustable height, easy to reach babyBudget-friendly, super accessible and portableMesh breathability, swivel versatility, easy access to baby bedsideVery breathable, machine washableBreathable mesh, travel crib, machine washable
Cons Expensive, hard to moveNot as eco-healthy, frustrating setupSpot clean only, hard to move from room to roomExpensive, easy to compress mattressNot a co-sleeper, harder to move room to room
Bottom Line Easy access to baby in a quality wood co-sleeper that looks greatGreat portable co-sleeping bassinet with a nice priceGreat for c-section moms and parents who'd like a safer alternative to co-sleepingNice bedside cradle with machine washable mesh and mattressVersatile free-standing bassinet you can use for travel
Ratings Categories Bedside Sleeper Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper Bassinest Essentia BabyBjorn Cradle Lotus Bassinet
Ease Of Use (35%)
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5
Breathability (25%)
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9
Sleep Surface (20%)
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Quality (15%)
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Eco Health (5%)
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Specs Bedside Sleeper Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper Bassinest Essentia BabyBjorn Cradle Lotus Bassinet
Assembled Weight 28.6 lbs 22.1 lbs 33 lbs 12.1 lbs 13.8 lbs
Open Dimensions 37.1"H x 36"L x 20.7"W 34.8"H x 34.5"L x 20.3"W 36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" (bassinet) x 21.8"W (bassinet) 26"H x 31.5"L x 18"W 25.5"H x 47.9"L x 32.1"W
Age/Height/Weight Limit 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 5 Months or 18 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees 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 6 Months or 18 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees 18 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees

Best Overall Co-Sleeper


babybay Bedside Sleeper


Editors' Choice Award

$365.00
(16% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 28.6 lbs | Dimensions: 37.1"H x 36"L x 20.7"W
Eco-healthy
High quality
Breathable
Premium price
Hard to move from room to room

The babybay Bedside Sleeper is a chic bedside co-sleeper made with quality materials. This product attaches to your bed and is height adjustable for a perfect fit. The sleeping area is easy to access while you stay in bed and the mattress fits the frame of the Sleeper well. The wood slats create a breathable environment, and the design makes the whole thing sturdy and durable.

While this product is expensive compared to the competition and, therefore, will not be a good choice for families on a budget, we think it is a standout option that any family will love. If you want a stylish product that will last for years to come, this wood option is a winner.

Read review: babybay Bedside Sleeper

Budget-Friendly Co-Sleeper


Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper


Editors' Choice Award

$149.99
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 22.1 lbs | Dimensions: 34.8"H x 34.5"L x 20.3"W
Easy room to room moving
Economical price
Great mattress
Hard to set up and take down
Fabric corners impact breathability

The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper creates a safer co-sleeping environment that puts your baby at "Arm's Reach" while you stay cozy in bed. This soft-sided, mesh surround product is breathable and has the best sleeping surface in the review. We like that the lining on this product is machine washable and that it has wheels that allow easy transport from room to room. This co-sleeper is a great choice for parents who want to sleep with their baby nearby in a safer way than in bed sleeping.

This option isn't great for travel, and it can be hard to take down to move. However, the Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper is an economical product with impressive test results, and we think any family looking for a basic co-sleeper will enjoy this option.

Read review: Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper

Great for C-Section


HALO Bassinest Essentia


Editors' Choice Award

$199.99
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 33 lbs | Dimensions: 36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" x 21.8"W (bassinet)
Super adjustable
Easy access
Eco-health
Heavy and harder to move
Harder to clean mesh

The HALO Bassinest Essentia is a cool adjustable swiveling option with mesh sides, a dipping front bar, and a natural swaying action to help soothe your baby. We like the sturdy base, and the ability to move the sleeping area away from you so you can easily get out of bed. The front bar dips for easier access to baby in bed and the whole sleep area can swing over the parent bed, unlike any other option we tested. This product has a reasonable price and uses high-quality parts.

The HALO may not be the best choice for families who want a moveable option as the design is not suitable for moving from room to room. It also has a short lifespan as it won't be useable once your little one starts to roll or sit up. We think it is best for families who want to have baby nearby and within reach so they can take care of them without getting out of bed.

Read review: HALO Bassinest Essentia

Best Bang for the Buck


Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet


Best Value Award

$80.00
See It

Weight: 22.8 lbs | Dimensions: 28.8"H x 41.1"L x 28.6"W
Budget-friendly
Works from newborn to toddler
Also a travel crib
Harder to use
Fabric ends limit breathability

The Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet is a versatile powerhouse for sleep and play. This budget-friendly travel crib comes standard with the bassinet making it useful from newborn to toddlerhood. It is easy to move from room to room with two wheels, and it comes with a toy bar and a storage bag. While this option isn't the highest quality or the lightest product we tested, the lower price tag more than makes up for these small failings. And while it could be smaller for easier bedside feedings, the size makes it good as a travel crib for older babies.

Parents looking for a small bedside sleeper they can use without getting up won't be happy with this Graco. But the versatility of this unit means you'll be able to use it for several years after baby outgrows the infant insert. We think most families will appreciate what the Pack 'n Play has to offer no matter what their budget.

Read review: Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet

Impressive Free Stander


BabyBjorn Cradle


Top Pick Award

$349.95
(10% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 12.1 lbs | Dimensions: 26"H x 31.5"L x 18"W
Breathable mesh sides
Impressive eco-health
High-quality materials
Higher price
Harder to move

The BabyBjorn Cradle is a free-standing wood sleeper with mesh side walls. This design is very breathable and uses higher quality materials. BabyBjorn provides more information on their materials with some of the most eco-healthy options we found in this review. This product has machine washable components which are not common in this kind of baby gear.

The Cradle is lightweight and can move, but it isn't meant for transporting and won't be the best choice for parents who want to keep baby nearby in every room or those looking to spend less on baby gear with such a short lifespan. It also isn't a potential choice for travel. We think parents looking for a stylish, free-standing option will like the look and mesh surround design of the Cradle.

Read review: BabyBjorn Cradle

Top Pick for Versatility


Lotus Bassinet


Top Pick Award

$209.00
(30% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 13.8 lbs | Dimensions: 25.5"H x 47.9"L x 32.1"W
Eco-healthy
Breathable mesh
Travel possibilities
Mattress shifting and moving mesh
High price

The Lotus Bassinet is an eco-healthy option that also works as a travel crib. This sturdy option is very breathable with full mesh sides, and the materials are chemical free, so you can rest easy while the baby breathes deeply. We like that this product folds easily and is light enough to be moved despite the lack of wheels and we appreciate its longevity and versatile design.

The Lotus is not a good choice for families on a budget thanks to the higher list price. However, we think it is a good fit for those looking for longevity or eco-health materials. If you value finding the healthiest possible materials over other features, you can't go wrong with the Lotus.

Read review: Lotus Bassinet

Notably Disappointing


UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand



$149.99
(56% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 18.4 lbs | Dimensions: 33.3"H x 30.8"L x 18.5"W

The UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand is designed for attachment to a stroller and includes solid sides that block the wind and other weather hazards from reaching baby while strolling. Unfortunately, what this means is the sidewalls aren't breathable like the competition as it wasn't designed for in-home, regular, overnight use. We have reservation about using this product, as the design has similarities in common with items that have been identified as potential SIDS risks (crib bumpers). While fine for strolling use, UPPAbaby's attempt to increase the versatility of this product by selling a compatible in-home stand fails, in our opinion, to consider adequate breathability in the side materials. The potential for impaired breathability makes the UPPAbaby product notably disappointing for us and makes it a product we do not recommend for use as an at-home, overnight sleep product.

Read review: UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand

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Analysis and Test Results


Babies sleep a lot, but they also frequently wake up in the middle of the night for feedings and diapers changes. Today's parents have many options when it comes to sleeping accommodations, and more parents are exploring possibilities that keep their baby in the same room or within reach of their bed. This allows you to keep an eye on your new little one and meet their needs with less interruption to your own sleep. If keeping your baby nearby for bonding or easier nighttime feedings is something you are interested in, then finding a freestanding option or co-sleeper that attaches to your bed may be just what you need to get a better night's sleep.

Access to a great co-sleeper or bassinet  like the HALO Bassinest Essentia  can make the early days of parenthood easier.
Access to a great co-sleeper or bassinet, like the HALO Bassinest Essentia, can make the early days of parenthood easier.

Can you get by without this kind of gear? Sure. However, we believe it is a convenient way to keep baby close at hand for peace of mind, bonding, and restful sleep. This type of gear provides a compact, safe, and secure environment for your baby while meeting your grander goals. It is also in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics sleep advise that suggests having baby sleep in the same room but not the same bed as the parents to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Read on to see what we learned about the products in this review and which options we think could make a helpful addition to your life and why.


Value


Choosing a bassinet could be lower on your gear list, and therefore, something you want to be budget savvy about. If it isn't on your must-have list, or even if it is, you likely want to find a good product for a good price. When it comes to bassinets, this often means you get what you pay for, and higher prices usually mean higher quality and increased versatility. The Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet is an inexpensive play yard you can use as a travel crib or bassinet for younger infants. This is a good product for parents who want a versatile option that won't break the bank. The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper is also a budget-conscious option for parents who want something higher quality that can attach to the parent bed. This option is good for almost any family looking for a useful bassinet for infants.


We completed our in-depth, hands-on testing to assess how each option performs during day-to-day use and compares to the other options in side-by-side testing in a variety of metrics designed to determine which products are the best and why.

The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper and the babybay Bedside Sleeper are the top-ranked co-sleeping bassinets that attach to the parent's bed for secure night time accessibility.
The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper and the babybay Bedside Sleeper are the top-ranked co-sleeping bassinets that attach to the parent's bed for secure night time accessibility.

Ease of Use


Ease of use includes the features and functionality that impact daily use. Many of the options earned similar scores but have different strong suits making it important to parse out what exactly we considered when testing for ease of use.


Accessibility


Accessibility tests how easy it is to get baby into and out of the sleeping area both remaining in your bed and out of your bed. Some products are designed for use while you remain in bed, while others are freestanding and require either sitting up or getting up.

It is easy to reach in for little ones when using the HALO bedside.
It is easy to reach in for little ones when using the HALO bedside.

The HALO Bassinest Essentia earned the best results for this metric with a swiveling sleep area, adjustable height, and a side wall that dips down so you can reach into comfort or pick up your baby. The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper and the babybay Bedside Sleeper also provide great accessibility by attaching to your bed and being height adjustable. Both have lower side walls and allow you to reach over the side to comfort little ones. The hardest to get baby in and out of are the freestanding Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go Bassinet and the Chicco Lullago.

The Arm's Reach has locking wheels that prevent movement when you don't want it to move.
The Arm's Reach has locking wheels that prevent movement when you don't want it to move.

Portability/Mobility


This metric covers moving your product from room to room so you can keep baby nearby no matter where you are and being able to take it with you when you travel. Because these products are not necessarily designed for travel, only a few options are good for travel and most of these are crossover products that are true travel cribs like the Lotus Bassinet and the Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go Bassinet.

The 4moms Breeze bassinet is the largest option in the review (left) while the BabyBjorn Cradle is one of the lighter choices with a much smaller footprint.
The 4moms Breeze bassinet is the largest option in the review (left) while the BabyBjorn Cradle is one of the lighter choices with a much smaller footprint.

All of the products made of wood or with substantial bases are not suitable for travel like the BabyBjorn Cradle, HALO Bassinest Essentia, and the Summer Infant Classic Comfort Wood.

The floor of the babybay sleep area can be moved up or down for better accessibility to the baby from the parent's bed.
The floor of the babybay sleep area can be moved up or down for better accessibility to the baby from the parent's bed.

Additional Features


Some of the products we tested came with additional features that either make using them easier or add convenience or versatility. None of the product lost favor for not offering additional functionality, but some have features that make using them easier, and thereby, increases their overall ease of use score. Some of these features include height adjustability, wheels, travel crib capabilities, moving sides, and soothing vibrations, lullabies or sounds. The top-performing products often have moving sides and height adjustability but they don't need the extra bells and whistles to impress or outperform the competition. The HALO Bassinest Essentia and Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper both have a moving side wall. The lower scoring Summer Infant Comfort Classic Wood and the Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings have a soothing center with vibration and sounds.

Cleaning


Very few products we tested are machine washable, and only a few are hand washable. Most are wipe or spot clean only, which isn't that convenient with a baby inside who may explode at any minute from either end. The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper has a machine washable lining and mattress sheet, and the fabric on the Baby Bjorn Cradle, UPPAbaby Bassinet, and the Lotus Bassinet are also machine washable.

Some of the award-winning bassinets from our best bassinet review. All of these products offer superior breathability compared to the lower ranking products we tested.
Some of the award-winning bassinets from our best bassinet review. All of these products offer superior breathability compared to the lower ranking products we tested.

Breathability


Breathability considers how breathable the sidewalls are that surround the sleeping area. Can a baby breathe through the material? Could baby's breathing be impaired by something the crib is made of? Could a baby manage to scoot into a position where their ability to breath properly is inhibited by a design choice? Most of the products have mesh sides with varying sizes and numbers of fabric panels. This mesh design is considered breathable to a degree dependant on the location and thickness of the fabric panels and whether or not the mesh is tight or loose. Another option has wood slats with no fabric surround and at least two have fabric side walls that mimic crib bumpers (a product the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised that you don't use to avoid a potential SIDS risk).


The babybay Bedside Sleeper earned the high score here with a 10 of 10 thanks to a wood slat design that mimics that of a traditional crib and offers great breathability thanks to the open spaces and lack of fabric that could cover a baby's nose and mouth. The BabyBjorn Cradle, HALO Bassinest Essentia, and the Fisher-Price Soothing Motions have very breathable mesh and very little fabric.

The Summer Infant has fabric side walls that can potentially impair breathability and are not as desirable as mesh side or wood slats that allow proper air flow for the best breathability.
The UPPAbaby has a cushioned fabric liner on the inside and a canvas cover on the outside that limits breathability. We believe that this design is suitable for strolling to protect baby from the elements  but it is not optimal for unmonitored overnight sleeping because baby's ability to breath could be severely impacted should their nose and mouth become pressed against the side.

The Summer Infant Classic Comfort Wood (above left) and the Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings have fabric sides similar to a crib bumper and not very breathable making them options we don't care for. The UPPAbaby Bassinet (above right), however, is the worst with a padded inner liner and canvas covered exterior side walls that seriously impair a baby's ability to breath.

The Arm's Reach has the best sleeping surface in the group.
The Arm's Reach has the best sleeping surface in the group.

Sleep Surface


Testing the sleeping surface includes the functionality of the mattress and how it fits in the frame. We considered how much the mattresses compressed, whether or not it fits in the frame, its overall stability, and if there is any potential of a baby suffering injury or death related to the mattress or sleeping area design.


The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper earned a 9 of 10 for sleep surface and the HALO Bassinest Essentia earned a. 8. Both have very nice sleeping surfaces with limited compression and movement. The babybay Bedside Sleeper earned a 7 for their Classic Comfort Mattress (they offer five different mattresses). The Lotus Bassinet and the Fisher-Price Soothing Motions earned only 4s for these tests with compression and fit problems respectively.

We were impressed with the quality of the materials used to construct the HALO and the apparent attention to detail in the manufacturing process.
We were impressed with the quality of the materials used to construct the HALO and the apparent attention to detail in the manufacturing process.

Quality


Not all products are created equal. With a variety of material options and varying degrees of attention to detail, some of the products were more impressive than others and had clear advantages in quality over others.


The highest quality options are the babybay Bedside Sleeper and the HALO Bassinest Essentia with scores of 10 and 9 out of 10 respectively. Both are sturdy and constructed with high attention to detail.

The Arm's Reach side wall can be moved up for a freestanding bassinet or lowered for a co-sleeper with easy access to your baby. The walls are a combination of mesh and fabric for increased breathability.
The Cradle has a sleek and unencumbered design that would look great with any decor.

We didn't see any problems in the design or execution of these products and both stand out in the crowd of options we tested. Many other products also scored well with 8s including the Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper (above left), BabyBjorn Cradle (above right), and the 4moms Bassinet.

While some parents might like the style of the Delta  it uses lower end materials that result in a flimsy rickety product that does not feel sturdy.
While some parents might like the style of the Delta, it uses lower end materials that result in a flimsy rickety product that does not feel sturdy.

The Delta Children Deluxe Sweet is anything but Deluxe, and it earned only 2 points for quality with a design that reminds us of a child's toy for a doll not a sturdy sleeping bed for a real baby. This product is flimsy with tiny wheels, and it has significant movement when you push on the top rails.

Given the amount of time your baby will be breathing deeply in their bed  the kinds of materials surrounding them are very important. The BabyBjorn Cradle uses primarily healthy materials.
Given the amount of time your baby will be breathing deeply in their bed, the kinds of materials surrounding them are very important. The BabyBjorn Cradle uses primarily healthy materials.

Eco-health


This metric encompasses what materials the products use. For some brands, this is easy to determine as some manufacturers offer a very transparent look at what their products consist of and what, if any, chemicals it contains or doesn't contain. Unfortunately, not all of the manufacturers feel this is information is important and finding details for all of the products proved difficult.

As a result, we had to make certain assumptions to compare products to one another. Primarily, we assume that if they are using materials that are organic, chemical free, certified safe, etc. that they will be bragging about it in detail as often as they can. And why not? It's a selling point, one more and more parents are starting to consider before they spend their hard-earned money. So, if they do not mention this on their website or product advertisements, we assume the materials they use could potentially contain harmful chemicals.


babybay Bedside Sleeper earned a 10 of 10 for eco-health. This product uses eco-friendly materials like natural unfinished wood, wool, and latex, as well as organic cotton and coconut fibers (depending on your choice of mattress). We like that this sleeper doesn't include toxic glues, cheap fillers, plastics, or other harmful chemicals. We also appreciate the company's transparency about construction and materials. The materials have Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1 certification. The BabyBjorn Cradle, HALO Bassinest Essentia, and the Lotus Bassinet all earned 8s for similar reasons. The Lotus Bassinet has earned GreenGuard Gold standard and the HALO Bassinest Essentia is void of toxic flame retardants, lead, phthalates, or BPA. The BabyBjorn Cradle materials are free from health hazardous substances and Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, Class I certified for baby products.

The Summer Infant has a mesh bottom  but the fabric side walls remind us of crib bumpers which are discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a potential SIDs risk.
The Summer Infant has a mesh bottom, but the fabric side walls remind us of crib bumpers which are discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a potential SIDs risk.

The Summer Infant Classic Comfort Wood earned a 1 for eco-health as the company doesn't offer any information concerning product materials. 4moms Bassinet also earns a low score as their response to our email failed to answer our specific questions, offering only a vague and non-specific statement that they comply with regulations (regulations that only say they don't need to use chemicals, not that they can't use them).

Many of the most popular bassinet options were chosen as part of this extensive hands-on review.
Many of the most popular bassinet options were chosen as part of this extensive hands-on review.

Conclusion


There are so many bedside sleepers on the market today including co-sleepers, freestanding options, and travel crib conversations. Which design you choose should be based on your sleeping goals and parenting style. We tested a few choices in each style to help you determine which option is the rightone for you and your baby. If you still aren't sure which style is best for you, or you are questioning if this type of gear is even something you need, you should read our Buying Advice article for more information and advice.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team