Update — January 2019
This review has been updated to include our take on the SNOO Smart Sleeper. We are very pleased with the performance of the SNOO but despite its potential for soothing a fussy baby, and high overall rank, we worry too much about the EMF exposure to give it an award. In addition, we have removed the Summer Infant Classic Comfort Wood from the line up as it has been discontinued.
Finally, we have reassessed our eco-health scores to better reflect the materials and potential use of flame retardants in each product. We believe this reassessment and new scoring calculations are a better reflection of the gear category and easier for you to determine why each option scored the way they did.
Best Overall Co-Sleeper
babybay Bedside Sleeper
28.6 lbs | Dimensions:
37.1"H x 36"L x 20.7"W
Hard to move from room to room
The babybay Bedside Sleeper is a top of the line, thoughtfully designed bedside co-sleeper with a minimalistic yet beautiful vibe. This product attaches to directly your bed with height adjustability for a perfect fit with a sleeping area for the baby that is easy to access while mom is in bed. The babybay Classic Comfort Mattress Pad with Cotton Cover that is sold with the Bundle fits the Sleeper's frame well, but there are many mattress options from which to choose to customize your decision-making. The sides are absent of fabric as in most bassinets with wood slats creating a breathable environment for baby with a very similar feel to a crib. Overall, the babybay is a sturdy, durable sleeping environment for a newborn that will fit in with any nursery decor or design.
While this option isn't budget-friendly perse, we think that it is a standout heirloom-style option that is guaranteed to be well-loved and can be used in the long haul for welcoming new members of the family.
Read review: babybay Bedside Sleeper
Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper
22.1 lbs | Dimensions:
34.8"H x 34.5"L x 20.3"W
Easy room to room moving
Hard to set up and take down
Fabric corners impact breathability
The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper creates a safe co-sleeping environment that puts your baby within "arm's reach" on their own sleep surface while you stay cozy in your own bed. This walls of the Clear-Vue have are mostly breathable mesh-based with a few soft-side panels on the sides and corners. In our testing, we felt that the Clear-Vue has the best sleeping surface in this review. We like that the lining on this product is machine-washable and that wheels on each leg allow for easy transport from room to room. 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 be very satisfied with this option.
Compared to its competitors, the Arm's Reach is basic, lacking in stylish design. However, its in-home transportability, sturdy build, and usefulness more than compensate for it and, thus, shines in this round-up as a versatile, economical choice.
Read review: Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper
Great Post-Cesarean Section
HALO Bassinest Essentia
33 lbs | Dimensions:
36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" x 21.8"W (bassinet)
Ultra adjustability provides easy access to baby
Breathable mesh sides
Harder to clean mesh
The HALO Bassinest Essentia has a sweet spot for mom's post-cesarean section due to its unique swiveling feature which easily adjusts its position from directly over the bed to away from it as well as a dipping bar making it easier for mom to both access baby and get out of bed. Its breathable mesh sides and natural swaying are a nod to comfort and soothing for baby. It is well-constructed with high-quality parts and a sturdy base at a reasonable price point.
The HALO is heavy and definitely not designed to be moved from room-to-room, so if you are looking for portability, this is not a good option. Also, the base is quite large and can stick out depending upon its position, so use caution to avoid tripping over its legs. Despite its heft and footprint, we feel this is a great option for those needing the baby safely within reach of mom while she is in bed for nursing and soothing, particularly after recovering from cesarean.
Read review: HALO Bassinest Essentia
Best Bang for the Buck
Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet
22.8 lbs | Dimensions:
28.8"H x 41.1"L x 28.6"W
Versatility for use from newborn to toddler
Also a travel crib
Poor ease of use
Fabric ends limit breathability
May need off-gassing prior to use
The Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go is a versatile powerhouse for sleep and play. This budget-friendly travel crib comes standard with the Pack 'n Play 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 the Graco is heavy, large, and harder to use, its price point and versatility for use as both a bassinet, playpen, and travel crib are hard to beat. And while it does not fit the criteria for a bedside co-sleeper, it can be positioned near the bedside for infant monitoring. And, with wheels on one side, it easily moves shorter distances. One thing we will note is that Graco brand Pack 'n Plays tend to have a strong odor to them out of the box, so if you notice this, we strongly recommend off-gassing the product in a garage or such prior to use with baby.
Read review: Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet
Stylish Free Standing Cradle
12.1 lbs | Dimensions:
26"H x 31.5"L x 18"W
Breathable mesh sides
Lacks wheels for moving
The BabyBjorn Cradle is a free-standing wooden framed sleeper with very high-quality materials, including full mesh side walls giving it 360-degree breathability. The Cradle is lightweight and can be moved quite easily by lifting and carrying the whole thing en masse, though not as easy as more portable, wheeled options. Nonetheless, it fits the bill for parents who want to keep baby nearby in every room. Machine-washable components also give this bassinet a nice upper hand.
For those on a tight budget, the Bjorn Cradle may not be an option, particularly considering it has such a short lifespan of use. However, we think parents looking for a stylish, free-standing cradle with a little bounce to it will like the look and gain great peace of mind with the full surround, breathable mesh. There is also an accessory BabyBjorn Canopy for Cradle if you want to dress it up a bit more and create a little shading and coziness for baby.
Read review: BabyBjorn Cradle
Top Pick for Versatility
13.8 lbs | Dimensions:
25.5"H x 47.9"L x 32.1"W
Converts to travel crib
Mattress and mesh can shift and move
Must use with travel crib frame
The Lotus Bassinet is available either as an accessory purchase in Guava's Crib-to-Bassinet Conversion Kit or as a bundle purchase with Guava's Lotus Everywhere travel crib. Either way, the bassinet only functions if you have the Lotus Travel Crib frame, thus a total of $300 List. We really like the full mesh siding for maximum breathability as well as low VOC and no use of flame retardants in this product. The bassinet has a rocking cradle feature which clicks into the bottoms of the travel crib's legs. It is light enough to move easily around the house and folds down into a small bundle for travel. All in all, it's a great versatile package that can take a baby from newborn to toddlerhood and double as a travel crib.
As mentioned, you must have the travel crib to use the bassinet feature. You can not buy the bassinet separately, so while it is nice to be set with the bundle, if you have your eye on a different travel crib, you'll really need to want that second one. Nonetheless, this is a high-quality item with thoughtful attention to details that matter.
Read review: Lotus Bassinet
UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand
18.4 lbs | Dimensions:
33.3"H x 30.8"L x 18.5"W
The UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand are designed as a stand-alone bassinet for stroller attachment which can morph into an at-home sleep solution in early infancy by removing the bassinet from the stroller frame and placing it upon the UPPAbaby Stand. While this feels like a no-brainer, our reservation with the bassinet is that because it is designed for strolling out in the elements, it understandably includes fabric sides that block the wind and other weather hazards from reaching baby while strolling. The unfortunate outcome of this for baby's sleep is that the sidewalls aren't as breathable as other bassinet competition because it isn't designed with in-home, regular, overnight use in mind.
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 during continued supervision, 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 sleep product.
Read review: UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand
Co-sleeping in Parent's Bed
BabyGearLab does not recommend the use of ANY in bed co-sleeping device designed for use in the parent's bed.
Studies show co-sleeping, in general, is unsafe and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends that babies be placed to sleep on their back, in their own sleep space, on a firm tight-fitting mattress with only a fitted sheet and no other bedding or items included in the sleeping area. These items include, but are not limited to, pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, sleep positioners, stuffed animals, and toys etc. In our opinion, and the opinion of sleep experts, the DockATot and other sleep devices designed for use in a parent's bed for co-sleeping, carry similar dangers as the items listed above and should not be used.
Notice the above "How it Works" depiction from the DockATot website does not explicitly discuss sleeping. However, multiple pages on the site explain safe sleeping and co-sleeping using the DockATot, indicating it is a product designed for in-bed co-sleeping with an adult.
We Don't Recommend the DockATot Co-sleeper
One popular example of an "in-bed" style of co-sleeper is the DockATot, which is designed for use within the parent's bed or around the house as a "monitored" sleep device for your baby. The actual intended use of this product is somewhat vague depending on which part of the company website you read and how much effort you put into determining the product's intended use. DockATot appears to be a device for sleeping with your little one in the same bed, as outlined in the company's co-sleeping article. This arrangement is potentially as dangerous as sleeping with your baby without the DockATot, something not recommended by the AAP as it increases the risk of SIDS and other potential injuries or complications. In fact, the DockaTot website states, "The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that the safest place for a baby to sleep during the first year of life is in a crib, bassinet or play yard in the parents' bedroom." From rolling over onto your baby or bedding/pillows falling over baby's face, there are multiple dangers involved with having a baby sleep in your bed.
DockaTot recently updated their website and removed some of the vague and conflicting statements that used to appear there. While this makes it clearer what the product is intended for, it is now even more concerning because it is clearly being marketed as a safer alternative to sleeping with baby in your bed with no additional device. Using this product in your bed, with or without bedding and pillows, will conflict with the safety standards outlined by the AAP, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the FDA. We suspect the majority considering the DockATot are not aware of this strict recommendation.
The CPSC and the AAP, where DockATot used to point parents to learn more about safe sleep practices, have recommendations that directly conflict with using the DockATot as described on the DockaTot website as a co-sleeper. You can read more about these conflicts on the CPSC website. You can read more about safe sleep practices and warnings about using sleep positioners on the FDA website. If you want to learn more about why you shouldn't sleep with your little one you can research the hazards on the CPSC website or review the updated sleep practices from the AAP.
In our opinion, in-bed co-sleepers, and the DockATot specifically are NOT safe sleeping options for babies if the adults are asleep or could potentially fall asleep while supervising. For additional information and a good breakdown of the problems with the DockATot check out the CanDoKiddo article on Is the DockATot Safe?.
Here is a good video about sleep safety including tips for use:
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Displaying 13 Products
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 options 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 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.
Can you get by without this kind of gear? Sure. However, in the end, we believe it is very convenient 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.
Read on to see what else we learned about the products we tested and which options we think would make a helpful addition to your life.
We completed our in-depth, hands-on testing to assess how each product performed during day-to-day use and compared to the other options in our lab in side-by-side testing a variety of metrics designed to determine which products are the best and why.
While the price of a quality product can be high, and in some cases greater than an ordinary crib, we do think this kind of gear serves a purpose and can feel invaluable if it increases sleep for you or your baby. With two of the top scoring products sporting price tags at or below $200, we think there is something for most budgets in this gear lineup. Specifically, the Editors' Choice winner, the Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper, provides a versatile sleeper that can be used as a standalone bed or a sidecar co-sleeper option. We think this product is easy to use, has a firm sleep surface, and is good quality with a price under $150. This option should last through multiple children and can often be sold to recoup some of the cost, making it an even better value.
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
This metric considers the features and functionality of each product that impact daily use. Many of the options earned similar scores but had different strong suits making it important to parse out what exactly we considered when testing for ease of use.
Accessibility test how easy it is to get baby into and out of the sleeping area both in and out of your bed. Some options are designed for use while you remain in bed, while others are freestanding and require either sitting up or getting up altogether.
It is easy to reach in for little ones when using the HALO bedside.
The HALO Bassinest Essentia earned the best results for this test 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 options to get baby into and out of are the freestanding Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go and the Chicco Lullago.
The Arm's Reach has locking wheels that prevent movement when you don't want it to move.
This metric considers both moving your product from room to room so you can keep baby nearby no matter where you are and being able to take it when you travel. Because these products are not necessarily designed for travel only a few options were good for travel and most of these were crossover products that are travel cribs by design like the Lotus and the Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go.
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 Snoo Smart Sleeper.
The floor of the babybay sleep area can be moved up or down for better accessibility to the baby from the parent's bed.
Some of the products we tested came with additional features that either make using them easier or add conveniences or versatility. None of the product lost favor for not offering additional functionality, but some had features that made using them easier and thereby increased their ease of use score overall. Some of these features would be height adjustability, wheels, travel crib capabilities, moving sides, and soothing vibrations, lullabies or sounds. The top-performing products often had moving sides and height adjustability but they didn'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 Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings has a soothing center with vibration and sounds.
Very few products we tested were machine washable, and only a few were 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. Both the Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper and the Snoo Smart Sleeper have machine washable linings and mattress sheets, and the fabric on the Baby Bjorn Cradle, UPPAbaby, and the Lotus 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.
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 you don't use to avoid a potential SIDS risk).
The babybay Bedside Sleeper and the Snoo Smart Sleeper were the high scorers of the group, both earning a score of 10 of 10. The babybay can thank the wood slat design that mimics that of a traditional crib and offers great breathability due to the open spaces and lack of fabric that could cover a baby's nose and mouth. The attached swaddle sack on the Snoo keeps baby in the center of the mattress and on their back, eliminating any risk of baby's face getting pressed up against the fabric. The BabyBjorn Cradle, HALO Bassinest Essentia, and the Fisher-Price Soothing Motions have very breathable mesh and very little fabric.
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 Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings has fabric sides similar to a crib bumper and are not very breathable making them options we don't care for. The UPPAbaby (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.
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 and the Snoo Smart Sleeper both earned a 9 of 10 for sleep surface and the HALO Bassinest Essentia earned an 8. All three 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 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.
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, the Snoo Smart Sleeper, and the HALO Bassinest Essentia with the babybay earning a 10 and the others both earning a 9 out of 10. The trio are sturdy and constructed with high attention to detail.
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.
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 mostly healthier materials, but the use of MDF under the mattress gives us pause.
This metric encompasses the materials in each product, with a strong emphasis on those materials baby sleeps on. For some brands, determining the materials is easy as they offer a transparent look at their products and what, if any, chemicals it contains or doesn't contain. Unfortunately, not all of the manufacturers feel this information is important to provide to discerning parents. As a result, finding information for all of the products proved difficult and for many, we resorted to emailing the company to ensure the accuracy of information.
Despite contacting each company, we sometimes had to make certain assumptions when comparing 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 that more parents are starting to consider before spending their hard-earned money. So, if they don't mention this on their website or product advertisements, and they fail to specifically say "chemical free" or "free of flame retardants", we assume the materials they could potentially contain chemicals harmful to a baby.
None of the bassinets scored very well for eco-health, in large part because they all use some kind of polyurethane foam for their mattresses. Despite the claim that some are low VOC, hypoallergenic, GreenGuard Certified or Oeko-Tex® certified, they are all remarkably similar, and many of the descriptors are largely an attempt at what we feel is "green-washing," or an effort to make parents feel warm and fuzzy when the descriptors mean virtually nothing as many descriptors, like "hypoallergenic," have no industry agreed upon definition.
If any part of your new product has a "new" or offensive smell, we highly recommend allowing it to off-gas in a well-ventilated space for several days or until the smell subsides before you use it. While this doesn't mean it is done emitting VOCs, it does eliminate exposing your little one to some of the initial strong emissions.
babybay Bedside Sleeper earned the high score for eco-health with a 6 of 10. This score is in large part thanks to their Oeko-Tex® certification, use of organic cotton, beech wood, non-toxic materials, and the potential to purchase a completely natural mattress with no polyurethane (though we purchased the Classic mattress which is polyurethane foam). We like that this sleeper doesn't include toxic glues, cheap fillers, plastics, or other harmful chemicals, and the materials have Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1 certification. The Lotus Bassinet also earns a 6 for eco-health as it has been tested as low VOC and is free of PVC, Lead, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, and Heavy Metals (Cadmium, Arsenic, Mercury, etc.).
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.
Several options earned the lowest score of 3, including the Graco Pack n Play On The Go, Graco Dream Suite, Fisher-Price Soothing Motions, and Chicco Lullago. These manufacturers choose to offer little or no information concerning what the products contain, but all have a polyurethane mattress and potential use of chemical flame retardants.
EMF and the SNoo
Because the Snoo is unique and works with your Wi-Fi and smart device, it also emits EMF
. While the amount of EMF we recorded during testing is on the lower side, it is still more than the other bassinets (which have none) and is something we think parents should consider before purchasing the Snoo. If your little one doesn't sleep well and needs more soothing to stay asleep, it may be a level you find acceptable, but we prefer to limit or avoid exposing babies to EMF whenever possible and we wish the design of Snoo included an EMF-free setting. Keep in mind that even though the EMF is low, it is higher by the power button and your little one will be exposed to other EMF in your home which potentially can have an accumulative effect over time.
Many of the most popular bassinet options were chosen as part of this extensive hands-on review.
There are so many bedside sleepers on the market today including co-sleepers, freestanding options, and travel crib conversations. Which design you choose will be based on your sleeping goals and parenting style. We tested a few different options in each style to help you find the right one for you and your baby. If you're still unsure about which style is best for you, or if gear like this is even something you need, we invite you to read our Buying Advice article for additional help and information.