The Quest for the Best Bassinet
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.
Read the full review below >
Analysis and Award Winners
Best Overall Co-Sleeper
babybay Bedside Sleeper
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 on this option create a breathable environment and the design makes the whole thing sturdy and durable. While this option is expensive compared to the competition and, therefore, will not be a good choice for families on a budget, we think it is a stand out product that any family will love.
Hard to move from room to room
Read review: babybay Bedside Sleeper
Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper
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 option 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. 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.
Easy room to room moving
Hard to set up and take down
Fabric corners impact breathability
Read review: Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper
Great for C-Section
HALO Bassinest Essentia
The HALO Bassinest Essentia This cool adjustable swiveling product has mesh side, a dipping front bar, and a natural swaying action to help soothe baby. We like the sturdy base and the ability to move the sleeping are 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 bed, unlike any other option we tested. This product has a reasonable price and is made with high-quality parts. It may not be the best choice for families who want a moveable option as the HALO is not designed for moving from room to room. 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.
Heavy and harder to move
Harder to clean mesh
Read review: HALO Bassinest Essentia
Best Bang for the Buck
Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet
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 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 we think most families will appreciate what the Pack 'n Play has to offer no matter what their budget.
Works from newborn to toddler
Also a travel crib
Harder to use
Fabric ends limit breathability
Read review: Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Bassinet
Impressive Free Stander
The BabyBjorn Cradle is a free-standing wood sleeper with mesh side walls. This design is very breathable and is made with higher quality materials. BabyBjorn provides more information on their materials with some of the most eco-healthy options we found in this review. The Cradle is lightweight and can be moved, but it isn't meant for moving 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. This product has machine washable components which are not common in this kind of baby gear. We think parents looking for a stylish, free-standing option will like the look and mesh surround design of the Cradle.
Breathable mesh sides
Harder to move
Read review: BabyBjorn Cradle
Top Pick for Versatility
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 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.
Mattress shifting and moving mesh
Read review: Lotus Bassinet
UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Bassinet and the Chicco Lullago.
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 Bassinet and the Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go Bassinet.
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.
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 Summer Infant Comfort Classic Wood and the Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings have 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. The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper has machine washable lining and mattress sheet, and the fabric on the Baby Bjorn Cradle, UPPAbaby Bassinet, and the Lotus Bassinet are also machine washable.
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 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 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.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
This metric encompasses what the products are made of. For some brands, this is easy as some manufacturers offer a very transparent look at what their products are made of and what if any chemicals it contains or what it doesn't contain. Unfortunately, not all of the manufacturers feel this important and finding information for all of the product proved difficult.
Given this, we made certain assumptions while 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, one 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 they materials they use could potentially contain chemicals harmful to a baby.
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. 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 Classic Comfort Wood earned a 1 for eco-health as they offer no information concerning what the product contains. 4moms Bassinet also earned a low score as their response to our email failed to answer out specific questions, offering instead 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).
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.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for more info.
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