Considering a bassinet for baby to sleep in during the early months? With various choices increasing all the time, it is difficult to determine which option or style is the right one for your family and baby. We can help you! We researched over 16 possible contenders and purchased 13 products for in-depth testing. After months of testing, we have lots of details on our personal hands-on experiences to share. We compared and tested the competition side-by-side in metrics like the ease of use, breathability, sleep surface, quality, and eco-health and ranked them according to their performance during testing. Continue reading to see how each of the top products performs and which won awards.
The Quest for the Best Bassinet
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|Pros||Natural materials, adjustable height, easy to reach baby||Very breathable, machine washable||Mesh breathability, budget-friendly, bedside capable||Breathable mesh, travel crib, machine washable||Mesh breathability, swivel versatility, easy access to baby bedside|
|Cons||Expensive, hard to move||Expensive, easy to compress mattress||Hard to move, unstable mattress, poor eco-health||Not a co-sleeper, harder to move room to room||Spot clean only, hard to move from room to room|
|Bottom Line||Easy access to baby in a quality wood co-sleeper that looks great||Nice bedside cradle with machine washable mesh and mattress||Hard to use option that is hard to move from room to room||Versatile free-standing bassinet you can use for travel||Great for c-section moms and parents who'd like a safer alternative to co-sleeping|
|Ratings Categories||Bedside Sleeper||BabyBjorn Cradle||Soothing Motions||Lotus Bassinet||Bassinest Essentia|
|Ease Of Use (35%)|
|Sleep Surface (20%)|
|Eco Health (5%)|
|Specs||Bedside Sleeper||BabyBjorn Cradle||Soothing Motions||Lotus Bassinet||Bassinest Essentia|
|Assembled Weight||28.6 lbs||12.1 lbs||22.3 lbs||13.8 lbs||33 lbs|
|Open Dimensions||37.1"H x 36"L x 20.7"W||26"H x 31.5"L x 18"W||28.3'H x 36.2"L x 22.4"W||25.5"H x 47.9"L x 32.1"W||36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" (bassinet) x 21.8"W (bassinet)|
|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||6 Months or 18 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees||20 lbs Discontinue Use When Infant: Pushes Up On Hands And Knees||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|
This review has been updated to include information on the popular DockATot in-bed co-sleeper. While BabyGearLab does not recommend the use of this kind of product (or true co-sleeping in general), we think it is important to explain why and remind parents of the safe sleep practices outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commision.
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. With excellent looks, it will coordinate with any nursery decor or design.
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 standout option that any family will love.
Read review: babybay Bedside Sleeper
Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper
The Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper creates a safer (than sleeping in the same bed) 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.
The Arm's Reach is a basic option and lacks some of the stylish design found in the competition. However, its in-home transportability, sturdy design, and usefulness make it a versatile choice despite its boring presentation.
Read review: Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper
Great for C-Section
HALO Bassinest Essentia
The HALO Bassinest Essentia is a cool adjustable swiveling product with mesh sides, 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 area away from you so you can easily get out of bed. The front bar dips for easy 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 of high-quality parts.
The HALO may not be the best choice for families who want a moveable option as it 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.
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 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 Graco 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 or homes with smaller spaces, the size makes it good as a travel crib for older babies and parents looking for a playpen. 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.
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 made with high-quality materials. BabyBjorn provides more information on their materials with some of the most eco-healthy options we found in this review and we like the transparency of knowing what is surrounding baby while they sleep. 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.
This product is more expensive than some of the competition making it a poor choice for families on a tight budget. It is also heavy and difficult to move with no wheels, which limits its versatility and makes it a set and forget choice. However, we think parents looking for a stylish, free-standing option will like the look and mesh surround design of the Cradle. Depending on your needs, it can be a stylish useful choice.
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 choice is very breathable with full mesh sides and the materials are chemical free so you can rest easy while your 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, something that can be used as a travel crib, or eco-health materials.
Read review: Lotus Bassinet
UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand
The UPPAbaby Bassinet and Stand is designed for stroller attachment and includes solid sides that block the wind and other weather hazards from reaching baby while strolling. Unfortunately, this means the sidewalls aren't breathable like the 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, 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
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 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend 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.
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 in 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, FDA, and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). We suspect few if any parents understand this before using the DockATot.
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:
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.
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 three 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.
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 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 and the Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go.
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, and the Lotus 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 (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 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 all earned 8s for similar reasons. The Lotus 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 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