The Quest for the Best Bassinet

A bassinet provides a safe  compact and often portable spot for your little one to rest.
Which bassinet is the best? In this review, we took 8 of the top rated and most popular products on the market to discern how they compared side-by-side. Since the many details found in modern baby gear can be mind-boggling for an expectant parent, we put each bassinet through a series of hands-on tests and rated them on the following metrics: health and safety, ease of use, portability, quality and ease of set-up. Read on to see how they compared.

Read the full review below >

Test Results and Ratings

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Analysis and Award Winners


Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, & BabyGearLab Team

Last Updated:
Sunday
January 25, 2015

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Best Overall Bassinet


BabyBjörn Cradle


The BabyBjörn Cradle has a sleek design that doesn't sacrifice safety. Editors' Choice Award

$279.96
(20% off)
at Amazon
See It

Though we rated several phenomenal products, the BabyBjörn Cradle was the clear winner; it is the one we would recommend to a friend who is looking for an all-around great product. It is simple yet elegant, lightweight yet sturdy and appropriately sized for a newborn. We found it to be hands down, the absolute safest option for your most precious addition, and we don't make that claim lightly. For example, although the Cariboo is beautiful and also constructed of high-quality materials, we found that its base was not as sturdy as the Björn, and thus we didn't rate it as highly under the safety metric. The BabyBjörn Cradle holds the absolute highest certification available, the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1, assuring your infant is not breathing harmful chemicals while he sleeps. Although the mattress rests on an MDF board (manufactured wood), this cradle is compliant with CARB Phase 2 standards, which means it emits the least amount of formaldehyde. Even though many of the units we rated made attempts to limit chemical exposure to your little one, none took strides as great as BabyBjörn, which we felt says a lot about their integrity.

Read Full Review: BabyBjörn Cradle

Best Bang for the Buck


Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper


The Arm's Reach is not only a great co-sleeper  it is also a superb freestanding bassinet for parents who do not wish to co-sleep with their infant. Despite the lower quality of materials  we did find it to be one sturdy piece of equipment. Best Value Award

$139.99
(7% off)
at Amazon
See It

So long as you feel alright with the national safety standards that are already in place, the Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper is another great option. Though Arm's Reach did not outshine BabyBjörn in regards to chemical safety, they certainly designed it with structural safety and versatility in mind. The Arm's Reach does also follow the CARB Phase 2 standard which assures it emits a lower amount of formaldehyde. Truly a versatile option, which converts from a free-standing unit to a structurally sound co-sleeper that attaches flush against your bed, this product can make those feedings in the wee hours of the night a little easier. It also breaks down, and though in a slightly complicated fashion, conveniently stores in a bag with a handle for easy portability. If you aren't able to splurge on the more expensive BabyBjörn Cradle which is more eco-friendly, we are confident you will be pleased with the Arm's Reach Mini Arc.

Read Full Review: Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper

Top Pick for Post C-Section


HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper


Top Pick Award

$249.99
at Amazon
See It

If you plan to or have had a C-section, you may want to seriously consider the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper as an option for your needs. Although it was the least portable of the units we reviewed, as it is extremely heavy and not designed to be moved from room to room, we couldn't deny that it was perfectly designed with the healing mama in mind; every last detail oriented towards allowing you to cherish your baby's earliest days, right from the comfort of your own bed. We loved the side rail that bends down so that you can easily pull your baby into your bed with you to nurse. It also includes a comfort module that plays music to soothe your little one, which we found to be surprisingly pleasant for adults as well! The height of the HALO easily adjusts, allowing for you to have your baby at whatever height works for you, and the cradle portion swivels 360 degrees, which makes it easier to get to baby and well as get in and out of bed.
With it's easy-access side  it is the perfect bedside companion for a mother who needs extra rest  such as while recovering from a C-Section.
With it's easy-access side, it is the perfect bedside companion for a mother who needs extra rest, such as while recovering from a C-Section.

Read Full Review: HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
74
$350
Editors' Choice Award
Lightweight, easy-to-use, shines in quality fabrics and safe sleep environment
72
$150
Best Value Award
Great value, versatile, portable, safe, sturdy, convenient
61
$250
Top Pick Award
Recommended by bedside for moms after C-Section, however, not easily moved
59
$50
Portable, inexpensive, not ideal for general use within home
58
$100
Affordable, portable, no extra frills
55
$299
Classic design, well-crafted but lacks mesh siding and a few other bells and whistles
54
$83
Inexpensive with included bells and whistles but quality lacking
29
$129
Despite eye-catching design, low quality materials, do not recommend

Analysis and Test Results


If you have found yourself here on the hunt for this type of product, you've most likely done some research on the best place for your new baby to sleep. It is no doubt that babies sleep a lot, and today's parents have many options when it comes to sleeping accommodations. You've probably had your eye on a few full-size cribs and maybe even a travel crib or two, but there is still one more option when it comes to types of baby beds: the bassinet. As a new parent, your primary question when considering a category such as this might be why?. Not as clear cut as the decision to buy diapers or a stroller, these fall into that somewhat grey area when it comes to necessary baby gear. Originally, they were designed with the concept of the stay-at-home mother in mind, a convenient place to keep your tiny babe close by in their earliest days. In modern times however, mothers' and fathers' roles in the family are more varied than they have ever been, and the industry has been forced to rise to the challenge of designing products to match the ever-evolving modern parent and their various lifestyles. Because of the myriad of ways we live, most are are designed to fulfill very specific needs, from co-sleeping to portability, to a simple, yet elegant space to rest your little one. In the end, we found that it was indeed nice to have our new baby close at hand in a compact yet safe and secure environment. Read ahead to see what else we have to say about the products we tested and how we think they just might fit into your life.

We took eight of the leading bassinets on the market and tested them side-by-side to see which ones were best.
We took eight of the leading bassinets on the market and tested them side-by-side to see which ones were best.

For even more on choosing the right product for your family, visit our companion article, How to Choose the Perfect Bassinet.

Types of Bassinets


Visit your nearest baby super-store or search on Amazon and you'll quickly realize that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this concept. In selecting a variety of popular competitors, we found that each of the eight we tested were clearly designed with various functions in mind. We've broken down some of these details to help you discern which might be more suited to your lifestyle. While some of them fall under just one of these categories, others fall under two or more.

Portable and/or Travel


Several, like the Brica Fold 'n Go Travel were designed with portability in mind, specifically travel outside the home. They break down, usually quite compactly, making them convenient to throw into the backseat of your car on your way out the door. Others, while they may easily fold up, we wouldn't consider "travel" bassinets, but more for simply moving about the house as needed. These beds may need to be transported with greater care, so as not to damage the nicer materials. Regardless, we found the folding feature to be convenient both for portability and storage reasons.

Co-Sleepers


Two were also co-sleepers, meaning they have passed extra tests assuring their safety when used bedside to mom and dad. This extra detail is an added convenience for some parents who wish to stay in bed when nursing in the middle of the night, and also for mothers who are recovering from labor or a C-Section. We know co-sleeping isn't for everybody, however, and our Best Value award went to the versatile Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper which happens to convert from a co-sleeper to a free-standing unit, making it ideal for parents who aren't sure yet if they intend to co-sleep with their new bundle of joy.

Compact-Elegance


Though not necessarily portable, a few we rated stood out for their sheer elegance or classic design. They would be ideal for a parent who wants something to match their decor, but who isn't as concerned with a piece of gear they can tote around to accommodate a busy lifestyle outside of the home. Some of these are modeled after a full-size modern crib, and others take on different concepts all together, like the eye-catching Cariboo Folding Bassinet which is made of Radiata Pine from New Zealand and Organic Drill Cotton.

Criteria for Evaluation


We completed our in-depth, hands-on testing to assess how each performed individually during day-to-day use, and then scrutinized how well they functioned compared to each other based on the following criteria.


Health and Safety


Look for the Oeko-Tex Standard Label which shows a product is free of harmful chemicals and flame retardants.
Look for the Oeko-Tex Standard Label which shows a product is free of harmful chemicals and flame retardants.
Undoubtedly, health and safety is one of the most important details a new parent will consider when shopping for any product for their baby. That's why BabyGearLab weighted this category heavily in our review, assuring we inspected every detail, from materials used (are the sides made entirely of mesh?), potential chemical exposure, mattress safety, national safety standards, and our own personal impressions of the stability of each. Our Editors' Choice Award ended up going to the BabyBjörn Cradle, since, as is typical of the folks at BabyBjörn, they exceeded national standards for safety and clearly paid extra close attention to assuring your new bundle sleeps in a safe environment.


Ease-of-Use


Once folded  the Cariboo is easy to store in narrow spaces.
Once folded, the Cariboo is easy to store in narrow spaces.
This category covers a broad range of features including your baby's comfort, extra details such as vibrations, sound and wheels, ease of cleaning, footprint (size and weight), and everyday usability. Again, the BabyBjörn Cradle performed best overall in this category, as it covers a wide range of these details. None of the units we tested fulfilled all of these criteria, and hence, we spent a lot of time discerning which details were most important, how each performed its individual intended uses, and how well each performed as a basic, freestanding bed. For example, we found the HALO Swivel Sleeper was the best choice for a mother who just had a C-section, as it is engineered specifically to cater to a parent who needs from-the-bed access to their baby.


Portability


When packed up for storage or travel  it is no bigger then a step on a flight of stairs.
When packed up for storage or travel, it is no bigger then a step on a flight of stairs.
Although not all are designed to be portable, with our world's ever-increasing inclination to be on-the-go, portability is certainly a beneficial function that parents should consider when shopping for the ideal product to suit their lifestyle. Items like the Brica Fold n' Go Travel and the Chicco LullaGo are designed specifically with travel in mind, and the Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock 'n Play Portable folds nicely as well and is made of sturdy materials that can likely withstand a little wear and tear. If you intend to use it outside of the home, the ability to fold up compactly and easily without any loose parts will be an important consideration. The BabyBjörn Cradle, though technically not "portable", compacts beautifully with the simple removal of two screws.


Quality


We assessed various details of the eight contenders to determine their level of quality. The BabyBjörn Cradle out-shined the others, and, as with safety, the company clearly paid close attention to the quality of their product. It is constructed soundly and in our opinion, should last for years to come. It is creatively engineered so as to be perfectly sturdy should your little one suddenly move around a lot, and its materials are truly top-notch through and through, achieving the highest quality and safety standards possible. While comparing these products, the BabyBjörn provided a great standard to work from, as it demonstrated what is achievable in quality with its supreme merit.


Ease of Set-Up


Assembly is not an intuitive process.  There are a lot of pieces and steps that require a bit of thought.  However  once you do this a few times it becomes easier.  We recommend holding onto instructions for referral.
Assembly is not an intuitive process. There are a lot of pieces and steps that require a bit of thought. However, once you do this a few times it becomes easier. We recommend holding onto instructions for referral.
Lastly, we examined how easy each product to set up out of the box. We even took into consideration whether or not a pregnant woman could set these up on her own should she need/want to. Details such as weight, number of parts, set-up instructions, and time to set up were taken into account. Although an attractive final product, the Babyletto Bowery baffled us and our reviewers during set-up, as it included various parts, vigilant study of the instructions, and likely two people to properly assemble on first attempt.


Conclusion


The basic concept of a bassinet is fairly simple, but from that starting point, there are a million different way you can go with it. Each different design can be more practical for specific situations, so it is important to find the style that suits you best. We tested and found the most useful features in each model to help you find the one. If you're still unsure of which style is best for you, or if you even need a bassinet in the first place, we invite you to read our Buying Advice article for more info.
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, & BabyGearLab Team

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