As a new parent, you’re probably searching for a baby swing that will calm your baby. But a baby swing is a significant investment in terms of both money and floor space, so effectiveness is the key when deciding on which product to purchase. Choosing the best baby swing can provide your little one with a comfy, safe place that simulates the motion and sounds of the womb to lull them from fussy to relaxed in minutes flat.
If you don’t have one, you are probably pacing the floor with your baby, rocking it in your arms to calm it or get it to sleep. A baby swing can take care of those issues while you take a break. Babies are accustomed to months in the womb, so your little one will like the gentle, rhythmic motion of a swing. Another good thing about swings is that they provide a safe place to put your baby when you need your hands free for something else. An infant swing can also be useful if your baby needs to take short naps in a semi-upright position because of a stuffy nose or other breathing issues.
Enough reasons to consider buying this baby product, right? When you do, you want for sure to have the baby swing for your little one, but there are an awful lot of baby swings on the market. So how to choose the best baby swing? Well, we’re here to provide you with some guidelines for picking the best swing on the market. We’ll also discuss some additional factors that will help you to choose the best baby swing for you personally.
3 types of baby swing to choose from
1. Full-size baby swing
If you’re buying a full-size baby swing you will want to set it up in a permanent location. Full-size baby swings are bulky and not that easy to move around or place into storage. The motor is usually placed at the very top of a full-size baby swing, which makes these swings quite tall. On the other hand, this allows the seat to go through a full range swinging motion (the distance the seat can swing back and forth), resulting in a longer and smoother swing.
The seat of a full-size baby swing is further off the ground than the seat of a portable baby swing. The difference in height means that it will take your baby longer to outgrow a full-size baby swing. Most full-size baby swings can be used from birth until around 8 months of age. There is also a wide base of support. Their larger frames make full-size baby swings quite sturdy and hard to knock over.
Regarding price, full-size baby swings are the most expensive type of baby swings. If you want to buy a quality full-size baby swing, expect to fork out over $100 for it. But if you have the space and money to spare and want a sturdy, long-lasting, highly functional swing, look no further.
- Most features available
- Harder to tip over due to wider base of support
- Larger swing arc
- Takes longer to outgrow
- Takes up more space
- Not easily transportable
- Can be expensive (depending on the features)
If a full-size baby swing seems too bulky or pricey for your needs, then why not try a portable baby swing?
2. Portable baby swing
Portable swings, also called travel swings, are smaller in comparison to the full-size type. Their smaller size makes these baby swings incredibly portable. They’re practical for taking on vacation, and if you have a smaller home you can store them away when not in use. Portable baby swings are also cheap baby swings. You can buy a portable baby swing for roughly half the price of a full-size one. Great for those of you on a budget!
But the small size of a portable baby swing can also cause certain problems. The motor is located on the side of the swing in order to keep the height down. The downside to this design is that the arc of the swing is a lot shorter than with a full-size baby swing. If you have a bigger-than-average baby, this certainly won’t be the best choice. Another disadvantage of portable baby swings is that they are generally just battery powered. While this makes sense (a power cord is not all that portable, now, is it?), it does add extra cost to the baby swing because you’ll need to keep buying batteries.
This type of baby swing is the best option for small spaces, or if you’re planning to travel with your baby swing.
- Takes up less space than full-size baby swings
- Fewer features
- Smaller swing arc
- Uses batteries
3. Baby glider
The baby glider is a special category. Technically it has all the same features of a baby swing; the only difference is the swinging motion. Baby gliders are a relatively new product. They’ve been designed to simulate the smooth gliding motion of a nursery glider chair. While the motion of a swing involves a slight jolt at the start and end points, a glide is incredibly smooth. If you have habituated your little one to fall asleep in your arms, then he will definitely love the familiar soothing motion when you rock him backwards and forwards in your baby glider.
Top rated baby swings in 2016
1. Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swing
Fisher Price Cradle ’n Swing is available in a bunch of different themes (we show some below), some really cute (like the Little Snugapuppy), and some fun and adventurous (like the Rainforest Friends). There are songs and nature sounds, a rotating and reclining seat, and it senses the baby’s weight to adjust motor torque and compensate for the weight of a growing baby and keep swinging speeds consistent. The seat is very plush and comfortable, and the fabric cover is easy to clean (it’s machine washable, by the way). This infant swing has an adequate weight limit of 25 pounds, and some of the themes are ridiculously cute. One more great option that the older versions didn’t have is the 5-point harness, which really helps keep your baby safe and secure – and prevents him from sitting up, leaning way forward, or otherwise freaking you out. The only little disadvantage is that motor makes a subtle clicking noise, and when not plugged in this swing burns through batteries pretty quickly. But all in all, this is an excellent option.
2. Graco Duetsoothe Swing Plus Rocker
Graco Duetsoothe Swing Plus Rocker is another great option, with some added versatility relative to the Cradle ‘n Swing: the swing seat can be removed and placed on the ground as a rocker. There is a clever handle on the top to help you carry the rocker around. It also has a soothing vibration feature with two speeds, which works whether it’s in swing or rocker mode. The seat can be rotated so the baby can swing side to side or front to back, and it can use five D batteries or plug into the wall. There is also music and a great 5-point harness, along with an extra-high 30-pound weight limit. If you value the versatility that the removable rocker provides, you will be very happy with this baby swing.
3. Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker isn’t technically a swing; it’s a “rocker”, which means that rather than swinging side-to-side or front-to-back, it rocks front-to-back using your or your baby’s own power. It has a little “kick stand” on the bottom. If you put this down the unit can’t rock, but when it’s up you can gently rock it back and forth. When your baby is having a little kicking and swatting party (swatting at the cute hanging animals), it will probably rock a bit by itself. There are small protrusions on the rocking legs so you don’t need to worry that it will rock too far forward or back. This infant swing also includes a button for soothing vibration, and a 3-point seat belt to keep baby secure. The weight range is from birth to up to 40 pounds, which is awesome because you can adjust the seat recline (there are two positions) to turn it into a comfy little chair for a growing toddler. It is also easy to detach the cover and throw it into the washing machine. This baby swing model is sturdy and stable, with enough space to fit baby and her favorite lovey or blankey. If you are looking for a true battery-operated swing, go with the others, but if you want a cheaper, smaller, and versatile rocker, this is a good bet!
4. 4Moms mamaRoo Classic
4Moms mamaRoo Classic is probably the coolest looking baby swing on our list, and maybe even the most capable, but it’s also the most expensive model. 4Moms was launched with the mamaRoo and simpler rockaRoo a few years ago to provide a swing/glider that mimics mom’s natural soothing motions. Just as you bounce up and down and sway side to side when you’re holding your baby, so does the mamaRoo. There are five different motions: car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock-a-bye, and wave. The animation shows the most basic “black” color option, but it is also available in Designer, Grey, Multicolor, and Silver. The seat comes with adjustable recline (and there is an infant insert available as well), and the seat cover is removable and machine washable. This infant swing can be plugged in so you don’t need to worry about wasting a bunch of expensive batteries. It has a much smaller footprint than regular swings, and you are much less likely to trip over the legs that stick out on the sides. There are also some unique features: you can hook up your phone or music device to it and play your own music, you can remotely control the swing through an app on your phone (e.g., if you’re cooking or cleaning, or God forbid taking a nap, you can control it without going over to it). We want to highlight that we couldn’t get it to work with the newer Android lollipop system, but we assume 4Moms will be updating that soon. One disadvantage is its weight limit, only 25 pounds, which is a little on the low side. Unlike some of the other options, it only has a 3-point rather than a 5-point harness. But this is an excellent, sleek, and good-looking swing/glider that your baby is likely to fall in love with. If the price were lower, it would definitely be in a higher position on our list.
5. Arm’s Reach Dreamer Cocoon Swing
Arm’s Reach Dreamer Cocoon Swing is a different, and much simpler, option for moms who want something without all the bells and whistles. There is no motorized swing, no music, sounds, or vibrations, no detachable rocker or bouncer, no over-padded luxury 5-point harness. This is simply a soothing, comfortable, cocoon-like swing that looks great and functions really well. This is definitely the best way to bring a newborn camping or to the beach, as its zip-up netting keeps out the bugs and keeps the baby secure. The gentle natural rocking motion responds to your baby’s input (like a rocker or bouncer seat). If the baby wiggles or bounces, the swing wiggles and bounces. If mom gives it a little nudge it will swing smoothly and then gradually come to a stop. There’s no replacing batteries, worrying about the cord, or finding the perfect settings. This is for parents who want to keep it natural. One more good thing is that assembly is very easy, and the entire swing is very lightweight and easy to move around for travel and cleaning underneath. But it’s not a fancy swing like our #1 and #2 options, so it does have some limitations. Besides not having all the fancy features (swinging, music, sounds, vibrations, recline, rotate, etc.), there are some additional disadvantages with this model. The first is that this infant swing is designed just for newborns up until they are able to roll over (about 5-6 months of age); once your baby can roll over, the manufacturer recommends to stop using it because there is no restraint/buckle system. Secondly, the mattress/seating surface isn’t quite as comfy as the others. If you’re looking for a simple, lightweight, adorable, and nature-inspired option for your baby swing needs, this could be the best one.
Most popular questions from other buyers in the US and UK
Can my baby sleep in a baby swing?
It’s OK if your baby takes short naps in a baby swing, but we wouldn’t recommend you swapping out your crib for one. Cribs keep your baby safe through the night. A baby swing was not designed with overnight sleeping in mind and could prove dangerous.
What is the weight limit of baby swings?
The average weight limit on baby swings is 20-30 pounds, but each model of baby swing will have its individual weight limit specified on the packaging or in the user’s manual.
How long can I leave my baby in a swing for?
Many experts recommend that you should limit your baby’s swinging to under an hour a day, but there are no hard and fast rules. However, you shouldn’t take that to mean that you can leave your baby in the swing all day long. Common sense goes a long way here.
Is a baby swing an essential item?
A baby swing isn’t an essential item, although of course it’s nice to have if your baby takes to it. Baby swings are considered a luxury item that should only be purchased if you can afford all the standard baby essentials and still have money you can spare. There are certainly cheaper ways available to soothe and entertain your baby (although they may not be as hands-off).
9 features to consider when buying a baby swing
The following features will keep your child comfortable and safe, so it is very important to consider them when buying a baby swing.
If you want a full-size swing, you should look for one with strong supports and a base that’s wide enough so that it won’t tip, even if your baby leans one way or another. It should also fold easily for storage.
Full-size swings must have a fixed restraint system. Some models feature an over-the-shoulder five-point harness. This is the best type of harness because it keeps a baby from climbing out of the seat and plunging to the ground, which can happen much quicker than you’d think. Travel swings have no tray with a middle post, just a safety harness. Some have a three-point harness, but a five-point one is better. A three-point harness can be either a waist and crotch belt (which must be used together so the baby can’t slip out) or a passive crotch restraint and a waist belt, such as a tray with a crotch post and a waist belt.
Portable and full-size swings have no top crossbar, which is typically called an “open-top design.” This design type is easier to use because there’s no top crossbar to interfere with getting baby in or out. You have access to your baby from the top instead of having to crouch down to wriggle your baby in.
We recommend plush padding that’s machine washable, and a head support for infants that can be removed when your baby outgrows it. By plush we mean padding that is covered with a nice soft material, not padding that is so soft a baby could sink into it. Overly squishy padding is a suffocation hazard.
Most babies love swings, but some don’t seem to like the motion of any kind of swing, no matter which type you buy. (Some babies might change their mind after a few tries.) Even if your baby seems satisfied, we recommend you limit swing sessions to no more than 30 minutes. Babies can become dizzy if they swing for longer than that. If you become drowsy while your baby is in the swing, put him in his crib before you fall asleep.
You’re aware, of course, that side-to-side motion has been a problem with some cradles (not swings); there have been incidents where a child rolled to one side and was suffocated. This should not happen with a swing as long as you are sure to use the swing’s harness every time.
A swing with at least three reclining positions lets you find the most soothing position for your baby, which is important if she likes to nap there. The Polly Swing Vega by Chicco features an infant insert and a low recline position for newborns. As your baby grows, the angle can be adjusted to be more upright and the insert can be removed to give her more space. Some swings also feature two seat-height settings, a raised position for newborns and a lower position for older, heavier, more active infants.
Some battery-operated and electric swings have up to eight speeds, but more than four is overkill. The faster speeds might annoy rather than relax your baby. In general, start at the slowest setting and see what he prefers. The heavier the baby, the more slowly a battery-powered model will swing, so you may need to switch to faster settings as he grows. Some swings also come with a remote control.
Many swings have included mobiles, toy bars, or trays. These are all options your baby might enjoy, even though she probably won’t be able to (or even want to) reach the toy bar until around 3 months of age. Check that all toys, and the toy bar itself, are securely and safely attached and have no small parts that could cause choking. Nice but not necessary extras are a light display and sound (such as classical music, lullabies, and nature sounds) with volume control.
There are swings on the market that can be converted to a stand-alone bouncer seat. Some swings might have a removable seat for toting your baby around the house, and some convert to a toddler rocker. Since you won’t use a swing for long (six to nine months, tops), getting more mileage out of it makes sense, especially if you don’t have room for lots of baby gear. However, convertibility does increase the price, so if you’re on a budget, consider getting either a bouncy seat/rocker or a swing. Both products have the same function: to soothe and entertain your baby in the first few months.