Best Baby Crib 2020
Best Baby Crib 2020
Last Updated: After researching and reviewing 87 different crib brands, we pick the . Union 2-in-1 crib, sold online (Amazon, Sears) and made by DaVinci (part of Million Dollar Baby’s empire) as the Best Baby Crib 2020 (full-size).
Scroll down for our picks for Best Budget-Friendly Cribs, Best Crib for City Dwellers and Best Eco Baby Crib.
New to crib shopping? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Baby Crib for advice and tips.
The basic crib ($261.01) is made of New Zealand pine and style- wise echoes the simple IKEA Guillver crib.
Fans of this crib love the easy assembly and metal spring mattress support. The value, of course, goes without saying—especially with most other cribs running $200 to $300 or more.
As for drawbacks, the crib isn’t convertible. It used to be called the 3-in-1 because it converted to a toddler bed with rail (the rail was sold separately for $60). They still sell the rails but they aren’t available in all the colors in the line. Hence DaVinci felt it was not quite kosher to refer to the crib as a 3-in-1. If you get one of their unusual colors, like Lagoon blue, you won’t be able to find a matching toddler rail. But for a typical color like white, toddler rails are available.
Another negative: the Union crib has exposed screws and screw holes. That doesn’t compromise safety; it’s just an aesthetic issue. More expensive cribs hide this hardware, but that is the trade-off to get the price so low.
A final drawback: this crib is made from New Zealand pine, which is soft and can easily scratch. Hence, take great care when unpacking and assembling this crib. Even rubbing a buckle against the crib rail will scratch it (when you lean into the crib to pick up baby, for example).
Also: if your teething baby decides to munch on the crib rail, the finish will most likely come off. It isn’t a health hazard (the paint is non-toxic), but this has alarmed more than a few parents. (If teething is an issue, you can use a cloth rail cover (about $20).
We realize a chewed-on crib doesn’t look perfect, but having a baby in your house means everything will now be scratched, scuffed and chewed on—your crib will simply match the rest of your furniture. (“You can either have children or nice stuff!”—Dennis Miller).
FYI: The Union crib comes in six finishes, including blue (lagoon) and natural, which is unusual at this price point. Typically, affordable cribs are offered in only one or two colors. The caveat to this is that we’ve noticed that Amazon has occasionally run out of some of the finishes (and when we last looked, only grey was in stock). So if you have your heart set on a particular finish and see it in stock, we wouldn’t wait to order it.
Also Great: Graco Benton 4-in-1
The Graco Benton is a simple, affordable crib that is easy to put together and can morph into a full-size bed (when you use the curved side as a headboard and separately purchase bed rails). Quality is good; we like the metal spring mattress platform—some low-end cribs come with flat wood boards as a mattress base, which we don’t recommend. It takes about 45 minutes to assemble and we found it easier overall than most other cribs.
The curved headboard of the Benton gives this crib just a bit more style than the Union crib, which probably explains the $30 price difference. Graco cribs are made by Stork Craft, which is unfortunate since we don’t think much of this company’s more pricey cribs and nursery dressers. But this basic crib is no frills and does what it needs to do—a safe, simple space for baby to sleep with a spring mattress platform.
Stork Craft was wise to license the Graco name for this crib. Folks trust the Graco name . . . while we’d guess Stork Craft doesn’t ring a bell for most parents. Like most sub-$200 cribs, the Graco Benton is made of soft pine, which will scratch easily. Take care with the assembly or moving the crib around. A simple belt buckle can leave a scratch when accidentally rubbed against a crib rail.
To its credit, the Graco Benton comes in four different colors, including the ever-popular Pebble Grey. Many low-end cribs only come in white or brown.
We saw a few dissenting views among our readers and online reviewers. The crib’s paint, which of course is non-toxic, chipped on a few Graco Benton cribs, according some online reviewers. It’s hard to know if this because of poor finish quality on a few cribs or the way the crib was stored or handled by the consumer. Stork Craft’s quality control can be iffy.
One parent said her Graco Benton crib was broken by a two year-old toddler who liked to jump around in his crib. The wood frame broke and the metal mattress support buckled.
Let’s be honest: the Graco Benton is not a built-like-a-tank crib from Pottery Barn. Of course, those cribs run two to four times these cribs. The take-home message: if you plan to have multiple kids, you’d be better off buying something more substantial. For everyone else, the Graco Benton is a good choice at an affordable price.
Best Budget-Friendly Crib (Basic): Ikea Gulliver
Another affordable basic crib is IKEA’s Gulliver at $99. No, that’s not a typo! A simple, modern crib for $99. The crib is just a crib—it doesn’t convert to a full-size bed, etc. Also: the Gulliver only has two mattress positions. Very plain, but well made.
You can have any color for the Gulliver as long as it is white. FYI: IKEA has a five other crib styles that run $99 to $229 in a few different finish options.
If you are into minimalist style, either of these cribs will fit the bill. Note that even though IKEA cribs are simple, they meet all U.S. safety standards. We’ve recommended this brand for years and readers agree—these are safe, good quality cribs.
Best Crib For City Dwellers (and those with little space). If you live in the city, space may be at a premium. We have two solutions here, although both have drawbacks.
Our best pick for cribs for city dwellers is the Stokke Sleepi. Norwegian juvenile gear maker Stokke pitches its oval crib as a “system” that grows with your child: the Sleepi morphs from a bassinet to a crib, then a toddler bed and finally two chairs for about a thousand bucks. You can buy just the crib without the toddler bed conversion kit).
The Sleepi’s oval shape and wheels makes it easier to move through narrow doors. The Sleepi is 29” wide; standard full-size cribs are 30” and more. That may not sound like much, but it can make the difference between fitting in a doorway or not. Plus few cribs come with wheels these days, as the Stokke does.
Also: you can use the Sleepi in bassinet mode for up to six months. The bassinet mode takes up just 26” in width.
And the bassinet’s simple style wins fans for its minimalist aesthetic.
So what’s not to like about Sleepi, excluding its steep price? Well, an oval crib requires a special oval crib mattress; and oval crib bedding ($29.00 for a sheet). As you might guess, choices are limited.
We also noted that Stokke has struggled with quality control issues in recent years, as expressed by our readers as well as customer reviews posted to Amazon. As a result, we gave them an overall grade of B-.
If the price and concerns about the Stokke Sleepi have you wishing for another alternative, consider plan B: a portable crib.
About 10% of all cribs sold in North America are these cribs, sometimes called portable cribs, mini cribs, folding cribs and so on.
As you can guess from the name, these cribs are narrower in both width (25” width versus 30” or more for full-size cribs) and length (about 39” vs 52”).
Our top pick for portable crib is the Babyletto’s Origami Mini Crib ($269.00). This simple crib folds away when not in use and comes with wheels to move it about a small apartment or condo. (Using the wheels is optional). Overall, we found the construction quality to be above average for this crib.
The downside to the Babyletto Origami Mini Crib? Well, it does take a while to assemble (a few users complained it was over an hour). And the crib only comes with a one-inch pad; you should probably replace this with a mattress that snugly fits it (37 x 23.875 mattress).
Here’s the biggest drawback to the Origami mini crib—and it’s the same drawback that affects nearly ALL mini crib: babies often outgrow them before they are old enough to go into a toddler or big kid bed.
Babyletto says the Origami crib can’t be used “when a child begins to climb.” Well, a typical child will hit that milestone around six to ten months when they can pull themselves up to a standing position. Some mini cribs (but not all) have lower rails than a standard size crib—and that makes climbing out easy for infants under a year old.
Hence, mini cribs are more like bassinet replacements. Keep in mind that most babies will use a crib for two or three years (and sometimes up to age four). And a crib is the safest place for babies to sleep.
Yes, there are stories floating around out there that a small baby can make it in a mini crib to age 3, but that is the exception.
So what happens when your baby outgrows a mini crib before their first birthday? Well, then you have to move to a full-size crib. Hence, you can use a mini crib as a bridge until you have more room in your apartment or condo . . . or you find living accommodations with more space!
Bottom line: a mini crib can make do for a while, but you’ll be finding yourself purchasing a full-size crib as your baby nears one year of age.
Best Eco Baby Crib: Babyletto Lolly
Babyletto’s Lolly crib ($399.00) is our pick for top eco friendly crib. This crib is made by an established nursery furniture company with a good quality track record.
Babyletto is part of the Million Dollar Baby family of nursery furniture brands. The company has committed to making sure all its cribs are safe for your baby and the environment. Their cribs are made of New Zealand pine and are GreenGuard certified.
GREENGUARD GOLD is an independent third-party certification that the nursery furniture item is low-emission—that is, emission of volatile compounds (VOC’s) which can contribute to bad indoor air quality. (Read more about GREENGUARD testing here).
For the price, you also get a toddler rail included. The downside, this crib only converts to a toddler bed–no double bed for you. Another disappointment, the Lolly only has one matching storage option: a three-drawer dresser with removable changing tray.
Despite these drawbacks, we think the Babyletto Lolly is the best eco-friendly crib option out there today!
Best Crib Made in the USA: El Greco Nest
El Greco’s Nest crib is our pick for the best made-in-the-USA crib. (FYI: 97% of all cribs sold in the US are made in Asia, mostly China and Vietnam).
Based in Jamestown, New York, El Greco has been making furniture since 1975 but largely flies under the radar of the industry. Why? Because most of El Greco’s cribs and dressers are sold as private label offerings by Land of Nod and Room & Board (El Greco’s web site lists which cribs they make for each chain). Yes, the brand is also sold in a handful of furniture stores, but most are regular furniture stores, not baby retailers.
Quality is excellent—the Nest crib is made of solid maple, which is a rare to find in nursery furniture these days. El Greco has never had a safety recall in 40+ years (!) of business and their finishes are GREENGUARD-certified. El Greco posts detailed info on their manufacturing process here: http://www.elgrecofurniture.com/product-details/
The Nest crib comes in five finishes (shell, maple, cherry, walnut or white).
So what are the drawbacks? Well, the Nest is a basic crib that doesn’t convert into a full-size bed like many other cribs in this price range. That makes the investment here steep. But if you plan to use this crib for more than one baby, you could justify the expense.
FYI: If you like El Greco but don’t like the simple style of the Nest, the company sells a handful of other crib at Room & Board, a 16 store chain of modern furniture stores. If you don’t have one of those stores nearby, you can order El Greco cribs online at Room & Board’s web site.
What if you don’t have that much money but still want an American-made crib? Unfortunately, there isn’t much beyond El Greco.
Yes, there are a handful of modern furniture companies like DucDuc that make cribs in the US, but most of these are $1000+ and even $2000+. And we found El Greco’s quality superior to these alternatives.
Best High-Style Crib
Ubabub’s Pod crib is a futuristic show stopper—yes, insanely expensive but wins our pick for best high style crib with its curvedwood panels and acrylic sides with funky cut-outs. The detail and craftsmanship on this crib is something to behold.
The Pod comes with a custom-fitted mattress and the conversion kit to turn into a toddler bed that looks like something out of a movie set in 2093.
Distributed in the US by the Million Dollar Baby family of nursery brands, Ubabub (pronounced “uber-bub”) is actually based in Australia and sells its goods in both Oz and New Zealand. Ubabub has a good reputation for quality and a solid track record for safety.
Best Travel/Portable Baby Crib
After evaluating and testing 17 portable baby cribs, we pick the BabyBjorn’s Travel Crib Light for Best Travel/Portable Baby Crib. While not the cheapest option out there, we judged this ultra-light play yard (which folds up like an umbrella and fits in a small carry case) to be worth the investment.
Parent feedback has been universally positive. At 11 pounds, it is half the weight of a standard Graco Pack N Play.
The Travel Crib Light ($299.99; 13 lbs.) has breathable mesh sides with exterior metal poles and comes with an organic fitted sheet and mattress. The top edge includes a padded cover and it folds into a 19” x 23.5” x 5.5” bag. You’ll note that the shape is rather different from a traditional play yard and it uses poles like you’d see on a camping tent. Here are some photos of the folding system used by the Travel Crib Light:
Overall, readers like the Travel Crib Light. Fans love the easy set up and break down, and note that the fabric is nicer than other similar travel cribs. The mattress is pretty thick for a travel crib and the light weight makes it easy to lug around.
The only complaints: short parents may have a tougher time lowering baby into the crib and the exterior poles jut out at an angle, creating a tripping hazard. Yes, it is pricey, but if you plan to travel frequently with your baby it may be worth the expense.
Best Crib for Short Parents
If you are under 5’5”, you may find reaching into a standard-size stationary crib challenging. Since most cribs sit a foot or two off the floor and drop-side cribs were phased out in 2011, shorter parents may find it difficult putting baby in a standard crib when the mattress is in its lowest position.
For those parents, a lower profile crib may be just the ticket. A good bet: babyletto’s Modo 3-in-1 crib (pictured) is made from New Zealand pine and is relatively affordable at $279.00. At only 34” tall, the Modo sits low to the ground making it much easier to put baby in and out of the crib.
The Modo is available in six color combinations including two-tone options (white top with brown or grey base) that gives it a modern spin.
We like the Modo’s GREENGUARD Gold certification that means the crib is low in VOC emission, as well as the four mattress levels.
While Babyletto touts the Modo’s “3-in-1” conversion feature, the Modo only coverts into a toddler bed (the toddler rail is included, which is a nice touch). Hence, the Modo doesn’t convert into a full-size bed for older kids.
Best Crib for Grandma’s House. The best crib for the grandparents must be easy to set up and take down.
We suggest a couple options here. First is a portable crib like the Dream On Me 2 in 1 Portable Folding Stationary Side Crib hits all the right notes—easy to assemble, folds away for storage and is affordable.
FYI: Dream on Me sells two versions of their portable folding crib: a full-size version and a mini-crib version. As you might guess, the mini version costs less than the full-size one—but we don’t recommend it.
A mini crib that is only 38” long (versus 52” for a full-size crib). That means babies older than one year of age or larger infants may outgrow this crib before they are old enough to sleep in a toddler bed.
A full-size crib lasts for much longer and hence is the safer option. (FYI: Babies typically stay in a full-size crib to age three or later. Once a child regularly climbs out of a crib, it is time for a big kid bed.)
Hence the key issue with any mini crib is safety—older babies (younger toddlers) can easily escape a mini crib. Not so easily in a full-size crib.
In light of the drawbacks of mini cribs, our second option here is a full-size crib that is easily to assemble. Yes, such cribs do exist. Our pick for this would be the Delta Emery crib ($365.96; not pictured)—Delta includes all the tools (allen wrench) to make assembly easy.
Why Trust Us
We evaluated cribs with hands on inspections, checking for quality and durability. We look for easy-to-follow instructions as well. We also gather significant reader feedback, tracking cribs on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also talk with furniture experts with years of experience with wood furniture.
We’ve been rating and reviewing cribs since 1994. During that time, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and watched cribs during testing. While we don’t personally test cribs, we compare our reader feedback with tests done by organizations like the Greenguard and Consumer Reports.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Crib!
1. Whether they cost $70 or $700, all cribs sold in the U.S. and Canada meet mandatory safety rules.
Yes, you read that right—that crib at IKEA for under $100 is just as safe as the European designer model from a fancy boutique that runs $2000.
Do cheap cribs have dangerous designs? No. Long gone are the days when you had to measure slats to make sure they were the correct distance. If a crib is sold in a major store or reputable online site, you can rest assured it meets current safety standards. Unlike other baby gear, safety standards for cribs are mandatory in the U.S. and Canada.
That said, we would suggest buying from an established brand name (we review top brands on this site). Yes, some web sites sell cribs from obscure brands with little or no history in the U.S. The concern here is whether you’d be able to contact them to buy replacement parts. Or how would they handle a safety recall?
2. Almost all cribs sold today are imported from Asia. Yes, even those with Italian-sounding names.
China and Vietnam are the two biggest exporters of cribs to North America. In fact, we’d estimate that 97% of the cribs sold in the U.S. are imported from Asia. The rest are imported from Eastern Europe (Latvia, Romania) with a smattering from Italy and Canada. And yes, there is a company or two left in the U.S. that makes cribs domestically (El Greco).
We realize some parents are concerned about products from China, which has suffered various product safety scandals. For those folks, we recommend a crib or two made in North America. Fair warning: this will cost you much more than an imported crib.
3. Cribs are sold a la carte. And require assembly.
When you shop for cribs, you often will find pictures like this:
But when you buy a crib, what you get is actually this:
Yep, that is it. Crib mattress? Extra. Sheets? Extra. Fancy bedding decor? Extra. You get the picture.
Obviously, some of these are required (mattress) and most are optional (besides sheets, just about everything else). And those extras (crib mattresses) can sometimes cost more than the crib itself. Just a heads up as you plan that nursery room budget!
4. Size matters.
Not the size of the crib, but the size of your baby’s bedroom. Full-size cribs are all the same size: about 29” wide and 53” long. That’s the INTERIOR dimension of the crib. Cribs with fancy headboards or curved sides can be several inches wider/longer.
Fitting a full-size crib into a tiny secondary bedroom (or urban condo) can sometimes be a challenge. We recommend some options for those who are space-challenged.
And remember that the crib is just the start of your nursery furniture saga—most nurseries also have a dresser to store clothes. And perhaps a place to sit and nurse baby. Later you might want a desk and chair. Plan out space considerations before shopping.
Where the baby’s crib should go in a nursery is another factor. The safest place for a crib is away from any heating or cooling source (ducts, radiators, etc). And you’ll want to keep baby’s crib away from windows and window coverings/blinds (cords are a strangulation hazard). Got a baby monitor as a gift? Keep the cord at least three feet from the crib.
We should note that not all cribs are your standard rectangle. There are some funky cribs out there—round cribs, for example:
But remember this equation: more funky = more money. A round crib needs a special round mattress, round bedding, and so on . . . at prices typically much more than standard size crib accessories.
5. To convert? Or not to convert?
Full-size cribs today come in two basic flavors: convertible cribs or not convertible.
Non-convertible cribs (we call them basic cribs) are just, well, cribs. They don’t morph into other piece of furniture. As such, they are typically less expensive than convertible cribs.
As the name implies, convertible cribs . . . well, convert into several different stages as your child grows. Many “4-in-1” cribs are first cribs, then toddler beds (with a toddler rail replacing one side), “day beds” (no toddler rail) and then full-size beds. The different configurations look like this:
In the latter use, the headboard of the crib becomes the headboard of a child’s full-size bed. In order to do all this presto-change, you need (you guessed it) an extra “conversion kit” which includes bed rails to make a full-size bed, connecting the headboard and footboard. These kits range from $100 to $200 extra. And convertible cribs are more pricey than basic cribs—convertibles start around $250 and can easily soar into the $500’s.
You could argue that even with this extra expense, you would save money in the long run because you are not buying a separate bed when a child outgrows a crib. But basic (non-convertible) cribs start around $100 and you can buy a twin bed for as little as $150.
The take home message: convertible cribs aren’t really money savers, but more of a choice in aesthetics.
Confusingly, there are several variations on convertible cribs. Some manufactures say they are “convertible” when all they mean is you can take the side rail off and then have a toddler bed. Doh! That doesn’t count as convertible in our book. On the other hand, some crib makers include a toddler rail for free (the rail keeps a toddler from rolling out of the crib once the side rail is removed).
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether to buy a basic or convertible crib. Some considerations: if space is tight, remember that using a standard crib and then buying a twin size bed may make much more sense than a convertible that morphs into a full size bed (full size beds are 15” wider than a twin).
Think about how the crib will look when converted. Is the headboard higher than the footboard? Most folks think that looks better than converted cribs where the headboard and footboard are similar in height, which is more common in lower price convertible cribs. Your choice, of course!
Some convertible cribs (like the affordable and popular Fisher-Price models) don’t require special conversion kits or rails—you can use standard bed frames like this:
These rails run $43.08. If you plan to have more than one child, it might make sense to buy an affordable basic crib you can re-use from child to child. Then as each one outgrows the crib, you can move him or her into a twin bed (headboard or footboard optional, of course).
6. It may take 14 weeks to special order that fancy crib. Yes, we said 14 weeks. Not days. Weeks.
There are three basic places to buy a crib: online, chain stores and specialty boutiques. Most online sites deliver in about a week.
Chain stores stock many cribs, while some styles require two to four week lead times (to ship in from a distribution center).
Specialty boutiques, however, are a mixed bag. Some do stock cribs for immediate purchase. Most, however, require you to special order. And that is where the 14 week wait can come in.
Most specialty stores carry upper-end crib brands that cost $500 to $1500. Some of these brands require a wait of 8-12 weeks for delivery, with a few up to 14 weeks. And sometimes deliveries can be delayed (port strike? earthquake? Chinese new year?), causing your furniture to go on back order for, say, 20 weeks. Plan accordingly!
7. Say no to . . . .
. . . used or hand-me-down cribs. Buy a brand-new crib to make sure it meets current standards.
Crib safety standards have changed over the years—not more than a few years ago, cribs had drop-sides which were implicated in safety issues (sides detached, resulting in injuries and in some cases, death). These cribs were outlawed in 2011.
We know well-meaning family members want to help you by dusting off that family heirloom your grandfather used in the “old days.” Or a friend has a crib in the attic from 1998 they are dying to
pawn off graciously give you.
Just say no—even a late-model crib can be dangerous if it is missing hardware or instructions. Buying new insures your crib meets current safety standards and has all its parts.
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