Best Glider Rocker 2019
Scroll down for our picks for Best all Upholstered Glider Rocker.
New to glider rocker shopping? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Glider Rocker for advice and tips. Looking for brand reviews of glider rocker companies? Scroll down.
Made in Canada, Dutailier’s glider rockers have been one of the most reliable recommendations we’ve had since we started writing about glider rockers back in 1994. This model has Dutailier’s patented “glide-r-motion” technology that relies on sealed ball bearings for a smooth motion.
At this price, you might be thinking—why spend that much money when you can buy a glider rocker and ottoman combo on Amazon for under $200? Three reasons: comfort, quality and durability.
Many of the super bargain glider rockers have cushions that are less than, well, cushiony. Others are too narrow in the seat. As for quality, read the 1-star reviews for the sub-$200 glider rockers. You’ll note more than one person said the bargain glider fell apart after one (or three or six) months of use. Or they start to squeak.
Here’s a picture from one of our readers who purchased a bargain glider rocker. After nine months of use by an average size mom and dad, the chair looked like this:
That’s the difference between those slapped together glider rockers and our pick, Dutailier: quality.
Yes, you spend more but it also won’t fall apart. In fact, in our experience Dutailier rocker gliders can easily be reused for more than one child . . . and then repurposed to another room in the house down the road. The take home message: our recommended glider rocker is much more durable than the competition.
The Dutailier Sleigh Glider and Ottoman Set is our pick as the best glider rocker for most folks. Here’s a brief overview of the brand itself and more on why we picked this model.
Dutailier, the Brand
Quebec-based Dutailier (pronounced due-tal-yay) is to glider-rockers what Google is to online search. Thanks to superior quality and quick delivery, Dutailier probably sells one out of every two glider rockers purchased in the U.S. and Canada each year.
Dutailier has an incredible selection of over 90 models, seven finishes, and 80 different fabrics. The result: over 37,000 possible combinations. All wood is solid maple or oak and features non-toxic finishes. You have to try real hard to avoid seeing Dutailier—the company has 3500 retail dealers, from small specialty stores to major retail chains.
Prices for Dutailier start at $589.69 (chair & ottoman) for their “Ultramotion” line. The Ultramotion gliders are entry-level: you get basic fabric cushions and exposed wood accents. Some fancier chairs and fabrics can run as much as $700 for the chair only. The good news about Dutailier at chain stores: models are often discontinued and then discounted.
You can spend much more than that—Dutailier’s specialty store line lets you customize a glider-rocker to your heart’s content . . . add a swivel base, plush cushions or leather fabric and you can spend $600. Or $1000. The latest rage: all upholstered glider rockers run $1000 to $1700 and come in leather or fabric.
If you like the upholstered look but don’t have that much coin, Dutailier offers an option: chairs with fully upholstered arms (but open bases) for $600 to $650 (with ottoman) in six fabrics and five finishes. Basically, much the same look, half the price.
Realizing all these choices can be a bit daunting, Dutailier moved in the past to simply its offerings: now, all fabrics can be used on any chair. Dutailier’s web site now divides its wood gliders into two categories: modern and traditional.
Dutailier offers an “auto lock” feature on some chairs—it’s always locked when no one is sitting in it and then automatically unlocks when you sit down. Also new: a “nursery chair” with drop-down nursing pillows.
Quality here is excellent. We toured Dutailier’s Quebec plant and were impressed with the high tech wizardry used in production—laser-guided water jets slice huge sheets of top-quality leather, computer-controlled ovens make sure stains are baked on chairs for an even finish and so on. At each step, quality is hand checked by an army of workers to insure consistency of fit and finish.
An optional accessory for glider rockers is the ottoman that glides too. These start at $150 at discounters, but most cost about $170 to $300.
One tip on gliding ottomans: we suggest skipping this and ordering an inexpensive “nursing” footstool. Why? Some moms claim the ottoman’s height puts additional strain on their backs while breast-feeding. While the nursing footstool doesn’t rock, it’s lower height puts less strain on your back. (That said, we should note that some ottoman fans point out that once their mom/baby get the hang of nursing, that gliding ottoman is a nice luxury).
One safety note: don’t leave an older child sitting in a glider-rocker. Many can be tipped over by a toddler when they climb out of it. (Safety tip: some glider rockers have a lever that locks it in position when not in use).
Flaws but not deal breakers
If we had to criticize Dutailier on something, it would have to be their cushions. Most are not machine washable (the covers can’t be zipped off and put into the washing machine). As a result, you’ll have to take them to a dry cleaner and pay big bucks to get them looking like new. A few of our readers have solved this problem by sewing slipcovers for their glider-rockers (most fabric stores carry pattern books for such items). Of course, if the cushions are shot, you can always order different ones when you move the glider-rocker into the family room—but that can be expensive, as replacement cushions are $150 to $300.
It can take ten to 12 weeks to order a custom Dutailier rocker (more for leather options), but the company does offer a “Quick Ship” program—a selection of around 15 to 20 chair styles in two or three different fabric choices that are in stock for shipment in two weeks. We have received occasional complaints about how long it takes to order a Dutailier—one reader special-ordered a Dutailier from a chain store, only to find out some weeks later that the fabric was discontinued. Other readers complain about fabric backorders, which cause more delays in delivery. Our advice: make sure the store double checks the order with Dutailier.
Best Budget-Friendly Glider Rocker. For sheer value, it is hard to beat Ikea’s POÄNG rocking chair for $169-$229 (the more expensive version has leather cushion is $229). A matching, non-rocking footstool is $52.
Made of “layer-glued bent beech”, the POÄNG comes in ten different cushion colors with a light brown frame. There is also a darker color frame available (IKEA calls this “medium brown”).
The downside? Well, if you guess “I have to assemble it because it is IKEA”, you are correct, sir! Like most things IKEA sells, you’re going to need set aside some time to put the POÄNG together.
Also: The POÄNG is a rocker, not a rocker-glider (as we recommended above). What’s the difference? Well, rocker-gliders have ball bearings to enable them to rock more easily. Rockers are simpler but require more omph to rock—if you have a c-section, it might be easier to use a rocker-glider than a simple rocker.
Despite these minuses, our readers report they are happy with the POÄNG as a stylish, yet affordable option.
Best Upholstered Glider Rocker. If you have the budget for an upholstered glider rocker, we like Best Chair’s offerings, most of which are in the $500-$700 range. The Best Chair Swivel Glider, is $540 at JCPenney. Best Chair is also sold in specialty stores.
Best Chair is an Indiana-based rocking chair maker that entered the baby biz in 2002, although they trace their roots to the 1960’s. We were very impressed with their quality and offerings. Best specializes in upholstered chairs with over 700 fabric choices. They also make traditional glider rockers and furniture for other rooms in the house.
Cool feature: Best offers an optional 10-position glide lock that makes it easier to get in and out of the chair.
Delivery is four weeks and prices are decent for an all-upholstered look: compare these prices to the $1000+ Pottery Barn wants for their similar fully upholstered glider rockers.
Best is sold only in specialty stores and on JCPenney.com (Penney’s carries quite a few models, in fabric and leather options).
Feedback from readers has been mostly positive on Best—a few complaints centered on Best models sold on JCPenney.com that had backs that were too short for some taller parents. Most folks had no problem, however and generally loved Best’s overall quality and durability. For taller parents, it might be good to try out this chair in person before purchasing.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing nursery furniture since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections of glider rockers, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted on our own message boards as well as on sites like Amazon.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We evaluate glider rockers with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and durability. We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking glider rockers on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers of nursery furniture to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.
The reliability of nursery furniture companies is another key factor—we meet with key company executives at least once a year. Since we’ve been doing this since 1994, we have developed detailed profiles of major nursery furniture brands that help guide our recommendations. See below for links.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Glider Rocker!
1. Yes, you can swap the cushions.
Glider rockers are certainly an investment, but there is one plus when you purchase one from a major brand like Dutailier and Shermag: you can order a replacement cushion to replace a stained one or just to change the look. Dutailier has a special part of their site dedicated to replacement cushions.
2. Better padding = happier parent.
Yes, there are some affordable $200 gliders sold out there—and we do like IKEA’s version (see above). But other super bargain glider rockers have skimpy padding.
You’ll be spending a good amount of time in this chair, from feeding to reading bed time stories and more. Our readers are unanimous: go for the better padding, even if it is another $100 or $200. Try out the chair in a retail store to make sure you are happy before ordering.
Also worthwhile: padded armrests, if that is an option for the model you are looking at.
3. Watch the width.
Some of the cheapest glider rockers are quite narrow, which might not seem bad if you are a small person. But remember you will most likely be using a nursing pil low with your newborn . . . and having the extra width to accommodate this pillow is most helpful!
Consider a chair with a locking mechanism. Some brands (notably Shermag) have an auto-locking feature; when you stand up, the chair can no longer rock. Very helpful if you have a curious toddler who might end up with pinched fingers.
5. Focus on the chair, not the fabric or color.
With most glider rocker companies, you can choose from dozens if not hundreds of fabric colors. Hence the first job is to decide on the chair style. Certain styles can fit better than others—chairs with deeper backs are better for taller parents. Make sure your feet can comfortably rest on the floor when you are sitting all the way back in a rocker glider. Once you’ve decided on the best chair style, then consider fabrics and colors.
6. Cleaning: not so good.
The achilles heal of many rocker gliders is cleanability, or lack there of. Most cushions lack zip-off covers that can be machine washable. Hence, you’re only choice is dry cleaning. One solution: you can find sewing patterns for glider rocker pads and either make them yourself or hire someone for less than replacing them completely. If your baby spits up a lot, this may be a wise investment!
7. Regular furniture stores may have better deals.
There is no federal law that says you have to buy a glider rocker for your nursery from a store with “baby” in its name! Upholstered rockers that recline are available from a wide variety of stores . . . and adult furniture stores usually have more generous sales than nursery store retailers.
Reviews of 9 glider rocker brands
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