The Best Bassinet 2020
Best Bassinet 2020
Last Updated: . The Best Bassinet 2020. After researching bassinets for the last 20 plus years, we pick the HALO Bassinest as the best bassinet for parents of newborns. This bassinet achieves two goals: allowing rooming in for newborns (to help with breastfeeding) while providing a safe sleep space separate from a parent’s bed.
New to bassinet shopping for baby’s room? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying below for advice and tips.
The HALO Bassinest has side walls that squish down for quick access to the baby; it also sits on a base that allows you to rotate or swivel it 360 degrees. The Bassinest includes a waterproof mattress pad and sheet; extra sheets are $14.99.
The Bassinest comes in four versions: The Essentia, a basic model for $229.99, The Premier, a more deluxe version for $279.99, the Luxe for Out of stock and the Luxe Plus for $329.99. For the more expensive versions, HALO adds vibration, sounds and lullabies, nightlight and additional storage. While those frills are nice, we recommend going with the basic model—it’s all most parents need. Vibration and lullabies aren’t necessary for a newborn.
HALO launched a recent an update of its whole line with the following improvements:
- Essentia: new, improved no-trip base; better height adjustment lever and new fabrics and finishes
- Premier: building on the Essentia, the Premier also adds a new “soothing center,” which has lullabies and vibration
- Luxe: in addition to the features of the Essentia and the Premier, the Luxe adds a removable bassinet that can be used on or off the base and carried to other room; there is also a wood panel
- Luxe Plus: the Luxe Plus adds to the Luxe’s features with zip-off, machine washable fabric and a new infant insert
You can still find the old models online. If you want the newest versions, look for the “new!” sticker that indicates the most recent models.
For parents who want the most basic of bassinets, HALO has a lower-price Bassinest called the Bassinest Glide ($189.99). It features a simpler base with “gliding disks” that make it easy to move across a floor. That answers one of the big gripes about the original Bassinest: it is very hard to move from room to room. The Bassinest Glide also omits any vibration or electronics, which we think are unnecessary anyhow, as we pointed out above.
In our tests, HALO Bassinest hit all the right notes—easy to set up and use. Quality is very good. The mesh sides are a key safety features that encourages airflow. In our tests, our readers liked the fact that base legs tuck under most beds, positioning the baby right at your bedside. The Bassinest is also very quiet—when you push down the side, it doesn’t make any noise.
FYI: A twin version of the Bassinest debuted recently for $484.99—basically, this is a larger version of the Bassinest with a divider down the middle for twins. It has the same basic features as the Bassinest.
Here’s a quick video that goes over the HALO Bassinest basic features:
Things we don’t like about the HALO Bassinest
Yes, there a few negatives to the Bassinest to note—and as such, it may not be the perfect solution for everyone. First, it is rather heavy and bulky with a large base. As a result, you can’t move it easily from room to room. It basically needs to be set up next to a bed and left there. (On the plus side, the heavy weight keeps older kiddos from accidentally knocking it over).
On the upside, the new Bassinest Glide addresses this issue if you portability between rooms.
A few of our readers complain that the Bassinest sleeping surface is too hard—it has a thin pad and a firm surface. But that is a feature, not a bug. Infants need to sleep on a firm, flat surface.
Yes, a few folks are surprised by the tilt feature—which means the baby can roll to one side if the bassinet part is not perfectly flat. That can be caused by an uneven floor in your bedroom or by simply accidentally knocking the unit (and sometimes by a baby scooting from one side to the other). But this happens very infrequently, in our analysis.
And yes, the Bassinest can be hard to clean—to remove the cloth parts, you need to remove various screws. HALO could make this process easier.
Finally, a few folks question the value of the HALO Bassinet, considering its relatively short use period (most infants move to a full-size crib before four months of age). We see that point, but we think the benefits of rooming in with your newborn to encourage breastfeeding outweighs the costs.
Accessory to skip: HALO Bassinest Newborn Insert
While we recommend the HALO Bassinest, we say pass on their “newborn insert,” a $52.69 accessory that is designed to create a smaller space inside the bassinet for newborns. This inserts attaches to the side of the bassinet and with mesh sides.
HALO takes great pains to point out that this insert is not a baby hammock, as it has a firm flat sleeping surface at the bottom. Still, we think this concept is too close for comfort to the other baby hammocks on the market—which we do NOT recommend.
We don’t see the point of this accessory—a newborn is perfectly safe and secure in the Bassinest, no insert needed.
Bassinet to watch: SNOO Smart Sleeper
If you are an experienced parent with one or two (or more) kids under your belt, so to speak, you’ve probably heard of Dr. Harvey Karp and his Happiest Baby books. Dr. Karp recently launched the SNOO Smart Sleeper, a bassinet which incorporates the soothing techniques he teaches in books and videos.
What makes it soothing? The SNOO uses white noise and motion to help rock your baby to sleep. This bassinet, which can be used up to six months of age, is touted as being the “safest baby bed ever made.”
The SNOO imitates the rhythm of the womb and when a baby wakes at night will automatically use sound and motion to get baby back to sleep. Used with the SNOO swaddler, it also keeps baby on his back the whole night. The SNOO includes a mattress and sheet; additional sheets are available online in the $25 range.
The SNOO sells for an astounding $1200. But there is good news: the SNOO Smart Sleeper is now available for rent! Cost: about $150 a month (or roughly $5 a day).
Since you most likely use the SNOO for a couple of months at best, renting the SNOO for $300 for two months makes more sense than buying it outright—unless you are planning on multiple children!
Be aware of the fine print in the Snoo rental agreement: Snoo requires a $175 refundable se- curity charge and a minimum one month rental. Shipping is free as is the return when you are finished using it (they recommend saving all the packing from the initial shipment for the return shipment). And there is also a $45 reconditioning fee (as of this writing, it is being waived). This covers the company’s expense for cleaning when the SNOO is returned.
Now that the SNOO has been on the market for a while, we are getting feedback from our readers—and the word is positive. Fans say the SNOO works as promised—and actually soothed their colicky babies.
As we probably don’t have to tell you, spending $1200 for a bassinet is a bit crazy. Even renting one for two months for $300 is pricey, when you can buy a HALO Bassinest Glide for $170.
Bottom line: for parents who have babies with colic or who are just overly fussy, renting a SNOO is a good solution. For everyone else, the SNOO is probably overkill.
Best Travel Bassinet.
Got a road trip ahead? Here’s our favorite solution for hotel rooms and holidays at the in-laws. The BRICA Fold N’ Go travel bassinet is a decent buy at $39.99—it features a firm mattress with fitted sheet and mesh panels. As the name implies, it folds compactly for travel.
In our tests, the BRICA was the easiest to set up. A safety lock prevents accidental closure. The only caveat: when folded up, it won’t fit in a suitcase . . . so you may have to check it if traveling by air.
FYI: Most bassinets work up to about five months of age, but the smaller BRICA can only be used for babies who are under three months of age and 15 pounds. FYI: BRICA is part of the Munchkin baby gear brand.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing bassinets and other newborn sleep products since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections, 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 sites like Amazon, as well as our own message boards.
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 bassinets 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). 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 bassinet manufacturers 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 crib brands that help guide our recommendations. See below for links.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Bassinet!
1. No matter where you put your baby down for a nap or overnight, focus on the four basic safety rules for safe sleep:
- Do not use any soft bedding in the crib/bassinet/cradle/Moses basket.
- Place baby to sleep on her back.
- Keep the room temperature in baby’s room at about 68° F.
- Don’t overdress your baby. A light blanket sleeper is all you need.
2. Many stroller manufacturers sell bassinets as accessories.
If allowed by a stroller’s maker, you can use these detachable stroller bassinets as free standing bassinets in your home, not just on your stroller. You’ll find manufacturers like UPPAbaby, Peg Perego, and Britax enable you to use their stroller bassinet as a stand-alone sleep space at home. FYI: Because bassinets have solid sides, we only rec- ommend using them for supervised naps during the day time.
Stroller bassinets typically cost around two to three hundred bucks, about the same as a free standing bassinet but with the added feature of attaching to your stroller too.
3. Cradles are another option for newborn sleep.
If the idea of a plastic bassinet doesn’t appeal to you, consider a cradle. Unlike bassinets, cradles are typically made of wood and can be rocked. Prices range from $100 to $250 or more. If you plan on having more than one child, a cradle is a very sturdy option. You can also create a family heirloom with a cradle by passing it along to others in your family. Typically a cradle comes with a mattress pad, although replacement pads are available in a variety of sizes to fit different cradles.
4. Moses baskets can only be used for a short time.
Moses baskets are woven baskets with liners and carry handles. You can put your newborn in a Moses basket for naps, and move your baby around the house without disturbing her. Unfortunately, these baskets are useful for only a few weeks before they reach their maximum weight limit. If you get one for a gift, it might be useful, but it probably doesn’t make sense to buy one on on your own. They typically cost around fifty to a hundred bucks.
5. Play yards now come with bassinet attachments.
If you’re going to buy a play yard anyway, consider buying a version with a bassinet attachment. You can find our top picks for play yards here.
Graco makes a number of Pack N Play play yards with bassinet features. This version, the Graco Pack N Play Playard Bassinet sells for about $90.
6. Mini cribs are yet another option for newborn sleep and can be repurposed at Grandma’s house.
Mini cribs are sized similarly to a cradle at about 38″ long by 24″ wide. For comparison, a full size crib is about 52″ long and 28″ wide. Mini cribs have to adhere to similarly stringent safety standards as full size cribs, so they are quite safe.
The disadvantage of mini cribs? Babies often outgrow them LONG before they are old enough to go into a toddler or big kid bed—that means you’ll have to then use a full-size crib.
Some mini crib manufacturers note their mini cribs 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. A mini crib has lower rails than a standard size crib—and that makes climbing out easy for infants under a year old . . . which of course is dangerous.
The take-home message: a mini crib does NOT replace the need for a full-size crib. A mini-crib replaces a bassinet.
7. In the end, you can just use a full size crib from birth.
That’s right. After all our prattling on above, you really don’t have to purchase a bassinet, cradle, mini crib or Moses basket. A full size crib will do the trick . . . and save you some money!
But . . . what if you don’t have room for a full-size crib in your bedroom? And you want your baby to room in to make sure breastfeeding is established during those first weeks? That’s where the bassinet comes in!
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