Last Updated: May 30, 2023 @ 3:17 pm.

What is the best crib mattress? To find out, we surveyed the readers of our parenting books (2 million strong!). We asked: which were easiest to clean? Firmest? Budget-friendly? Then we took a dozen of the top models and personally inspected them, checking for firmness and overall quality. Here are the crib mattresses we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for babies, the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Lightweight Mattress

Just 7 lbs. Machine washable cover.
Loved this foam mattress that makes late night sheet changes easy. Good quality foam mattress is firm, Greenguard Gold, and arrives compressed in a small box. Note the cover is only water-resistant.

Check on Amazon

Best Lightweight Mattress: Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress

Parent truth: diapers leak. At 2am.

That means changing sheets on your baby’s crib . . . sometimes more than once a day or night. When it comes to the best baby crib mattresses, one often overlooked feature is weight—the lighter the weight, the easier to change the sheets, the more happy you will be.

That’s one lesson we’ve learned from 25+ years of reviewing and rating crib mattresses. (Yes, that long!). We’ve continually surveyed our readers about crib mattresses over the years and that one feature (weight) is mission critical.

Yes, you want a FIRM crib mattress for safety reasons . . . but nearly all crib mattresses sold today fit that bill. What varies is weight, price and materials they are made from (some are more earth-friendly than others).

Good news: you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good, safe crib mattress.

For the best lightweight mattress at a price that is easy on the wallet, we like Graco’s Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress. It weighs just 7 lbs.—making those midnight crib sheet changes much easier than other mattresses that can tip the scales at 20+ pounds!

What We Liked

• Firm. Babies should always sleep on a firm surface that is covered with just a sheet—this mattress fits the bill.

• Good quality. This mattress has a polyurethane foam core.

• Lightweight at just 7 lbs.

• Affordable.

• Comes compressed into a small box. That makes it easy to store if you don’t need it immediately.

• Greenguard Gold.

What Needs Work

• Need to give 2 weeks to allow for “proper expansion.” When taken out of the box, it needs to decompress—the maker says that should be 2 weeks. That means if you need a crib mattress RIGHT NOW, this may not be the best choice.

• Cover is only water resistant. That doesn’t mean waterproof. Some of our readers felt it needed another waterproof mattress cover, especially if their baby had frequent diaper leaks. On the plus side, the cover is removable and washable (cold water, delicate cycle and hang dry).

• Made in China. Many crib mattresses are made in China and they meet USA safety standards when sold in the USA . . . but we know some parents would prefer a made-in-the-USA crib mattress. See later in this article for a recommendation for that.

• Sometimes didn’t fully expand. The mattress we sampled expanded to a full five-inch depth, but we see reports from  other parents that the mattress only expanded to four or so inches.

• Not dual sided for toddlers. Some mattresses have dual firmness—one side that is firm for babies and a slightly less firm side for toddlers. This mattress has just one firmness level. We think that is adequate.

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Budget-Friendly

Lightweight makes it easy to change bedding
Good quality foam mattress is made in USA. Vented waterproof cover. Critics note the mattress is noisy. And a few dissenters thought it was too firm for toddlers.

Check on Amazon

Best Budget-Friendly: Dream on Me Orthopedic Firm Foam Standard Crib Mattress

Yes, some baby crib mattresses can cost more than your mortgage payment . . . but why?

What you need is a quality, firm mattress with a waterproof cover—and that is what we found from Dream on Me’s Firm Foam Standard Crib Mattress. We liked this mattress’ overall quality (vented, waterproof cover) and foam construction at a price that is easy on the wallet.

What We Liked

 Firm foam mattress.

• Waterproof cover.

• Made in USA.

• Hypoallergenic. 

What Needs Work

• Noisy. The waterproof cover makes noise when baby moves around. This isn’t a safety concern, but it bothers some folks.

• Too firm for older toddlers? Babies need to sleep on a firm mattress. A few parents told us they thought this mattress was too firm for older toddlers.

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Bamboo Cover

No phthalates, formaldehyde or "Tris"
Excellent lightweight mattress with a cover made from bamboo, which is water resistant and a more sustainable choice. Also nice: the cover is removable and washable!

Check on Amazon

Best Bamboo Cover: Milliard Premium Memory Foam Hypoallergenic Infant Crib Mattress

We know folks are trying to reduce the amount of petrochemicals in their homes, aiming for a more sustainable nursery. Along those lines, crib mattresses with covers made from bamboo are increasingly popular. 

In this category, we liked Milliard’s Premium Memory Foam mattress—very good quality and low VOC’s.

This Milliard mattress is made from CERTIPUR foam, which is specially engineered to reduce petrochemicals found in some crib mattresses.  Here’s more:

What We Liked

• More sustainable materials. This mattress contains CERTIPUR foam. This foam is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates.

• Waterproof cover that can be wiped clean.

• Memory foam.

• Lightweight (6 lbs.).

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Waterproof cover could be more durable. We see reports that the waterproof layer of this mattress can disintegrate over time. This can necessitate the purchase of a separate waterproof mattress cover . . . which is sub-optimal.

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Mattress Made in USA

Easy to keep clean, but a bit heavy
We liked this mattress that is dual sided: firmer for baby, less firm for toddlers. Greenguard Gold, waterproof vinyl cover that is easy to clean. Polyester foam core provides firm surface.

Check on Amazon

Best Mattress Made in USA: Serta Perfect Start Fiber Core Crib and Toddler Mattress

Many crib mattresses sold today are made in China. There’s nothing wrong with those mattresses, of course—but we know some parents would prefer to purchase one made in the USA.

After looking at several different mattresses that are made in the USA, we think Serta’s Perfect Start crib mattress is the best bet. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Polyester fiber core provides stable, firm surface.

• Dual sided: firm side for babies, less firm side for toddlers. That gives this mattress longer use.

• Greenguard Gold.

• Easy to clean.

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Heavy at 12 lbs. This mattress is similar in weight to coil mattresses, even though it doesn’t have a coil innerspring.

• Durability could be better. We see reports from some of our readers that this mattress can sag after several months of use. We didn’t see that in the sample we tested, however.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money. 

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.