Are you searching for a reliable baby swing? After researching more than 50 potential contenders, we chose the top 6 swings available today. Our round-up includes choices from the compact and travel-friendly swing to the giant soother with all the features. Baby swings are often underrated, but we believe they can be a valuable way to calm a fussy infant and create a chance for parents to rest their arms. This review considered metrics such as swing style, ease of use, safety, and seat comfort for testing and comparison. With this information, you can decide which swing will soothe your baby and your budget.
Safety Alert The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning about some Fisher-Price infant rockers and other similar gear with more than a 10-degree incline, including swings, bouncers, and rockers. They warn against allowing little ones to sleep in the gear and remind parents that babies should be monitored at all times when using the equipment. Babies should be appropriately restrained according to manufacturer guidelines, and no bedding should be used with the devices. Should your baby fall asleep in a swing, bouncer, or rocker, they should be immediately moved to a firm flat surface, such as a crib, bassinet, or play yard.
Editor's Note: We updated our swing review on November 21, 2022, with updated prices and a review of availability. We have reached out to Fisher-Price about the supply availability of the Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Swing, Dual-Motion Baby Swing and will update the review when we hear back.
Power: AC Adapter/Batteries | Usage Range: Birth-25 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Side-to-side & front-to-back motions
REASONS TO AVOID
Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing is superior at soothing little ones. With its comfortable deep seat and easy-to-remove plush fabric, your baby will be snuggled in and ready to nap in no time. This swing is versatile and suitable for newborns up to 6-8 months, longer than most swings. We like the 5-point harness and adjustable recline, something we didn't see on every competitor we tested. The included mobile rotates and has a baby-facing mirror for increased engagement.
Although it has loads of features, the Cradle 'n Swing has a few downsides. It is very large, covering 44"L x 35"W, and while the legs fold to stow it, this doesn't reduce the size enough for closet storage or travel. It is also more challenging to assemble, requiring an included tool and extra time. Minor flaws aside, we feel this swing is worth taking up space (if you have it) because it excels at soothing, and we think you and your baby will thank us in the long run.
The Graco Slim Spaces is a basic swing that hangs from an a-shaped frame and moves in a simple front-to-back motion. The battery-powered swing has a roller switch to turn it on and off and control the speed. Although some battery options we have used don't pack the same punch, we did not have that problem with this swing. We found the motion rigorous enough to calm our baby testers and keep them happy. The Slim Spaces is a lightweight product, and we love that it folds nearly flat, making it easier to move from room to room, store in the closet, or travel with the swing.
This bare-bones swing does the job but does not offer extra features like recline adjustment or soothing sounds. It has a simple mobile attached to the frame, but the basic design is not eye-catching for babies and does not move when the swing is on. The seat is deep, but it sits at a relatively high incline. We think it may be better for babies with more head and neck control, as the infant insert is not very robust or supportive. The Graco Slim Spaces is a simple and affordable option for parents who need a safe space for their baby and don't want all the bells and whistles that come with other swings.
The Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker is a swing and a rocker. This dual functionality lets you detach the rocker from the frame to move it throughout the house. The swing has six speeds, and a large selection of songs and nature sounds to help soothe or distract your baby from the world around them. When detached from the swing, the rocker vibrates with two strengths, which some babies find soothing. When in swing mode, the DuetSoothe has a 30-lb limit, which is higher than most swings in our test group, and you might get more longevity out of this option as a result.
Although 2-in-1 products are appealing, they typically don't manage either task as well as single-style products. This fact is valid for the DuetSoothe, which seems more functional as a rocker than a traditional swing. In addition, the seat is somewhat shallow compared to the competition, so it lacks the snuggled-in feel that some infants like, and the stationary mobile is boring and doesn't hold our tester baby's attention for long. However, despite these hiccups, the Graco DuetSoothe might be the right fit for your little one if multiple soothing methods are appealing.
4moms Recall Alert
The 4moms Mamaroo has been recalled due to a potential entanglement and asphyxiation design with dangling harness components behind/under the seat pod. Do not use this product until you check the recall notice to see if your product is included or until you receive and adequately apply the recall solution.
Why You Should Trust Us
We've been testing and analyzing baby swings since 2014 and have even more years of combined personal experience with our little ones. We spent hours buckling and unbuckling harnesses, listening to the lullaby melodies, exploring speed settings, and feeling fabrics for our in-house testing. Although it is hard to get clear-cut opinions from infants, we put real babies in the swings to see how well they fit in the seat, how entertained they appeared to be, and how happy they seemed. We test each swing side-by-side with the competition for comfort, ease of use, features, quality, and more to determine award winners and ranking.
Our reviews are led by pediatrician Juliet Spurrier. She brings her experience as a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), mother of two, and founder of BabyGearLab to guide our selection and testing processes, keeping health, safety, and quality at the forefront of our reviews. Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford leads the testing and research for this review. Abriah has been diving deep into the baby product industry with BabyGearLab since 2015 and was previously a long-time nanny and childcare provider. Wendy Schmitz is a Senior Review Editor and has been with BabyGearLab since 2014. She rounds out our review process with her experience as a mother of 2 and many years of in-depth baby gear research.
Analysis and Test Results
There is no doubt that babies prefer being held and often need lots of soothing. If you are familiar with Dr. Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block, you are somewhat aware of the 5 Ss of Soothing a Fussy Baby: Swaddling, Side/Tummy, Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking. So let us walk you through finding the perfect baby swing to help you keep your baby happy.
Manual vs Electric
Baby swings can be manual or electric operations. Most baby swings have a motor and use batteries, an AC adapter, or both. We recommend choosing one that you can plug into an outlet as they are more economical and convenient. We include two manual swings in this review, the Nuna Leaf Curv and the Little Tikes Snug 'n Secure. Both swings glide for a few minutes with a single push, but they still require more consistent attention from a caregiver.
Baby swings come in a wide range of prices, but when it comes to soothing a fussy baby and getting a much-needed break, you may think of value differently. Surprisingly, our favorite products are some of the most affordable, the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing and the Graco Slim Spaces. The swings that keep it simple and just swing are the ones that work best and keep the baby happiest. If it is a priority to find a swing that blends with your home or has techy features, you'll pay a premium for anything more than the standard swing. The factor that adds the most value to your swing is how well it soothes your baby. According to our tests, you may find it worthwhile to spend a little more on a swing that keeps your child happy and calm, but you don't have to.
The primary purpose of any baby swing is to soothe a fussy baby. If a swing cannot do this effectively, there is no point in having one. For this reason, the ability to completely customize directional movement, sound, speed, volume, and recline is crucial. Each baby is unique and may prefer different ways of soothing at other times, so being able to tailor the swing to your baby's needs each day is a huge advantage.
One of our favorite swings, the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing, earned a high score in this metric. It excels by having many different settings to choose from, increasing your chances of finding one that will work best for your baby at any given moment. Features like plush fabric and entertaining mobiles can be convenient, but the most important factors will always be swinging direction and speed.
We found that centrifugal-based rocking is the most effective method for calming a fussy baby through testing and research. We recommend getting a more traditional swing such as the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing, or the Graco Slim Spaces, both of which utilize this type of motion. Whether a side-to-side or front-to-back motion doesn't matter as much as the swing's speed. Older, heavier infants tend to prefer more vigorous swinging, while newborns require a gentler pace. The worst soother in our tests is the Little Tikes Snug 'n Secure Swing. Such a low score is slightly unfair because this swing is meant more for playtime than for naptime, but if you are looking for a true soother, this outdoor swing is not the one for you.
Ease of Use
Determining how easy a swing is to use can be done by considering the following:
Operating swing controls
The Graco Slim Spaces and the Graco DuetSoothe tie for the high score. These swings are parent favorites with easy-to-reach controls, intuitive operation, and relatively lightweight parts. The most inconvenient swing to use is the Nuna Leaf Curv. Although it is simple to operate, it requires the near-constant presence of a parent or caregiver, doing away with the hands-free time that an electric swing can provide.
The harness type on a swing can make buckling your baby a breeze or a lesson in patience. Deeper seat designs help keep little ones more still and secure while buckling them in, and seats higher off the ground can mean less uncomfortable crouching for parents. We prefer 5-point harnesses with straps that individually attach to a central crotch strap because it is much easier to lay the straps out of the way while placing the baby in the seat. Many swings we tested sport this style of harness, including the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing. The Nuna Leaf Curv has a seat very low to the ground, making the transition from arms to swing potentially disruptive or challenging depending on your physical prowess.
The controls on baby swings are usually quite simple and intuitive, often relying on visual icons to indicate different functions. The location of the controls can also impact the ease of use. Some swings have controls and buttons at floor level on the base. Compared to the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing, which has adjustment dials almost at chest level, the mamaRoo requires more unnecessary effort.
Depending on your swinging plans, the weight and footprint are important factors to consider before making your final selection. If you want something you can effortlessly move from room to room or travel with, you'll want a small, lightweight swing that folds reasonably flat. If you have the space to dedicate a corner of your home to a swing semi-permanently, then the weight and size may be less important to you. Some swings may be a no-go if your home is small, as many have extra-large bases.
Additional features vary widely from product to product. Although they do not make or break a swing's effectiveness, they can make a difference in its ability to soothe. Extras like a moving mobile, sound effects/song choices, and swing speed/direction features may seem superficial or gimmicky. Still, having suitable options can make all the difference when trying to keep your infant entertained. The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing outshines the competition in extra features and customization.
There are two main components to most swings: the frame and the fabric. The Nuna Leaf Curv is the top scorer for quality with a 9 out of 10. This swing's clean design and high-quality materials are unmatched, and the durable construction can last for years. The Little Tikes Snug 'n Secure Swing is the lowest quality seat we tested. It uses durable hard plastic for the seat, making it weatherproof and easy to clean, but the color quickly fades in the sun. Many reports of the swing coming incomplete or with uneven hanging ropes lead us to believe that the manufacturer has a quality control issue.
All the swings in this review have removable, machine-washable covers, but the material's quality determines how well it will stand up to multiple washes. We prefer seats with inserts that are easy to remove yet retain their shape well after washing. Some seat covers, such as the Nuna Leaf Curv, are challenging to get on and off, turning the laundering process into a drag you try to avoid.
Important Safety Considerations
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continually updates its safety recommendations for baby swing use, establishing standards all manufacturers must adhere to. All swings come with a manual that outlines safety features and operating instructions to ensure proper use. Some general guidelines include the following:
Never leave a baby unattended in a baby swing
Use in full recline until the baby is four months, or they can hold their head up unassisted
Discontinue the use of a swing when the baby can sit up unassisted
Always use the harness as instructed
Installation of the baby swing base should match the manufacturer's instructions
Swings are not recommended for sleeping
In addition to these tips, you'll also need to use some common sense. Some swings can generate strong momentum when set to the highest swing speed, especially if you place a larger baby inside. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that you assemble the swing according to the manufacturer's instructions and that the base has complete contact with the floor while swinging. Follow the assembly instructions carefully and test the swing beforehand on its highest setting with weights or a stack of books inside to ensure stability.
We rated safety based on base stability, seat depth, recline angle, and harness style, and the top-ranking swings are the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swingand the Graco DuetSoothe. All have sturdy bases, 5-point harnesses that are easy to adjust, and a deep seat that cradles the baby. While still following CPSC guidelines, the Nuna Leaf Curv earned lower scores in this metric because it has only a 3-point harnesses and more shallow seats.
Initially, a shallow seat may seem more bed-like and accessible to get the baby in and out than a deep one; however, they are not as efficient at soothing. Most infants prefer the cozy, cuddled feeling that a deep seat provides, keeping them in a position that cradles them firmly and maintains proper hip flexion. Still, even in deep seats, you must keep fabric away from the baby's nose or mouth to prevent possible airway obstruction. Also crucial for maintaining a clear airway is paying attention to the seat's recline position. Babies up to 4 months should be in the most reclined position and correctly harnessed in the seat to prevent slumping over in a way that could compromise their airways.
A baby swing can feel like a significant investment for something with such a short lifespan, but once you experience the magic of the swing, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one. Before selecting your final choice, we suggest deciphering the kinds of motion and distractions your little one prefers. Knowing what soothes your baby can guide you in choosing the most helpful swing in this lineup. Also, we recommend buying from a retailer with a good return policy if your baby doesn't like your swing. No matter what, every baby enjoys the rhythm and movement of rocking, and having a baby swing can give you a moment to yourself while your baby is safely comforted. Rock on, little one!
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.