The 5 best cribs and cradles of 2021

  • A good crib or cradle is durable, safe, and comfortable for your baby.
  • The DaVinci Kalani is the best crib because its traditional look is also versatile and budget-friendly.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Benjamin Hoffman, MD, CPST-I, FAAP, professor of pediatrics, Oregon Health and Science University.

Sleep is one of your baby’s most fundamental needs, and a crib is the safe centerpiece of a put-together nursery. You don’t necessarily need a full-size crib to start out; a cradle is an equally efficient space-saver, too.  

Depending on your style, you may prefer a simple, traditional crib or one with more ornamentation to stand out as the focal point of the room. We rounded up our tried-and-true favorites ranging from budget-friendly options to portable carriers.

Aside from your child’s comfort, safety is the top priority, and all cribs must meet the same safety standards. Here are some crib and cradle safety tips set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to keep in mind while shopping:

  • Find a firm, flat sleep surface: It’s advised for babies to sleep on their backs until their first birthday. This reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Be sure the crib or cradle you want to buy meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), too. Do not add soft bedding or plush toys.
  • Watch out for SIDS-related marketing claims: Features like positioners, wedges, and specialized sleep surfaces and mattresses have not been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of SIDS, and may actually be hazardous. Keep this in mind when shopping for a place for your baby to sleep, and keep it simple.

Here are the best cribs and cradles of 2021

  • The best convertible crib: DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
  • The best budget crib: Delta Children Adley 3-in-1 Convertible Crib
  • The best high-end crib: Stokke Convertible Sleepi Crib & Toddler Bed
  • The best cradle: BabyBJorn Cradle
  • The best travel crib: Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib

Updated on 02/17/2021: We added more buying links and related guides. We also included warranty options, a category for “the best convertible crib,” as well as created a product showcase so you can easily shop our picks. 

The best convertible crib

The DaVinci Kalani crib is a timeless, traditional, and versatile piece that can convert into a toddler bed as your baby matures. 

Pros: Converts into three types of beds, part of a larger furniture collection, comes in seven different finishes, sturdy, has four mattress positions, one-year warranty on manufacturing

Cons: The pine dents and scratches easily, instructions for assembly aren’t that clear

One of the best features of the popular DaVinci Kalani crib is its convertibility. After those crib days are over, it functions as a toddler bed, daybed, and even a twin- or full-size bed. DaVinci throws in the toddler bed rail with the crib, though you’ll have to purchase the bed rails for either twin or full sizes separately.

The Kalani has a traditional look, with gently curved rails and curved embellished feet. It’s part of a larger furniture collection that includes several dresser choices, and it comes in seven finishes. It’s also Greenguard Gold-certified to be free of potentially harmful VOCs and chemicals. While the assembly instructions aren’t so clear, it proves to be a durable and versatile option for your nursery.

DaVinci offers a one-year warranty on manufacturing, too, to keep your crib (and any pieces you buy from the matching set) fully functional. 

The best budget crib

The Delta Children Adley 3-in-1 Convertible Crib is an affordable option with a minimal design to satisfy several nursery styles.

Pros: Budget-friendly, convertible, CPSC-certified, two-year limited warranty

Cons: Not the best quality compared to our other picks

Let’s face it — cribs aren’t intended to last forever, but they can last a good while if it’s convertible. If you want a budget-friendly option that can last a little while longer by being convertible, the Delta Children Adley 3-in-1 Convertible Crib is the perfect solution.

Not only is the crib idea from baby age to toddler and beyond, but it also meets the strict safety standards of the CPSC. And, it’s covered by a limited, two-year warranty on any operational and structural flaws. It also features mattress support with an adjustable height of three different positions. The straight lines and wooden airy slats make this a timeless and minimal piece for any nursery — from a navy nautical theme to a pink flowery one.

The best high-end crib

The Stokke Sleepi should be on your radar if you’re on the hunt for a luxury crib that will last for decades.

Pros: Beautiful design, converts into a toddler or junior bed, sustainable beechwood, warranty on manufacturing defects

Cons: None to speak of

The Stokke Sleepi is an eye-catcher – it has a graceful oval shape that still looks thoroughly modern and minimalist. Unlike most cribs, it can start out as a bassinet, grow to a full-size crib, then a toddler bed, and then a “junior bed” for kids up to 10. If that’s not enough, it can even become two chairs. 

The crib comes in three finishes, including white, gray, and natural wood. It also coordinates with the Stokke changing table, which can be converted to a set of shelves and a desk as your baby grows. The Stokke has lockable wheels on the bottom, so you can move it from room to room so your baby can stay close by while they nap.

Though a bit pricier than our other picks, the Stokke Sleepi’s versatility is unmatched. You’re also backed by a warranty on manufacturing defects in case anything goes awry.

The best cradle

With its breathable mesh sides and chic Scandinavian design, the BabyBjorn Cradle has a breathable and chic Scandinavian design that’s just as safe as a crib for smaller babies.

Pros: Minimalist design, lightweight, breathable sides, gentle rocking motion, machine-washable, easy to assemble, no loose parts, nontoxic fabrics, Oeko-Tex-certified

Cons: Baby will quickly outgrow it, the base contains MDF, no warranty option

To save space and keep your small baby close for those first nerve-wracking months, the BabyBjorn Cradle is one of your best options. This sleek, minimalist cradle gently rocks in response to your baby’s movements, or you can nudge it along. 

Mesh sides allow for plenty of airflow and allow you to keep a close eye on your baby. The fabrics are Oeko-Tex-certified and void of harmful substances. It’s also compatible with a mesh canopy to give your baby a more private sleeping space.

At only 13 pounds, the Bjorn is light enough to be moved easily from room to room, whether you want your infant close to your bed or in the corner of the living room for a nap while you get some chores done. A downside to this cradle is its absence of a warranty. However, a cradle won’t last nearly as long as a crib anyway, as they’re designed for newborns to six-month-olds. 

The best travel crib

The Guava Family Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib is lightweight and a parent’s dream to pack in the car with its dynamic portability. 

Pros: Lightweight, easy to set up, has a backpack-style carrier, side unzips for easy access, washable, nontoxic fabric, two-year warranty on manufacturing defects

Cons: Thin mattress, special sheets required, bassinet option is an expensive extra

No, Graco’s ubiquitous pack ‘n plays are not your only portable options. The Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib stays true to its name, weighing only 13 pounds for easy transport. It even comes in its own backpack-style carrier that leaves your hands free for other bags. We like it so much, we also named it the best playpen for travel.

As the only play yard with Greenguard Gold nontoxic certification, its full-height mesh made without phthalates is designed for breathable airflow. There’s even a quiet side zipper door for when your baby is sleeping and, when your baby is awake, just unzip for more crawling space.

Designed like a pack ‘n play, Guava Family takes portable baby gear to the next level with a soft foam mattress that’s thick enough without making this a heavyweight product. It’s approved for newborns and infants for overnight sleep, up until they turn three.

Guava Family offers a two-year warranty on manufacturing defects in addition to including a compact backpack carrying case. It’s a multipurpose crib option that redefines traditional nursery slumber.

As for downsides, the Lotus includes only a thin sleeping pad. Note that it will only fit Guava’s own sheets, however. Buyers also have to shell out for a pricey bassinet conversion kit for a small baby to sleep higher up, whereas a bassinet is usually standard with most pack ‘n plays.

Check out our other baby gear guides

  • The best baby bibs
  • The best pacifiers
  • The best baby bottles
  • The best bottle warmers
  • The best baby carriers
  • The best baby gates
  • The best baby monitors
  • The best baby swaddles
  • The best baby thermometers
  • The best cloth diapers

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