Want to soothe your baby without picking them up? Rock their world with the best baby bouncers, rockers and swings
Baby bouncers, swings and rockers may seem low down on the list of essential items for new parents, but they’re far more crucial than first-time mums and dads could ever imagine. You’ll soon realise just how tricky it can be to get on with everyday tasks as simple as eating if you haven’t got somewhere safe and secure to put your baby, and what’s more, the best baby bouncers, swings and rockers make it just that bit easier to get your little one to sleep too.
Swings, bouncers and rockers all use movement to soothe your little monsters, but – as the names suggest – differ when it comes to how they move. Whilst bouncers and rockers often offer movement in multiple directions, swings will – at the risk of stating the obvious – simply swing back and forth. At their best, these rock and roll baby seats will allow you to soothe, quieten and entertain your baby while your hands remain free for other duties.
Some products out there go the extra mile to help baby relax. Some add Bluetooth speakers, white noise generators and motors that move your baby back and forth at the touch of a button. Depending on your budget, these can be the difference between a moment’s peace and non-stop parenting.
Below, you’ll find our guide to buying the right product for your child, followed by our picks of the best baby bouncers, rockers and swings that money can buy.
Best baby bouncer: At a glance
|Best budget baby bouncer
|Joie Wish | £50
|Check price at John Lewis
|Best rocker for daytime naps
|Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper | £100
|Check price at John Lewis
|Munchkin Baby Swing | £186
|Check price at Amazon
|Best budget baby swing
|Ingenuity Cozy Kingdom Swing | £73
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best baby bouncer for your child
What’s the difference between a baby bouncer, a baby rocker and a baby swing?
Baby bouncers are designed to keep babies entertained and stimulated with a gentle springy motion. Baby rockers and baby swings, meanwhile, are intended to soothe your baby using vibration settings and various swinging speeds. Rockers and swings tend to be more expensive due to their various swing settings. In general, all of the best baby bouncers, rockers and swings are designed to mimic the gentle motions your baby would have experienced in the womb.
Rockers typically take up a lot of room so aren’t good for small spaces, and swings usually require batteries or a mains supply to work so it’s worth thinking about what you’re going to use your chair for before you commit to buying.
Are baby swings safe for babies?
From a parent’s point of view, the best baby swings, bouncers and rockers offer a safe place to put your little one as you grab a cup of tea or pop to the toilet.
The best baby swings are those that stimulate your baby’s senses and offer vibration settings, various swinging speeds and a recline position to mimic the womb. A plush seat and head support is also a great alternative to the comfort of your arms for a short time.
That said, you should never leave a baby unattended in a bouncer, swing or rocker, or try to move or pick the frame up with the baby still inside. It’s also not recommended that you ever leave a baby to sleep in a bouncer, rocker or swing – The Lullaby Trust always advises that babies sleep on a flat surface on their back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You should also check the weight limit of the seat your baby is in, just in case they outgrow it. And once your baby can roll, they should no longer be put in a baby swing, bouncer or rocker.
When buying the best baby swing or baby bouncer, look for the BS EN14036:2003 safety mark to ensure it complies with up-to-date safety standards.
How we test baby bouncers
It can be difficult to gauge how good a product is from simply looking at pictures online. This is the reason we test each of the products we recommend. For this roundup of the best baby bouncers, we assembled each model before rating it for how simple it was to put together, the quality of the design, how well our little ones were entertained in it, plus its overall size and ease of storage. We also consider details such as the fabric from which it’s made, its safety features and whether it requires batteries, allowing you to do a quick comparison of all the products that feature.
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The best baby bouncers to buy in 2023
1. Joie Wish Baby Bouncer: Best budget baby bouncer
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at John Lewis
If you’re in need of a simple, affordable bouncer that has some fun toys for baby to focus on, the Joie Wish is definitely one to consider.
The design is a little different from most of the other manual bouncers here. The seat rests atop a rear-mounted metal frame, which provides a lovely light bounce, and the five-point harness keeps baby safe and secure. The downside of the unusual design is that the Wish doesn’t fold away flat for easy storage.
That said, it has all the features you could ask of a £40 bouncer and a few more besides. It offers three seat positions to keep baby comfortable during naps and playtimes, and comes with a couple of cute toys for baby to interact with. A supplied support helps keep newborn and smaller babies’ heads from flopping to the side too.
One nice surprise is the vibration feature: a motor in the seat’s base has two intensity settings, which gives parents a hands-free option for soothing baby to sleep. Also, as the vibration motor makes a gentle white noise-like hum, you may not need to reach for a white noise app on your phone, which is handy.
Key specs – Size: 50 x 81 x 38cm; Weight: 3kg; Suitable for: 0-6 months, up to 9kg
2. BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft: Best baby bouncer for style
Price when reviewed: £185 | Check price at John Lewis
Want something simple that will last (and have a fair chunk to spend)? Look no further. Supportive, strong and snugly, the Balance Soft baby bouncer is highly responsive: every little kick creates a rocking movement and helps your baby self-soothe.
It has four recline positions – play, rest, sleep and compact – and folds flat enough to slip down the side of the sofa when not in use or on the boot shelf of your car. This makes it perfect for small spaces. Please remember, however, that it’s not advised that babies sleep in a recline position due to the risk of SIDS, so make sure you transfer your little one to a Moses basket or cot once they nod off.
The soft padded plush seat is made from jersey fabric and comes in a range of neutral colours, but if you have a summer baby, you may opt for a Bouncer Bliss, which is a stylish update of the 1972 original and comes in a cool, child-friendly mesh. There’s also the option to buy a travel bag and a set of tasteful wooden toys that clip onto the front.
Key specs – Size: 61 x 39 x 92cm; Weight: 13kg; Suitable for: 24 months; Additional features: Machine-washable fabric, three-point harness
3. Maxi Cosi Kori: A light, portable and stylish option for under £100
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon
Maxi Cosi’s Kori is a stylish and sensibly-priced option. The wood-effect frame and marl grey padding look lovely and it’s sensibly designed throughout.
A newborn insert helps to keep tiny babies safely in position, and this works in tandem with a soft, broad three-point safety harness. A simple latch on the rear of the seat allows you to adjust the seat position with one hand, and you can lock out the rocking position when and if you need to.
The lightweight, folding design is a real boon, too. The Kori’s 2.3kg frame folds up very neatly, so it’s easy to move from room to room or pop in the boot when staying away from home.
Key specs – Size: 42 x 72 x 48cm; Weight: 2.3kg; Suitable for: 0-6 months, up to 9kg
4. Chicco Rhythm ‘n’ Sound Glider: Best compact design
Price when reviewed: £109 | Check price at John Lewis
If you’re struggling to calm your baby, the Rhythm ‘n’ Sound Glider from Chicco could be your new best friend. Designed to be used from birth to six months, it gently rocks from side to side in a soothing sliding movement aimed to feel like being in mummy or daddy’s arms. There’s also 12 in-built melodies to help further soothe your baby, and a timer so any rocking or musical features don’t just run and run. It can also be plugged into the mains or powered with batteries, giving you plenty of options around the home.
While the main reclining seat is wide for baby’s comfort, the overall frame is pretty slim and compact. This makes it ideal for smaller spaces and storing away when not in use. We particularly like the two shades of minimalist grey that it comes in, offering welcome respite to more garish baby equipment.
Key specs – Size: 41 x 71 x 47.5cm; Weight: 3kg; Suitable for: 6 months, 9kg; Additional features: Wipe-clean cover, five-point harness
5. Stokke Steps Bouncer: Best modular bouncer
Price when reviewed: £159 | Check price at John Lewis
When space is at a premium, it’s handy to have products that fulfil more than one purpose around the home. Enter the stylish Stokke Steps bouncer, which – in addition to being a standalone bouncer – clips into the Stokke Steps highchair system (around £189) to provide a comfy seat at the dining table.
The supplied insert makes the bouncer suitable for newborns, while the adjustable footrest is a boon for bigger babies. You will need to manually rock the Stokke yourself, but it offers several seat positions to help keep your baby comfortable during both playtime and nap time.
If you want your baby to sit, nap or bounce at the dining table with you, you can simply click the bouncer into place in the Stokke Steps highchair. Tables are available as a separate attachment if needed, too. Once dinnertime is over, it’s easy to wipe clean and the design folds away neatly for storage.
What’s neat about the Steps Bouncer is its integration with the rest of the system that the Steps high chair offers. Once the baby outgrows the bouncer, you can swap it for the Baby Seat attachment (and a tray if you fancy) and the chair is ready to go for the weaning stage.
It’s not cheap, but it’s one that will likely last you for many years and could easily become a regular fixture at the family dining table.
Key specs – Size: 31.5 x 26.4 x 20.9 cm; Weight: 3.74kg; Suitable for: 0-6 months
6. BabyBjörn Bliss: Best baby bouncer for fabric choice
Price when reviewed: £185 | Check price at BabyBjörn
A classic of the genre, the Bliss is BabyBjörn’s bestseller and it’s easy to see why. The bouncer is available in a range of four washable fabrics – Cotton, Cotton Classic Quilt, 3D Mesh and 3D Jersey – and in a total of 19 colours, including more than one leopard print.
We tested the 3D Jersey model, which is made from 80% polyester, 16% cotton and 4% elastane. It’s luxuriously soft with an almost suede-like feel to it. It’s stretchy, too, and features three layers for breathability. The Bliss’s three-point harness is quick and easy to use, and offers multiple strap positions, to ensure comfort for your baby.
It’s expensive but the BabyBjörn Bliss will last you longer than a lot of bouncers: it offers two heights for bouncing and then at a third height with the fabric turned around, so you can use it as a chair once your child is walking and can sit down unaided.
Key specs – Size: 61 x 39 x 92cm; Weight: 9kg (bouncer), 13kg (chair); Suitable for: 24 months; Additional features: Machine-washable fabric, three-point harness
The best baby rockers to buy in 2023
1. Nuna Leaf Grow: Best contemporary baby rocker
Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at Nuna
If you’re looking for a rocker but don’t like the idea (and noise) of a model with an electric motor then the Leaf Grow is an excellent option. It isn’t the cheapest or most compact model around, but it’s well made, stylish, includes a toy bar and offers multiple modes.
Available in five different colours (Peach pictured), its natural, pendulum-like motion lasts for up to two minutes and requires minimal effort to get going again. There are three recline positions to choose from and the infant insert and three-point harness are removable as your child grows. The mesh back provides cooling airflow and the fabrics are all machine washable.
The Leaf Grown even offers an optional Canopy attachment for £20, so you can use the rocker outside on a sunny day while keeping the baby in the shade. This also comes with a removable insect net.
Key specs – Size: 76 x 71 x 61cm; Suitable for: 9kg (stage one), 60kg (stage two); Additional features: Machine washable fabric, three-point safety harness
2. Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper: Best baby rocker for lying flat
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at John Lewis
Babies should always lie flat for naps and longer sleeps, which means you’ll need to transfer your little one if they drop off in a rocker. The Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper solves this problem, however, with a clever design that converts to a flat Moses basket with the flick of a switch at the side. This gives you another option for settling them at bedtime. It also gently vibrates, has nine different soundtracks and comes with a detachable musical toy that dangles over the seat. It has three reclining positions: flat, middle and upright, designed to coincide with the baby’s age and development.
Key specs – Size: 61 x 39 x 92cm; Weight: 13kg (24 months); Additional features: Machine-washable fabric, three-point harness
The best baby swings to buy in 2023
1. Munchkin Baby Swing: Best all-round baby swing
Price when reviewed: £186 | Check price at Amazon
The Munchkin Baby Swing is absolutely packed with baby-soothing features – and the design looks suitably space-age, which only adds to its appeal.
The motor sways your baby side to side – the same sort of movement that you’d make as you sway with baby in your arms. You can vary the intensity of this movement with five settings, and the Munchkin also has its own selection of ambient noises and music. If you prefer, you can connect your phone via Bluetooth and play music from your phone.
What’s also handy about the Munchkin is that it disassembles into two parts very easily, making for easy storage.
Key Specs – Size: 66 x 66 x 47cm; Weight: 4.1kg; Suitable for: 0-6 months
2. Joie Serina 2 in 1 Baby Swing: Best rocker-swing
Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at John Lewis
It might seem like a lot to fork out for on a chair, but if you can afford it, this might just be the investment that sees you through the first few months.
Its base is sturdy and secure – it has to be, as the chair swings the baby either from side to side or forwards and backwards at a choice of six different speeds. It has a night light with four different strengths, five lullabies and five nature soundtracks to soothe your infant, and two hanging toys for your baby to reach for. Its height off the floor means less of a back strain for you, and – and this is a major selling point – the seat can be unclicked, picked up by the bar, carried around the house and used on its own as a rocker when you need to change rooms. Given the large base unit, which doesn’t fold up, this is a product for someone with a good-sized living room, but if space is not an issue, it’s worth considering.
Key specs – Size: 91.5 x 73 x 81cm; Suitable for: 9kg; Additional features: Machine-washable fabric, five-point harness, A/C power adapter or battery-powered
3. Ingenuity Cozy Kingdom Swing: Best budget baby swing
Price when reviewed: £73 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re short on space and funds, this portable swing from Bright Starts could be just what you’re looking for. It folds for easy storage and can be transported in a car boot for when you’re on the move. With six speed settings, six soothing (if a little repetitive) melodies and two reclining seat positions, it offers an impressive range of features for the price. It’s suitable from birth and comes with removable head support for smaller babies and two soft toys (that can be attached to the bar) for older ones. The timer can be set for 15, 30 and 45-minute sessions.
Key specs – Size: 51 x 15 x 54cm; Weight: 3.16kg; Suitable for: 6 months; Additional features: Machine-washable fabric, three-point safety harness, battery-powered