[There is a newer version of this post. See it now.]
Swings can be tricky. There are dozens of models on the market with varying features. At the same time, some babies love swings while others can’t stand them.
If your baby likes his, they can buy you some much needed rest or shower time as he snoozes away. If he doesn’t you’ve just shelled out $50 to $200 bucks for a large and useless piece of plastic that you’ll be stepping around every day.
With some smart shopping and a little luck, you’ll find a winner and get a good deal on it. This should get you started:
How to Choose
Desirable features include a 5 point safety harness, excellent stability, a variety of speeds and sounds, and a flip or fold out tray (for easy access). To figure out what else you need in a swing, ask yourself these questions:
- How will we use it?
- How much room do we have for storage and use?
- Do I need to be able to plut it in?
- What other features are must-haves?
- What’s my budget?
If that’s not an option, try to find a gently used one at your local kiddie consignment shop, on Craigslist, or at a yard sale or consignment sale. A quick check of my local Craigslist board today reveals full-sized swings from $35.
Another thing many expectant parents don’t realize is that babies will only use a swing until they’re about 25 lbs (sometime around a year old for many babies). and will probably enjoy using it for only a few weeks– another great reason to do some serious bargain hunting. Just remember to check for recalls before you buy.
Here’s a rundown of the most popular and highly rated baby swings out there. I’ve linked to the items at Amazon so that you can learn more and read reviews.
Note: “Buy It Now” (BIN) prices are what I consider “very good” prices on the item. They’re the best sale prices you can expect to find fairly regularly, based on records of previous sales. Don’t confuse these with the “lowest price ever” price. You may be able to beat this price if you happen onto a unusually great sale.
Fisher-Price, Graco and Bright Starts are the big players in the swing market, and Fisher-Price swings are by far the top sellers.
The Fisher-Price Cradle N Swing is the top seller, hands down. It was even a runner up on BC’s Best Baby Products of 2012 list. This full-sized swing can swing sideways or back and forth, includes a motorized mobile and offers the option of plugging into the wall. Can fold for storage. Buy-it-now prices range from $100 to $129, depending on the model:
- Snugabunny: BIN = $120
- Luv U Zoo: BIN = $100 Currently $95 at Amazon
- Starlight: BIN = $110
- Zen Collection Cradle Swing: BIN = $129
If you’re short on space and/or cash, or you need to be able to take the swing to grandma’s, consider a portable swing.
- Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo SpaceSaver Swing & Seat: BIN = $63
- Bright Starts Ingenuity Portable Swing, Bella Vista: BIN = $53
- Bright Starts Comfort and Harmony Portable Swing, Florabella: BIN = $54
- Graco Baby SnugGlider Infant Car Seat Swing Frame. Transforms your Graco infant seat into a swing. BIN = $65.
- Fisher-Price Musical Projection Swing. Features a projector that displays movie-like images on the canopy. BIN = $80. Currently $80 at Amazon.
- Graco SweetPeace Soother. Plug in option. Seat can be replaced with Graco infant car seat. mp3 player plug in. Soothing “Mommotion” motion. BIN = $145
- 4Moms Mamaroo Classic. Similar in motion to the Sweetpeace, the Mamaroo bounces up and down and sways from side to side. mp3 jack. Plug in only. BIN = $197
- Fisher-Price Swing to High Chair, Mosaic. BIN = $100
Hey experienced parents–does or did your baby like a bouncer or swing best? Respond to this quick Facebook poll and let me know!
Coming soon: BC’s Baby Bouncer and Rocker Shopping Guide