Bassinet vs. Crib: Which is Better For Baby?

We pride ourselves in being unbiased gear experts. Learn more about how we research, expertly review and curate products here.

When you’re curating a baby registry in preparation for a newborn, outfitting and decorating baby’s nursery will likely be top of mind. And one of the biggest components of a nursery is the sleep space. But did you know the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says newborns should, ideally, sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months? 

While you’ll likely want a crib for the nursery, a bassinet is often just as high on a parent’s list of must-have baby items, because it’s essentially a smaller, more portable crib—ideal for room sharing. 

But buying both a crib and a bassinet can be an expensive endeavor. To help you make the right decision for your own family, we asked our gear experts to help explain exactly what these items are, plus make the ultimate decision: bassinet vs. crib—or both. 

Main Differences Between Cribs and Bassinets

Both cribs and bassinets are safe sleep areas for a newborn baby, however, there are important differences between the two. 

The main difference between cribs and bassinets is size. A bassinet is smaller and lighter, so it’s inherently more portable—something that can be very helpful in those early days when you want to keep an eye on your sleeping little one. This smaller footprint also makes room sharing more feasible for many parents. 

Baby cribs, on the other hand, are much more versatile, since they’re large enough for babies to use well into their toddler years. Some even convert into toddler and full-size beds with a few quick adjustments. 

Is a Crib or Bassinet Better for a Newborn? 

It’s hard to declare a crib or bassinet superior because they both have major pros and cons. That said, if you can afford to purchase both a crib and a bassinet (plus have the space for both), you’ll likely be very happy to have a bassinet for your newborn. 

Bassinets are small and portable, so you can tuck yours right up to your bed, or in some cases, you can move them with ease from room to room if needed.

Babies also love to feel snug and secure, especially while they sleep, and a bassinet may feel cozier than an expansive crib. If that buys everyone in the family more sleep, that alone might help justify the expense of a bassinet.

Bassinet vs. Crib vs. Cradle 

A cradle may sound like an antiquated item, but they’re still manufactured today, and like cribs and bassinets, are a safe choice for your newborn. However, they are not as prevalent. But what exactly is a cradle? Like a bassinet, it’s a smaller, cozier sleep space. Unlike a bassinet, though, a cradle is designed more like a crib—typically with sturdier, less portable materials like slatted wood. Cradles also tend to have rocker-style legs. 

Bassinet: Pros and Cons 

Happiest Baby SNOO Smart Sleeper

  • Retail Price: $280 
  • Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price: $150
  • Avg. Seller Earnings: $75
  • Age Range: Approximately 0-6 months 
  • Avg. Weight Limit: Approximately 0-15 pounds

A bassinet is a baby bed meant for newborns from birth to about 6 months. (Note: Some babies roll over as early as 3 to 4 months, at which point a bassinet should no longer be used.) These sleep spaces are smaller, lighter and more portable than cribs, which make them more suitable for room sharing—something the AAP recommends until at least 6 months, at which point baby will be ready to transition to their own room. 

Bassinets typically have an oblong shape and have enclosed cloth or mesh sides to mimic the cozy feeling of the womb. This particular design feature also makes it easier for parents and caregivers to reach in and out of the bassinet to tend to baby. Some bassinets even click right into compatible strollers to keep baby sleeping comfortably on the go. 

Like cribs, bassinets are available in a variety of styles. Some are basic and sit on the floor, while others are raised and may even have mechanical functionalities like built-in sound machines and automatic rocking when baby fusses. Bassinets come in a wide range of fabrics and colors, too—some more sophisticated than others. 

Best for: Families with limited space for room sharing

Pros 

  • Small footprint
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Some come equipped with smart features
  • May help newborns sleep better

Cons 

  • Short usable life
  • Some require the purchase of a separate stand if you want to elevate the bassinet

Do You Need a Bassinet? 

You don’t need a bassinet, but many parents like having a bassinet during the newborn period. Bassinets are highly portable, which makes room sharing easier. Plus, many parents find their little ones are more comfortable in the snug environment a bassinet provides. 

Best Bassinets: Our GBG Picks

What Our Team Thinks

“As a new parent you are already reading and soaking up as much information as possible before your bundle of joy arrives. So we know you likely have some trepidation around your baby and sleep. Bottom line, you will need a safe space for baby to sleep and you will not regret having options for you and your baby! Bassinets allow you the flexibility to keep your baby close through the night and the ability to move from room to room. Having baby next to your bed is comforting for both parents and baby. Once you feel ready to move baby into the nursery, a bassinet allows you to move baby into a new space, but within a familiar sleep environment. We love the flexibility bassinets offer us as parents to ease these transitions. Plus, if you or baby decide you are NOT ready for this change, a bassinet makes it so easy to go back to your routine.” — Megan Larsen, Gear Expert 

shop all bassinets

Crib: Pros and Cons 

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

  • Avg. Retail Price: $350
  • Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price: $79
  • Avg. Seller Earnings: $31
  • Age Range: Approximately 0-3 years
  • Avg. Weight Limit: Approximately 0-50 pounds 

A crib is perhaps the most common type of baby bed. These sleep spaces are typically fixed pieces of furniture made of wood, complete with high wood slats. Cribs come in many styles and shapes (usually rectangular and circular), but there are three main types of cribs: traditional, convertible and mini. 

  • Traditional cribs: Sometimes called standard cribs, this is the most basic type of crib—usually a rectangle with high, slatted sides. 
  • Mini crib: Like a traditional crib, but in a smaller footprint better suited for small-space living. These cribs sometimes have wheels or fold up, but won’t suit your baby for as long as a traditional crib might. 
  • Convertible crib: Though very similar in construction, convertible cribs are more versatile than traditional cribs, since they convert to a toddler bed and sometimes even a full-size bed. 

Overall, cribs tend to be more versatile than bassinets, because they have much higher weight and height limits, plus can be used even after baby can roll over or pull themselves up. In most cases, a crib is suitable well into toddlerhood—until about 3 years old. That said, cribs—even mini cribs—are much less portable than bassinets. 

Best for: Families who only want to invest in one piece of furniture

Pros 

  • Highly durable
  • Suitable for both newborns and toddlers
  • Some even convert for use into childhood

Cons 

  • More expensive
  • Not very portable

Do You Need a Crib? 

For most families, a crib is a must-have baby product. If you opt to use a bassinet for your newborn, they will grow out of it by 6 months, at most. After that, your baby will still need a safe, contained sleep area until they are at least 18 months old, at the earliest. The AAP says a playard is a safe surface for sleep, but a crib will undoubtedly be more comfortable for your child. 

Best Cribs: Our GBG Picks 

 

What Our Team Thinks

“If you opt for a bassinet, you will eventually need a crib as bassinets have baby height/length, weight and/or milestone restrictions (sitting up for instance). Many cribs allow for your mattress to be set higher up and then lowered as baby grows. If your crib is compact and can fit through a standard doorway and has variable mattress heights, then your crib can dub as a bassinet. Sleep transitions tend to cause many parents, us included, a fair amount of anxiety as you strive to create and stick to routines. A safe, up to date crib will be essential as your baby grows, so look for a crib that is suitable to your environment, budget and needs. If keeping baby in a bassinet to crib to toddler bed is important to you, then look for brands with the ability to ‘grow with your child’. Having the ability to grow for less interruptions to sleep routines is well worth the investment, in our opinion.” — Megan Larsen, Gear Expert 

shop all cribs

Bassinets vs. Cribs: Comparison Chart 

bassinet vs crib comparison chart

Bassinet 
 Crib
Avg. Retail Price 
$280  $350 
Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price $150  $79
Avg. Weight  25 lbs  100 lbs
Avg. Dimensions  30" x 15"  28" x 52"
Age Requirements  0-6 months  0-3 years 
Period of Use  Approx. 6 months  Approx. 3 years 
Portability  Very  Somewhat
Assembly  Easy  Complex 
Stability  Very  Very 

 

Price Comparison 

Both cribs and bassinets come at highly variable price points. Whether shopping for a bassinet or a crib, you can find both budget and luxury options. That said, a bassinet tends to be less expensive, because it’s a smaller item. It’s worth noting, though: For overall value, a crib is a better choice, because although it’s a more expensive item, you’ll get more use out of it in the long run. 

Winner: Crib

Weight Comparison 

Bassinets are lighter and more portable than cribs. If you’re looking for something you can easily move in the early days, a bassinet is a better choice than a crib. 

Winner: Bassinet

Space-Saving Comparison 

If you’re tight on space, a bassinet is a great choice—especially for room sharing during the first 6 months. But note: Baby will need a crib once they can roll, sit or pull themselves up, so you will need a crib eventually. If space is a concern, try a mini crib

Winner: Bassinet

Period of Use Comparison 

A crib has better longevity than a bassinet. While a bassinet is very convenient during the newborn period, baby will outgrow it in a matter of months. A crib, on the other hand, will last you for a number of years—until about 3 years old when your little one is ready for a “big kid bed.” 

Winner: Crib

Portability Comparison 

There’s no doubt that a bassinet is the more portable option. They are lighter and often have carry handles, making them a more suitable choice for travel in the early days. Alternatively, a dedicated travel bassinet or playard is a good choice for travel. 

Winner: Bassinet

Assembly Comparison 

Many bassinets come pre-assembled, whereas cribs generally require assembly. While it’s typically not a complicated process, it’s a task you should budget about an hour for. Also worth noting: You typically need two people to get the job done most effectively, so if furniture assembly leads to family arguments, stick to a bassinet for now. 

Winner: Bassinet

Stability Comparison 

Cribs are heavier and typically made of wood, so they are undeniably more stable than bassinets. That said, a bassinet is stable enough to be a safe space for your baby. 

Winner: Crib

Crib or Bassinet: How to Choose 

If bassinets and cribs are both safe, suitable options for newborns, how do you choose? First, consider your lifestyle and space. Do you have a small room that won’t accommodate a crib during the room sharing period? A bassinet is a better choice for you. Or, do you have a tight budget and need a single piece of furniture that will go the distance? A crib is likely a better option for your family. 

FAQ 

Do You Need Both a Crib and Bassinet? 

You don’t need both a crib and a bassinet, but many parents find it’s a nice luxury to have both. A bassinet is best suited for the newborn days when you might want something smaller, lighter and more portable. On the other hand, a crib is a must-have once baby outgrows the bassinet and something they’ll need well into toddlerhood—until about 2 years of age. 

Can SIDS Happen in a Bassinet? 

Unfortunately, SIDS can happen in a bassinet, a crib or any other sleep space. According to the AAP, there is no way to definitively prevent SIDS. That said, you can—and should—follow all safety guidelines outlined by the AAP, as this can help reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. This includes placing baby to sleep on a flat, firm sleep surface, room sharing until at least 6 months and keeping any soft, loose objects (blankets, pillows, toys, crib bumpers and more) out of your baby’s sleep space. 

What is Safer a Crib or a Bassinet? 

Parents and caregivers can rest easy knowing that, according to the AAP, both cribs and bedside bassinets are equally safe sleep spaces, provided you follow safe sleep guidelines. 

For new parents, sleep is a primary concern. But you don’t need to labor over the decision to get a crib, a bassinet or both. Both bassinets and cribs are perfectly safe sleeping options for your newborn—the decision ultimately depends on external factors, like how much space you have, what your budget is and your personal preference. 

Share

Search

Explore Related Articles

Join the Village

Sign up for our newsletter to geek out on new gear, practical tips & exclusive offers.
Please enter valid email & phone

Thanks for joining us!

Check your email for a confirmation message.

Please enter a valid email