If you’re only going to buy one thing for your new baby, it should be a crib (although big-picture, you might want to reconsider your purchasing strategy). The crib is arguably the most important piece of gear you’ll get for your kid — and, if you choose correctly, their future siblings — since it’s where they’ll be spending the majority of their time not spent in your arms. Note the word “arguably,” as this assumes your kid figures out the whole sleeping thing before it’s time to transition to a race car bed.
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Sleep
With that in mind, here are the best cribs on the market.
What To Look For In A Baby Crib
Before you start shopping, take note of these important considerations:
Hardwood like pine, beech, birch or poplar generally outlasts the medium-density fibreboard (MDF) many cribs use. There are cheaper options that look like wood, but unless you’re willing to sleep on a pile of sawdust and glue, don’t force your kid to. They’ll gnaw right through that junk, anyway, little savages. Avoid finishes and materials that include VOCs and carcinogens like formaldehyde, which appear more frequently than they should. You’re trying to clean up the chemical shitstorm that is the average home, not add to it.
Sturdiness & Safety
Ideally, your crib will be strong enough to last through multiple kids. Generally, weightier equals sturdier, though materials and design play a role. The crib is also unique in that it’s intended for use specifically without your supervision, so you’d better trust it’s safe. Double check the spaces between slats; any opening greater than 2 ⅜ inches wide is unsafe by industry standards. Drop-side cribs, where one or both side rails can be lowered for easier kid access, have been banned since 2011, so forget that you probably slept in one and buy something newer. In fact, when it comes to cribs, you probably want to buy something new, period.
The crib will be the centerpiece of the nursery, so you’d better enjoy looking at it. Fortunately, an unintended side effect of banning drop-side cribs has been that more handsome pieces of furniture designed with aesthetics in mind as much as function. You’re still encouraged to adorn it with dinosaur sheets.
Bassinet, crib, toddler bed, full-size bed — ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that! Get something that can expand as your kid grows, especially if it comes with toddler rails, which keep them from rolling off the bed. Even if you have another kid soon after the first and the newborn gets the crib, one of them will eventually utilize all the features.
RELATED: How to Pick The Right Portable Crib
The All-Around Crib: Oeuf Rhea
Pros: The Night Light named this their top pick for its modern, sophisticated design and sturdy, eco-friendly construction. It’s made from locally sourced, solid birch and birch plywood with water-based, VOC-free stains in an FSC-certified facility. Said facility is in Europe, so you know it meets even stricter standards than ours.
Cons: The toddler conversion kit is sold separately, and it doesn’t convert to a full-size bed, so you’ll eventually have to spring for the race car while baby bro or sis takes over the Rhea. Not a bad hand-me-down, though. Price is also a consideration, since fully outfitting the crib with a mattress, pad, sheet, bumper, and conversion kit could easily push you over $1,000 total.
Dimensions: 54 x 30.5 x 37 inches
Weight: 84.4 pounds
Material: Solid birch and Baltic birch plywood
Warranty: 5 years for wooden frame and parts; 1 year for finish and hardware
The Crib Traditionalist: Pottery Barn Kids Kendall Convertible Crib
Pros: It’s Pottery Barn’s best-selling baby crib, and they’ve been at this furniture thing for a little bit. It’s also, as one Babylist reviewer noted, pretty much exactly how you’d imagine a crib looking. The side rails are slightly lower than average for easy reaching. It qualifies for Pottery Barn’s home delivery, which means they’ll haul away the packaging and assemble it for you — in less than 30 minutes, according to that same reviewer. All that adds up to 2 BabyCenter Moms’ Picks Awards for Best Quality and Ease Of Use.
Cons: While the metal mattress platform adjusts to 3 levels, the crib itself doesn’t convert beyond a toddler bed — and you’ll need a separately sold kit to even get that far. A reviewer on Babycenter also warns that you won’t be able to store as much underneath the Kendall as you might with other cribs.
Dimensions: 57 x 32 x 44 inches
Weight: 77 pounds
Material: Solid poplar wood
The Splurge Crib: Stokke Sleepi
Pros: The Night Light and Apartment Therapy said the Stokke Sleepi is worth the price for its solid European beech construction, convertibility up to a toddler bed thanks to a removable front panel, and included bassinet. The oval shape makes it unique, visually striking, and adaptable to a greater variety of spaces. Plus, it’s really, really, ridiculously good looking. And that 7-year warranty, though!
Cons: Mattress sold separately, yet they require you to order one when you buy the crib. You’ll also need specific sheets on account of the bed’s unique shape. Both those things are kind of annoying, but you’ll need sheets and a mattress with any crib, and the price difference for Stokke isn’t so vast as to be prohibitive. Conversion to a junior bed requires another kit. Apartment Therapy notes potentially long delivery times and IKEA-esque confusing instructions.
Dimensions: 50 x 29 x 33.5 inches
Weight: 56 pounds
Material: Solid beech wood, beech laminate, beech plywood
Warranty: 7 years
The Bargain Crib: DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
Pros: A consistent pick among experts for offering looks, versatility, and safety at an affordable price. Easy conversion from from crib to toddler bed to daybed to full-size means even more bang for relatively little buck. Reviewers at Pick My Baby Crib called it “one of the safest cribs on the planet;” it’s JPMA certified (chemical-free and safely constructed), meets ASTM international and US CPSC crib safety standards, and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning it’s been screened for more than 360 VOCs and 10,000 chemicals. The Night Light lauded its 100-percent sustainable New Zealand pine materials. Aesthetically, it’ll fit in with any nursery and comes in 7 finishes.
Cons: Though the toddler rail is included, you will need to buy a separate $89 conversion kit to unlock the Kalani’s full(-size) potential. According to The Night Light, the slightly higher than average sides and protruding rail can make it hard to reach in and out for smaller individuals … and carnies.
Dimensions: 54.5 x 34.5 x 42 inches
Weight: 56 pounds
Material: 100-percent sustainable New Zealand pine wood
Warranty: One year
The Stylish Value Crib: Stork Craft Tuscany
Pros: It exceeds all US and Canadian safety standards (CPSC and ASTM), is JPMA certified, uses only solid wood and wood products, has that beautiful, classic design, and is an absolute bargain. As the Pick My Baby Crib folks put it, “this is one of the best constructed and finely designed cribs on the market today – and it’s available at a fraction of the price you’d expect to spend for quality like this.”
Cons: To convert to full-size, you’ll need to buy a separate metal bed frame. Some Amazon reviewers reported experiencing difficulties while assembling, so maybe have a beer handy.
Dimensions: 54.2 x 33 x 43 inches
Weight: 80 pounds
Material: Solid Pine wood and wood products
Warranty: 1 year
The City Dweller Crib: Bloom Alma Mini
Pros: Slim profile, lockable casters, and the ability to fold up; ideal for parents clinging to big city dreams and one-bedroom rents. Many Amazon reviewers agree, like so: “We could move from space to space easily … move through doors with no problem … [and] fold and throw in the trunk if you need to spend the night elsewhere … My son always had a consistent space to sleep in, even if we were in a different location.” It’s also made with baby-safe, low-VOC finishes (including rad “Gala Green”) and is MDF- and formaldehyde-free.
Cons: If and when you do head for the burbs (you know it’s happening), you’re gonna need a bigger boat. Not just because you’ll have more space for furniture, but because your kid could quickly outgrow this crib like this Amazon reviewer’s: “My daughter will be 4 months next week and her head and feet almost reach both ends.”
Dimensions: 19.5 x 37.2 x 32.8
Weight: 60 pounds
Material: Solid birch wood
Warranty: 2 years
The Crib From IKEA: IKEA Gulliver
Pros: You won’t find a better price for a lightweight, traditional crib that converts to a toddler bed.
Cons: In this case, “converts to toddler bed” roughly translates to “the railing comes off of one side,” which means there’s nothing stopping your toddler from rolling off the bed like a poor, lost Swedish meatball. You’re also definitely going to have to anchor it to the wall to ensure it doesn’t accidentally tip over.
Dimensions: 53.5 x 29.5 x 32.6 inches
Weight: 50 pounds
Material: Solid beech, tinted clear acrylic lacquer, fiberboard
The Statement Piece Crib: Nursery Works Gradient Crib
Pros: If MTV Cribs was about actual cribs, this would be the premiere and the finale. It’s made in the USA out of gorgeous, 100 percent solid Maple hardwood, features an Oeko-tex certified non-toxic mattress, and just looks incredible. You can bet none of your friends’ kids sleep surrounded by “slats which form an asymmetrical organic surface that explores continuous movement with no visual end” that “you must walk around to fully experience.”
Cons: Beauty comes with a hefty price tag — even their cheapest crib costs more than a flight to Tokyo — but without a toddler conversion. The Gradient is also not available online, so you’re out of luck if you don’t live near one of their galleries, er, retailers.
Dimensions: 62.76 x 36.92 x 35 inches
Weight: 145 pounds
Material: 100-percent solid Maple hardwood
Warranty: One year