Baby bouncers and rockers aren’t a necessary tool for raising your child, but they can definitely be a potent weapon in the parental arsenal. For the most part they work exactly as described, either bouncing or rocking a baby, and the repetitive motion can often calm babies who are fussy or collicky and lull them to sleep or at least quiet. They’re also excellent for when you need to do something that takes up the majority of your attention. We preferred the Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer for most people. It seems to make the perfect middle ground between too expensive and too cheap, and it’s got enough features that it will keep the average child occupied for quite some time.
On the other hand, there’s an absolute myriad of these handy devices out there and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that each baby is going to react a little bit differently to their bouncer or rocker. Making sure you have the best baby bouncer for your growing family is a good, although not 100% required, purchase and most parents have found them to be quite useful over the years.
This was undoubtedly our favorite of all of the baby bouncers we looked at. It’s got a lot of features at a great price, just be aware of the limitations and you’ll be alright.
Top 5 Baby Bouncers and Rockers
|Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer||Electric Bouncer||25lbs||Check Price|
|Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper||Electric Rocker||25lbs||Check Price|
|BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft||Manual Bouncer||29lbs||Check Price|
|Playful Pinwheels Bouncer||Electric Bouncer||30lbs||Check Price|
|Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker||Electric Rocker||40lbs||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Baby Bouncer
Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer
This was our favorite of all of the bouncers we tried out. It’s an electrically powered model, which will lull your babe with soft music when activated. It also has an overhead mobile to keep your child occupied while they’re contained within.
The plush pad which is contained within the seat is easily washable and removable, making it quick to clean if an accident happens. We found most children seemed to enjoy the whole experience immensely, although we wouldn’t recommend using it as a sleeper.
It also has a vibrating feature which seems to work pretty well. Vibration is always a dicey game when it comes to bouncers, since many seem unable to get the vibration correct over the entire seat and instead end up rattling in only one spot. No issues with that here.
Of course, it’s also quite sturdy and the harness is quite safe which bumped it to the top of our list pretty much immediately. Add in the fact that it’s available at a very reasonable cost and it’s a clear winner.’
On the other hand, there are a couple of issues but they’re not deal breakers in the end. The vibration feature has a tendency to make a whole lot of noise and it takes C batteries which can be a bit of a pain to find so we recommend you pick some up when you get the bouncer if you buy it online.
Pros and Cons
- Soothing music and vibrations
- Great price for features
- Extremely plush seat which is easily removed for washing
- Very durable and safe
- Uses C batteries
- Vibration can be a bit noisy
2. Best Baby Rocker
Fisher-Price Auto Rock 'n Play Sleeper
When we went looking for a rocker we knew it had to have a few different things in order to stand out from the competition: music, automatic swaying, a sturdy base, and quality that couldn’t be questioned.
We also wanted to make sure that the price was right for the majority of people as well. That’s how we stumbled across this excellent rocker, which comes with a variety of songs to play for your infant and all of the qualities that we felt were needed in order to ensure that your child can rest secure and sound.
It’s a hands-free rocker, allowing you to activate it and handle whatever you need to for a few minutes. The plug-in is kind of a double-edged sword, it’s not battery operated so you can run it for quite some time but you also need to make sure there’s a nearby outlet to use it.
It’s a bit too deep for some of our reviewer’s tastes, unfortunately, and some felt it wasn’t quite plush enough for their child. Both of these are relatively minor and easily fixed with blankets, the only other issue was that a few people found it quit working relatively quickly.
That’s not as major as it sounds, open it up and place a thick hair tie where the band for the motor was and you’ll quickly have it in working order again.
For the price, you’re not going to be able to beat this baby rocker. The electronics are great, just keep in mind you may have to do a minor repair if you get one with a faulty band on the motor.
Pros and Cons
- Twelve different songs
- Automatic rocking with the push of a button
- Plug in, no need for batteries
- Two rocking speeds
- Band on motor has a tendency to not last
- A bit deep for some babies
3. Best Manual Bouncer
BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft
We debated over whether to include this bouncer for one reason: it’s really expensive despite not being a powered option. Eventually we decided that we’d be making an error not to include it, since it really is one of the best baby bouncers on the market.
Once it was set up the first thing we noticed was that it handled the baby’s movements quite deftly. Even a little bit of movement from younger babies sent it quickly rocking and without the need for batteries or any real setup it’s definitely the easiest to use on our list.
In addition to that, it also converts into a toddler chair which extends the lifespan and lowers the hurt on your pocket book a bit. It also has four possible positions, from upright to almost all the way down, allowing you to find which one works best with your child.
It’s expensive, and it’s not powered, but if you can handle that then you’ll be in good hands.
If you’re not into bouncers which do the work for your child, then you’ll be in good hands with this option from BabyBjörn. Just be aware of the high price tag.
Pros and Cons
- Ultra responsive to baby’s movements
- Very sturdy and high-quality build
- Four different reclining positions
- Doubles as a toddler chair
- Very expensive
- No music or toys attached
4. Best Budget Baby Bouncer
Playful Pinwheels Bouncer
Coming in at around half the cost of our favorite at the time of this writing, the Playful Pinwheels Bouncer is a relatively no frills baby bouncer with a little bit of extras to make it stand out from similarly priced devices.
It comes with a vibration source and a few toys, including a mirror which seemed to delight all of the children we placed in it. It’s also colorful and the bouncing action works pretty well compared to anything in the same price range.
It’s easily washed as well, which adds to the value here.
We had to politely disagree with their listed weight tolerance, however, which was at fifty pounds. Frankly, a child that large isn’t going to be in a bouncer anyways. There’s also a lack of a padding on the under-supports so if your baby is prone to kicking them you want to wrap them in a towel.
You usually get what you pay for, but in this case it’s a heck of a lot more than we thought was possible for such a low price.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent price
- Fairly high build-quality
- Includes toys and mirror
- Listed weight tolerance is overly optimistic
- Bare metal supports can be kicked by children
5. Best Budget Rocker
Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
If you’re looking for a rocker but don’t have a ton of money to spend, we recommend you take a closer look at this cheap offering from Fisher-Price. It comes in at a great price and still has many of the features which you desire from one of these handy baby soothers.
Our favorite part? It turns into a small rocking chair for your child as they get older and no longer need to be strapped in. That’s a lot of added value for something which comes in at such a low price.
It’s also got a couple of toys to keep your child occupied while they’re confined within it. The rocking isn’t powered, and indeed it’s almost closer to a bouncer than a rocker but there’s a lot of good stuff here.
It’s not without issues, of course, the toys are a bit hard for babies and the kickstand doesn’t seem to keep it quite level.
That said, this is a great, low-priced rocker which many of our reviewers found awesome. We’d have to agree, if you’re looking for a budget rocker then snap this one up as soon as you can.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent price
- Converts into a toddler chair
- Different color options
- Comes with toys
- Toys are made of a hard plastic
- Kickstand doesn’t seem to sit completely level
Why Use a Baby Bouncer or Rocker?
There’s a lot of different opinions out there on whether or not these baby products are necessary, or indeed even if they’re safe to use.
We’ll address the safety concerns in a moment, but for the most part we feel that these devices are well justified as long as they’re both made correctly and not used overly much. Just like baby jumpers they’re a great way to keep your child entertained for a relatively short amount of time.
Bouncers and rockers are intended for younger children than jumpers. Primarily those who can’t yet sit up on their own, and the weight limits readily reflect this when you look closely.
While your kid shouldn’t be living in their bouncer or rocker, you’ll definitely benefit from being able to put them up for a short time and keeping your hands free when you’re doing things like cooking or cleaning.
They’re also quite useful for colicky babies, and can help to soothe their fussing and other problems quite readily.
Safely Using Your Baby Bouncer or Rocker
Almost every piece of equipment made for babies these days has a seemingly endless list of stipulations attached to them by pediatricians and other experts on baby development. Bouncers are no different, but the general rules you should follow are pretty simple:
- Even if marketed as a “sleeper”, you shouldn’t place your baby into a bouncer deliberately for nap time. Some parents have even used these overnight, which is definitely not something you want to do, a firm, flat surface is required for children under a year of age to reduce the risk of SIDS. For this reason the AAP recommends moving a child who has fallen asleep off the device as soon as possible.
- If you want something for your child to nap on, go with a rocker as opposed to a bouncer. Most of these provide the flat surface required and support your baby while they nap.
- Always supervise your child while they’re in the bouncer or rocker. It’s pretty much a necessity that you always keep an eye on your baby when they’re not in the crib and while bouncers are generally quite safe it’s just good practice.
- Try to limit sessions to thirty minutes or so, with ninety minutes per day being a good guidelines to follow for bouncers. Rockers can be napped in safely, but shouldn’t be used overnight..
As long as you follow the above guidelines you’ll be in good hands. It’s not necessary to worry too much, but it’s always a good idea to know what you’re getting into.
This is especially true when buying baby products, where quite often it seems like marketing misinformation can rule the day.
Baby Bouncer or Baby Rocker?
If you’re undecided on what exactly you’re looking for, then you may want to spend some time thinking this choice over.
Baby bouncers are best for awake babies, functioning as an entertaining and temporary way to distract them. As noted in the safety section, you should avoid letting your child sleep in their bouncer.
Bouncers are still a good way to temporarily immobilize your baby and they work well for those who are trying to get their hands free for a moment. Most children also find them quite soothing, but they aren’t the proper place to allow your baby to get a nap.
Baby rockers, on the other hand, are specifically designed for napping babies. If you want your child to be able to take a nap without you having to move them back to their crib, then a rocker may be what you’re looking for.
They’re still not a good option for overnight sleeping, which should be done on an immobile surface, but they can help to make your day smoother since most children readily take to the rocking motion and it can often lull them to sleep quickly.
For most parents, this can be a case of “why not both?” Since they’re only used for a short period in a baby’s life both of these are often quite cheap. Selling them when you’re done with them is usually easily accomplished as well, Facebook groups and Craiglist are both excellent places to get some of your money back when you’re done with them.
What to Look for in Your Baby Bouncer or Rocker
Once you’ve decided on which type you’re planning on going with you’ll want to spend some time making sure that you end up with the best bouncer or rocker around. There’s a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking at them.
Safety is the biggest consideration for any kind of baby device, and while bouncers and rockers are generally remarkably safe we recommend making sure that your chosen device meets the JPMA recommendations. These are the following:
- A wide base which has some kind of texture to prevent it from slipping on the floor.
- A sturdy frame to keep things from breaking during usage
- A minimum three point safety harness to keep the child in place
We didn’t actually ensure that all of our bouncers were JPMA members, but we definitely did our best to ensure that all of the above were followed when we chose the bouncers and rockers for recommendation.
If you are looking at a second-hand bouncer or rocker then you’re going to want to make sure that it has all of the above and there’s no real damage done to it.
Reclining Modes for Bouncers
Most baby bouncers have a variety of different seating positions. This ends up being quite important, since younger children will often need to be closer to the upright position and you’ll want to be able to lean it back as time goes on in order to ensure that your child can enjoy a comfortable half-lying position once they get older.
While this isn’t as big of a concern with some of the modern, electronically powered devices, if you opt for a cheaper manual device then you’ll want to make sure that it’s responsive to your babies movements or your initial push.
With bouncers this is especially important, as your child should be awake for the majority of their time contained within the device. A bouncer which responds to the often minimal motion of a baby is a much better deal than one which needs your constant attention in order to maintain movement.
With rockers this is a bit less of a concern, but we’re also more inclined to go with an electronically powered option there in order to keep the lulling motion going while you’re involved in whatever task you may need.
Babies make messes.
We all know it, and most of us have lived it at some point.
That means that being able to quickly and easily wash the cover or seat of your bouncer or rocker is pretty much a necessity. Whether it’s an overfilled diaper, spilled milk, or just some spit-up, it’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you’re able to machine wash the cover for your rocker or bouncer.
For the most part, as long as it can hold at least twenty pounds a rocker or bouncer should be good to go. These devices are most often used for only a few months during a child’s growth.
On the other hand, some of the better ones can later be converted into something which is useful for a toddler. If that’s the case, then the weight limit is likely to be significantly higher than many of the models and they’ll usually convert into a chair or other device once their time is up which adds to their overall value.
Some of the bouncers and rockers out there run pretty high in price.
There’s a reason we didn’t jump on recommending the most expensive one right out of the gate, which is the fact that it’s really not all that necessary to go down that road for most people. You should stick within your budget rather than going overboard in this case, especially since you’re not likely to be using even the best of them for months to come.
On the other hand, if you’ve got the extra money there are some impressive features available on high end bouncers and rockers. It’s really up to you and your purse strings.
Whether you’re looking for a bouncer or a rocker, there really is something there for everyone at the end of the day. Each baby is an individual, however, and we recommend that you take a look in stores or with friends to see if your baby enjoys a particular model before purchasing online to save money.
No matter what you’re looking for, the right bouncer or rocker is definitely out there for you. We’re still fond of the Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer, but as you can see there’s a wide range of different rockers and bouncers out there.
Why not pick one up today?