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10 of the best baby bouncer chairs, swings and rockers

Baby bouncer chairs and rockers are a great way for new mums to get some hands-free time, here's our pick of the best which have been tested by parents

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Baby chairs are comfortable seats to keep your baby content, soothe them and sometimes delight them. They also give you your hands back!

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There are a wide range of baby chairs and types, so we’ve analysed the baby bouncer, rocker and swing market and our journalist reviewers have rigorously tested a range of chairs with their babies. We’ve combined these results with feedback from parents to put together our recommendations for the best baby bouncers and rockers.

Safety note: Your baby should always be strapped in the chair with a harness and the chair must never be placed on a raised surface such as a table.

What’s the difference between a bouncer, a rocker and a swing chair?

Bouncer chairs are designed to be flexible so that they move (or bounce) slightly when you push down on the chair or when your baby kicks. This is a great way to encourage young babies to move and start using their leg muscles – they love the movement. Bouncers usually come with a toy bar or hanging mobile, which is ideal for keeping your baby entertained. As they are often have an upright position, bouncers can also be used as a feeding seat as your child grows.

Rockers are usually quite sturdy and many have a curved or slanted base that allows you to rock the chair manually or using battery-powered motion. They often have different recline positions and rocking speeds. Rockers that run on battery or mains power may also offer white noise, nature sounds or melodies that can be played while the chair is rocking or stationary.

Swing chairs are similar to rockers, but are usually limited to a back and forth swinging motion, rather than rocking from side to side. Swings offer the ability to change the speed of the swing and may also feature sounds or nursery rhymes. The soothing swing movement helps to soothe babies, and many parents find it particularly helpful if their babies have colic or are very fretful.

You’ll find that some chairs are now a combination of more than one of the types – which is usually reflected in the price.

What to look for when buying a baby bouncer, rocker or swing chair

What features do you want or need? Baby chairs come in all shapes and sizes; from pared back comfy seat to all-singing and dancing gadgets and chairs that swing in different directions. If you choose a chair that has music, motion or vibration, you will need to use batteries or buy one that plugs into the mains.

How much space does it take up? Some baby chairs have a seriously large floor space footprint, particularly for big swings and rockers. The bigger the chair, the less portable it will be – so think about which room it’s likely to live in (and potentially dominate). Also, most baby chairs don’t fold away compactly, so we’ve included dimensions for each chair so you can see if it’ll fit your space.

How easy is it to clean? Babies are messy – however much you try to keep them clean. And it means where they sit and lie can get dirty so check to see how easy the chair is to clean, whether you can remove the material and if it’s machine washable, or if it’s easy to wipe down.

When can my baby use a baby chair?

Most bouncers. rockers and swings are suitable from birth and some brands include a newborn insert or headrest for added padding and comfort.

For newborns, one of the main features should be a recline function that allows your baby to lie as flat as possible, as fully upright seats will not be suitable at this stage. If the chair fully reclines to 180 degrees it’s suitable for short daytime naps but shouldn’t be used for overnight sleeping.

How much do I need to spend on a baby bouncer or rocker?

While you can pick up more basic models for under £100 and even some under £50, the majority of the chairs are £100+ with those in the £150-200 price bracket having an extensive range of movement, sound, entertainment and design features.

Here’s our pick of the best baby bouncer, swing and rocker chairs…

1. Graco All Ways Soother, £200

– Best for calming babies

Suitable from: birth to 9 months (up to 9kg) | Type: Electronic swing and manual rocker | Dimensions: H81xW65.2cm | Weight: 10kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes (cold water) | Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2020, Baby bouncer swing/swing/seat – Gold

Graco All Ways Soother is a multi-functional seat with a range of options that are great if your baby gets bored easily or doesn’t like certain swinging modes or directions. The chair features 3 recline positions, 8 different swinging options, including in 2 directions, and 6 different speeds. In terms of entertainment, it has 10 melodies and nature sounds, as well as a hanging mobile with 2 soft toys.

MadeForMums home tester and mum-of-3 Louise, fell in love with how easily her baby fell asleep in the All Ways Soother. “It’s excellent quality and exceeded my expectations in every way. It is a truly universal product that would suit any baby due to the variety of functions and setting controls available. I enjoy having it as much as my baby!”

But the base is large and cumbersome, so this seat might be too big for more compact spaces. However, this is remedied slightly by the fact that the seat can be removed and used as a lightweight standalone baby rocker.

Pros: Multi-functional swinging options
Cons: Large base, expensive

Available from: Argos, Very and Studio

2. Beaba Up and Down Bouncer III, £150

– Best for baby interaction

Suitable from: birth to 6 months | Type: Manual rocker | Dimensions: H87xW52xL51cm | Weight: 5kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes 

If you want your baby sitting at a height closer to you – or if you have an inquisitive older child or curious pet – the Up and Down Bouncer III offers a safe, secure and comfy place. It can be set at 4 different heights up to 87cm, meaning your baby is close to you whether you are sitting or standing.

“It’s perfect for involving your baby in day-to-day family life, as well as interacting with them while you get on with the cooking or a bit of work,” said MFM reviewer Sarah, who tested the bouncer with her baby Edie from 1 week old.

The seat has 3 reclining positions and a manual rocking function. Due to its height, the bouncer has a 5-point harness to keep your baby safe and ensure they won’t fall out when the seat is upright or rocking.

“The only downside is that it takes up a lot of room,” comments Sarah. “I live in an old cottage and our cosy kitchen started to feel a bit cramped with this around the table at mealtimes. If only it could fold down!”

Easy to assemble and operate, the Up and Down Bouncer is straightforward for even the most sleep-deprived parents and can be adjusted with one hand using buttons or levers. If you want to use the rocking function, there’s no need for batteries. But this does mean no built-in sounds or music.

Pros: 4 adjustable height settings, 5-point harness
Cons: Large size, only suitable until 6 months

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Beaba Up & Down Bouncer III

Available from: Amazon and Kiddies Kingdom

3. BabyBjörn Bouncer Bliss, £154.99

– Best for space-saving

Suitable from: birth to 24 months (bouncer up to 9kg; chair up to 13kg) | Type: Manual bouncer | Dimensions: H89.5xW10xL39cm | Weight:2.3kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes | Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2020, Baby bouncer swing/swing/seat – Silver

If you are looking for something simple and unobtrusive that keeps your baby comfortable and can be easily moved around, check out the Bouncer Bliss. Available in 3 muted colours, it’s unassuming and has a pared-back design which MFM tester Laura was a fan of. “It comes in neutral colours and is sleek and super stylish, so it feels like an elegant piece of furniture,” she said. “Our old bouncer was quite garish and brightly coloured and I used to try and hide it away when it wasn’t in use.”

One of its main selling points is how light and portable it is, so you can easily move it from room to room or take it on holiday. It has a gentle natural rocking motion that is powered by your baby, so no need for batteries or power cords.

MFM home tester Claire liked the fact that it doesn’t take up a lot of space and said: “My baby seems to love it. My son has Down’s Syndrome and low muscle tone, so struggles with head control; this bouncer really supports him and he can bounce it easily by kicking his legs.”

The MFM home testers commented that the price point was high considering the chair doesn’t have a wide range of functions. However, they liked the fact that it can be used as a non-bouncer chair up to 13kg (approximately 2 years), which made it better value for money.

Pros: Lightweight, portable, sleek design
Cons: No toy bar, expensive given its simplicity

Available from: Baby Bjorn, Amazon and John Lewis

4. Chicco Balloon Bouncer, £69

– Best for value

Suitable from: birth to 18kg | Type: Manual rocker and electronic vibrations | Dimensions: H62xW43xL78cm  | Weight: 3.5kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes

The Chicco Balloon Bouncer is a great affordable option. The chair is well padded and has an adjustable headrest and seat cushion that can be removed as your baby grows. While it is called a ‘bouncer’, it doesn’t spring back like a traditional bouncer. Instead, it can be fixed in place as a chair or used in rocking mode. You can manually rock the chair, but the movement is limited and it won’t continue to rock for long if you stop.

MFM reviewer Georgina has been using it with her 3-month-old daughter. “She is quite happy sitting and listening to the melodies and looking at the hanging toys while we are eating a meal or getting our older daughter ready for school.” The seat has a gentle vibration setting Georgina found her daughter enjoyed, but for some reason the lights of the toy bar are on the outside, which your baby can’t see.

One function that Georgina and her children particularly liked is the ability to record a 30-second voice message that you can play back to your baby. “Our older daughter is very good at soothing her younger sister and she really enjoyed recording a message to play to her.”

The seat is not particularly compact when in use, but it does fold down for storage, is light to move around and has straps that make it easy to carry.

Pros: Good value for money, folds down
Cons: Odd toy bar design, big when in use

Available from: John Lewis, Argos and Kiddies Kingdom

5. Maxi-Cosi Kori, £99

– Best for style

Suitable from: birth to 9 months/9kg | Type: Manual rocker | Dimensions: H48xW42.5xD72cm | Weight: 2kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes | Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2020, Baby bouncer swing/swing/seat – Bronze

A sturdy rocker that doubles up as a chair, the Kori boasts a modern design with a neutral colour scheme. For parents who dislike bright childlike patterns and colours, this is the ideal seat to blend neatly into the background in most living rooms.

Its premium, pared-back design and supportive feel impressed our MFM Awards testers and judges. MFM tester Liz used the Kori with her 5-month-old son and found it is built to last. She said: “The design is beautiful, the colours are sophisticated and the materials are obviously high quality.”

This is a compact rocker that is light and folds flat, making it quick to put away and easy to transport or store. The Kori’s design is minimalistic and so it doesn’t have a toy bar or any other features to entertain your baby. However, where it does stand up is the comfort it provides; the seat is well padded, has a very comfortable 3-point harness for safety and 3 recline positions.

Liz added: “As a seat, this is great. My baby is clearly comfortable and the various reclining positions also make it versatile. As a rocker, however – this product is a bit too sturdy! The rocking motion is very limited, so don’t expect it to offer baby any option of independent rocking.”

Pros: Smart design, easy to store
Cons: Won’t rock independently, no toy bar

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi Kori

Available from: Maxi-Cosi, Amazon and John Lewis

6. Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper, £129.99

– Best for daytime naps

Suitable from: birth to 9kg | Type: Manual rocker and electronic vibrations | Dimensions: H74-77xW52cm  | Weight: 9kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes | Machine Washable Cover: Yes

Doing what it says on the tin, this 3-in-1 Rocker Napper has 3 positions that are easy to convert – in fact, you can do them one-handed according to MFM reviewer Claire. When being used as a rocker, the seat has a baby-activated mobile, soft toys and a music box with 9 different songs, as well as a vibrate option. The seat also reclines fully for when baby is tired; ideal for daytime naps.

While it says it can be used from birth, Claire found that her daughter was a bit too small as a newborn, as the seat is “very roomy”, so she used it from about four weeks old. She commented: “I added a sheepskin to make it a bit more cosy, but will remove this as she gets bigger to give it a longer lifespan.”

The mobile can be removed and the chair locked in place to be used as a feeding seat when your baby is being weaned. And the machine-washable covers mean that you won’t have to worry about food getting everywhere.

Claire liked the fact she could sit with her baby Millie while she laid in the rocker: “It means I can eat breakfast and lunch with her, and chat and interact, but still keep hands free. This is something I’ve used more and more as she’s grown – I’d highly recommend it as she is genuinely entranced with the lights and music.”

Pros: Converts to daytime napper, one-handed conversion
Cons: Roomy for newborns

Read our full MadeForMums review of the  Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper

Available from: Uber Kids, Very and Amazon

7. Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker, £59.99

– Best for longevity

Suitable from: birth to 18kg | Type: Manual rocker and electronic vibrations | Dimensions: H65cmxW40cmxL16cm | Weight: 3.5kg Machine Washable Cover: Yes

If you are looking for a rocker that will delight not just your baby but your toddler too, the Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is a great choice. Fisher-Price is a trusted nursery brand and the attention-grabbing look of this chair teamed with the reasonable price means it doesn’t disappoint.

The 2 hanging toys – a clacker and rollerball – have been designed to encourage your baby’s development by reaching, batting and playing.

With 2 recline positions, vibrations and an entertainment bar, the chair can initially be used as an infant rocker. As your child grows, the toy bar can be removed and using the kickstand it creates a comfortable seat for feeding, playing or resting. And for toddlers, the seat provides a fun rocking chair.

The covers are removable and machine washable, but the seat doesn’t recline fully and so isn’t advised for newborns to sleep in – as they should be sleeping on flat mattresses.

Pros: Good value for money, engaging toys
Cons: Doesn’t fully recline

Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon

8. 4moms MamaRoo, £199

– Best for technology

Suitable from: birth to 9kg (or until your baby can sit up unaided) | Type: Electronic swing and bouncer | Dimensions: H86xW51xL61cm | Weight: 8kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes 

With its futuristic design, the MamaRoo baby swing calms your baby with some pretty cool tech and innovation. It offers a combination of 5 different swing movements, designed to mimic natural parent rocking and comforting – the seat swings side by side and gently bounces up and down.

The MamaRoo is also Bluetooth-enabled, which means that you can control the swing motion, speed and even sounds from your phone. And the sounds aren’t just the built-in ones, you can select your own music from your phone or mp3 plug-in – and so you and your baby don’t have to keep listening to the same melodies over and over again.

It has a handy recline function where you use the slider mechanism on the back of the seat to adjust it from lying down to more of a seated position. These positions aren’t pre-set so you can choose what’s comfortable for your baby as MFM reviewer Rachel did: “The ingenious seat adjustment meant I could tip Evelyn back for a snooze and she’d be quite happy for fairly long periods.”

Rachel also found the MamaRoo quick and easy to assemble and to take apart, with its watchable zip-off fabric cover. However, while the large footprint makes this chair very stable, it’s not that easy to move around the house unless dismantled.

It’s worth noting that our MFM reviewer did find the volume too low when using the MP3 player function. This was a particular issue when her daughter Evelyn was using the bouncer at high intensity, as the mechanism was quite noisy. One MFM user agreed: “The faster the speed, the noisier the machine gets.”

Pros: Bluetooth or MP3 connection, easy to assemble and take down
Cons: Large size, very expensive

Read our full MadeForMums review of the 4moms MamaRoo

Available from: Amazon, Very and Uber Kids

9. Nuna Leaf, £160

– Best for manual rocking

Suitable for: birth to 12+/60kg | Type: Manual rocker | Dimensions: H45xW71xL72cm  | Weight: 4.5kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes

With the price point near the top end of the market, the Leaf’s main selling points is its stylish design, battery-free rocking movement lasting for 2 minutes and huge weight limit.

The USP of the Leaf is its gentle side-to-side rocking motion and its reclined position, which aims to induce sleep and calm. However, if you want to keep baby entertained while in the seat you can purchase a separate hanging toy bar (£20).

MFM reviewer Daisy used the Leaf with her 12-week-old son and found it to be robust, although heavy to move around the house. However she added that “the sturdy nature of the device ensures peace of mind knowing it won’t topple over or baby won’t fall out.”

It also has several useful accessories that can be purchased separately, but if you did decide to buy them all, it pushes up the overall cost of this seat significantly. For example, parents who want their child to be rocked for longer periods can buy the Wind Leaf Rocker (£70). This is a mini motor that pushes the seat post, activating the chair’s swaying motion, and operates at 6 different speeds.

With many people taking a keen interest in eco-friendly products, one MFM user liked the Leaf for its environmental credentials: “When I found out conventional bouncy seats are often treated with a load of chemicals I felt a bit overwhelmed. Not only is this chair made with 100% certified organic cotton, it’s machine washable and has a robust metal frame.”

Pros: Large weight limit, made with soft cotton
Cons: Bulky, need to purchase separate toy bar

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Nuna Leaf

Available from: John Lewis, Trendy Baby and Samuel Johnston

10. Joie Sansa 2in1, £150

– Best for newborn comfort

Suitable from: birth to 13kg | Type: Manual and electronic rocker and vibrations | Dimensions: H71.5xW53.5xL77.5cm | Weight: 7kg | Machine Washable Cover: Yes 

This multi-purpose baby seat gives the choice of manual or automated movement to rock your child. It also has 3 recline positions, 2 vibration options, 5 songs and 5 white noise/nature sounds. With a good selection of rocking options and speeds – back and forth, side to side or a combination of both – you are likely to find a setting that is just right for your child.

MFM reviewers Iván and Sophie liked how comfortable the Sansa 2in1 was for their 4-month-old daughter Mila: “It comes with an infant insert and head support to ensure the smallest babies are comfortable and safely positioned.”

And for older kids a MFM user further added, “The different recline position are great as your baby gets bigger and wants to look around more. It lasted our little girl till she was around 8 months.”

While Iván and Sophie found the Sansa 2in1 a little tricky to assemble and the base quite heavy with a large footprint, the seat can be removed from the base unit for easier transportation. In addition, the chair can be battery or mains powered and the base has built-in speakers that have good sound quality and a decent volume range making this a great multi-functional rocker.

Pros: Multi-functional, newborn insert
Cons: Tricky to assemble, heavy base

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Joie Sansa 2in1

Available from: Mamas & Papas, Amazon and John Lewis

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