Best cots and cot beds for babies

Our expert guide to the best cots and cotbeds which have been tried and tested by families

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Choosing the perfect cot or cotbed for your baby to sleep in can seem a daunting task with so many to pick from. As well as deciding on something that’ll sit well in your baby’s nursery, you want one that’s safe and not too difficult to put together.

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We’ve spoken to 583 parents and parents-to-be about the sleep products they’ve used with their babies. Building on this we’ve also spoken to sleep expert, Lucy Shrimpton, and sleep charity, The Lullaby Trust, to find our pick of the best of the cots and cotbeds with options for different budgets, designs and versatility depending on what you’re looking for.

Lucy Shrimpton, advises parents to think practically when choosing the type of sleep product you want. She says, “Know where you want your child to sleep, for example do you want something that will last from newborn to 3 years and above. Or do you want something smaller that you can upgrade?”

“Really understand your objectives, the life of the product and where it’s going to fit. Features like it being rockable aren’t important here.”

Ultimately the most important element for your baby when it comes to sleep is the mattress. If your cot comes with a mattress check that it’s firm and flat, and that it fits snugly inside. If it doesn’t, make sure you choose a mattress that fits with no gaps on any of the sides.

Should I get a cot or cotbed?

Before you decide on which sleep product you want, it’s important to decide on the type that’s best for you and your baby. For something that’ll last right through to their toddler years, a cot’s a great option which will typically take you to around 2 years.

A cot may also be the better choice if you’re short on space as they tend to be smaller, which Anita M from our Facebook group found. She says, “We first got a bedside crib for the first 6 months and then we got a cot rather than a cotbed mainly due to the lack of space in the nursery. We couldn’t have fit anything even slightly bigger than what we have.”

However if you want something that’ll last beyond your baby’s first few years, you may want to invest in a cotbed. Although these can be more expensive they’ll convert from a standard cot to a toddler bed by removing the sides, with some taking your child to around 10 years.

Out of the parents we spoke to who bought a cot or cotbed for their baby, 64% chose to go for a cotbed like Rebecca C from our Facebook group who says, “We went for a cot bed as we wanted something that was long lasting and durable.

“As with most things with us we want value for money and practical, not just something that looks pretty but is outgrown quickly.”

How much does a cot or cotbed cost?

Cots can start from around £40 and go all the way up to around £500 for a high end luxury model. Cotbeds tend to cost more, starting from around £200, but bear in mind that they’re designed to last longer that a cot, so you get more longevity for your money.

And don’t forget the additional cost of a mattress, as most cots and cotbeds don’t come with one included. These can range from anywhere between £50 to around £250.

How do I choose a cot or cotbed?

When you’re choosing which brand and model to go for there’s lots of factors to take into account, depending on your budget and the needs of you and your baby. Our handy shopping checklist below gives you some key will make sure you don’t miss out any key features.

For example some cotbeds come with the option of buying a toddler guard that covers a small length of the bed, to help with the transition from cot to bed, or a teething rail to keep your baby safe if they start to bite on the rail of the cot.

Some also come with extra storage, which can be handy if your room is on the smaller side, or extension kits included in the price which will save you having to buying one as your child grows.

Are cots with drop-side cots safe?  

If you suffer from a bad back, a cot which comes with drop down sides could also be useful. These cots come with sides that slide down, making it easier to lift out your baby which helps to prevent strain on your back.

You’ll tend to find more cots and cotbeds in the UK come with fixed sides as these are considered to be sturdier and have less risk of the drop down mechanism breaking, meaning a child could become stuck between the cot and mattress.

Currently cots with drop-sides are banned in the USA after instances where they caused a number of baby and toddler deaths. However it’s important to remember that cots and cot beds in the UK are manufactured under different safety standards, which means they are safe to use.

We spoke to the UK’s Baby Products Association (BPA), who explained that in the UK there have been no reported instances of deaths involving drop-side cots that it’s aware of. It has also said that current safety standard for cots involves quite rigorous testing, including impact testing, which differs from the standard in the USA.

Providing you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use them correctly, drop down sides are a safe feature to have.

We also spoke to the CEO of the sleep charity, The Lullaby Trust, Jenny Ward who says, “Any drop down sides should only be lowered when you need to access and look after your baby, and the side should always be fully up when your baby is asleep or left unattended for a short period.” 

What mattress is best for my cot or cotbed? 

Before deciding on a mattress, it’s crucial to check that it fits the dimensions of your cot or cotbed, which can be done by following the manufactures recommendations.

There also shouldn’t be any gaps larger than 4cm between the mattress and cot or cotbed, to ensure your baby doesn’t become stuck.

Sleep Consultant, Lucy Shrimpton, says, “The number one piece of advice here is to make sure it is safe with a flat, firm mattress that is not next to a radiator or near blinds.”

If your mattress is too soft there is a risk of suffocation if your baby could accidentally roll onto their front, so it’s important to check the firmness of your mattress when choosing one. It’s also important to check for any choking hazards like free hanging zips, though these should be covered when you use a fitted sheet over your baby’s mattress.

Take a look at our detailed guide to baby mattresses for further expert advice.

Should I get a bedside crib first before a cot or cotbed?

There’s also the option of going for a bedside crib for the first 6 months. These allow you to have your baby closer to your bed, but still follow the safety guidelines of keeping your baby in a separate cot or crib.

These come sides with can be temporarily removed, which can be handy for night feeds and make it easier to soothe your baby.

Take a look at our detailed guide to 10 of the best bedside cribs for further information, where we’ve rounded up the best options that have been tried and tested by parents.

Best cots and cotbeds for babies and toddlers tested by experts and parents

1. Boori Eton Convertible Plus Cot Bed, £649

The best cot bed for longevity

Suitable age: from birth and beyond to adult-sized bed (conversion kit sold separately for £199) | Mattress size: 132cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 2 | Size: L147cm x H90cm x D84cm

While most cot beds can be transformed into a toddler bed, with the help of a conversion kit (sold separately), the Boori Eton Convertible Plus Cot Bed goes one better to turn into an adult-sized double bed (L207cm x W147cm x H90cm) or sofa, making it the longest-lasting choice on our list.

This was a feature one of our MFM reviewers liked, saying, “As there’s also the option to raise the base to keep the cot bed as a love seat, it makes it, in my opinion, incredible value for money.”

For reassurance as you convert from a cot to toddler bed, you can also adjust a panel on the side to provide a low side for an extra safety feature.

Pros:

  • Will take you right up to adult-sized double bed

Cons:

  • Have to buy toddler guard separately

Available from: Boori, John Lewis and Argos

2. Silver Cross Notting Hill Cot Bed, £395

A sleek yet sturdy design

Suitable age: from birth | Mattress size: 140cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L152cm x H85cm x D75cm

Silver Cross is well-known for its high quality, reliable range of pushchairs but the brand also has a wide selection of nursery furniture and bedding.

The stylish Notting Hill Cot Bed will see you through the newborn months right until your toddler is ready for their first bed, when you can take down the sides.

Its minimal design and classic glossy white finish will sit well in most nurseries, which John Lewis customers particularly liked along with its quick assembly. One customer says, “It was easy to assemble and looks sleek and modern and the high gloss finish is easy to clean.”

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Only one colour option available

Available from: Silver Cross, Kiddies Kingdom, Very

3. Ikea Sniglar Cot, £40

Best budget buy

Suitable age: from birth to 2 years | Mattress size: 60cm x 120cm/70cm x 140cm | Mattress base positions: 2 | Size: L124cm x H80cm x D66cm

Ikea is a one-stop-shop for anyone on a budget and the Sniglar cot is no exception. Launched in 2008, the simple design has proved to be a major winner with parents, as it’s been a bestseller ever since.

At just £40, it’s the best value cot on our round-up by quite a margin and with a slim profile and neat frame, it’s just the ticket if you’re tight on space or if you need a more permanent sleeping arrangement at a grandparent’s house.

This was a feature our MFM reviewer praised, saying, “The dimensions of the Sniglar, with its ever-so-slim profile and neat frame – are as small as you can manage in a full-size cot, making it perfect for cramped flats or small spaces.”

The simple design will sit perfectly in most nurseries with customers saying they didn’t feel like they were sacrificing quality for a budget price. One customer says, “I bought it when my baby had to move from ‘next to me’ to a real crib so I fixed it on the lowest position straight away. It really works for us and I couldn’t fault it.”

Pros:

  • Budget option
  • Two sizes available

Cons:

  • One colour option

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Ikea Sniglar cot

Available from: Ikea

4. Troll Scandy Cot Bed, £329

A minimal and sleek design

Suitable age: from birth | Mattress size: 140cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 2 | Size: L151cm x H88cm x D75.6cm

Troll, a nursery furniture manufacturer based in Latvia, uses wood from its local birch forests for much of its products and is constantly looking for new ways to reduce its environmental footprint.

Made from solid birchwood, it’s fantastically long lasting and also one of the few on the market to be safety tested to hold up to 40kg (approx 12 years) so will last as your child grows.

While it’s closest in price to other sleigh beds, what makes the Scandy Cot Bed stand out from the crowd is its minimalist, trend-setting Scandinavian design; just the choice for parents who want to lead in the style stakes.

Pros:

  • Sustainable long lasting materials
  • Minimal design

Cons:

  • Only 2 mattress heights

Available from: John Lewis

5. Tutti Bambini Modena Cot Bed, £199

An affordable all-rounder

Suitable age: from birth to 6 years | Mattress size: 140cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L148cm x H85cm x D75cm

Tutti Bambini’s Modena Cot Bed is designed to take you all the way up to 6 years, converting into a junior bed then sofa bed. It’s a great all rounder with fixed teething rails on both sides and a three position adjustable base.

Depending on your preference there’s three stylish colour options available combining white oak and grey wood.

It’s simple and quick to build, with many of Wayfair’s 5 star reviews praising this aspect. One reviewer says, “It was also very easy to assemble as all sides and base came in one piece.”

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to assemble L
  • Lasts from birth to 6 years

Cons:

  • No guard on junior bed

Available from: Tutti Bambini, Amazon and Wayfair

6. Babymore Eva Sleigh Cot Bed, £199

Natural wood with practical features

Suitable age: from birth to 4 years | Mattress size: 120cm x 60cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L137cm x H100cm x D66cm

A previous MadeForMums Awards winner, the Babymore Eva Sleigh comes with a range of handy features like a drop-side that it says can be manouevered with one hand and a drawer that runs the full width of the cot bed.

Around 70% of Amazon customers who bought the cot bed gave it 5 stars, with many praising these practical features. One customer who left a review comments, “It’s hard trying to find a cot with both a drop down and underneath drawer, at a reasonable price and better yet the drawer is attached to the cot so does not get caught on carpet!”

It’s made from solid pine wood which gives the cot a sleek finish, as opposed to synthetic materials like MDF or veneer which you may prefer.

Lots of customer reviews mention that you’ll need two people to assemble it, so it’s worth keeping this in mind if you’re looking for something easy to build.

Pros:

  • Drop-side
  • Large storage drawer

Cons:

  • Need 2 people to assemble

Available from: Babymore, Amazon and Wayfair

7. Obaby Stamford Classic Sleigh Cot Bed, £349

Perfect for extra storage space

Suitable age: from birth to 4 years | Mattress size: 140cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L154cm x H91cm x D76cm

The Stamford cot bed from Obaby comes with lots of nifty including a handy drawer (70L capacity) that slides underneath, as well as teething rails to protect your baby’s gums which customers liked. One Wayfair customer says, “Particularly like the top of the side panels which are made from a different material and look “chewable” for the little one to enjoy without getting a mouthful of chipboard.”

It’s worth noting that the drawer doesn’t come with wheels so it may be harder to slide out if you’ve got thick carpet, which some reviews also picked up on.

When you want to move your child into a bed, the sides can be removed and the ends split down to progress up to the next stage, without needing to purchase a separate extension kit, making it a solid investment.

It’s a solid and durable option that comes with a five-year guarantee and various add-ons to like a changing table and cot top changer to add to your nursery.

Pros:

  • Drawer for extra storage
  • No extension kit needed

Cons:

  • Drawer tricky to manoeuvre

Available from: Amazon, Argos and Wayfair

8. John Lewis & Partners Alex Cot Bed, £125

A reliable bestseller  

Suitable age: from birth | Mattress size: 140cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L144.5cm x H93cm x D75.5cm

For a budget option that doesn’t skimp on quality design, you can’t go far wrong with the Alex cot bed from John Lewis.

Like many of its higher priced competitors, it comes with 3 mattress height positions and teething rails. It’s also made from solid pine wood along with MDF, so is a sturdy choice and with a modern white finish, it has a simple, yet contemporary feel.

Reviews do mention that although assembly isn’t too difficult you’ll probably need 2 people to do so, which is worth keeping in mind.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Modern finish

Cons:

  • Difficult to assemble by yourself

Available from: John Lewis

9. Stokke Sleepi, £575

A solid investment from baby to child 

Suitable age: from birth to 10 years (with conversion kit sold separately for £70) | Mattress size: 122cm x 70cm (bed mattress)/166cm x 74cm (junior mattress) | Mattress base positions: 2 | Size: L127cm x H86cm x D74cm

The Stokke Sleepi expands from cot to toddler bed as your child grows with the option to buy a junior conversion to take it all the way up to 9 years.

For easy manoeuvrability the Sleepi comes with lockable swivel wheels, which one MFM user found useful. She says, “Its wheels meant when our daughter was tiny we could use it in the living room for daytime naps.”

Unlike many other cots and cotbeds the mattress is included in the price, saving you having to find one to fit its oval shape. Stokke also says the included mattress is perforated to provide extra ventilation for your baby.

Pros:

  • Lockable wheels
  • Mattress included in the price

Cons:

  • No teething rail

Read our full MFM review of the Stokke Sleepi

Available from: Stokke and Lesters Nurseryworld

10. Harriet Bee Nala Cot, £138.99

Easy accessibility with drop down sides

Suitable age: from birth | Mattress size: 120cm x 60cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L125cm x H97cm x D69cm 

Cots with drop down sides can also be a handy option to make it easier to reach your child when lifting them out, providing they are used safely with the drop side fully up when your baby is asleep.

The Nala Cot has a drop-side that can be adjusted with one hand, according to Wayfair, along with adjustable mattress heights.

Made from solid pine wood, it’s a sturdy option that’ll last your baby until they’re ready to move into a toddler bed which was a feature many of the 5 star reviews left on Wayfair commented on.

One customer says, “I have purchased two Nala cots from Wayfair in the last year for my boys. They are easy to make. although it’s helpful to have a second pair of hands. Aesthetically the cots are elegant and can be easily altered as the kids grow.”

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Modern finish

Cons:

  • Difficult to assemble by yourself

Available from: Wayfair

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