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Best cots and cot beds for babies

Our expert guide to choosing the right cot or cotbed for your needs, advice on what to look for and feedback from families

Best cots and cotbeds for babies and toddlers

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 over 500 parents and parents-to-be about the sleep products they’ve used with their babies. We’ve also spoken to sleep expert, Lucy Shrimpton, and sleep charity, The Lullaby Trust, to build our list of the very best cots and cotbeds. There are options for different budgets, and various designs with different functions to suit a variety of tastes and requirements.

Lucy Shrimpton advises parents to think practically when choosing a sleep product. 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.”

What to consider when buying a cot or cotbed

How long do you want to use it? If you have money to invest now, you may want to buy a cotbed that’s longer lasting. If you’re on a tight budget, look for a good value cot. Some cotbeds are even versatile enough to last for 10 years or beyond.

How big is it? – While there are standard dimensions for cot mattresses, cots and cotbeds can vary in size. Check how well it will fit into your desired room and that even if it fits, there’s room to move around it. Remember that safe sleep guidelines state that your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first 6 months. If you’re not considering buying a moses basket or bedside crib, your cot or cotbed will need to fit in your bedroom for those first few months.

Does it come with a mattress and is it a good one? The mattress is one of your most important baby purchases – it should be flat and firm and fit snugly with no gaps on any of the sides. Some cots and cotbeds are sold with mattresses, with others you need to buy one separately.

How many mattress heights does it have? There’s a lot of bending over involved in putting your baby into a cot or cotbed. Many come with different base heights, enabling you to start with your newborn at a higher level. You then lower the level as your baby grows, especially once they start wanting to pull themselves up. Having different heights can be particularly helpful if you’ve had a caesarean.

Does it meet current safety standards? The gap between the bars of cots and cotbeds should not exceed 6.5cm – any more and there may be a risk of babies getting their limbs or head trapped in between. Cots and cotbeds should meet the latest safety standard: EN716:2008+A1:2013.

Are there extra features? Some come with extra storage, which can be handy if your room is on the smaller side. Many cotbeds come with the option of buying a toddler bed guard to prevent your child from falling out of their bed. Some cots also come with a teething rail – you’d be surprised how many babies like to chew on cot sides.

Which should I choose – a cot or cotbed?

Cot – Cots will typically last you till your child is around 2 years old. They tend to be slightly smaller than cotbeds – so good if you’re short of space. Cots are also normally cheaper than cotbeds. “We got a cot rather than a cotbed mainly due to the lack of space in the nursery,” says mum Anita from our Facebook group. “We couldn’t have fitted anything even slightly bigger.”

Cotbed – You use cotbeds for the first 2 years as a cot, and then transform them into a toddler bed, when your child is ready to move into their first bed. The bed can last for another couple of years. “We went for a cotbed as we wanted something that was long lasting and durable,” explains mum Rebecca from our Facebook group.

Out of the parents we spoke to who bought a cot or cotbed for their baby, 64% chose a cotbed.

Are cots with drop-side cots safe?  

If you suffer from a bad back or have had a caesarean, a cot which comes with drop down sides could 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 and stomach.

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. The potential danger with drop-down sides is that if the side gets stuck at a lower level, a young 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, and drop-sides are not currently banned.

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 rigorous testing, including impact testing, which differs from the standard in the USA.

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.” 

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

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 manufacturer’s 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 or moses basket first before a cot or cotbed?

Many parents choose the option of having a bedside crib for moses basket for their baby 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.

Bedside cribs feature sides that 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 the best bedside cribs for further information, where we’ve rounded up the best options that have been tried and tested by parents.

How much does a cot or cotbed cost?

Cots can start from around £40 and go 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 may be more economical in the end.

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 £20 to £250.

How we chose and tested these products

Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

When choosing these cots, we considered style and design, durability, innovation, comfort, convertability, storage and extra features, and whether they were worth for money.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.

Here are the cots and cotbeds for babies and toddlers in 2021

1. Boori Eton Convertible Plus Cotbed, £649

– Best 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 and John Lewis

2. Obaby Maya Mini Cotbed, £269.99

Best for space-saving

Suitable age: from birth | Mattress size: 120cm x 60cm | Mattress base positions: 3| Size: L125cm x H89cm x D65cm | Award: Gold – Baby cot / cot bed, MadeForMums Awards 2021

Offering the benefits of a cotbed at the size of a regular cot, the Obaby Maya Mini will make the most of any space. With a two-tone Scandinavian-inspired look that rivals the SnuzKot (although this one only comes in one colourway) one of our home testers praised it as “A beautifully designed piece of furniture that has instantly changed the look and feel of our nursery.”

Although it’s an investment, our testers felt that “you really get what you paying for”, and praised the fact it lasts up to age 4 once converted using the toddler safety rail (included). It doesn’t come with a mattress but since it takes a standard 120cm x 60cm one, it’s easy to find a good one.

Due to its slightly smaller size, those with tall children may find they outgrow it a little sooner, but with the average 4 year old measuring around 100cm in height that still gives clearance of over half a metre.

Pros: Statement-making design, cotbed function at cot size, toddler rail included
Cons: Smaller size may not be good for tall toddler, only one colour option

Available from: Obaby, Amazon

3. John Lewis & Partners Anyday Elementary Cotbed, £110

Best value for money

elementary-cotbed-john-lewis

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

For a budget option that doesn’t skimp on quality design, you can’t go far wrong with the Elementary cotbed from John Lewis’s Anyday range.

Like many of its higher priced competitors, it comes with 3 mattress height positions for use from birth until age 4, plus teething rails for protection. The bars of the cot extend all the way round, which gives a good view into the cot from all angles. It’s also made from FSC pine so is a sturdy choice and with a modern white finish, it has a simple, yet contemporary feel.

The cot comes with clear instructions, but if you’re concerned about being able to put it together – or simply don’t have time – John Lewis offers an assembly service for an addition £60 which also includes fixing it to the wall (if required) and disposal of all packaging.

Pros: Affordable, modern finish
Cons: Difficult to assemble by yourself

Available from: John Lewis

4. Babymore Luno Cot Bed, £229

Best for sleek design

babymore luno cot bed

Suitable age: from birth to 4 years | Mattress size: 140cm x 70cm | Mattress base positions: 3| Size: L 149cm x D 76cm x H 88cm | Award: Silver – Baby cot / cot bed, MadeForMums Awards 2021

Our testers were really impressed by the solid construction and modern design of this cot bed, which earned this a silver award in the MadeForMums Awards. “It looks more expensive than it is,” said MFM home tester Laura, who added, “the oak and white finish is quite pretty and fits in well with my daughter’s bedroom.”

The optional storage drawer, teething rails, and 3 adjustable heights ensure this cot is practical as well as stylish, and it also earned points for being simple to construct. “It was extremely easy to put together…the instructions were very clear and easy to read with pictures,” said MFM tester Gina.

It takes a standard cotbed mattress, although this is not provided. The underbed drawer also comes as an added extra: it’ll set you back £69, but there are other matching items too, including a cot-top changer and furniture.

Pros: Stylish, easy to put together
Cons: Accessories cost extra

Available from: Amazon, Babymore and Robert Dyas

5. 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: Only one colour option

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Ikea Sniglar cot

Available from: Ikea

6. Tutti Bambini Modena Cotbed, £199

Best for all-round appeal

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 Cotbed is designed to take you all the way up to 6 years and beyond, converting first into a junior bed, then a stylish sofa bed. It’s a great all-rounder with fixed teething rails on both sides and a 3-position adjustable base.

Depending on your preference there are 3 stylish colour options available, combining white, oak and grey woods to suit all kinds of nursery.

It’s simple and quick to build, with a solid construction that’ll withstand boisterous toddlers. It fits a standard cotbed mattress (140cm x 70cm).

Pros: Quick and easy to assemble, lasts from birth to 6 years
Cons: No bedguard on junior bed

Available from: Tutti Bambini, Amazon and Wayfair

7. SnuzKot Skandi Cotbed, £349

Best for style

Suitable age: from birth | Mattress size: 117cm x 68cm | Mattress base positions: 3 | Size: L133cm x H89cm x D72cm | Award: Bronze – Baby cot / cot bed, MadeForMums Awards 2021

The SnuzKot comes in a number of different colour and style variations, all with the brand’s signature curvy shape. It transforms to a minimal-looking toddler bed, with an interim 3-sided option to help with the transition. An extension kit and mattress extender can then be purchased separately to take it up to 10 years.

For a cotbed, the SnuzKot has a compact footprint that makes it great for smaller nurseries. The downside of this is the non-standard mattress size (68cm x 117cm) which essentially means you have to buy the matching SnuzSurface mattress. You may struggle to find fitted sheets that fit perfectly too; even Snuz’s own are made to fit cotbeds up to 140cm x 70cm cotbeds, so have to be carefully tucked in.

Putting it together takes some time, with our reviewer Carolyn stating, “The instructions don’t seem to flow very well.” Once constructed, it’s easy to move and there are 3 height levels for growing babies.

Pros: Cool Scandinavian-inspired design, a good compact cotbed option
Cons: Mattress is non-standard in size, instructions are hard to follow.

Available from: Snuz, John Lewis, Amazon

8. Babymore Eva Sleigh Cotbed, £199

Best for 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 is made from solid pine wood which gives the cot a sleek finish.

The spacious drawer runs the full width of the cotbed to give you as much room as possible, while the drop-down side can be manoeuvred with just one hand, making it a good option for those with back problems or limited mobility.

Lots of parents mention that you’ll need two people to assemble it, so it’s worth keeping in mind this isn’t the easiest to build.

Pros: Drop-side., large storage drawer
Cons: Need 2 people to assemble

Available from: Babymore, Amazon and Wayfair

9. Stokke Sleepi Cotbed, £619

Best luxury investment

stokke-sleepi

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 the full MadeForMums Stokke Sleepi Review

Available from: Stokke and Natural Baby Shower

10. Obaby Stamford Classic Sleigh Cotbed, £349

Best 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 features including a handy drawer (70L capacity) that slides underneath, as well as teething rails to protect your baby’s gums which customers liked.

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 5-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 and Wayfair

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About the author

Sabrina Sahota is MadeForMums’ Digital Journalist working across product and reviews content, covering everything from the latest car seats to the hottest new toys. She has tested hundreds of baby sleep items, from cots to comforters, bedding to baby monitors, and is dedicated to ensuring you and your child get the best night’s sleep possible. 

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