The 7 best bouncers for babies and toddlers 2021
Whether you want a chair that soothes your baby, a bouncer that will keep them entertained or one that does both, we’ve put them all to the test and can reveal the best baby bouncers, rockers and swings for 2021.
We all love holding our babies, but there are times when we simply need to put them down to get on with other things. That's where a baby bouncer, a rocker or a swing can be really handy, especially in those first few months.
A comfortable, safe place for your baby to rest or play in, baby bouncers also tend to be portable so you can keep your baby close by at all times.
Current designs range from basic seats and rockers to products that swing, bounce and sway your baby for you. Some even come with vibrations, toys, music and lights to keep your baby entertained, which can stimulate their senses and encourage them to play. Kicking inwards and bouncing can also improve their balance and motor skills.
How we chose the products to test
We commissioned Gemma Wilcock, a writer and mum of two, to research and review a variety of baby seats.
With two young children, Gemma knows the importance of having somewhere safe to leave your child while you make dinner or drink a cup of tea (a luxury, we know) and has written extensively about parenthood, including reviews on the best newborn beds for Mumsnet.
Gemma spent 10 hours researching which products to put to the test. She looked at the different types of bouncers currently available, scoured the Mumsnet forums to find testimony from real-life parents, reading reviews on other trusted sites, such as Which? and Amazon, and spoke directly to parents to see which products came highly recommended.
She also spoke to Karen Sherr, a child psychologist, former play specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and founder of Musical Minis (a preschool music group focused around child development), to find out what parents should be looking for when buying a baby seat and how to use them safely.
Once research was complete, she ended up with a shortlist of 10 highly-rated bouncers, swings and rockers to put to the test, covering a range of parenting needs, brands and budgets.
How real-life comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique
To ensure testing is fair, we ask one tester to use all of the products in their own home. This reduces any potential variables in the testing process and ensures that our results are based on like-for-like comparison.
Our tester, Luci, has a five-year-old and a four-month-old who was just two weeks old when testing started. She used each model for at least a week in her busy three-bedroom mid-terrace and scored each model on six key areas: safety and stability, assembly, day-to-day use, cleanliness, aesthetics and value for money.
Luci assessed the quality of the materials and whether the seat was supportive. She checked the harness, whether the seat could be knocked over easily or cause trip hazards, and how sturdy any toy bars were. She also had help from her son who was eager to bounce his little sister and put the bouncer's overall sturdiness to the test.
She also scored the bouncer on how easy it was to assemble, reading the instructions to see how helpful they were and timing how long it took to put the seat together.
Then, while using the bouncer, she tested the motion and whether a baby could bounce or rock it themselves. She assessed how easy it was to lift her baby in and out and tested out the recline options.
She considered how entertaining and soothing any toys, music, lights or vibrations were. Luci also marked the bouncer on how big it was and whether it was portable.
She ran stain tests on each seat, looking at whether the covers could be removed and machine-washed, and how easily everyday stains like milk, baby sick and food came off.
Luci then looked at the aesthetics, whether it was a stylish baby product that would blend in with her home or a vibrant, more child-friendly design.
Finally, Luci marked each bouncer on whether the quality of the seat matched the price tag and, most importantly, whether she would recommend it to others.
After six months of research and testing, the results have been analysed. Here are the best baby bouncers, rockers and swings to buy.
1. Best Baby Bouncer: Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
“It's good if you have a baby who doesn't like to be left to go to sleep as you can give a little rock to help them along. Worked wonders for my son.”
The Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is a fun, comfortable seat that your child can keep using right through to toddlerhood.
With two recline settings and a fold-out kickstand, the seat can easily be converted from cosy rocker to a stationary seat. Our tester’s baby loved the colourful print and the removable toy bar which comes with two engaging toys. The seat also vibrates to offer extra comfort at nap times.
The Infant-to-Toddler Rocker has a soft, yet supportive, seat pad which can be machine-washed and, as your child grows, the seat turns into a toddler rocking chair – a real selling point for parents who want a product that will last for longer.
This baby bouncer doesn’t fold down and isn’t as stylish the BabyBjörn Bouncer Bliss, which we also tested and loved. However it can be bought for under £50 which we think is great value for a seat that your child can relax and play in up to the age of two, making it a worthy winner of the Mumsnet Best Baby Bouncer award.
- Starts as an infant rocker (up to 9kg) and turns into a toddler rocking chair (up to 18kg)
- Fun and colourful design
- Two hanging toys to entertain baby
- Toy bar can be removed for nap times
- Removable, machine-washable seat pad
- Two recline positions and optional vibrations to soothe baby
- Can be easily converted from rocking chair to stationary seat with a fold-out kickstand
- Spacious but compact enough to move around the home
- Good value for money
- Toy bar is simple to remove but requires two hands
- No padded insert so may not be suitable for very small babies
- Can’t be folded down
- Age range: Suitable up to 18kg (approximately two or three years old, depending on the child)
- Dimensions: 65 × 40 × 16cm
- Colours: Terrazo, Rainforest in pink or green, and multi-coloured block print
- Batteries: Two C batteries
- Weight: 3.7kg
2. Best Baby Bouncer for a Newborn: Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper
“Amazing to have a bouncer that converts to a safe-sleeping area so easily. Highly recommend!”
If you want a bouncer that your newborn can nap safely in, the Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper transforms from a cosy baby seat to a rocking bassinet with just one click.
The seat reclines flat and comes with a soft, padded mattress and borders to keep your baby safe and comfortable. There’s also optional vibrations and calming music to soothe if needed.
It’s not just about sleep though – your baby will love playing in the Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper too, which comes with two hanging toys and lights to keep baby happy.
The seat only lasts until around six months though so you won’t get as much use out of it as you would the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker. It also took our tester almost an hour to assemble, which was the longest of all the bouncers we tested.
- Three recline settings, including a lie-flat option with soft borders for nap times
- Easily switches from playing to napping mode with one click
- Seat gently rocks and vibrates to soothe baby
- Baby can be entertained with toys, lights and music
- Adjustable toy bar to make it easier to get baby in and out
- Machine-washable covers
- Takes almost an hour to assemble
- The outer cover is difficult to remove for washing
- Needs two kinds of batteries
- Age range: Suitable from birth up to 9kg (approximately six months)
- Dimensions: 74.5 × 48 × 74cm
- Colours: The redesigned grey and blue denim, and original colours (red and grey-turquoise)
- Batteries: Three AAA x 3 and one C
- Weight: 5.4kg
Price: £79.99Buy now from Amazon
3. Best Baby Swing: Joie Serina 2-in-1 Swing
“The Joie Serina 2-in-1 Swing was the best thing I ever bought!”
The Joie Serina 2-in-1 electric baby bouncer is a multi-motion swing and portable rocker.
Its frame comes with wheels and a handle to make it easier to move around the house, and the seat can be removed from the frame transforming it from a swing to a portable rocking chair with a strong carry handle.
It is far heavier than other baby seats we tested, such as the Chad Valley Jungle Friends Bouncer, so it isn’t suitable for travel, but the swing offers various speeds and motions (side to side and front to back) to suit your baby as well as vibrations, calming sounds, lights and toys.
With an RRP of £150, it is at the higher end of the price range, but nevertheless offers good bang for your buck.
- Transforms from a swing to a portable rocking seat
- Handle and wheels make the frame easier to move from room to room
- Swings from front to back and side to side, with six swing speeds
- Two speed vibrations, 10 musical sounds and lights to soothe baby
- Removable, washable covers
- Three-position recline seat
- Soft five-point harness, with adjustable shoulder straps
- Pivoting toy bar with two toys
- Very easy to assemble – takes just 10 minutes
- Can be plugged into a wall or powered by batteries
- Cover can’t be machine-washed
- Too big and heavy for travel
- Could do with alternative toys, like a rattle, for contrast
- Age range: Suitable from birth up to 9kg
- Dimensions: 91.5 × 73 × 81cm
- Colours: Abstract Arrows, Tile, Logan, Forever Flowers, Starry Night and Heyday
- Batteries: One D (1.5V)
- Weight: 10.9kg
4. Best Luxury Baby Bouncer: BabyBjörn Bouncer Bliss
“I love it for its lightweight, portable and ergonomic qualities. It's a bit pricey but worth the money.”
BabyBjörn’s Bouncer Bliss is a product that you’ll be proud to have in your home. The sleek, stylish design comes in a range of neutral colours and quality fabrics that are sure to fit any interior.
Designed to give good support to your baby’s head and back, the frame also makes a soothing bouncing motion that can be activated by their own movements. Once they get bigger, the Bliss turns into a comfortable toddler seat.
The slim, lightweight frame can easily be moved around the house and also folded flat for travel making it one of the most portable seats we tested.
Costing around £100 more than the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker, the Bouncer Bliss does come with a luxury price tag. Plus, you have to pay an extra £28 if you want to add a toy bar, which a lot of parents likely won't appreciate.
- Bouncer responds to baby’s movements
- Can be used from birth up to the age of two
- Comes pre-assembled
- Has three recline options
- Folds flat for storage or travel
- High-quality fabric hugs baby and gives good support
- Seat cover is removable and machine-washable
- Stylish, sleek design
- More expensive than other bouncers
- You have to pay extra for a toy bar
- Even at the highest setting, the seat still reclines a bit too far
- Age range: Suitable up to two years (3.5 to 13kg)
- Dimensions: 56 × 79 × 39cm (highest position) and 11 × 89 × 39 cm (transport mode)
- Colours: Currently available in nine colours and three materials (cotton, mesh and 3D jersey)
- Weight: 2.1kg
5. Best Budget Baby Bouncer: Chad Valley Jungle Friends Bouncer
For parents with a tighter budget who want a fuss-free baby seat, the Chad Valley Jungle Friends is a simple, lightweight baby bouncer that won’t break the bank.
Costing just £14.99, it's the cheapest bouncer we tested and one of the lowest priced on the market too. Yet babies will enjoy its vibrant animal print and deep seat pad that is cosy and comfortable enough for resting or playing in.
While it’s not as versatile as the Joie Serina 2-in-1 Swing and lacks a toy bar to keep your baby entertained, the frame is lightweight (at just 1.6kg!) and easy to move around the house. The cover also comes off easily and can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle to get rid of any baby-related stains – after washing, the bouncer will come out looking like new.
- Very easy to use
- As baby grows, bouncer responds to their movements
- Removable, washable cover
- Bright, colourful pattern that baby will enjoy
- Gripped feet to prevent it slipping around
- Light frame that can be easily moved round the home
- Doesn’t have a toy bar
- Seat only has one recline position
- Needs to be dismantled for storage or travel
- Fabric isn’t as good quality as on other bouncers, such as the BabyBjörn Bliss
- Age range: Suitable from birth up to 9kg
- Dimensions: 42.2 × 53.3 × 48.3cm
- Colours: Currently only available in one pattern
- Weight: 1.6kg
6. Recommended buy: Nuna Leaf Grow
From baby to toddler and even further, the Nuna Leaf Grow (also our Luxury Baby Bouncer for 2018) is a super sturdy seat that can hold up to 60kg (that's nine stone!) in weight.
The bouncer has been specially designed to sway, inspired by the float of a leaf on a breeze, and with a gentle nudge it can keep going for over two minutes.
Unfortunately babies can't start the motion themselves, which we felt was a shame, and the hefty price tag of £200, excluding the toy bar which you have to pay extra for, means this bouncer will be out of most parents' budgets. But if you can afford it, the Leaf Grow is a modern and attractive baby bouncer that will last for years to come.
- Sturdy seat that can hold up to 60kg
- Seat transforms as baby grows – from a bouncer to a child’s chair
- Three recline positions
- Gentle side to side swaying motion
- Cover can removed and machine-washed
- Very easy to assemble
- Too heavy to move around the home
- One of the most expensive we tested and you have to pay extra for toys
- Age range: Suitable up to 60kg
- Dimensions: 67-76 × 69-71 × 47-61cm
- Colours: Blush, Champagne, Granite, Iron and Midnight
- Weight: 6.9kg
7. Recommended buy: Chicco Hooplà Baby Bouncer
“I wouldn't have been without my Chicco Hooplà Bouncer.”
Chicco's Hooplà Bouncer has been made with travel in mind. The seat can be folded almost flat and comes with handy carry straps for maximum portability.
It can be used from birth for up to six months as a baby bouncer and then, when your child can sit up, it transforms into a chair for them to relax in. There are four positions for napping and playing, and the Hooplà also comes with a removable toy bar.
The seat doesn't feature music or vibrations as on the newborn-friendly Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper, which is why it didn't win a Mumsnet Best award. Our tester also marked it down on cleanliness as the cover is hand-wash only and tricky to remove. However the Chicco Hooplà is a well-designed baby bouncer that will – quite literally – go the distance.
- Transforms from baby seat to toddler chair (birth up to 18kg)
- Backrest has four adjustable height settings
- Can be easily folded down for storage or travel
- Seat has straps for carrying around
- The seat pad is hand-wash only
- Toys are hard for smaller babies to reach
- Doesn’t bounce as easily as other seats we tested, such as the BabyBjörn Bouncer Bliss
- Age range: Suitable from birth to 18kg (two to three years of age)
- Dimensions: 47 × 78 46-62cm (assembled) and 47 × 78 × 11cm (folded)
- Colours: Dark grey, Ocean, Moon grey and Legend
- Weight: 3.4kg
Do I need a baby bouncer?
A baby bouncer can really make a difference to your life, especially in those early months when you want to keep your baby close, but also want to free up your arms to have a shower or eat your dinner while it’s still hot.
Bouncers often come with different recline settings for babies to rest, nap, play and interact with an older sibling in.
As babies love to see what’s going on around them, and enjoy kicking their legs and reaching for toys, bouncers are also useful for aiding their development.
What age can you use a baby bouncer?
Most baby bouncers recline almost flat and come with a padded neck support so that they can be used from birth. Your baby will get the most out of a bouncer between three and six months when they are able to bounce or rock themselves and play with any toys.
Bouncers tend to last up to six months or until a baby can sit up, roll or crawl, but some do transform into toddler seats that can be used up to age two or even beyond.
Baby bouncer safety tips – are baby bouncers safe for newborns?
When it comes to any baby product, safety should always come first. All baby bouncers should meet the relevant European safety standards, but child development expert Karen Sherr advises parents to always read manufacturers guidelines before using a bouncer.
- The NHS advises that a baby should not use a baby bouncer for more than 20 minutes as it can put excessive strain on their back. Parents should balance time in the bouncer with playtime on the floor.
- Bouncers are not suitable for sleeping in for long periods – it is recommended that a baby sleeps on a firm, flat surface. Visit The Lullaby Trust for advice on the best places for babies to sleep.
- Never leave your child unattended – a young baby has little muscle control which can cause their head to flop forward.
- Make sure harness straps are always done up, even if you are only putting your baby in the seat for a couple of minutes.
- Never put your baby bouncer on an elevated surface such as a worktop or table – they can bounce off or get knocked off accidentally.
- Most baby bouncers can be used from birth but may not be suitable for premature or low-birthweight babies.
- Ensure you follow manufactures guidelines about weight and height restrictions for your product.
- Do not carry the bouncer around with your baby inside
What type of baby bouncer should I choose?
1. Basic bouncer
These are simple seats on a wire frame that bounce when your baby kicks. They don’t usually come with a toy bar so may not keep your baby entertained for long, but the frames tend to be lightweight and portable which makes them very useful for travel and storage.
2. Regular baby bouncer
Similar to a basic bouncer, regular baby bouncers also comes with entertainment – most often a toy bar, lights or music. Some also vibrate and offer different recline settings, from lie-flat to upright.
These seats don’t tend to take up too much room and may be folded down for storage or travel, and some even come with adjustable height options too.
A rocker is a baby seat that gently rocks backwards and forwards. With a gentle nudge to start the motion, it is meant to remind babies of being rocked by their parents.
Rockers tend to offer different recline settings and usually come with entertainment bars as well.
4. Baby swing
A soft seat which swings back and forth, baby swings are usually motorised and offer different settings and motions to suit your baby. They tend to come with a toy bar and are bulkier and heavier than a regular baby bouncer, so they may not be portable or suitable for smaller spaces.
5. Electric baby bouncer
These high-tech bouncers will bounce, sway or rock your baby for you. Some even allow you to connect your phone to play music and control the seat’s movements.
Electric baby bouncers sit at the higher end of the price range and are often bigger, heavier and less portable than regular bouncers.
What should I look for when buying a bouncer?
Some bouncers and swings are bulky and may need to be plugged into a wall, so consider how much space you have and where it will be stored around the home.
If you travel away from home a lot or want to move the seat easily around the house, you may need a lighter model that can be folded down or one that has a handle or wheels.
How easy it is to clean
Babies can be messy so ideally look for a seat that has a removable, machine-washable cover. Also ensure that the straps, frame and toys can be cleaned too.
A three-point harness is the minimum a baby bouncer should have, but a five-point harness, which has shoulder straps, is even better.
For newborns, check that the seat reclines almost flat and has a padded insert for extra support. Also, look for a bouncer or rocker with a wide base that won’t be tipped over by an excitable older sibling.
Decide whether you want a basic seat or one with fun extras like toys, music, lights and vibrations to soothe and entertain your baby.
How much does a baby bouncer cost?
Prices range from £15 up to £200+. While there can be a big difference in design, the most expensive seats aren’t necessarily the best.
A basic bouncer can be just as effective as a luxury model and, as most seats only last until six months of age, you'll want to consider how often you will use it and what features you need before deciding how much to invest.
A second-hand bouncer, rocker or swing can be bought for as little as £5, depending on the design. Ensure the seat is not damaged or has any loose parts, the frame is sturdy and bounces safely, and the harness still clips securely.
Which baby bouncer brand is best?
There are many different brands currently selling baby bouncers, rockers and swings, and which one you choose will depend on how much you want to spend and what features you need.
Popular, trusted brands like Fisher-Price, Chicco, Joie and Mamas and Papas sell a good range of baby seats to suit different needs and budgets, while BabyBjörn, Stokke and Nuna are at the higher end of the market.
Related: Read our full baby bouncers buyer's guide
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Related: Read more about how we tested baby bouncers
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