baby bassinet or crib

Bassinet vs Crib: The Ultimate Guide to Help You Decide

Sep 7, 2021

Bassinet vs Crib: The Ultimate Guide to Help You Decide

How to pick between a bassinet and a crib for your new baby

Are you considering skipping the traditional bassinet and starting your baby in a crib right from the get go?

Whether you’re a minimalist, a pragmatist, living in a small home, or operating on a tight budget, this post is for you!

Below, we’re going to compare and contrast the main characteristics of bassinets and cribs.

We’ll talk about price, size, longevity, convenience, and all of the most important factors to take into consideration before making your decision.

At the end, I’ll tie it all together for you and give you my personal opinion on whether a bassinet is a necessary purchase.

When you’re done reading, you’ll have a pretty clear verdict on bassinet vs crib.

Let’s dive in!

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bassinet vs crib


Bassinets and cribs both have 4 walls and a firm flat surface for a baby to sleep.

Cribs are significantly larger than bassinets; and as such, have a much longer window of use.

Does this mean bassinets are a waste of money (and space)?

Not necessarily.

Which do most families choose, bassinet or crib?

Just for fun, I decided to conduct a Facebook poll in one of my largest parenting groups.

In total, 2,876 people responded to my (very informal, unscientific) poll and here were the results:

POLL: Where did your newborn(s) primarily sleep?

As you can see, almost 70% of families used a bassinet as their newborn’s primary sleep space.

Bassinets received 2,007 votes. Cribs received 464 votes.

This doesn’t mean you have to choose a bassinet, of course. Just some food for thought!

Now let’s do some comparing…

Bassinet vs Crib: Which is cheaper?

As with most baby products, bassinets and cribs each have “budget-friendly” options and “high-end” options.

Bassinets can be purchased for as little as $55.

The cheapest cribs run about $125, making them roughly twice as expensive as bassinets.

I’ll highlight a low-cost option for each…

budget-friendly bassinet

budget-friendly crib


All of this said, if cutting cost is a priority, you’ll also want to consider how long you can use each product. Let’s talk about that next…

Bassinet vs crib: Which has greater longevity?

None of the information below should serve as a substitute for reading your own user manual.

If your goal is to get the most bang for your buck, the other consideration is how quickly your baby will outgrow the product.

Here is a VERY GENERAL approximation of their maximum windows of use:

  • Bassinets: Around 5 months.
  • Cribs: Around 2 years.

Given these time frames, bassinets can be cheaper in the short term, but aren’t always cheaper overall.

Here’s a quick example using some arbitrary numbers:

Let’s say you have a $60 bassinet and a $140 crib…

Bassinet: $60 / 4 months of use = $15/month

Crib: $140 / 20 months of use = $7/month

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to know in advance how long you’ll be able to use either option.

Height limits
  • Bassinets do not typically have height limits. However, due to the small size of a bassinet, an infant will physically outgrow the space within just a few months.
  • Most full size cribs have a height limit of 35 inches. Many children will reach this height at around 2 years old.

Important: Each product has its own set of milestones, so be sure to read the user manual of whichever one you decide to buy.

Weight limits

Important: Each product has its own set of milestones, so be sure to read the user manual of whichever one you decide to buy.

Physical capabilities
  • It’s time to stop using most bassinets when your baby can push up on hands and knees or can roll over. These milestones often take place at around 2 to 5 months, but there is a lot of variation. Here is a list of the milestones for most bassinets on the market.
  • It’s time to stop using a full size crib when the child is able to climb out. Some kids manage to do this as early as one, and some never climb at all. Note: A completely empty crib + a sleep sack will delay climbing attempts.

Important: Each product has its own set of milestones, so be sure to read the user manual of whichever one you decide to buy.

There’s one more thing to throw into the mix:

Many cribs come with conversion kits to turn them into toddler beds. This, obviously, extends how long you can use the crib.

Toddler beds can be used starting at 15 months. They are safe to use until your child meets the weight limit, which is usually 50 lbs. 

Onto the next consideration, size!

    Bassinet vs Crib: Which takes up less space?

    As you probably know, full-size cribs are larger than bassinets.

    Here is a VERY GENERAL approximation of each one’s size:

    • Bassinets: Around 3 feet long and 2 feet wide
    • Cribs: Around 4.5 feet long and 2.5 feet wide

    Regulated full-size cribs all have approximately the same interior dimensions, so their exterior dimensions do not vary all that much.

    Bassinets come in lots of different shapes and sizes, so there is more variation in how much space they take up.

    If space is a concern, here is one bassinet with an especially small footprint:

    bassinet small footprint

    The above bassinet measures 31 L x 19.5 W x 41.5 H inches.

    Next, we’ll briefly discuss safety, and then I’ll give you my advice on bassinet vs crib.

    Bassinet vs Crib: Which is safer?

    Bassinets and cribs are both safe options.

    In fact, there’s a misconception that newborns shouldn’t sleep in cribs. (There is no evidence to support this).

    It is perfectly fine to start your baby in the crib right from the get go.

    Both bassinets and cribs are federally regulated infant sleep spaces and have undergone rigorous safety testing.

    There is evidence that sharing a room (not a bed) decreases the risk of SIDS—and due to space constraints, bassinets make this more doable for many families.

    But keep in mind, roomsharing is only an added protective factor, not a foundational one…

    In other words, as long as you are strictly practicing safe sleep, the risk of SIDS is negligible—whether you share a room with your baby or not.

    Now let’s get to the ultimate question at hand…

      Is a bassinet really necessary?

      Babies. Need. So. Much. Stuff.

      Which begs the question: can you skip this one?

      My personal opinion is that you shouldn’t.

      Even though their window of use is extremely short, I think anything (safe) that helps you get through the newborn phase is worth the expense.

      Here’s why I think a bassinet is worth buying:

      • Bassinets have lower sides, which makes it easier to reach in to pick up or put down your baby.
      • Particularly if you end up having a c-section or a difficult birth, you’ll appreciate being able to reach the bassinet without getting out of bed.
      • A bassinet is more convenient for roomsharing. Whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding, your newborn will be waking to eat frequently. It’s much easier to be in close proximity for the constant in and out.
      • Some babies sleep better in a smaller space. Sleeping in a large crib is a huge contrast to the tight quarters of the womb. (In fairness, so is a bassinet, just less so).
      • Many bassinets are portable. Either they’re lightweight or they’re on wheels. This gives you the option for baby to sleep in a different part of the house.

      With all of this in mind, I believe a bassinet (or a Pack N Play) is a worthwhile purchase in addition to a crib.

      Which bassinets do I recommend?

      There are TONS of bassinet options, so choosing which one to buy is pretty daunting.

      Here are 3 amazing options worth considering:

      Soothing Motions Bassinet

      bassinet best bells and whistles

      Why it’s great:

      • It’s around 1/3 of the price of the HALO. (We had the HALO and didn’t love it).
      • It has a higher-than-normal weight limit of 20 lbs.
      • Unlike the HALO, when your baby starts rolling over, they can continue to use this product.
      • It has lots of neat features like rocking, music, sounds, vibrations, and light projection.


      Traveler Bassinet

      lightest bassinet

      Why it’s great:

      • This is the lightest bassinet that money can buy. It weighs only 7.5 lbs! This makes it incredibly easy to move from room to room or bring to grandma’s house.
      • It has a higher-than-normal weight limit of 25 lbs.
      • It’s super budget-friendly.


      Mini Pack N Play

      baby sleeping pack n play or bassinet

      That’s Aden in the picture above! We absolutely love this product. See it here.

      Why it’s great:

      • It takes up very little space. It’s MUCH more compact than a normal Pack N Play.
      • It’s the only product that has TWO bassinet levels. One level can be used up to 15 lbs and the other goes to 20 lbs.
      • It easily fits through doorways and can be wheeled from room to room.
      • It makes a great diaper changing station and play area as well.


      As I said, there are SO many bassinets, so don’t feel limited to the 3 that I’ve highlighted.

      Just make sure the product is an “official” bassinet before you buy it.

      An “official” bassinet is one that meets federal safety standards (ASTM F2194-13).

      Sometimes companies sneak the word bassinet into their sales descriptions, when in fact, the product does NOT meet safety standards for a bassinet.

      The only way to know for sure is to check the user manual. You can easily do this by googling the product name + user manual.

      If it’s called a bassinet in the user manual, you’re good to go.

      Final thoughts on choosing between a bassinet and a crib

      When deciding between a bassinet and a crib, the truth is you can’t go wrong. Both are safe for your baby, which is the most important thing.

      If your top priority is making a cost-effective purchase, get a crib (or a playard) instead of a bassinet.

      But, if you want to make life as easy as possible during the newborn phase, you’ll probably be glad to have a bassinet on hand.

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      Bassinet vs Crib: The Ultimate Guide to Help you Decide