Do you have limited living space but still want to ensure that baby has a comfortable and safe place to sleep? Is the exorbitant price of baby items leaving a hole in your budget? If you’ve answered yes to one or both of these questions, a mini crib might just be the solution you’ve been looking for. And you’re in luck as we’ve done all the research to make sure you can easily find the best option for your family!
What Are the Benefits of a Mini Crib?
A typical mini crib measures 38″ long and 24″ wide, compared to 52″ by 28″ for standard cribs. As you might expect, the smaller size of a mini crib comes with a host of benefits:
- Space Saver: At just over 38 inches long, a mini crib is large enough to last longer than a bassinet while still being small enough to help you make the most of your living space. If your family is living in an apartment that is low on space you will definitely appreciate this feature. Another situation where the space savings might come in handy is if you are expecting twins or triplets (or even more!) who will be sharing a room.
- Money Saver: There is a lot of overlap between the price of higher-end mini cribs and the price of standard cribs, making it difficult to pinpoint a number. To get an idea of the potential savings from going with a mini crib, we compared a number of popular cribs offered in both sizes. Our findings indicate that you can generally expect to save somewhere around $30-$100.
- Perfect for room sharing: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends placing a baby’s crib in the parents’ bedroom for at least the first 6 months (but preferably the first year) after birth to reduce the risk of SIDS. The smaller size of mini cribs makes them a great option for that co-sleeping stage if your bedroom is on the smaller side.
- Portable: Mini cribs are smaller and lighter which makes them easy to move around the house during the day. Some mini cribs fold or come equipped with wheels, making them even more portable. This might be useful if you would like to keep baby sleeping next to you while doing chores, or if you need to move the crib out of the way every morning during the co-sleeping stage, for example.
- Home away from home: Mini cribs, especially foldable ones, are great to leave at someone else’s house (think grand-parents or babysitters). Grandma and Grandpa will be happy to have a safe place for baby to sleep that they can discreetly tuck away in-between visits.
How We Pick the Best Mini Cribs
While shopping for a crib for our first-born daughter, we focused on 4 main characteristics: safety, design, value, and convertibility. These are the same criteria we used to compile our list of the best mini cribs available in 2021. We will expand on each one below before jumping into our recommendations. If you’re getting tired of reading by this point, we suggest that you only read the safety section before scrolling down to our recommendations. We believe every parent should be aware of the information presented in that section.
CPSC: All cribs sold in the United States must comply with the 2011 CPSC Guidance which ensures, among other things, that cribs are made of strong and durable materials, contain limited amounts of lead of phthalates (both of which were found in high amounts in some older cribs), and undergo more rigorous testing than cribs of the past. Because the CPSC Guidance was revised in 2011 for the first time in approximately 30 years, we strongly advise against purchasing a used crib that predates this new standard. Similarly, if buying a new crib, you should ensure that it follows CPSC guidance.
Greenguard Gold: While the new CPSC Guidance is certainly a huge improvement over the previous iteration, it does allow for many chemicals to be present in your baby’s crib. For this reason, we opted to purchase a Greenguard Gold Certified crib for our family and will be recommending them to you when possible. The Greenguard Gold standard certifies that your crib will have been tested for over 10,000 chemicals and passed the most stringent third-party emission standards to keep your baby safe and healthy. We combined our crib with a Greenguard Gold Certified mattress to ensure that our daughter wouldn’t be breathing in toxic VOCs during her early development years.
Because so many relatively cheap options offer tremendous value, we generally tend to stay away from luxury brands. This is equally true of most categories of baby products. We believe in maximizing the amount of money available for family activities rather than purchasing overly expensive furniture.
Because who wants an ugly crib when there are tons of super cute ones to choose from!? All jokes aside, manufacturers design loads of great looking cribs and we’re sure you’ll find more than one adorable option on our list.
Many mini cribs are convertible into a mini toddler bed or a twin bed using specially-made conversion kits (sold separately). This can effectively allow you to use the mini crib all the way until your kids are off to college and can be a great option depending on where you plan on having your kids sleep in the future (bunk beds, anyone?). We couldn’t think that far into the future so decided to keep our options open by buying a convertible crib. If you know for sure that you’ll make use of the conversion option, it’s a good idea to buy it at the same time as the crib in case it’s discontinued by the time you need it.
Our Favorite Mini Cribs
Everyone will have a different opinion regarding “the” best mini crib and a lot of it will come down to the specific features your family is looking for. For that reason, we have listed the cribs below based on their main differentiating features and in no particular order. That being said, we do have one absolute favorite which we think checks all the boxes and we will lead off with that one!
Our Overall Favorite Mini Crib
We think the DaVinci Autumn mini crib offers the best overall value by a mile, and customers seem to agree with us based on the number of positive reviews out there.
Unless you are looking for a foldable option (in which case you should check out the next option), the Autumn offers absolutely everything you could ask for: it looks great, is convertible, offers 4 mattress heights (most cribs offer 2 or 3), is made of solid New Zealand Pine wood and TSCA compliant engineered wood, and is Greenguard Gold Certified to protect your baby’s health.
And the best part? The DaVinci Autumn is actually one of the cheapest cribs on this list. At the time of writing, you could get all those awesome features for only $139! We purchased a DaVinci crib for our daughter and have been very satisfied (more on that below).
Our Favorite Foldable Mini Crib
We absolutely love the Babyletto Origami and it was a serious contender for our first overall pick. If foldability is more important to you than convertibility then this could totally be the best option out there.
The Origami has so much to offer beginning with its beautiful color palette. With 7 unique colors to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect option to match your décor. As its name implies, the Origami includes a folding mechanism that is actually super easy to use and folds up quite small. The Origami is also one of the rare mini cribs to offer both a folding feature and wheels, giving you complete freedom to move or store it effortlessly. To top it all off, the Gelato is Greenguard Gold Certified to keep your baby safe and healthy. When you combine all of these factors, the Origami sure offers an attractive package.
Our Favorite Convertible Mini Crib
We love the Babyletto Gelato for its modern design and its “hidden hardware” construction, which eliminates visible screws for a polished, clean look. Another cool and unique feature of the Gelato is its interchangeable feet sets which can be swapped to match your décor.
The Gelato is convertible into toddler and twin beds to grow with your child. Similar to other DaVinci and Babyletto options on our list, this crib is partly made of New Zealand pine wood, which is one of the most renewal woods on the planet. Finally, the Gelato is Greenguard Gold Certified which means that it’s been tested for over 10,000 chemicals and passed the most stringent emission standards to keep your baby safe and healthy.
Our Favorite Mini Crib with Changer
We think this DaVinci Charlie mini crib with changer offers great value given that it is similarly priced to some of the other options on this list while including a changer.
Similar to the DaVinci Autumn, the Charlie offers everything you could ask for: it looks great, is convertible, offers 4 mattress heights (most cribs offer 2 or 3), is made of sustainable solid New Zealand Pine wood and TSCA compliant engineered wood, and is Greenguard Gold Certified to keep your baby’s room free of VOCs.
We haven’t been able to find many customer reviews for this mini crib online as it appears to be a newer product. That being said, we feel confident in recommending it because we own the DaVinci Charlie ourselves and have been 100% satisfied with it.
Our Favorite Portable Mini Crib
By now you’ve probably figured out that we really like what DaVinci cribs offer! This one is no different, and if you’re looking for an option that does it all at great value, this is it. DaVinci really thought about the small details here, including wheels with a locking system and an easy-to-use folding system that is also super compact. The DaVinci Dylan offers similar features to the Babyletto Origami but for a fraction of the price – and it’s convertible into a twin bed!
Of course, everything that was true of the other DaVinci’s is also true here: the Dylan looks great, offers 4 mattress heights, is made of sustainable solid New Zealand Pine wood and TSCA compliant engineered wood, and is Greenguard Gold Certified to keep your baby safe and healthy.
Our Favorite Budget-Friendly Mini Crib
The Dream On Me Aden is a terrific option if you’re looking for the cheapest high-quality mini crib on the market. In fact, the Aden shares pretty much all of the features of our overall favorite mini crib, the DaVinci Autumn, but for slightly cheaper (at the time of writing). The only real difference is the look, which we preferred on the DaVinci Autumn. If you think the Aden looks great then it might very well be the best mini crib for your family!
To quickly recap the Aden’s key features, it offers 4 mattress heights, is made of solid New Zealand Pine wood for sustainability, and is Greenguard Gold Certified to preserve your baby’s health. Of course, it also is convertible into a toddler and a twin-sized bed, and actually looks great once converted!
Our Favorite Mini Crib with Storage
The Carter’s by DaVinci might be the best mini crib for you if you’re looking for storage space without the bulk of a changer like on the Charlie. The bottom drawer could be perfect to store extra sheets, stuffed animals, etc. And I mean, let’s forget about the storage for a minute – this mini crib looks great! We especially like the grey and white option.
As with other DaVinci cribs, the Carter’s by DaVinci offers a lot of flexibility, with 4 adjustable mattress heights and the possibility to convert the crib into toddler and twin beds. The crib is made of solid New Zealand Pine wood and TSCA compliant engineered wood for sustainability, and is Greenguard Gold Certified to protect your baby’s health.
How Long Will My Baby Fit in a Mini Crib?
Are you wondering how long your newborn will fit inside of their mini crib? According to the CDC, the average two-year-old weighs 22-34 pounds and measures 31-37 inches, which means that a mini crib should last at least a full two years. With toddlers generally transitioning to a toddler bed at around two years of age, a mini crib should be able to hold an average-sized baby for the same amount of time they would spend in a standard crib. Of course, if you buy a convertible mini crib you could convert it into a toddler bed and then a single bed, greatly increasing its useful life.
While the above guidelines will hold true in most cases, please take a moment to consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual once you have received your new mini crib and follow indicated weight limits and all other recommendations carefully.
What Is the Difference Between a Mini Crib and a Bassinet?
Bassinets and mini cribs are both great options for co-sleeping and can serve essentially the same purpose early on. They do, however, have a few differences that will have a major impact on their longevity:
Size: While the length of a mini crib is fairly standard at 38 inches, bassinets tend to be quite a bit shorter (32″-35″ range is typical). This reduces the amount of time you will get out of a bassinet, but does make them easier to transport around the house.
Weight limitations: This is a key differentiator in that some bassinets have very low weight limits and will only actually be useful for the first 3-4 months or so. Please make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and weight limits.
Convertibility: We aren’t aware of any convertible bassinets, whereas most mini cribs a convertible into toddler and twin-sized beds.
Ease of use: Some parents report having an easier time putting baby down in a bassinet versus a mini crib given that the mattress sits quite high in a bassinet. However, if you are buying a mini crib with 4 mattress positions that doesn’t usually tend to be an issue.
Price: Quite surprisingly, bassinets can cost as much as mini cribs while being useful for a much shorter amount of time. In our opinion you would be better served spending that money on a mini crib as it would last much longer. If portability is a must, then selecting a foldable mini crib on wheels could essentially give you the same functionality as a bassinet while also lasting longer.