10 best baby bouncers and rockers to keep your little one soothed and relaxed

·12-min read
Our little helper was a five-month-old baby who is not yet sitting independently (The Independent)
Our little helper was a five-month-old baby who is not yet sitting independently (The Independent)

Once you bring your lovely new baby home from the hospital you’ll soon find you are having to do a fair amount of things one-handed.

But when you need two hands, or you simply just need a minute to relax, a baby bouncer can be a great addition to your arsenal.

Also known as rockers, they provide a safe and secure environment for your little one to rest, be soothed or even entertained while you get a few things done. There’s a variety of options out there though, some can be motion powered with batteries, or provide natural bouncing via the baby’s own expended energy.

That said, not all of them will suit every baby depending on what kind of motion they prefer. Do you want something that plays music, or one that is super silent to soothe your baby? Some parents will want to find something space-saving, as we all know that those tiny babies come with a lot of stuff!

Finally, there’s the question of price. You can grab a real bargain, or pay top dollar for all the bells and whistles. Ultimately it comes down to personal choice.

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How we tested

We tested all bouncers and rockers with a five month old baby who is not yet sitting independently. We tried each bouncer both when our baby was happy to play, and also when sleepier and wanting to rest. All bouncers are reviewed on their features, comfortability, value, safety and longevity. We looked at several price ranges and a good spread of battery operated and natural bouncers, rockers and transition seats.

The best baby bouncers for 2022 are:

  • Best for babies who like to be upright – Aden + Anais transition seat baby bouncer and rocker: £115, Adenandanais.co.uk

  • Best value bouncer – BabaBing! float baby bouncer: £34.99, Bababing.com

  • Best for newborns – Stokke steps bouncer: £159, Stokke.com

  • Best for natural bouncing – BabyBjörn bouncer bliss: £185, Babybjorn.co.uk

  • Best for space saving – Nested gravity baby bouncer: £49.99, Smythstoys.com

  • Best for longevity – Nuna leaf grow: £250, Johnlewis.com

  • Best budget rocker – Ickle Bubba 2-in-1 rocker & seat: £49.99, Aldi.co.uk

  • Best for a cozy seat – Maxi-Cosi kori rocker: £99.99, Maxi-cosi.co.uk

  • Best for the best of both – Joie dreamer rocker and bouncer: £70, Boots.com

  • Best for stimulating the senses – Mamas and Papas capella baby bouncer cradle: £52, Mamasandpapas.com

Aden + Anais transition seat baby bouncer and rocker

Best: For babies who like to be upright

Rating: 10/10

This three-in-one transition seat has it all. A comfy rocker for the early newborn days, a natural bouncer for baby to get some energy out and a chair for them to sit and take in the world around them. Our baby isn’t much of a fan of being laid down these days, and she absolutely loved how upright she was able to sit, while playing with a toy or watching some sensory TV. The five-point harness is very robust and we felt safe that our baby was secure, even when in the most upright position.

Made from washable and breathable 95 per cent cotton muslin and 5 per cent spandex, the seat is a soft and comfortable place for our baby to sit. We also liked that the toy arm was well within reach, so that our baby could touch and play with the muslin animals. The chair can be transitioned easily between modes using simple twists and clicks, but it’s worth keeping the instructions so you can remember how to switch.

A bonus – it also folds flat and can be stored out of sight easily when not in use. Suitable from birth up to 24-months, this seat is a great choice and a really worthy investment.

Buy now £115.00, Adenandanais.co.uk

BabaBing! float baby bouncer

Best: Value bouncer

Rating: 7/10

This bouncer is one of the best on the market in terms of value. We loved its soft bounce and elephant-themed style, with cute toys for our baby to reach up to. It’s very light, and we were able to take it from room to room. In terms of safety, we liked that the buckle clip is covered by the harness, meaning it’s hidden from curious baby fingers!

It did require some assembly, so you’ll need a PZ screwdriver on hand, but it wasn’t too onerous. Suitable from birth to up to around 9kg, you’ll perhaps need to size up – but this is a good value bouncer for those first few months.

Buy now £34.99, Bababing.com

Stokke steps bouncer

Best: For newborns

Rating: 8/10

This is a really interesting-looking piece of kit. Meant to mimic the feeling of being cradled in mother’s arms, this bouncer is softly cushioned and armed with several different seating positions to suit each child. For newborns, the cushioned insert ensures they don’t feel lost inside the chair, while a detachable arm allows for hanging toys to be looked at and played with. We hung Lamaze toys from the arm and our baby was able to get a good grip on it.

The seat isn’t that deep, and we were slightly concerned our baby would slide off it in the most upright position, but the five-point harness is sturdy and the chair is angled enough so that no slipping occurs. As an aside, it looks great too. The design is sleek and the soft grey complemented our living room, although it also folds fairly flat.

It’s also part of the Stokke Steps system, by which it can be clipped onto the chair itself. However, it’s a pretty good investment for just the bouncer itself if you’re planning to use it for the duration of the recommended time which is 0-6 months.

Buy now £159.00, Stokke.com

BabyBjörn bouncer bliss

Best: For natural bouncing

Rating: 9/10

Most new parents will know of this bouncer and perhaps covet it. Known in some parenting circles as “the babysitter”, the BabyBjörn bliss bouncer is designed to respond to our baby’s movements, creating soft or more vigorous natural bouncing, depending on how much the baby kicks. It’s at the higher end of the market for baby bouncers, but we found that it was the most aesthetically pleasing, coming in a range of colourways (including the newly launched landscape range) and was also super easy to fold and put away, or take with us to family occasions.

Our baby enjoyed the soft material which seemed to envelop her beautifully, and she looked very relaxed while we raced around putting the house back together after tummy time. This bouncer doesn’t come with a toy arm unfortunately, which is a shame considering the price. However, if you’re looking for a portable, comfortable, beautiful bouncer that responds easily to movement and doesn’t require batteries, this is a great choice.

Buy now £185.00, Babybjorn.co.uk

Nested gravity baby bouncer

Best: For space saving

Rating: 8/10

Arriving in one piece, this bouncer has three seating positions, a three-point harness and a removable toy arm that comes with a couple of toys attached. We really liked the toy arm – it was quite high up but we were able to attach much more to it ourselves than other bouncers and our baby enjoyed the variety.

We used this bouncer a lot and were able to simply unclip it and slide it behind the sofa when not in use. It has a similar shape to the BabyBjörn bliss but is a good, cheaper competitive product for natural bouncing. Though we would say it doesn’t quite have the range of motion as the bliss. Still, our baby really enjoyed it and definitely preferred how upright she could sit. A great natural bouncer for those babies who like to be seeing and doing.

Buy now £49.99, Smythstoys.com

Nuna leaf grow

Best: For longevity

Rating: 9/10

This rocker promises to emulate the feeling of being rocked in your arms, with only a small push to create a gentle side-to-side motion. With no batteries, cords or noise, this is one for those who prefer quiet and gentle soothing. It also has a great weight limit: from birth up to a huge 60kg, so is a good investment for longevity.

However, it’s certainly not a bouncer you’ll be lugging from room to room. At over 8kg, you’ll want to pick a spot and stick to it. That said, the base and seat itself look really slick, so this is a nice visual addition to any room. It takes a manual push to set the rocker swinging gently side to side, and it will keep going for up to two minutes. Not one for anything else but contact naps, our little girl slept soundly in this rocker and we were quite amazed.

It’s up at the higher end of the price bracket for a rocker, but you can also make the rocker static with a quick switch and have the chair carry your little one through to childhood. The toy bar, which is included, is a nice touch too and the toys are really lovely to look at, as well as being well within reach of little exploring hands.

Buy now £250.00, Johnlewis.com

Ickle Bubba 2-in-1 rocker & seat

Best: Budget rocker

Rating: 7/10

A stylish rocker with a kick out stand to create a stationary chair, this rocker from Ickle Bubba is a nice addition to your living room. Our baby enjoyed the removable toy bar and lay best in the rocker when she was due a nap. This is a good choice for when you need somewhere to place your baby as a newborn and is suitable from birth to up to around 9kg (or until they’re sitting unaided). A bonus is that it folds flat so we were able to save some space too.

Buy now £49.99, Aldi.co.uk

Maxi-Cosi kori rocker

Best: For a cosy seat

Rating: 7/10

Suitable from birth to up to 9kg, this rocker is a minimalistic, stylish choice. It weighs barely anything, so we were able to cart it around the house as needed, when things needed to be done. Our baby enjoyed how deep the seat was, but preferred it when more sleepy than awake, as there is no option to include a toy bar for entertainment. There’s three recline positions to choose from that we clicked into place with one touch, and we found the padded inlay one of the softest that we tried. This is another baby seat that folds away, so you can reclaim some space.

Buy now £99.99, Maxi-cosi.co.uk

Joie dreamer rocker and bouncer

Best: For the best of both

Rating: 8/10

This rocker and bouncer comes in several different designs and colourways, which gives you a nice choice depending on the style of your home and the personality of your baby. The 3-position reclining seat rocks or bounces with a simple push or when baby moves, giving you the choice on how to soothe baby, depending on their preference.

Realistically though, this one is best suited for babies who are soothed with noise. With five classical lullabies and five nature sounds paired with vibration and a visual toy bar above our baby’s head, it was possible to entertain her for a while as well as finding a little peace and quiet. Suitable up to 15kg, we also liked the 3-point harness to keep our baby safe. We found the body support really soft and comfortable – plush but removable and washable, which is ideal.

Buy now £70.00, Boots.com

Mamas and Papas capella baby bouncer cradle

Best: For stimulating the senses

Rating: 8/10

With four different relaxing melodies and a gentle vibrate motion, we loved this bouncer for when we wanted to calm down our baby before bed with some quiet playtime. The melodies aren’t in any way annoying (you’ll not be needing to take any batteries out!) and there’s some rattle toys attached to the removable toy bar, too. We especially liked the “head hugging” cloud pillow, which we thought added some extra comfort to this seat.

This bouncer is suitable from birth up until the age of about six months, so it’s not one for longevity, but at this price we feel it’s a great bouncer to soothe and entertain a very young baby by stimulating their senses.

Buy now £52.00, Mamasandpapas.com

Baby bouncer FAQs

What age can my baby go in a bouncer?

Your little one should usually be able to go in a bounce from around 6 months of age, but this can occur sooner or later depending on your baby’s development.

Is it worth getting a baby bouncer?

A bouncer can be very useful. Some babies might not get on with them, but they are a safe and comfortable place to place your little one, and they are also a really easy place for them to drift off, especially as young babies.

Should I buy a baby bouncer or baby swing?

Both imitate a rocking movement, but bouncers are set in motion by the baby’s own movements, meaning it rocks gently and naturally. Comparably, many swings require batteries or a power outlet and often have several speed settings.

What to look for when buying a baby bouncer, rocker or swing chair

You’ll want a soft seat in a flexible frame with a buckle harness to keep baby secure. Measure your space before you commit as they can take up a bit of room. Also, think about portability if you’ll want to take it away with you or on day trips.

The verdict: Baby bouncers

We loved the Aden + Anais transition chair for the variety of positions – from rocker, to bouncer to chair. Our baby loved how upright she could sit and we appreciate that this seat will take her through to toddlerhood.

For a gentle rocking motion and a really quality product, you can’t go wrong with the Nuna leaf grow, especially with that 60kg weight limit. Finally, for a simple, natural bouncer with space-saving capabilities, the BabyBjörn bliss bouncer comes in as one of the best.

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