Best Compact Baby Swing: Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing

After reviewing and testing swings for 20 years, we realize there is always an elephant in the room when it comes to baby swings: SIZE!

Parents are usually surprised at how big the footprint is of the average baby swing—some are nearly four FEET in length! That’s a lot of real estate in the average bedroom or living room.

So when we set out to test baby swings this time out, we put an emphasis on finding the best COMPACT swing that doesn’t take up too much room. After testing several contenders, we thought the Graco Simple Sway Swing did the best job at balancing soothing ability and a small footprint. Here’s more on why we thought this was best:

What We Liked

• Battery or plug-in power. This swing runs on 4 D batteries or you can plug it into an outlet.

• Excellent at soothing a fussy baby. The six speeds, side-to-side motion, vibration, music and mobile did the trick for fussy babies—Graco has soothing babies down to a science. In our tests, this swing did its job well.

• Five point harness for safety.

• Works up to 30 lbs. That’s five pounds more than the large footprint swing we recommend below.

• Easy to assemble.

• Auto shutoff for music (but not the swing itself).

• Compact footprint. This swing is 30″ wide and 31″ in length. That’s about half a foot shorter in width and a foot less in length than full size swings.

What Needs Work

• Vibration feature requires batteries. Yes, the swing can work with plug-in power, but, oddly, the vibration feature requires batteries.

• Not foldable. If you need a swing to take on a road trip, we’d suggest seeing our pick below for a travel swing.

• Sometimes squeaky. We didn’t find this in our tests, but we see a few reports this swing can get squeaky after long term use.

Best Full-Size Baby Swing: Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘n Swing

Fisher-Price and Graco have been locked in a pitched battle for the baby swing market for years. And honestly, both make a darn good swing. Above, we picked a Graco model as the best compact swing. When it comes to the full-size category, however, we think Fisher-Price wins the crown.

Specially, we’d recommend their super-cute named Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘n Swing. It performed the best among all the full-size swings we tested with actual fussy babies. Why? Here are the reasons:

What We Liked

• Two motions: side to side or head to toe. That’s nice flexibility to have when it comes to fussy babies—some like one motion over the other. You can push a button to change the swing motion.

• Easy to assemble.

• 6 speeds, 2 recline positions, 16 songs. 

• Machine washable pad. 

• Fits newborns with infant insert and body pillow. That enables the swing to be used from birth. Top capacity is 25 lbs.

• Plug in power or batteries.

• Auto shut off.

• 5 point harness for safety.

• Quiet motor.

What Needs Work

• Large footprint. Yep, there is no way around it—full-size swings take up a good amount of real estate. This swing is 35″ wide by 44″ long. That’s right—44″ or nearly four feet! If you live in a smaller house, condo or apartment, you might consider the best compact swing we recommend above instead of this model.

• Not for road trips. This swing doesn’t fold, so it isn’t very portable.

• Putting baby in or out of swing can be a challenge, thanks to the overhead arm. It takes a bit of practice.

• Sometimes squeaky. Like the Graco swing reviewed above, we see a few reports this swing can squeak with long-term use. We didn’t see that in our testing, however.

Best Portable Baby Swing: Ingenuity Boutique Collection Swing ‘n Go Portable Swing

Travel baby swings are their own unique category—how to do you make a swing that is both good at soothing, but also can fold up easily for travel?

After trying out several portable swings, we thought Ingenuity’s Swing ‘n Go did the best job. Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Keeps speed constant as baby grows. Ingenuity calls this their “TrueSpeed” technology and it worked well in our testing. Basically, when we tested the swing with babies of different weights, the swing speed stayed roughly the same.

• Uses 4 D batteries. And it only works on batteries . . . that’s great for portability.

• 5 swing speeds.

• Folds easily for travel. It’s easy to assemble once you get to where you are going.

• 6 songs with volume control and auto shut off.

• Removable head support enables use from as little as six pounds.

• Carry handle.

• Machine washable fabrics.

What Needs Work

• Limited time use. This swing’s top weight is just 20 lbs.—compare that to Graco’s top weight of 30 lbs. for some of their swings. Of course, the trade-off here is foldability . . . travel swings generally have lower weight limits than full-size or compact models designed to stay put.

• Eats batteries fast!

Best Baby Swing Splurge: 4moms mamaRoo 4 Baby Swing

If your friends want to go in for a splurge gift for your new baby, the 4moms mamaRoo 4 swing is a worthy upgrade when it comes to swings. Yes, it is pricey, but fans think it is worth it. And after testing it ourselves, we see why it has a loyal fan base. Here’s more on why this would be a great splurge:

What We Liked

 5 unique motions. In addition to the standard side-by-side motion you see in other swings, the mamaRoo has unique motions like car ride, kangaroo, tree swing and wave. When you have a fussy baby, it’s nice to have additional soothing options—and the mamaRoo did a good job at soothing in our tests with actual babies. The car ride was a big hit.

• App controlled, Bluetooth enabled. Yes, you can control both the motion and sound via your smartphone. And the app worked well in our testing.

• 4 built in sounds or plug in your own MP3 player for tunes.

• Machine washable fabric.

• Infinite seat recline.

• Mobile with stuffed balls that are reversible—mirror and crinkle sound.

What Needs Work

• Limited time use. The top weight of the mamaRoo is 25 lbs., so this rather expensive purchase can only be used for a few months. Other baby swings can go up to 30 lbs., which means a few extra weeks of soothing.

• Pricey. But fans think it is worth it.

• No battery option. This is a plug-in only swing model.

• Speakers are tinny sounding. We don’t expect Bose-level quality sound from a swing, but 4moms could upgrade the sound above AM radio.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing swings and other gear since 1994! In addition to hands on testing of swings, we have combed the research about reliability and safety. We also evaluate consumer feedback including our own message boards.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

How we picked a winner

We evaluate swings with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, testing in at different speeds, clocking how long batteries last and more. We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking swings on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with baby gear retailers to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.

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