Best Budget-Friendly Bouncer: Fisher-Price Baby Bouncer

When it comes baby bouncers, like much of the gear that is sold for baby, simple is often the best. Case in point: the Fisher-Price Baby Bouncer. It’s basically a seat with built-in vibration (battery-operated) and a toy bar. And it works! Here’s an overview:

What We Liked

• Best at soothing. It may seem simple, but vibration is one of the key ways to soothe a fussy baby. And this seat does that well!

• Easy to assemble. We also found this seat easiest to use.

• Machine washable pad. An important feature for any bouncer!

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Recline angle isn’t adjustable. Plus as kids get older, their feet can hit the vibration control switch . . . turning it off or on when you don’t want that!

• Doesn’t fold for travel. Some of our testers unscrew the frame in order to travel with it—but that is quite a pain.

• No auto shut-off. If you forget to turn off the vibration feature when you remove baby, the batteries will drain fast.

• Short term use. This seat can only be used up to 20 lbs.—that’s about six months for most babies. Other options can be used longer.

• Care should be used to prevent tipping. Once baby is closer to the weight limit (20 lbs.), it is possible for them to tip over the bouncer—always supervise a baby in this chair, especially at that stage.

Best Longer Use Bouncer: Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker

This option combines the best of both worlds—a bouncer to soothe baby and a rocker/chair for older toddlers (up to 40 lbs.) Yes, it costs a bit more than a plain, ol’ bouncer, but we think it is worth the upgrade based on our testing. Here’s a quick look:

What We Liked

 Longer use up to 40 lbs. Once your baby outgrows the bouncer seat, this morphs into a toddler chair complete with kickstand (if you don’t want it to rock).

• Machine washable pad. And the toy bar removes for cleaning as well.

• Soothing vibration is effective for fussy babies, based on our testing.

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Doesn’t fold. That makes it harder for travel use.

• Supervise to prevent tipping. As with any bouncer, you must supervise baby while in it, as older/heavier babies can tip over the bouncer.

• If not assembled properly, it can be wobbly. We didn’t have a problem assembling this bouncer, but we do see some reports of stripped screw holes or screws that didn’t properly seat—and that caused issues, as you’d image.

Best Easy To Assemble: Bright Starts Playful Pinwheels Bouncer with Vibrating Seat

Yes, some bouncer seats can be rather complex to assemble—go figure! This one is one of the easiest: Bright Starts Playful Pinwheels Bouncer. We liked its design and vibrating seat feature.

What We Liked

• Gender neutral colors.

• Affordable

• Easy to assemble.

• Machine washable fabrics.

• Cute toys.

What’s Needs Work

• More vibration? Some folks thought the vibration feature wasn’t as good as other brands—we didn’t find that in our testing, but we note the complaints.

Best Splurge-Worthy Bouncer: 4moms mamaRoo

If you are hoping for a gift in this category, we’d recommend the 4Moms’ mamaRoo. Fans love the five unique motions (including car ride, ocean wave, etc.) as well as the built-in nature sounds and the relatively compact footprint. The most recent Mamaroo is Bluetooth-enabled so you control it with a smartphone app. In our testing, it worked well at soothing babies—with some caveats. Here is an overview:

What We Liked

• Combines soother, bouncer and rocker. This clever product is a mashup of several baby gear items. And fans love the ability to soothe a baby.

• Two price points. The Mamaroo is sold in two flavors—Classic (solid grey or black) and Plush (colored and textured patterns). The Classic is a basic, canvas-like fabric, while the Plush has a softer, more velvet-like cover. We’ve evaluated the feel of both versions and think the Classic is fine. If you decide you’d like the more plush fabric later, you can buy an extra pad.

• Doesn’t take up too much room. Regular baby bouncer/swings can have huge footprints, 30″ or more; the mamaRoo is 20″ wide.

• App enabled. You can remotely change the settings and play music via an app. Fans love this hands free option.

What’s Needs Work

• Pricey. With a 25 lb. weight limit, this is an expensive piece of gear for short term use.

• Durability. Critics say the mamaRoo breaks too easily . . . and we’d agree that is disappointing at this price point.

• Not every baby loves it. That isn’t a big deal when you are talking an affordable bouncer or swing—but at this price point, if your baby doesn’t cotton to it, you can imagine the heartburn.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money. 

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!