A Complete ‘How to Buy a Crib’ Guide | 2024 Update

Welcome to the World of Baby Cribs and Crib Mattresses

Parents are usually eager to start looking for a baby crib. But finding a perfect one often turns out to be more complicated than they initially thought.

The Internet is full of tips about safe baby sleep, guides on where babies should or shouldn’t sleep, recommendations for the best baby cribs, and more. This abundance of information can overwhelm parents, leading them to doubt their knowledge and decisions. Thus, they often turn to us with the question of which crib to buy.

However, the answer is not so simple. The market is full of cribs with various features, sizes, and price ranges. Moreover, different people have different needs when it comes to buying a crib. Therefore, I cannot give you a specific crib model that you should buy.

Do not worry, as I can do something better. I can guide you on how to choose and buy a crib. With the information given below, anyone can find a crib that is both safe for the baby and meets their expectations about appearance and functionality.

Below is a baby crib buying guide that will take you step-by-step through the process of selecting a crib that is safe for your baby and fits your budget and preferences.

How to buy a baby crib?

Now, let’s take a closer look at each step:

Baby Crib Buying Guide

Delta Children Essex 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Best-selling crib in 2023: Delta Children Essex 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Crib

1. Establishing Your Crib Budget

When starting the process of buying a crib, the very first step is to establish your price range. It is crucial to set a budget that will help you find a crib that meets your requirements without putting a strain on your finances.

Also, keep in mind that the cost of a crib is not the only expense to consider. You will also need sheets and a crib mattress.

How Much Should You Spend?

The cost of cribs varies widely based on factors like brand, materials, and design. They come in a price range from $100 to $1000 and more for unique designer models.

While there are some differences (you can find them in the table below) between lower- and higher-priced cribs, a higher price tag doesn’t mean higher safety. All baby cribs must meet required safety standards, regardless of cost! Therefore, choosing a low-budget crib won’t compromise your baby’s safety.

A budget of around $200 to $500 can provide a good range of quality options without having to compromise on your preferences. Remember, it’s important to find the right balance between your budget and the features that matter most to you.

Differences among cribs based on price ranges:
Low-Priced CribsMid-Range CribsHigh-End Cribs
Price Rangeup to $250$250 – $600$600 and above, potentially over $1000
Materials & BuildBasic materials, simpler constructionHigher quality materials, improved constructionPremium materials, superior craftsmanship
Design & FeaturesSimple designs, limited featuresMore design options, additional featuresElaborate designs, intricate detailing, unique features
Safety Standards
Brand ReputationMay include lesser-known brandsEstablished brands with a reputation for qualityTop-tier brands, potentially designer or custom models
Longevity/DurabilityDurability may vary, shorter lifespanImproved durability and longevityImproved durability and longevity
Great Crib at this Price PointDelta Children Heartland 4-in-1 convertible cribBabyletto Hudson 3-in-1 convertible cribEmory Farmhouse 4-in-1 convertible crib
Comparison Table: Crib Comparison Across Price Ranges

2. Consider the Crib’s Features

Think about what you expect from the crib. You have numerous options, from cribs that grow with the baby to those with an attached changing table, etc. You can opt for a stationary crib or one that stands on wheels.

Of course, there are also various crib combinations. For instance, you can pick a crib on wheels that is also convertible, such as the Babyletto Maki portable and convertible crib.

Basic Crib Types are:

  1. Regular cribs: Traditional cribs without any additional features.
  2. Convertible cribs: are designed to convert into different bed types as your child grows, such as toddler beds, daybeds, or even full-sized beds. This can be a cost-effective and space-saving choice in the long run. → Best Convertible Cribs
  3. Portable cribs: come with wheels or casters that make them easier to move around. Some models can also be folded down, allowing for convenient storage. When purchasing a portable crib, it’s important to ensure that it includes a locking mechanism. This feature will keep the crib stationary and secure whenever necessary. → Best Portable Cribs
  4. Cribs with storage space: come with built-in storage drawers underneath. This can be a convenient feature for keeping baby essentials, such as extra bedding or clothes, within easy reach. Then there are also models with an attached changer (combo cribs) so that you don’t have to buy a separate changing table. → Best Cribs with Drawers

More about crib types: Different Types Of Baby Cribs

3. Measure Available Space Before you Buy a Crib

If space is not an issue, feel free to skip this step; otherwise, measure the available space for the crib.

Full-Size Cribs:

When you are buying a full-size crib, it’s important to know that the insides, or internal measurements, are all the same. The law ensures that any regular crib mattress can fit in any full-size crib.

But here’s the catch: the outside measurements aren’t the same. Why? Well, each type of crib has a different frame design. Some frames are small and simple, while others are big and more complex. This is why even cribs of the same type can be a bit different in size.

In general, portable cribs are those with the smallest footprint. Next are convertible cribs. Combo cribs, on the other hand, are the ones that take up the most space.

Mini Cribs:

Consider a mini crib if a full-size crib is too large for your home. Mini cribs are smaller versions of full-size cribs. This means you can pick a mini portable crib, a mini convertible crib, or even a mini crib with an under-crib drawer or attached changer. 

RELATED: Mini Crib Vs. Standard Crib

4. Think about the Crib’s Shape

Cribs are available in two shapes: rectangular and oval. While oval cribs can be trendy and modern, it’s essential to consider whether they’re the right choice for you.

An oval crib can make a lovely centerpiece in a spacious nursery, adding to the room’s overall aesthetic. However, placing an oval crib in a cramped corner is not advisable. It won’t achieve the desired visual effect and, more importantly, will take up more valuable space than a classic rectangular model.

It’s worth noting that oval cribs are generally more expensive compared to rectangular ones. Moreover, they require a specially designed oval mattress, which is also more expensive than a standard crib mattress. Similarly, the sheets for oval cribs have a smaller selection and are generally more costly than regular crib sheets

5. Crib Mattress

Don’t forget to consider the expense of a suitable mattress for your crib!

When setting up a crib for a baby, it’s essential to provide a comfortable and safe sleeping environment. One of the most important factors in achieving this is choosing a suitable crib mattress.

The quality of the mattress can significantly impact your baby’s sleep quality and overall safety. Therefore, it’s important to consider the cost of purchasing an appropriate mattress when setting your crib budget.

For more detailed information on how to choose the right crib mattress, please refer to our Crib Mattress Buying Guide.

6. Mattress Support

Check up on what holds up the crib’s mattress. You can choose between wooden slats, metal bars, a wooden board, or a metal frame with wire springs.

Each of them went through rigorous testing and is appropriate for the crib. However, a wire spring mattress support tends to be the sturdiest and better withstands a jumping toddler than a wooden slat base.

Adjustable mattress support:

Adjustable mattress support is an essential feature that every parent should consider when choosing a baby crib. This feature enables you to start with the highest setting for a newborn and lower it down as your baby grows.

Depending on the crib’s type, they usually come with 2 to 5 mattress height adjustments. Convertible cribs generally have more adjustments, ranging from 3 to 4 different heights, while portable cribs typically have two levels.

While some parents may prefer more height adjustments, two levels are enough, and three are ideal. The difference between individual heights is often negligible in mattress supports with more than three levels, so it is usually not worth the additional costs.

7. Consider the Crib’s Height

If you’re a short parent, it might be wise to consider purchasing a low-profile crib. These cribs have a unique design with a minimalistic frame and short legs. That makes them shorter in height while the height of the railings remains the same. 

It’s important to note that the height of the railing in a low-profile crib is the same as a regular crib, making them just as safe as other cribs. Babies cannot climb out of such a crib any sooner than any other crib.

This, together with an adjustable mattress support, allows short moms to reach their babies more easily.

RELATED: Best Cribs for Short Moms

8. Safety

Safety is an essential aspect to consider when buying a crib for your baby. Ensuring that the crib you choose is safe and meets the required safety standards is crucial. Even if you love the design and features of a crib, if it does not meet the safety standards, do not use it.

The government has set strict safety standards that all new cribs must meet. Any crib that fails on safety tests is removed from the market. However, if you decide to buy a second-hand crib, you need to be extra cautious.

Avoid buying a used crib made before July 2011. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) set new, more stringent safety standards from that date. The most significant change was the ban on dropping side cribs. This mechanism had caused many injuries and even tragic deaths, making it not worth the risk.

Nonetheless, providing a secure sleeping environment for your baby goes beyond buying a safe crib. You must also purchase the right crib mattress and follow baby-safe sleep recommendations. By doing so, you will do everything in your power to ensure your baby’s safe sleep.

I hope our baby crib buying guide answered all your questions and helped you choose the best crib for your baby. If not, ask us anything in the comments below. We will reply as soon as possible!

I have provided many valuable links, but our site has many other articles that might help you buy a baby crib. Find out more in our baby crib reviewsbest-of crib lists, and crib info.

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