If like most parents you spend the majority of your time balancing your baby on your hip or attached to your breast or one-handedly learning (and often failing) to do all your house chores, then a baby bouncer is an absolute must.
The choice however is overwhelming. Does your baby really need umpteen movements and sounds to keep them entertained? Usually a short car ride does the trick. Is it better to stimulate your baby with colourful and bold designs of jungle animals and shape
Is it wrong you want an aesthetic design in-keeping with your living room décor? And then what about price? Is it better to invest for future children perhaps or just get a budget-friendly option in case your baby refuses to be put down altogether?
There’s so much to consider but what all our testers did agree on is value for money, noise levels (the minimal the better) a machine-washable soft fabric, a secure harness and a controllable bounce are all key in finding your new live-in babysitter aka baby bouncer.
With so much choice out there, here, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions to make the buying process easier.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best baby bouncers for 2021 are:
Best overall – Babybjorn bouncer bliss: £210, Babybjorn.co.uk
Best value – Fisher-Price infant-to-toddler rocker: £64.99, Argos.co.uk
Best for saving space – Maxi-Cosi kori rocker: £89, Amazon.co.uk
Best for style – iCandy michair newborn pod: £155, iCandyworld.com
Best for newborns – Graco all ways soother horizon: £164.95, Kiddies-kingdom.com
Best collapsible bouncer – Ingenuity bella teddy rocking seat: £96.99, Amazon.co.uk
Best for longevity – Stokke steps bouncer: £149, Stokke.com
Best battery-free bouncer – Nuna leaf grow: £225, Mamasandpapas.com
Best for tech – 4Moms rockaroo rocker: £199, Very.co.uk
Babybjorn bouncer bliss, jersey cotton
This has a cult following like no other and we fully understand the appeal. It’s not a cheap purchase but it will last you longer than most other bouncers as it can be a seat for newborn babies up to children aged two, and even thereafter little ones will still want to sit on it for its soothing and comforting bounce.
There are four positions depending on the age of your baby and what they are doing, for instance resting, playing, eating. Our tester loved the adjustable height feature and how it complemented her home.
Although the sleek and chic design is a definite selling point, when it’s not being used it can be folded flat which also makes it easily transportable when you’re visiting friends, travelling or simply storing it in your loft in between having children.
The super soft jersey fabric is as snug as it gets. Plus, it’s machine washable and doesn’t lose its shape or comfort post-wash. Our only criticism is it doesn’t come with a toy handle (can be bought separately) which at this price is a bit of a shame that it's not thrown in.
Buy now £210.00, Babybjorn.co.uk
Fisher-Price infant-to-toddler rocker
Bright, bold and by no means an understated new piece of furniture for your home, this bouncer will stimulate using colour and noise, and the toy bar (which is included) encourages development of your baby’s fine motor skills.
Meanwhile the bouncer has soft vibrations to soothe while the music will keep your baby entertained. And it’s machine washable too. It’s a great mid-price point that will give your baby years of pleasure and give you some hands-free time too. If you’re looking for value for money from a trusted brand, this won’t disappoint.
Buy now £64.99, Argos.co.uk
Maxi-Cosi kori rocker
Best: For saving space
With its cosy, newborn inlay and stylish, sleek design, this bouncer punches way above its price point. It adjusts to three different positions with just one hand, cleans easily and weighs next to nothing. Plus, it folds compactly so it can be tucked away in your home or placed at the back of your car for weekends away.
It has a soft bounce to the chair that is controlled manually, so you’ve still got to put in some hard work and can’t be too far away before it needs another rock, which can be a little hard if you have other children to tend to.
Buy now £89.00, Amazon.co.uk
iCandy michair newborn pod
Best: For style
Trust iCandy to create such an innovative design that allows this bouncer to attach to its MiChair high-chair. This simple yet sleek creation is perfectly spacious (allowing for ample growth) and can be used to rock your baby to sleep or locked into place for feeding.
When it attaches to the MiChair, it allows the baby to be at the same height as you, which is lovely for extra eye-to-eye coo-ing and kinder on your back too.
The pod comes with a detachable toy bar but, note this is for you to attach your own toys too.
The pod is machine washable and also flattens for easy storage. If you’re thinking long term or perhaps have a toddler at home, it may be worth investing in this bouncer and the high-chair. Sorry, we never once said having children is cheap.
Buy now £155.00, johnlewis.com
Graco all ways soother horizon
Best: For newborns
This is like a disco for your baby with an audio system that has 10 built-in melodies, five nature sounds and 16 calming motions. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also six available swinging gears and two speeds of gentle vibrations. It’s really no wonder it’s an expensive choice.
And to add to the excitement, there’s a supportive newborn headrest and a toy bar to play with. The only issue we found is that the bouncer is only suitable from birth to nine months, so unless your baby is sitting in this bouncer day in, day out, this isn’t great value for money, as you’ll need to buy another bouncer as your baby grows.
Buy now £164.95, Kiddies-kingdom.com
Ingenuity bella teddy rocking seat
Best: Collapsible bouncer
With its posh fabrics and stylish finish, this contemporary bouncer will be a welcome addition to your homes’ furniture. It has three positions that have calming vibrations, nature sounds and music and a toy bar to keep your little one entertained.
There’s a head rest that offers extra support for newborns, which is removable as your baby grows, likewise the overhead toy bar.
Storage and transport are made easy with its collapsing design plus it’s machine washable too. Although this ticks all the right boxes, our tester found adjusting the straps almost impossible because of the design of the chair, not a good safety feature, especially if you have overexcited siblings running around.
Buy now £96.99, Amazon.co.uk
Stokke steps bouncer
Best: For longevity
You can be assured your baby will drift soundly to sleep with this soft and well-cushioned bouncer. This unique design was created together with a paediatric physiotherapist to ensure your baby feels cocooned when lying down. The concept was to create a chair that mimics the comforting movement and the same feeling of being cradled.
It has a good bounce and can be placed in four different positions as your baby grows. And although, it’s quite wide and long, the format makes it easy to pack, plus it has a small rubber fastener which you can lock it flat with, so that you don't accidentally open it when you’re transporting it to and fro.
It’s a premium priced bouncer, however if you intend to buy a high chair further down the line, the Stokke is a solid investment. All that’s left to decide is which one of the pretty colours and designs to buy it in.
Buy now £149.00, Stokke.com
Nuna leaf grow
Best: Battery-free bouncer
This is a very innovative design from a Dutch baby brand that was inspired by the natural shape and movement of leaves (hence the name). The concept is simple, with just a nudge, the chair sways from side to side for up to two minutes (you need to keep returning to the chair for another push to add extra time).
There’s no motor, so no noise and no batteries needed, plus it is safe for children up to 130lbs. You also have the choice to lock the bouncer in place for when it’s feeding time or perhaps for screen time.
There are three reclining angles that our tester, who isn’t the handiest of people, claimed was very easy to adjust. However, the base of the chair is quite heavy to manoeuvre around the house, so it’s a good choice for open-plan homes rather than traditional lay-outs that mean you’re having to schlepp the bouncer from one room to the next.
The only hiccup perhaps is the velcro straps – they make a noisy rustling sound and when you’re trying (praying) hard not to wake a sleeping baby, this isn’t ideal.
Buy now £225.00, johnlewis.com
4Moms rockaroo rocker
Best: For tech
This is no ordinary bouncer, but more like a high-tech piece of baby equipment that will change the face of traditional baby bouncers as we know it. Send tunes straight from your smartphone and Bluetooth connection to move the bouncer so you don’t have to do a thing.
There are five settings for motions that mimic a car ride, wave, tree swing, rock-a-bye, and kangaroo. The overhead mobile toys are reversible, and the seat can recline to a rest position and a sit up too.
Although this doesn’t come cheap, this acts as a bouncer, swing and a seat and you don’t need any batteries either. If you’re not the techy type, this probably isn’t for you. You’ll spend more time working out how to set up features on your phone, then the baby will have in the bouncer.
Buy now £199.99, Very.co.uk
Baby bouncer FAQs
What age can 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
Hands down and leaps apart, Babybjorn’s bouncer bliss is the firm favourite with our testers. The soft jersey design adds even more to the brand's already luxe collection. It’s not just a bouncer but a piece of furniture for your home that will give your little ones a comfy and soothing seat to sit on throughout their early years.
But, when it comes to mechanics, innovation and well-thought design, Nuna’s leaf bouncer is well-ahead of the game and our little testers agreed with some unexpected (and very much appreciated) shut-eye.
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