Most babies love to swing or rock, and most parents enjoy the soothing qualities of a baby swing. A good swing is like having an extra set of hands when baby is fussy or fighting off a nap.
As soothing as the swing itself can be, choosing one to buy can be stressful. Do you want one with or without music? With or without vibrations? Will it hold baby at a comfortable angle? Will baby be able to use it for a long time without outgrowing the seat and restraints?
Here are two swings that I have tried, side by side, and how they compare as far as pros and cons:
Fisher-Price Space Saver Swing and Seat
This swing is a great investment for the baby who loves to swing. It has 5 speeds, plus a soothing vibration option-perfect for those colicky nights!
- The bucket seat design is perfect for newborns. The high sides offer a feeling of safety, and the angle is not only comfortable, it allows for the use of any car seat pillow for extra propping if needed.
- The music function is also a plus. There are several melodies, and they play quietly enough that they won’t startle the baby or grind on a parent’s nerves after countless hours.
- The overall swing really does save space. It tucks easily into any corner or room, is lightweight to move, and has a nice, wide base to prevent tipping.
- The swing mechanism and the vibrator are whisper quiet. You can easily forget that you have left the swing vibrating, but the good news is that it will work for days on one battery, even if you forget and leave it turned on.
- The seat also comes with a latch that can hold the seat into a stationary position. This can be for feeding the baby, or for simply creating a non-swinging “cradle”. It makes transferring a sleeping baby out of the harness system easier too. No worries about bumping the swing to hard and startling the infant.
- Depending on the size of the baby, this swing could be used for several months. At four months, it is still a comfortable fit for an average sized baby.
- During the non-wiggly newborn stage, you can lay a sleeping baby into the seat like a bassinet. Because of the high sides and fitted design, the belts aren’t necessary until baby starts to be more active. (They are still recommended though!) So if you need a quick place to lay baby down and free your hands, this is a nice feature.
- The swing is solely operated by batteries. One set of batteries operates the swing and music, and another set powers the vibration mode. The batteries that run the actual swing are used up fast if baby swings more than an hour or so per day.
- The toy bar does not have an adjustable height. The toys hang too high for baby to touch them. This is fine while they are very young, but frustrating by the time they reach two or three months.
- It does not fold up, which makes moving it somewhat awkward. The swing is lightweight and small, but would not be easy to transport in a car.
- The belts are comfortable to use, but quickly outgrown. A baby that is a little tall or heavy for their age may outgrow the straps before they are ready to outgrow the swing.
Bright Starts Portable Swing
The Bright Starts swing is simpler in design than the Fisher Price model. Although it is slightly larger in size, it still fits comfortably into your home and your budget!
- The Bright Starts swing has 6 swing speeds. They range from a “barely there” gentle rock to a smooth, fast swing. It is almost like a baby carnival ride, and some babies love that thrill!
- Even with serious swing action, the batteries last a long time, thanks to an automatic shut off design. This saves money, and baby doesn’t even notice, since they are usually asleep when the swing starts to gear down.
- Folds up for easy storage and transportation. The best swing to take along to Grandma’s house or on an overnight trip.
- The swing mechanism is completely silent. You will never even know it is running, and no loud noises will wake baby.
- A great feature is the padded seat restraint. The cloth covered buckle keeps any uncomfortable friction away from bare baby legs. And the straps are easy to adjust, which is always a good thing!
- The makers of this swing use a special weight recognition technology so that the swing motor adjusts to a growing baby. Rather than slowing down, it keeps rocking even when baby is heavier.
- Heavier? One of the best features of this swing is that the large seat size accommodates infants up to 25 pounds. Not like some swings that baby will outgrow physically before they are ready to give up the comfort of their favorite napping spot.
- It is just a swing, however. It doesn’t play music or vibrate. But if you don’t love electronically recorded melodies, or if your baby prefers to listen to household sounds, this isn’t really a big con.
- You absolutely have to use the harness with this seat. Rather than the hard shell seat of the Fisher Price swing, this is a cloth seat stretched over a wire frame, and is not molded to support a baby without the belts. Even a small baby that does not wiggle much will slide down the seat with the rocking motion.
- Even though the swing technology is silent, the speed control dial is not. It clicks very loudly when you adjust the speeds.
- The toy bar is a better design, putting the plastic animals in a position where they can be touched by baby. However, it absolutely has to come off each time you put baby into and out of the swing.
- Another problem with the seat design is that it makes it a little tricky to place the baby in the seat, especially if they are drowsy and you don’t want to wake them. By the time you remove the toy bar, hold the swing still, situate baby, and fasten the belt, your infant may be wide awake and agitated. The same goes for removing him or her from the swing.
How Do They Compare?
Both of the swings are great for different reasons. And they both share some excellent qualities. They both swing baby at multiple speeds, have comfortable seats, and offer safety features such as adjustable harnesses and non-slip bases.
Both swings are easy to move from room to room, and take up a bare minimum of space on your floor. They both come in a variety of prints and styles to match any theme.
For the fussier baby, the Fisher Price swing is the better option, since it has the vibration mode. It is also a better choice for small babies, or those with less muscle control.
The Bright Starts swing is more affordable than the Fisher Price model. The Bright Starts swing is also quieter and more portable. A must if you are ever going on vacation and want to take along your swing.
Neither swing has a power cord option, so both with cost you more money for batteries over the months. However, not requiring a power source means that either swing can be used anywhere at any time – not just near a convenient outlet.
Both swings deserve a thumbs up, and are great for any parent with a newborn. They offer comfort, security, and that spare set of hands. The Fisher Price swing, however, with its combination of functions, provides the most value for your money. If you can only afford one piece of bigger baby gear, go with the Fisher Price Swing, for a happier baby!