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Best baby cot 2022: Put your baby to sleep in safety and comfort

Lise Smith Rachel Erdos
18 Jun 2021

Find out how to pick the best cot with our buying guide and bite-size reviews

When it comes to kitting out your nursery, a cot is probably at the top of your shopping list. Most other nursery furniture is optional – changing tables and rocking chairs are nice to have, but you can manage without. A safe place for baby to sleep, on the other hand, is an absolute necessity. That normally means a sturdy wooden cot that’s both secure and comfortable for your bundle of joy.

A good cot should last for several years, although you might consider a smaller crib or Moses basket for the first few months – we’ll discuss these below. Some cots may convert into toddler beds, providing an extra year or two of use. Some can even be extended into beds suitable for older children.

Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect cot for your budget, room size and lifestyle – along with our picks of the best cots currently on the market.

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How to choose the best cot for your baby

What are the different options for my baby to sleep in?

Moses basket is a small, lightweight and portable sleeping space for very young babies, normally made from a woven natural material such as palm or bamboo. Moses baskets are easy to carry around the house while your baby is very young, but they’re only suitable up to around 3-4 months and are not safe to use once your baby is pulling up or rolling over by themselves.

A crib is a more substantial bed, typically made of slatted wood. It’s less portable than a Moses basket, but still smaller than a full-size cot – so it can be a space-saving option to keep in the bedroom with you for the first few months. One variant that’s become popular in recent years is the co-sleeping crib, which attaches to your own bed so you can sleep next to your baby without the risks of physical bed-sharing. Both regular cribs and co-sleepers are suitable from birth to around six months.

Finally, we come to standard-sized cots. Larger than any of the above options, these should serve you until your child is two to three years old, or longer for convertible cot beds. You can use a cot from birth, or transition to one once your child outgrows their crib.

What safety features should I look for?

All new cots sold in the UK must conform to British Standard BS EN 716-2:20. If you’re buying a cot from overseas or second-hand, make sure it has:

  1. A gap of no less than 2.5cm (1in) and no more than 6.5cm (2.6in) between the slats, to ensure your baby's head can’t get caught in the bars;
  2. A distance of at least 50cm between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides, to prevent your baby from climbing out; and
  3. No steps that your baby could climb on, or cut-outs that their feet could get caught in.

What other features are useful?

Adjustable height settings let you keep a small baby closer to the top of the cot, for ease of lifting in and out, and then lower the base as they grow older and more mobile. Drop sides also become useful as your child grows – many cots have a switch that lets you safely lower the side of the cot so you don’t have to hoist your toddler all the way over the side. If you’re buying second-hand or receiving a hand-me-down, check that this mechanism works safely and smoothly.

A drawer or two under the cot is a plus too. Storage usually adds to the cost, but it’s a great use of what might otherwise be wasted space. You can keep muslins, spare bedding and nightclothes here, and you’ll be glad to have them to hand in the event of a nappy burst or tummy upset in the middle of the night.

The ability to convert to a larger bed is worth looking into too: it can save you money, and may help your child transition comfortably to a bigger sleeping space. A teething rail helps prevent your baby from chomping straight through the cot railing. And wheels or castors can be helpful for rolling the cot from room to room, or shifting it aside to clean underneath – just make sure the brake mechanism is reliable.

Do I need to buy a separate mattress?

Some cots are sold with a mattress included in the price: we’ve indicated below where this is the case. If you need to buy one separately, check out our guide to the best cot mattresses.

How do I ensure my child sleeps safely?

Research indicates that babies who sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), so place your newborn’s cot or crib in the bedroom with you. Put your baby to sleep on their back, on a firm, flat mattress, and make sure the mattress fits the cot correctly with no gaps around the edges. Top the mattress with a securely fitted sheet and avoid loose sheets and blankets. Keep the cot free of pillows and toys, and avoid cot bumpers and decorations as these can be strangulation hazards. Keep the cot away from radiators and sunny windows – a temperature between 16° and 20°C is safest for sleep. For more advice on infant sleep safety, see the Lullaby Trust.

The best baby cots you can buy

1. Snüzpod 3-in-1 Bedside Crib: Best co-sleeper

Price: £200 | Buy now from Amazon

The Snüzpod attaches to the side of your bed, giving your baby a safe space to sleep while allowing you easy access to your newborn. The upper section can be lifted off and used as a portable bassinet – handy if you want to bring your baby into a different room for daytime naps – and the whole thing can be easily converted into a standalone crib when it’s time for your child to move to their own room. This model offers nine height settings, so you can match the crib height perfectly to your mattress, and an incline feature lets you safely prop your baby up to reduce acid reflux.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 6 months (10kg); Dimensions: 100 x 42 x 95cm; Weight: 12kg; Colour options: White, natural wood, dove grey; Mattress included? Yes

2. East Coast Nursery Carolina: Best-value cot

Price: £105 | Buy now from Amazon

This unfussy cot is great value, especially since the price includes a mattress. What’s more, its slim, space-saving design helps you fit it into your bedroom for the first six months before moving it into the nursery, so there’s no need for an extra crib or Moses basket. The open slatted design makes it easy to check on your sleeping child, and three height settings help you lift younger babies easily in and out. Just note that it lacks a drop side – so you’ll have to lean in to extract your older baby – and that, with its slightly smaller frame, it’s only suitable until around 24 months. Still, for those first two years it’s a great alternative to buying a separate crib for the bedroom and cot for the nursery.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 24 months (16kg); Dimensions: 96 x 58 x 91cm; Weight: 10kg; Colour options: White, antique wood; Mattress included? Yes

3. Ikea Gonatt: Best Ikea cot

Price: £160 | Buy now from Ikea

Ikea’s nursery furniture includes some attractive, solid items that are excellent value for money. The Gonatt isn’t the cheapest cot in the range – that’s the basic-but-serviceable Sniglar at £60 – but it’s one of the most handsome, and reassuringly sturdy. Its ventilated base keeps the sleeping temperature cool, and its three drawers are perfect for bedding and other nursery essentials. The mattress can be set at two heights, and one side can be removed to convert the cot into a toddler cot bed. The Gonatt comes in a choice of light grey or breezy white with coloured drawer knobs. Several different mattress options are sold separately.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 36 months (20kg); Dimensions: 143 x 75 x 111; Weight: 48kg; Colour options: White, light grey; Mattress included? No

Buy now from Ikea

4. Bloom Alma Urban cot: Best for Nanny’s house

Price when reviewed: £300 | Buy now from Bloom

The Alma Urban cot is perfect for keeping at a relative’s house. Its clever hinged construction folds away when not in use – you can even roll it aside on its castor wheels if necessary – and tool-free assembly ensures that even the least spanner-savvy of grandparents can easily erect it. While the folding design makes it ideal for temporary use, it’s also solid and sturdy enough to use as a main bed: on its own it’s a bit petite to use much past the age of two, but with the matching Alma Papa Toddler rail it can be converted into a toddler bed to take you up to four years. A great option if you visit the grandparents often.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 24 months; Dimensions: 94 x 49 x 83cm (folds to a depth of 16cm); Weight: 23kg; Colour options: White, natural birch, cappuccino, frost grey; Mattress included? No

Buy now from Bloom

5. John Lewis Anna Dropside Cot: Best all-rounder

Price when reviewed: £150 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

With arched end panels and slats on all sides, this cot has a lovely airy feel, and makes it very easy to check in on your little one during naptime. It’s attractive too, made from Nordic Birchwood and coated in an eco-friendly water-based white paint. The mattress can be set at three different heights, and the dropside feature makes it easy to lower your little one in.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 3 years; Dimensions: 93 x 126 x 70cm; Weight: N/A; Colour options: White; Mattress included? No

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

6. Mamas & Papas Oxford: Best luxury cot

Price when reviewed: £574 | Buy now from Baby Planet

If you’re willing to splash out on a high-quality, long-lasting cot bed, this is one of the most beautifully crafted we’ve seen. The contemporary design is solidly built in wood, with two mattress height settings and a pair of generously sized drawers with soft-close mechanisms. Though the price is certainly high, it will last one child several years, converting first into a cot-bed and then a fully sideless toddler bed. And of course, it’s robust enough to be passed down to younger siblings.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 4 years; Dimensions: 89cm x 80cm x 152cm; Weight: 49kg; Colour options: White, grey; Mattress included? No

Buy now from Baby Planet

7. Stokke Sleepi Cot with mattress: Best convertible cot

Price when reviewed: £619 | Buy now from Stokke

Looking for a long-term sleep solution? The Stokke Sleepi Cot is hard to beat for sheer versatility. Starting off as a cosy oval shape that’s snug and nestlike for your newborn, it converts into a rounded cot, then a cot bed, and finally – with an optional extension kit – into a proper child’s bed that will serve you well into the primary school years. Its natural beech wood construction makes a lovely visual statement, and features two adjustable mattress height settings and wheeled castors to allow easy transition from room to room. Despite the high initial cost, when you consider how long the Sleepi will last you, it’s really rather good value.

Key specs - Age: Birth to approx. 3 years (can be extended to junior bed for up to 7 years with additional kit); Dimensions: 127 x 74 x 85cm (extends to 172cm with additional kit); Weight: 25kg; Colour options: White, grey, mint green, natural beech; Mattress included? Yes

Buy now from Stokke

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