Both experts and parents like the Graco Sarah Classic Convertible Crib. Reviewers appreciate its sturdy construction, classic sleigh design and three mattress levels, not to mention the ability to convert from crib to toddler bed (requires no guard rail), daybed and full-size headboard (with separately purchased conversion kit). The crib's low cost also appeals to budget-conscious parents. Some reviewers say the Sarah's lower price tag reflects lower-quality construction, noting that soft pine is prone to dents and the finish chips or wears away easily.
For a more durable convertible, you might consider paying more for the Baby Cache Heritage Lifetime Convertible Crib (*Est. $550), which offers the same conversion options but is crafted in stronger mahogany wood. Another alternative is the best-reviewed DaVinci Emily 4-in-1 Convertible Crib (*Est. $215).
We found reviews in the popular book "Baby Bargains," and in best cribs lists on Babble.com, MomFinds.com and About.com. Owners comment on the Graco Sarah at both Amazon.com and Cribs.com. These consumer review sites provide valuable information on how to set up the crib, how different mattresses fit in it and various issues that can occur over time, such as the finish warping and crib-to-bed conversion difficulties.
1. Baby Bargains
Authors Denise and Alan Fields don't independently test baby cribs, but they do give top brand recommendations based on product evaluation, user feedback and manufacturer history. The Graco Sarah is one of the few crib models recommended.
Review: Crib Brand Ratings, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition
Amazon.com is a good place to search for owner reviews of baby gear. The Graco Sarah crib gets 4.2 out of 5 stars from consumers based on more than 110 reviews.
Review: Graco Sarah Classic 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Jan. 2012
Editors of MomFinds.com recommend five top baby cribs in various categories, with the Graco Sarah winning the title of best convertible crib. The brief reviews include style points and safety notes, but don't compare models or reveal much about editors' testing methods.
Review: Best Baby Cribs, Editors of MomFinds.com, Not dated
Babble rounds up the best cribs of 2011 in different style and price point categories to help parents choose the model that's right for them. Writer Michelle Horton acknowledges that despite the Graco Sarah Classic's safety and sturdiness, the crib's exterior is more likely than other models to dent and scratch.
Review: Babble Best Picks: Cribs, Michelle Horton, 2011
About.com's baby product guide Heather Corley ranks her top choices for budget cribs. However, there's no comparison between the discussed models, nor does Corley offer much explanation for her choices. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 8 Baby Cribs Under $250, Heather Corley, Not dated
Cribs.com offers a wide variety of cribs, but only a few have a notable number of customer reviews. The Graco Sarah crib is one such exception, amassing an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 based on comments from nearly 90 owners.
Review: Graco Sarah 4 in 1 Convertible Crib Collection, Contributors to Cribs.com, As of Jan. 2012