Full-size swings usually have a lot of bells and whistles, including variable swing speeds and directions, music, lights, sounds and other distractions. The Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle 'n Swing (*Est. $140) , one of the most popular full-size models on the market, is no exception. Reviewers say the seat is plush and supportive for even the smallest babies, and many parents say their babies like being able to turn the seat so it can swing front to back or side to side. The seat can also be easily shifted to face in three different directions so that baby is always facing mom. The Snugabunny doesn't convert to a floor model, something that the Graco SweetPeace Infant Soothing Swing (*Est. $170) can do. The Graco also vibrates when it's detached from its swing base.
Although the Graco SweetPeace is a bit pricier than competing swings, parents say its versatility makes it worth the extra. Billed as a "soothing center" by Graco, the SweetPeace is powered by an arm below the seat. It swings in multiple directions, and parents can use their Graco car seats in the frame. On the downside, some owners say the seat is too upright even in its most reclined position, so it's not as good a choice for younger babies -- which is an issue because swings are most useful in early infancy.
The Fisher-Price Starlight Papasan Cradle Swing (*Est. $140) gets rave reviews from parents of newborns for its mesmerizing light show, but with only a three-point harness, it is not a good choice once the baby is a little older. The Starlight is a traditional cradle swing that can move in multiple directions, and in addition to its popular light show features music, sound effects and a mobile with hanging plush toys.
All three of these swings, like most full-size baby swings, can run on battery or electricity. They also garner many negative reviews for an unreliable motor that stops after limited use, a common issue with all full-size swings. Taking all of those issues into account, the Snugabunny, with its five-point harness and deep recline, offers the longest useful life for your baby.
In the scheme of things, $140 to $200 is not that much to pay for a piece of baby equipment, but since a baby swing will probably only be used for a few months, it may be worth trying to find a bargain.
The Fisher-Price Musical Projection Swing (*Est. $80) offers solid performance for half the price of some full-size competitors. Its major draw is a movie-like projection show that parents say can be mesmerizing for their babies. The music also wins a lot of praise. However, like other budget-priced swings, the seat only moves in one direction. The swing runs on batteries only, and some parents complain that it's too fast for small babies even on the slowest speed. However, it folds flat for storage and has a smaller footprint, which makes it a good choice for apartment dwellers or as a second swing at grandma's house.
Like the Fisher-Price swing, the Graco Comfy Cove Swing (*Est. $70) runs on batteries and only swings front to back. Even though it's one of the least expensive full-size swings on the market, it's a sturdy choice for parents who are closely watching their pennies. They like the deep, easy-to-adjust seat and gender-neutral fabric choices. An attached mobile has three hanging toys, but the swing lacks music or other sounds. Several reviewers have reported problems with the swing either not working out of the box or quitting after limited use, making it a close runner-up to the Fisher-Price Musical Projection Swing, which gets better reviews for durability and battery life.