Portable baby swings don't have as many features as full-size swings – they only swing front-to-back, and many require batteries. But for parents who either don't have room for a massive swing or want to soothe babies on the road, a portable swing is a practical option that's often cheaper than its full-size siblings.
Parents say the Fisher-Price Deluxe Take Along Swing and Seat (Est. $65) is a versatile, compact option for anyone who needs to travel with a baby swing or simply wants to save space. Like many travel swings, it runs on battery power only. It's available in at least four color schemes, including pink, green and beige.
Users can choose from six front-to-back swinging speeds or convert this Fisher-Price swing to a stationary vibrating baby seat. Both modes allow use of 10 songs and nature sounds. Two hanging plush toys are included. For the most part, parents say the swing does a good job of soothing their babies, and they love having vibration as an option. Battery life gets mixed reviews, and some say vibration uses more power than swing mode. Assembly is reportedly a breeze, and parents say it's very easy to fold this swing compactly for storage or travel – a handful of reviewers even say it can fit easily in a suitcase when disassembled. An overhead carry handle also makes it easy to tote from room to room with no folding necessary.
The Deluxe Take Along Swing and Seat has a five-point harness and a machine-washable seat pad that can also be thrown in the dryer, which reviewers love. As with most baby swings, there are some reports of motor failure, and a few reviewers complain that their babies outgrow it within a few months – far short of the 25-pound weight capacity.
If a portable swing sounds appealing but constant battery changes don't, the Ingenuity Power Adapt Portable Swing (Est. $90) offers a plug-in option – rare for a swing that isn't full-size. It's available in at least three neutral color schemes.
The Power Adapt Portable Swing has five front-to-back swing speeds, eight songs and three nature sounds. Unlike the Fisher-Price Take Along Swing and Seat, it does not vibrate, but it does add a three-setting timer. There is also a removable toy bar. Parents give it high marks for easy assembly, quiet swinging and solid soothing abilities, and they love how small it is in tight spaces. The swing folds flat for easy storage or travel in a car trunk, but the folded package isn't as compact as the Fisher-Price Deluxe Take Along Swing and Seat. Some reviewers report problems with the pre-drilled holes during assembly, saying they weren't lined up correctly.
A small number of reviewers also report the usual complaints about motor failure on the Power Adapt Portable Swing, and some say the head support doesn't keep small babies' heads from slumping. The padding is machine-washable and can also be tossed in the dryer. Weight capacity is 25 pounds and there is a five-point harness. While Ingenuity says it has engineered the motor to maintain ideal speed as babies grow, reviewers are mum on whether it works.
Some parents say their babies are equally soothed by slight rocking or vibration, and they don't want to lug a portable swing along on trips. Others want a seat that will be useful beyond the first few months. For them, the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker (Est. $40) is cheaper, more compact and more practical than a swing. For vibration, it requires a battery.
The Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker isn't for a baby who needs constant rocking for soothing or sleep, as parents must rock the seat themselves. However, the vibration is automatic. It reclines to near-flat for small babies, but the angle can be raised to become a lounger for older babies and then a fully upright seat for toddlers. A detachable toy bar comes with the rocker. Parents love the versatility and long lifespan, saying it's an ideal on-the-go napping spot that is also a great place to give babies a bottle, or a cozy spot for a young toddler to look at a book. They also say it folds quite compactly for travel, with a lightweight frame and built-in handle for further ease.
The pad on the Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker is machine-washable. There is only a three-point harness, which disappoints some parents of older, more active babies who are worried their children may be able to sit up and wriggle out. Reviewers report few durability issues, but some say the seat feels a bit flimsy, while others say there were some rough spots on the plastic. Weight capacity is 40 pounds.