white nursery chair

Glider Vs. Rocker: Which One Best Suits Your Needs?

Written by: L. Elizabeth Forry



Time to read 8 min

One of the most important (and fun!) things you will do before your baby’s arrival is setting up your nursery! From bouncers and bassinets to changing tables and seating, there are a lot of decisions to make.


You will spend a lot of time sitting in the nursery once your baby arrives, so choosing a comfortable option is essential.


Gliders and rockers both have positive features and drawbacks, but how do you know which one is best for you? Many parents may not even realize there is a difference between the two until they start looking. So, to help you decide where you’ll spend late-night feedings and cuddle sessions, we cover the pros and cons of both gliders and rockers.

Glider vs. Rocker: Which one to choose?

Overall, most parents today prefer a glider over a rocking chair. Gliders usually are softer and roomier than rockers. Glider's smooth front-to-back motion is less bumpy than the motion from a rocker. In addition, some gliders swivel side to side, providing a more comprehensive range of motion.


While gliders that are not locked could pinch fingers, most come with a locking mechanism to prevent injury. A rocker, however, that cannot lock could be more danger to pets and children.


On average, newborns eat every two to three hours and eat for twenty to thirty minutes each time. Totaled that averages a minimum of six hours sitting a day, and that's before you add in snuggle time, reading, singing, and anything else you might do while seated! Therefore, comfort is essential.


Gliders are much more comfortable than most rockers. They have plush cushions and often have a recline option with a footrest or matching ottoman.


For example, the Nurture& Glider Plus has power lumbar support and doubles as a glider recliner. In addition, Nurture& sells comfortable lumbar pillows and matching ottomans, made with the same non-toxic stain-resistant fabrics. Stain-resistant fabric makes cleaning spit-up and other messes a cinch!


In addition to all the top-notch features a glider offers, Nurture& Gliders have a power recline, adjustable headrests, and built-in USB charging ports.

There are some rockers that offer a comfort level that’s comparable to that of a glider. Nurture& Rocking Chair is a prime quality rocker that offers enough space to snuggle comfortably with your baby for hours. It’s upholstered with stain-resistant fabric, so you don’t have to worry about spilled milk or food. And it has a convertible chair base that allows you to turn it into an armchair when your baby gets too old for the rocker.

Rockers are a perfect option for parents who want a more natural and lively movement that creates a rhythmic and relaxing sound. They are also great for people who are on a tight budget, as they tend to be cheaper and more durable.

What to Look for in a Nursery Glider

Gliders offer many advantages to the modern parent and are the perfect place to sit and snuggle your baby. A glider works by sitting on a fixed track and creating a smooth back and forth motion. This gentle gliding motion is much less aggressive than the movement that a rocker makes, which usually sits on arched legs.

Nursey glider

Gliders are sleek in appearance and are available in various styles and colors. Because of their design, they can easily transition to the living room or den once your baby no longer needs it.

In addition, gliders often have matching ottomans for storage and for resting your tired feet! Typically, ottomans lock into place or sync to move when the glider moves.

One disadvantage of gliders is that they need ample space for proper movement. However, there are compact options available such as the Nurture& Swivel Glider. Another downside is that some gliders can pinch little fingers in the track, so be sure to purchase one with a locking mechanism.

swivel glider

However, the positive traits of gliders far outweigh the negative ones and indeed make them the ideal nursery chair. Gliders are more comfortable than traditional rockers. They offer wider seating and supportive armrests for bottle or breastfeeding, soft upholstery, and often have a recline option.

Pros and Cons Recap


  • Sleek and modern appearance
  • Various style options
  • Comfortable and wide seating
  • Locking mechanism to prevent pinched fingers
  • Fixed track for smoother movement
  • Recline option
  • Matching ottoman
  • It may include adjustable head support, built-in USB, power lumbar support or foot support.
glider recliner


  • More costly than rockers
  • They need ample space for proper movement.
  • Heavy and difficult to move

What to Look for in a Rocking Chair

Rocking chairs are old-fashioned and traditional pieces of furniture to add to your baby’s room. Rockers move by swaying front to back in a rolling motion on curved legs. The rocking motion is similar to the feeling of being in the womb and is extremely comforting to a new baby.

rocking chair

A rocking chair adds a classic touch to your nursery and, if passed down, has a sentimental or familial meaning a new chair cannot replicate. Modern rocking chairs can be very spacious and just as comfortable as a glider.

Unfortunately, traditional rockers do not provide a reclining option and are usually not wide enough to accommodate nursing pillows. Due to their range of motion, some rockers don’t work well in small spaces.

Getting a rocker is an excellent choice if you’re going for more of a classic look in your nursery. Also, you don’t have to give up the comfort and functionality that gliders provide, if you buy a modern rocker. These offer the best of both worlds, and don’t take as much space as gliders or classic rocking chairs.

Pros and Cons Recap


  • Classic look, traditional piece of furniture
  • Lighter and easier to move or rearrange
  • More affordable
  • Larger range of movement, which some babies prefer
  • Most of them don’t need much space
  • Easily blend with different types of decor


  • No locking mechanism
  • Less comfortable
  • No recline option
  • Easy to tip over
  • Potentially noisy
  • It doesn’t include adjustable head support, built-in USB, power lumbar support or foot support

Choosing the best nursery seating option for your needs is a significant decision and one that comes with a significant cost.

Therefore, it is essential that you understand the ins and outs of both gliders and rockers to make the best decision for your home. Much like swaddles comfort and soothe your baby, the perfect chair will provide a calming respite for you.

In most ways, gliders come out on top: they are more comfortable, safer, have more features, and transition easier from nursery to everyday use when your baby gets too old for a nursery.

Explore The Nursery


What is a glider chair?

A glider chair is a type of seating designed to provide a smooth, gliding motion. Unlike traditional rocking chairs that move in an arc, glider chairs move back and forth on a fixed track. This gentle, horizontal motion makes them popular in nurseries as they provide a soothing motion for both the parent and baby.

Which is better, a rocking chair or recliner?

The choice between a rocking chair and a recliner depends on your needs and preferences:

  • Rocking Chair: Offers a classic back-and-forth rocking motion. It’s generally simpler and can fit into smaller spaces. Ideal for those who prefer a traditional rocking experience.

  • Recliner: Provides more versatility with adjustable reclining positions, footrests, and sometimes built-in features like massagers. They are bulkier but offer more comfort and functionality, especially for prolonged sitting.

Is a glider the same as a rocker?

No, a glider is not the same as a rocker. While both provide a soothing motion, they operate differently:

  • Glider: Moves in a horizontal back-and-forth motion along a fixed track, providing a smoother ride.
  • Rocker: Moves in an arc-like motion, with the entire chair pivoting on curved legs.

Is a recliner or glider better for a nursery?

Both recliners and gliders have their advantages for a nursery:

  • Glider: Often preferred for nurseries because of its gentle, smooth motion which can be very soothing for infants. They are generally quieter than rockers and come with features like padded armrests and easy-to-clean fabrics.
  • Recliner: Offers more comfort features, such as reclining positions and footrests, which can be beneficial for parents during long nights. Some recliners also have gliding mechanisms, offering the best of both worlds.

What is the best type of nursery glider?

The best type of nursery glider depends on individual needs, but some key features to consider include:

  • Comfort: Look for thick cushioning and supportive padding.

  • Durability: High-quality materials and sturdy construction.

  • Easy to Clean: Removable and washable covers are very practical.

  • Smooth Motion: Check for a quiet, smooth gliding mechanism.

  • Additional Features: Some gliders come with recline options, swivel bases, or matching ottomans for added comfort.

Does a glider chair rock?

Yes, a glider chair provides a rocking motion, but it does so differently from a traditional rocker. Instead of moving in an arc, a glider chair moves back and forth on a fixed track, offering a smooth and horizontal gliding motion. This can be more soothing for both parents and babies, and is often quieter than the arc motion of a traditional rocker.

You will spend countless, joy-filled, exhausting hours in your nursery seating, ultimately making it one of the most critical pre-baby decisions you need to make. So, as you sift through all the options, use this article as your guide to choosing the ideal nursery chair! When the time comes to make a decision, check out Nurture& online store and its seating collection to get the best furniture for your nursery!

L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. 


She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She is the mother of two boys.