Mini Crib vs. Crib: Which One is Right for Your Baby?

Written by: Alyssa Larsen

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Time to read 7 min

Are you ready to set up a nursery for your newborn baby? Choosing the right crib is a pivotal piece to the puzzle and you might be considering a mini crib for your little one. We’ve outlined the differences between mini cribs and full-size cribs so you can easily decide which baby bed is the best for you and your family.

Pros and Cons of Mini Cribs and Standard Cribs

There could be many reasons why you’re debating whether to buy a mini crib or a standard crib, but the most important thing to know is that both types of cribs have strict regulations set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ensure your baby is in a safe bed.


Mini cribs and standard cribs each have their own advantages and disadvantages in certain situations. You can follow this list to help weigh your options.

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Mini Cribs

Pros

  • Less expensive, most costing less than $600.
  • They take up less space in a small nursery or shared room.
  • Portable and easily move from one room to another.
  • Easy to assemble with smaller, lighter pieces.

Cons

  • A non-standard size, with fewer mattress and crib sheet options.
  • Limited space to accommodate your growing baby.
  • Generally less sturdy.
Mini Crib

Standard Cribs

Pros

  • The most common size, with many options for mattresses and fitted sheets.
  • More durable and built to withstand daily use.
  • They can be used for years as your baby grows.
  • Some models convert into a full-size toddler bed.

Cons

  • Difficult to move due to their size and weight.
  • Generally more expensive.
Crib

What Is a Standard Crib?

When you think of a crib, you probably picture the classic baby bed used in movies and television shows. The design of the standard crib we know today was developed back in the 1950s and it’s likely the same kind of bed you slept in as an infant.

These are some of the identifying features of a standard crib:

Size

All full-size cribs must meet the dimensions set by the CPSC. Standard cribs must have interior dimensions of 28 ⅝ inches wide by 52 ⅜ inches long with only slight deviation allowed. Because of these guidelines, a standard crib mattress is the most commonly available and you can purchase one in-store or online without the worry of selecting the wrong mattress size.

Longevity

Most regular cribs on the market now offer adjustable mattress heights to prolong the lifespan of the bed. Many models can also be converted into a toddler bed or day bed when your baby finally outgrows the crib.


Nurture& has created a convertible crib that will last through infancy and toddler years. The Crib has three adjustable heights to keep your growing baby safely in their bed and then can be transformed into a toddler bed by removing one side panel and adding a matching guardrail.

Style

The longevity of a standard crib plays directly into the style options available. Baby furniture companies know that a crib is a major investment for new parents and they want to love the way it looks in their home. Full-size cribs come in a vast variety of designs and colors.


Nurture&’s modern design of The Crib comes in five different color combinations to fit in with all types of nursery decor and can be purchased bundled with a matching nursery dresser and glider.

Accessories

Being the most common on the market, standard cribs have a large selection of accessories available. Add-ons like mattresses, fitted sheets, crib skirts, and storage trundles make a comfortable and functional baby crib.

Price

Standard-size cribs have a wide price range depending on the design and quality of the materials. You may pay anywhere from $100 to $1000—or more—for a new crib. You can find a premium quality crib at a reasonable price in Nurture&’s online store.

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Portability

Full-size cribs are not considered portable beds. They take up a lot of floor area and are heavier than mini cribs. A regular crib is meant to be a bed in a permanent sleep space. The time it takes to disassemble and reassemble a crib is another deterrent to using it in a portable manner.

When to Use a Crib

Although it’s not realistic to take a standard-size crib with you on the go, there are situations when a crib is the best choice.

  • Your newborn baby is ready to transition out of the bassinet. This usually occurs between 3-6 months old.
  • You have a room dedicated to the nursery where the crib is the only bed.
  • You have enough space in the nursery for the crib to have a safe distance from windows, heaters, and other furniture.
  • You plan to keep your baby in the crib as long as safely possible and don’t want to buy another bed for a few years.

What Is a Mini Crib?

A mini crib—sometimes called a portable crib—is a smaller version of a regular crib. Any baby bed that is shorter than the length and width measurements of a standard crib is considered a mini crib. It’s a safe sleep option that offers a compact size with slightly more longevity than sleeping in a pack n’ play or bassinet.


The features specific to a mini crib look like this:

Mini Crib vs. Crib

Size

The key difference between a mini crib and a standard crib is the size. A measurement of 24 inches wide by 38 inches long is a common mini crib size, however, without strict regulation, the dimensions can vary by several inches depending on the manufacturer.

Portability

The ease with which you can navigate this baby bed around your home is one of the biggest appeals of the mini crib.  Mini cribs are lightweight and many of them are on wheels for swift maneuverability. Some models are also foldable for travel or storage in smaller spaces.

Longevity

Your baby can use a mini crib longer than a bassinet, thanks to a higher weight limit and side rail height, but for far less time than a standard crib. While some mini cribs can convert into toddler beds, there isn’t any extra length added to the bed to accommodate a taller child.

Style

The mini crib is a much newer concept allowing for a modern overall design. The smaller size of the mini crib allows for more flexibility in the design of the bed. You may find rectangular, oval, or circular mini cribs available on the market.

Accessories

Diversity in mini crib mattresses and crib sheets is limited. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all model, the accessories needed to fit in this type of crib can be hard to find and more expensive to purchase.

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Price

Mini cribs are generally less expensive than full-size cribs—though there are high-priced options out there. Typically, you’ll find a mini crib between $100 and $600.


When to Use a Mini Crib

A mini crib may be the best choice for your baby if …

  • Your baby’s nursery is too small for a regular-sized crib.
  • You want to prolong keeping your baby in your room after they’ve outgrown a bassinet.
  • You need to fit more than one bed in the room—a big kid bed for an older sibling or a second crib for a twin!
  • You’re keeping the mini crib at a babysitter’s or grandparent’s house where your baby naps.
  • You want to spend less money on a crib right now.

Which Crib Should You Choose?

Standard cribs and mini cribs are both safe places for your baby to sleep—which is most important. Both baby beds have pros and cons depending on how you plan to use the crib.


There is no right or wrong answer, but you can figure out the best crib for your situation when you ask yourself these questions:


  • What’s my budget?
    • Mini cribs are a lower cost upfront, but you’ll need to buy a second bed sooner.
  • How long do I plan to use the crib?
    • If you’re looking for a temporary sleep spot for your newborn, a mini crib is fine. If you want a bed that your little one can continue to use as a toddler, go for a full-size crib.
  • Will I store this crib for future children?
    • A standard crib is more durable to last through many years of use, but a mini crib takes up less storage space.
  • How much space is available in the nursery?
    • Even a large room can get crowded with other baby furniture around. Take measurements of the space where you’ll place the crib to ensure a good fit.

Still can’t decide? Check out The Crib from Nurture& and see if it checks all your boxes. It’s a full-size crib with the option to convert to a toddler bed. The Crib is built to last with sustainably harvested wood and premium, non-toxic materials. Its sleek, modern design is perfect for nearly any nursery.


At Nurture&, we offer high-quality nursery and baby essentials made for parents, by parents. Scroll through our online store to find the best furniture and accessories for your little one’s room. And before you make your next purchase, you can read through more of our buying guides in our Journal.

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing. Before starting her career as a freelance writer, Alyssa devoted all of her time to her family and raising her young children. The evolution of her motherhood journey and parenting experience inspires her work. She strives to always tell a story that is helpful and relatable to the person reading it. Alyssa lives in Ohio with her husband and four hilarious kids.