We’ve updated our guide to the best glider for your nursery with new models and research. While last year’s pick, the MonBebe Everston Glider, remains a great option, we have opted to name the Dutailier Modern Grande Platinum Glider and Ottoman Combo as The Nightlight pick for 2017.
For nights stationed in the nursery calming your baby or getting the little one back to sleep, you’ll want a place to sit that’s not only comfortable but supportive—and easy to get up out of without waking up your baby. We researched 25 glider chairs and narrowed it down to nine before bringing in some expertise in the form of real-life parents. In the end, the Dutailier Modern Grande Platinum Glider and Ottoman Combo won out as the best glider around.
Small Business Spotlight - July 2018
Every month we feature a new small business trying to make a difference for parents. This month's small business spotlight is:
Baby Gate Guru was founded in 2015 with the aim of helping parents and consumers get the most out of their safety gates. Have you ever scuffed your walls using a baby gate? What about lost its mounting hardware? In 2016 they released the Baby Gate Guru Wall Protector set to help prevent damaged walls caused by pressure mounted gates, and in 2018 they released the Baby Gate Guru Extra Long Spindle Rods replacement set to provide an easy alternative to buying a new gate when pressure bolts are lost or need an upgrade.Read more from the founders.
The chairs we considered came from several different manufacturers. Among these are well-known brands such as Million Dollar Baby, Dutailier, Stork Craft, and Klaussner, as well as smaller companies like Monte Design, Little Castle, and Best Chair. Our criteria for naming the best glider revolved around several factors. First on the list was how comfortable and supportive these chairs were. Second was how easy it is to get in and out of the chairs, and if it would be possible to do so without waking a baby. Also of paramount importance in our ranking process was the quality and safety of the chairs. Lastly, we considered aesthetics to find chairs with attractive colors and styles. At the end of the day we landed on the Dutailier Modern Grande Platinum Glider and Ottoman as the king of the chairs.
who should buy this?
Expecting parents will want a comfortable place to sit with their babies, but the key here is the movement of the chair. We’ll discuss this more later on.
Babies often require a little bit of soothing to fall asleep, and having a glider nearby gives you a place to do this. While you could stand and rock your baby back and forth in your arms, or bend at the knee over and over again, sometimes it’s late and you’re tired. The glider allows you to do all of this while seated, which should provide you with greater endurance for those extra-tough late night tantrums.
A major difference between a normal armchair and a glider is the placement and structure of the arms and the back of the chair. Gliders typically have higher arms to support you when you’re either feeding or holding the baby above your waist. The higher back also comes in handy, so that when both you and baby fall asleep, you have somewhere to rest your head.
How and When to Buy a Glider
I have good news and I have bad news.
The good: picking out a glider doesn’t involve lifting anything like a stroller, or carrying a car seat. Your main job is to sit and evaluate how comfortable and supportive the seat is.
The bad: Many of these chairs will have to be ordered and will take weeks to get to you. In reviewing manufacturer websites, asking store employees, and looking on Amazon, this time could be anywhere from four weeks to 12 weeks depending on the brand and the season. There are some chairs available for immediate purchase, but these chairs typically come with pre-set options which are often less than ideal. If you decide a glider is right for you, be sure you set aside time in that four-to-12-week window to receive your chair.
what makes a good glider?
A good glider moves—or glides—smoothly, relaxing you and your baby. It should also have firm, supportive cushions that help prop you up when holding your baby. Unfortunately, picking one out is more complicated than simply seeing how well a chair glides, or how far it moves. What makes a glider a good fit for you may differ from what works for your closest friends and relatives. You’ll want to consider your size, especially your height, when picking a glider. Many of the gliders that we looked at had short backs that our testers felt lacked the proper support for the head, back, and neck. You’ll also want to test out the armrests.
Meg Collins from the website Lucie’s List had similar thoughts: “The one must-have feature in my opinion: arm rests. Arm rests will support your elbows and thus, the weight of the baby. Trust me, your arms will get tired very quickly unless you have something bolstering them up.”
We found gliders that started for as little as $100, running all the way up to $1295. To get an upholstered glider with a decent gliding motion and substantial base, you’re looking at spending between $500 and $750. This typically gets you the following:
- A range of fabric choices and colors
- Multiple wood color options
- Different configurations (e.g. glide, multiple positions, or reclining)
While it’s easy to say, “I don’t need 100 fabrics to choose from” or “I’d happily spend less to have fewer choices” some will appreciate the range of colors and fabrics. While some companies advertise hundreds of fabrics, trust me, you’ll be able to eliminate at least 70% of them at first glance. These include but are not limited to, “Neon Rhododendron,” “Annie Citrus,” and “The All-New Luna Denim.” (But whatever floats your boat!) You can also order swatches from manufacturers if you’d like to see the color in your nursery space. The harsh lighting of your local baby superstore may not provide the best representation of the fabric you chose.
Also, consider your space. You may not have room for a rolled-arm glider, or perhaps your chair needs to fit underneath a floating shelf. In a video guide on gliders, Vanessa Antonelli, the owner of the New Jersey-area baby store Nessa Lee Baby said, “The best thing that you can possibly do is to take measurements. Bring those measurements with you to the store.” When you consider the crib, the dresser, and everything else that goes into the modern nursery, double-checking where things are going is crucial. (This may seem obvious, but it’s worth a reminder.)
how we tested
We knew from the beginning that we were going to need some help with this guide. We asked real parents of all different shapes and size to assist us in picking out candidates as well as testing them out. We started off with a list of twenty products and began whittling down the list based on customer reviews. Armed with a list of nine gliders, we graduated to hands-on testing.
There are four major elements that we considered. First, the glider should be comfortable and supportive. Second, it should be comfortable and supportive for long periods of time including but not limited to daytime naps and more substantial nighttime sleep. Third, it should be easy to get in and out of, as to not upset the occupant or the baby. Fourth, it should feel sturdy and come in a durable fabric that can be easily cleaned.
When buying anything for baby, it’s important to consider your warranty coverage. Most companies offer a one-year warranty on the entire chair. This includes the rocking or gliding mechanism, the fabrics, the base and pillows.
We started by putting our test subjects into the chairs for brief periods of time, holding in their arms whatever they had with them—a heavy purse, diaper bag, a child, etc. This gave us an immediate opportunity to see which gliders didn’t have high enough arms to support this weight. Next, we asked the parents to get in and out of them, as smoothly as possible. After that, we had them pick their favorite chairs, and stay put for an extended period of time—thirty minutes or more.
It was clear to us at this point that there are some glaring differences between the products, and a few features really stood out. We love the multi-position lock feature that can be found on many Dutailier products. This enables the parent to lock the chair in a variety of reclined positions, or to engage the lock in the upright position to aid them in getting out of the chair. A parent also told us that the lock is great for when you have multiple kids, because you can lock it when it’s not in use, preventing curious toddlers from playing with the glide mechanism and potentially getting their fingers caught or pinched.
Our testers emphasized that the higher seat back was super important to them. We occasionally saw our testers’ heads tip forward, as they temporarily dozed off. The downward head position when seated led to snoring and left some parents with sore necks. The higher back chairs gave parents a place to rest their heads, which everyone agreed was a crucial attribute in a glider.
Our Pick for the best glider
- Dimensions: 33W x 35D x 44H in.
- Seat Back Height: 29 in.
- Seat Dimensions: 23W x 19.5D x 20H in.
- Ottoman Dimensions: 18W x 14.75D x 20H in.
- Fabric: Microfiber
- Frame: Solid wood
- Multi-position locking feature
- Gliding ottoman
- Child-friendly non-toxic finish
Many factors stacked up to make the Dutailier Modern Grande Platinum Glider and Ottoman Combo our pick for the best nursery glider. Comfort, quality, and safety are all highlights of this option.
Going back to our first criteria, this set definitely fits the bill for providing comfort and support. A seat size of 23 inches wide by 19.5 inches deep, and a seat back that is 29 inches tall, enables the chair to accommodate parents of many different sizes. Adding to the comfort factor, the glider and ottoman cushions are both lavishly padded and upholstered in a dreamy microfiber fabric.
Like we mentioned earlier, we love Dutailier’s multi-position locking feature; you can lock the Modern Grande Platinum Glider into six different positions! What’s more is that this glider can actually recline up to 18 degrees. These features might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but the multi-position options plus the recline capability can make a world of difference in your experience sitting with baby. Subtle positional changes can make you much more comfortable if you, for example, want to read, watch some TV, or nap. Whatever you want to do while holding your little one, you can lock this glider into the best place for you.
The multi-position lock feature also ties into our second criteria of making sure the chair is easy to get in and out of. Locking the glider in an upright position makes it sturdy and stable base for sitting down and standing up.
Dutailier has built their name around quality, so it’s no surprise that this glider and ottoman are built to last. Both frames feature all hardwood construction and are finished in a beautiful espresso. The frames are smooth-sanded to ensure there are no sharp edges and the espresso finish is non-toxic, making the set as child-friendly as possible.
A classic look meets the last criteria of being aesthetically appealing. The chair’s timeless silhouette fit right in in just about any home, while its taupe and espresso color palette are soothing and neutral.
Dutailier Modern Round Back Glider Combo
Some of our testers preferred the more traditional looking sleigh gliders. For parents in this camp, we like the Dutailier Modern Round Back Glider Combo, which retails for around $550. This chair comes well-equipped with a multi-position lock, reclining mechanism, washable cushions and a matching gliding ottoman. There are four colors to choose from, all available on an espresso-stained wood base.
At any store, or online, it’s common to spot gliders made by Dutailier. They make wooden and upholstered chairs, but are best known for their wooden sleigh gliders. These run in price from the $300 all the way up to $900, depending on what features you’d like to have. We especially like their optional multi-position lock, which enables you to stop the chair from moving. This is helpful if you want to place the chair into a more reclined position, or it can be used to aid in getting out of the chair.
The one consistent complaint was, that in a field of modern gliders, or other upholstered chairs, that the sleigh style screams “baby” and not “living room”. However, at $525, they are a great value, especially for those who consider an ottoman to be an essential part of the purchase.
Monte Design Grano Recliner
There are those who want a showstopper of a glider, and for those, we recommend the Monte Design Grano Recliner. Starting at $1195, the Grano is a svelte glider and offers one of the firmest cushions available. With a pull of the concealed handle you can pop up the leg rest and push the back into a full recline. When this is fully engaged, the seat locks into place. The bonded leather option is an extra $200, and is available in white, black or chocolate. In addition, you can buy the chair with the standard wood base or a swivel base, which helps give you more room to recline the chair or fit it into a corner.
Our test group liked the bonded leather option the best, and found that it could easily be wiped clean. Not only were liquids easily wiped off of the surface, you couldn’t tell that they had ever been there in the first place. The downside to this chair is the longer than average seat depth, which made it anywhere from an inch to three inches deeper than the rest of our candidates. This was great for taller and long-legged parents, but didn’t work out so well for our shorter ones, who found getting out of the chair somewhat jerky.
The Best Chair for Siblings or Other Toddlers
We had a set of parents expecting twins in our test group. This presented an unexpected twist seeing as most gliders and rockers are truly designed with one kid and one adult in mind. There were also a small group of parents who told us that they’d like a chair for a baby and a toddler. Other parents just wanted a place for two people to sit down beside one another.
In our testing, the Dorel Asia Double Rocker was our pick as the best chair for twins and for siblings. We tested three different models which ranged in price from $320, up to $1000. Our pick was the clear winner. In addition to the larger capacity, it’s easy to clean with microfiber fabrics, and it costs half as much as two other options. On top of that, it was the easiest to set into motion, a crucial feature with a chair of this size. It has a 33-inch-wide seating area, with a wooden base. We found that with one adult there was plenty of space to lounge, and we could even fit two slim adults. (It’s a bit of a squeeze for two adults and a toddler to fit in.) Some context: most loveseats have a seating area of at least 44 inches. We tested this rocker out with a five year old next to an adult, and there was enough room for him to sit up or to lay down for story time.
One complaint from our testers is that it didn’t rock as much as a normal rocker or glider. Part of the issue with any of these chairs is that your body sets the chair into motion. Having the exceptionally wide and heavy base will be harder to rock, but it will give you room for yourself and multiple configurations of young children.
MonBebe Everston Swivel Recliner
After hours of this testing, the MonBebe Everston Swivel Recliner came out near the top. It has a tall backrest, well-positioned armrests, a swiveling base, and a good seat depth that made it easy to get into and out of. Our original pick had a shallower seat. This model accommodates the tall, the short, the long-legged and your baby too.
The seat comes in one configuration: a swivel recliner. There are two choices for fabrics, grey or taupe, both which white piping.
Each parent was able to sit in this chair comfortably, with enough space in every direction, while still feeling snug. This is thanks to the slightly shorter-than-average depth and narrower armrests. A few of our testers confessed that they’d used an old club chair, armchair, or rocking chair as the seat in their nurseries; after some time with our pick, we’re certain that they’ll be considering ordering an Everston.
While you don't have the vast array of fabrics and finishes to choose from, we found that the two available colors are incredibly neutral, fitting into just about any space. Due to the fact that the chair only comes in those two colors, lead times are typically very short. As of right now, the chair does require 3-5 days of processing time, but ships via UPS. It's Amazon Prime eligible too, so delivery is free!
We considered these alternatives when testing the best gliders, but they didn’t make our featured list.
- Best Chair Co. Tryp—This chair is typically only found in boutiques and online. Our gripe was that when the chair was in the recline position, it didn’t lock. This turns the typical stand-up exit into more of a rolling maneuver.
- BabyLetto Madison Swivel Glider—Highly rated online and we don’t know why. As soon as you start to get tired, you’ll notice that there’s nowhere to rest your head.
- StorkCraft Hoop Glider—There are 171 1-star reviews on Amazon that pick this chair apart. The complaints include: Poor quality wood and fabrics, chairs falling apart, no one answering the customer service lines and missing parts.
- Dutailier Etna—Had the highest seat back, but didn’t fit our shorter testers well. It’s also expensive, given the lack of a recline.
- Nursery Classics Marlowe—This chair too had a low seat back, leaving nowhere to rest your head. It’s wide, and the seat itself was too narrow for some of our testers.
Care, Use, Maintenance, and Repair
Gliders and the ottomans that you can purchase with them are like all other upholstered furniture in terms of getting dirty and stained. Spot-cleaning is the preferred method of clean-up, and can be done using a mild soap and water solution with a cloth. You’ll want to test out your solution on an inconspicuous spot, to make sure that you won’t be permanently doing any harm to the fabric or coloration. Blot dry, and your chair should look brand new. For wooden bases or frames, dust often with a soft dry cloth.
Again, it’s important to find a chair that fits you. Pregnancy results in increased stress on the body and changes in weight distribution. After delivery, a mother’s body can…shift. Having a good chair that supports the back, legs, and spine can only help speed up recovery, and provide comfort and support.
- Comparing The Best Nursery Chairs For You And Your Baby, Nursery Hero, 2017
- Best Gliders and Rockers, Lucie's List, 2014, "A comfy upholstered club chair will do the trick, but most babies are more easily calmed by staying in motion."
- Glider and Rocking Chair Buying Guide, Consumer Reports, 2012
- Nessa Lee, Choosing a Glider for Baby's Nursery, Nessa Lee TV, August, 2013
- Taking Care of our Environment, Cargill PR, 2015, BiOH® polyols and polymers deliver optimal performance for polyurethane-based products, such as foams, adhesives and binders, while increasing renewable content.
- Cozy Gliders and Rockers, BabyCenter.com, 2015
- Rockabye, Baby: 15 Gliders & Rockers for the Nursery, Apartment Therapy, 2012