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Mini Crib Vs Crib – Learn The Difference

When it comes to being a new parent, you are effectively swamped with a thousand things that you need to start worrying about. Ideally, where your baby should be sleeping shouldn’t be one of those things!

So, to help take some of that frustration off of parents’ shoulders, we have created this simple guide, based on lived experiences and our research into the topic, to help explain what exactly the main differences are between a normal and a miniature crib.

We’ll also go over the pros and cons of owning one or the other that we could gather from our testing, to help you make that final decision.

Size Difference

This is the big difference that most people notice when it comes to differences. Mini cribs are noticeably smaller than standard cribs, and it’s clear even from just a single viewing of them.

Normal measurements for a standard crib will be around 28 inches wide and 52 inches long, whereas the usual length for a mini crib will be around 38 inches long at most.

Standard cribs also tend to be noticeably bulkier than mini cribs, being built from generally larger and thicker pieces of material, whether it is wood, plastic, or even metal.

This also means that the foot plan for a normal crib will also be noticeably bigger than mini cribs, even accounting for the overall differences in size.

Differences In Design

We mentioned ‘the usual length’ in the last section, as one of the other main differences that you’ll find between normal and mini cribs is the overall differences in designs.

While standard cribs will often follow specific guidelines as to what size and shape they should be built to, mini cribs do not have these same standardized measurements.

This means that the shapes, colors, and even materials that mini cribs are made from, can be quite different from a typical larger standard crib that has just been bought.

That is, of course, if you don’t plan on adding extra pieces or modifications to your crib!


This is another big difference between standard and mini cribs their ease of transporting and portability.

Partially, this ties back to their difference in size, as larger cribs will simply be more difficult to carry, lift, or otherwise move when compared to their smaller versions.

However, it also comes down to design. More often than not, mini cribs will often have elements that make them naturally easier to transport, such as being collapsible or even having wheels attached to the base of the crib. This naturally makes moving and using mini cribs a lot easier.

Pros & Cons

So, we’ve taken a look at some of the major differences between these two types of first beds for your babies. Now parents may be wondering if one is better than the other.

Or, at the very least, you may be wondering ‘Is one better for my child than the other right now’?

Well, thanks to some of the example cots of each kind that we have tested, as well as some of the experiences that parents and experts have noticed, these are our finding on the topic so far.

Standard Crib Pros

While we have certainly sung the praises of mini cribs in this list so far, there are certainly plenty of good reasons that you may still opt for a standard crib.

The extra space that the crib affords your child will also be a positive, as it allows an infant more room for comfort and natural and deeper sleep.

And as any parent (ourselves included) can attest to, you can’t put a price on a well-rested child the morning and day after they’ve had a good night’s sleep!

Not only that, but large standard cribs also tend to last notably longer than mini cribs, as well as being overall more durable, usually due to the more sturdy materials and larger pieces they are built from.

Comparing the wooden standard cot that we have been using for our little one (one that was their older sibling’s before them as well) to the smaller, plastic-made mini crib is like night and day in this regard.

A mini crib will stay usable for a young infant or toddler’s early years, no doubt, but it just won’t hold up to the same punishment that bigger cribs can handle.

And if you’ve got a baby, you know the punishment they can dish out to things they love!

Plus, while the standardized measurements used for standard cribs might seem a little boring, it also means that they are generally more reliable.

You won’t find the level of quality disparity in most normal cribs that you may find in a mini crib, that’s for sure!

Mini Crib Vs Crib - Learn The Difference

Standard Crib Cons

However, there are other reasons that you would not normally buy a standard crib as well.

Their larger size, while making them more sturdy, also means that they take up noticeably more room than smaller models.

Not ideal if the living space that you will be setting it up in is already pretty small, you will defiantly need to find the best crib for a small space if that is the case. .

That larger size also comes with extra weight, which makes moving and transporting normal cribs a lot more difficult.

While there are still some models that ease this issue somewhat, with folding panels or wheels, the extra weight still makes them subpar when compared to smaller models here.

Mini Crib Pros

By contrast, mini cribs are much better for infants that need their cribs to fit in a much more compact space, such as if you’re living in a small house or apartment, where space will be at a premium.

Likewise, their smaller size makes them easier to transport as well, especially when factoring the ease of use designs like lighter materials, such as plastics, as well as wheels often coming as standard.

And, of course, they tend to be cheaper too!

Mini Crib Cons

So, where do mini cribs fall short when compared to their larger counterparts?

Well, these smaller cribs tend to be much easier to damage or destroy, thanks to their lighter frame and often less sturdy materials that they are made from.

This isn’t helped by the fact that there are fewer standardized points of measuring. So you could find two different mini cribs with noticeably different levels of quality.

When Should A Baby/Toddler Move From A Crib To A Bed?

Generally speaking, toddlers are supposed to be sleeping in toddler beds instead of cribs before they reach the age of 3, but it is usually better to have them used to sleeping in beds by the time they are 2, check out our tips for how to convert a crib to toddler bed here. .

As many parents will tell you, making sure that your child is comfortable in larger or normal beds does them a world of good for their development in the long run.

This is broadly the same for both miniature and normal cribs, although based on our research, you will probably have to move a baby out of a mini crib into a larger bed sooner than they would with a standard crib.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Mini Cribs Need Different Mattresses?

Because of their generally smaller size, mini cribs will also need smaller mattresses too.

Like mini cribs themselves, the designs and standardization in normal crib mattresses doesn’t exist for their smaller counterparts, so make sure that you have the right measurements for the interior of your mini crib before purchasing one for your needs.

Where Should I Place My Baby’s Crib In A Room?

Both cribs and mini cribs will need to be in the right location for both access, and your baby’s safety.

While it can often be tempting to place a crib next to a window or some other source of light so that your child can see, this is actually not recommended, as children have been known to try and climb up window frames and hurt themselves as they fall.

Outside of this issue, a window with blinds, drapes or curtains can actually pose a real danger to them, as they can sometimes get caught and stuck in them as they touch and interact with them.

However, your child should still have good access to a light source, so directly opposite a window frame can often be a great place to place your crib or mini crib.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, mini cribs, while having some drawbacks, are still an excellent choice for parents who want a quality budget crib for their baby.

However, if you’re looking at getting a crib for your little one (and any others you pan on having), the answer is pretty simple: Standard cribs are built for the long haul!

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