A baby in red pajamas in the Cradlewise Smart Crib

An in-depth review of Cradlewise — a smart crib with built-in baby monitor and white noise

A baby in red pajamas in the Cradlewise Smart Crib

An in-depth review of Cradlewise — a smart crib with built-in baby monitor and white noise

Editor’s note: Fathercraft is reader-supported, meaning, at no cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy after clicking an affiliate link. Also, our testers received a free Cradlewise in order to complete this review. Learn more.

Modern parents typically use 3 things when putting their baby to sleep—a crib or bassinet (maybe a ‘smart’ one), a baby monitor, and a source of white noise. There have been a number of companies that attempt to combine these key features—many top baby monitors offer white noise, smart bassinets like the Snoo and the Mamaroo Sleep do too.

The Cradlewise Smart Crib is the first to market that combines all 3 of these things—a place to sleep, white noise, and a baby monitor—in a package that does two other things as well. First, it’s ‘smart’—meaning, connected, and with the theoretical ability to soothe your baby via bouncing and white noise. Second, it makes the transition from bassinet to crib, meaning its useful lifespan extends from the typical 4-6 months other smart bassinets have to, according to the company, a full two years.

There’s a lot to like about this all-in-one package that lasts. In this Cradlewise review, we go deep — out testers spent months with the Cradlewise — to understand how well all of these components work, and work together, and how the Cradlewise compares to other options on the market.

In this review, we’ll cover:

Enter: Andrew, Jon, and Gordy

Here at Fathercraft, we are in the midst of what you might call a baby shortage. So, we enlisted good friends of the company Jon and Andrew (fun fact: Jon was my college roommate for 4 years, we’ve now coincidentally but happily lived in the same city twice), along with their newborn baby Gordon, to review the Cradlewise for us.

Fortunately for us, Andrew and Jon had previously purchased a Snoo and and an Owlet Smart Sock/Cam combo, so they were able to do a full Cradlewise vs. Snoo comparison, and also discover some important information about using the Cradlewise alongside a smart baby monitor like Owlet—don’t miss some important info about the latter combo later on in this review.

Cradlewise: unboxing, setup, and daily use 


The first thing you’ll notice about Cradlewise is how big, and heavy, it is. The box arrived at our house with one of those “team lift” labels on it. The label was not kidding. Be careful carrying this box around, especially if you’re pregnant—get help from a partner and maybe a friend.

Aside from the literal maneuvering of the box, unboxing is a pleasant and well-thought-through experience. Parts and boxes are well-labeled, and you’ll find some fun baby facts and affirmations sprinkled throughout that are a nice touch. Unboxing provides a peek into product built quality and aesthetics, too — Cradlewise is heavy for a reason — it’s built with high-quality materials that have a premium feel to them. It’s also heavy because of how big it is (more in a sec). And, finally, it’s a very good looking contraption that’ll fit nicely in a modern nursery (or parents’ room, where the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your baby sleep for at least the first 6 months).

A final thing you’ll note during unboxing is how big the Cradlewise is—surprisingly so—especially for parents who’ve experienced other bassinets like the Snoo. This, as we’ll see later on, supports the transition from bassinet to crib.

A guy unboxing the Cradlewise

Assembling Cradlewise

Cradlewise setup and assembly involves two big steps—assembling the physical product, and then setting up the mobile app.

Assembling the crib involves a lot of steps. Like, the instruction booklet has a spine number of steps. But, while it takes a while to put together, the assembly is well thought out and straightforward. It’s kind of like putting together a piece of Ikea furniture, except that the instruction booklet actually includes written instructions in addition to diagrams. It also makes sense that assembly involves a lot of steps as 1) Cradlewise, as noted, is big, and was designed to pack down into a box for transport and, 2) your first assembly starts with the crib and then adds the bassinet as an ‘overlay’, so you’re essentially setting up both products (and that baby monitor).

One-person assembly is perfectly possible, though there are a couple of steps where two would be nice (one unskilled laborer to hold stuff while the other uses an allen wrench).

There are more nice touches we discovered during assembly, too. Cradlewise includes a screwdriver that caused Jon to remark, “we have a new screwdriver! And it’s nicer than any of the ones we have here …” There are extra parts, but they come in a plastic bag clearly labeled, “spare parts.”

Just a couple of steps involved trial and error/futzing around with stuff, such as inserting bolts into the mesh tensioners.

Cradlewise App setup

Setting up the Cradlewise app should feel familiar if you own any smart-home type gadgets already. Download the iOS or Android app, connect the device to your internet, register your Cradlewise, and complete a few in-app setup type steps.

A few key features of Cradlewise

Quickly (and if you know this already, jump ahead), what does Cradlewise do, again? 

Bassinet/Crib in one. The core structure of a Cradlewise is a crib … and a bassinet. The ‘bassinet’ is an insert that is placed on top of the assembled crib, and kind of floats, suspended. Why? Your back, friend. Picking up babies from a crib requires bending way down. Your baby can use a bassinet until they’ve reached the stage where it’s conceivable they could pull themselves up over the side and fall out. Your back will thank you.

Bouncing. This is where things get interesting. That whole crib structure? It literally bounces up and down, mimicking the bounce that every parent quickly learns as a soothing technique. Side note: in a video on their site, Cradlewise shows a parent bouncing on an exercise ball, which we’ve not tried but is a good idea … because babies seem to know immediately if you go from standing up and bouncing them to sitting down and trying to mimic this motion while sitting. Sorry.

Video baby monitor. Built into the crib (it’s on the arc of wood that sits over where your baby’s head will be) is a video/audio baby monitor. This provides a bird’s eye view of your baby, which has been popularlized recently by monitors like Nanit and Miku since it provides a much clearer view than a monitor that sits on a dresser and attempts to peer through the crib’s bars to see your baby.

White Noise. Doesn’t need much of an explanation, but built-in speakers play … white noise. You can choose from a library or bring your own.

Sleep analytics. Cradlewise uses data from its camera to determine what stage of sleep/alertness your baby is in, and tracks this data through the course of a night or nap.

Using the Cradlewise

To use Cradlewise, you simply put your baby in the bassinet or crib (all safe sleep practices apply: snugly-fitting pajamas/sleep sack, on her back, nothing else in the crib with her) and start bouncing if you wish. To start bouncing, push the button on top of the wood arc, or use the Cradlewise mobile app. You can push and hold the button to stop bouncing, or, you guessed it, use the app.

Within the app, you can do other things, too—use the monitor, white noise, control bouncing intensity, and view sleep analytics.

Here’s a quick (silent) walkthrough of the app:

Reduced Padding Video

Jon and Andrew’s Cradlewise review

Now that we understand its key features and how Cradlewise works, let’s jump into how well it works.

We’ll break down this review into three sections—the awesome, the wish it was different, and a final verdict on whether or not Cradlewise is worth it.

Before we do—spoiler alert/framing for your consideration as we explore … overall, Andrew and Jon had a fair number of issues. The product felt glitchy. And, with the context that this is Generation 1 of Cradlewise, these glitches and issues do make sense—they’re the type of issues faced by early adopters of technology are used to experience. The question for you as a parent is, do I want to be an early adopter of technology that’s a key piece of the technology I use to keep my baby sleeping safely? That’s for you to answer, after reading the sections below.

Let’s start with what Jon and Andrew wished was different …

The wish it was different

Glitches and software/hardware issues

By far the biggest challenges Jon and Andrew experienced was related to software (or potentially hardware). First up: camera freezing. Ironically, the built-in camera made it hard to tell if the camera was frozen — the camera moves along with the bounce … nice when the camera was working, but once they realized it froze sometimes, it caused worry that it wasn’t working. Next: app updates. During testing, Cradlewise pushed A LOT of app updates — something like 10 in 14 days. When these were pushed, they caused the Cradlewise to stop working, at least temporarily.

Automatic soothing based on “early wakeup signs” didn’t work well

One of Cradlewise’s big marketing points is that its camera can detect “early wakeup signs” and then soothe your baby back to sleep — useful for helping your baby learn to sleep through the night or take better naps. Sounds great in theory. At least for Gordy, didn’t work all that well. There are two reasons why:

  1. The first way the camera detects an early wakeup is through your baby moving around in the crib. Trouble was, Gordy just moved a lot when sleeping, and Cradlewise took this to mean he was waking up and bounced more.
  2. The second way it detects wakeup is through your baby’s eyes opening. Turns out Cradlewise’s tech isn’t that smart about what kind of eyes its looking for — when Gordy wore some pajamas that had cartoon animals with eyes on them, Cradlewise mistook these for his eyes and tried to soothe them shut. Ditto when Jon and Andrew put a stuffed animal with eyes in Cradlewise — it tried to soothe the stuffy. (Important note: it is not recommended your child sleeps with a stuffed animal until much later on … this animal was just in Cradlewise for testing purposes!)

One caveat here — Snoo uses microphones to accomplish what Cradlewise does with its camera—it detects how noisy your baby is, and uses that to escalate its rocking. And, guess what—this didn’t work that well for Gordy either — he’s also a noisy sleeper, and the Snoo was tricked into thinking he needed to be soothed back to sleep, so it escalated its rocking. So … lesson is Gordy is just a difficult baby? Nope, lesson is: all babies are different, and the technology in Cradlewise and Snoo just isn’t advanced enough to cover all types of babies. Jon and Andrew ended up locking the Snoo on its lowest setting

Settings aren’t saved across devices

When you’re using any baby gadget that has a mobile app component, you quickly realize how important it is to save settings across devices — both parents probably have a phone they use, you might have an extra tablet around to do something … The problem with Cradlewise was that settings weren’t saved across devices. So, when you logged into the app from a different device, it reset back to the default — auto-bounce in this case — which wasn’t what the guys wanted to use. We’ll note here that this one feels like a fairly easy future software fix, but it was an annoyance. And, parents do not need more annoyances.

The mobile app user interface could use some upgrades

Having an all-in-one product should give Cradlewise a nice leg up for parents, instead of having to toggle between a baby monitor app and a Snoo app, for instance. But, there were some minor annoyances worth noting—one being that you can’t see bounce intensity when looking at the camera feed (which is the default view when opening the app. So to see how intensely the crib is bouncing, you have to scroll down. Again, having tested a lot of smart baby gadgets here at Fathercraft, we’ll note this is something that could be fixed through software improvements. 

The awesome

There were certainly things to like about Cradlewise, starting with the overall concept. As parents, we all need simplicity in our life. Fewer things to buy is a huge plus, too—there’s already plenty of stuff you need (look no further than Fathercraft’s newborn essentials list). A product that can serve five functions (bassinet, crib, baby monitor, white noise machine, baby soother), and do them well, would be most welcome for many parents. As we’ll see later, the issue here is with execution, not idea.

Cradlewise’s bouncing did soothe Gordy

There were some issues with Cradlewise’s technology around bouncing, but those issues were around detection (see above). It’s worth noting that the bouncing, when it worked, worked well to soothe Gordon and put him to sleep. You can also bounce Cradlewise manually by simply pushing down on the side, and this was something Jon and Andrew did to soothe Gordy while he was falling asleep a time or two.

Here’s Gordy’s first time in Cradlewise:

There’s real merit to the integration of crib, baby monitor, and white noise

Jon and Andrew found the integration of the three key elements of the modern baby’s sleep setup — a safe crib, white noise, and monitoring — together in one package to be really nice. No need for three separate systems. But, the big caveat here is “… when they all worked”

Features and customization

We’ll go into further detail of Cradlewise vs. Snoo below, but there’s an obvious contrast here—Cradlewise just has more features and customization ability than Snoo. You can set white noise volume level, select from different white noise options, including your own music. The Cradlwise team is releasing features at a rapid rate. Dark mode for the app, sleep insights, and more have been released within the last few months. More are on the way—picture-in-picture as one often asked for feature.

Versatility, longevity & aesthetics

One of the things Andrew and Jon appreciated most about the Cradlewise was just how long its lifespan is. As you’re about to discover as a parent, many of the things we buy as parents just don’t have a useful lifespan that’s comparatively that long—sometimes it feels like you’re using that cute onesie you got at your baby shower for a few weeks before its too small on your ‘little one’. This is also a downside of Snoo for bigger babies (Gordy outgrew the Snoo at 4 months, vs the 6 months it’s advertised for.

Cradlewise, by contrast, with its two-year useful life, is a breath of fresh air in this department. And, with the integrated, removable bassinet, you’re getting a bassinet when it’s useful that transitions to a crib in a few minutes when it’s time to make the switch. Jon noted they would have used Cradlewise as their crib had they not already purchased one for the nursery.

Finally, this is undeniably a good-looking piece of baby gear. It’s right at home in the modern nursery (and parents’ room at first).

Verdict — is Cradlewise worth it?

I asked Jon and Andrew this independently, they both said no. 

Here’s some more nuance and things to consider:

What they both liked about Cradlewise was the promise of it—integration of the three key systems, longevity, and aesthetics. Andrew had a nice comparison though—they have Sonos bluetooth enabled music speakers at their house that he really likes, despite the fact the Sonos system is buggy sometimes. But, he said, when your Sonos won’t work, its just music. When a piece of baby tech doesn’t work as it should, your wondering what’s going on with your baby. Two very different things. Add Cradlewise’s hefty price tag and that added up to a no.

In contrast, they both thought the Snoo was more than worth its similarly high price point, and said if they were to do it all over again, they’d buy a Snoo plus an Owlet smart sock and camera.

As we kept talking, they said, “it would be worth it if you just wanted to buy one thing, and are ok with dealing with early adopter issues & glitches, or if Cradlewise makes the improvements necessary to deal with the glitches.” 

And that was the crux of it for them—neither particularly wanted to be an early adopter of a baby product so integral to an important part of baby safety—sleep. “Once you know it doesn’t work all the time, it’s hard to come back from that.” And, “If the camera froze sometimes, that would be ok if you knew everything else was going to be working perfectly.” In fact, to this last part, worth noting that Jon and Andrew experienced a number of Snoo app crashes (they blamed their phones from switching between the two networks on their router), but they were willing to forgive the app issues with Snoo because they found its core tech to be so much more reliable.

The final leg up for the Snoo was the ability to clip Gordy into it to prevent rollovers. Jon summed it up simply, “I just felt a lot better with him strapped into the Snoo.”

At the point of this writing, Gordy’s outgrown the Snoo. Jon and Andrew are using Cradlewise with bouncing enabled for Gordy’s naps because, again, they do think the bouncing soothes him, but they don’t trust it enough to use bouncing at night when they’re asleep too. So, at night, Cradlwise has turned into a “very expensive dumb crib” … but a good looking one.

Their advice to folks reading this: again, it has a lot of promise. It’s a nice size, the concept of a built in camera is great as a concept, not there yet from an execution perspective, and the automatic soothing has a ways to go. “It will be good at some point. Are they going to debug this stuff at some point in the future if they keep at it? I think so.” It just comes down to when, whether it’s a matter of software updates or will require a new hardware version, and then the choice between Cradlewise features vs Snoo features (even more on that below).

Good to know

Since we go deep on our reviews here at Fathercraft, here are a few more things you might consider.

Weight. Cradlewise is very heavy. Especially compared to Snoo. This, of course, makes sense since it’s so much bigger, and not that big a deal unless you think you’re going to move it back and forth for naps and bedtimes or travel with it. Nope. This is put it in a spot (like next to your bed) and move it when it’s time to transition to the nursery type heavy.

Moving Cradlewise requires resetting it. In addition to the heavy thing, another reason you won’t want to move this thing around is that each time you do, you need to reset it to recalibrate the bouncing motion.

Depending on what type of sleeper your baby is, you may get a LOT of alerts. As discussed earlier, Gordy tended to move around in his sleep a lot, this, over the course of a night, could result in 25-30 alerts from Cradelwise’s mobile app. If you have those alerts set to be audible, they’re going to be extremely annoying. And, do you really need to know that your baby was halfway awake self-soothing? You’ll need to answer that one for yourself, but it’s good to know. Jon and Andrew wished for different alert levels at night vs during the day for this reason: “You want alerts to be robust enough that you care about them, but not so much that you have to mute your phone.”

Cradlewise caused some sort of interference with The Owlet Smart Sock.  Gordy’s primary monitoring device were the Owlet Smart Sock and Cam. When he was in Cradlewise, the Owlet Sock base station had to be moved closer to him to prevent this interference.

Pricing and where to buy

Cradlewise has an interesting pricing model—the further out you order it, the cheaper it gets. So, planning ahead saves you money. Base pricing is $1,999, and you can save up to $300 by ordering far enough in advance—ordering 6 months ahead of time saves you the full $300, it steps down from $1,999 in $50 increments each month. And, when we checked, the earliest ship date was 1.5 months out, so, this isn’t currently a last-second purchase decision.

Cradlewise is currently only available directly from the Cradlewise website.

Snoo vs Cradlewise

The Snoo has been around for 7+ years now. And you can tell that the Cradlewise team studied it, and tried to improve on some of the “issues” or shortcomings the Snoo has. Issues are in quotes here because some of these, while notable, are actually features of the Snoo—yes, it can be annoying to clip your baby in each time, this is exactly what prevents your baby from rolling over. If you ask the folks over at Happiest Baby, they’d undoubtedly tell you their white noise and rocking motions are the best, therefore you don’t need to switch them up.

With that in mind, here are some of the things Cradlewise attempts to improve upon or change from the Snoo, with varying degrees of success:

  • Snoo has no built in baby monitor, Cradlewise does 
  • Snoo has precisely one white noise setting, Cradlweise allows you to change the sound, and even play your own tracks
  • Snoo uses a back and forth rocking motion, Cradlewise uses a bouncing motion
  • To use Snoo, you need to clip your baby in. Cradlewise, like any normal crib or bassinet, you just place your baby in
  • The Snoo is pretty small, which means your baby will grow out of it quickly. Happiest Baby advertises 6 months, Gordy, a bigger baby, grew out of the Snoo in 4.

Cradewise attempts to fix these issues, but then they don’t always work well. You really want them to work all the time b/c it’s your baby

So, how do Snoo and Cradlewise stack up? Let’s review key differences

Rollover safety. The Snoo is the only baby sleeper product on the market that’s designed to physically prevent your baby from rolling from her back to her front. Therefore, it’s the gold standard (and, quite literally received FDA De Novo approval for safely keeping sleeping babies on their back). Kinda hard to be at that.

Though, as many billions of babies have been kept safe the old-fashioned way—by being placed on their back to sleep with a firm mattress, fitted crib sheets, and a crib free of toys and blankets, it’s worth noting for the many parents that can afford neither the Snoo nor any other smart bassinet that doing these things is safely putting your baby to sleep. Cradlewise is in that regard like a traditional crib—it uses a firm mattress, fitted sheets, and breathable mesh sides to keep your baby safe when sleeping.

All that said, Jon and Andrew said they felt safer when Gordy was sleeping in the Snoo, especially when he started trying to roll from back to front.

Ease of putting your baby in and taking him out. Edge also goes to Cradlewise here. There’s no clipping in (again, note Snoo’s clipping is a feature). But also, Cradlewise is literally both taller (in bassinet mode) and bigger. With the Snoo, especially if your baby falls asleep in your arms, guiding him into the Snoo can feel like a high-stakes game of operation. With Cradlewise, your target is bigger and your back will thank you for less bending over.

Ease of cleaning. Cradlewise has the edge here—its mesh sides are removable (though that takes some doing), so in the event of disaster (yes, you may experience projectile vomiting as a parent, exorcism not required), you can wash all the pieces of Cradlewise more thoroughly, vs the Snoo, which requires spot cleaning for the sides.

White noise flexibility and options. Again, Cradlwise wins here — white noise volume is adjustable, you can choose from several options (including playing your own music through its speakers). Again, we’d call out that the makers of Snoo are pretty confident they’ve developed the world’s best white noise option for babies, but that’s up to you to decide.

Sleep tracking reliability. Both Snoo and Cradlewise claim to be able to track the amount your baby sleeps. And, at least in Gordy’s case, both were wildly inaccurate. Jon and Andrew found their Owlet baby monitor to be much more accurate in this department.

Read (and watch) our full Snoo bassinet review.

Who are Cradlewise competitors?

While the Snoo is Cradlewise’s most well-known competitor, others include the Halo BassiNest, the Graco Sense2Snooze, and the 4Moms Mamaroo Sleep bassinet. We’d note these others are quite a bit less expensive, and not on par with either Cradlewise or Snoo from a features or a build quality perspective.

Wrapping up

I wasn’t kidding when I say we go deep on baby gear reviews 🙂 Hopefully, that was helpful as you think about your baby’s futuristic sleeping arrangements. While you’re here, hi, we’re Fathercraft. In addition to reviewing products, we create cool stuff for new parents, and have a YouTube channel full of parenting-related videos.

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