The Cradlewise is the first smart crib on the market to combine the trifecta of baby sleep products: a “smart” bassinet/crib, a baby monitor, and a white noise machine. For the modern parent who knows that helping a baby to sleep can be an event (think: more bachelor-party-gone-wrong than charity golf tournament), the Cradlewise might sound too good to be true. So… is it?
At Fathercraft, we decided to find out with this in-depth Cradlewise review. We tested the smart bassinet + crib combo for over a year with two different families. As the technology evolved, so did our verdict.
Read on to go with us on our Cradlewise journey. We’ll cover:
- An introduction to the two families who tested Cradlewise
- Unboxing, setup, and daily use
- Jon and Andrew’s Cradlewise review, recapped (From last year; includes some technical issues they had, many of which have been resolved)
- Mark and Marian’s Cradlewise review (Most recent)
- Our ultimate verdict, including:
- More to know about Cradlewise
- Pricing and where to buy
- Cradlewise vs. Snoo
- Wrapping up
That’s a lot of info. Feel free to click the links to jump to what you want to see most, or read straight through for the full experience, jokes and all.
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.
Two families, two verdicts
If you’re going to invest some serious cash into a baby sleep product (let’s be honest: At $1,999, the Cradlewise is a pricey item), it’s helpful to know as much as you can about it—the good and the bad.
That’s why you’ll meet two families in this review:
- Andrew and Jon (fun fact: Jon was my college roommate for 4 years, and we’ve now coincidentally but happily lived in the same city twice): They tested the Cradlewise with Gordy, their baby, in October 2022 and ultimately found the technology had some serious room for improvement.
- Mark (my brother and fellow Fathercraft team member) and Marian: They entered the picture a year later, in October 2023, to see how the software improved over time.
Spoiler alert: Cradlewise put in work, and Mark and Marian’s experience has been vastly different from Jon and Andrew’s. To help you get a full picture, we give you both reviews. First, you’ll get the lowdown on assembly and setup. Then, we’ll recap Jon and Andrew’s review from a year ago before Mark and Marian help us dive into how Cradlewise has improved, how it stacks up against its competitors now, and our ultimate verdict.
As you read, we hope the opinions of two families will help you evaluate your own family’s unique needs, so that you can best decide if Cradlewise fits into your lifestyle or not.
Cradlewise: Unboxing, setup, and daily use
The first thing you’ll notice about Cradlewise is how big and heavy it is. The box arrives with one of those “team lift” labels on it, and it’s 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-out 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 quality and aesthetics, too
You’ll also find that the 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 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).
Cradlewise setup and assembly involves two big steps:
- Assembling the physical product
- 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 instructions are actually helpful. It’s kind of like putting together a piece of Ikea furniture, except that the instruction booklet 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).
Mark remarked (see what we did there?) that Cradlewise is one of those companies that thinks of everything. It seems like they truly care about the parents they serve. And this held true during assembly for both families. For example, 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.
Editor’s Note: This is also helpful for anyone recovering from a c-section.
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 (it’s soothing because that’s how it feels to Baby in the womb).
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. Pretty sure it’s because of the whole womb thing (Are we saying womb too much yet?).
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 popularized recently by monitors like Nanit 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 (you guessed it) 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 use the app.
Within the app, you can do other things, too—use the monitor, turn on white noise, control bouncing intensity, and view sleep analytics.
Recapping Jon and Andrew’s Cradlewise review (October 2022)
When we first enlisted some friends of Fathercraft to review the Cradlewise bassinet/crib combo in 2022, they had a few issues with the product. Before we get into those, it’s wroth noting the Cradlewise technically worked (meaning, it soothed their infant). Here’s Gordy’s first time using the Cradlewise:
But, they had problems with the software that ultimately left them less-than-psyched. We’ve recapped these issues below:
- Glitches and software/hardware issues: Jon and Andrew were frustrated with the amount of times their camera froze during testing. They also received a lot of software updates that would temporarily cause Cradlewise to stop working.
(Editor’s Note: According to Cradlewise, they push biweekly updates that aren’t supposed to interrupt the bassinet/crib’s functionality)
- Automatic soothing based on “early wakeup signs” didn’t work well: The Cradlewise camera is built to detect “early wakeup signs” and soothe your baby back to sleep. However, their baby moved a lot when sleeping and Cradlewise often mistakenly registered him as awake.
- Settings aren’t saved across devices: At the time of testing, Cradlewise settings couldn’t be saved across Jon and Andrew’s devices.
- Mobile app interface left room to be desired: There were a few inconveniences Jon and Andrew found with the mobile app that they both felt could be improved with updates
So, what happened after that? At Fathercraft, our original verdict was that Cradlewise wasn’t worth the cost unless you were okay with being an “early adopter” who would need to sort through some of the tech issues.
However, it’s been a year, and as with any technology, things improved over time. To get an idea of just how much Cradlewise improved on its offering, we re-tested it with a new family: Mark, Marian, and their newborn son, Henry.
Mark and Marian’s Cradlewise review (October/November 2023)
How did Cradlewise fare a year later? We asked Mark and Marian to test the Cradlewise to see how much the technology changed and whether or not it was for the better.
Keep reading to learn more about why, but in a few words: They loved (and continue to love) the Cradlewise. So, let’s start with “the awesome.”
Cradlewise’s bouncing worked
When I asked Mark and Marian the dreaded question (“Are you getting any sleep?”), I was surprised by how enthusiastically Mark said yes.
Their baby is just two weeks old, and so I wondered if they just had a sleepy kid on their hands. But Mark was able to show me the data. The dark blue is deep sleep, the light blue/purple is fidgety, and the yellow is awake. The dots on the right side represent the times the Cradlewise was able to successfully “soothe” their baby back to sleep:
“Hot dang,” Mark added after showing me this screenshot. “This is a great example of how much extra sleep that can give you.” Hot dang, indeed, Mark.
There’s real merit to the integration of crib, baby monitor, and white noise
Mark and Marian 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.
Cradlewise doesn’t make any official claims about safety, but Mark noted he felt like the extra sleep he and his wife received because of the Cradlewise helped prevent accidentally falling asleep in bed with their baby. Of course, there’s no way to know if this would have happened without the Cradlewise, but Mark mentioned that he enjoyed the extra peace of mind.
Versatility, longevity & aesthetics
The lifespan of the Cradlewise is a huge plus. 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 it’s too small on your ‘little one’. This is also a downside of Snoo.
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.
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).
Quick shameless plug: If you’re looking for another product with a long lifespan and a cool aesthetic, we’ve got you. Check out the Fathercraft diaper bag, designed to be versatile enough to grow with your kids, and cool enough that you can rock it anywhere.
Mark mentioned they are just overall impressed with the people behind Cradlewise. From assembly to the actual direction of the motion of the Cradlewise (up and down, mimicking what they experienced in the womb), it seems like they thought of everything and genuinely care.
The wish-it-were different
Unlike our first review, Mark had an admittedly difficult time coming up with a downside to Cradlewise. Finally, he settled on…
Amount of alerts
Mark said he receives a “TON” of alerts. He also mentioned this doesn’t really bother him, because as “anxious new parents,” he and Marian almost welcomed them. However, Jon and Andrew also received a lot of alerts, and they didn’t really want them.
Lack of a physical button for white noise
The Cradlewise has a button on the crib to turn the motion on and off but he mentioned it’d be nice to turn the white noise off without using the app (yeah, this is nit-picky; there just weren’t many problems.
Lack of a light
The one thing sleep item Mark felt was missing? A light.
It’s not that a baby necessarily needs it. But it’s helpful for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes (Cradlewise can do a lot, but it can’t change a diaper).
There’s no way around it: Cradlewise is pricey. Even so, Mark said a combination of a few things made this worth it:
- He and Marian got more sleep “directly as a result of Cradlewise”
- Longevity: Because it’s a bassinet and crib, you could end up using it for a few years
- Multiple products in one: You’re not buying a white noise machine and baby monitor on top of the bassinet and crib
So what’s the ultimate verdict?
Our ultimate verdict: Is Cradlewise worth it?
After asking two different families to test the Cradlewise, our ultimate verdict depends on the answers to two questions:
- Does it work?
- Did the technology improve since our first review?
Our answer is a resounding “yes” to both. Here’s a bit more detail:
Does the Cradlewise work?
We mentioned this already but it’s worth stating again: Mark felt the Cradlewise “directly” impacted the amount of sleep he and Marian got — and the data backed it up.
Did the technology improve?
Jon and Andrew raised a few issues with the technology. Here’s how those issues improved over time:
- Glitches and software/hardware issues: Fixed
- Mark and Marian have experienced precisely zero glitches and/or updates that impacted Cradlewise’s functionality
- Automatic soothing based on “early wakeup signs” didn’t work well: Depends
- Mark and Marian didn’t have this issue, but this might be one of those things that varies based on how active your baby is.
- Settings aren’t saved across devices: Fixed
- You can now “Add a caregiver,” which allows settings to save across devices. Mark and Marian use both of their phones, plus an iPad. Mark mentioned that if you update a setting, you have to re-launch the app to have it update across other devices, but that wasn’t a big deal to them.
- Mobile app interface left room to be desired: Continuous improvement
- Cradlewise has made continuous updates to their interface and, according to the company, a larger update that will improve overall user experience is coming soon (we’ll update this review again when that happens)
We’re pretty impressed by how hard Cradlewise worked to improve their technology, and our ultimate verdict is a positive one: We’d buy this again.
If you’re still on the fence about price, this is what Mark had to say about it:
“If you’re going to invest in one pricier baby item, a bassinet or a crib is what I’d recommend. Your baby spends so much time there, it’s worth the investment.
But if you’re still undecided beyond that, keep reading. Because this is Fathercraft, and when we review a product, we obsess over it. Here are a few more things that are good to know, plus how the Cradlewise stacked up against the Snoo for us.
More good things to know about Cradlewise
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. This is a put it in a spot and move it when it’s time to transition to the nursery type of heavy.
Moving Cradlewise might require resetting it. According to Cradlewise, you may need to recalibrate your settings when you transition from the bassinet to a crib. Additionally, if you move the bassinet to an area with a different noise level (e.g., from your bedroom to the living room where your family keeps congregating to see the new precious bundle of joy), you will likely need to recalibrate. In between the above mentioned weight and the recalibration, this is not something you buy for portability.
Cradlewise caused some sort of interference with The Owlet Smart Sock. Jon and Andrew used 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.
However, as noted Mark and Marian didn’t use the Owlet and didn’t feel they needed it. So, this is where you insert your family’s unique needs to make a purchasing decision that’s best for you.
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.
Cradlewise vs. Snoo
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.
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 beat 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. Mark and Marian were satisfied with the Cradlewise.
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 a 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. Mark and Marian reported that the Cradlewise would sometimes start tracking sleep a bit earlier than when Henry actually fell asleep, but they weren’t bothered by this.
By the way, if you’re interested what Cradlewise has to say on the matter, here’s how they compare themselves to other smart bassinets.
The overall lesson? All babies are different. Snoo and Cradlewise technology both had a hard time tracking Gordy’s (Jon and Andrew’s baby) sleep. But Mark and Marian have had an easier time.
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.
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.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on May 4, 2023, and was updated on August 9, 2023. Then, it was updated again with Mark and Marian’s review on November 21, 2023.