Changing Table vs Dresser (Which Is Best For Baby, Your Space and Budget?)

Changing table vs dresser – it’s a topic that leaves first-time parents overwhelmed about their nursery setup.

Do you really need a diaper-changing table?

Or just a dresser with a changing pad will do?

What are the pros and cons of each? 

Is there any other alternative to these two?

I’ll answer those and more in this article. 

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Is It Really Necessary to Have a Changing Table?

No, it’s not necessary to have a changing table. 

You can make do with a dresser (with a changing pad) or just change your baby on the bed, sofa, or floor and with a protective, waterproof cover or a changing mat.

But if you have back problems, you have the budget and you don’t want a crib or pack-n-play with a diaper station, then a separate changing table would be a nice thing to have.

Changing Table Vs Dresser: Quick Comparison

Here’s a quick comparison between a baby dresser and a diaper changing table.

FeaturesChanging TableDresser

Pros of Changing Table


Its single purpose-built design makes a diaper changing table convenient and comfortable to change diapers on. You don’t need to worry about your baby slipping down from their changing pad on a dresser, and there’s ample, dedicated space for your diaper essentials.

Related Article: What To Put In Diaper Caddy (Essentials and Organizing Tips)

Multiple Styles

Changing tables come in a variety of styles, allowing you to choose one that seamlessly fits into your nursery decor.

Just check out the different designs of changing tables below:


Changing tables often come equipped with safety features such as guardrails and straps, providing an added layer of security during diaper changes.

Cons of Changing Table

Added Expense

Getting a diaper-changing table that has only one purpose and can only be used for 1 or 2 years can be pricey, especially if you’re having a baby on a budget.

Takes Up Space

If you have limited space, changing tables won’t be practical and would become more of a nuisance.

Lack of Longevity

You can only use a changing table station for 2 years max.

I had one and I only used it for a few months!

Cluttered Room

Most have an open shelving design, giving it that cluttered look. Which can be a sight for sore eyes.

Pros of Baby Dresser

More Storage

With multiple drawers, dressers provide ample space for not just diapers and wipes but also for your baby’s growing wardrobe.


In the changing table vs dresser cost battle, dressers often come out as the more budget-friendly option, offering a versatile and cost-effective solution.


Unlike changing tables, baby dressers have a longer lifespan. They grow with your child, adapting to their evolving storage needs over the years.


Dressers are generally more space-efficient, making them a great choice for smaller nurseries or shared spaces.

Related Article: 17 Baby Clothes Storage Ideas for Small Spaces


With the addition of a changing pad or dresser changing topper, a baby dresser can easily transform into a portable changing station!

Cons of Baby Dresser

Heavy and Difficult to Move

The sturdiness that makes dressers excellent for storage can also make them heavy and challenging to move. 

This might be a consideration if you plan on rearranging your nursery frequently.

Weird Angle to Change Baby

You might find yourself changing your baby from the side of the dresser (as that’s safer) when a more comfortable position to change your baby’s diaper is when your baby’s feet are facing you.

What to Look For In a Changing Table

If you decide that a changing table is the right fit for your nursery, here are some key features to consider:

  • Sturdy Construction: Look for a changing table with a solid and durable build to ensure stability during diaper changes.
  • Safety Rails: Opt for a changing table equipped with safety rails to prevent your little one from rolling off during those quick diaper-changing moments.
  • Decent Height: Choose a changing table with a comfortable height to minimize strain on your back during frequent diaper changes.
  • Ample Space: Ensure the changing table provides enough storage space for diapers, wipes, and other essential baby items, keeping everything within arm’s reach.
  • Easy-to-Clean Surfaces: Select a changing table with surfaces that are easy to wipe clean, making post-diaper cleanup a breeze.
  • Free-Standing vs. Wall-Mounted: Decide between a free-standing or wall-mounted changing table based on your nursery layout and space preferences.
  • Comes with a Changing Pad: To complete the package, consider a changing table that includes a changing pad, ensuring you have all the necessary components for a functional diaper-changing station.

When Do You Stop Using a Changing Table?

You should stop using a changing table if your baby is getting more mobile and is outgrowing their changing table. You can find more info here on when to stop using a changing table.

Best Changing Tables

If you’re leaning towards a changing table, some popular options include the IKEA Changing Table, and the Delta Children Eclipse Changing Table with Changing Pad.

What to Look for in a Baby Dresser

For those favoring the versatility of a dresser, consider the following:

  • Decent Height: Choose a baby dresser with an appropriate height that accommodates both you and your spouse, making it easy to change your baby’s diaper without any back pains or whatnot.
  • Ample Storage Space: Opt for a dresser with multiple drawers to accommodate your baby’s growing wardrobe and other nursery items.
  • Safety Features such as Anti-Tip Straps: Prioritize dressers equipped with anti-tip straps to enhance stability and prevent accidental tipping.
  • Flat and Stable Surface: Ensure the dresser has a flat and stable surface, making it suitable for the addition of a changing pad or dresser changing topper for versatile functionality.

Is It Safe to Use a Dresser As a Changing Table?

Yes, it’s safe to use a dresser as a changing table if you take the necessary precautions. 

Ensure the dresser is stable, use anti-tip straps, secure the changing pad on top of the dresser, and always supervise your baby during diaper changes.

Can You Change a Baby on a Regular Dresser?

Yes, you can change a baby on a regular dresser. You don’t need to get a combo dresser/ changing table, a regular, plain old dresser is enough.

With the addition of a changing pad or dresser changing topper, a regular dresser can easily transform into a functional changing station.

Best Baby Dressers

The most popular dresser is probably the Ikea dresser

But I also managed to find this Storkcraft Avalon 6 Drawer Double Dresser and this White Nursery Dresser.

Best Dresser Changing Pad

The Keekaroo Peanut Changer and the Skip Hop Baby Changing Pad are the ones that are popular among parents.

Diaper Changing Areas Alternative

If you’re tight on space, consider alternative places such as a bed or a designated changing mat on the floor or the living room sofa.

Anything flat and soft will do.

You can also get a crib or a pack-and-play with a changing table.

One parent mentioned changing in the laundry room and securing a changing pad for their dryer, so that’s a unique one!

Tips on Changing Your Baby’s Diaper

Regardless of your choice between a changing table or dresser, here are some universal diaper-changing tips:

  • Always keep one hand on your baby for safety.
  • Have all necessary supplies within arm’s reach – use a diaper caddy if necessary.
  • Secure dirty diapers and wipes in a small plastic bag, then dispose of them in a diaper pail or designated bin.
  • Use 3M tabs or velcro to secure the changing pad on the dresser.

Read more diaper changing tips and hacks here.

FAQ on Changing Table or Dresser

Is it better to have a changing table or a dresser?

It’s better to have a combo of a dresser/changing table.

But if you have to choose between the two, get a dresser. As it has more advantages, plus it’s more practical than a changing table.

Can you use a chest of drawers as a changing table?

Yes, a chest of drawers can be used as a changing table with the addition of a changing pad or dresser changing topper.

Changing Table Vs Dresser: Takeaway

In the changing table vs dresser debate, both options have their merits. 

Changing tables offer dedicated convenience, while baby dressers provide long-term versatility. 

I would go for the dresser if you’re lacking in space and budget.

The only time I’d recommend getting both a dresser and changing table is when you have twins, or when you live in a 2-storey house.

So your spouse can change one in the dresser and you can change the other on the changing table.

If you live in a 2-storey home, it would be more convenient to have the dresser with the changing pad in the nursery room and the changing table downstairs.

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