Mini Crib vs Cribs [Best Uses, Differences, Pros, Cons and More]

About to set up your baby’s nursery room? 

There’s a lot of things to consider, like newborn essentials, baby clothes storage, a breast pumping station maybe.

But most of the time, the top priority or issue is the space.

If you have limited space, you might be thinking of a smaller bed for your baby, which brings you to consider other crib alternatives, like a mini crib.

  • But what exactly is the advantage of a mini crib vs crib? 
  • Is it worth getting a mini crib? How long can you use it? 
  • Won’t your kid outgrow it quicker than a crib? 
  • Would it make more sense to buy a crib instead then?

This article will answer those questions and more.

I will also provide some mini crib or crib alternatives here if you’re more open and flexible to consider other sleeping beds.

But first, let’s start first with the most common question about the mini crib vs crib.

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Between the two, if you’re lacking in space, go for a mini crib.

If space is not an issue, get a regular-sized crib instead. 

What’s the difference between mini cribs and regular cribs?

They basically have 2 major differences – their size and mattress.

A mini crib is smaller than a standard crib. 

A mini crib also has a smaller, thinner mattress, compared to a regular-sized crib.

Let’s discuss next what exactly is a mini crib (and a crib) and what kind of a family would best suit either one.

What is a Mini Crib?

It’s basically a smaller version of a standard-sized crib.

A regular-sized crib usually measures 52″ long and 28″ wide.

A mini crib can go as small as 38″ long and 24″ wide and some models can even go as narrow as 19″.

So a mini crib also requires a smaller mattress. You can’t fit in a standard crib mattress in a mini crib.

Some mini cribs come with wheels, are foldable and some are convertible – they can turn into toddler beds when needed.

Below are samples of mini cribs:

Dream On Me Jayden 4-in-1 Mini Convertible Crib And Changer

cribs vs mini cribs

Dream On Me 3-in-1 Folding Portable Mini Crib

mini cribs vs cribs

Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Baby Crib

Mini Cribs Are Best For…

Mini cribs can be useful for families that have or with:

  • Small spaces
  • Separate crib for twins sharing a small room
  • Needs a dedicated sleeping area in another room or house eg. for regular weekend visits to in-laws

What is a Regular Crib?

A crib is a small bed frame with high sides for a child. 

A standard crib by law should be 28″ wide x 52” long (interior dimensions) or 71 cm x 132 cm.

The top of the rail, starting from the mattress, should be 20″ high while the bottom of the crib must be 6″ or so off the ground.

Cribs Are Best For:

Cribs are typically best for families with:

  • Roomier bedrooms
  • Genetically bigger, taller babies
  • Multiple kids or planning to have more kids

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit 

Delta Children Heartland 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

mini crib vs cribs

Graco Solano 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Drawer and Changer 

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Feature Comparison Table

This is best viewed on a desktop. Here’s a quick comparison guide on the features of a mini crib vs cribs.

FeaturesMini CribCrib
SizeSize ranges from 37″ to 54″ long, 19″ to 35″ width and 33″ to 42″ heightStandard size 28″ x 52” or 71 cm x 132 cm.
Longevity• Can be used until kid reaches height of 35″(89 cm) or when they start trying to climb out of it.
• Can typically use until kid is 2 years old
• Can be used until kid reaches height of 35″(89 cm) or when they start trying to climb out of it.
• Can typically use until kid is 4 years old
MattressSmaller than cribBigger than mini crib
SheetsSmaller than cribBigger than mini crib
PriceMostly same priced as cribMostly same priced as mini crib
DurableYesYes
Accessories and other FeaturesAvailableAvailable
PortableNoNo
SetupAssembled like a cribSimilar assembly to a mini crib
Various Designs and ColorsAvailableAvailable
TypesCan come in various types such as simple, convertible and/or comboCan come in various types such as simple, convertible and/or combo

Scroll down below to read more info on the similarities, differences, and more of a mini crib vs cribs.

Differences Between Mini-Crib vs Cribs

Let’s dive in a little deeper about the differences between mini cribs vs cribs.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Size

A regular-sized crib usually measures 28″ x 52” or 71 cm x 132 cm.

While a mini crib’s measurement varies, depending on the brand or model.

Its size ranges from 37″ to 54″ long, 19″ to 35″ width, and 33″ to 42″ height.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Longevity

Cribs can usually last longer, as it’s bigger and roomier. If you have a baby in the 90th percentile, a crib is definitely more useful than a mini crib.

Some parents have mentioned their kids outgrowing their mini cribs before they even turned 2 years old. 

So a crib might give you more bang for your buck, than a min crib.

However, if you have a daredevil kid like mine, cribs can become useless.

Once they set their mind to climb out of it, you are truly fucked. And you’d have no choice but to think of a safer sleeping option.

Mine started climbing out literally a day after she turned one. 

We haven’t been able to use the crib since then because she just won’t stay still in it!

But I digress.

A crib can last longer than a mini crib for genetically bigger and taller families and if your kid isn’t a budding stuntman, or stuntwoman, like mine.

It can accommodate 35 lbs (16kgs) to 50lbs (23kg) and can last until your child reaches 35″(89 cm) in height. 

I personally know some families who have used it until their kid was 4 years old.

Mini cribs, on the other hand, can be used by kids up to 2 years old.

For safety though, it’s highly recommended to stop using either the crib or mini crib when your kid reaches the height of 35″(89 cm) or when they start trying to climb out of it.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Mattress

A mini crib’s mattress is obviously smaller and oddly thinner than a regular-sized crib.

Most parents opt to look for a different mattress since they find the one that comes with the mini crib is thin, less firm, and uncomfortable for their kid.

It’s recommended though to consult first with the manufacturer for the best replacement mattress for the mini crib, for safety purposes.

Some mattresses might have a gap and your baby might get stuck on them. 

If your kid gets older, a thicker mattress might help them climb out easier, possibly hurting themselves.

Also, consider the idea that what’s comfortable for an adult will be different for a baby. 

For a grown-up, the thin mattress of a mini crib would be unbearable. 

But for a baby who weighs much less than a typical adult, a firmer mattress would be safer to use as there are fewer chances for them to get stuck between the mattress and the crib.

So the mattress that comes with the mini crib, is actually the best mattress to use, even though it feels a bit lacking for an adult.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Sheets

The mini crib and crib would also have different sheet sizes, so you have to get a dedicated sheet for each. 

It’s much easier to find mattress sheets for a crib, than for a mini crib.

Some moms mentioned using a pack n play sheet. But it’s just much safer to get a suitable mini crib sheet, as a different one can get loose and might not be safe for your baby.

Buy also extra mattress sheets as you would need them when your baby does multiple poonamis and more. 

Check out my list of newborn essentials here to see how many sheets you’d need for your crib.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Price

Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheaper and mini crib models vary in prices, depending on the brand and its extra features.

Many mini cribs are actually equally priced as cribs and some can be as expensive as some cribs while some can be cheap like some cribs are.

Check out mini crib samples and their prices here:

Dream On Me Jayden 4-in-1 Mini Convertible Crib And Changer

cribs vs mini cribs

Dream On Me 3-in-1 Folding Portable Mini Crib

mini cribs vs cribs

Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Baby Crib

Check out some cribs and their prices below:

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit 

Delta Children Heartland 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

mini crib vs cribs

Graco Solano 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Drawer and Changer 

Similarities of Cribs vs Mini Crib

Now let’s take a more detailed look at the similar features of a mini crib vs cribs.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Durability

Both are sturdy and durable, given that cribs and mini cribs are usually made of wood and/or metal. 

Some parents though have complained of the wobbliness of some mini cribs with wheels. 

So keep that in mind when checking out both cribs or mini cribs. 

I remember shaking both when we were shopping for one, to see how heavy-duty it was. I would just hold on to the crib rail and give it a normal shaking, just to see how wobbly or sturdy it was.

Which I’m glad I did because my daughter started making some gymnastics movements in it and would even be pushing the crib away from the wall by 10 months!

But again, I digress.

The weight limit for cribs is up to 50 lbs or 22.7kg and a little bit less for mini cribs. 

But the usual safety standard to follow is to stop using either one when the child reaches the height of 35″(89 cm) or when they’re attempting to climb out of it.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Accessories

Both have more or less, depending on the model, the same accessories.

They can both come in convertible models, with shelves and drawers, and even a diaper changing table.

You can also attach a toy mobile on both, which is usually purchased separately.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Portability

Some mini crib and crib models come with wheels which can make it less difficult to move them around.

But the mini crib is smaller, making it less of a struggle to roll in and out of the bedroom. 

It’s also easier to fold and store it, given its size.

However, both are still generally heavy and cumbersome. 

It is not ideal to move around or pack and carry either a mini crib or regular crib, unlike a travel crib or pack n play.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Setup

They are more or less, assembled the same way – requiring some tools such as bolts, screwdrivers, etc.

It’s highly recommended to assemble either one in the room where you’re placing it, as moving it around can be difficult to do.

Also, it would be ideal to have someone to help you assemble either a mini crib or crib. It’s just much more convenient and faster when someone can help you set it up.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Design

Both can have useful features (such as diaper changing tables, drawers) and have gorgeous designs that can suit your interiors or nursery room.

Some have the Greenguard Gold certification, which has more dependable finishings that are safer for your baby.

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Types

A mini crib is categorized under a crib but it can also have various types and models which can be classified into a standard, convertible, or combo mini crib.

Standard cribs or mini cribs are a simple, little-to-no-frills type of cribs, which can be much cheaper compared to other types.

A convertible crib or mini crib can turn into a toddler bed, day bed, or even a full-sized bed, depending on the brand and/or model.

A combo mini crib or combo regular crib has extra features like a diaper changing table, drawers, storage areas, and such.

Mini cribs

Dream On Me Jayden 4-in-1 Mini Convertible Crib And Changer

cribs vs mini cribs

Dream On Me 3-in-1 Folding Portable Mini Crib

mini cribs vs cribs

Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Baby Crib

Regular Cribs

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit 

Delta Children Heartland 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

mini crib vs cribs

Graco Solano 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Drawer and Changer 

Mini Crib vs Cribs: FAQ

Is a mini crib or regular crib better?

That would depend on how much space you have in your bedroom or nursery room.
Mini cribs are smaller than a regular crib so that would save you more space.

However, if space is not an issue, it’s just better to get a standard crib so your kid has more room to wriggle in, especially when they’re in the 99% percentile.

How long can a baby stay in a mini crib?

Typically up to 2 years old. But shen a child reaches the height limit of 35″(89 cm) or attempts to climb out, it’s best to transition them to another bed or sleeping arrangement.

Is it worth getting a mini crib?

Yes, especially if you have limited space.

What age are mini cribs used for?

Mini cribs can be used from newborns up to 2 years of age.

Pros and Cons of the Cribs vs Mini Crib

Here’s a general overview of the advantages and drawbacks of a mini crib vs cribs.

Mini Crib Pros

  • Space saver for small rooms
  • Has convertible models

Mini Crib Cons

  • Kids can outgrow it quicker than a crib
  • Not many sheet options

Crib Pros

  • More space for your baby to wriggle in
  • Has convertible models

Crib Cons

  • Takes up space
  • Harder to move around

Mini Crib vs Cribs: Which One Should You Get?

If you are severely lacking in space, then it’s a no-brainer between the two – a convertible/ combo mini crib hands down is a better choice.

But take note though that finding sheets for it might be more difficult as compared to looking for crib sheets.

Plus, you might only be able to use this for only up to 2 years or less, especially if you have a bigger and taller baby.

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If you’re open to considering other smaller crib alternatives, I’d just recommend a pack n play.

It functions the same as a mini crib plus it’s portable and most models can come with a lot of accessories such as storage, a diaper changing table, even a vibrating rocker, and more!

IMAGE

However, if space is not an issue PLUS you know you’ll have a big and heavy baby and you have thoughts of having another one, a crib is best to have.

Your child will have more space to wriggle in plus they can use it longer than a mini crib, especially if you don’t have a daredevil child like mine who started climbing out of her crib when she turned 1 year old.

IMAGE

Best Alternatives to Cribs or Mini Cribs:

Pack N Play

If you have limited space and budget, consider getting a pack n play, instead of a mini crib. 

They come in cheaper yet equally durable models plus they are multifunctional, eg. can also be used as a playpen, travel crib, “baby jail”, etc.

Baby Trend E Nursery Center

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe 2 Nursery Center

Deluxe Nursery Center Comfortable Mattress and Changing Station 

Travel Crib

This also can be a great mini crib alternative, as you can easily fold this when needed to get more space. Plus you can also use it for travel and vacations.

Lotus Travel Crib

2 in 1 Travel Crib & Bassinet

Dream On Me, Travel Light Playard

Floor Mattress

Consider getting a floor mattress, instead of a crib or mini crib.

It will last longer, you get more space and your baby can become more independent early on, especially if you follow the Montessori setup for their nursery room.

Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed

hiccapop Pack and Play Mattress Pad [Dual Sided] w/Firm Side (for Babies) & Soft Memory Foam Side (for Toddlers)

Papablic Tri-fold Dual Sided Mattress for Babies and Toddlers

• You can check out more crib alternatives here.

Takeaway on Mini Crib vs Cribs

We bought a regular-sized crib plus a pack n play before for my baby.

I remember having high hopes in using the crib for years since it’s a convertible model.

But as always, kids have a way of surprising you and mine sure did.

Mine started her crib-climbing skills at the tender age of 1 year old.

I tried to train her to stay on the crib but alas, we had to resort to co-sleeping with her on a floor mattress. It just seems a much easier, safer, and more practical sleeping arrangement.

Point of my story – doesn’t matter if you get a crib for cost-efficiency purposes or a mini crib, to save space.

It will ultimately depend on your child if they attempt to climb out of it early or not.

So don’t overthink it – mini crib vs crib, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, especially if you have adequate space. Try to overcome that paralysis analysis by just going for the one that makes the best sense for your family. Good luck and happy shopping!