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It is a big decision to purchase a crib for your baby. You want it to be the right one and there are a lot of options to choose from. There are different materials, sizes and styles that could all be the right choice for you. Wood is the most common material, but you can also get metal cribs. But what’s the difference between them?
Wooden cribs tend to be cheaper, more popular and with a greater choice of cribs to choose from. On the other hand metal cribs are very durable and have an elegant and traditional look to them. Let’s look in more detail at the differences between, as well as the benefits and downfalls of metal versus wooden cribs.
Pros and cons of wooden cribs
Let’s start by looking at the pros and cons of wooden cribs for your baby to sleep in.
- Various design options: There are a lot of different choices when it comes to design with a wooden crib. There are different wood colors, stains and finishes that mean you can choose a crib that suits your taste.
- Long shelf life: Depending on the crib you choose it could last you for years. Many wooden cribs convert into toddler beds or even full size beds for children as they grow and need more space. Have a look at the options and see what is right for you and your space.
- Storage options: Many wooden cribs have companion storage chests or changing tables that connect with or complement the design of the crib. These are helpful to make the most of bedroom space and to create a streamlined look.
- Affordable: Wooden cribs come at different price points and are suited to most budgets. There are higher end wooden cribs to buy of course, but there is something for everyone when you choose wood.
- Easy to damage: Wooden cribs are damaged more easily than other materials. They mark easily when they are bumped and some children have a bad habit of chewing on the bars of their cribs. You can buy protectors for this but it does happen often. Wood is still a durable material, but not quite so much compared to metal.
Why are cribs made of wood?
Wood is generally a solid and durable material for cribs. Wooden cribs tend to stand up to the test of time, they look nice in a nursery and wood can be easily styled into different designs. Wooden cribs can be safely coated with non-toxic stains and paint which makes them safe for children to sleep in.
Best wood for wooden cribs
There are plenty of wood types that are used to make wooden cribs. Cribs used to be largely made from hardwoods because they are so durable, but now there are lots of softwood options out there to buy as well. Let’s look at the most popular wooden crib materials and learn more about them.
Is Poplar good wood for a crib?
Poplar is a softwood and it is not quite as durable as a hardwood material. However, it is affordable and easy to shape into different designs by carpenters or manufacturers. It is not as widely available as other wood types so you may not see it everywhere you look. A crib made from poplar will do the job you need it to, although you should be prepared for there to be nicks and marks after use since it can dent easily.
Is pine wood good for a baby cot?
Pine wood is a widespread and popular choice for baby cribs. It tends to be inexpensive and lots of people like the look of pine furniture in their homes. Be prepared for your pine crib to do the job well, but know that it will probably not look as nice a couple of years down the road as when you first bought it. Pine is a softwood that marks and dents easily. Babies and toddlers have a tendency to chew, gnaw and be a little rough with their things!
How do you make a wooden crib?
A well made, handmade wooden crib is just as good for your baby as a one bought in a store. The love and care that you’ll put into building a crib makes it a special, unique project if this is the route for you. It is important to check you have the right tools, materials and skill set before you start. There are lots of helpful online resources like this one to walk you through the process.
- Find the crib you want to make and check it is within your skill level to build. If not, find an alternative or bring in some help to complete the project.
- Buy the materials you need.
- Collect the tools you need.
- Follow the directions with care. Try not to miss any instructions to ensure it is safe and functional.
- Measure the dimensions several times. This way you can be sure the mattress will fit at the end.
- Test the crib out before you put your baby in it.
Do your research and plan out plenty of time for the project. These things always take longer than you think!
Best solid wood cribs
As you might have guessed, a solid wood crib is made from only solid wood. A “wooden” crib could otherwise contain a mixture of solid wood and composite wood. Both of these options can and do work, but it is helpful to know what solid wood means as you start shopping.
Solid hardwood cribs, such as oak, walnut and cherry are highly sought after, but they tend to be expensive. However, they are durable and will stand the test of time. Solid soft wood cribs, such as pine and bamboo, are also popular and are typically much more affordable.
The wood you choose will depend on your budget and long term plans for the crib. For example, if you would like to convert the crib into a toddler bed you will want to consider how the material will hold up to many years of use.
Pros and cons of metal cribs
Metal cribs are a stylish and practical option for some parents. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of a metal crib for your baby.
- Metal cribs are elegant and many people like the look of them in their homes. There are quite a few different colors to choose from to reflect your nursery’s design.
- Metal cribs have excellent durability and hold up really well. There is a confidence when you buy a metal crib that it will not get easily damaged or marked with use.
- Metal cribs can be handed down many times since they are strong and last a long time.
- Metal cribs are less popular than wooden cribs overall and this is reflected in the design choice. You will find fewer style options for a metal crib in stores.
- Metal cribs are expensive to buy. They are an investment item and so metal may not suit all budgets.
- Metal cribs are not usually designed to be converted into toddler beds or full size beds once your baby has outgrown it. This means they have a limited period of use for your family. That being said with more options arriving all the time, this is changing so read the specifcations carefully and shop around.
Are metal cribs safe?
Metal cribs are just as safe as wooden cribs so long as they are built to modern safety standards. Make sure you purchase one from a reputable supplier and read the safety information well. Check the coating, stain or paint is a non-toxic powder coating. This way you’ll have the confidence that the metal crib you choose is safe for your baby.
Best metal for metal cribs
Modern metal cribs tend to be made from steel or cast iron and coated in non-toxic powder coating. These metals are sturdy and hold up well over time. You will find them for sale in niche stores and widely online.
Is a metal or a wooden crib better?
This comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. Metal cribs are definitely the most durable and long lasting option. However they are more expensive and there are fewer designs available to choose from. Wooden cribs come in a variety of designs and budget levels, and they often convert into beds for older children depending on the style you choose. Yet, they are not as durable overall and mark more easily. This can be somewhat combated by picking a solid hardwood crib or using cot rail protectors for crib gnawers!
Think about your space, budget, style and your long term plans for a crib before you pick one. This will help you decide which material is right for you. So long as your crib is safe and meets modern safety standards, whichever crib you choose will become a safe haven for your sleeping baby!
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.