A travel cot is the key purchase you probably didn’t even realise you’d need, whether you dream of a family break away, or need to pack off your little one for a night with the grandparents.
They are not just for sleep, though. A good travel cot can also double as a playpen, keeping babies and toddlers safe while you have a wee in peace. They’re an absolute godsend for that reason alone, .
They vary from no frills to fully featured, and the prices are equally wide ranging. We spent the last month letting a very active almost-one-year-old play and snooze in ten of the best-selling, most popular travel cots on the market.
The Micralite Sleep & Go travel cot topped our tests thanks to its unbeatable balance of ease of use, stability, features, comfort and convenience. It is a hit across the board – though you do pay top money for the privilege.
The Red Kite Sleep Tighthas to be our best value pick at just £30, though it could do with a mattress upgrade for maximum comfort.
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Red Kite has managed to produce a travel cot as easy to set up as some of the more expensive options, but at a fraction of the price. For £30, the design is as basic as you’d expect, but it’s safe and sturdy. The mattress is on the thin side, though.
The Micralite Sleep & Go beats some of the household names to take our pick for best overall choice. It’s easy to set up, is sturdy yet light, and comes with a nice thick mattress for comfort. It also undercuts its look-a-like competition the Bjorn Baby Easy Go, by as much as £45, depending on where you shop.
The experts view: best travel cots
The shortlist: best travel cots
1. Chicco Zip & Go
The Chicco Zip & Go has a zip mechanism that changes the travel cot from a bassinet into a full travel cot, suitable for babies up to 12.5kg. In crib mode, the Zip & Go can be used in both fixed and rocking mode and it comes with a bag for storage.
2. Graco Contour Electra
The Graco Contour Electra is a fully featured travel cot. As well as a bassinet for newborns, it includes a changing station, hanging toy bar and detachable night light, which also offers music and vibrations. It has two wheels for easy moving around rooms, and comes with a carry bag to fit it all in.
3. Micralite Sleep & Go
The Micralite Sleep & Go wins our best overall choice. It’s a lightweight travel cot that comes with a padded bag to protect it in transit, and a thick mattress for a comfortable sleep. It comes with a zip-in bassinet and zipped playpen door, with mesh sides for increased airflow and a padded top rail.
4. Bjorn Baby Easy Go
A premium lightweight travel cot that comes with a compact carry case and thick mattress. Its mesh sides ensure good air flow and everything is removable and washable if needs be. There’s no upper weight on this cot, but it’s recommended up until around 3 years old.
5. Phil and Teds Traveller
A super lightweight, super compact travel cot, the Traveller packs down so small that it’s carry-on approved for most airlines. One side zips down entirely for play or easy settling, with an optional bassinet available to buy separately. It comes with a self-inflating mattress and sheet and is ok for babies up to 35in tall.
6. Joie Kubbie Sleep
The Joie Kubbie Sleep is a co-sleeping travel cot, which features a drop-down side and safety straps for attaching to the bed. It’s quick to set up and offers both bassinet and floor-level sleeping positions. It’s suitable for babies up to 15kg and comes with a bag for storage.
7. Red Kite Sleeptight
The Red Kite Sleeptight wins our best-value choice. It is a no-frills, budget travel cot that has been designed to be simple to assemble and take down. It comes with padded top rails and has see-through side panels so you can keep an eye on baby easily. Supports babies up to 15kg.
8. Nuna Sena Aire
With its stylish design and aluminium frame, the Nuna Aire uses a simple one-hand setup to create a sturdy sleep and playspace. It comes with skid-proof feet, a well-cushioned mattress and included organic sheet, plus a travel bag for transport. It will support babies up to 15kg.
9. BabyHub SleepSpace
The BabyHub SleepSpace is a lightweight, full-sized travel cot that comes with an extra-padded mattress, mosquito net, zipped door and circus tent play cover. It’s suitable for babies up to 15kg and comes with its own carry bag. It’s available in a choice of four colours.
10. Hauck Sleep N Play Centre
This large travel cot includes a fold out changing table, bassinet level and doubles up as a playpen with a zip door on its end. It has four colourful corners, two wheels for easy manoeuvring and supports babies up to 15kg in a standard setup.
How we selected the best products to test
Travel cot prices vary so much we decided to disregard cost initially. We simply pulled together our long list of travel cots to test from the best-selling and highest-rated travel cots across reputable sites like Amazon, Mothercare, Argos and John Lewis. This meant our test focus ranged from £30 all the way up to £220.
While the features each cot had were very different from brand to brand, we simply included anything that was described as a travel cot, and planned to appraise the helpfulness of any included extras as part of the testing.
These extras included bassinets, which sit higher up in a travel cot for a younger baby, and changing tables, among other things. The bassinet, in particular, may be useful for new mums, and is worth looking out for if you’ll need a travel cot in the early months (until they can sit up).
We managed to produce a list of 25 travel cots from 20 manufacturers, and then began whittling down the list down to the 10 products we were going to test.
As with a lot of things in the baby care world, some brands have enormous reputations in this space, and for good reason. From reading extensively on popular parent forums like Mumsnet, Made for Mums and The Bump, we found companies such as Baby Bjorn, Phil & Teds, Nuna, Joie and Chicco came up regularly.
Based on this, we ensured their best-rated, most up-to-date travel cot was included in our list, and picked out the remaining five using a similar process.
Only two slots were given to brands we hadn’t had any experience of previously – Micralite and Hauck – which were chosen on their merit, based on reviews and features.
All the travel cots featured in our test have an upper weight limit of 12.5kg, the weight of an average 2-3 year old, to ensure your investment isn’t shortlived.
That discounted most of the “pop-up tent” style cots that, although handy for younger babies, tend to max out at around 18 months due to their size.
Of course, all the cots tested had to comply with the relevant British Standards Institution (BSI) safety standards (BS EN 716-1:2008+A1:2013), and be made of anti-flammable material, to ensure absolute peace of mind in use.
How we tested the travel cots
We scored each travel cot out of 10 for ease of use, safety and stability, comfort, convenience and features, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
Firstly we assessed how easy they were to use, and ranked each cot on how quickly it was to put up and down. We took into account the time it took but also how good the experience was. We also checked out the instructions to see how clear they were, how easy it was to fit any added extras, and considered those in our score too.
We then put each cot up and down 20 times to check for sturdiness and stability, and looked out for any signs of weakness in any of the mechanisms. We checked for any potential hazards, such as anywhere fingers or clothing could get trapped, and for any choking hazards.
When each cot was safely up, we also placed considerable weight on each hinge and joint to ensure they could withstand a toddler hanging from it, or an adult stumbling into it by accident. We gave higher points for frames that held their shape and didn’t display any give under the weight.
When ranking them for features, we considered whether the travel cot came with a bassinet for younger babies, whether it had a door for use as a playpen and if there were any other added extras. Examples include the Graco Contour Electra’s changing table and extra functionality like the Joie Kubbie Sleep’s lowering side for co-sleeping.
How useful different features are will be quite personal to each individual parent, but we did give more weight in our scores for the inclusion of a bassinet. It makes it much easier to use the travel cot with younger babies, and extends its use.
Our scores for comfort took into consideration how thick the included mattress was and how comfortable it felt to the touch. We had an 11 month old sleep overnight in each one to check for any issues during use, and also let her play in each one too.
For convenience, we marked every cot on its weight and size when packed down. Some travel cots are light and compact enough to take with you on a plane. Others you wouldn’t even consider it. Once again, how much this matters depends on how a parent plans to use the cot, but being easy to both store and take around with you was still awarded the bigger scores in our test.
Finally, we also noted things such as how easy it would be to clean if required, and whether it came with a fitted sheet for use with the included mattress. With no standard sizing for travel cots, it’s extremely handy when you have one that has been made to fit it properly included.
Best travel cots: test results
The leader of the pack is the Micralite Sleep & Go, which scored highly for ease of use, comfort, stability and its feature set. It comes with a zip-in bassinet and playpen door.
As its name would suggest, it’s light — one of the lightest we tested. Setting it up is really simple too. The bag is on the bulky side, but the mattress it allows for should help your baby to sleep soundly.
Following just behind it is the Baby Bjorn Easy Go. It’s a great travel cot, light and easy to put up, but with no bassinet it’s lacking in features, especially as it’s the most expensive on test.
The Joie Kubbie Sleep is a fantastic option for new parents as it can act as a bedside crib, with one side that lowers for easier access to baby. It scored well on comfort, stability and ease of use too. It’s on the narrow side, but that’s helpful for small hotel rooms if you want to keep baby close.
Next up is the Nuna Sena Aire, which serves up a masterclass in ease of use and stability. Everything feels top-quality, including the mattress, but you will feel the effect of that quality in its weight.
The Chicco Zip & Go was the fastest travel cot to set up. The mattress is the thickest on test too, and we liked its thoughtful features, such as the ability to rock it when in bassinet mode. However, when used as a standard cotbed, our baby tester found it unsteady to stand up in, as the cot section hangs down freely and isn’t secured to the feet or floor.
Just shy of the middle of the pack is the Red Kite Sleeptight, which is the cheapest travel cot on test by some margin.
The design is the definition of no frills, but for being so cheap, it’s pretty sturdy. The mattress is the thinnest on test though and there’s no bassinet option either.
Next up is the Phil & Teds Traveller, which, despite its middling ranking in our test, is the absolute best option for portability.
It packs down really small and is seriously light – less than half the weight of the next lightest, the Baby Bjorn Easy Go. It’s just a faff to setup and the mattress isn’t great either.
Next in the ranking is the Graco Contour Electra, which is hugely well featured for a travel cot, but it’s bulky and heavy, and requires lots of poles for any added extras, which adds to set up time.
The instructions weren’t too clear either, which was frustrating when putting it together.
The Hauck Sleep N Play is on the large side when set up, which could be inconvenient in small hotel rooms and bedrooms. The mattress is on the thin side too, plus its included bag doesn’t make it easy to pack it down quickly.
Finally the BabyHub SleepSpace is a great idea for a playpen, and comes with fun covers to turn it into a circus tent, but as a travel cot it just doesn’t make sense. The top is too narrow to put your baby down easily and the construction isn’t the sturdiest either.
Best overall travel cot
Micralite Sleep & Go - £175
Micralite was one of the brands we hadn’t had much experience of prior to testing, but it’s a British company that specialises in lightweight, sturdy baby gear for people on-the-go. The Sleep & Go joins a range of prams and buggies, and it is a superb all-rounder, scoring highly across the board when it comes to ease of use, comfort, stability and features.
Although the bag that it packs away in isn’t as neat or compact as the Baby Bjorn Easy Go or the Phil and Teds Traveller, it’s well padded, meaning the cot will be protected if checked in on an airline.
Most importantly, it’s pretty light in the grand scheme of things, so it’s not going to prove too hefty to put you off taking it on holiday.
Set up is really easy. During our tests, it took us about a minute and a half in total, and is a case of simply taking it out of the bag, folding it flat and clicking out the legs. The sides then click into place automatically as you stand it up and then you just need to put the thick mattress into the bottom. It’s pretty snug as it is, but it secures to the legs using toggles to ensure it stays flat.
The cot itself covers a similar amount of space as the Baby Bjorn Easy Go when set up – just over a metre – and is a similar design too, in a sort of trapezoidal shape that is wider at the bottom and narrower at the top.
The material that covers the top of the cot is well padded, and feels both durable and easy to clean, while the sides are mesh to ensure plenty of air flow.
It feels sturdy too, and didn’t once crack under the pressure of our durability tests.
Aside from the fast setup and low-weight design, one of the things we loved most about this travel cot is that it has everything you’d need. It comes with a zip-in bassinet for use from newborn and also has a playpen door that makes it a real 3-in-1 proposition.
When it offers more than the Bjorn Baby Easy Go, our next highest rated cot, and undercuts it by almost £50, it’s hard not to be impressed.
It’s still a reasonable investment at £175, but one its convenience will repay you with in with every use.
Best value choice
Red Kite Sleeptight - £29.95, Kiddies Kingdom
The Sleeptight scored averagely in our tests, putting it about half way up the ranking overall. But at this price – just over half the cost of the next cheapest on test, the Hauck Sleep & Play Centre – if you just need a travel cot for occasional use, it’s hard not to be impressed with what this compact package offers.
As you might imagine at this price, everything has a slightly cheaper feel that you’ll see on some of the more premium options, and the black shiny fabric that covers the majority of the cot won’t be to everyone’s taste.
It’s very "no-frills" – there’s no bassinet and no zip for making it into a more inviting playpen – but it’s safe and secure. Padding is kept to a minimum, but there’s enough, and for the price, it feel sturdier than the BabyHub SleepSpace.
Set up is similar to several on test. You snap the four sides into place before pushing the base down to the floor to secure. Although it’s relatively straightforward, there are no instructions in the box, which was annoying for the initial setup. Once we got the hang of it, though, it was set up almost as quick to get up and running as the Micralite Sleep & Go.
The included mattress, which wraps around the cot when collapsed to secure it, is very thin and hard. Although our baby tester actually slept ok on it, a fussier baby may not, and we’d recommend using some of the budget you save to buy a better one if you plan to use it for more than a couple of nights.
You’ll have to find space to transport that separately, of course, but we reckon your baby would thank you for it (if they could).
The rest compared
Following just behind our winner was the Baby Bjorn Easy Go. It’s actually pips the Micralite on convenience thanks to its neater, more compact storage bag. It’s a whole bag of sugar lighter than it too. However its lack of features just lets it down, especially considering the premium price. In the end, that’s what swung the win for the Micralite.
Also not far off the top, we loved the Joie Kubbie Sleep for its additional features, and if you’re a new parent, this is definitely one to consider.
We love the drop-down side, which makes it easier to attend to baby at night, as well as offering the option for co-sleeping. It was also the second fastest to set up, after the Chicco Zip & Go, and for £100, it’s great value.
For absolute ease of use, the Nuna Sena Aire has to be up there as one of our favourites, with a one-handed setup that is almost instant – it’s securing the mattress that takes the time, but the frame is up in seconds.Its aluminium frame makes it the sturdiest on test too, but the result is it’s almost double the weight of the Baby Bjorn Easy Go. It’s probably one for staycations rather than vacations, for that reason.
Fussy sleepers might be best rested on the thickest mattress on test, the Chicco Zip & Go, if you don’t mind the slightly lower weight support of 12.5kg. That should still see most babies past two years old, and being able to set it up in under a minute is a huge tick in its box – even if it is a little bulky to store.
If you’re looking for a travel cot to take abroad with you, there’s no doubt the Phil & Teds Traveller is the one you should be looking at. It’s lighter than most newborns, and packs down really small too. That does mean a bit of additional set up at the other end, but that’s the price for the best-in-class portability it offers.
The Graco Contour Electra is great choice if you want to use your travel cot for longer stretches. The number of added extras it includes don’t lend themselves so well to travelling due to all the extra weigh and, in fact, it was the heaviest cot on test. However, if you’ll make use of them it’s great value at around £100.
Finally, the Hauck Sleep N Play Centre is just a bit on the big side overall, and has a mattress that’s about as thin and hard as the Red Kite’s. For just over £50 though, you get lots of room for your money if that’s what you want, and it does come with a bassinet and zipped playpen door too.
One to avoid?
The BabyHub SleepSpaceworks fantastically as a playpen, and even comes with a fun circus tent cover to turn it into a tee-pee. But as a travel cot, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to us.
Because of the tee-pee structure, it creates a very narrow opening at the top, which makes it quite difficult to lean in to put a baby down comfortably. There is a zip entrance in the main body of the cot, but it’s hidden behind poppers and various bits of material. If you have an already-sleeping baby in your arms, it’s next to impossible to get to without another pair of hands.
It’s also a bit of a faff to set up, and the set-up mechanism felt the weakest of all the cots on test. It got easier during the durability tests, but its pole structure is fiddly, particularly when putting it away, and feels like it could be prone to breaking.
The sides also failed to click into place automatically on more than one occasion, and needed to be checked manually instead.
If you’re looking for a fun playpen that will occasionally double up as a travel cot, it could be worth a look. However, at just £30 less than our top pick, it’s much more limited and hard to recommend for those looking primarily for a travel cot.