Toddler boy sitting in bed playing.
Credit: Pottery Barn Kids

The 9 Best Toddler Beds, According to Parents and Experts

updated Sep 21, 2022
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Purchasing a toddler bed can seem like a waste of money, since it will be used for such a relatively short period, but here at Cubby, we are firm believers that these pint-sized beds fill a specific niche in family homes. Yes, a child uses a toddler bed for just a few years, but today, many cribs easily convert to a toddler bed (often with the help of a conversion kit), so it’s an easy choice to make. But even if you do need to purchase one new, a toddler bed saves so much floor space that it is a worthwhile investment.

Small-space expert Alison Mazurek, a mom of two and the author of the blog 600 Sq Ft and a Baby, sees the toddler bed as a way to give you time before making big changes to your home.“Transitioning to a toddler bed instead of a twin bed could buy you another year in your small space. Or it could buy you time before transitioning both kids into a bunk bed, an investment that should carry you for years,” she says. Even if you do have tons of space, Mazurek says, “Why have more bed than you need when kids need room to play?”

Jessica Hartshorn, a mom of two and longtime product reviewer in the baby and toddler space, says that a toddler bed can also be a great way to help incentivize big-kid behavior like going to the potty or not waking parents up in the morning. “Changing to a toddler bed helps convince them that this bed is different from their crib—and, that along with that comes different behaviors,” she says. 

To find the best toddler beds on the market today, I spoke to Mazurek, Hartshorn and other experts to get in-depth advice about purchasing a toddler bed–plus, nine experts’ favorite beds. As with all of our Cubby buying guides, this guide will give the confidence to make a purchase that will last through the toddler years and beyond.

Is a toddler bed worth buying?

“I would absolutely recommend toddler beds, if space is limited and especially in homes with kids close in age that might be sharing a room,” says Shamika Lynch, the designer behind Maximizing Tiny Interiors and a mom of two. Less bed = more play space. However, if square footage is not an issue, you may be tempted to jump straight to a big-kid bed, but the transition from crib to twin is pretty dramatic, so a toddler bed is also a good choice to help kids adjust to the change.  

What is the right age for a toddler bed?

A toddler is usually defined as a child between the ages of 1 and 3, but that doesn’t mean a one year old is ready for a toddler bed or that a child must stop using their toddler bed at age 3. Generally speaking, a child will be ready for a toddler bed between the ages of 1 1/2 and 3. Parents often make the transition when a child starts climbing out of their crib or when they begin potty training and want their child to be able to get to the bathroom independently. Kids can use a toddler bed as long as they are comfortable in it – sometimes into their early grade school years.

What should I look for in a toddler bed?

Lynch says to look for beds that are low to the ground, “easy for littles to climb into,” and have a side rail. Hartshorn specifically recommends a removable rail that you can use when your child is younger, but remove as they get older.

She adds to read reviews carefully to make sure that a bed is not impossible to assemble or have other issues. It’s also always a good idea to look for no-VOC finishes and Greenguard certification, which ensures low chemical emissions. Emma Beryl, a mom and interior designer based in New York and New Orleans, shared her hack for materials safety standards with Cubby: Enter a California shipping address: The state’s rigorous emissions laws will help prevent you from ordering anything that is questionable.

What style of toddler bed is best?

There are fewer choices of toddler beds than cribs or single beds, so your options are more limited, but it’s best to choose a simple design anyway. All the experts we spoke to recommended avoiding overly baby-ish beds because the kid might outgrow the style before he or she physically outgrows the bed, and it will be harder to sell or giveaway at the end of its useful life in your household.

9 of Our Favorite Toddler Beds

1 / 9
The Modern Masterpiece
West Elm

Made from solid poplar and birch, this Greenguard-certified option is West Elm’s first foray into toddler beds. The two-tone finish means the bed will coordinate with a wider variety of furnishings.

2 / 9
The Cozy Contemporary

Ouef was cited by many parents and designers for their sustainable bonafides and clean-lined designs. We love that while many brands offer a crib and then sell you the toddler conversion kit as an add-on, Ouef takes the opposite approach with its Classic Toddler Bed: You buy the toddler bed and can purchase a Crib Side Kit. Mom of two, Rachel Lipson, the founder of Blue Balloon Songwriting School, notes that she put hers under a Perch loft bed to fit her two boys in one room, which is also what Cubby's managing editor, Cambria Bold, did for many years in her girls' shared room. (Cubby picked the Perch bunks as one of our best bunk beds, too!)

3 / 9
The Converts-to-a-Sofa

Another Oeuf bed that gained our pros' approval, including Mazurek’s, was Oeuf's Perch toddler bed, which can be transitioned to a child-sized sofa by removing the security rail. Many brands tout this possible sofa conversion, but Oeuf’s is one of the only ones that doesn’t just look like a crib with its railing taken off.

4 / 9
The Way-Low Model
Sprout Kids

Inspired by the Montessori ideal of an on-the-ground bed for toddlers, Sprout’s floor bed works as a floor bed and can later be flipped to a higher position to ease the transition to a bigger bed. (It beats putting a mattress right on the floor with no frame because the frame lifts the mattress off the ground enough to prevent mildew.) Sprout’s furniture is also beloved by parents for being easy to assemble. If you're into the idea of floor beds, here are 8 more toddler floor beds to choose from.

5 / 9
The Classic Design

Multiple designers pointed to this classic design. California-based lifestyle writer (and Cubby contributor) Chantal Lamers’ children each had a secondhand Jenny Lind-style toddler bed, and she was delighted to discover they held their value; she was able to resell them for what she paid for them! Dallas interior designer Lisa Henderson agrees, telling Cubby, “Jenny Lind takes the cake! The nostalgic shape and transitional style make it the ideal bed for any kid’s room.”

6 / 9
The Boho Adjustable

Gill Cranshaw, the blogger behind A Baby on Board, recommends the MINNEN bed because it expands from toddler to medium size and then finally a standard single, so you only need to buy one big kid bed. Cranshaw notes, “It has sides so they are less likely to fall out, but it’s a cool design that’s not really that toddler-y.”

7 / 9
The Sturdy-Enough-for-a-Grownup

This affordable IKEA model gets 5-star reviews and Mazurek’s stamp of approval for its “great price point and simple design.” It’s also solid: One reviewer writes, “It is very sturdy and nice. I can even lay on it,” while another notes, “It is surprisingly as sturdy as an adult twin bed.” There’s one caveat for this bed (and the other adjustable IKEA beds set at their mid-way size): You can’t find fitted sheets for it.

8 / 9
The Mini Fold-Up Option
bloom baby

“We appreciate the BLOOM convertible folding crib because it’s smaller than a standard crib, but large and adaptable enough with the toddler conversion rail to see most kids through their toddler years,” says Whitney Leigh Morris, the creator of Tiny Canal Cottage and author of Small Space Style.

9 / 9
The Back-to-Basics

With 165 five-star reviews on, this toddler bed from Child Craft, one of the leading manufacturers of affordable kids’ furniture, is a good basic choice (if not stylistically distinguished). However, the handful of less-favorable reviews note that it’s not the easiest to put together—consider yourself warned!

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