How many parents-to-be think of including a crib mobile to their baby registry? Did you know that they can help with brain development through stimulation as well as promote a restful night’s sleep?
While a crib mobile may not be a nursery necessity, they are a very nice addition.
There are so many new models available that include features like music and nature sounds, removable toys, lights and projections, and so much more.
You may not know where to start when it comes to choosing a crib mobile, so we are here to help.
We have assessed the best crib mobiles on the market today against seven key criteria and identified the leading models in eleven feature categories.
There is a ton of information in this post so use the table of contents to skip ahead to the models and sections that are of most interest to you.
In This Post:
In this article we will review the following crib mobiles:
- SHILOH Musical Mobile
- Tiny Love Classic Mobile
- Nordic Nursery Wooden Peal Mobile
- Handmade Baby Mobile with Crib Arm
- Fisher-Price Precious Planet 2-in-1 Mobile
- Nautica Kids Musical Mobile
- Tiny Love Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile
- Disney Winnie the Peeking Pooh Mobile
- Vtech Soothing Ocean Slumber Mobile
- Baby Mobile for Crib by Caterbee
- Tiny Love Meadow Days Take Along Mobile
- Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile
Features & Assessment Criteria
You can’t call it a baby mobile if it doesn’t move; after all, that would make it immobile.
However, the nursery mobiles available today don’t just feature a few toys that spin around in a circle anymore.
There may be more elements involved or other movements included in the design to keep your baby engaged.
Sounds & Music
Variety in music and sounds isn’t necessarily a must-have feature, especially if you want a mobile for the primary purpose of putting your baby to sleep.
However, you will want it to have some sort of audio feature, whether it is simply Brahms’ Lullaby or a variety of choices that include classical tunes and nature sounds.
White noise and soft music help babies sleep better as it drowns out disruptive sounds and reminds them of the constant noise they heard inside the womb.
Colors & Themes
From infancy, babies are drawn to drastically contrasting colors and patterns, starting from black and white until their eyes are ready to start seeing brighter colors.
If you want a mobile that is visually stimulating, you will want to look for one that either includes back and white or vibrantly colored elements.
You will also want to consider the theme you want to go with. You may want something that matches your nursery theme or you may decide on a theme that is entertaining or educational.
Lights & Projections
Not only are colors and patterns visually appealing to infants, they also love the lights and projections that come with toys and mobiles designed for their age.
Some mobiles simply have lighted elements that may be timed with the music or are just a part of the overall theme (like star lights for a space themed mobile). Others may include wall or ceiling projections that act as a night light equivalent. These are great features to look for.
Versatility In Design
Believe it or not, there are some nice mobile models out there that include features that can be enjoyed by your baby as they grow. Mobiles aren’t simply mindless entertainment for infants anymore.
To get the most for your money, you may want to look into one of these models that includes features like multiple music choices or removable parts that can be played with through toddlerhood.
Most mobiles come with a timer, and if your little one is taking longer than usual to fall asleep – or simply wants to enjoy more play time – it can be a pain to go into the nursery to restart it every time it stops.
There are some mobile models now that come with Bluetooth features or remote controls that allow you control their multiple features without needing to disrupt your baby’s quiet time.
Best Crib Mobiles for Baby in 2021
We have assessed a range of crib mobiles against the criteria above and selected the best crib mobile for each specific purpose.
This should be a great shortcut for you to choose the features that you value most.
Multi-Purpose & Versatile Baby Mobile Design
This is one of the most versatile mobiles we have seen. Your baby will have other options as they grow, moving from simply being entertained by the mobile to actually playing with toys.
It starts as a musical mobile, programmed with several world famous songs. As your baby starts to grow and reach higher, you can raise the mobile arm so they can use it longer.
You can also detach the toys for them to play with, which include features like squeakers, rattles, and bells to keep your baby engaged and entertained.
No need to worry about your baby putting these toys in their mouth either. SHILOH has created this mobile with environmentally friendly, non-toxic, durable ABS material.
- Mobile arm has adjustable height
- Music box is programmed with several songs
- Toys can be detached for baby to play with
- Made with non-toxic materials
- Motor is noisy
- Disappointing sound quality
- A bit expensive
Baby Mobile For Stimulation
This mobile from Tiny Love features some great black and white elements that are sure to visually stimulate your little one.
The spinning spirals strengthen your little one’s vision as they watch them go around with the forest animals.
The music box can be used separately when you are done using the mobile.
It makes a great toy for toddlers or can just remain attached to the crib for your little one’s convenience and entertainment.
It features 20 minutes of continuous play featuring classical music to soothe your baby.
- Includes visually stimulating black and white elements
- 20 minutes of continuous music play
- Includes classical music to soothe baby
- Music can be used as a standalone toy
- Clicking sound as it rotates
- Occasional faulty electronics
- Only 3 song choices
Baby Mobile With the Most Modern Design
Looking for a mobile to go with your chic, modern style nursery? A simple wood mobile may be just what you are looking for.
This Nordic style mobile comes in several different styles, all of which feature natural elements and textures (like wood) and some color variations.
There aren’t any special features included like lights and music, but they can still be visually stimulating as the colorful beads sway above your baby’s head.
- Chic, modern design
- Features natural elements
- Several designs to choose from
- No music or lights
- Only ceiling mounted
- Loose beads are a choking hazard
Best Handmade/Crafted Crib Mobile
You could easily make your own mobile, or you could buy a handmade one if that’s the style you like.
This musical mobile comes in a few different styles. Each one has soft elements made from felt, lace, and other simple craft materials. It is easy to assemble and attaches to the baby crib by a standard arm.
There are still electronic components included with this mobile. The animal characters spin and the music box plays 12 soothing songs.
- Comes with music box and crib arm
- Music box plays 12 melodies
- Made with soft, handcrafted materials
- Comes in a few different styles
- Pretty expensive
- Mediocre quality
Baby Mobile With Projector
When you think of baby products, Fisher-Price is likely one of the first things that comes to mind. The quality of their products and attention to detail is hard to compete with. You will definitely want to check out this projector mobile.
The projection works two ways. First, it will project onto the little umbrella, keeping the pictures closer to your infant’s face so they can see.
As they get older and grow out of the mobile part, you can use the music box and projector separately, shining the lights onto the ceiling instead.
- Music box comes with music, nature sounds, and womb sounds
- Projection is suitable for newborns and older babies
- Music box can be used separately
- Comes with a remote
- No option to use mobile or projection without music
- Remote doesn’t control music selection
- Music box base is big and bulky
High End/Luxury Mobile Design
Nautica is known for its high-quality products, particularly clothing. What you may not know is that they also make baby products.
This mobile features a nautical theme with soft plush elements. All of the plastic parts – the arm and crossbars – are covered with fabric to soften the edges and give it a more polished look.
There isn’t much variety with music selection, but it does play Brahms’ Lullaby which will soothe and calm your baby. This is an ideal mobile for reducing stimulation and inviting sleep.
- Fabric sleeves gives the mobile a polished look
- Features nautical elements
- Plays Brahms’ Lullaby
- Coordinates with a full line of Nautica nursery bedding and accessories
- Music doesn’t play for very long
- A bit too loud for soothing your baby
- Doesn’t fit thicker baby crib frames
Baby Mobile With Music
This mobile from Tiny Love is one of the best when it comes to musical mobile selections.
Your little one can enjoy nonstop music for 40 minutes with a total of 18 melodies, which gives plenty of time for them to fall asleep to the soothing sounds before the music cuts off.
There are also music options, with lively tunes for playtime and soothing lullabies for naptime.
It is also advertised as suitable for ages 0-24 months, so it will grow with your baby. It starts as a musical mobile with a cute animal theme (there are 4 color schemes available).
As your baby outgrows the mobile part, the music box can be used separately as a toy for your toddler.
- Best musical mobile options
- Grows with your baby
- 40 minutes of nonstop music play
- 18 different music options available
- Nightlight included
- 4 color schemes and designs
- Motor is loud
- Characters click as they go around
- No options to change the amount of time for music playback
- Mobile turning and music play do not work independently
- Lights are pretty bright
Baby Mobile With Rotating Motor
Sometimes you don’t want to focus on all the bells and whistles, the music that may not be the best quality or the lights and projections that may keep your baby awake.
Those things are nice to have if they are included in the mobile, but you may want to focus on the actual rotating part instead.
What better way to introduce the Disney characters they will grow to love than with their crib mobile?
This one features the timeless characters of Winnie the Pooh, but there are other Disney themes available with this mobile as well.
The mobile also features a wind-up musical box that plays Brahms’ Lullaby, which help to soothe your baby and prepare them for sleep.
- Features cute Disney plush characters
- Plays Brahms’ Lullaby
- Best for soothing and sleep
- Nice, soft colors
- Does not fit all designs of a baby crib
- Overpriced for its lack of features
- Not the best quality
Baby Mobile For Inducing Sleep
The fact that this mobile from Vtech has “slumber” in the name must be a good sign that it’s one of the best for inducing sleep.
Not only does it have quite a variety of musical options for your baby to listen to but there are also nature and ocean sounds that will help to lull them to sleep.
There are also ocean themed projections that shine on the ceiling which will keep them captivated until they drift off.
One of the best features of this mobile is the fact that it’s sound activated. The music will stop automatically after about 20 minutes.
If your baby starts crying, the sound will turn back on without you ever needing to go into their room.
- Plays 45 songs, sounds, and phrases
- Long playback time
- Ocean themed projector shines on the ceiling
- Sounds activated to turn back on when your baby cries
- Cannot operate the rotating mobile and projector without musical effects
- Doesn’t fit tightly on narrow top rails
- Wears out quickly
Best Baby Mobile for Brain Development
Once they are past the stage of just watching, they begin to learn and develop through play.
This is the ultimate in play mobiles and is great for brain development during all stages of infancy.
It comes with 5 detachable toys which feature rings, rattles, and other moving parts that are great for tactile learning.
It also includes all of the bonus features you could hope to find in a baby crib mobile for baby. These include a remote control, projector, and 600 minutes of music.
It can also be used with most playards, portable cribs, strollers, and bassinets.
- Toys can be detached for tactile learning through play
- Include projector, remote, and long musical mobile playback
- Fits most portable cribs and strollers
- Clamp is not very strong
- Music plays a mix of lullabies and lively tunes
- Cheaply made
Most Portable Mobile for Car Seat or Stroller
This is the ultimate compact baby mobile that can be used on the go with your baby’s car seat or stroller. It attaches easily with a little clamp that can be tightened to fit on just about any playard, stroller, portable baby crib, bassinet, or crib.
There are three little spinning toys to keep your baby engaged as well as 30 minutes of musical playback with 5 different songs.
The Tiny Love Meadow Days Take Along Mobile doesn’t have much in the way of special features, but the fact that it’s so easily portable makes this a great secondary mobile to take along with you on days out.
- Compact size
- Includes 3 spinning toys and 30 minutes of musical playback
- Attaches to almost any stroller, playard, portable baby crib, or bassinet
- Easy to attach and detach
- Music is very loud
- Arm is very short, making it difficult to find the right placement
- No option to just play music without movement
Best Mobile for Newborns
The patterns on the Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Stim-Mobile include research-backed color designs that will engage your newborn’s mind, and nurture early stage visual development.
The high contrast images can be swapped from black & white to colorful via the 10 interchangeable cards that are included with the mobile. This enables you to increase the complexity and intensity of the patterns as your growing baby advances their visual development.
Other benefits of these features are improved eye-hand coordination, gross motor activity, self-awareness, awareness of object permanence, plus cause and effect experience.
The design of the mobile itself is very simple. There are no extras like a rotating motor, or musical effects. But for a newborn these features may not lead to a better experience anyway.
- Interchangeable cards
- Adapt to baby’s development progress
- Adjustable height
- Easy crib installation
- No rotating motor
- No musical effects
Why Use A Crib Mobile?
Baby crib mobiles typically serve one of two purposes: to stimulate or to soothe.
Some include colors, patterns, lights, and other design elements that are visually appealing to infants. By mounting one of these mobiles over your baby’s crib, it can provide you with a break while your baby is content and entertained.
Other mobiles include simpler elements to reduce visual stimulation in order to soothe and put your baby to sleep.
This may include a simple lullaby or white noise as well as just a few toys that spin around.
Recommended Age Range
You can start using a nursery mobile from birth, but your baby may not receive the full benefits until after a few weeks to months.
Depending on the height of the mobile, your little one’s eyes may be strong enough right away to see far away or to distinguish colors, patterns, and other elements included with their mobile.
Your little one may outgrow their mobile by the time they are able to reach the toys hanging from the mobile.
They may get bored with it, showing a preference for things they can actually hold in their hands.
However, there are some mobiles that are intended to last longer, with removable parts that can be played with by toddlers after they’ve outgrown simply looking at them.
Benefits Of Baby Mobiles
Deciding to add a baby crib mobile to your baby’s nursery comes with a lot of benefits.
First, it can help to develop their cognitive awareness. Not only is it interesting to look at but it also strengthens their eyes by training them to follow moving objects.
As previously mentioned, crib mobiles can also be useful for pacifying your baby and putting them to sleep.
This is especially useful when you are sleep training, teaching them to fall asleep on their own rather than needing to be fed or held to sleep.
The music and/or noise from the mobile can also help to soothe your baby, helping them get to sleep and stay asleep with ease.
How Important Are Baby Mobiles?
Baby mobiles are not a necessary part of the nursery setup. So, don’t feel like your baby is missing out on something by not having one.
However, they are nice to have, convenient for those times when you want to provide visual stimulation for your baby when they are lying on their back in their crib, or for when you are sleep training, trying to get them to fall asleep on their own in their baby crib.
How To Attach A Baby Mobile
Of course, every crib mobile should come with installation instructions.
This section is simply a quick reference point, but you should always be sure to follow the individual model’s instructions very closely to keep your baby safe.
When it comes to crib mounted mobiles, it is fairly simple. Start by assembling the main part of the mobile, the pole, electronic component (if applicable), and the frame that the toys hang from.
If the mobile requires batteries, now would be the best time to install them.
There should be some kind of clamp or post included that simply fastens to the top rail of the baby crib. You will need to tighten it with the attached knob or with a screwdriver.
Once it is securely fastened to the crib, you can attach the toys and test the electronics.
Ceiling mounted mobiles are a bit trickier. First, you need to make sure the mobile you have is suitable for ceiling mounting.
If it is too heavy, it may fall, leaving a large hole in your drywall and possibly injuring your baby.
When you have determined that your mobile is suitable for ceiling mounting, start by planning where you want to hang it; ceiling mounted mobiles are more permanent than crib mounted ones.
Drill a small hole where you want to hang it, then place a drywall anchor and screw to build a strong foundation for the mobile to hang from.
After this is complete, you may assemble the mobile, adjust it to the right height, and finally hang it.
There are a couple of optional additions you can look into for your baby’s mobile.
First is the crib clamp. This replaces the normal post and knob attachment feature found on crib mounted mobiles.
The clamp has large rubber pads on the inside, allowing the mobile to remain securely attached to the crib without damaging the wood.
You can also look into getting a mobile model that comes with an optional extender.
This will allow you to keep it closer to your baby when they are too little to reach it and raise it when they are starting to get on their knees and sit on their own.
These extenders aren’t usually sold separately, so if this option is something you would like to take advantage of, plan ahead to buy the right mobile.
We always hear that babies should not have anything in their cribs while they sleep, especially when they are less than 6 months old.
Pillows, blankets, toys, and other soft items are suffocation hazards that cause lead to SIDS.
Some argue that crib mobiles can also be a safety hazard because of the toys that hang down from it. If the mobile is installed incorrectly, this could very well be the case.
When installing your baby’s mobile, you should ensure it hangs about 16 inches above your baby’s mattress.
This will ensure that it remains out of reach (while they are still unable to sit or get on their knees) but still close enough that they can see it.
As soon as your baby is able to sit and get on their knees, it is time to either raise or remove the mobile.
Are Baby Mobiles Good For Development?
Baby mobiles can be helpful when it comes to your baby’s brain development. It trains their eyes, making them stronger, and teaching them how to track movement.
The fact that mobiles are entertaining and make them happy also helps to stimulate brain development.
Sleep is also essential for brain development, so utilizing a mobile that helps to soothe and induce sleep is another way to aid in your baby’s brain development.
When Should I Stop Using The Mobile?
As soon as your baby is able to get up on their knees – around 5 months or so – you should consider removing the mobile from the area around your baby’s crib.
Even the little bit of height gained from getting up on the knees is enough to allow your baby to reach the mobile, potentially pulling it down onto themselves or removing pieces that could be a suffocation or choking hazard.
Do Babies Even Like Them?
Every baby is different. While most babies are entertained by crib mobiles, some never show interest, preferring toys they can hold in their hands.
The type of mobile can also make a difference. Some babies may prefer lights and projections while others may just enjoy watching the toys turn around in circles.
A crib mobile can be a great addition to any nursery. With the right model, you can provide entertainment for your baby that will also help with their brain development as well as promote sleep through soothing sounds and music.
There are a lot of options available, from the simple models that just spin with a wind-up musical box to the technologically advanced with various musical and sound options, projections and lights, and much more.
What’s your favorite crib mobile?