A mini crib typically measures about 24-inches wide by 38-inches long, while a standard crib is about 28-inches wide by 52-inches long. Mini cribs are smaller, portable, light weight and are easily stored. Regular cribs are larger, stationary, and typically convert into different sized beds as your child grows.
I’m sure your brain is likely already on decision overload from deciding on the correct type of swaddle to the color palette of the nursery! But you will want to add the crib to your list.
You may have noticed that if you are beginning the “crib search” (and yes, it has an official title), there are different sized cribs.
These cribs fall into two main categories based on their size: regular cribs and mini cribs. While you are probably very familiar with a full-sized crib, mini cribs are the new kid on the block.
Mini cribs are a modern space-saving option that meets all national safety standards but are more petite than regular cribs.
Usually, mini cribs also have a few additional features that make them more portable, leading to their rise in popularity.
Regular Crib Specs
By law, the interior of a regular (standard) crib must measure 28 inches wide by 52 and ⅜ inches long.
Additionally, the top of the crib rail must measure 20 inches above the mattress. Finally, the bottom mattress support should be about 6 inches above the floor.
Any crib that does not meet these standard measurement guidelines is considered a mini crib.
Average Mini Crib Specs
With mini cribs, the measurements are negotiable and will depend on the model and the manufacturer. Thus there are only “average” mini crib specs.
Mini cribs typically measure around 38 inches in length. Recall that regular cribs measure 52 and ⅜ inches long.
So the length is where you will be saving your space. Depending on the mini crib, you could save about 14 inches of space.
For width, mini cribs usually measure about 24 inches. Twenty-eight inches is the width of a regular crib, so the most you will be saving is around 4 inches in width.
Remember that these are the interior measurements, so you might save a little more space on width based on the headboard and guardrail dimensions compared to a regular crib.
Regular cribs often have an ornate headboard that may take up some additional space, while others are very basic.
Is Size the Only Difference Between Regular and Mini Cribs?
While size is the most significant difference between regular cribs and mini cribs, there are also a few other differences you should be aware of when deciding which one is right for you and your little one.
Because the interiors of regular cribs are standardized, most fitted cribs sheets are designed to fit a standard crib mattress.
In other words, most crib sheet manufacturers make sheets to fit a traditional size crib mattress.
This makes sense because most people still purchase regular sized cribs. You will want to keep sheet size in mind as you make your decision between a traditional crib and a mini crib.
If you have your heart set on some adorable fitted sheets to match the nursery decor, a mini crib might not be the best option. You will often need to purchase sheet sets specifically designed for a mini crib mattress.
It doesn’t mean you cannot find cute fitted sheets that fit the mini crib mattress! You might have to do a little more searching and choose from a smaller selection of available designs and colors.
If you don’t want to worry about finding special sheets to fit the mini crib mattress, you may want to stick with a regular-sized crib.
Mini cribs are often designed with portability in mind and have extra features that make it easier to move than a regular crib. Regular cribs are meant to be assembled and left in that same spot.
One of these handy features is wheels. Mini cribs often come with wheels attached to each of the four crib legs.
Sometimes regular cribs will have wheels as well, but wheels are more common for mini cribs.
Traditional cribs usually do not have wheels because wheels are typically considered tacky and not aesthetically pleasing.
Nursery design is important to many parents, and the crib is the main design feature of the nursery.
Wheels can pose stability and safety issues, so if you purchase a crib with wheels, make sure the wheels can be locked in place for safety.
Mini cribs are typically a lot lighter than regular cribs. Because of their smaller size, they usually end up weighing a lot less.
A lighter crib will be much more portable, especially if you plan on transporting it by yourself.
Some mini cribs fold up without you having to disassemble them. Mini cribs that fold up will likely have some metal hinges on the crib that will enable it to collapse into one flat piece.
This feature makes it easier to store in a closet, move through small spaces (i.e., doorways), or put in a car.
Benefits of a Mini Crib
Smaller in Size
Mini cribs can be anywhere from 9 up to 16 inches shorter than a regular crib. Mini cribs can also be a few inches narrower, but the crib’s length will be your most significant space saver. This space can be precious if space is limited.
Mini cribs are more portable because they often have wheels, are lighter, and may even fold up.
You are getting less real estate, so usually, this is reflected in a mini crib’s price vs. a regular crib.
Benefits of a Regular Crib
Standard Sheet Size
You will have more design and color options since most sheets will fit a standard size crib mattress.
Even though mini cribs are cheaper, regular cribs provide better long term value. You will usually only save around $100 by opting for a mini crib, but babies outgrow it quicker.
Standard cribs often have conversion kits that convert from a crib into a toddler bed or a full-sized bed.
On occasion, these standard cribs may include a conversion kit, while other times, you must purchase them separately.
Of course, you will get the best value when the conversion kits are included. Mini cribs also tend to be lower quality and less heavy-duty since they are made for portability.
It is hard for something to be both durable and portable.
Regular cribs are often more aesthetically pleasing and will be the centerpiece of the nursery.
When Should I Choose a Mini Crib?
- For the first six months, when co-sleeping is recommended, a mini crib can be helpful. Mini cribs are a convenient and space-saving way to have your little one in the same room with you until they are six months of age. Then, they can safely transition to sleeping in their room. Many people start with a mini crib and then purchase a regular crib once their child begins sleeping in the nursery.
- If your little one’s nursery is tiny. This nursery may not be a dedicated room and might be the corner or a nook of a shared space.
- You need to save all the money you can right now.
- The crib will be in an older sibling’s room where space is limited.
- You have twins, who will be sharing a nursery, so there is no space for two full-sized cribs.
- If you need a crib for alternative sleeping situations like grandma and grandpa’s house. If you travel a lot, check out other travel bed options that are more travel-friendly for hotel rooms or inside a tent.
- You want a portable crib that you can easily transport between rooms or to store away when not in use. Some mini cribs are small enough to fit through doorways without folding up. A mini crib could be an alternative to buying a pack n’ play since you can move it easily from room-to-room.
Deciding on the best crib for you and your little one ultimately depends on your needs and priorities.
Mini cribs can be a great space-saving and portable sleeping option for your little one. But it can also be hard to find sheets for, might be outgrown quicker, and may not be the nursery design centerpiece you are looking for.
Buying a regular crib may be a better option if you do not need to save space or move the crib around.
If you choose a mini crib, the DaVinci Emily mini crib is one of the best on the market. It even converts into a twin bed, increasing its long-term value.