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Glider vs Rocker: What’s The Differences and Which is Best?

The list of things that you need for a baby is endless. As a parent, you spend all your time worrying about how many diapers will you need, should you buy cotton or organic cotton bedding, how do I soothe them when they cry.

Look as a parent there are many things that you can not guarantee but you can most definitely guarantee that they will at some point cry.

One of the ways that you can soothe a crying baby is by rocking them and this is one of the reasons that many parents decide to purchase a rocker or a glider.

At first glance, you may be thinking that both these chairs are the same, but there are actually some fundamental differences between them.

So let’s dive into gliders and rockers, the differences between them, and look at some of our favorites.

Short On Time? Here Are Our Top Picks

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The Main Differences Between a Glider vs Rocker

One of the main differences between a rocker and a glider is their range of motion or movement. A rocking chair has a limited range of motion and that is back and forth, it can also have quite an intense movement.

While a glider moves smoothly in a back and forth motion upon a fixed track. Some gliders also have other ranges of motion such as recline, swivel, or the ability to lock in place.

Gliders Explained

Gliders offer a smooth motion as they move along fixed tracks. Their movement is gentler and not as aggressive as the motion of a rocking chair. They are a great addition to almost any nursery offering a great place to snuggle and nurse your baby.

Most glides come with a matching ottoman so that you can really relax and put your feet up. These can either be fixed or can also glide along with the chair.

Gliders come in a variety of styles from very basic to extra plush and they come in a variety of colors and designs. You do need to take into consideration the amount of room that a glider requires to move back and forth.

But remember that gliders do not have the arched legs like a rocking chair, a smaller model might be a better fit if your nursery is strapped for space.

Main uses of gliders

  1. To provide a comfortable place to sit with your baby.
  2. To provide a smooth, noiseless motion to help to soothe and relax your baby.

Pros and Cons of Gliders


  • Gliders offer a smooth, quiet motion as they glide along fixed tracks.
  • Most gliders are upholstered and really comfortable. Many also come with ottomans that offer the chance for you to put your feet up while you relax with your baby.
  • Once your baby is mobile you may be concerned about little fingers, but gliders can often be locked in place to prevent them from moving so little fingers are perfectly safe.
  • Gliders are a versatile piece of furniture in your nursery as many not only glide but have the ability to recline, swivel, or become stationary.
  • The range of motion of a glider is smaller than a rocker so if you have a small nursery they can often be a better choice.


  • Gliders do have limited movement as they move along a fixed track, so in terms of the level of intensity that you can generate is limited.
  • There are safety concerns with gliders in that little fingers can easily be caught in the gliding mechanism. To prevent this it is advised to purchase a glider with a locking mechanism.

Rockers Explained

Rocking chair with woolly rug

Rocking chairs have been around for centuries and the basic principle and design haven’t really changed that much. In fact, there is probably nothing more classic than a new baby being gently rocked back and forth in a gorgeous wooden rocking chair.

You can find rockers that have retained that traditional look but there are also rockers that are available with padding, in a variety of materials and colors.

Depending on the look of your nursery you could go for the traditional wooden rocker or a more modern twist on a rocker.

Remember that whichever style you go for that you will be sitting in this chair for sometimes long periods of time, so one of your top priorities should be comfort. 

Main uses of a rocking chair

  1. To provide a soothing motion as you rock your baby.
  2. To provide a comfortable place to nurse, feed, and hold your baby.

Rocking chairs are available in a variety of sizes and styles. Although they are most commonly seen in a nursery they can be used in almost any room in the house.

Pros and Cons of Rockers


  • A rocker provides a motion that babies find extremely comforting, by simulating the rocking motion that they feel while they are in the womb. Since a rocker is free-moving you can control how fast or slow the rocking is to suit your baby’s likes.
  • They have a very classic and traditional look. After all, a rocking chair and nursery seem to go hand in hand. If you are looking for a really classic look for your nursery then a rocker is a must-have piece.


  • A rocker does require a large area. You need to ensure that you leave enough room around the chair for it to complete its full motion. There are smaller rockers available but if you have a small nursery then a rocker may take over the space.
  • There is a safety concern once your baby is mobile in that rockers do tend to tip over and move around more than a glider would.

Our Top Picks

1. Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman

Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman (White Base, Gray Cushion) – Padded Cushions with Storage Pocket, Smooth Rocking Motion, Easy to Assemble, Solid Hardwood Base

This traditional glider and ottoman combo offer a generous seating area that is padded on both the seat and arms. It has a gentle gliding motion that will help to soothe and relax your baby while mimicking the motion felt in the womb. 

Each padded arm cushion comes with a convenient storage pocket for keeping all those essentials within easy reach. 

The Storkcraft comes in multiple colors and finishes. You are sure to find a great addition to any nursery theme.

Product Information

Dimensions: 25.5 x 21.5 x 38.5 inches

Weight: 45 pounds

Pros of Storkcraft Glider

  • Excellent customer service
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable

Cons of Storkcraft Glider

  • Some issues with parts not aligning correctly.
  • The chair is very low making it difficult to get out of.
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2. Graco Sterling Semi-Upholstered Glider and Ottoman

Graco Sterling Semi-Upholstered Glider and Nursing Ottoman, Espresso/Beige Cleanable Upholstered Comfort Rocking Nursery Chair with Ottoman

Graco offers a great glider and ottoman combination that is both durable and comfortable. The ottoman also comes with a pull-out footrest for you to rest your feet on during late-night feedings.

The glider comes in polyester upholstery that is spot cleanable, making it the perfect addition to any nursery. Both the ottoman and glider have a smooth gliding motion to work in tandem for that great synchronized glide.

Product Information

Dimensions: 33.12 x 26.75 x 40.75 inches

Weight: 32.3 pounds

Pros of Graco Glider

  • Good value glider
  • Easy to assemble
  • Good size, comfortable but not too big for a nursery.

Cons of Graco Glider

  • Not very durable
  • Very loud creaking noise
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3. Nordic Style Rocking Chair

HWZQHJY Nordic Style Rocking Chair, Zero Gravity Lounge Chair, Rocker Relax Chair with Footstool, for Living Room Bedroom Balcony Coffee Shop Office (Color : Yellow)

This is a modern slick take on the traditional rocking chair. It comes with a solid wood frame and breathable cotton and linen making it a firm and stable rocking chair. This particular rocking chair also comes with a footstool which is quite unusual. 

The Nordic style rocking chair would look fantastic in almost any room in your home and is not exclusively for nurseries. It is also available in a range of colors to suit any theme or color choice.

Product Information

Dimensions: 33 x 26 x 31 inches

Weight: unknown

Pros of Nordic Rocking Chair

  • Extremely well made
  • Good Customer services
  • Ergonomic design

Cons of Nordic Rocking Chair

  • Large price tag making it unrealistic for many parents.
  • The seat may be too low for some at only 31 inches.
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4. Adult Solid Wood Rocking Chair

Adult Solid Wood Rocking Chair White

This solid wood rocking chair is a traditional style and looks like it could have been passed down from generation to generation. It is available at a reasonable cost and would look great in any nursery. 

The rocking chair doesn’t come with any cushions or upholstery so it may be something that you would need to consider for your comfort.

Product Information

Dimensions: 32.5 x 22 x 44 inches

Weight: 19.96 pounds

Pros of Solid Wood Rocking Chair

  • Really easy to assemble.
  • Affordable and good value

Cons of Solid Wood Rocking Chair

  • Some issues with paint odor.
  • The chair does move backward when you rock in it.
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Is a glider rocker really necessary?

It’s not an essential piece of equipment for your nursery but it is a nice touch.

This is especially the case if you are going to be spending a great deal of time in the nursery rocking your baby to sleep.  It is also great if your baby really likes the motion.

Why do nurseries use gliders?

Gliders are used because they offer the perfect way to not only cuddle and read to your child but to also soothe them. They are great for bottle or breastfeeding too.

The soothing motion of nursery gliders simulates the motion that your baby feels in the womb and this helps babies to relax and fall asleep.

Are gliders good for babies?

Gliders and rocking chairs are not essentials for any nursery, but they can come in handy. These chairs allow you to gently soothe your baby through the gentle rocking motion of the chair.

The Final Thought

Whether you choose a glider or a rocking chair both will offer a great space for you to snuggle with your baby while soothing them at the same time.

There are a few differences that you would need to take into account before deciding on which one would work best for you ad the main difference is actually how they move.

A glider offers a smoother less intense motion than that of a rocking chair. But a rocking chair may offer better value for money as once you have finished using it in the nursery it would look amazing in any other room in your home.