How to choose the best baby mobile

This guide will help you to choose the best mobile for your baby. Jess (parent.guide) tells us about different styles and brands. Image courtesy of Serenkonata via Bigstockphoto


While your baby is laying content, staring up at the mobile, it can be easy to forget that he was a huge cry monster just a few minutes ago.

Baby mobiles are great for both entertaining and calming your baby. The problem is, there are so many baby mobiles available that deciding on the perfect mobile for your baby can prove difficult. Join us as we explore everything you need to examine when choosing a baby mobile.

What is a baby mobile?

Simply put, a mobile is essentially a hanging structure that supports baby toys and objects that stimulate and entertain your baby.

Why use a baby mobile?

In the early stages of life your baby is going to spend much of his time laying on his back. Rather than staring at a boring, flat ceiling, many parents choose to install a baby mobile to give their little baby an interesting and stimulating feature to look at.

Different types of baby mobiles

There are two main types of baby mobiles available.

Ceiling mounted baby mobile

Years ago this was the only type of baby mobile available. This mobile is attached to the roof of your house by a hook or screw.

The downside of ceiling mounted baby mobiles is that they require a hook or screw to be drilled into your ceiling. When the time comes to remove the baby mobile you will need to patch the hole left behind.

Crib mounted baby mobile

The most popular variety of baby mobile. This mobile attaches directly to your infant’s crib and can be installed in seconds.

Since they are able able to support more weight, baby crib mobiles will have more elaborate hangings than their roof mounted cousins.

Things to look for when choosing a baby mobile

Does it move?

Your baby will find mobiles that move, sway and jiggle much more stimulating than one that remains. Baby mobiles are designed to move by one of two different sources:

1. Wind operated:
These mobiles are incredibly lightweight and require nothing more than a slight breeze to spin around. Mobiles that require air movement are becoming increasingly unpopular as the majority of baby nurseries do not have a constant breeze flowing through them.

Many parents use an electric fan to make the mobile move. While this may be a good solution during summer, it may make your baby’s too cold through winter.

2. Mechanically operated:
Utilizing a small motor, these baby mobiles can move without even a hint of wind. With nothing more than the push of a button, your baby mobile will burst into action.The downside of mechanical baby mobiles is that they require batteries to operate. Mechanical baby mobiles are also known as electronic baby mobiles.

Directions of movement

Gone are the days where baby mobiles do little more than spin in a circle. Not only do modern baby mobiles turn but can also move up and down, even alternate between rotating clockwise then counter clockwise.

If your young baby loves watching objects move in different directions then consider purchasing a mobile with more than a single axis of movement. Just be super careful to keep the mobile out your baby’s reach as the gears and motor can break easily if stressed.

Types of toys

Baby mobiles come in hundreds of designs, each with different types of toys hanging off them. Before you get flustered by so much choice, there is a simple way to make sure you purchase a baby mobile that your baby wont get bored of.

Pay attention to your baby’s toy preferences. Does your little one love cars? a preference for monkeys? Once you have identified your baby’s favorite type of toy, look for a baby mobile with similar toys hanging off it. This will ensure the mobile is well received by your baby.

Type of crib

This point only applies if you are considering a crib mounted baby mobile.

Despite their name, crib mobiles will not fit every single type of baby crib out there. There are just too many different variations of cribs for a single baby mobile to accommodate. If you have a slightly unusual baby crib it is worth checking with the supplier to make sure that it will fit properly.

Some baby mobiles fit best on rounded cribs while others slot nicely onto cribs with square rails.If you find that your baby mobile does not attach correctly to your crib then immediately discontinue use. Attempting to install an incompatible mobile can lead to irreparable damage to your baby’s bed.

Nursery Theme

Many parents like to continue a running theme throughout their baby’s nursery. For some it will be a simple color, for others a lively theme such as jungle or nautical.

If you put a lot of effort into your nursery’s theme then you will be pleased to learn that you should be able to find a mobile to match. Be sure to shop around, there is a baby mobile to suit just about every nursery theme.

Musical mobiles

Many parents choose to hang a mobile over their baby’s bed. It makes sense that many mobiles feature a music box to help soothe your baby to sleep.

There are two different types of baby mobile music boxes:

Wind up
Wind up music mobiles require you to physically turn a key or handle. When you let go, the music box will “unwind” and play a calming melody. The downsides of wind up musical mobiles is that they don’t play for very long and you will need to manually turn a handle each and every time you want the melody to play.

Battery operated
Battery operated musical mobiles play a melody at the push of a button. Some even allow you to choose between multiple melodies. The downside of being battery operated means that these mobiles will not make a sound once the battery has drained.

Be mindful that each baby mobile will play music for a different length of time. While some play music for up to 20 minutes, others play it for as little as 30 seconds. Be sure to look at the music duration when shopping around for a mobile.

Another thing to watch out for is the volume level of the musical mobile. Music isn’t a benefit to your baby if it is loud enough to count as your your infant’s first rock concert. The music should be soft, soothing and melodic.

Organic baby mobiles

If you have gone to the effort of making sure every other baby product you have purchased is organic then you will be happy to know that you can also buy organic baby mobiles. Unfortunately, organic mobiles are much harder to locate. If organic products are important to you then you will need to be prepared to hunt around.

Your baby’s point of view

This will make you laugh. There are many baby mobiles that are not designed with your baby in mind. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

When choosing a baby mobile, it doesn’t matter what it looks like from the top or the side. It matters what it looks like from underneath. This is the view of the mobile that your baby is going to see while laying on his back.

While a baby mobile may seem super exciting to you, be sure to lift it above your head and take a look at what it looks like from underneath. If the mobile is much less exciting from this angle then your baby wont find it overly stimulating. Remember, baby mobiles are made to entertain your baby, not you.

Where are you going to hang your mobile?

The last thing to consider when buying a baby mobile is where you will position it in your house. While the majority of parents will hang a mobile over the baby crib, there are plenty of other places a mobile can be installed.

Some parents recommend hanging a mobile over your baby’s change table. This way your baby will have something to entertain him while you change his diaper. While there is no wrong location to hang a baby mobile, it will be most effective if it is in clear view of your little one.

Extra features

Baby mobiles can come with many different additional features including:

And that is just a few of the more common features. Unfortunately no single baby mobile will have all these features. You may need to compromise on what is most important to you and your baby.

The best baby mobiles

Now that you know what to look for when buying a baby mobile, lets take a look at some of the most popular baby mobiles available.

Best Projection Mobile

Precious Planet Projection Crib Mobile

Styles: As pictured
Brand: Fisher-Price

  • Rotates.
  • Plays music.
  • Night light.
  • Remote control.

What makes this the best baby mobile? Simple. The amount of features that have been crammed into this baby mobile is just amazing.

  • Music Box plays 20 minutes of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, nature and ocean sounds or, if your baby prefers heartbeat and white noise womb sounds.
  • Projection night light Projects moving images onto the canopy.
  • Remote control allows you to easily turn the mobile on from a distance when you hear your baby wake.
  • Rotates in a circle bringing each animal in and out of your baby’s line of sight.

The inclusion of a projection night light is what separates this unique baby mobile from the rest of the contenders. While the baby mobile looks great in the day, at night is when it really shines. The night light projects moving images onto the underside of the canopy, much like a movie theatre. The images give your infant something to focus on as he drifts off to sleep.

This is the current mobile I use for my youngest baby and I could not be happier with it. Just be sure to keep an extra set of batteries nearby as this mobile is not nearly as entertaining when it just stands still.

Best Portable Baby Mobile

Take Along Mobile

Styles: Animal friends or Tiny Princess
Brand: Tiny Love

  • Multiple attachment options.
  • Plays music.
  • Easy to transport.
  • 30 minute auto shut off.

This baby mobile makes up for its lack of features with an unusual quality that you will quickly come to love. It’s portable. You might be thinking that this is not a big deal but try it out, you may never go back to stationary baby mobiles again.

The portable mobile features three attachment options, a universal clip, a velcro fastener and a stroller clip. These attachments mean that you can hook this mobile up to just about anything that your baby lays down in, including:

  • Pack and play sets
  • Stroller
  • Crib
  • infant carrier

When you turn the portable mobile on, you have the option to let it spin without the music on. Great for those parents who cannot stand the repetitive sound of baby toys.

Best Moving Mobile

Sweet Island Dreams Mobile

How to choose the best baby mobile

Styles: As pictured
Brand: Tiny Love

  • Multidirectional animals.
  • Plays music.
  • Night light.
  • Remote control.

Next up is the Sweet Island Dreams Mobile. While not in the same league as the projection light found on the mobile above, this mobile has a night light hidden away in it’s base. The monkey on the base glows gently at night, a great feature for babies that do not like to sleep in complete darkness.

The shaft and mobile can separate from the music box base providing your baby with an entirely new toy. Your baby can now mash the buttons to his hearts content and be rewarded with different musical sounds.

The toys hanging from the arms of the mobile also move up and down, a unique feature among baby mobiles.

How to make your own baby mobile

Are you worried about purchasing a baby mobile that your infant may not find interesting. Why not make your own mobile? With make your own mobile kit, you can.

The home made mobile kit below features a crib mounted stand, a music box and arm bracket. This blank canvas is just waiting for you to get creative. You could hang your baby’s favorite toys from each corner of the bracket or, if you are feeling extra crafty, sew your own felt mobile hangings.

DIY Mobile Kit

How to choose the best baby mobile

Styles: As pictured
Brand: VicTsing

  • Rotates.
  • Plays music.
  • Allows you to be creative.

Baby mobile safety

Watch those hangings
Be mindful of how low your mobile hangs. While it may seem cute that your baby can reach up and touch the mobile you do not want the toys hanging so low that your baby may get tangled up in them, cutting off circulation or worse.

Watch your baby’s development
Once your baby can push himself up using his hands and knees you will need to take another look at the height of your baby mobile. If the mobile is now within easy reach you will need to either raise the mobile or remove it completely.

Keep your mobile clean
It is recommended that you give your baby’s mobile a dust down at least once a week. If you allow dust to accumulate before turning it on you will send all of that dust toppling down on top of your baby.

Make sure the mobile is secure
Once you have installed your baby’s new mobile, tug gently on it to make ensure it is secure. If the mobile feels loose then you may need to find a different way to install it. The last thing you want is for the mobile to fall on your baby’s head.