Crib prices range from $100 for economy models to more than $3,000 for convertible custom models. Here's more on the types of cribs you'll find at the various price points.
Models at the low end of the price scale can be adequate. Prices are low because manufacturers use less-expensive materials and simpler finishes and designs. These models tend to be lighter in weight than top-of-the-line cribs. White or pastel paint or shiny lacquer-like finish may cover wood defects, such as knots and variations in shading. You might notice minor finishing flaws, such as poorly sanded rough spots, uneven patches of paint, and the heads of metal brads or glue residue at the base of the slats.
On a low-priced model, typically only one side of the crib can be released. The metal mattress support hooks at each corner might need tightening. The springs supporting the mattress are lighter in construction than those in more expensive models. When you shake the crib, make sure it is sturdy, and doesn't rattle.
You'll find a lot in this price range. These models are sturdier and more decorative than the economy models. They come in an array of wood finishes, from Scandinavian-style natural to golden maple and oak shades, reddish-brown cherries, and deep mahoganies. End boards may be solid and smoothly finished, and many models have slats on all sides. The gentle curves of the end boards are well finished with rounded edges. Slats are thicker than those of economy models and can be round or flat, with rounded edges. The mattress supports on these models tend to be sturdy, the springs heavier.
These cribs have single, double, or no drop sides. Locking wheels or casters (sometimes optional) provide stability. There might be one or two stabilizer bars--metal rods that extend between the two end rods--running underneath for greater rigidity. The best-made cribs in this category have recessed guides--a grooved channel in each end board for the drop side--no exposed brads or glue residue where the slats are fastened to the rails, and a uniform finish. They might have extra-high posts, canopies, or a storage drawer underneath.
In this price range, you'll sometimes find cribs that convert into other configurations. One type, typically called a 3-in-1 crib, converts to a daybed and to a full-sized bed. You'll also find 4-in-1 cribs that convert to a toddler bed, a daybed, and a full-sized bed. The most versatile cribs can become a toddler bed, a full-sized bed and a love seat.
These models, many of them imported from Europe, have hand-rubbed, glazed, or burnished finishes. You'll see round cribs (still a novelty, though they've been around awhile), sleigh styles with curved end boards and hand-painted details, and models handcrafted from wrought iron.
These cribs might have single, double, or no drop sides. On some with drop sides, the hardware is recessed and might be so well hidden that it's difficult to tell if the side lowers. The mattress is supported by heavy-gauge springs and heavyweight metal frames and might adjust to four heights. These cribs might include a drawer and convert to a daybed/toddler bed or other nursery furniture. At the highest end, you'll find custom-made regular and convertible cribs that may be sold as part of a nursery suite; a fairy-tale canopy might be part of the ensemble.
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