7 of the best travel cots 2022 - tried and tested by parents

Here's how to find the best travel cot, from ease of assembly to how much space it'll take up in the boot.

A happy little baby is standing in his travel cot and is looking over the side - the best travel cot buying guide
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

The best travel cot ticks three boxes; it's light and compact for easy packing, simple to assemble quickly when you reach your destination and offers a safe and secure place for your baby to sleep in comfort away from home.

Unlike a baby’s everyday cot, a travel cot is lightweight and portable so that you can take it with you on holiday or overnight with your baby. The best travel cots are also easy to assemble quickly - ideally with one hand since you might have a restless baby who's tired from a long journey. Travel cots are also simple to disassemble - especially if you're rushing to catch a flight - and pack down neatly into their own storage bag so they can be stored as luggage or even carried.

If you're planning a holiday with a baby, you might also be interested in our guide to the best travel strollers (opens in new tab). Or if you prefer to leave the buggy at home and travel light, our baby carriers (opens in new tab) buying guide might be a helpful read. 

Best travel cot: how we chose and tested them

We test all the products we feature in our buying guides using a robust and consistent testing methodology.

When picking the best travel cot for your needs, consider where and how frequently you're likely to use it. If you frequently travel with your baby, the weight and portability of the travel cot are the main priorities. But if you just need it for occasional overnight use, then a comfortable mattress and sturdy construction are more important than its dimensions. Alternatively, if you'll be using a travel cot for a newborn, it's well worth choosing one with a newborn insert and an integrated changing station to help make nights away from home a little easier.

To determine the best travel cots we looked at:

Age—Most travel cots can be used from birth, and many come with an in-built bassinet to make things a little cosier for very small ones. Travel cots can usually be used up till the age of three or until the child is able to climb out - at which point it's no longer safe for use.

Portability—A travel cot should be easy to carry and compact enough to stow in small places. Some cots are small enough to fit in an aircraft's overhead locker or in a small car boot.

Weight—While lighter than a traditional cot, travel cots vary in weight. The lightest come in at around 3kg, while the heaviest weighs as much as 11kg. These extremes offer different benefits depending on how you’re planning to use your cot. A lighter cot is more practical for travelling with, but a heavier model will likely be sturdier and longer-lasting.

Assembly—Putting a travel cot together and taking it down should take a matter of seconds. If it’s taking longer or isn’t staying up, make sure you re-read the instructions before putting your baby to sleep in it to make sure you’ve done everything correctly.

Mattress comfort—Don’t be surprised at the thickness of a travel cot mattress – they’re much thinner and less plush than your one at home to aid with weight and portability. Just because the mattress is harder, doesn’t mean that they won’t have a good night’s sleep. Baby mattresses are meant to be firm and younger babies, especially, benefit from a harder surface. 'To comply with safety regulations you should avoid switching the mattress to ensure that the size is exact and there are no gaps around the edges,' says Baby Sleep Trainer Vickie Bowles of The Baby Academy.

Extra features—Many travel cots have additional extras such as a changing station for easy nappy changes and a playpen mode for daytime use. They might also have soothing sound functionality or a newborn insert to boost comfort for younger babies. Consider which of these features are worth paying extra for, and which ones you can do without. Bonus if you can get the extra functionality you want without paying more.

The best travel cots as reviewed by our testers

Joie Kubbie Sleep Travel Cot

Credit: Joie

1. Joie Kubbie Sleep Travel Cot

Best travel cot overall - a multi-functional, well-priced option

Specifications

Weighs: 8.79kg
Age range: Birth to 15kg

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Easy to assemble
+
Thick mattress included
+
Multi-functional use as a playpen

Reasons to avoid

-
On the heavy side

The Joie Kubbie Sleep Travel Cot is a clever piece of baby kit. It comes with a newborn insert that zips into place so that you don't have to bend down to lift your baby out. ‘Having a tiny baby up so high feels much safer, plus, it’s much easier on mums like me who’ve had a C-section,’ says our tester Charlotte. In co-sleeping mode, the cot sides drop down with a few simple clicks and the cot can be attached to a bed with straps which are provided.

The innovation doesn’t stop there; the Kubbie Sleep also converts into a playpen with a zippable entrance so toddlers can roam freely in and out. However you’re using this cot, it’s easy to assemble. ‘I like that this has been designed with common sense in mind,’ adds Charlotte. ‘There’s nothing too complicated or hi-tech - perfect for sleep-deprived parents!’ Her daughter seemed to agree and had a good night’s sleep.

Read our full Joie Kubbie Sleep Travel Cot review (opens in new tab)

Baby Bjorn Travel Cot

Credit: BabyBjörn

2. BabyBjörn Travel Cot Light

Best premium buy - a cinch to assemble and cleverly designed to double as a playpen

Specifications

Weighs: 6kg
Age range: Birth to 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
High quality
+
Compact and lightweight 
+
Easy to use and assemble

Reasons to avoid

-
No newborn insert
-
Pricey 

BabyBjörn's take on a travel cot is an easy-to-assemble design with mesh sides and a surprisingly soft and thick mattress. Our tester Hollie was able to put up the cot one-handed while holding a baby and without reading any of the instructions - a pretty impressive feat. Her 10-month-old slept well in the cot and had ‘enough space to move around in her sleep,’ but Hollie didn’t think it would be big enough for her to sleep in aged three. She also had some reservations as she found the base very low to the ground. ‘I wouldn't want to have the cot positioned anywhere that was draughty or cold as I felt that Margot was a little vulnerable so low down.’ However, the low base does mean that the cot is multi-functional and can be used as a playpen at home or on holiday.

When the holiday is over, everything can then be folded up and put into the handy bag that’s included. ‘When packed up the bag definitely feels sturdy enough to withstand any rough handling in transit,’ adds Hollie. ‘It'll make my holiday less stressful too because it's so easy to assemble. And I can use it as Margot's playpen to keep her safe if we're near a swimming pool.’

Read our full BabyBjörn Travel Cot Light review  (opens in new tab)

Red Kite Sleep Tight Travel Cot

Credit: Red Kite

3. Red Kite Sleep Tight Travel Cot

Best budget travel cot - fuss-free and basic but perfectly adequate

Specifications

Weighs: 7.1kg
Age range: Birth to 15kg

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Easy to assemble
+
Compact, no-nonsense design

Reasons to avoid

-
On the small side
-
Basic design with no extras

The Red Kite Sleep Tight Travel Cot is a classic, stylish design with supporting legs that are easy to assemble. Its mesh sides allow babies to look out if they are sitting up and everything is fully padded to avoid injury. This is a relatively lightweight travel cot, weighing just over 7kg, so it's a good flexible option for those wanting something portable but also sturdy enough for older babies to sleep in.

It comes with a bag that it folds into for easy storage. Our tester Darryl couldn’t get over how easy this travel cot was to put together. In the past, she has struggled with travel cots borrowed from friends. ‘Kneeling on them, pushing them and mostly pleading with them to just PLEASE fold down,' she says. But there were no such dramas with this. ‘The knack for putting up and down a travel cot can be tricky, but not with this,’ she says. In terms of comfort, Darryl's daughter Cole slept well, waking up just once and settling easily after a feed.

Little Life Arc 2

Credit: Little Life

4. Little Life Arc 2 Travel Cot

Best travel cot for camping

Specifications

Weighs: 2.5kg
Age range: Birth to 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Anti-insect mesh
+
Comfortable mattress

Reasons to avoid

-
Niche product
-
Tricky to assemble at first 

The Little Life Arc 2 is not your average travel cot. It’s one of the lightest in our buying guide, coming in at 2.5kg, and is perfect for thrill-seeking parents who want to take their babies on adventures. ‘It comes in a neat, portable rucksack which it is easy to pack in and out of,’ says our tester Charlotte. The Little Life is more tent than travel cot and is put together with poles and a single specially designed sheet. Once the poles and sheet have been bent into position, you insert a surprisingly thick, waterproof mattress into the cot via Velcro strips. ‘It wasn’t the easiest cot to assemble but I think you’d get quicker with practice,’ adds Charlotte. Her daughter tested the cot during one of her naps and after initially finding the mesh sides fun to pull and push, she settled down on the mattress and snoozed for a decent period of time.

This isn’t really a travel cot for a weekend away – its features include a ventilated, anti-insect mesh, ground pegs for outdoor use and zip-down panels. ‘This would be perfect for travelling in a hot country, a summer festival or a UK camping trip,’ said our tester. ‘For indoor use, you need to attach it to a suitable piece of furniture, which was a bit difficult to find.’ It's good value for such a niche item but you’d probably still need a standard travel cot for shorter, local trips.

Read our full Little Life Arc 2 Travel Cot review

Nuna Sena Aire Travel Cot

Credit: Nuna Sena

5. Nuna Sena Aire Travel Cot

Best travel cot for a plush mattress

Specifications

Weighs: 10kg
Age range: Birth to 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable
+
Clever design
+
Newborn insert

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite heavy
-
Expensive

The Nuna Sena Aire Travel Cot has a unique assembly system which our tester Darryl found a cinch to use. ‘I’ve read up on it and it’s to do with a zig-zag leg design, which means it pretty much just pushes into place and can be folded away with one hand,’ she says. Once you’ve got the cot up, you’ll see why it justifies its £200-plus price tag. Firstly, it comes with a newborn insert that sits up high and saves your back from extra bending – especially good if you’ve had a C-section. When your baby has outgrown this stage, the insert is removed and they sleep on a luxuriously thick, padded mattress over a cushioned bed. There are lots of other nice, stand-out features too such as skid-proof feet, an organic cotton sheet to pop over the mattress, and soft, padded edges.

The Aire doubles up as a playpen, which is always handy, but our tester did find it quite bulky - something that you’d need to think about if you plan to regularly move it around. ‘The only downside is how big it is. If space isn’t a problem in the car, then this can’t be faulted,’ she adds. At 10kg, this isn’t a light travel cot but the design is more focused on the baby’s comfort than on portability.

Read our full Nuna Sena Aire Travel Cot review (opens in new tab)

Graco Contour Electra Travel Cot with Integrated Changing Table

Credit: Graco

6. Graco Contour Electra Travel Cot

Best travel cot for music and vibration features

Specifications

Weighs: 12.95kg
Age range: From birth to 15kg

Reasons to buy

+
Nightlight
+
Music and vibration features
+
Doubles as a playpen
+
Easy to assemble

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to lift
-
 Bulky

This travel cot isn't especially portable as it's large and robust but that does allow your baby lots of space to move around and it doubles as a playpen. ‘Other than it being heavy and a bit bulky to store and travel with, I think the Graco Contour Electra is an excellent travel cot that has some fabulous features,’ says our tester Hollie. ‘It folds out really easily into a full-size cot.’ It comes with a newborn insert, changing mat, nightlight with music and vibrating sounds and a toy bar so there’s lots to keep your little one entertained – and to help send them off to sleep. Hollie found it a doddle to assemble and didn’t even have to read the instructions. ‘I love that two of the legs are on wheels so, although it was big, I could easily move it around the room to put it in the place I wanted without having to pick it up.’

The Graco Contour Electra is a mid-priced travel cot, well suited for trips around the UK, rather than holidays abroad as it’s difficult to carry it on and off a plane. ‘I wouldn't want to carry this far or have to pick it up off the airport conveyor belt by myself,’ adds Hollie. ‘People with small cars might want to consider a travel cot that is more compact.’

Read our full Graco Contour Electra Travel Cot review (opens in new tab)

Micralite Sleep And Go Travel Cot

Credit: Micralite

7. Micralite Sleep & Go Travel Cot

Best travel cot for co-sleeping

Specifications

Weighs: 7kg
Age range: Birth to 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Multi-functional
+
Easy to assemble 
+
Premium quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 
-
A little bulky

This is a multifunctional travel cot that can also be used as a playpen and co-sleeper (the latter when the newborn insert is added). It’s extremely easy to put up (and down) with a couple of clicks and zips. Our tester Amelia, who's expecting her second baby, described this as absolutely game-changing. 'This is a very good-looking travel cot with hardy, dark-coloured fabric that looks stylish and neutral and shouldn’t show wear and tear readily,' she says. ‘It’s easy on the eye, the back - even when you’re pregnant - and on the pocket since you are able to use its three functions from birth to three years.'

One obvious plus point is that it includes a high-quality, ‘very firm’ and wipe-clean mattress, which, when disassembled, folds neatly inside the bag alongside the frame. It only weighs 7kg but Amelia found it a bit bulky, mostly because it contains a good-quality mattress. In terms of value for money, Amelia would recommend spending the extra £25 for the newborn insert as it transforms this product, giving you more functionality and sleeping options.

Read our full Micralite Sleep & Go Travel Cot review

Are travel cots good for babies?

All travel cots must adhere to British safety standard BS EN 716. The Lullaby Trust (opens in new tab) advises that parents use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress that is in good condition and a baby’s sleeping space should be kept clear, with no loose bedding. As with a normal cot, babies should be placed in the ‘feet-to-foot’ position so they can’t wriggle down under any blankets. For young babies under one, avoid placing all duvets, soft toys and pillows inside the cot. When deciding where to put your travel cot, don’t put it near to a radiator, draughty window or blinds with cords that might pose a strangulation risk. If your cot comes with wheels, make sure they are locked in place before putting your little one down. Travel cots are extremely safe for babies for short periods, but Vickie Bowles flags that they should not be used for longer: ‘It is always good to remember that travel cots do not offer the same amount of support and comfort for your baby and therefore are not designed for regular sleep over an extended period.’

At what age can babies sleep in travel cots?

Babies can sleep in most travel cots from birth. Many brands provide a newborn insert that allows babies to sleep in a smaller space, and one which is elevated to save parents’ backs, as you don’t have to bend down to floor level to reach your child. ‘If you have a young baby, I highly recommend using a travel cot with a newborn insert which makes life much easier to settle your baby while travelling,’ says Vickie Bowles. A sturdy travel cot will suit an active toddler and most can be used up until the age of three but check the manufacturer's instructions for upper age or weight restrictions.

Charlotte Duck is an award-winning journalist.