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Glider vs Rocker for Nursery – Similarities and Differences Explained

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between a rocker and a glider? You know they’re both useful for soothing your baby. But why the debate between the glider vs rocker for the nursery?

The names obviously refer to different motions – the one glides and the other one rocks. But, how do you decide which is best for keeping you and your baby calm? What can a glider do that a rocking chair can’t? And, vice versa? It helps to know what other features both these chairs can offer you before you make your final decision.

With all these questions at the forefront of every new parent’s mind, I’ve decided to gather more information about these useful chairs for the baby’s room. I can tell you that both chair types have their own unique functions which could be a deal-breaker for you.

Read on to find out all you need to know about the glider and the rocker. I’ll take you through their differences and similarities and discuss the pros and cons of each type of chair.

Glider vs Rocker: Key Differences and Similarities

The key difference though lies in their movement. The glider uses a smooth backward and forward” motion, gliding on a track. The rocker, as with any rocking chair, rocks backward and forwards on an arc and this motion can be more vigorous. 

Key Differences

Let’s look at the key differences between the glider and the rocker:

  • Motion: The glider operates by gliding back and forth on a fixed track. If the chair is well-designed, this movement will be smooth. The rocker functions by swaying backward and forward on an arc. This swaying movement can be intense or gentle, depending on the design of the chair and how much pressure you use to rock the chair.
  • Positioning: Some gliders can be locked in one place, reclined into different positions, or even swivel in various directions. The rocker is designed to only rock back and forth.
  • Sound: Well-designed gliders are noiseless as they glide along a smooth track. On the other hand, a rocker can make some noise as you rock back and forth.
  • Appearance: Rockers and gliders have distinctly different appearances with the rocker legs resembling an arc. The base of the glider is solid to accommodate the tracks. If you prefer a more classical piece of furniture for the nursery, you’re more likely to find a classical looking rocker.
  • Comfort: While both the rocker and the glider are designed to be comfortable, the glider often comes with an ottoman included. Other designs will have an adjustable, padded footrest. This allows you to raise your feet and rest them while you’re with your baby in the chair.
  • Size: The rocker’s arching motion means you need more foot space in the nursery to accommodate this chair. Gliders are often best suited for the smaller baby room with some designs being more compact.

Key Similarities

Both the glider and rocker’s main function is to help the parent soothe the baby to sleep or calm down an unhappy baby. You can also use either chair to nurse your baby and to have some cuddling time in comfort.

Modern-day rockers and gliders have been designed to include soft upholstered padding both on the seat, backrest, and armrests. You’re also given a wide range of designs and styles with both the rocker and the glider.

Is a Glider or Rocker Better? The Pros and Cons

The main question to ask yourself is whether you want a swaying motion that’s typical of the rocker or a back and forth gliding motion that comes with a glider. But, if the type of movement is not vital in your decision-making process, then my list of pros and cons will help you make the right pick for you and your baby.

Pros and Cons of the Glider

Here are the pros of a glider:

  • A smoother, quieter movement back and forth.
  • Comfortable upholstery made with plush fabric which is often easy to clean. Some designs allow you to adjust the chair into various reclining positions and you also have the option of swiveling them.
  • A locking mechanism that prevents little, inquisitive fingers from getting stuck in the track. Not all designs come with this feature so look out for this mechanism if it’s important to you.
  • Better space-saving option for the smaller baby room. While some gliders can be quite bulky, manufacturers have also come up with a more compact design for the small nursery.

And the cons of the glider:

  • If the chair is not locked, small children can get their fingers caught in the gliding mechanism.
  • You don’t have as much control over the intensity of the motion. You’re limited to a back and forth gliding motion which is controlled by the track mechanisms.

I’ve done an in-depth review on gliders for tall parents on my site and you’ll find five of my top picks for gliders. I mention one of them here again, the Windsor Glider and Ottoman. This glider is a popular choice for many parents with its comfortable, large seating and ottoman for resting your feet.

Windsor Glider and Ottoman, White with Gray Cushion

Pros and Cons of the Rocker

These are some of the main pros of a rocker for the nursery:

  • You have better control over the movement of the chair and can decide how intense you want to sway. For some babies, the rocking motion is a similar sensation to being inside the mother’s womb.
  • Even the modern rocker still has the classical appeal which many parents like. The rocker will also fit into most nursery themes.

However, a rocker has also some cons:

  • They’re not stationary which means the arched legs can roll onto your child’s hand or fingers if you’re not watching him or her closely.
  • You’re limited to only the swaying motion with no option to lock the chair into a stationary position. You also don’t have the option to put the chair into a reclining position. And, you certainly can’t swivel the rocker.
  • They take up more foot space so you’ll need a larger nursery to accommodate them.

I like the Delta Children Lancaster Rocking Chair for its modern upholstered design but still has the classical appeal of a rocking chair. However, you have all the comfort and support of padded seating, backrest, and armrests. If you’re looking for more ideas for rockers for small nurseries, read my article here.

Delta Children Lancaster Rocking Chair Featuring Live Smart Fabric, Linen

If you still can’t decide whether to go with a rocker or glider, then you could look at the Naomi Home Odelia Swivel Glider Rocker Recliner. While it doesn’t give you the conventional swaying motion of the rocking chair, you can recline, swivel 360 degrees, and rest your feet with an adjustable, padded footrest. And, you’re guaranteed a smooth, gliding motion.

Naomi Home Odelia Swivel Glider Rocker Recliner Cream/Microfiber

Final Thoughts

The main difference in the glider vs rocker debate is the type of motion. Your best pick will be determined by whether you like to have more of a rocking motion or you prefer a smoother, gliding movement. The glider can give you more options such as more reclining positions and a swivel feature. But, if it’s the classical rocking chair you’re after then the rocker is your pick.

Which one will you pick for the nursery? The classical rocker or the modern glider?

Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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