Difference Between Glider and Rocker: Which One to Choose?

glider VS rocker

Baby’s always seem to need special attention. Setting up a nursery can have a significant cost that may leave you hesitant to acquire extra furniture for the nursery. However, a seating option for the nursery is important. You will need either a glider or a rocker for feeding or rocking your baby to sleep.

The two options provide a motion that helps calm the baby and lull them to sleep. However, before you decide on which chair to go for, you need to consider the difference between glider and rocker. The differences are a result of their structural functionality, which affects their motion.

Choosing Between Gliders and Rockers


A nursery glider is a type of rocking chair that moves as a swing. It consists of a seat that has a double-rocker four-bar linkage attaching it firmly to a base. It has suspension arms that allow the chair to swing back and forth, creating a rocking chair motion. 

Unlike rockers, the motion of gliders is not aggressive. Rather, they have a smooth motion as they move along a fixed track. That provides a greater option for soothing and snuggling the baby. They offer comfort as you nurse the baby.

There is a variety of designs for gliders and your choice will depend on the specific requirements you want for your baby. You will need enough space to set the glider so that it can have full back and forth motions. Smaller models may be ideal if you are space-constrained.

Pros of Gliders

• Gliders have a smooth, quiet motion as they slide along a fixed track
• They have a comfortable design, including an ottoman for your feet for extra comfort
• They have safety features to prevent injuries to the baby
• Most gliders have options for reclining, swiveling, or remaining stationary
• Gliders are more ideal for smaller spaces due to the range of motion

Cons of Gliders

• The gliding mechanism of gliders can be a risk as it can catch the fingers or toes of the baby. To minimize this risk, you can acquire a glider that has safety features such as the locking mechanism.
• Gliders have limited motion as they are fixed on a track. You cannot adjust the intensity of the motion.


A rocker is a chair with two curved bands attached to the legs. Each of the bands connects the two legs of the chair on each side. The design of the chairs is such that the bands have contact to with the floor at only two points. 

That allows you to rock back and forth by shifting your weight or by pushing gently with your feet. There are different styles and designs of rockers, ranging from classic to modern models. The size or design you choose depends on the level of comfort you seek.

Pros of Rockers

• Rockers have an intense swaying motion that simulates the motion the baby felt in the womb. This can be very comforting to the baby.
• Rockers are free-moving, allowing you to control the intensity of the motion

Cons of Rockers

• Rockers need more space for the back and forth swaying. Even the small models need sufficient space to complete their full motion
• It can be a safety concern as the baby grows and starts crawling. This is because it is prone to tipping over.

The Differences

Both gliders and rockers serve the same purpose. However, they have structural and design differences that make their functionality different. While the gliders move back and forth along a fixed track, rockers sway back and forth on curved bands. The following differences should therefore guide you on the choice between the two types of nursery seats.

1. Movement

Rockers have a movement that follows an arc. That is because they sway back and forth on their curved bands, which connect their legs. For gliders, they move back and forth on fixed tracks. The motion of gliders is less intense compared to rockers.

2. Trappers

A rocker’s design has pinch points on the floor, where the rockers touch the ground. That can be a safety concern for toddlers as they can pinch or squeeze a baby’s hands or toes. A glider does not have pinch points on the ground. It also has safety features to ensure the baby is safe from harm.

3. Weight

Gliders and rockers have different sizes. The material for gliders is usually heavier than the material that makes rockers. Thus, a rocker would be lighter than a glider and therefore easier to transport.

4. Comfort

Gliders have cushions and ottomans for comfort. You can relax your feet as you nurse the baby. Rockers do not have ottomans. They are thus less comfortable than gliders as your legs will be dangling as you rock back and forth. Although a rocker may have cushion pads, you will still tire easily when using a rocker.

5. Space

Both gliders and rockers need sufficient space for movement. However, rockers have smaller designs than gliders. They would therefore occupy less space than gliders.

Choosing the Best Fit Nursing Chair

A nursing chair is a necessity in your baby’s room. It provides the comfort to lull or calm the baby. The choice of a suitable nursing chair depends on several factors. While gliders and rockers perform the same function, their differences define the choices parents make on their selections. 

Some factors to consider when selecting a nursing chair include their weight, comfort, space, movement and safety. Gliders require less space and have safety features to protect the toddler. Gliders are also smoother in their motion and offer greater comfort. Rockers are light and easier to move about and transport. 

Thus, you have to consider the pros and cons of each type of seat as well as their performance on the factors that will influence your decision. You also need to know what each design of each type comprises before making your decision. 

Even within the same type of seat, there are differences in design that make each model more ideal to specific needs.

About the Author Jason Brown

This is Jason, I have strong knowledge and personal experiences about a variety of chairs include how to use, maintenance guide, and recommendation so you can pick the right one.

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