Because your taste is probably impeccable – we’re talking about two high-end products. Each swing is great in its own right, but…
This is where it gets tricky
So, close all those other tabs, pour yourself another cup of whatever you’re drinking, and let’s dive in.
Editor’s Note: As of August 2022, 4moms rockaRoo and Mamaroo have been recalled for strangulation concerns. We would recommend you consider another swing/rocker option. If you have already purchased this rocker, you can contact 4moms for a free strap fastener that will keep the straps off the floor. You can contact 4moms at 877-870-7390 or at [email protected].
Two reputable companies with very different histories
Graco dates back to 1942 when it was founded as Graco Metal Products. However, the real story began in 1953, when they launched the revolutionary Swyngomatic baby swing.
The Swyngomatic was the world’s first automatic swing, and it changed the industry.
Graco planned to sell 10,000 units of their swing. Instead, they sold millions and established themselves as leaders in the baby swing marketplace.
4Moms, on the other hand, is a fairly young company (established in 2005) that quickly rose to fame by pioneering applied robotics in baby gear.
They say that their mission is to “develop dramatically better juvenile products.” Based on everything they’ve done over the last 15 years or so, they’re on the right track.
How does the 4Moms Mamaroo swing work?
The 4Moms Mamaroo is a swing with a well-rounded soothing system (five swaying and bouncing motions) that can be controlled either manually or from your phone.
The four built-in sounds are nothing to write home about. There’s a good reason for that – the swing allows for MP3 connectivity, meaning you can use whatever sound soothes your little one.
The seat is adjustable and, if need be, goes into a full recline.
The included AC adapter eliminates the need for batteries, which is a common grievance with ‘lesser’ swings.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to set up and down – on average, it takes about 5-10 minutes from unboxing to action
- Adjustable from a full recline to upright
- It’s designed to imitate the natural movement of a parent
- Great car-ride mode – which most swings don’t get right
- Well thought-ought entertainment center
- Handling of the buckle takes getting used to
How does the Graco Sense2Soothe swing work?
Graco Sense2Soothe is a state-of-the-art swing equipped with a cry detection sensor that will recognize fussing and activate one of the eight soothing motions to calm your little one.
The crucial cry-detection
In a way, Graco Sense2Soothe is baby-operated because it adjusts to the movement and sounds coming out of the swing.
It’s straightforward to set up for a product of its type and features intuitive controls.
The two main parts are the motorized base and the baby seat. Despite the robust build backed by a 1-year warranty, it’s pretty light and portable.
If it already sounds like it might be the better fit for you, you can see its full review here.
Pros and Cons
- A wide range of motions (eight of them) will soothe the restless of tiny sleepers
- The convenience of programming the motion to your baby’s favorite settings or switching the automatic mode on
- Safe and comfy – the sturdy harness system is paired with and a contoured seat
- Easy to move around – it’s light and has a small footprint
- Simple to care for – it’s all plastic, metal, and fabric – all fabric parts are removable and washable
- More on-arrival problems that I expect to see in this price range. The “issue” is offset by solid warranty terms and responsive customer service.
The Mamaroo vs. Graco swing comparison
The one crucial difference
We’ll go over some of the more nuanced differences in a minute, but let me address the proverbial elephant in the room – the cry detection.
This feature will be a fork in the road for many parents choosing between the two swings.
If you have a restless baby on your hands and need to free up some of your time, the cry detection of the Graco Sense2Soothe swing will be a game-changer.
Set-up – both great
Size, weight & portability
If portability is a crucial point for you, you’re better off with the Mamaroo – the weight difference between most of the models in the Mamaroo 4 series and the Graco swing is 6 pounds (19 vs. 25 lbs).
I say ‘most’ because the difference between the lightest 4Moms swing (Cool Mesh Rockaroo) is even more significant – a hefty 12.5 lbs (11.5 vs. 25 lbs).
Movement – not a decision-maker
Although there are differences in the movement between the Graco and 4Moms (both in modes and speed), I’d say that both offer enough versatility for 99% of babies to find their groove.
Maintenance – impossible to call
Both swings are a combo of metal, plastic, and removable/washable fabric – nothing to see here.
Comfort – Mamaroo wins by a whisker
The two swings both feature comfy seats with generous padding, good straps, and an adjustable reclining angle. The difference is in the latter – Mamaroo reclines completely, which is why it takes this one home.
Batteries vs. AC
Having an AC adapter is a huge plus – more significant than you might imagine if you never owned a swing.
While batteries might seem like an elegant solution that will give you more freedom, the reality is they get used up way too fast for convenience.
Replacing them gets old quickly – both of our contenders today feature an AC adapter.
I can’t make definitive claims about the prices because they are close. I can say that in most updates so far, the Graco Sense2Soothe was the more budget-friendly option.
In my book, this also makes it the better value for money.
App and connectivity – plus one for Graco
Both apps could be better, but I’d say there’s more room for improvement with the Mamaroo.
I’ll give this one to Graco because I’ve seen one too many cases of Bluetooth connectivity issues with the Mamaroo 4. Also, I expected a more thorough re-design compared to the previous generation – no such luck.
On the other hand, I’ve seen no connectivity issues with the Graco. The improvement I’d like to see in their app is the option to change the swing settings in the app. Right now, you can only do it manually on the swing itself.
Neither swing is sleep-approved
Even though both swings are adjustable with a solid range of positions, neither is approved for overnight sleep.
- Because the baby’s neck muscles at that age are not developed enough to support their head during sleep, which potentially means too much strain for the neck.
- Because even at a full recline, a swing is still not a firm, flat surface.
How long should a baby stay in a swing?
Pediatricians advise limiting the time a baby spends in a swing to one hour. Most importantly, your little one shouldn’t sleep in the swing, and that includes naps.
I know that this is not what you want to hear, but don’t kill the messenger, swings don’t meet the three criteria of a safe baby sleep surrounding – firm, flat, and no loose bedding.
In fact, they don’t meet either of the three.
Commonly asked questions
Is the mamaRoo better than a traditional swing?
I’d say that the answer to that is ‘yes,’ most people will find the Mamaroo to be a more complete product.
What is better than the Mamaroo?
The answer to that depends on what you need and how much you’re willing to spend. For people looking to automate their parenting as much as possible, the Graco Sense2Soothe is comparable to the Mamaroo and will even offer more.
Which Graco swing is best?
Can a baby sleep in 4moms mamaRoo swing?
No. None of the Mamaroo swings are approved for sleep.
How long can babies use a mamaRoo?
The upper limit of Mamaroo use is six months or 25 pounds of weight.
Final thoughts and takeaways
I do my best to stay on top of things and update the comparison with new data at least once every three months.
Is there a winner?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that.
If you look at the numbers of owner satisfaction, the face-off is too close to call. If you ask me, Graco wins by a small margin – mainly because I’m a fan of the cry detection tech.