Unlike the original wind-up baby swings that debuted in the 1950s, today's models are powered by batteries or electricity, and occasionally by both (but not at the same time). Battery-powered baby swings can be set up anywhere, inside or out, but they can also run through batteries at a rapid clip. One of the complaints lodged against the Fisher-Price 2-in-1 Cradle Swing on sites like Target concerns the frequency with which you need new batteries -- at least weekly, write parents. Battery-related comments about other models we researched are less critical, although they do pop up with some regularity. Those that fare best are the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver, Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony, and Graco Swing 'n Bounce.
But even when the batteries seem to last, parents often comment on their cost; an eight-pack of batteries starts at about $10. Several baby swing reviews posted on a variety of sites recommend buying the pricier name-brand batteries, which seem to have more oomph and staying power. Parents also seem to appreciate the battery-saving timer featured on the Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony and the Graco Lovin' Hug Barcelona.
That said, the Graco Lovin' Hug generates some confusion because only some Barcelona units are battery-powered (as is the one referred to in this buying guide). A slightly more expensive version of the Barcelona can be plugged-in or run on batteries. This confusion leaves some parents disappointed when they think they're getting one version of the Barcelona but actually wind up with another.