Glider Vs Rocking Chair: Which Is The Right Choice For YOU?


Had a visit from the Ol’ stork recently? Or maybe the little one’s almost ready to come out and greet the world.

Whatever the case, you’ll probably be spending quite some time in a nursing chair. Hey, between you and me, you don’t even have to be a mom – or a woman at all. Some of these chairs are incredibly comfortable for everyone. The question then shifts from who, to what. Glider Vs Rocking Chair, what type of chair do you go for?  Lucky for you, you’re exactly in the right place. I’ll guide you through the ins and outs of both of them shortly.

But first, let’s be honest; a baby’s room is very different from all the other rooms in the house. It goes without saying that a few things have to be accounted for. One, look for both you and your child’s comfort while playing with and breastfeeding him/ her. Now, you will have to spend some extra money for comfort. But that’s the least you can do for your new born babe.

Let’s dive right into all the differences between Glider and Rocking chairs. I hope after reading this post, you’ll be able to choose the right type of chair for your specific needs.

Glider Vs Rocking Chairs: 9 Key Differences To Watch Out For

1. Make-Up

The first major difference between the two is their make-up. By that, I mean the way they are built.

“A glider chair says exactly what it does – it glides back and forth while some even swivel”.

“On the other hand, a rocking chair has only one movement. That is it rocks back and forth. Owing to this deviation, the shapes of the chairs also differ”.

A glider is more like a sofa with a gliding or swiveling mechanism at the base whereas a rocking chair can be upholstered or not depending on the manufacturer.

So if you’re looking for some extra comfort, you might want to go for a glider. However, try not to base your judgment solely on this. Read on to get a better understanding of what we’re saying here.

2. Mechanism

As discussed above, the mechanism is the second most important distinguishable aspect. A gilder mostly comprises of mechanical pieces beneath the upholstery while a rocking chair has nothing of this sort. In the long run, people complain about the mechanism of glider chairs wearing out and squeaking a lot.

But at the same time, rocking chair users tend to complain about finding marks on the floor. Why do they leave marks? Simply because these chairs have only one direction of motion. With constant repetition, they wear out carpets and floors in a specific pattern.

For a mom, fixing mechanical parts can get tiresome. I know you don’t want it. If that is the case, you should totally go for rocking chairs.

Bear in mind, though, that you’d have to take care of the floor. Simply mopping underneath the chair or moving it to another place should do the trick. Alternatively, I suggest you have a special mat or carpet beneath the chair to muffle both sound and floor damage.

3. Looks

When it comes to looks, the differences can get quite pronounced. Aesthetics are actually one of the key differences between rocking chair vs glider to look out for when getting either of these.

For example, most rocking chairs are made from pure wood with or without upholstery. Gliders are just buffed up sofas with either wood or steel framework.

Choosing your favorite chair based on looks will obviously depend on your taste. Rocking chairs are mostly vintage type – they add an old, antique look to a room. Glider chairs, on the other hand, make everything look cozy and perfect for a mommy, baby snuggle.

A Glider

A Glider

Most rockers have dedicated or matching ottomans with them. There’s a reason or two for that. You see, many users have complained that their toes get trapped beneath the arcs of their chairs.

The ottomans provide an opportunity for people to place their feet above the floor. Similarly, they also help users generate a comfortable pushing motion to rock the chair. As compared to rocking a rocker with the help of a floor, doing it with the help of an ottoman is much easier.

Rocking Chair

Rocking Chair with Ottoman

The only drawback though is the extra cost. Rocking chairs normally don’t come with ottomans. You might have to buy them separately, even if you think they match and should be free like we all do.

4. Sizes

The size of a nursing chair is important to consider. You wouldn’t want to experience the difficulties that come with breastfeeding your child in a small, cramped chair. That’s for sure.

Gliders are said to be larger than rockers. The reason is simple: Upholstery. Some of these are pampered to an extent where moms feel as if they are seated on plush clouds.

That indirectly goes to show that rocking chairs are smaller in size – largely because they are all wood. There’s nothing to cover the bare wood. However, there are some anomalies.

You might find them with cushions and all, but the size still won’t be larger than glider chairs. This apparent difference is because making a large ordinary rocking chair doesn’t make sense. Even if somehow it’s made, rocking it without straining too hard won’t be possible – even with an ottoman. That’s what we call the comfort/weight dilemma.

5. Customization

A wooden rocking chair is more customizable than a glider chair. That is if you have ample time to tweak it. You could add cup holders, carve out patterns on its back and armrests, and even spice things up with multiple cushions for more padding.

A glider chair already comes with all of its pamperings. It has ample padding and the frame is completely hidden leaving little room for changing its appearance by DIY methods. However, you can design side tables and other accessories around it if you please.

6. Locking Systems

Sometimes, you don’t want the chair to move even an inch. This is where the locking mechanism comes in handy. Gliders are infamous for such mechanisms.

Certain models of gliders come with a modern lock and a set of features that allow you to lock the chair in multiple positions. For a mom, that should come in handy when you leaving the chair with baby in your arms.

Comparatively, rocking chairs are mostly manual. That is to say they don’t have dedicated locking mechanisms. Yes, the ottoman will help you hold the chair in a certain position, but since you’d use force, it will be hard to maintain one position for too long.

If you ask me, the locking mechanism definitely gives an edge in the rocking chair vs glider for nursery debate.

7. Weight

Gliding chairs are relatively modern compared to rocking chairs. This is why they have a lot of mechanical parts supporting them. Of course, this directly makes them heavier. You have a swivel mechanism at play, a rocking feature in some, and yeah, there’s also the hefty lumbar support system.

While all of these add to the weight of the chair, saying that they are necessary for comfort wouldn’t be wrong. Keep in mind that these types of chairs take a lot of time in the making. Even the slightest discrepancy like a part out of balance could hinder its potential.

Rocking chairs are all wood. So the heavier the wood, the bulkier your chair will be. It is up to you to make the call on whether you want a simple, lightweight chair or a heavier, feature-loaded one.

8. Safety

For nursing or breastfeeding, moms tend to lean towards safety more than comfort. When it comes to safety, both chairs have some pros and cons. No single type of chair is all-inclusive nor do they all contain every safety feature out there. Starting with the gliders, they are super comfortable, have round upholstered edges, and the mechanics are normally hidden from plain sight.

This makes them suitable for new moms since they have fewer chances of causing injury. Coming towards the wooden rocking chairs, I’m sure you’ve already guessed what I am going to say. Yes, the edges are all smooth and shiny, but they are hard as a rock.

If you don’t add any padding on the armrests or baby proof the corners, you might end up hurting yourself or the baby. So when it comes to safety, gliders win over rockers.

9. Added Functions

Gliders are the new-age nursing stations – most of them have modern features designed specifically to help moms take care of their babies (except the basic models of course). For example, some gliders come with charging ports on their sides. How’s that for a busy mother?

You could charge your gadgets while simultaneously feeding your baby. Rocking chairs typically don’t come with similar features. However, they are highly customizable as I mentioned earlier. So you can add cup holders, magazine holders, or buy cloth accessories for the armrests.

Those accessories could include a basket to hold everything you need on a feeding station.

So, Who’s The Winner?

Every mom is different. As such, everyone will have different needs and preferences when it comes to nursing chairs. There’s a wide variety of chairs in both categories that you can buy depending on what you like.

Ask yourself, is it comfort you seek, additional features, safety, or all the above combined? If you want everything, you can go for the gliding chairs. However, know that when it comes to longevity, they don’t fair well. They can run into problems that may require professional repair services.

However, the average glider can take you through all the feeding months if you don’t over-strain its mechanisms. As opposed to this, wooden rocking chairs can last for many years and it can even serve as your ‘family’ chair handed over from generation to generation if it’s a really great chair.

Do let me know in the comments whether you would for glider vs rocking chairs. As always, I’ll reply to your comments ASAP.