How to choose between a toddler bed or twin bed

My 22-month-old daughter recently transitioned out of her crib. There was a moment where we had to make a decision between a toddler bed or twin bed. So, this article is about key factors to consider when choosing between a toddler bed or a twin bed.

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The decision to switch to a big kid bed is a big deal. It’s fun, exciting, and even a little scary for toddlers and parents alike.

Whether you’re transitioning because your little one has been climbing out of the crib or you’re hoping to potty train soon, the goal is to create a safe and comfortable space for your toddler to sleep.

If you don’t have a clear idea of whether you want to transition to a toddler bed or twin bed, you’re not alone! When my toddler made the transition, my husband and I went back and forth before we made a decision.

Now, how to choose between a toddler bed or twin bed? Here’s what to consider.

1. Convertible crib

To start off, do you have a crib that converts to a toddler bed? If so, it might be an easier and less costly transition for your family to convert the crib to a toddler bed. This usually involves taking off one of the crib rails and adding a smaller toddler safety rail.

Depending on the type of convertible crib you have, you may have to buy additional parts to convert your crib to a toddler bed. These parts can cost upwards of $50. 

But still, $50 to convert to a toddler bed is much cheaper than actually buying a new toddler bed or twin bed.

2. Budget

If you don’t have a convertible crib and find that you have to purchase a toddler bed or twin bed, what does your budget look like?

Generally, toddler beds will be less expensive than a twin bed because you can continue to use your crib mattress and crib sheets in a toddler bed frame. This cuts down on costs significantly.

Check out these toddler beds on Amazon for less than $100 (click images).

To transition to a twin bed, you have to factor in additional costs, which can definitely add up.

  • Twin bed frame
  • Twin mattress
  • Mattress cover
  • Sheet set
  • Duvet or comforter
  • Pillows
  • Safety bed rail

Here are some twin bed options on Amazon.

Keep in mind that, even though a toddler bed is much less expensive, your toddler will eventually outgrow his or her toddler bed and will have to move to a twin bed later on.

3. Space

Your decision may come down to how much space you have available for your child’s sleep area. For parents who share a room with their toddler, transitioning to a toddler bed can save space as toddler bed dimensions are the same as a crib.

If your toddler is sharing a bedroom with an infant or an older sibling, it might make sense to use a toddler bed to maximize space.

But if your toddler has ample space in his or her bedroom, then transitioning to a twin bed won’t be an issue.

4. Ease of use

toddler bed or twin bed

Some parents might choose a toddler bed over a twin bed for ease of use. Generally, the transition is easier because toddler beds are the same size as cribs and they’re lower to the ground.

If you choose a twin bed, you’ll want to make sure that your toddler can climb in and out comfortably. One option is to place the twin mattress directly on the floor until your toddler can climb into the bed.

You may consider buying an extra safety bed rail as the length of a twin mattress is 75 inches versus 52 inches for a toddler mattress.

5. Room to grow

toddler bed or twin bed

In choosing between a toddler bed or twin bed, you might consider your individual child’s growth. Generally, toddlers should transition to a twin bed or larger at around 50 pounds. (Source

The length of a toddler bed is 52 inches, so you also want your child to be able to stretch out comfortably on his or her bed. Reaching the weight or height limits of a toddler bed will vary widely amongst children.

So, if you know that your child will outgrow a toddler bed in several months, then it might be prudent to choose a twin bed.

6. Planning ahead

Whether you choose a toddler bed or a twin bed, it’s important that this decision fits in with future family plans. Big family plans include moving (whether you’re downsizing or upgrading), having another child, or an impending divorce with custody arrangements.

The great thing about life is that we never truly know what’s going to happen. We can only control so much. As long as you have a plan for a safe and comfortable sleeping environment for your toddler, that’s all that matters.

Why we chose a twin bed

Despite owning a convertible crib, we decided to transition to a twin bed.

The upfront costs for a twin bed are large but we didn’t want to go through another transition from the toddler bed to a twin bed down the road.

Also, we did have space and room in our toddler’s bedroom for a twin-size bed. We chose a twin platform bed so we didn’t have to buy a box spring, which would have been an additional cost.

I had some reservations about whether my daughter would be able to climb in and out of her platform bed, but she didn’t have any problems with it at 22-months old.

Final thoughts on toddler bed or twin bed

There are definitely pros and cons in choosing between a toddler bed or twin bed. It depends on your family’s unique situation, including space, budget, and overall family plans. It will also depend on your unique toddler, who you know best.

For our family, we made the right choice in choosing a twin bed. Although the initial transition was rough, my daughter loves her twin bed. 

One of the biggest things I enjoy about her twin bed is that I can comfortably lay in bed with her for bedtime stories. I definitely could not do that with a toddler bed.

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