DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 convertible crib

Best Crib

Updated: September 5, 2017

Best crib: DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib Review

Best Crib: DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib Review. The Kalani is an affordable $200 crib made by DaVinci, which is part of the Million Dollar Baby furniture company. The Kalani crib includes curved rails and is made of New Zealand pine in eight finishes. The toddler rail is included, which is usually a separate purchase.

Cribs 101

Cribs have you confused? Check out our Cribs 101, which gets you up to speed on buying a crib for your baby. You’ll learn the three golden rules of buying nursery furniture and the truth about expensive cribs (spoiler alert: the $100 cribs you see in discount stores are just as safe).

How we picked a winner

We evaluate cribs with hands on inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, adjusting the mattress height. We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking cribs on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also talk with retailers of nursery furniture to see which brands are most reliable.

We’ve been rating and reviewing cribs since 1994. As part of our research, we make visits to manufacturer facilities and as well as meet with safety regulators and advocates. We also look at consumer reviews posted on sites like Babies R Us and Amazon, as well as blogs that focus on nursery furniture.

The Winner for Best Crib: DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Our Pick

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib includes the toddler rail, which usually is an extra $100 purchase. Available in eight finishes (cherry, chestnut, ebony, espresso, honey oak and white).

$200.00* at Amazon

* Prices change daily. Shop carefully.

The Kalani offers four different configurations: toddler bed, daybed and full-size bed. Included in the box is the toddler rail—which is a nice bonus, as other brands charge $20 to $80 as an accessory. (Of course, the bed rails to convert the Kalani into a full size bed are an extra $89 purchase, is is customary).

We like the little touches DaVinci has added to the Kalani—note the design detail at the feet and the eight color finishes. Most cribs in this price range have just two or three finish options.

The Kalani has a metal spring platform, which we prefer. Other $200 cribs sometimes have MDF or solid wood boards.

Here’s what the Kalani looks like when converted to a full-size bed:

Kalani crib converted to full size bed

DaVinci, the brand

DaVinci is part of the Million Dollar Baby family, which is one of the nursery furniture industry’s  best survival stories. Among the first to jump on the import bandwagon (the company launched in 1989), MDB has thrived by selling its wares in a large variety of stores under a series of aliases. It also didn’t hurt that the company was the first to see the potential of selling nursery furniture online.

Even though this company got its start selling low-price Jenny Lind cribs to discount stores, you’ll now find it everywhere from specialty stores to Walmart. The company’s cribs are sold under the aliases ABC in JCPenney and Baby Mod at Walmart.

The company divides its line into four brands: DaVinci, Million Dollar Baby Classic (MDBC), Babyletto and Nurseryworks. DaVinci is the entry-level price point, sold online. MDBC is somewhat more expensive than DaVinci and sold in retail stores. Babyletto is modern, but at an affordable price point. Nurseryworks is on the high end, sold in specialty stores.

Style-wise, MDBC and DaVinci are similar. The difference: DaVinci’s dressers are ready-to-assemble (and hence easier to ship), while MDBC are pre-assembled.

Cribs in the DaVinci lines are $150 to $550 (most are $200 to $300); dressers are $260 to $500. Million Dollar Baby Classic cribs are $400 to $500.

So, how’s the quality overall for Million Dollar Baby? The cribs are good; the dressers are average. Our biggest beef with MDB: their heavy use of Asian pine, which is softer than other pine on the market and more susceptible to damage. We wish MDB had more hardwood groupings in their line and less pine.

Readers like the Baby Mod and Babyletto modern cribs, but the dressers are made of low-quality materials that scratch easily.

Even MDB’s upper-end furniture cuts corners on quality: dressers lack corner blocks and the basic metal glides don’t stack up well to the competition.

How is MDB’s customer service? We’ve heard mixed reports. Retailers seem happy with MDB’s customer service and deliveries. Consumers are less enthusiastic, telling us about unreturned emails, poor assembly instructions and overall lackluster customer service.

Bottom line: this is a good brand if you just have to have that modern look but are on a limited budget.

Flaws but not deal breakers

Like most DaVinci cribs, the Kalani is made of New Zealand pine. And there is one major downside to pine—it will scratch. Rub a belt buckle against the rail? Scratch. Hook a mobile on the crib? Dent. Breath on the headboard? Scratch.

Ok, we exaggerate on the breathing—but how easily this crib scratches is a major complaint we see from readers. The culprit is the pine wood, common in low-price cribs. Pine is soft, at least compared to woods used in more expensive cribs (beech, birch, etc). These woods better resist scratching. Our “best” crib pick, the Pali Imperia, is made of beech  . . . but costs $200 more than the Kalani. So there is your trade-off.

Here is what a Kalani crib looks like after some use:

Kalani crib scratches
Soft pine wood = easily scratched

Of course, let’s be realistic: nursery furniture usually comes in for a beating—some babies teethe on the crib rails, toddlers throw toys at the side rails, etc. While a crib made from hard wood better resists damage, it doesn’t mean it will be scratch free after a baby outgrows the crib.

This doesn’t make the crib unsafe; it is just an aesthetic issue. Some folks are bothered by furniture that is scratched up. We get it, but often being a parent means living with your world being scratched, chewed . . . and worse. Just part of the fun!

Another issue with this crib: shipping damage. We see scattered reports of shipping damage—broken pieces, wood damage, missing hardware, etc. Unfortunately, this is a reality when it comes to shopping for nursery furniture online. There is a small chance the crib will arrive damaged, necessitating a return. Our advice: leave plenty of time before baby arrives to orders this crib, in case of shipping damage.

Difficult assembly is a final issue with this crib—we saw several complaints about how long it takes to assemble the Kalani. Leave a couple of hours at least to assemble.

Finally, while we recommend the Kalani crib, we don’t recommend dressers or other furniture from DaVinci. The quality of these items are sub par.

Also Great

Westwood Meadowdale Convertible Crib

$449.99* at Amazon

* Prices change daily. Shop carefully.

Westwood Design’s Meadowdale crib is a good buy at $449.99 since it also includes the rail to convert it to a toddler bed.

Westwood Designs Meadowvale 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Also recommended

Westwood is a good brand that is similar to DaVinci—it’s Meadowdale crib for $450 is available from Amazon and includes the toddler rail.

To Sum it Up

The DaVinci Kalani crib is a good value at $219, especially since the toddler rail is included. We like the multiple finish options, metal spring mattress platform and the ability to convert into a full-size bed. Quality is good.

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 convertible crib

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib includes the toddler rail, which usually is an extra $100 purchase. Available in eight finishes (cherry, chestnut, ebony, espresso, honey oak and white).

$200.00* at Amazon

* Prices change daily. Shop carefully.