I'm in a similar situation. I have heard rave reviews about the rock and play sleeper. We have that and an in-bed co-sleeper (called summer or something). Rock and play is only $50 - 70.
I had a lot of questions about the rock and play and here is what I ahve learned so far:
When they are very small - you put them in swaddled. Line it with receiving blankets.
There have been some complaints about weird head shaping issues, but I know people who did not have any issues. Supposedly - the newer versions (snugglebunny +) are better, but you should keep your eye on it - and make sure the baby isn't always laying it's head in the same position.
The incline is what makes this so great.. Less Sids risk and it's good for reflux. Some people complain that it's harder to transition to a crib after since cribs are flat.