6 Best Pack N Play Playpens for Home and Travel 2021
Formerly known as “playpens,” playards provide a safe space for your baby or toddler to play when you need kid-free time to cook dinner, get ready for work or take a bathroom break. Generally rectangular and made from mesh, they sit directly on or slightly elevated off the floor and are typically designed for easy transport.
Do You Need a Playard?
Playards aren’t the only way to create safe play zones for little ones. You can also use playmats for non-crawling babies, and jumpers, activity centers, and baby gates to keep little ones contained for a little bit of time.
However, playards have a couple of distinct advantages. Unlike being strapped into a seat, playards allow babies room to move around. They can also do double duty as:
- Diaper-changing stations
- Portable cribs
Playards are definitely great for day trips to grandma’s house, where uncovered electrical outlets and delicate knick-knacks could be within your child’s reach. And, they provide a secure place for your little one to play and sleep when traveling.
How Long Can You Use a Playard?
Most playards can be used from the newborn stage up until three years old. Once your child reaches 35 inches tall or can climb out, consider your playard’s tour of duty done.
NOTE: If you get a hand-me-down or purchase a used Playard or playpen, make sure it’s safe and solid. Check on the
On-the-go or at home, these picks will give your little one a secure place to rest and play.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Graco Pack and Play Cove Removable Seat at Amazon
“Features like a changing attachment and a napper for the baby.”
Best Budget: Graco Pack ‘n Play Play Yard at Amazon
“This play yard is a bestseller and comes at a steal of a price.”
Best for Travel: Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib at Amazon
“Lightweight and can be set up easily on the go.”
Best for Toddlers: BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light at Amazon
“Can be used with children from newborn up to three years of age.”
Best for Newborns: Graco® Pack ‘n Play Playard On The Go at Amazon
“Has pockets on the side to store, diaper, wipes and such.”
Best Playard: Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard at Amazon
“Set it up in your living room so you can get some chores done.”
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Graco® Pack & Play with Cuddle Cove Removable Seat & Changer
Those looking for a pack ‘n play that can go from newborn to toddler should shop for an option that comes with features like a changing attachment and a napper for the baby since it is one purchase for three items. This favorite from Graco gives you all of these and it can be customized as time goes on. Use the removable vibrating seat when the baby watches you clean the dishes, while the changing pad can act as your everyday diaper station if this pack ‘n play is the main fixture in your house. This is not the lightest option on this list coming in at 32 pounds with all of the attachments, but it can fold up nicely and be moved. So, those looking to take something on an airplane might be better suited to our travel pick. The 8 Best BassinetsGraco Pack ‘n Play Cuddle Cove Playard
Best Budget: Graco Pack ‘n Play Play Yard
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This play yard is a bestseller and comes at a steal of a price, making it a smart buy as a crib to leave at grandmas house or one for the car. Just because this comes at a budget price doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform well. It weighs 20 pounds so a little large for an airplane, but it comes with a storage bag making it easy to throw in the trunk for weekend getaways. Setting this up is easy and can be done by one person. The breathable mesh sides make it a safe space for baby to sleep and play, giving parents easy viewing access while they cook or get organized for the day. The added wheels make this pick the perfect choice for grab and go practicality when traveling or if you want to move a sleeping baby around your home for convenience. This does not have dual levels so if you are using for a smaller infant bending over might cause some strain on your back.
Even if you have an unlimited budget, most parents are satisfied with this pack ‘n play which has been a favorite throughout the years. The 7 Best Baby Play Mats of 2021Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard Review
Best for Travel: Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
Buy on AmazonBuy on Guavafamily.com
If you are looking for something that is lightweight and can be set up easily in your living room or on the go the Lotus Travel crib from Guava is just the thing. The Lotus play yard has a fully zippered side panel allowing parents to lie down with their children and help them go to sleep or encourage tummy time and beyond. The mattress is thicker than other travel pack ‘n play competitors, ensuring your little one gets a comfortable nights’ sleep. It also has a wide opening at the top which makes it great for playing on the go since your little one won’t feel smushed in.
As your baby gets older they will love to unzip the side and climb inside like their very own little play tent. With the included convertible backpack straps this play yard is easy to carry especially as it only weighs 12 pounds. The manufacturers boast of a 15-second setup, which really is hard to beat, and makes this the easiest pack ‘n play to assemble. Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib Review
Best for Toddlers: BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light
Buy on AmazonBuy on TargetBuy on Babybjorn.com
Once babies pass the one year mark they are considered toddlers and most kids that age aren’t ready for a big kid bed. That is when the BabyBjorn crib makes sense because it is a little bit bigger than most standard pack ‘n plays giving your tall baby or toddler room to sleep safely. This model weighs only 13 pounds making it great for travel and has a modern, sleek design that looks great with any decor if it is used as a permanent bed. It can be used with children from newborn up to three years of age.
This crib is easy to wash which is a must when blowouts and spit-ups are bound to occur. And best of all it sets up in seconds making the transition from the car to a hotel room late at night stress-free. BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light Review
Best for Newborns: Graco® Pack ‘n Play Playard On The Go
When your baby is a newborn putting them low to floor can cause major strain on your back so you’ll want to shop for a playard that has two levels so you can have them higher when they are younger and then move them lower when they learn to roll over. This model from the popular Graco line does all of this at a reasonable price and has some added features like a mobile and pockets on the side to store, diaper, wipes and such.
This model comes in seven different colors to suit your family needs. It also is easy to assemble (a must when you have your hands full) and weighs only 23 pounds so it is easy to move around.
Best Playard: Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard
Baby might not always need a place to sleep when you are on the go or have a busy household (who doesn’t!) and that is when a portable playard will let your little one crawl around safely. Set it up in your living room so you can get some chores done or use it at a family picnic or barbecue. You’ll never realize you needed this till you go it!
Keep the baby safe at home and on the go with a play yard
Set up easy, it unfolds in seconds. It provides ample room for more than one baby so a few can have a playdate while the moms catch up. This is also a great option for the beach to keep your little one away from eating sand and preventing them from making a mad dash to the water. The 8 Best Convertible Cribs of 2021
Our writers spent 55 hours researching and testing the most popular pack ‘n plays on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
What to Look for in a Pack ‘N Play
Weight limit: Pack ‘n plays have weight limits, and once your child reaches that limit, the product shouldn’t be used any longer for safety reasons. Compare your child’s current weight to the limit of the pack ‘n play to ensure your baby can safely use the product for as long as possible.
Portability: Pack ‘n plays are designed to be portable, but some are easier to travel with than others. Consider how much the product weighs and how it folds up. Also, research if it can be checked on airplanes.
Soothing system: Some pack ‘n plays have built-in sound, motion, or light systems to soothe your little one, encouraging them to relax and go to sleep. These features can be useful if your baby is fussy, but if you have other gadgets to help lull them to sleep, you might not need a built-in soothing system. After all, this feature often makes pack ‘n plays more expensive.
The 10 Best Pack ‘n Plays and Playards of 2020
- #1. Graco Pack n Play Newborn Seat DLX Playard (Best Splurge)
- #2. Graco Pack and Play On the Go (Best Value for the Money)
- #3. 4moms breeze GO Playard (Easiest to Use)
- #4. Cosco Funsport Playard (Best for Budget)
- #5. Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard (Most Features)
- #6. …
- #7. …
Which Pack N Play should I get?
Best Overall: Graco® Pack & Play with Cuddle Cove Removable Seat & Changer. Those looking for a pack ‘n play that can go from newborn to toddler should shop for an option that comes with features like a changing attachment and a napper for the baby since it is one purchase for three items.
Our pack’s plays worth it?
The pack and play allow them to move, bounce and play with their toys safely. Also, pack and plays have mesh sides! This is important because you can see in at all times. It can even be a great place for a baby to have tummy time.
Is a pack n play safe for sleeping?
Pediatricians generally consider play yards, such as the Graco Pack ‘n Play, a safe every-night sleep environment for babies. Play yards are subject to new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards approved in 2012 and therefore might be the safest choice.
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