When you’re building your baby registry, you may not yet be thinking about a playpen. I know my motto was “worry about what I need right now—products will still be there later if I decide I need them.” But did you know that playpens aren’t just for squirmy toddlers? In fact, many playpens are versatile enough to take you from the early baby days through the wiggly toddler stage. For example, some playpens come equipped with removable bassinets and even changing tables! How convenient (not to mention money-saving) to have all of those features baked into one product. We made use of a basic version of the Graco Pack N’ Play for our firstborn to sleep in during his newborn days. The bassinet feature made it easy to pick him up for late-night nursing sessions. Then, as he got older and we started traveling, the playpen came in handy as a place for him to sleep on overnight trips. I can’t overstate how invaluable this product was during the first year of our son’s life, and on into the second.
While you’re working on building up your nursery gear, keep our top 10 best crib mattresses in mind! You may also want to take a look at our top 10 best baby activity mats, as well as our top 10 best nursery night lights.
Whatever your playpen needs, I’ve rounded up the top 10 best playpens for babies that are available right now. Get the inside scoop on which playpens are preferred by consumers, as well as which give you the most bang for your buck.
1. Easiest Playpen to Set Up: Cosco Funsport Play Yard
The Cosco Funsport Play Yard is a very affordable playpen option for babies that is simple to set up; the instructions say it takes less than a minute. This playpen comes equipped with wheels on one side to easily move it from room to room, and it also folds up easily and comes with a bag for transport. This playpen doesn’t come with a mattress; instead it has a lightly padded bottom piece for baby to play on. Some consumers have reported issues with the platform not resting flat on the bottom of the playpen. There are a few reports of confusion over how to fold the playpen up. (See the video below for a quick tutorial and some tips to make it easier!) Finally, make sure you order this playpen with plenty of lead time, as it is not eligible for Prime shipping and takes one to two months to ship out.
- No-nonsense design setup takes less than a minute
- Folds up for easy transport
- Wheels on one end to move around the house easily
- Not eligible for Prime shipping; takes one to two months to ship
- Doesn’t come with a mattress
- Some consumers have difficulty figuring out how to fold it up
- Some consumers have issues with the platform not resting flat on the bottom of the playpen
2. Most Popular Playpen: Graco Pack N’ Play On the Go Playard
Graco makes many different versions of the Pack ‘n Play, and this is one of the most popular with the most consistent high ratings. It’s inexpensive at just $63, and it ships quickly via Amazon Prime. This particular Pack ‘n Play, known as the On the Go Playard, comes with a full-size bassinet, which is perfect for newborn napping at home and while traveling. Once baby is older, it converts into a full-size playpen that should last until baby reaches 35 inches tall. The Signature Graco push-button fold eliminates any frustration and makes folding the model up easy and quick. As a bonus, it folds up to 20% smaller than the average playpen, making it a great option for travel. This playpen comes equipped with a mattress that is fairly thin and firm; some consumers do not like this about it, but it is recommended for infants to sleep on a very firm surface to reduce the risk of SIDS. The bassinet feature maxes out once baby reaches 15 pounds or is able to push up on her hands and knees, at which point you can still use the playpen feature. Some consumers have complained of the product having a mildew smell when they first open the box. (I would recommend contacting Graco directly if you encounter this problem.)
Price: $63 (21 percent off MSRP)
- Removable full-size bassinet so your baby can nap at home and away
- Signature Graco push-button fold makes closing this playpen easy and frustration free
- Folds up 20% smaller than the average playpen
- No changing table feature
- Mattress is pretty thin and firm
- Bassinet feature maxes out when baby reaches 15 pounds or is able to push up on hands and knees
- Some consumers complain of a mildew smell upon opening
3. Cutest Playpen: Delta Children 36″ x 36″ Playard
If you’re in need of a larger playpen, the Delta Children 36″ x 36″ Playard may be a great option for you. At three foot square, this playpen gives baby lots of room to play and explore. It also has fun animal designs that children love. This playpen comes with a mattress and carrying bag, and it folds compactly for storage and travel. This playpen is on the heavier side at 28 pounds, and some consumers report that setup and breakdown is more difficult than with other models. (Check out the video below to see how to break it down for storage.) This playpen is not recommended to use for sleeping as it does not come with a bassinet feature. Some consumers have reported issues with the bottom pad not lying flat.
Price: $63.19 (12 percent off MSRP)
- Folds compactly for easy storage and travel
- Large 36″ x 36″ size gives baby lots of room to play
- Comes with mattress and carrying bag
- No bassinet or extra features
- Somewhat heavy
- Somewhat difficult to set up and break down
- Some consumers complain that bottom pad does not lie flat
4. Best Bassinet + Playpen Combo: Graco Pack N’ Play with Reversible Napper & Changer Playard
The Graco Pack ‘n Play with Reversible Napper and Changer Playard is an upgraded version of the basic Pack ‘n Play; it comes with a cozy newborn napping station that flips around, becoming a changing station that easily wipes clean after use to save your back during diaper changes. It is perfect for tight spaces because you’re combining at least two products in one. However, some users have reported that it is somewhat difficult to flip the napper/changer back and forth. This Pack ‘n Play also comes with a storage pocket to stash your extra diapers and wipes, and it has beautiful colors and a stylish design. At $88.90, this product is a good value for all the features it comes with, but it is more expensive than your basic Pack ‘n Play model. This product is not eligible for Prime shipping, and it typically takes one to two months to ship. It’s on the heavy side at 28.3 pounds, so it may not work as great as other playpens for travel. Luckily, this product grows with your baby, becoming a full-fledged playpen when your baby grows out of the napper.
- Reversible napper and changing station
- Storage pocket to stash wipes and diapers
- Stylish colors and design
- Changer easily wipes clean
- Not eligible for Amazon Prime shipping; ships in one to two months
- On the heavy side at 28.3 pounds
- Somewhat difficult to flip napper/changer around
- More expensive than other Graco Pack ‘n Plays
5. Best Portable Playpen: Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard
The Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard gets the vote for the most portable playpen. Weighing in at just 15 pounds, it is half the weight of some other playpen models. This playpen comes loaded with extras: an inclined sleeper/bassinet for infants, as well as a changing station and pocket to store diapers and wipes. The fabric on the changer is machine washable, making it easy and convenient to clean. This product is easy to assemble and fold up for storage or travel. At around $80, this product is firmly in the mid-range of prices for playpens. Some consumers do not like that the bottom of the playpen sits on the ground and that the mattress for the playpen is very thin and flimsy. Because the bottom is low to the ground, it can be difficult for some caregivers to lay their baby in the bottom portion for naps.
Price: $81.50 (32 percent off MSRP)
- Comes with inclined sleeper/bassinet and changer
- Half the weight of other playpens
- Fabric is machine washable
- Easy to assemble and fold
- More expensive as compared to other brands
- If using bottom portion as bed, it can be difficult to lay baby down as it is so close to the ground
- Bottom of playpen sits on ground
- Very thin mattress for playpen
6. Most Stylish Mid-Priced Playpen: Graco Pack N’ Play Playard Totbloc with Carry Bag
The Graco Pack N’ Play Playard Totbloc with Carry Bag is another large-size playpen that provides ample room for baby to roam around and explore her world. It has a clean, modern design with neutral colors to match just about any decor. This playpen is certified frustration-free and sets up in under a minute. It weighs in at around 25 pounds and comes with an easy-to-use carrying bag for travel and storage convenience. At $80, this playpen is right smack in the middle of the cost spectrum, and it comes with no extras such as a bassinet or changing station. Consumers report that the bottom of the playpen tends to slope inward, which can cause toys to pool in the middle; because of this, it is not ideal for baby napping. This product is not free of PVC and phthalates.
Price: $78.39 (22 percent off MSRP)
- Extra-large playpen for active play
- Sets up in under a minute with certified frustration-free setup
- Clean, modern design with neutral colors
- Comes with easy-to-use carrying bag for travel and storage
- Not currently available in fun, bright color with bug shapes for kids
- No bassinet or extras
- Base slopes inward, so toys pool in middle and child can roll
- Not PVC and phthalate free
7. Best Lightweight Playpen: BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light
The Babybjorn Travel Crib Light is another great playpen for travel, weighing in at just 13 pounds! It comes with a soft and comfortable mattress and has breathable mesh sides, making it safe for baby to play and sleep. The crib material is removable and washable, which is a nice feature to have. This playpen is simple to set up and fold. It is one of the more expensive playpens on this list, but its super modern style and small footprint might just make it worth it for you. Some parents think the playpen is a bit too tall, making it difficult to get a sleeping child onto the mattress. The play area itself is not as roomy as some other options. Finally, the Babybjorn fitted sheets that are recommended for use with the mattress are on the expensive side as well.
Price: $212.75 (29 percent off MSRP)
- Super lightweight and portable
- Soft, comfy mattress and breathable mesh sides
- Removable and washable travel crib material
- Simple to set up and fold
- Somewhat difficult to get a sleeping baby into playpen
- Sheets that fit mattress are expensive
- On the small side; not as much play room
8. Best Outdoor Playpen: Summer Infant Pop n’ Play Portable Playard
The Summer Infant Pop n’ Play Portable Playard is a playpen designed for indoor/outdoor use. It weighs in at just 12.2 pounds, so this ultra-light playpen can be folded up and moved around with ease. There’s an optional full-coverage canopy that you can purchase for an additional $37—it works great for blocking sunlight so baby can enjoy the outdoors safely and comfortably. The floor is made from weather-resistant canvas, making it a no-brainer for outdoor use. However, some parents don’t like that the bottom of the playpen is so flimsy. It is definitely not intended for napping. This playpen folds up compactly and has a travel bag with a strap for ease of transport. Some consumers do not like the metal bars of the playpen; they make it easier for baby to pull up and climb out, and they can also cause babies to knock their heads. Overall, the general consensus seems to be that this playpen is not super durable, so it is not recommended for extended use. But for the price, this is a great option for parents who like to spend a lot of time outdoors with their kiddos.
- Works indoors or outdoors; weather-resistant canvas floor
- Super lightweight at just 12.2 pounds
- Can add a canopy for sun protection for an additional $38.29
- Compact fold and travel bag with strap for easy portability
- No mattress; not suitable for sleeping
- Babies that can pull up can hit head on metal bars
- Not very durable
- No padding on bottom, just a thin piece of canvas
9. Best High-End Travel Playpen: Lotus Travel Crib & Portable Baby Playard
The Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard is a highly portable and lightweight playpen at just 11 pounds. This playpen is so easy to set up—it takes just 15 seconds! Breakdown is somewhat more difficult, but see the video below for instructions. The Lotus folds up into a backpack, which you can transport easily on all your family adventures. The sides of the playpen are made from soft, see-through mesh so you can watch baby play; the side even has a fun door that zips and unzips so baby can crawl in and out while supervised. More than just a playpen, the Lotus comes with a soft mattress, making it a safe and comfy place for baby to nap. Some consumers do not like that the mattress rests directly on the ground. Additionally, you will need to buy the Guava Family quilted sheets, because the mattress is not a standard size. This playpen is more expensive than average, at $198.
Price: $198 (21 percent off MSRP)
- Sets up in just 15 seconds
- Has a fun side door that unzips
- Folds up into a backpack for easy transport
- Soft mesh sides that you can see baby through
- Mattress sits on floor
- Must buy sheets from Guava family because mattress is not standard size
- Breaking down is somewhat more complicated than setup
10. Best Investment Playpen: 4moms Breeze Play Yard
The 4moms Breeze Play Yard is a high quality, large and durable playpen. It also contains a bassinet and changer for three products in one. This playpen is literally a breeze to set up (see the video below for details). The mattresses (yes, it comes with a separate mattress for the playpen portion and the bassinet portion) each come equipped with Velcro to attach directly and securely to the playpen unit. This product comes with a carrying bag, so technically you can use it for travel, though it is on the heavy side at 25 pounds. Some consumers say that they have a difficult time getting all of the pieces back into the bag for storage or transport. The 4moms Breeze Play Yard will set you back $299.99, but you are getting a high quality product that will last a long time, through multiple kids.
- Very sturdy
- Simple to set up
- Has a bassinet and changer in addition to playpen
- Mattresses attach with Velcro for a secure and comfy fit
- On the heavy side at 25 pounds
- Somewhat difficult to fit back into carrying bag
- Not very portable
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