The Pack and Play (sometimes known as Playards) is a lifesaver for many parents. It offers a safe place and contained space for your toddler to play or rest away from tiny toys and you while you take a break. If you plan on traveling, you will need them, especially if the place you are visiting is not baby-proof. Therefore, with the best Pack and Play, you will be able to create a safe play zone for your toddler or baby wherever you are.

Most Pack and Play are designed as a Playard, diaper changing station, bassinet, or all of them together that compactly breaks down, and you can tuck it away into an easy-to-carry bag for travel. They have framed enclosures that come with mesh or fabric walls and a floor. They are intended for babies that are below 35 inches tall and cannot manage to climb out.

As a parent, you might not have time to navigate all of these baby products' options. Also, there are many different types of Pack and Plays, all with different features. Some are much simple while others feature everything from bassinets and changing tables to toys and music. To make your research easier, we have compiled the best Pack n Plays available and additional information to remember when shopping for these Playards.

1. Graco (Carnival) Pack 'N Play Portable Playard

If you are looking for the best pack and Play that is budget-friendly, count on the Graco Pack n Play Portable Playard. This Playard will help you if you need an extra spot in your home where your baby can sleep or play safely. It comes with automatic folds, feet, and wheels that allow for quick folding for easy storage and transportation. So, it is 20 percent compact when folded. Moreover, the push-button fold makes everything quick and hassle-free by breaking it down.

The Graco Pack n Play Portable Playard features durable frames, which makes it perfect for travel. It comes with handy wheels for added convenience and airy mesh on all four sides, which provides maximum ventilation. Additionally, there is a carry bag included for when you want to take it away from home.

This Playard doesn't come with many fancy features that why it comes at an affordable price. You can complement it with toys, and your baby will have a good time, so don't worry if you don't have money to buy a fancy model. It is effective and more than gets the job done.

  • Pros
  • Features wheels that make it easy to move.
  • Well-padded with durable frames.
  • Compact when folded down.
  • Easy to use Playard.
  • Cons
  • A little bit heavy.

2. Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib -Easy to Pack Play Yard

Lotus Travel Crib - Backpack Portable, Lightweight, Easy to Pack Play-Yard with Comfortable Mattress - Certified Baby Safe
  • WORRY-FREE AIRPORT TRAVEL - Designed to be easy to fly with the compact, light backpack carrying case. Set up is simple in 15 seconds and only weighs 15 lbs packed.

If you are looking for the best Pack and Play that is easy to carry, we recommend the Lotus Travel Crib. This lightweight play yard folds up into a backpack carrying case, making it very easy to carry around when you are traveling so you can hold your baby, a diaper bag as well, and whatever else you need. It is designed to be easy to fly with. Furthermore, setting up takes about one minute.

This play yard is certified with safe and non-toxic regulations, so you don't have to worry about the health risks. It comes with full-height mesh sides, which guarantee the safety of your toddler as they play. Besides, it has a breathable airflow.

Parents love the zippered side door that comes with this play yard, allowing you to lay, nurse, or cuddle your toddler. Babies love that it gives them independence. It comes with a comfortable mattress ideal for sleep and plays; the soft foam is approved for infants and newborns for overnight sleep.

This travel crib Playard can be converted into a bassinet, but it will require you to buy an additional kit. Conversely, it comes with a travel bag for storage. Although the manufacturer is not specific about the weight limit, your baby should be 0-3 years old.

  • Pros
  • Machine washable Playard.
  • Playard weighs 11 pounds; Lightweight model.
  • Ideal for traveling; comes with a travel bag.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Cons
  • Some parents find the mattress a bit thin.

3. 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard from the Makers of the mamaRoo

4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard with Removable Bassinet and Baby Changing Station, Easy One-Handed Setup, from The Makers of The mamaRoo
  • One push open, one pull close
  • Easy, one-handed set up and take down
  • Includes detachable flip changer & removable bassinet
  • All-in-one care station that grows with baby

If you are looking for the best pack n plays that is easy is use, we bet on the 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard. This Playard is a one-push, one-pull close model. You will never know how easy it is if you don't own the Breeze Plus. It comes with a removable infant bassinet attachment and changing station.

It is an easy one-handed setup, as its name suggests. You will need one hand to push down on the center to open it up. When it is time to pack up, all you do is pulling the central hub up, and the entire thing collapses into itself. When you collapse it, it neatly folds up into a compact carrying case. Additionally, it is an all-in-one care station that grows with your baby.

The Breeze Plus features a detachable flip changer and a changing. It is a pack n play that you can use even in your grandparents' house or hotel room. Parents choose this Playard because it is easy to open and close. Additionally, it has a weight limit of 25 kg; however, it is not machine washable.

  • Pros
  • Feature a changing table.
  • Easy to use pack n play.
  • Compact Playard.
  • Easy to set up and fold up.
  • Cons
  • Not machine washable.

4. Graco (Glacier) Pack 'N Play Playard with Removable Seat

If you are looking for the best Pack and Play, versatile, look no further than the Graco Pack n Play Playard. It features a changing pad, toy bar, and storage space for essentials such as wipes, swaddles, diapers, or damp cloth. The cuddle cove removable seat has two carrying handles, so you can easily carry the baby into another room peacefully without waking it up. Furthermore, you can soothe your toddler in the bassinet and in the removable seat that has vibration options for each.

This unit is designed with flatbeds and mesh siding, which hold babies and prevent them from falling. It is easy to use, with a few button clicks and pulling up or down on the bottom of the unit. When you are not using it, the Playard tucks away nicely into a compact carry case. 

  • Pros
  • Includes a changing table.
  • Luxury Playard with a large storage space.
  • Features wheels for easy maneuverability.
  • Easy to use.
  • Cons
  • Setting up can be difficult.

5. Summer Infant Pop 'N Play Portable Playard.

Summer Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard, Green - Lightweight Play Pen for Indoor and Outdoor Use - Portable Playard with Fast, Easy and Compact Fold
  • INDOOR/OUTDOOR USE – Whether playtime is indoors or out, keeping your little one in one place is essential. The Summer Pop ‘n Play Portable Play Yard provides 14 square feet of contained playing area, and the folding metal frame weighs only 12 pounds
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE – The ultra-lightweight and compact play yard for baby and toddler is perfect for use at home inside or out, a day at the park or even a vacation at the beach.
  • COMPACT FOLD – With a lightweight, innovative pop and fold design that sets up and comes down in seconds, plus an easy and compact fold, you can have a travel toddler and space saver baby playpen to bring with you on all your adventures.
  • WATER RESISTANT FLOOR – Playpens for babies can easily become messy, but not the Pop ‘n Play. The water resistant canvas floor helps keep baby dry, even on damp grass.
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES – 14 square feet of playing area (48 inches wide, 26 inches tall), compact fold and travel bag with strap for easy portability included. For use for 6-24 months (up to 35” tall).

If you are looking for the best Playard you can use indoors and outdoors; we recommend the Summer Infant Pop n Play Playard. This Playard provides 14 square feet of contained play space and a folding metal frame that weighs only 12 pounds. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, very easy to set up and break down, and its extra-large shape allows you to sit inside with your baby, plus it can accommodate children at large.

The Pop n Play features a water-resistant floor that helps keep your baby dry, even on damp grass. The option of extra canopy attachment, which is purchased separately, means you won't have to worry about the outside sun, although some parents say that it is not strong and flip upside-down frequently. Additionally, it comes with additional features like a full-size bassinet and carrying case with a strap for easy portability.

The main drawback is that this pack and plug unit doesn't include a mattress, so it is best to use it on carpet or grass. Besides, it has no weight limit.

  • Pros
  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor uses.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Comes with a carrying case.
  • Lightweight.
  • Cons
  • The mattress is sold separately.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Pack and Plays

1. Safety

Before buying the pack n play, ensure the product guarantees you the safety of the baby. It should meet safe sleep guidelines for babies below 1-year-old to minimize the risk of SIDS. The sides should be made of breathable materials, the mattress should be firm and flat, and any included fitted sheets should fit well without the risk of coming loose. Look for a Playard that comes with a canopy. A canopy is a safety feature equipped with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) to help protect your toddler from the sun.

2. Size and weight

When looking for the best Pack and Play, pay attention to that product's size and weight limit. Some pack n plays are designed for newborns, while others are meant for older toddlers. If you want yours to be used by your baby for a longer time, check out for playpens for toddlers.

Traveling with a baby means you will have to pack more things and the suitcase will be heavier. Therefore, it would be best to get the lightest pack and play you can find without sacrificing quality or comfort. Also, you will want something smaller and lightweight for easier transportation.

Some of the larger units can seem tempting due to space and features; however, for many people, a small pack and Play is all they need and is much easier to carry or travel with. Conversely, if you want to set it up at home, look for something with many attachments and larger storage.

3. Ease of use and set up

Functionality is vital. Whether you will set it up in your Airbnb or at your parents' house, a pack n play that is easy to set up and takedown with a little frustration as possible will make your life and everyone in the family easier. Many of them are designed with one-hand or one-step mechanisms, simple-to-press buttons, or easy interlocking pieces that pop right into position. Additionally, consider the process of getting the collapsed pack and play in and out of its carrying bag.

4. Functions of the Playard

Note that note all play yards and travel cribs are not meant for the same purpose; therefore, before buying, consider the unit's functions. Also, consider the intended purpose for the Pack n play. Some convert from baby bassinet to toddler Playard, some are meant for sleeping only, and others are strictly for Play.

5. Ease of cleaning

Small babies can be messy sometimes; therefore, when shopping for a Pack n Plays unit, consider whether it is easy to clean. It is most convenient if the unit is either machine washable or can easily be wiped down with soap and water.

6. Comfort

When buying the pack n play, you have good intentions for your baby, including being comfortable and being able to relax and play comfortably and safely. So, look for a pack n play that has much padding and is made with soft materials.

7. Portability

If you are looking for a pack n play that you will be traveling with regular by car or plane, ensure that it is easy to carry and transport. Some of these units come with a carrying bag and have a shoulder strap, and others might come with just a have; therefore, be careful when choosing.

8. Soothing features

The best pack and Play comes with built-in features such as sound, light, and motion to help your baby sleep. Also, the best Playards come with toys that are essential in helping to keep your baby engaged throughout the day and enhance their motor skills. Some parents love these features; however, you can add more for your baby.

However, if your baby won't be sleeping inside the Playard overnight, there will be no need for sound and motion features which will be an extra cost not worth it. Again, the extra features add to cost, but they also add to the weight of the Pack and Play.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Pack 'N Plays.

1. How do you set up a Playard?

Most players have an interlocking frame that you can easily break down or securely snapped into a safe space, some with the use of buttons, and others need an adult to fold them down. Also, a pull tab in the center of the pack n play (covered by a firm mattress cover and the mattress itself) functions the same as an umbrella; when pulled up, the unit collapses into itself.

2. What safety guidelines should I be aware of?

We recommend you choose a pack n play with a less than 1-inch thick floor and which has some slots on the playpen's bottom to lock up the mattress. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that your baby's pack n play passes safety standards.

3. Are Pack 'n Plays only for Play, or can I use them for sleeping too?

Your baby can use the Pack n Plays for playing and sleeping too. Those pack n plays with soft toys usually leave your baby entertained while playing. However, it is best to remove the baby gear, i.e., toys and blankets, when the baby is napping. Since pack n plays are far more portable, you can use them as a traveling bed for your baby.

About the Author Tom Brewer

Share your thoughts
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}