Bouncers and playmats are lifesavers during those first few weeks. However, once your baby starts to roll and looks to explore further, you need better safety measures. Although playmats, activity centers, jumpers, and baby gates do a great job of keeping them safe, nothing beats the best play yards for babies.

Sometimes called the pack n plays, these elevated enclosed areas provide your baby with a safe space to play, thanks to their construction and mesh enclosure. As a result, your baby will safely and comfortably move around in the play yard, and you can carry it to wherever you're going. But, first, let's look at the best play yards in the market.

Best Play Yards for Babies

1. Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard

This Pack ‘n Play is the best budget-friendly play space for your child. Whether you're looking for an extra safe space for your baby to play in or you want an option to take to the grandparents' house, this is the pick for you. The folding feet and wheels make this Graco pack n plays 20% more compact than when it's not folded.

Although you won't get many extra features like our options, you'll get a simple and reliable play yard for your child. The push-button fold allows you to easily pack this option into the included carrying bag for extra convenience. The fact that it's simple to pack means that you won't have a hard time when you want to move.

The durable and sturdy frame of this play yard gives you peace of mind that your child will always be safe even when your back is turned. Think of how cozy, comfy, and happy your child will be playing around in these best baby playpens that are great for both indoor and outdoor use.

  • Pros
  • Very affordable.
  • Easy to break down and pack.
  • More compact than most play yards.
  • Has airy mesh for maximum ventilation.
  • Comes with a carrying bag.
  • Automatic folding wheels and feet for convenience.
  • Cons
  • Not suitable for adding a mattress.
  • Lacks additional features.

2. Joovy Room² Portable Playard

Joovy Room² Large Portable Playpen for Babies and Toddlers with Nearly 10 sq ft of Space, Large Mesh Windows for 360 View, and Waterproof Mattress Sheet - Folds Easily when Not in Use (Black)
  • PERFECT SAFE SPACE for your child to sleep or play when you need to get things done around the house
  • NEARLY 10 SQUARE FEET OF SPACE so the baby has all the room they’ll need to sleep, daydream and play. And this toddler playpen is durable enough for twins, too!
  • LARGE MESH WINDOWS on this baby playpen provides a 360° view, in and out
  • WATERPROOF SHEET INCLUDED in this playard for baby is so soft and luxurious that you will want to climb in yourself and take a nap
  • LOW CENTER OF GRAVITY for extra stability and included is a heavy-duty padded mattress to support your baby from 0M+ up to 35”

Do you have twins? Does your baby have a best friend with whom they are completely inseparable? If yes, then this is the best play yard for you. You can think of this Joovy Room² as the "master suite" of the best play yards for babies. This pack n play has almost 50% more space than the average play yard. And although it has all this extra space, it doesn't compromise on any of its features.

Although it's slightly on the pricier end, you'll surely get value for your money. This play yard's simple and modern design keeps your baby safe, and the edge-to-edge mesh windows give you maximum visibility. Just a simple glance, and you'll see what your babies are up to. This purchase also comes with a cotton sheet.

However, the drawback of having all this space is that this travel crib is on the heavier side. This makes this play yard perfect for a permanent or semi-permanent position. Your baby will have over 10 square feet of space to play with and move around.

  • Pros
  • Has an abundance of space for your baby.
  • Perfect for twins.
  • Has a large footprint for safety and comfort.
  • Durable.
  • Comes with a waterproof sheet.
  • Cons
  • Heavier than the average pack n play.
  • Slightly expensive.

3. Baby Trend Lil Snooze

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe 2 Nursery Center, Daisy Dots
  • Removable full-size bassinet
  • Flip away changing table with storage pocket
  • Removable napper with canopy and 2 toys
  • Large wheels with brakes
  • One-hand locking mechanism

These best play yards for babies are another affordable option that parents love for their children. The Daisy Dots design makes this portable crib look very baby-friendly and suitable for younger babies. This sleep space has a removable napper and a canopy that makes it comfortable for your baby to sleep in.

The hanging toys give your baby a fun play area to keep them distracted as you go about your business. The flip-away changing table acts as a great diaper changing station. You can also store all your baby essentials in the storage pocket that comes with this pack n play. This play yard is built with the security of your baby in mind. The two large wheels with strong brakes ensure that no unnecessary accidents occur.

The purchase of this play yard also comes with a carry bag making this travel crib perfect for indoor or outdoor use. Unfortunately, the pad in the basset isn't machine-washable. This makes it difficult for you to wash it should your baby accidentally poop or spit on it. Nonetheless, you'll get all the great features that you need with these pack n plays.

  • Pros
  • Has lots of storage space.
  • Designed for extra safety of your baby's life.
  • Great for children weighing up to 30 pounds.
  • Has large wheels for easy portability.
  • Comes with a travel bag.
  • Cons
  • Infant bassinet isn't machine-washable.

4. Lotus Travel Crib

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.

This backpack portable play space has an innovative design that will make you feel like the modern super mom you are. Not only is this play yard lightweight, but you can fold it up into a backpack that you can comfortably carry on your back while your baby is in your arms. Want a quick trip to the beach? No worries, simply put this pack n play on your back, get your baby, and get going.

You won't worry about balancing your baby, the diaper bag, and your play yard. Many parents like that these mesh sides have a zippered side door that you can open and close at will. This outdoor playpen offers great airflow whether the zipper door is open or not. These best playards provide your baby with a safe environment to play in, no matter where they are.

Another cool thing about this best playard is that you can convert it into a portable bassinet. However, you may need an additional kit to carry out this transformation. Another drawback is that the mattress may be a bit too thin for some babies. Nonetheless, you can always get another mattress that's sold separately from this play yard.

  • Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Very flexible.
  • Innovative design that folds into a backpack for convenience.
  • Light-weight.
  • Great for airport travel.
  • Cons
  • Mattress may be thin for some babies.

5. Graco Pack 'n Play Travel Dome

Graco Pack 'n Play Travel Dome LX Playard | Includes Portable Bassinet, Full-Size Infant Bassinet, and Diaper Changer, Leyton
  • Portable Dome Bassinet can be used on or off the playard, so you can keep baby by your side wherever you go
  • The Travel Dome folds compactly and includes its own carry bag so it’s easy and convenient to take on the go.Care & Cleaning: Spot or Wipe Clean, Machine Wash
  • Portable, raised bassinet positions baby at your eye level for check-ins through the night without having to get out of bed
  • Large canopy on bassinet features UV 50 protection to shield baby from the sun and keep cool
  • Full-size infant bassinet provides an easy-to-reach and easy-to-view spot for your baby to sleep

Our fifth pick features a portable travel dome bassinet that is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. This play space can give the Evenflo versatile play space a run for its money, thanks to its versatile nature. This removable basset has a UV 50 canopy and a carrying bag for your convenience. So, whether you are in the house, at the park, or in your backyard, you can comfortably use this play yard without worrying about your baby's safety.

You can think of this play yard as a cool do-it-all nursery center for your baby. Although not everything about the first few months may be a field of roses, you can be sure that safe playtime will no longer be a problem. In addition, the changing station enables you to securely change your baby until she reaches 30 pounds in weight.

The one drawback with this play yard is that it can be heavy for travel. Nonetheless, the fact that this play yard comes packed with all these things that you need means that you can take it to your friend's or cousin's house and have everything you need for a comfortable stay.

  • Pros
  • Comes with a portable bassinet.
  • Protects your baby from the sun.
  • Comes with a travel bag.
  • All-in-one travel crib.
  • Cons
  • Expensive play yard.
  • Heavy.

What to Consider When Buying the Best Play Yard for Your Baby

1. Portability

Probably the most important feature when choosing your best play yards for babies is how easily you can move them from one place to another. No matter how many square feet of space your play yard has, you may have trouble when you want to use it somewhere else if it's not conveniently portable for you.

Most manufacturers make each play space to be easily portable with wheels that move smoothly. All of our options above are very easily portable.

The compact fold makes these travel cribs very easy to move around. Even if some have built-in storage, you can be sure that these best playpens will still be very portable.

Getting a play yard that folds easily will help you save time and energy when you need to move. A removable bassinet can also allow you to leave it behind if you don't need it.

2. Foldability

Although foldability is in line with portability, we feel the need to put it as a separate feature so that you can ensure that your play yard has this quality before purchasing it. Additionally, the more foldable your play yard is, the better it will fit into small spaces without much hassle.

It can be a bit tricky to carry your baby's things around. You don't want your play yard to be one of those things.

All of our models are foldable. However, if you want one that is extra-convenient to carry around, you can go with our fourth pick that folds into a backup. This is the perfect play yard when you are constantly on the go.

3. Storage

As we mentioned above, carrying around your baby's things can be a bit strenuous, especially when you're alone. Having storage space in your baby's play yard can help keep you organized and give you a comfortable space to place your things.

After extensive research, we chose the above best play yards for babies because they fit most of these factors, including storage. You want your pack n play to not only be convenient for your child but for you as well.

The fabric shelves, zippered side pockets, hook-on fabric storage pouches, and even the organizer bags can be a lifesaver for you. These storage facilities are designed to be out of your baby's reach. Therefore, you don't have to worry about your baby eating the baby powder.

These best baby playpens are designed following trustworthy health information. Therefore, your baby's safety is assured.

4. Toys, Lights, and Music

In addition to the soft bedding, padded floor, mesh sides, and even the mattress cover, some options have extra features to keep your baby entertained as you get some work done. Some even have some soothing music and sounds to help calm your baby down or lull them to sleep.

However, the ones with these features tend to be more pricey than those that don't. Depending on your preferences, you may want or not want these extra features in your play yard. After all, your child outgrows these things very fast.

Nonetheless, we recommend that you get the play yard that is best suited for your baby. A basic model may lack some of these features that you need while you're on the go. Also, ensure that you consider the age range and weight limit whether you have a Summer Infant Pop or any other pack n play.

5. Casters or Wheels

When choosing your pack n play, ensure that it has wheels that lock. Whether you opt for wheels or casters, ensure that you confirm that they are designed with safety in mind.

All of our options in mind adhere to safe sleep guidelines and other safety standards. A pair of swivel casters or lockable wheels on one end is enough to make your play yard move swiftly. But, of course, if your pack n play can still be rolled on a hard floor when folded, that's a bonus.

6. Comfy Floor Pad

In addition to good air circulation, you should also ensure that your baby's play area is comfortable for them. Other features like a changing table, metal frame, extra panels, and water-resistant pad are great. However, the floor pad has to be in good shape and comfortable enough for your baby to play and sleep in.

The air flow can be great, but if the pad is too thin or too thick, your baby may fuss a lot while in the play yard. So ensure that the pad is no more than 1-inch thick, firm, and snug-fitting. These bonus features ensure that your baby doesn't roll or get their leg stuck into any loose mesh pocket on the side.

Check the play yard's weight limit to ensure that your baby will have a safe sleep in the play yard. Our first pick above comes at a decent price and offers you all the safety features that your play space should have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is a play yard good for a baby?

Yes. As long as you choose a play yard that is well-designed and has all the safety requirements, you'll be fine. You can pick any play space from our list above. Each play yard has been properly designed with your child in mind.

2. How long can a baby use a pack n play?

Your baby can use a play yard from the time they are newborns to when then they get to about three years old. A great play yard is designed to accommodate the needs of children of this age.

However, once your baby reaches 35 inches tall, consider ditching the play yard. Or, if you find that your child can climb out of the play yard without help, it's time for an upgrade to something else. You can browse our other articles for more ideas of what you can replace the play yard with. 

About the Author Tom Brewer

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