Bassinet vs Pack N Play: What To Get For Your Baby?


Are you indecisive about whether you should get a bassinet vs pack n play?

I get it. For first-time parents, it can be absolutely overwhelming to decide if you really need these so-called newborn essentials. 

Both are great crib alternatives but they have their own features that may not suit what you really need for your baby.

Related: Travel Crib vs Pack N Play: Which One Should You Get?

So in this article, we’ll help you pick the right option for your family by letting you know what type of family would be most suitable for, pros, cons, differences and similarities of the bassinet vs pack n play.

If you’re considering baby loungers instead, then take a look at my review here of 2 of the most popular ones.

First, let me point out the major difference between the bassinet vs pack n play.

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Key Differences Between a Bassinet vs Pack N Play

The main differences between a bassinet vs pack n play are their size, longevity, and usage.

A bassinet is smaller than a pack n play, which can be convenient to move around the house, especially if you’re doing chores. 

Some bassinets can be portable and can be used for traveling.

However, you can only use it for a few months, solely for sleeping and napping purposes.

A pack n play, on the other hand, can be portable, but it is bigger and heavier than a bassinet.

It can last longer than a bassinet though and you can use it until your kid is 3 years old or older (depends if your child can already climb out of it).

It’s also so versatile! You can use it for changing diapers, storing baby items, as a playpen, or as a travel crib.

Some even come with a bassinet insert/ mode, a portable bassinet or portable bouncer.

So in short, bassinets are smaller, can only be used for 3 months and below and solely for sleeping purposes.

Pack n play is bigger but can be used for newborns up to toddlers and has multipurpose.

Here are some well recommended and bestselling bassinets and pack n play.

Best Bassinet

Dream On Me Karley Bassinet 

Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essentia Series

RONBEI bedside bassinet

Best Pack N Play

Graco Pack and Play On the Go Playard

Baby Trend Retreat Nursery Center

4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard

Now let’s deep dive into the specific features of a bassinet vs pack n play and see which type of family suits them.

bassinet vs pack n play
pic from Halo website

What Is A Bassinet?

A bassinet is a small, portable crib alternative, meant for a baby aged 3 months and below and is solely used for sleeping purposes.

Works Best For:

  • Families looking for a temporary crib solution
  • Those with a budget for another crib
  • Moms with C-section

Why You Should Consider It:

Bassinets are smaller than a pack n play and can be a great temporary crib alternative, especially if you need more space in your room.

They are also easy to move around and you can even put them beside your bed. 

Some have a retractable side, which can be convenient for mothers who had a C-section. They can easily reach for their baby to settle or pat them to sleep, without having to get up.

Since bassinets are lighter than a pack n play, you can easily move them anywhere in the house, especially if you need to do chores in another room while still keeping an eye on your baby.

Some come with a night light and music, so soothe your baby to sleep.

What’s The Downside:

You can only use them for a few months. Some parents said they only used this for 2 months since they have an unusually large baby.

Which would mean you would need to buy another crib which wouldn’t really save you money.

Pros and Cons of Bassinet

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Can easily reach for your baby without getting up
  • Some can be easily folded up for travel
  • Some can come with canopies, wheels, storage, night light, vibration/ rock mode, and music
  • More affordable options

Cons

  • Can only be used for a few months or until the baby has outgrown it
  • Not safe for older or mobile babies
  • Can only use for sleeping or napping purposes

Top Picks for Bassinet

Dream On Me Karley Bassinet 

Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essentia Series

RONBEI bedside bassinet

bassinet vs pack n play_1
pic from Graco website

What Is A Pack n Play/ Playard? 

A pack n play (or playard) is similar to a regular sized crib that can come with a lot of accessories, but more portable and smaller.

Works Best For: 

  • Families looking for a cheaper crib alternative
  • For those who want more space in their room

Why You Should Consider It:

It’s practically like a crib but smaller. Which means more space in your room.

It comes with all the bells and whistles that a crib has – mobile toys, diaper changing table, storage, etc.

It’s so versatile, you can turn it into a playpen, a travel crib and some can even come with a portable bouncer or can have a bassinet mode!

Mine before came with a diaper changing table and has a bassinet mode.

It was also easy to drag it around the house because it came with wheels.

We used it in the first 2 months at my in-law’s house as a bassinet and also whenever we came around on weekends afterward, as a playpen.

What’s The Downside:

If you want all the accessories that come with it, it might not be a cheaper crib option.

Also, if you want to use this as a permanent crib for an older, mobile baby, you need to use the lowest setting for the mattress.

And that would mean bending all the way to put in and take out your baby, which can’t be convenient, especially if you just had a CS operation or you have some back issues.

Pros and Cons of Pack n Play/ Play Yard

Pros

  • Can be used until toddlerhood (or until your kid can climb out of it)
  • Can use regular-sized standard crib mattress sheets
  • Some come with wheels, bouncer, bassinet mode, etc.
  • Some can have accessories (eg. storage, toy mobile, diaper changing table, etc.)
  • Can be portable enough for traveling
  • Can turn into a playpen

Cons

  • Heavier and bigger than a bassinet
  • Not that easy to set up and fold, unlike a bassinet
  • Some can as expensive as a regular crib
  • Mattress might be thinner, which might uncomfortable for baby

Top Picks for Pack n Play

Graco Pack and Play On the Go Playard

Baby Trend Retreat Nursery Center

4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard

Now let’s compare the features of the bassinet vs pack n play to see how they fare up with one another.

Bassinet vs Pack N Play: Comparison Features

How long can you use it?

Bassinets can only be used for 2 to 4 months or until your baby is more mobile and is starting to roll and sit up.

Pack n play can be used longer. You can use it for 3 years old or up or at least until your kid starts climbing out of it.

Which is safer?

Both are safe to use, as long as they are used within the specified age range.

Keep in mind though to not use an additional mattress to the pack n play as it can lead to SIDS or other injuries for your baby.

Which takes up more space?

A pack n play definitely takes more space as it’s bigger and heavier than a bassinet and less easy to fold up for storing.

Which is easier to assemble?

A bassinet is easier to assemble and collapse than a pack n play.

Which is more durable?

Both are durable baby products, as long as you use them within the specified age range and they come from a reputable brand.

Which is more portable?

Both can be portable as some bassinets can easily fold up for storing and traveling.

Some even come with a canopy, which means you can use the bassinet outdoors.

A pack n play can be portable too for weekend use and trips. It might be heavier and bulkier but it can be portable, as it can also fold up and stored in your car or in a plane.

Some pack n play can come with wheels making it a little bit easier to wheel it around the house.

Which one is easier to clean?

You can both wipe them clean but just remember to always buy an extra mattress sheet for both.

Do they come with extra features?

Pack n play mostly comes with extra accessories such as more storage, a diaper changing table, toy mobiles, even with its own bassinet, bouncer, etc.

Some bassinets can come with a canopy, vibration/rock mode, night light, and/ or music.

Most bassinets have also retractable sides so you can place them beside your bed and easily reach your baby without having to stand up.

Which is cheaper?

That depends on the brand as both have various prices – from dirt cheap to holy-cow-that-shits-expensive.

Bassinet vs Pack N Play: Comparison Table

This is best viewed on a desktop. Compare the features of the top most best baby swing for bigger babies at a glance.

FeaturesBassinetPack N Play
SizeSmaller than a pack n playSmaller than a crib
Longevity Can only be used for a few months,
until baby starts become more active
Can last until your kid is 3 years old or until they start climbing out of it
UsageOnly for sleeping purposesCan be used for changing diapers, storing baby items, as a playpen, or as a travel crib
Portability• Lightweight and easy to move from to room
• Some can be folded up for traveling
• Some comes with wheels
• Portable but cumbersome to move from room to room
AccessoriesSome can come with canopies, wheels, storage, night light, vibration/ rock mode, and musicSome comes with wheels, bouncer, bassinet mode, storage, toy mobile, diaper changing table
AssemblyEasy to assembleRanges from easy to difficult, depending on the brand and user
PriceVarious price rangesVarious price ranges

Bassinet vs Pack N Play: Which One Should You Get?

If you want to be practical and you want to save more money, getting a pack n play is a wiser option.

It will last you longer, it has multi-purposes and some can also come with bassinet mode.

But if you have more budget to buy another crib when your kid gets older AND you’d like something that you can keep close to your bed so you don’t need to get up all the time to soothe your baby, then a bassinet might a great choice for you.

Another option is to buy both! Some parents actually do that, they look for used bassinets/ pack n play and save more. 

Or you can buy a new one but just the basics for the bassinet and pack n play and you can still save some dough.

Personally, I’d choose a pack n play. I had a C-section plus a back surgery, (all in one day! Long story short – they found out through my C-sec operation that my back was ripping apart when I was pushing for normal delivery) and I still find it pretty convenient to use. 

I had no prior back issues plus I didn’t have to bend that far to pick up from or put my kid in the bassinet so I was pretty good with the pack n play that came with a bassinet insert.

But of course, we are all different. So whichever you decide, just always remember to think first of your priorities, then your budget.

I hope this guide has been helpful in helping you decide between a bassinet vs pack n play for your baby.