Best Pack n Plays/ Playards (And Other Alternatives)

It’s a hell lot confusing to look for the best pack n plays/ playard in the market.

There are just tons of them and they more or less, offer the same functions and features.

So how do you know which one is the best for air travel? That’s easiest to set up and fold? That can be used outdoors? Which has the best bassinet?

You’ll find out in this list and more.

In this article, I’ve gathered the most mentioned, most highly recommended pack n plays/ playards by a lot of parents and even baby experts.

This is the cream of the crop list, which has the pros, and cons and basically lists down what parents love or dislike about a playard.

But let’s start with the most common question about Pack n Plays.

I hope you’ll love the products we recommend! Just a quick note: if you click on a product link below and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.

Do You Really Need a Pack-n-Play?

In the first place, do you even need a pack n play? How important is it to have one?

Maybe you might want to consider another crib alternative.

If yes, then check out these articles below, comparing comprehensively a pack-n-play to its other alternatives:

But if you’re dead set on getting a pack n play and you just need to confirm some recommendations from friends and such, keep reading.

Best Pack n Plays and Playards (And Other Alternatives)

Best Basic Playard With Bassinet: Graco Pack and Play Playard

  • Dimensions: 39.5 x 28.25 x 29 inches LxWxH
  • Weight: 21.43 Pounds

Graco of course, is one of the most recommended, most mentioned pack n play out there, from both parents and baby experts alike.

They have dozens of Playard versions but if you want a simple one with a removable bassinet, then check this out!

It features a toy bar to entertain and wheels for easy moving around the house.

It’s also very easy to fold and set up, according to most parents.

I’ve seen a few complaints about it not being sturdy enough or that it has cheap materials, but for the most part, a lot of parents and even grandparents love it.

I could even see some comments about it being a popular baby shower gift!

Most Recommended Pack n Play: 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard

  • Dimensions: 43 x 30 x 31.5 inches
  • ‎Weight: 28.5 pounds

This is a surprisingly highly recommended pack n play from parents.

It’s actually like the Graco, as it has a bassinet, except it’s more expensive. Like a lot more expensive!

But I can see the appeal of this bassinet as it’s way easier to set up.

You basically just pop it open and put it in the mattress!

Then folding it also literally just takes a few seconds. 

It also comes with a diaper changing station, which is a plus for every parent.

I’ve seen some complaints about it being bulky and heavier than the Graco, but a lot of parents love it for its one-handed setup function.

Best Affordable Playard: Dream On Me Nest Portable Play Yard

  • Dimensions: 40L x 28W x 27.5H inches
  • Weight: weighs 16.85 pounds. 

If you want the cheapest pack n play out there, check out Dream On Me.

It’s a very straightforward, simple playard that’s easy to set up but is still sturdy and safe for your baby.

It’s very lightweight and compact and I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews about this playard being the perfect playard for budget-conscious parents and even grandparents!

There are some complaints about being made of low-quality materials, uncomfortable mattresses, and that it’s not that easy to set up.

But most parents (and grandparents) love it for its affordable price.

Best Pack n Play for Airline Travel: Guava Lotus Travel Crib

  • Dimensions: 45.5″ L x 31.5″ W x 25.5 H
  • Weight: 13 lbs/6 kg (including carry bag)

This isn’t really a pack n play but a lot of parents and baby experts love it as it’s the most air travel-friendly travel crib in the market.

You can actually check this in as a carry-on on your flight!

The Guava Lotus Travel Crib is also non-toxic, JPMA-certified that doesn’t have any weight limits. So you can use this longer, even when your kid is 4 or even 5 years old!

My only gripe with this one is it doesn’t come with a mattress and you have to buy that separately.

Overall though, tons of parents are happy with it as they don’t have to think about how to pack it for air travel, it’s so easy to set up and it’s worth its price!

Best Playard for the Beach: POP ‘N GO Premium Indoor and Outdoor Baby Playpen

  • Dimensions: 59” W x 48” H (74 cm x 22 cm)
  • Weight: 10.45 pounds

Check this one out if you want a humongous pack n play that you can use outdoors, even on a beach!

It has a safety lock, a UPF50+ UV canopy, and a huge ass space for your little ones to crawl, roll and play on.

I’ve seen 3 babies fitting comfortably inside it! You can even lie down inside it with your baby, that’s how roomy it is.

Parents have used it on the beach, the park, for day camping, for weekly soccer games, and practically any outdoor activities (that’s safe for babies!) that you can think of.

The only major complaint that I’ve seen about it is the lack of a mat, which you have to buy separately.

But overall, parents love it for its easy-to-set-up function, its UV canopy, and its huge space for babies.

Best Small Pack-n-Play for Outdoors: Bugaboo Stardust Playard

  • Dimensions: 25 x 38.8 x 33.5 in (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 14.8 lbs

If you want a regular size pack n play for outdoor size, that’s easy to assemble and disassemble, consider the Bugaboo Stardust Playard.

It’s actually also a popular travel crib amongst parents, that has an easy 1-second unfold feature.

You can literally set this up and fold it in under a minute!

It’s not easy to check this in for plane travel, like the Guava Lotus Travel Crib, but it’s the perfect size for car travel – you can easily fit this in the trunk.

It also comes with a zip-in bassinet and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. This is great if you want a lightweight, small, compact, outdoor pack n play.

Best Playard For Twins: Joovy Room2 Playard

  • Dimensions: 39.75 x 39.75 x 31 inches
  • Weight: 27.7 Pounds

If you need a big indoor playard for twins or just a huge playpen for your very active toddler, then this one is highly recommended!

It comes with a waterproof sheet, heavy-duty padded mattress and has extra stability to support 2 or even 3 babies.

You can even expand this Joovy’s Twin Nursery Center, which will give you 2 bassinets and a changing table.

There are some mixed reviews about its ease (or difficulty) of set-up and folding, insufficient padding, and that it’s very heavy.

Overall though, a lot of parents like it mainly for the huge space it offers and its safe and sturdy structure.

Best Lightweight Pack ‘n Play: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light

  • Dimensions: 32 x 44 x 24 in/82 x 112 x 64cm
  • Weight: 13 lbs/6 kg (including carry bag)

This is also a popular recommendation from parents if you like a more lightweight, travel-friendly playard.

Well, this is actually a travel crib but tomayto, tomahto – as long as it’s lightweight and portable enough, it should be fine as a pack-n-play!

The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is a close contender of the Guava Lotus Travel Crib, as it’s also a non-toxic travel crib that’s easy to set up, easy to clean, with 3 different colors to choose from. 

The only thing about this is, it is slightly more expensive than the Lotus travel crib and it has a weirdly narrow top, making it hard for little ones to stand on.

Still, parents find it a high-quality travel crib that’s comfortable and safe for their babies.

Best Versatile Playard: Graco Pack ‘n-Play Dome LX-Playard

This may not be the most lightweight, easy to setup playard out there but if you want one that has a lot of accessories, then check this out!

The Graco Pack ‘n-Play Dome LX comes with a removable bassinet with a UV canopy, a diaper changing table, and some storage area for small newborn essentials- diapers, wet wipes, etc.

This is a more permanent fixture in the house as some parents said it’s quite challenging to assemble it.

I’ve also seen some comments about its diaper changing station tilting, so it makes babies roll to one side during diaper changes.

Related Article: How To Change a Diaper and Other Awesome Diaper Tips and Hacks

Nevertheless, a lot of parents find this value for money as it has practically everything you’d need in a sleeping space and more, for the first year.

Best Pack n Plays Runners-Up 

There are also a lot of recommendations and positive reviews about the following playards below but I guess they’re not as popular because of marketing maybe?

Anyway, they’re still worth checking out if you’re curious to know they’re on my runners-up list.

Buying Guide: Best Playards and Pack n Plays

Here’s what you should consider when choosing the best playard or pack-n-play for your baby:

  • Sturdy Construction

Look for a pack ‘n play/playard with a durable frame and secure locking mechanisms. 

This ensures the safety and stability of the unit during use, preventing any accidental collapses or injuries.

  • Easy Assembly and Portability

Opt for a playard that is easy to assemble and disassemble. 

Look for features like quick-fold mechanisms, lightweight materials, and a compact design for convenient portability and storage, especially if you plan to travel frequently or move the playard around your home.

  • Safety Certifications

Ensure that the playard meets safety standards such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certifications. 

These certifications guarantee that the product has undergone rigorous testing for safety and quality.

  • Removable and Washable Fabrics

Babies are prone to messes, so having removable and machine-washable fabrics is essential. 

Look for a playard with removable mattress covers, sheets, and fabric panels that can be easily cleaned, maintaining a hygienic and fresh environment for your baby.

  • Adjustable Mattress Height

This is not a must but a playard with adjustable mattress height allows you to lower the mattress as your child grows, ensuring their safety by preventing climbing or falling out. 

It also provides easier access to your baby when they are younger, saving you from unnecessary back strain.

  • Ample Play Space

Consider the size of the playard and the space it provides for your child to move and play comfortably. 

A spacious play area allows your baby to explore and develop their motor skills while keeping them entertained.

Related Article: 20 Newborn Activities For Development (Play Ideas For Infant Babies)

  • Additional Features

Some playards come with extra features like built-in changing stations, bassinets, toy bars, storage pockets, or soothing features like vibrations or music. 

These features can add convenience and versatility to the playard, but consider your specific needs and prioritize safety and functionality above all.

  • Breathability and Ventilation

Look for a playard with mesh sides or breathable materials that allow for proper airflow. This helps prevent overheating and ensures your baby’s comfort while in the playard.

FAQ: Best Pack n Plays

What is the recommended age for pack n play?

The recommended age for pack-n-play is for babies up to 2 to 3 years old, depending on the mobility and temperament of your kid.

What is the difference between a pack n play and a playard?

There’s no difference between a pack n play and playard. Both terms are interchangeable and they basically mean the same thing.

Are pack-n-plays good for newborns?

Yes, pack n plays are good for newborns and are safe to sleep on.
But a lot of parents might have some issues with it sitting too low on the ground and its lumpy mattress, so it’s better to get one with a bassinet. 

What is the recommended age for pack n play?

The recommended age for pack-n-play is for babies up to 2 to 3 years old, depending on the mobility and temperament of your kid.

What is the difference between a pack n play and a playard?

There’s no difference between a pack n play and playard. Both terms are interchangeable and they basically mean the same thing.

Are pack-n-plays good for newborns?

Yes, pack n plays are good for newborns and are safe to sleep on.

But a lot of parents might have some issues with it sitting too low on the ground and its lumpy mattress, so it’s better to get one with a bassinet. 

Takeaway: Best Pack n Plays/ Playards

Consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing a pack ‘n play/playard. 

Prioritize safety, durability, and convenience features that align with your lifestyle and your child’s needs.

I hope this best pack n play article has helped you decide on what’s the playard to choose for your family.

If you love this article, then make sure to check out these guides on the 9 Tips on How To Make Pack N Play More Comfortable, Baby Bjorn Travel Crib vs Graco Pack n Play, and 8 Best Playpen Alternatives For Limited Space.