Crib vs Pack n Play (What To Buy For Baby?)

Not sure which one to get between a crib vs pack n play? It can get pretty confusing, especially if you’re a first-time parent and you’re making a lot of decisions about baby gear and whatnot.

Both are essential nursery furniture pieces, with their own set of advantages and drawbacks.

So in this article, we’ll help you consider between these the crib vs pack n play, their  pros and cons, their main differences, plus a handy comparison table, which family are they best for, and more.

So, whether you’re curating a dream nursery or looking for a versatile sleep solution, read on to make an informed choice for your little one.

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So Should You Get a Crib or Pack and Play or Both?

If you’re in a hurry and you want a quick answer to this question, I’m afraid I will have to give you a “It depends” answer for now.

Getting a crib or a Pack ‘n Play, or both will largely depend on your lifestyle, space, and budget. 

Cribs are the traditional choice, offering durability and long-term use. 

Pack ‘n Plays are more versatile, travel-friendly and most are cheaper than a crib. 

Personally, I had both. 

We had a crib at home, for a permanent sleeping set-up. 

Then we also had a pack and play, for when we travel or when we visit my in-laws.

So it mainly depends on your needs and priorities. 

Let’s discuss first more of their differences so you can get a more definitive answer.

Crib vs Pack n Play: Main Differences


One of the most significant distinctions between cribs and Pack ‘n Plays is portability. 

Pack ‘n Plays are designed with mobility in mind. 

They fold up easily for storage and you can also bring them with you when traveling, making them ideal for families with limited space or those frequently on the move.

Baby cribs, on the other hand, are stationary pieces of furniture. 

While some cribs offer convertible features, their primary function is to provide a secure and stable sleeping environment within your nursery.

You can easily disassemble and assemble a crib and bring it with you on weekly visits to the in-laws. 

Unlike a pack n play.

  • SIZE

When it comes to pack n play vs crib size, the latter totally wins this round.

Cribs are typically larger than Pack ‘n Plays. 

Cribs provide ample room for your baby to grow, where even kids aged up to 4 years old can still sleep in. 

Pack ‘n Plays, on the other hand, have a smaller footprint, making them a space-saving option for smaller nurseries or travel.

Related Article: 7 Best Mini Cribs for Small Space


Cribs often come with a variety of mattress options. 

You can choose a crib mattress that meets safety standards and your baby’s sleep needs.

Pack n Play mattresses on the other hand, are suitable for sleeping but are thinner and are a less luxurious sleeping surface compared to crib mattresses.


Pack ‘n Plays are very versatile and multifunctional. 

They offer a lot more accessories than a standard crib and can serve as a bassinet, changing station, playpen, and can even turn into a travel crib or play crib!

Cribs, although sturdy and reliable, have a more singular purpose – providing a secure safe sleep environment for your baby. 

They lack the versatility of Pack ‘n Plays.


Regular pack ‘n plays, ones without the bells and whistles, are more affordable than cribs. 

They offer a cost-effective solution for parents who need a safe and mobile sleep option without breaking the bank.

Cribs, on the other hand, can be a larger investment, especially if you choose a convertible model or one with premium features.

Although, depending on the model and brand, there are cheap baby cribs, that are almost priced the same as a standard pack n plays.

Pack ‘n Play: Pros and Cons

Pack ‘n Play Sizes & Dimensions

  • Average dimensions: 40 x 28.5 x 29 inches (varies by model)
  • Average weight: 20 to 30 pounds (varies by model)

Best For:

  • Parents with limited space
  • Families who travel frequently
  • Babies who need a portable sleep solution

Ways to Use the Pack and Play

Bassinet Alternative: Many Pack ‘n Plays come with a bassinet attachment, providing a cozy and safe sleep space for newborns.

Changing Station: Some models include a changing table attachment for added convenience during diaper changes.

Sleep Space During Travel: Pack ‘n Plays are perfect as a portable crib when you’re on the go.

Pros Of Pack ‘n Play

Folds easily for storage


Often comes with a bassinet attachment

Suitable for small spaces


Most are affordable

Cons of Pack ‘n Play

Not very comfortable mattress

Weight limit and height limits are less than a crib

Not the most durable option for long-term use

Best Playards/ Pack and Plays

Here are more of the best Pack ‘n Plays.

Crib: Pros and Cons

Crib Sizes & Dimensions

  • Average dimensions: Standard cribs are usually 52 x 28 x 30 inches, while mini cribs are typically around 39 x 23 x 36 inches.
  • Average weight: Standards cribs are 50 to 100 pounds (varies by model)

Crib Options 

Best For:

  • Families with spacious nurseries
  • Parents looking for a long-term sleep solution
  • Those who prefer a traditional and sturdy nursery setup
Pros Of Crib

Highly durable and stable

Suitable for newborns up to toddlers

Some models are convertible, for long-term use

Budget-friendly options are available

Available in many different finishes to match your nursery decor

Option to choose a crib mattress

Cons of Crib

Typically more expensive compared to Pack ‘n Plays

Difficult to move from room to room

Requires more effort to assemble

Takes up a significant amount of space

Best Cribs

Check out more of the best baby cribs here that a lot of parents and even baby experts love.

Crib vs Pack n Play: Quick Comparison Table

FeaturesCribPack ‘n Play
Easy to AssembleNoYes

Which One Is Cheaper: Crib or Pack n Play?

Pack ‘n Plays are generally more budget-friendly, making them an attractive option for cost-conscious parents. 

On the other hand, cribs often require a larger upfront investment.

Which One is Heavier: Pack n play or Crib?

Pack ‘n Plays are lightweight and designed for portability, while cribs are heavier and intended to stay put in your nursery.

Which One Fits a Small Space: Pack n play or Crib?

If you have limited space, a Pack ‘n Play with its smaller footprint may be a better fit. 

Cribs are more suitable for spacious nurseries.

Which One Can Last Longer: Crib or Pack n Play?

Cribs can last longer, especially convertible models that can grow with your child. 

Some can turn into a toddler bed, a junior-sized bed, or even a regular bed! 

You can even use a 2nd hand crib provided that it’s still durable, safe and hasn’t been recalled.

Related Article: Do Cribs Expire?

Pack ‘n Plays can be used for toddlers but other than for overnight sleep, travel and play, you’d need to replace them eventually when your kid is more mobile.

Which One is More Portable: Pack ‘n Play or Crib?

Pack ‘n Plays are more portable, with easy folding mechanisms that make them perfect for travel. 

Cribs are stationary and less portable.

Which One is Easier to Assemble: Pack ‘n Play or Crib?

Pack ‘n Plays are definitely easier to assemble, whereas cribs may sometimes even require 2 people to work on it and put it together.

Which One Is More Durable: Crib or Pack n Play?

Cribs are highly stable and secure, providing a consistent sleep environment for your baby. It’s mainly because of its wooden or metal materials.

Whereas Pack ‘n Play can be stable, but are made of materials that are less long lasting than a crib.

Which One is Safer for Babies: Crib or Pack n Play?

Both Pack ‘n Plays and cribs that have been certified safe by the authorities, meet sleep safety standards, so they’re both safe for babies, even for newborns.

Things To Consider When Choosing Between a Crib or Pack ‘n Play

When deciding between a crib or Pack ‘n Play, consider the following factors:

  • Budget

Your budget plays a significant role in your choice. 

Pack ‘n Plays are often more affordable, while cribs can be a more substantial investment, especially if you’re getting a convertible crib.

  • Space

Think about the available space in your nursery or bedroom. 

If you have limited space, a Pack ‘n Play may be a better fit. 

On the other hand, there are mini cribs that can also fit a small space.

  • Lifestyle

Consider your lifestyle and how you plan to use the sleep solution. 

Are you a frequent traveler? If you are, then a Pack and Play is better suited for you.

Do you need a long-term sleep solution, one that will last until toddlerhood? 

Then a convertible crib might be a better choice. 

Your lifestyle will influence your decision.

FAQ About Crib vs Pack and Play

Is a pack ‘n play as good as a crib?

A pack ‘n play is as good as a crib, as it’s also suitable for overnight sleep.

How long can you use Pack and Play as a crib?

You can use pack ‘n plays as a crib from birth to toddlerhood. Some models offer bassinet and changing table attachments for added versatility.

Do I really need a Pack ‘n Play?

You might need a pack ‘n play if you have a limited budget and space and if your family often travel.

Can a newborn sleep in a Pack ‘n Play instead of a bassinet?

Yes, a newborn can sleep in a pack ‘n play instead of a bassinet, as many Pack ‘n Plays come with bassinet attachments, making them suitable even for newborns

Can you use a pack n play as a crib?

Yes, you can use a pack n play as a crib, even for newborns.

Crib vs Pack ‘n Play: Takeaway

I hope this crib vs Pack ‘n Play showdown has helped you make a better decision in choosing which one to get for your baby.

Again, a crib offers durability and long-term use, making it an excellent choice for families seeking a traditional nursery setup. 

But if you prefer versatility and portability, then a Pack ‘N Play is more ideal for you, especially if you have limited space or if you’re frequently on the move.

If your budget permits, I would highly recommend getting both!

You can have a convertible crib for a more long-term, permanent set-up at home, while a pack-n-play can serve as your travel crib.

Whichever you choose, rest assured that both cribs and Pack ‘n Plays meet safety standards, providing a secure sleep environment for your little one’s sweet dreams.

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