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The Best Baby Playpens

Irina Wilhauk/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated March 2022

Thanks to baby playpens, wrangling little ones is easier than ever, and you won't break the bank like most babyproofing solutions. These are our top baby playpen choices for first-time and long-time parents.

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  Best Value Best Portable Option Best Full Features Premium Choice Best for Outdoors
 
  Graco
Portable Pack ‘N Play Portable Pen
SASRL
Baby Playpen with Ball Pit
Graco
Pack ‘n Play Pen with Bassinet and Changing Table
Lotus
Travel Crib and Playpen with Backpack Carrying Case
Regalo
Regalo On-The-Go My Play Portable Play Yard
 
Our SummaryNo-nonsense playpen built for play on the go and impromptu sleepovers.Large-scale playpen that can fit both parents and baby comfortably. Multifunctional playpen with bassinet and changing table for all-in-one use. Compact playpen and portable sleeping area that can fit in a backpack for carry-on luggage.Keep your baby safe from the elements but a part of the fun and the great outdoors with this shaded playpen.
ProsEasy set up and take down, firm padded foundation. Plenty of room, can be used for a ball pit, great as stretching room for bigger babies.Has detachable bassinet and changing table components, easy to set up.Sleek design, lightweight, works great as a carry-on. Has part-coverage canopy, breathable mesh walls, and offers UV protection.
ConsFoam layer on mattress can wrinkle. Takes up a lot of room.Difficult to attach the bassinet and table, a lot to carry.Minimal features, no bonus sleep or play elements. Thin padding.
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How Did We Research?

21 Models Evaluated

8 Hours Researched

40 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Baby Playpens

Baby girl sitting inside playpen with toys.
Irina Wilhauk/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Baby Playpens

Baby inside playpen.
Ivolodina/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a baby playpen?

Parenting is hard enough, let alone when you have to block off entire rooms and everyday objects for their safety. Baby playpens allow tiny toddlers and babies to play autonomously in a safe, compact area, making it easier for parents and young ones to go about their day. They can also be helpful pop-up sleepers when your family needs to travel or create a makeshift playroom, making these a must-buy for new parents.

What should you consider in a baby playpen?

  • Comfort: Look for playpens with mattresses at least one inch thick to keep little ones happy and comfortable. However, if you plan to have your child sleep in the pen, be sure that the mattress is firm.
  • Portability: If your child needs to be taken to a relative’s home that lacks babyproofing, or you’re a family who frequently travels, you’ll want a playpen that can be packed and stored easily.

What extra features do baby playpens have? 

Some playpens offer bonus features such as ball-pit sets, sleeper/bassinet components, sun shades, and even foldable changing tables. Look for playpens with engaging, built-in toys if you want some extra playtime for your baby and comfort features if the pen will primarily be used for nap time and sleep away from home.

Our Picks for the Best Baby Playpens

Pros: Built with their signature Pack n’ Play setup and takedown button, Graco’s playpen is exceptionally easy to set up and take down. It also has a firm, padded foundation for comfort and safety.

Cons: The foam layer on the mattress can wrinkle after putting sheets on.

Bottom Line: This baby playpen is a fantastic value for its comfort and easy to maneuver packing technology. It is excellent for hotel stays and visits to the grandparents.

 

Best Portable Option

SASRL Baby Playpen with Ball Pit

Large-scale playpen that can fit both parents and baby comfortably.

Pros: This playpen comes with plenty of room for developing minds and bodies and even a set of balls for an at-home ball pit. It doesn’t just have enough room for your little one, either! Mom or dad can easily sit in the pen to play or comfort the baby. Its size also makes it a good choice for babies older than six months, so they have room to stretch.

Cons: Because of its large size, you need a large open area for this pen to be functional without taking over your home completely.

Bottom Line: This is an excellent option for parents with room to spare, especially if they want to engage with their baby inside the pen. Infants and young toddlers can have fun scrambling on the large floor area, but make sure you have the room to house a playpen of this size in the long term.

 

Best Full Features

Graco Pack 'n Play Pen with Bassinet and Changing Table

Multifunctional playpen with bassinet and changing table for all-in-one use.

Pros: Graco is back on our list with what is truly the Swiss Army Knife of baby playpens. This multifunction pen has a detachable bassinet and changing table components for parents who need a playpen that can do it all. The signature Pack ‘n Play button makes this set as easy to set up as it is to take down.

Cons: If you take a road trip in a car with limited trunk space or don’t want to check additional luggage at the airport, this is not a suitable playpen for you.

Bottom Line: This is great for families that need to take the whole of the baby’s room on the go, or if you’ll be in an environment with minimal surface space, such as a hotel, on a camping trip, or even at Grandma’s condo for the weekend.

 

Premium Choice

Lotus Travel Crib and Playpen with Backpack Carrying Case

Compact playpen and portable sleeping area that can fit in a backpack for carry-on luggage.

Pros: This no-nonsense, beautiful playpen is a fantastic buy for those looking to invest in a premium option. Not only is it sleek in design, but it’s straightforward to pack up and can even stow away into a convenient, lightweight backpack, giving you one less item to check at the airport. It’s also safe for overnight sleep for ages zero to three years and boasts GreenGuard Gold nontoxic certification.

Cons: Its compact design leaves little room for play and exploration, making it ideal for newborns as a portable, temporary sleep pen or daily playpen.

Bottom Line: A fantastic space-saving option at home or on the go–made with high-quality materials that meet rigorous safety standards. This playpen offers peace of mind and convenience.

 

Best for Outdoors

Regalo On-The-Go My Play Portable Play Yard

Keep your baby safe from the elements but a part of the fun and the great outdoors with this shaded playpen.

Pros: Baby’s first beach day should be fun and stress-free, which is easier said than done when you’re stopping them from crawling away or eating a fistful of sand. This pen lets your baby safely be a part of the fun with a part-coverage canopy, breathable mesh walls, and UV protection. There is an included overhead of toys that your baby can enjoy while lying down.

Cons: The padding is thin.

Bottom Line: This is great for most families hoping to spend more time outdoors together, whether they’re on vacation or in the backyard. Best suited for camping, beach trips, or time outside, this is not meant to replace a bassinet or crib on the road.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re parenting from a studio, bringing your kiddo to work, or dropping the kids off at Grandma’s for the weekend, it’s great to have options for playtime and sleep. Playpens provide a contained area so the baby can explore, play, and relax without having to babyproof the whole neighborhood.

Madisen Swenson Madisen Swenson
Madisen is a freelance creative strategist and copywriter, specializing in beauty, travel, interior design, and food and wine. Her background is in operating the back-end of Amazon Seller Central for brands and on the front-end as a reviewer. This multi-faceted skill set allows her to use her analytical, creative-minded approach to marketing and products. Read Full Bio »
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