Best Baby Pack n Plays For Newborn to Infant Living

Often used as a safe, temporary playpen or a portable place to sleep, pack and plays come in handy for parents with new babies or small infants. We’ve done our research and consulted the experts at Consumer Reports, advice from experienced moms, pediatrician recommendations, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to give you the safest, tried-and-tested best pack and play suggestions for your baby.

If you are expecting a new baby, then a pack n play, or playard, is definitely going to be on your list of baby gear must-buys. Pack and plays are an excellent product that helps out parents a lot when it comes to taking care of your family’s new addition. With so many models offering so many features available on the market today, finding a pack and play to best suit your needs can be challenging. We’ve assembled this guide and review to help you when you’re shopping for a pack n play. We’ll help you find a safe, top-rated, and affordable pack and play that will be perfect for you and your baby’s needs.

If you’re looking for safe, top-rated, and affordable pack and plays, you’re at the right place. With so many options available, we want to make it easy for parents like you to pick the perfect product. After our research, testing, and consulting, we’ve hand-picked the following ten pack and plays that we believe are the best on the market for traveling and everyday use.

Fisher-price Ultra Lite Day and Night Play Yard

The Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard finds the perfect balance between useful features and portability. The unit is an inclined sleeper, changing station, and playard all in one while still only weighing 15 pounds. It gives a safe and comfortable place for babies to do the three of the things they do the most: sleep, play, and get diaper changes. It folds up and transports easily with a carrying handle.

Infants can nap and play all day in the comfortably inclined sleeper. The supportive seat back, cushioned head support, and three-point harness system keep your baby comfortable and safe. Many babies prefer to and sleep best in an inclined position, so you might even see improved sleeping with this unit. The sleeper is removable, and the pad and head support are machine washable, so they stay fresh and clean for your baby.

Once the sleeper is removed, the unit becomes a cozy and safe place with plenty of room for older babies and toddlers to rest and play. You can use any standard-size crib sheet on the padded platform, and the playard rests firmly on the floor. The playard features a built-in storage pocket that holds the portable changing station diaper clutch for quick and easy diaper changes no matter what room you’re in. The diaper clutch opens to a wipeable changing pad.

What we liked

  • Traveling made easy
  • Removable and machine-washable pad
  • Portable changing allows storing baby wipes
  • Comfortable padded play yard mat
  • Inclined sleeper, changing station and playard in one
  • Carry bag
  • Included bassinet offers more versatility
  • Has three-point restraint to ensure that the baby is secure when sleeping
  • Inclined sleeper, changing station and playard all-in-one
  • Only 15 lbs–half the weight of other portable play yards
  • Removable inclined sleeper with machine-washable pad and head support
  • Mobile changing station diaper clutch with built –in wipes container
  • Comfortable padded play yard mat
  • Easy to assemble
  • Portable, easy to fold
  • Carry bag for easy, hands-free carry and storage

What we didn’t like

  • Not as sturdy as a cradle
  • Pad needs more cushion

Graco Pack ‘n Play Silhouette Playard, Farrow

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Silhouette Playard in the Farrow design is a beautiful playard with soft colors and contoured lines that make it look almost like a real crib and compliment your home decor.

Changing diapers is super convenient with the posture-friendly, pivoting changing table. It integrates an organizer that holds your baby’s basics like wipes and diapers to make diaper changes quick and hassle-free. In fact, the unit features a built-in wipes case and diaper stacker, so you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.

The pack and play includes an enhanced electronics module to keep your baby calmed and entertained. It provides soothing vibrations, five classical songs, five relaxing nature sounds, convenient look light, and an auto shut-off timer.

Raise and lower the cozy quilted mattress pad to give your baby a comfortable and safe spot to nap that’ll work from newborn to toddler ages. It features a removable canopy to keep the light of your baby’s eyes while they are resting.

Parents praise this unit for its sturdy construction and the fact that it has plenty of room for children to grow and play.

What we liked

  • Easy to clean
  • Uses soap and water to clean
  • Carry bag soaks in lukewarm water
  • Soft contoured lines
  • Changing table included
  • Baby basics organizer
  • Quilted mattress
  • Convenient for carrying
  • Cushioned rim changer
  • Slumber dome canopy
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • High changing table
  • Easy to set up
  • Calming colors

What we didn’t like

  • It is a little more expensive than some others
  • The colors are not as vibrant
  • The quilted mattress can be an issue for some

Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard

One of the best-reviewed pack and plays of 2016 is the Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard. It’s also on the higher end of the price range, but after reading about all of the great features of this stylish playard, I’m sure you’ll understand why.

The playard is ultra-portable thanks to weighing in at only 13 pounds. Adding to the portability is the fact that it fits in a backpack. You can even bring it on a plane as a carry-on. The Lotus playard assembles and disassembles in about a minute, and once you get the hang of it, you can probably do it even quicker. Lotus boasts that it can be assembled in as little as 15 seconds. I believe it’s the ideal playard and worth every penny for families who travel frequently. Its size makes it great for camping or picnics, too.

Babies will feel comfortable with the nicely padded mattress and soft fabrics. Ease your mind knowing that it is free of harmful chemicals and is well-constructed to keep your baby safe. The sides are made of breathable ClearView mesh, so you can always have a clear view of your baby. One side zippers down, making it a fun fort and play area for bigger babies and toddlers. The zippered side also makes it convenient to lay down a sleeping infant without having to lean over the sides.

What we liked

  • Stylish design
  • Easy to use
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Rocking or stationary positions
  • Doesn’t require two-hands to walk around
  • The side zipper does lock
  • Set-up in 15-seconds
  • Easy to travel
  • Soft-textured fabrics
  • It is safe for everyone
  • Breathable ClearView Mesh
  • Mesh reaches down to the cushion
  • Exceeds safety standards
  • Non-toxic parts

What we didn’t like

  • Longer and narrower playard
  • Expensive
  • Velcro straps for the mattress

Chicco Lullaby Baby, Rainfall

The Chicco Lullaby Baby playard offers all of the essential features you need to create a cozy environment for your baby and a convenient care station for yourself. The all-in-one nursery center easily stores in the included carry bag, including all of the added accessories, which makes it ideal for travel.

The Lullaby Baby playard has three configurations for the three unique stages of use from newborn to infant to toddler. The quilted, angled infant bassinet can be installed in seconds, and it folds up compactly for storage. It’s perfect for babies from birth up to 15 pounds. For the infant stage, the raised bassinet features a deluxe quilted mattress to give your baby a comfortable place to rest and play. The extra-large playard area is perfect for toddlers up to 30 pounds to rest or play at home or away.

The detachable changer simply snaps on and off, and you’ll have everything you need for diaper changes in one spot with the side storage pockets. Use the changer for babies up to 25 pounds.

Keep your playard clean thanks to the EZ Care Zip and Wash mattress pad. Just throw it in the washing machine and zip back over the floor boards when it is clean.

What we liked

  • One of the biggest cons for me was the fact that the play yard is slightly longer than a standard play yard mattress, which leaves a gap for sleeping children.
  • Speaking of the mattress, it’s not the most comfortable. It seems like a hard piece of wood or cardboard covered in fabric.
  • The play yard is a little heavier than I was expecting. I appreciate that it’s well-made and sturdy, but it it’s a little unwieldy for frequent traveling.
  • The attached mobile has some cute figurines that my little one has loved to watch.
  • The mesh is great quality and will hold up well to the abuse these can take from rambunctious toddlers.
  • The mattress pad zips off for frequent cleanings.

What we didn’t like

  • One of the biggest cons for me was the fact that the play yard is slightly longer than a standard play yard mattress, which leaves a gap for sleeping children.
  • The play yard is a little heavier than I was expecting. I appreciate that it’s well-made and sturdy, but it it’s a little unwieldy for frequent traveling.

BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light, Silver

Similar to the Lotus playard, the BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light is ultra-stylish, lightweight, and compact. It only weighs 13 pounds, and the smart design of the carrying bag allows you to easily carry and store it in baggage spaces, so traveling with it is a breeze.

The mattress is comfortable, so your baby will rest well in this playard. All of the sides are made of soft and airy mesh, which allows you to keep a close eye on your child for added safety, and they won’t get too hot inside of the playard. Parents know that babies and toddlers can be messy, and BABYBJORN addresses this fact by using removable and machine-washable textiles that are free of any harmful chemicals or allergens.

You can assemble and disassemble it in about 30 seconds in one simple movement. There are no loose parts to attach, and the legs fold and unfold automatically. Once you put the mattress in and secure it using the hook-and-loop attachments, you have a sturdy and comfortable playard that’s perfect to use both at home and on the road. Unlike some pack and plays that sit raised off the ground, the BABYBJORN Travel Crib sits on a built-in rigid base for added stability.

What we liked

  • The pad in the bottom is thicker than those in a Pack N Play.
  • It is easy to get in and out of the truck of the car.
  • The sides are angled inward which makes the crib more stable.
  • It is really easy and fast to set up and take down.
  • Simple to set up and fold up
  • Easy to transport to other locations as it is only 13 pounds.
  • The sides are soft and made of airy mesh fabric.
  • The mattress cover and crib fabric are easily removed and are machine washable.
  • The fabrics used are free from allergenic and harmful substances.

What we didn’t like

  • This product boasts of a “soft and comfy mattress” so I would double check and make sure it’s firm enough for a small infant.
  • One reviewer on Amazon noted that it is too large to carry on to a plane.

Joovy Room2 Portable Playard

Available in black, orange, purple, and red, the Joovy Room2 Portable Playard is 39” x 39”, which gives your child 10 square feet of play and nap space to utilize. Joovy claims this is about 50% more space than traditional pack and plays. The modern and sleek design fits in seamlessly with contemporary and modern home decor.

The sturdy steel construction means it is durable in all types of conditions, both indoors and outdoors, but it also means it is one of the heavier options at about 32 pounds. Joovy includes this as a disclaimer stating that although it is portable, its main purpose is to be sturdy, strong, and big.

The breathable mesh sides help keep a clear line of visibility and a cool environment for your baby to nap and play comfortably. The mattress is sturdy and well-made for safe sleeping. Unlike many of the available options, the Joovy Room2 Portable Playard includes a super-soft, 100% organic fitted sheet. It also has a durable nylon carrying bag for travel purposes.

Thanks to the generous size, you’ll get plenty of use out of this pack and play before your toddler outgrows it. It is suitable for children up to 35”.

What we liked

  • The Joovy Room2 gives your baby 10 square feet of play and nap space to use, which is about 50% more than traditional pack and plays.
  • It’s available in four colors, and the sleek design is perfect for contemporary and modern home decor.
  • The frame is made of steel, so it is an ultra-durable playard.
  • Total product weight is about 32 pounds.
  • Has breathable mesh sides for a cool environment and a clear line of sight to your baby.
  • Includes a soft, 100% organic cotton fitted sheet for the mattress.
  • Comes with ultra-durable nylon carrying bag for traveling.

What we didn’t like

  • While it is portable, it is a bit heavier than other playards due to its steel construction.
  • It does take a few tries to learn how to fold it up for travel.

Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat

Sometimes, deluxe or premium pack and plays add features that you have to pay for but end up not using very often. The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat delivers deluxe features and comforts that you’ll get plenty of use out of.

The Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat is designed to hold your baby snugly and safely in high-quality, soft fabric. Graco thought of nearly everything with the rocking seat as it includes convenient carrying handles so you can easily bring your baby with you around the house. Also, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the rocking seat since it features built-in gentle vibration that is a terrific calming feature that babies love. As a parent, I believe anything that gives you some hands-free time and keeps your baby happy is a worthwhile feature.

The playard transitions with your baby. Infants can start in the rocking seat for a cozy and safe place to rest. As your infant grows, transfer her to the cozy playard bassinet. Then, your toddler will have a safe place to play and rest in the playard. It’s truly design for years of use, which is an excellent feature for baby products to have.

What we liked

  • Designed to grow with baby. The Pack ‘n Play lasts until about 35 inches tall. The rocking seat and bassinet are safe for children up to 15 pounds, the changing table holds babies up to 25 pounds, and the playard is spacious and comfortable
  • Mesh sides allow parents to keep an eye on their playing children
  • Includes a storage bag for transportation
  • The Graco Pack ‘n Play is an all-in-one nursery center, ideal for traveling, a downstairs living room, or at a grandparent or caregiver’s house.
  • Details like the wipe-clean fabrics, the battery-powered vibration packs, and the storage tray make life simpler for parents and caretakers.
  • Perfect for babies and toddlers of all sizes. From the rocking seat for babies under 15 pounds who aren’t yet able to roll over to the bassinet, which gives babies up to 15 pounds more space for rolling and scooting, to the playard, where children can nap and play, this unit will last for years.

What we didn’t like

  • At almost 33 pounds, this is a heavier playard system, making portability slightly more challenging
  • he shape of the playard, while beautifully curved, keeps it from fitting through many standard-sized doorways
  • The attachments and accessories do not fit in the storage bag

Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer

Two features of a playard that, while not necessary, are incredibly helpful are changing tables and nappers. Usually, when a unit offers these features, they are two separate pieces. With this playard, Graco combines both features into a single, easy-to-use piece that you will appreciate. Since you don’t have two pieces for each use, you’ll end up with a lighter playard, which makes it ideal for traveling with your baby.

All you need to do to switch from one function to another is flip the attachment over. When it comes to baby supplies, anything that saves time and space is a winner in my book. Either way you use it, the piece attaches securely, so you never have to worry about your baby’s safety while using it. When you’re done using it, simply fold it out of the way.

Graco made sure to use high-quality materials for this pack and play. The sturdy frame should last you several years and hold up under heavy use. The fabric on the napper station is soft to cuddle your baby, and the changer station features wipe-clean fabrics that resist mess and staining. The playard also features a removable toy bar with soft toys for extra visual interest for your baby.

Suitable for children from newborn up to 35” tall, this pack and play will transition seamlessly through your child’s early years.

What we liked

  • One-handed flip from napper to changer, which is secured to the frame
  • Neutral colors mean this Pack ‘n Play matches most decor
  • Like other Graco Pack ‘n Play playards, this collapses quickly and comes with a carrying bag
  • Innovative reversible napper and changer
  • Easy to switch between napper and changer
  • Wipe-clean fabrics
  • Adorable, removable toy bar
  • Bassinet option included
  • Napper and bassinet for babies weighing less than 15 pounds
  • Single button to push and close playard
  • Carrying bag
  • Minimal assembly
  • Sturdy metal tubing
  • Portable
  • Wipe-clean fabrics on the changing table
  • Playard is spacious, durable, and will last until a child is 35 inches tall

What we didn’t like

  • Changing table is relatively low, which might make it difficult to reach.for diaper changes
  • Moving from room to room is not easy due to the weight and design of this Pack ‘N Play
  • Complicated, hard to follow assembly instructions

Summer Infant Grow with Me Playard and Changer, Swingin’ Safari

Designed to grow with your baby from birth up to 30 pounds, and give you all of the features you want in one unit, the Summer Infant Grow with Me Playard and Changer comes in an adorable safari design that coordinates with the other Swingin’ Safari pieces in the Summer Infant line.

The playard can be used as a newborn bassinet, infant changer, and full-sized playard. As a bassinet, your baby will rest comfortably on the mattress or be entertained by the removable toy bar that features three soft toys. For added soothing or entertainment purposes, you can use the removable music module. It plays soothing nature and womb sounds as well as soft melodies.

Diaper changes get a whole lot easier with the infant changer that folds aside when it’s not in use. The parent assist tray has plenty of storage for diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials. The surface is easy-to-clean, making it ideal for baby diaper changes.

Once you have a toddler that needs a safe place to play, the unit converts to a full-sized playard with plenty of space for your child. Move the playard from room to room easily with the wheels. Lock the wheels for added security when they’re not in use.

What we liked

  • Adorable safari pattern
  • Toy bar with three removable stuffed animals
  • Full-size bassinet for babies up to 15 pounds
  • Fold-over changer for babies up to 25 pounds
  • Parent assist tray for storing diapers, wipes, extra outfits and more
  • Spacious playard for children up to 30 pounds
  • Travel bag
  • Battery-operated music feature with classic melodies, nature and womb sounds, volume variations, and 20-minute timer
  • Firm and flat playard mattress ideal for sleeping babies
  • Changing table is the ideal height for parents, grandparents, and caretakers to comfortably change diapers
  • Detachable music attachment plays songs, nature sounds, and womb sounds to entertain baby
  • Sturdy steel and plastic frame to support sleeping infants and energetic toddlers

What we didn’t like

  • Can be difficult to close and slide into carrying bag
  • Doesn’t include detailed instructions for assembly
  • Upper weight limit of 30 pounds can be restricting for older toddlers who still need a place to play

Safety 1st Prelude Play Yard, Sail Away

The Safety 1st Prelude Play Yard is full of features that make life easier for you and more enjoyable for your baby. The Sail Away design features an adorable whale and stripe motif in shades of blue and green, and it comes with a toy arch that has cute, seashore-themed soft toys to match.

Your baby will sleep soundly in the comfortable bassinet lined with soft and cozy fabric. The bassinet features easy snap-on bars. When your baby is ready to play, they’ll have plenty of space in the spacious play yard area surrounded by breathable mesh.

Safety 1st makes changing dirty diapers on this pack and play easy with an elevated changing table and convenient accessory tray. Mesh baskets hold large wipes containers and diapers, so you have everything you need where you need it.

Just like its name suggests, Safety 1st focuses on safety with an innovative, visible secure tech lock system that cues to lock and unlock latches for easy set-up and storage. The unit folds up to fit in the on-the-go carry back, and the wheels make for incredibly easy portability.

What we liked

  • Comfortable Bassinet
  • Snap on Bars
  • Spacious Play Yard
  • Elevated Changing Table
  • Convenient Accessory Table
  • Convenient Accessory Tray
  • Mesh Baskets
  • Large Wipe Container
  • Attached Toys for Stimulation
  • Seashore Themed
  • Innovative Design
  • Visible Secure Tech Lock System
  • Unlock Latches
  • Easy to Setup and Breakdown
  • Stop or Go Wheels
  • On the Go Carry Bag
  • Great for Sleep and Play
  • Since the Safety First Prelude Play Yard is great for both sleep and play, it is great for parents who cannot afford multiple products for their child.
  • To save you time for more important parenting tasks, the Safety First Prelude Play Yard is extremely easy to setup and breakdown.
  • The Safety First Prelude Play Yard has a ton of storage capabilities, which makes it even more convenient.

What we didn’t like

  • While the Safety First Prelude Play Yard is great for smaller babies, those approaching 1 year or more may need more space.
  • Given its high price tag, the Safety First Prelude Play Yard may be more of an investment than many parents may want to make.

How to Choose the Best Pack and Play

Not all pack and plays are created equal or will meet everyone’s specific needs. Here are some of the top things to consider when you’re shopping for a best pack and play.

1. Extra Features

Pack and plays range from the most basic models to high-end premium products loaded with features. If you’re just looking for a temporary sleeping place for your baby or a travel crib, a basic model is probably all you need. However, if you’re using the pack and play for a newborn, you might want to go a step up and choose one with an adjustable mattress. This feature will make it easier for you to pick up and lay down your baby. Some other features that more premium models include are:

  • Napping station or bassinet
  • Changing station
  • Mobile and other toys

Keep in mind that the more features the pack and play has, the more expensive it probably it.

2. Portability

Pack and plays are meant to be easily transported, but some do a better job of that than others. Many roll on wheels, and when they’re folded up, they wrap up in their own totes, or sometimes the mattress doubles as the tote. Models that fit in their travel bag with the wheels expose are much easier to move through busy places like an airport or pull behind you when your hands are otherwise full than styles that require you to carry them. Size and weight are considerations when it comes to portability. The basic models will be easier and lighter to transport than the premium models that are loaded with extras.

3. Foldability

If you plan on traveling often with your baby, the ease of foldability and reassembly is definitely something to take into consideration. Most models feature buttons to push to collapse the unit, and the sidebars lock back into place for reassembly. If you can test out models before you purchase them, you’ll want to be sure that the buttons are easy enough to push that you won’t have to struggle with them, but not so easy that a child could accidentally fold the unit. Some models feature feet and wheels that also fold in, which make them even more compact.

4. Wheels or Casters

A pair of wheels or swivel casters on one end of the pack and play will make the unit easier to move and transport. To ensure safety, make sure the wheels lock. Some designs can still roll after they’re folded up, which makes traveling a breeze and is a definite plus if you plan on using your pack and play for trips or weekends at Grandma’s house.

5. Extra Storage

Some pack and plays feature storage for toys and other baby items in the form of:

  • Zippered side pockets
  • Fabric shelves
  • Hook-on fabric storage pouches
  • Clip-on organizer bags

While storage features aren’t a necessity, they can be very helpful if you plan on using your pack and play around the house as they can save you trips to the nursery every time you need to change a diaper. If you want storage, look for options that are big enough to hold the things you need. Also, for safety, make sure that the storage features are on the outside of the pack and play out of your baby’s reach.

6. Safety

As of February 2013, pack and plays must meet these new safety guidelines according to the CPSC:

  • Side rails don’t form a sharp V to avoid strangulation
  • Strong corner brackets that prevent sharp-edged cracks and rail collapse
  • Sturdier mattress attachments on the pack and play’s floor to prevent injuries

Final Verdict

The features and portability that pack and plays provide make them one of the top baby gear items amongst many parents. Since pediatricians recommend that the best safe-sleeping practice for your newborn is to be in the same room as you, but not in the same bed, playards also make the perfect temporary crib for infants. All of the options we’ve reviewed provide safe and comfortable places for your baby to sleep and play.

Depending on the features you desire and your intended use, we believe that you’ll be happy with any of the pack and plays we’ve reviewed, and you and your child will enjoy the plentiful use you’ll get out of it.