The Best Pack ‘n Play You Can Get in 2024 – Parenting Pod’s Top Playard List

Looking for the best pack-and-play for your baby? Here’s what you need to know and more.

If you ask a mother to give you the list of “absolute basic” baby products, a pack and play — also known as a playard, travel crib, or play yard—probably won’t be on it. Instead, you’ll hear things like a car seat, crib, and stroller or sling.

For many parents, though, the pack ‘n play is a lifesaver: It provides a safe place and contained space for baby to play or rest (or scream), away from tiny toys, sockets, and away from you while you take a much-needed bathroom break.

But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to sort through the rubble. Which pack ‘n play is the best deal? What features should you be looking for? Is it worth splurging on the newest model?

In this article, we’ll go through the top ten pack ‘n plays and examine the pros and cons of each, as well as basic safety rules.

Ready? Let’s go.

The 7 Best Pack ‘n Plays and Playards of 2024

#1. Joovy Premium Room All-In-One Playard (Premium Pick)

Joovy Premium Room All-In-One Playard
View on Amazon

Some parents don’t mind spending a little extra to get all the extras. If that’s you, then I have to introduce you to our “premium” pack and play from Joovy. The Joovy Premium Room playard comes with all the bells and whistles you could ever ask of your pack and play, including:

Removable Full-Size Infant Bassinet

One of the biggest perks is that this pack-and-play has a removable full size infant bassinet that can accommodate babies up to 15 pounds. This is perfect for when your baby is brand new, and you need a spot for them to get their much-needed baby sleep.

Changing Table Included

Your baby will need their diaper change – there’s no doubt about that. And while you might have a changing table in their bedroom, it’s nice to have other options. Well, that brings us to reason number two why this is the premium pick – there is a flip-away changing table with a 25-pound weight capacity. 

The changing table is designed with a vinyl top, ensuring easy and swift cleanup.

As a bonus, there’s also a deluxe organizer to keep all essentials at arm’s length away. (And that’s not including the separate storage compartment that can handle all the extras, from blankets to clothes and beyond!)

No-Scratch Wheels

While many of these pack-and-play options have wheels, the Joovy Premium Room Playard goes the extra mile to ensure your floors don’t get scuffed up. It’s conveniently crafted with no-scratch wheels, so you can push and pull this pack-and-play everywhere without worry.

Premier Safety

Every parent wants their child to be safe, whether at school, in a stroller, or in their pack-and-play! The Joovy Premium Room pack-and-play is designed with security in mind. The unit is ultra-wide to ensure stability and avoid tipping. 

Extra Accessories and Features Included

Last but not least, this Joovy Premium Room pack-and-play comes with two awesome extras to make your life easier: a convenient carrying bag and a waterproof cotton sheet! The travel bag makes it a breeze to take this portable crib and play unit everywhere, while the sheet is nice and cozy.

Drawbacks

The biggest complaint with this pack-and-play is that it’s a bit difficult to assemble and disassemble – however, not everyone had this problem, so it may be a user error.

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#2. Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard (Best Value)

Although many pack-and-play options are relatively expensive, that doesn’t mean you have to shell out a bunch of money on a pack-and-play – you’re already spending oodles on that new bundle of joy! Don’t worry, though – the Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard is an excellent choice that fits your budget. And although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it takes on a minimalist approach with all the basics you’ll want and need.

Easy to Fold and Store

One of the standout features of this Graco pack-and-play is just how easy it is to fold! It comes with automatically folding feet with a push of a button and a set of wheels, both designed to make folding, transporting, and storing a breeze. After all, you’ll likely want to tuck this thing away when guests come!

Durable Frame

When it comes to baby gear, it’s important to buy durable and long-lasting items because, well, kids. Luckily, the Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard are built tough, making it great for older children who may play a bit rougher or those who travel regularly and need a sturdy pack and play to depend on.

Airy Mesh on All Sides

Finally, we have to highlight the airy mesh on all sides of this Graco pack-and-play. This keeps your baby safe and gives you a clear visual of your precious babe while reading, playing, relaxing – anything!

Drawbacks

The Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard is an excellent buy for most parents, but the biggest drawback is that the bottom “mattress” is thin and hard. Many parents buy a pad to make it more comfortable, especially if they plan to use it for naptimes.

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#3. Guava Lotus Travel Crib with Lightweight Backpack Design (Best for Naps)

Guava Lotus Travel Crib with Lightweight Backpack Design
View on Amazon | $229.95

The Guava Lotus Adventure baby play yard is certainly geared more toward naptime than playtime, but is that really a bad thing? Parents who travel often or need a separate place for their little ones to rest will appreciate this pack-and-play tremendously. Here’s why.

GreenGuard Gold Certified

One look at this, and you might not think much of it. But let me tell you something – these three words mean a lot. You see, this pack-and-play is GreenGuard Gold Certified, which means that it contains no PVC, lead, formaldehyde, mercury, arsenic, phthalates, or other dangerous and harsh chemicals. Now, who wouldn’t want that for their child?

Travel-Ready at 15 Pounds

If you’re traveling, especially by train or plane, you might think you need to leave your pack-and-play behind. After all, those babies can be heavy (and so can your human babies, too!). Yet, the Guava Lotus Adventure is just 15 pounds and has impeccable foldability. You can carry it as a backpack using the airport-friendly backpack carrying case, leaving your hands free for other important activities.

Convenient Zippered Opening

As a mom who breastfed my babies to sleep and continued snuggling with them until they fell asleep for most naptimes, I know the importance of being able to be close to your babe. Well, this Guava Lotus Adventure pack-and-play comes with a zippered entrance. So, you can snuggle with your child until they fall asleep, then sneak away and close the zipper for their safety.

Durable, Yet Comfortable and Easy to Clean

This Guava Lotus Adventure pack-and-play has it all: comfortable, easy to clean, and durable. The mattress is crafted with thick and soft foam and covered with a removable and washable fabric and mesh cover, while the unit itself is constructed with high-quality aluminum. 

Drawbacks

Some customers had trouble disassembling this pack and play. The other issue is that no sheet is included and must be purchased separately. However, customers had more positive than negative things to say about the Guava Lotus Adventure.


#4. Delta Children Babygap Deluxe Play Yard (Cheapest Option)

Delta Children Babygap Deluxe Play Yard
View on Amazon | $148.79

Although it may seem like a great pack-and-play should cost an arm and a leg, that’s not exactly the case. There are many budget-friendly choices that will fit into your budget while still offering your child a great place to nap, play, or just hang out – and the Delta Children Babygap Deluxe Play Yard is one of them! Here’s why you’ll love it:

Removable Infant Bassinet and Changing Table

This may come as a surprise, but the Delta Children Babygap Deluxe Play Yard comes with a removable full-sized bassinet insert and a changing table. The full-size infant bassinet can handle babes up to 15 pounds, while the changing table accommodates up to 25 pounds. Both are crafted with a waterproof surface for easy clean-up.

To make things even better, there is also a removable toy arm with three adorable bears and a snap-on hanging storage space to store all of your essentials. 

Sustainable

Not all pack and plays are designed with sustainability in mind – the Babygap pack and play is. All the fabric used (aside from the mesh windows) is crafted from recycled water bottles. If you care about the environment, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate this move from Babygap!

Travel-Friendly

This Delta Children portable crib and play yard offers a compact fold that fits perfectly in the included travel bag for no-fuss travel. With two wheels, it’s also a cinch to roll around and position precisely where you need it. Did I mention that it’s easy to assemble and requires no tools, too? Really, it couldn’t be easier to work this portable. 

JPMA Certified

Safety first, right moms and dads? This pack-and-play is JPMA-certified, meaning it meets or exceeds all of the safety standards set forth by the CPSC and ASTM. Now that’s peace of mind you’ll appreciate!

Drawbacks

Customers had little to no negative things to say about this pack-and-play. The only potential “issue” is that the mattress could be thicker, but it’s still relatively comfortable for most kiddos.


#5. Baby Trend Retreat Twins Nursery Center (Best for Twins)

Baby Trend Retreat Twins Nursery Center
View on Amazon | $204.99

If you’ve been blessed with twins, you know you need to buy two of everything. That doesn’t mean you should buy two pack and plays, though. One is genuinely all you need if you’re strategic with your shopping and purchase a pack-and-play designed for twins, like the Baby Trend Retret Twins Nursery Center. Here’s why it made our list:

Two Removable Full-Size Bassinet Pieces

Obviously, the standout feature of this pack-and-play is that it comes with two removable bassinet units for your precious twins. But these full size infant bassinet units go the extra mile for comfort and convenience. Each full size infant bassinet unit have their own canopies, carry handles, mesh sides, and a toy bar with two adorable stuffed toys.

Convenient Changing Table and XL Storage

When diaper change time hits, you’ll be prepared with the Baby Trend Retreat Twins pack-and-play. The unit has a safe-surround changing table and an extra-large storage area to pack diapers and wipes. And although it comes with all of these amazing amenities, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know it’s a great travel crib complete with a travel bag for your convenience.

Electronic Music Center

As a bonus, this pack-and-play comes with a handy electronic music center that can be moved wherever you need it – onto the detachable bassinet or on the pack-and-play when your older babies are napping on the comfy mattress. The music center has lovely music, nature sounds, vibrations, and a nightlight.

Drawbacks

The biggest complaint is that the pad is not removable for washing, which makes cleanup a bit trickier. 


#6. (Best for Outdoor Use)

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While other pack-and-plays on this list are designed for indoor use, The Original POP ‘N GO Premium Outdoor and Indoor Baby Playpen are specifically designed for outdoor use. After all, sometimes you need to take your baby outside, but you need a safe spot for them to play and nap. Let’s take a closer look at what this play yard has to offer:

Crafted with UPF50+ UV Canopy

Your baby’s skin is very delicate. Many parents are worried about taking their little ones outside for fear of getting a sunburn. Well, aside from its sturdy frame and safety locks, this fantastic pack and play also have a canopy featuring UPF50+ to keep your baby safe – even when the sun is shinin’!

Incredibly Spacious

When playing outside, ensuring your little one has enough room to play is more important than ever! That’s why this pack-and-play is designed at a massive 59” by 48”, leaving lots of room for crawling, rolling, and playing under the sun! Your baby can even enjoy some relaxing baby sleep in the great outdoors.

Easy Setup in Any Terrain

Although this pack-and-play is larger than life, it’s an easy setup in seconds. It’s also curated for almost every terrain type, with six sand and six ground stakes. It comes with a convenient travel bag, too. Just make sure when it comes time for cleanup, you carefully remove sand and use household soap to keep it in tip-top condition.

Drawbacks

This pack-and-play does not come with the mat. It must be purchased separately, which is pretty inconvenient and adds another expense for parents.

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#7. XVISHX Baby Playpen (Largest Option for Playtime)

XVISHX Baby Playpen
View on Amazon | $59.99

A lot of the pack and plays on this list are designed more as a portable crib than a place for babies, especially older ones, to play. That’s why we decided to add this extra-large play yard for parents who want a spot for their older babies and tots to play and hang out. Let’s check out everything this play yard has to offer:

Colossal Size!

This baby playpen is a whopping 50 by 50 inches. This provides enough room for two toddlers to comfortably and safely play at any one time. Yet, as large as it is, parents have a 360-degree full vision to ensure their kiddos are safe and sound at all times.

Safe and Eco-Friendly

Many parents look for safety and eco-friendly features when buying baby products – and this play yard has both! These play yards are crafted with materials that are CPSC and ASTM-certified. The sturdy frame is BPA-free, too. 

Easy to Clean

Babies and kids are messy—there’s just no way around that! That’s why you’ll appreciate how easy it is to clean up this play yard. The fabric is made of high-quality, waterproof Oxford cloth. It quickly absorbs while preventing stains—a win-win situation. 

Drawbacks

Unlike a “regular” pack-and-play, this one is difficult to fold up and transport. It requires a relatively extensive assembly and disassembly, many saying it took up to 25 minutes.


Want to see how the tech specs compare?

Product LabelWeight
Joovy Premium Room All-in-One Pack and Play32.4 Pounds
Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard22.9 Pounds
Guava Lotus Travel Crib with Lightweight Backpack Design15 Pounds
Babygap Deluxe Play Yard28.6 Pounds
Baby Trend Retreat Twins Nursery Center40.95 Pounds
XVISHX Baby Playpen7.98 pounds

What else do I need to know?

A pack and play, also known as playpens or play yards, were named after Graco’s generation-old playpen line. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but there are two main types of pack and plays: basic, and deluxe.

Most pack and play portable play yards will provide you with a frame and mattress and provide your little one with a safe place to play. A “deluxe” model may have a bassinet, changing pad or care station, storage areas, push-button fold, battery-operated attachment offering white noise or gentle lullabies, mobile, and other features.

While many playpens have an attachment for babies to sleep in, and still more are used as a second crib for daytime naps, it’s important to remember that pack ‘n plays are not intended for sleep, and the safest place for a baby to sleep is a proper criba safe bassinet, or a bedside co-sleeper.

And though some pack ‘n plays are specifically marketed as “portable,” most of them have a folding mechanism and can be folded up to make them easy to move around or fit into the trunk of a car. Some pack ‘n plays also include a convenient travel and storage container bag.

Does size matter?

Not usually. But if you’re keen to move around your pack and play portable playard from the bedroom room to the living room without folding it, measure your doorways to be sure you choose a model that can fit through them.

Regardless, more important than the playpen’s size are its height and weight limits. Choose a pack ‘n play that will be able to serve your little one as long as possible.

Do I have to lock the playpen every time I open it?

Yes, you need to lock the playpen’s folding mechanism into the “open” position every single time you use it. Even if it’s just for five minutes and you’re about to fold it again to use in the living room. I know, it’s a pain to fold it up again, but if you want your pack ‘n play to be a safe space for your little one – this is what you have to do.

The folding mechanism – which usually involves pulling up the floor and pressing (or squeezing) a button or handle on the pack ‘n play’s sides – is crucial to the pack ‘n play’s stability. Releasing the floor mechanism and locking only two of the sides may cause the pack ‘n play to become unstable, or the sides to fall in on your little one.

What Add ons Should I Get for My Pack ‘n Play?

Storage attachments or built-in organizers:

Are they worth it? That depends.

Most pack ‘n plays have a small storage attachment, and most parents have some kind of closet or drawers where they store baby’s clothes, diapers, wipes, and other items.

But if you do choose a pack and play that offers storage, choose one with roomy storage spaces, where you’ll be able to place things like a large stack of diapers, a diaper changer pad, a package of wipes, and maybe some favorite books or toys.

Be sure that the organizer is out of baby’s reach and won’t tip the travel crib when used to capacity.

Newborn Bassinet Inserts:

Are they safe to use?

The most important thing to know about newborn bassinet attachments for pack ‘n plays is that you need to read the user manual. The other crucial safety warning is never to leave your little one in a playpen bassinet unattended.

While this may sound counterintuitive, it’s important to know that these travel crib bassinets are often easy to remove, and a fall to the floor or the floor of the pack and play can cause serious injuries or death.

If you do use an infant bassinet attachment, be sure to stop using it when your little one reaches the age, height, or weight limits, or when your baby starts to turn over or push up – whichever comes first.

Consumer Reports recommends choosing a model where the bassinet covers all or most of the top of the travel crib, and where the bassinet snaps into place instead of simply resting on the pack ‘n play’s frame.

Changing table attachments:

Unlike bassinets, changing tables are not usually used without adult supervision. However, before you use the travel crib diaper changer pad attachment, be sure to read the user manual and attach it properly, and never exceed the company’s height, weight, or age recommendations.

If you choose to use the attachment, remove it from the pack and play after each use. And, try to choose a model with an attachment which needs to be snapped, buttoned, clipped, or buckled into place, instead of one which simply rests on the pack ‘n play’s frame.

Also, if you want a changing table attachment, choose a model where the attachment includes safety straps, so your baby won’t fall off.

Canopies:

While canopies for pack ‘n plays can be nice add ons, Consumer Reports suggests that they are an unnecessary expense, since young babies should not be placed in direct sunlight, due to the risk of overheating – whether while under the canopy or blinking in sunlight.

Mattresses:

All of the pack ‘n plays which say “yes” in the mattress column above come with a mattress from the manufacturer. However, this mattress is usually thin and firm, not soft and comfortable.

Many parents choose to purchase an additional mattress out of concern for baby’s comfort. However, this is not recommended: A flat, firm surface is the safest for babies. Additional mattresses, especially “comfortable” mattresses, can cause entrapment and strangulation.

If your pack ‘n play’s mattress attaches to the bottom of the playpen – attach it. It’s true, it can sometimes be difficult to get the sheet on and to reattach the mattress after you clean the crumbs underneath it. But it’s also the gold standard: Mattresses that are attached to the playpen floor are less likely to allow babies to become trapped beneath them, or between the mattress and side of the playpen.

If you do need to purchase a mattress, aim for a mattress that fits perfectly with no gaps, and if possible, purchase it from the playpen’s manufacturer instead of from another company.

Convenient extra features

You might consider looking for extra features that are convenient or fun.

For example, a portable crib with an accompanying travel bag will make transporting much easier, whether you’re going to a grandparents house or across the country. You may also appreciate a zip off mattress cover for simple clean-up, while your precious babe will love having a toy bar to occupy them.

What Safety Issues Should I Be Aware Of?

Consumer Reports recommends choosing a pack ‘n play with a floor that is no more than 1 inch thick, and which has slots on the playpen’s bottom for securing the mattress.

The site also recommends not using a sheet, since pack ‘n play mattresses can usually be cleaned. For those who do want a sheet, Consumer Reports recommends using only a sheet made specifically for the chosen playpen model.

Other recommendations from Consumer Reports include:

Don’t buy a used pack ‘n play, since safety guidelines and standards have changed and older models may not be up to standard. Like car seats and many other baby items, these absolutely must be purchased new.

Be sure to choose a model which is JPMA-certified. Again. For safety reasons.

Replace your pack ‘n play at the first sign of damage. Don’t try to repair the damage yourself, since you may create more hazards than you remove.

Be sure to remove mobiles, stackable objects, and large toys from the pack ‘n play once your baby begins standing up. This is because the strings on mobiles can present a strangulation hazard, and large toys (or piles of laundry) can offer babies that extra boost of height necessary to careen out of the playpen and head-first onto the floor.

As with even the best trampoline brands, car seatsstrollers and other baby products, do not use a pack ‘n play intended for one baby to hold two or more babies.

Insect netting and other tent-like contraptions can present a strangulation hazard and should be avoided.

Always remove your baby before moving the playpen, and do not leave your baby unattended.

If your pack ‘n play gets sandy, be sure to thoroughly remove all sand before closing it up, since sand can damage the rail and folding mechanisms.

What About Traveling with a Pack ‘n Play?

If you’re planning on moving your playpen from bedroom room to living room, or you’d like to bring it with you on trips, be sure to select a model that’s easy to transport.

Check both the weight of the playpen and its dimensions when folded, and try to find a model with at least one set of wheels. Also check that an included carrying bag has suitable handles: You’ll want at least two large handles sewn along the length of the carrying bag, and if possible, another handle or two at the end(s).

If you purchase a “deluxe” model, choose one with a bag that can hold all parts, not just the main portable play yard.

The bottom line?

The Joovy Premium Room All-in-One Pack and Play is, without a doubt, the premier pick when it comes to a pack and play/travel crib. It comes with all the features you could ever dream of, including a travel bag, full size infant bassinet that’s fully removable, changing table, and no scratch wheels.

For those looking for a great price and product, the Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard is the ultimate way to go! This convenient pick is definitely made for travel thanks to its ease of breaking down and setup. It’s one of the best pack and play/portable cribs you can choose!

Parents looking for one of the best portable cribs for naptime and playtime will enjoy the Guava Lotus Travel Crib with Lightweight Backpack Design. It weighs just 15 pounds, making it a cinch to move to Grandma’s house or across the country.

Although the Babygap Deluxe Play Yard is our budget-friendly option, it doesn’t slack on amenities. This portable crib/play space comes with a removable full-size bassinet, diaper storage, a toy bar with soft toys hanging, and a changing table. What more could you want for a low price?

Parents of twins will love the convenience of the Baby Trend Retreat Twins Nursery Center. This good pack and play comes with two removable bassinet units and an extra-large storage area for parents. It’s a great travel crib, too, as it comes with a handy travel bag and a surprising compact fold.

For parents seeking a play yard that can be taken outside, The Original POP ‘N GO Premium Outdoor and Indoor Baby Playpen is just what you’re looking for! It’s huge and comes with a UPF50+ UV canopy to keep baby safe in sunny conditions. It’s offers a hassle-free set up on almost any terrain and travel bag, too.

If you need a play yard that’s big enough to accommodate your busy toddler(s), the XVISHX Baby Playpen is the perfect choice! These play yards are big, sturdy, and easy to clean – a win for all parents!

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