The Best Pack ‘n Play You Can Get in 2020 – Parenting Pod’s Top Playard List

Looking for a playard 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 equipment, a playard – commonly known as a Pack ‘n Play – probably won’t be on it. Instead, you’ll hear things like car seat, crib, and stroller or sling.

For many parents, though, the playard is a lifesaver: It provides a safe, 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 playard 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.

Top 10 Best Pack-‘n-Plays

1. Graco Pack n Play Newborn Seat DLX Playard (Best Overall)

Graco Pack n Play

Deluxe playard

Graco’s Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX playard is the company’s deluxe model, upgrading Graco’s traditional folding mechanism to an easier, push-button version. The playpen’s design, while maintaining the trademark sturdiness, has been made luxurious, both in line and fabric.

The good: Graco’s Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX playard is truly deluxe, offering a baby seat complete with a canopy, full-size bassinet, entertainment center, and a one-year warranty.

The not-so-good: The storage shelves need to be removed in order for the unit to be used as a full-size playard, and the fabric isn’t machine-washable. Also, the extras don’t fit in the carry bag – only the playard itself and the mattress do.

The best: The Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX’s changing pad can hold babies up to 30 lbs, and the storage shelves are removable, but can be zippered from the outside to prevent babies from getting into them.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a sturdy yet deluxe playard, with lots of extras and a decent warranty, the Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX is the one for you.

Pros:
* easy fold and unfold
* one-year warranty
* electronic entertainment center
* includes full-size bassinet
* includes changing pad
* includes newborn seat
* zippered and removable storage shelves

Cons:
* on the expensive side
* not machine-washable

Click here to see today's price for the Graco Pack n Play on Amazon

 


2. Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard (Most Space, Longest Warranty)

New Room2 Portable Playard

Basic playard

A large basic playard, Joovy’s New Room2 manages to be super-basic yet super-attractive, with its extra space, compact fold, and extra-long warranty.

Joovy asks that you discontinue use of the playard when your baby is able to climb out – even if he hasn’t reached the height limit yet.

The good: Joovy’s New Room2 Portable Playard has a two-year warranty – significantly longer than that of their main competitors.

The not-so-good: While there’s an option to add bassinets, they have to be purchased separately. Also, the fabric on this playard isn’t machine-washable.

The best: The New Room 2 comes with a waterproof cotton sheet, and the playard itself is 50% larger than standard, offering extra space for a singleton toddler as well as twins.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a large playard with a long warranty, and you don’t need any extras, Joovy’s New Room2 is the playard for you.

Pros:
* comes with included waterproof cotton sheet
* included carrying case
* extra-large with over 10 square feet of play space
* two-year warranty
* compact fold
* option to add bassinets (sold separately)
* heavy duty mattress

Cons:
* not machine-washable
* doesn’t have a one-hand fold

Click here to see today's price for the New Room2 Portable Playard on Amazon

 


3. Graco Pack and Play On the Go (Basic With Bassinet)

Basic playard

A sturdy basic playard – the simpler sibling of the Pack ‘n Play DLX – Graco’s Pack n Play On the Go includes a toy bar with soft toys, a full-size bassinet, a carry bag, and a firm mattress – everything you need in a playard for home or travel.

The good: With a one-year warranty and a sturdy design, the Pack ‘n Play On the Go lets parents relax and feel secure that they’re making a good purchase.

The not-so-good: There aren’t any extras, the fabric isn’t machine-washable, and this playard has a two-step fold, not a one-hand fold.

The best: The “Nest” bassinet is full-size and can hold babies weighing up to 15 lbs.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a simple, basic playard with a full-size bassinet and a good warranty, that won’t cost a fortune, Graco’s Pack ‘n Play On the Go is the one for you.

Pros:

* one-year warranty
* relatively low price
* toy bar with toys
* compact fold
* carry bag
* bassinet

Cons:
* not machine-washable

Click here to see today’s price for the Graco’s Pack n Play on Amazon

 


4. Chicco FastAsleep (Machine Washable Fabric)

Chicco FastAsleep

Basic playard

An easy-to-use standard playard, Chicco’s FastAsleep offers parents basic playard that includes both a bassinet and changing pad. Simple to fold and unfold, the FastAsleep comes with its own carry case for easy storage.

The good: With its included carry bag and mattress, and 2-in-1 bassinet and changing pad, Chicco’s FastAsleep is a solid playard perfect for parents who want convenience don’t want tons of extras.

The not-so-good: There’s no information on the warranty, and the bassinet can only be used for babies up to 15 lbs. Also, some parents have complained that it doesn’t fold compactly.

The best: The FastAsleep’s fabrics can unzip and be tossed into the washing machine for easy cleaning, and the changing table has a high, 30-lbs weight limit.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a sturdy playard with a changing pad that can be used long-term and is easy to pop open, Chicco’s FastAsleep is the one for you.

Pros:
* changing table
* bassinet
* easy setup
* changing table has high weight limit
* high weight limit
* machine-washable fabric
* carry bag included

Cons:
* not a lot of storage space
* no information on warranty

Click here to see today's price for the Chicco FastAsleep on Amazon

 


5. Baby Trend Twin Nursery Center (Best Value)

Twin Nursery Center

Deluxe playard

A “deluxe” playard, Baby Trend’s Twin Nursery Center offers parents of twins a sleep solution, organizer, and playard – all in one, and for a reasonable price. That said, the playard itself isn’t larger than a regular playard.

The good: Baby Trend’s Twin Nursery Center playard has everything you need for two babies: Two bassinets with canopies, a large main playpen, a parent organizer, a flip-out changing table, and two entertainment centers.

The not-so-good: Though the playard is marketed for two babies, one customer said she was told by a company representative that the unit is not designed to support two babies in the bassinet – only one bassinet should be placed on the playard at a time, if the babies are in the bassinets. In addition to that – which the customer called “false advertising” – the product only has a six-month warranty.

The best: This playard comes with two bassinets, complete with canopies and mesh sides, plus two “entertainment centers” which offer a nightlight, vibration, and soft music.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a playard and bassinets for your twins, this is the all-in-one product for you.

Pros:
* two bassinets with canopies
* parent organizer
* two entertainment centers
* flip-out changing table
* reasonable price

Cons:
* short warranty (6 months)
* bassinet frame can only support one bassinet at a time

Click here to see today's price for the Twin Nursery Center on Amazon

 


6. Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard (Super-Deluxe)

Lullaby Dream Playard

Deluxe playard

A super-deluxe playard, Chicco’s Lullaby Dream has everything you’d want to see in a playpen, from an included napper and changing pad to storage and electronic entertainment center that doubles as a bar for mobiles.

The good: The Lullaby Dream has a compact fold and an included carrying bag, in addition to the napper, changing pad, and entertainment center.

The not-so-good: There’s no information on this playard’s warranty, and it’s also relatively heavy and bulky.

The best: Both the changing pad and the mattress cover can be unzipped and tossed in the washing machine.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a deluxe playard and are willing to spend a bit extra, Chicco’s Lullaby Dream is the one for you.

Pros:
* washable mattress cover and changing pad
* includes bassinet
* includes napper
* comes with electronic entertainment center
* compact fold
* includes organizer

Cons:
* not the cheapest
* relatively heavy and bulky
* no information on the warranty

Click here to see today's price for the Lullaby Dream Playard on Amazon

 


7. Cosco Funsport Playard (Best for Budget)

Cosco Funsport Playard

Basic playard

A super-duper-basic playard, Cosco’s Funsport gives you exactly what it promises: a playard. This no-frills playard has the standard two wheels, an easy folding mechanism (it’s not clear if it unfolds easily), and an included carry bag.

The good: Cosco’s Funsport has a compact fold and included carry bag, and it comes with a mattress included.

The not-so-good: While Cosco gives a height limit for using the playard, it doesn’t give a weight limit. Also, the fabric isn’t machine-washable.

The best: The Funsport sports a low price tag and a one-year warranty.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a basic, no-frills playard that’s lightweight and won’t break the bank, Cosco’s Funsport is the playard for you.

Pros:
* good price
* compact fold
* included carry bag
* included mattress
* lightweight

Cons:
* no extras
* not machine-washable
* height limit but no weight limit

Click here to see today's price for the Cosco Funsport Playard on Amazon

 


8. Delta Square Playard (Unique Shape, Mattress Doubles as Playmat)

Delta Square Playard

Basic Playard

True to its name, Delta’s Square Playard breaks the unwritten “rule” that a playard is a rectangle. With two animal designs – jungle and safari – this playard has a built-in decoration that will brighten up any room.

The good: Delta’s Square playard comes with its own carry case and the mesh sides have colorful pictures of animals.

The not-so-good: There’s no information on what the original warranty is, and the optional two-year extended warranty costs extra. Also, its fabric isn’t machine-washable.

The best: The Delta Square’s included mattress can double as a fun and colorful playmat for tummy time.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a basic playpen but want kid-friendly designs, or if you want a playpen that can fit in that little corner you’ve got, Delta’s Square Playard is the one for you.

Pros:
* includes mattress
* includes carry bag
* extended warranty available
* compact fold
* mattress doubles as “tummy time” playmat

Cons:
* no information on original warranty
* extended warranty costs extra
* fabric is not machine-washable

Click here to see today's price for the Delta Square Playard on Amazon

 


9. 4moms breeze GO Playard (One-hand Fold)

4moms breeze GO Playard

Basic playard

A no-frills basic playpen, 4moms’ breeze GO has an easy, one-hand mechanism that allows for easy folding and unfolding. With its 30-lb weight limit and year-long warranty, this playpen is sure to serve you until toddlerhood.

The good: A one-year warranty and relatively high weight limit guarantee that you won’t need to replace this playard anytime soon.

The not-so-good: True to its basic nature, this playpen doesn’t have a changing pad or bassinet, and its mattress isn’t machine-washable, either.

The best: With its one-hand fold, opening the playard while holding your baby is doable – even if it might not be fun.

Is it for you? If you’re looking for a basic playard that’s easy to set up and fold, the breeze GO is the one for you.

Pros:
* one-hand setup and fold
* travel bag
* mattress included
* relatively lightweight

Cons:
* no frills
* not the cheapest

Click here to see today's price for the 4moms breeze GO Playard on Amazon

 


10. Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard with 3 Tiers of Storage (Cutest Design)

Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard

Deluxe playard

A deluxe playard boasting everything but an electronic entertainment center, Disney’s Baby Sweet Wonder is sure to delight Disney-loving parents, as well as those who are looking for a fun design instead of the standard plain ones.

The good: Disney’s Baby Sweet Wonder playard has almost all the extras you’d want, plus the advantage of a Minnie- or Mickey-themed design for parents who love them.

The not-so-good: There’s no information on how to wash this playard’s fabric, nor on what its warranty is.

The best: Disney’s Baby Sweet Wonder includes built-in safety indicators, so you’ll know when it’s securely locked in place. Plus, it comes in both “girl” and “boy” versions.

Is it for you? If you’re looking to purchase a deluxe playard with a fun, kid-friendly pattern, Disney’s Sweet Wonder is the one for you.

Pros:
* includes storage
* includes safety indicators
* includes toy bar and toys
* includes bassinet
* includes wipeable changing table
* carry bag included

Cons:
* no information on how to wash it
* no information on warranty
* not the cheapest

Click here to see today's price for the Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard on Amazon

 


Want to see how the tech specs compare?

Note: Weight limits refer to the playards themselves, and do not include the weight limits for bassinets, changing tables, and other accessories.

WeightDimensionsAge limitWashable?Storage?One-hand fold/unfold?Mattress?Travel bag?Warranty
4moms breeze GO Playard23 lbs30”x43”Birth to 30 lbsWipe mattress with damp cloth.NoYesYesYes1 year
Baby Trend Twin Nursery Center41.3  lbs49.2 x 46 x 30.3 inchesBirth to 30 lbs or 35”Wipe mattress with damp cloth.YesNoNot clearYes180 days
Chicco FastAsleep37.6 lbs38 x 25 x 33 inchesBirth to 30 lbsYesNoYesYesYesNo information
Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard39 lbs45 x 31 x 46 inchesBirth to 30 lbsRemovable fabrics can go in the machine, other fabrics can be spot-cleaned.YesEasy to foldYesYesNo information
Cosco Funsport Playard21.2 lbs21.6 x 27.6 x 39.4 inchesUp to 35 inches (89 cm). No weight limit information.Wipe clean with soap or detergent and cold water.NoNoYesYesOne year, original receipt required.
Delta Square Playard28.6 lbs36 x 36 inchesBirth to 30 lbs or 35 inches.Wipe clean with mild soap and a damp cloth.NoNoYesYesNot clear. Option to purchase 2-year extended warranty.
Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard with 3 Tiers of Storage29 lbs31 x 10 x 10 inchesBirth to 36 months or 35 inches (89 cm).No information. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.YesNoNot clearYesNo information
Graco Pack ’n Play On the Go16.8 lbs40 x 28.5 x 29 inchesBirth to 35 inches (89 cm) or 30 lbs.Clean with household soap and warm water, drip dry.NoNoYesYesOne year
Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX Playard32.2 lbs28.5″ x 33.3″ x 40″Birth to 35 inches (89 cm) or 30 lbs.Clean with household soap and warm water, drip dry.YesNo, but easy to foldYesYesOne year
Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard29.6 lbs39.75 x 39.75 x 31 inchesBirth to 35 inches (89 cm).Warm water on a sponge or cloth, with mild soap or household detergent.NoNoYesYesTwo years

What else do you need to know?

Playards, also known as playpens or “Pack ‘n Plays” after Graco’s generation-old playpen line, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but there are two main types of playards: basic, and deluxe.

A basic playard will provide you with a frame and mattress, and provide your baby with a safe place to play. A “deluxe” model may have a bassinet, changing pad, storage, 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 playards are not intended for sleep, and the safest place for a baby to sleep is a proper crib, bassinet, or bedside co-sleeper.

And though some playards are specifically marketed as “portable,” most of them have a folding mechanism and can be folded up to fit into the trunk of a car. Some playards also include a convenient travel and storage bag.

Does size matter?

Not usually. But if you’re keen to move your playard into another 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 model that will be able to serve your baby as long as possible.

Do I have to lock the playpen every time I open it? It’s a bear to fold it up again.

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 another room.

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

Are bassinet inserts safe to use?

The most important thing to know about bassinet attachments for playards is that you need to read the user manual. The other crucial safety warning is never to leave your baby in a playpen bassinet unattended.

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

If you do use a bassinet attachment, be sure to stop using it when your baby 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 playard, and where the bassinet snaps into place instead of simply resting on the playard’s frame.

What about the changing table attachments?

Unlike bassinets, changing tables are not usually used without adult supervision. However, before you use the changing 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 playard 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 playard’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.

What about canopies?

While a canopy can be a nice addition, Consumer Reports suggests that it is 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.

Is it worth choosing a model with a storage attachment or built-in organizer?

That depends. Most playards 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 model that offers storage, choose one with roomy storage, where you’ll be able to place things like a large stack of diapers, a changing 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 playard when used to capacity.

Traveling with your playpen?

If you’re planning on moving your playpen from room to 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 playard.

Should I buy a mattress?

All of the playpens 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 playpen’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.

Other safety pointers

Consumer Reports recommends choosing a model 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 playpen 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 playpen, since safety standards have changed and older models may not be up to standard.

Be sure to choose a model which is JPMA-certified.

Replace your playard 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 playard 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 trampolines, do not use a playard 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 playard gets sandy, be sure to thoroughly remove all sand before closing it up, since sand can damage the rail and folding mechanisms.

The bottom line?

If you’re looking for a low-cost basic playard, go with the Cosco Funsport, 4Moms breeze Go, or Delta Square. Want something deluxe? Choose Graco’s Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX, Chicco’s Lullaby Dream, or Disney’s Baby Sweet Wonder.

If you’re looking for extra space, choose the Joovy New Room2, and if you’re expecting twins, Baby Trend’s Twin Nursery Center is just the thing.

Want basic playpen – but one that also has a bassinet? Choose Graco’s Pack ‘n Play On the Go, or Chicco’s FastAsleep – both sturdy choices that are sure to last a while.

Do you know a playard that should be on this list but isn’t? Have one we listed and want to tell us about it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

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