Looking for the best pack ‘n 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 ‘n play – also known as a playard or play yard – probably won’t be on it. Instead, you’ll hear things like 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.
Table of Contents
- The 10 Best Pack ‘n Plays and Playards of 2021
- #1. Graco Pack n Play Newborn Seat DLX (Best Overall)
- #2. Graco Pack and Play On the Go (Best Value for the Money)
- #3. 4moms breeze GO Playard (Easiest to Use)
- #4. Cosco Funsport Playard (Best for Budget)
- #5. Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard (Most Features)
- #6. Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard (Most Space, Longest Warranty)
- #7. Baby Trend Twin Nursery Center (Best for Twins)
- #8. Delta Square Playard (Unique Shape, Mattress Doubles as Playmat)
- #9. Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard with 3 Tiers of Storage (Cutest Design)
- Want to see how the tech specs compare?
- What else do I need to know?
- What Add ons Should I Get for My Pack ‘n Play?
- What Safety Issues Should I Be Aware Of?
- What About Traveling with a Pack ‘n Play?
- The bottom line?
The 10 Best Pack ‘n Plays and Playards of 2021
#1. Graco Pack n Play Newborn Seat DLX (Best Overall)
The Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX play yard 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: The Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX 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 play yard, and the fabric isn’t machine-washable. Also, the extras don’t fit in the carry bag – only the pack ‘n play playard itself and the mattress do.
The best: The Pack n Play Newborn Seat DLX’s changing pad can hold babies up to 30 pounds, 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 pack ‘n play, with lots of extras and a decent warranty, the Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX is the one for you.
* 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
* on the expensive side
* not machine-washable
#2. Graco Pack and Play On the Go (Best Value for the Money)
A sturdy basic play yard – the simpler sibling of the Pack ‘n Play DLX – the Graco 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 pack ‘n play 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 pack ‘n play 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 pack ‘n play playard with a full-size bassinet and a good warranty, that won’t cost a fortune, the Graco Pack n Play On the Go is the one for you.
* one-year warranty
* relatively low price
* toy bar with toys
* compact fold
* carry bag
* not machine-washable
#3. 4moms breeze GO Playard (Easiest to Use)
A no-frills basic playpen, 4moms’ breeze GO has an easy, one-hand mechanism that allows for easy folding and unfolding. With its 30-pounds 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 little one 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.
* one-hand setup and fold
* travel bag
* mattress included
* relatively lightweight
* no frills
* not the cheapest
#4. Cosco Funsport Playard (Best for Budget)
A super-duper-basic playard, Cosco’s Funsport gives you exactly what it promises: a playard. This no-frills portable 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.
* good price
* compact fold
* included carry bag
* included mattress
* no extras
* not machine-washable
* height limit but no weight limit
#5. Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard (Most Features)
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 so it’s not as easy to move around.
The best: Both the diaper changer 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.
* washable mattress cover and changing pad
* includes bassinet
* includes napper
* comes with electronic entertainment center
* compact fold
* includes organizer
* not the cheapest
* relatively heavy and bulky
* no information on the warranty
#6. Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard (Most Space, Longest Warranty)
A large basic play yard, 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 play yard 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 Play yard 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 play yard isn’t machine-washable.
The best: The New Room 2 comes with a waterproof cotton sheet, and the play yard 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 play yard with a long warranty, and you don’t need any extras, Joovy’s New Room2 is the play yard for you.
* 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
* not machine-washable
* doesn’t have a one-hand fold
#7. Baby Trend Twin Nursery Center (Best for Twins)
A “deluxe” play yard, Baby Trend’s Twin Nursery Center offers parents of twins a sleep solution, organizer, and portable playard – all in one, and for a reasonable price. That said, the play yard itself isn’t larger than a regular one.
The good: Baby Trend’s Twin Nursery Center play yard has everything you need for two babies: Two bassinets with canopies, a large main play pen, a parent organizer, a flip-out changing table, and two entertainment centers.
The not-so-good: Though the pack ‘n play 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 play yard 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 play yard 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 play yard and bassinets for your twins, this is the all-in-one product for you.
* two bassinets with canopies
* parent organizer
* two entertainment centers
* flip-out changing table
* reasonable price
* short warranty (6 months)
* bassinet frame can only support one bassinet at a time
#8. Delta Square Playard (Unique Shape, Mattress Doubles as Playmat)
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 for your little one 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.
* includes mattress
* includes carry bag
* extended warranty available
* compact fold
* mattress doubles as “tummy time” playmat
* no information on original warranty
* extended warranty costs extra
* fabric is not machine-washable
#9. Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard with 3 Tiers of Storage (Cutest Design)
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.
* includes storage
* includes safety indicators
* includes toy bar and toys
* includes bassinet
* includes wipeable changing table
* carry bag included
* no information on how to wash it
* no information on warranty
* not the cheapest
Want to see how the tech specs compare?
Note: Weight limits refer to the pack ‘n plays themselves, and do not include the weight limits for bassinets, changing tables, and other accessories.
|Weight||Dimensions||Age limit||Washable?||Storage?||One-hand fold/unfold?||Mattress?||Travel bag?||Warranty|
|4moms breeze GO Playard||23 lbs||30”x43”||Birth to 30 lbs||Wipe mattress with damp cloth.||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||1 year|
|Baby Trend Twin Nursery Center||41.3 lbs||49.2 x 46 x 30.3 inches||Birth to 30 lbs or 35”||Wipe mattress with damp cloth.||Yes||No||Not clear||Yes||180 days|
|Chicco FastAsleep||37.6 lbs||38 x 25 x 33 inches||Birth to 30 lbs||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No information|
|Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard||39 lbs||45 x 31 x 46 inches||Birth to 30 lbs||Removable fabrics can go in the machine, other fabrics can be spot-cleaned.||Yes||Easy to fold||Yes||Yes||No information|
|Cosco Funsport Playard||21.2 lbs||21.6 x 27.6 x 39.4 inches||Up to 35 inches (89 cm). No weight limit information.||Wipe clean with soap or detergent and cold water.||No||No||Yes||Yes||One year, original receipt required.|
|Delta Square Playard||28.6 lbs||36 x 36 inches||Birth to 30 lbs or 35 inches.||Wipe clean with mild soap and a damp cloth.||No||No||Yes||Yes||Not clear. Option to purchase 2-year extended warranty.|
|Disney Baby Sweet Wonder Playard with 3 Tiers of Storage||29 lbs||31 x 10 x 10 inches||Birth to 36 months or 35 inches (89 cm).||No information. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.||Yes||No||Not clear||Yes||No information|
|Graco Pack ’n Play On the Go||16.8 lbs||40 x 28.5 x 29 inches||Birth to 35 inches (89 cm) or 30 lbs.||Clean with household soap and warm water, drip dry.||No||No||Yes||Yes||One year|
|Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX Playard||32.2 lbs||28.5″ x 33.3″ x 40″||Birth to 35 inches (89 cm) or 30 lbs.||Clean with household soap and warm water, drip dry.||Yes||No, but easy to fold||Yes||Yes||One year|
|Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard||29.6 lbs||39.75 x 39.75 x 31 inches||Birth to 35 inches (89 cm).||Warm water on a sponge or cloth, with mild soap or household detergent.||No||No||Yes||Yes||Two years|
What else do I need to know?
Pack ‘n Plays, 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 ‘n plays: basic, and deluxe.
A basic pack ‘n play portable playard 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 crib, bassinet, or 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 ‘n 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 ‘n 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 pack ‘n play when used to capacity.
Infant Bassinet Inserts:
Are they safe to use?
The most important thing to know about 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 pack ‘n play bassinets are often easy to remove, and a fall to the floor or the floor of the pack ‘n 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 pack ‘n play, 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 pack ‘n play 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 ‘n 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 playard
If you’re looking for a low-cost basic pack ‘n play, go with the Cosco Funsport, 4Moms breeze Go, or Delta Square. Want something deluxe? Choose the Graco Pack n Play Newborn Seat DLX, Chicco’s Lullaby Dream, or Disney’s Baby Sweet Wonder.
If you’re looking for extra play space, choose the Joovy New Room2, and if you’re expecting twins, Baby Trend’s Twin Nursery Center is just the thing.
Want a basic pack ‘n play – but one that also has a bassinet? Choose the Graco Pack n Play On the Go, a sturdy choice that is sure to last a while.