The 10 Best Pack And Plays

Updated December 17, 2017 by Tina Morna Freitas

10 Best Pack And Plays
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Playpens and playards have come a long way since we were in one. Modern pack and plays are easy to fold, and some models provide a complete nursery away from home. Check out our selection of safe, portable and feature-rich options that will give your little one a secure place to nap and have fun just about anywhere. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best pack and play on Amazon.

10. Joovy New Room 2

The Joovy New Room 2 is a roomy option that offers almost 50% more space than the traditional play yard. With more than 10 square feet, you can use this model well into the toddler years for napping or playing when your family is on the go.
  • velcro holds mat down securely
  • large size makes it hard to close
  • cheap sheet shrinks when laundered
Brand Joovy
Model 7029
Weight 33.4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Baby Sweet Wonder

Keep your little one happy in the Baby Sweet Wonder, which features a beautiful eye-catching design that Disney fans will love. It is easy to put together and perfect for everyday use, though it is not as roomy as some other models.
  • breathable mesh for safety
  • very easy to clean
  • organizer clips tend to fall off
Brand Disney
Model PY375CZR
Weight 29.8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Cosco Funsport

In less than a minute, the Cosco Funsport sets up as a safe play area for little ones. This clever, self-folding model compresses into a travel bag but leaves the wheels intact with a handle on top, so you can move it like wheeled luggage.
  • great for keeping at grandma's house
  • stores in very compact spaces
  • needs extra padding for sleeping
Brand Cosco
Model PY363DFK
Weight 21.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Delta Children

The full-size and extremely cute Delta Children is a hassle-free solution that you can take anywhere for baby's sleep or playtime. It features an adorable and colorful jungle animal graphic, a mattress, and a zip-up carrying bag.
  • for babies up to 30 lbs
  • exceeds most safety requirements
  • release buttons can be stiff
Brand Delta Children
Model 26003-241
Weight 35 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Evenflo BabySuite Deluxe

The Evenflo BabySuite Deluxe offers style and convenience at a price you can afford. It is built for light home use or travel, and is available in an attractive neutral design. The convertible play mat can be used on the floor as a clean play area, too.
  • changing table rotates to the side
  • fabric console for storage
  • does not come with instructions
Brand Evenflo
Model 70221215
Weight 21.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Graco Vance for Twins

Even if you only have one baby, you may wish you had the Graco Vance for Twins. Whenever you are with friends who have infants, the matching bassinets make for adorable photos and, when you are alone, you have an instant backup in case of messes.
  • roomy and durable
  • wheels move easily over all surfaces
  • takes up a large amount of space
Brand Graco
Model 1812884
Weight 31.9 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Guava Family Lotus

The Guava Family Lotus is the ultimate travel companion that can go with you anywhere, featuring a zippered door that can easily open for fun playtime or close as a secure crib space. Best of all, the carrying bag is worn in a backpack style for ease of portability.
  • no flame retardants or toxins
  • fits as a carry-on in airplanes
  • difficult to get back in travel bag
Brand Guava Family
Model 06079059500070
Weight 14.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. 4Moms Breeze

The 4Moms Breeze features a simple one-step operation, with automatic latches for busy parents. It is fully equipped with a removable bassinet for infants, and conveniently packs up into a compact travel bag, even with its extra-sturdy legs.
  • large roomy play area
  • durable material is easy to clean
  • a bit pricey but high quality
Brand 4moms
Model 2000456
Weight 37 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite

At only 15 pounds, the versatile Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite is half the weight of other portable models and is very easy to put up and take down. Babies with digestive issues will nap better thanks to its inclined sleeper, and most parts are machine washable.
  • built-in wipes case
  • nightlight with auto shutoff
  • extra comfy quilted mattress
Brand Fisher-Price
Model CBV60
Weight 20.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Graco Pack N Play Stratus

TheGraco Pack N Play Stratus is available in seven adorable, yet gender neutral, prints that are all designed to match modern nursery colors and themes. Beyond its styling, it is also highly functional, thanks to its stability and easy setup.
  • foldable without removing bassinet
  • plays 5 songs or 3 soothing sounds
  • comes with a safe and stiff pad
Brand Graco
Model 1927561
Weight 23.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Finding The Perfect Pack And Play

It's important to know the basics about pack and plays before you start to consider the specifics, so let's take a moment to cover the fundamentals. A pack and play is, as the name suggests, a unit that is relatively easy to fold up and pack away for storage or for travel; they are not necessarily designed for daily, long term use, even though many are durable enough for such. The word "play" is a bit less accurate, however. Most pack and plays are rather small for any meaningful play, quickly becoming cluttered if toys, stuffed animals, or other items are introduced. And in fact, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child should have with nothing in their crib for the first 12 months of life at least, introducing items into a pack and play can even be hazardous.

It is more accurate to think of a pack and play as a portable and temporary crib than as a latter day playpen. There are a few exceptions to this rule: certain pack and plays are large enough to accommodate play, notably a few that buck the standard rectangular shape in favor of a square or even a hexagonal design. The drawback is that these units are less suitable for sleeping, usually the primary purpose of a pack and play.

Ultimately, you should choose a pack and play based on how well you think it will allow your child to sleep, not based on its potential for play. If you have a newborn, consider a pack and play that has a bassinet feature. This precludes the need for an additional purchase of a bassinet that is often used for only a few months. The larger bottom area of the pack and play can provide a large enough sleeping area for most children up to and even well past their second birthday, so if you do want to use a pack and play in lieu of a crib, consider investing in a unit that is rugged and durable instead of opting for one that is lighter weight.

The reason many people consider a smaller, lighter pack and play is that they need to provide a safe spot for a child only on limited occasions. A pack and play is a great choice for the home of the grandparent or other relative who expects to see a youngster too infrequently to merit the purchase of an actual crib but often enough that a dedicated safe spot is needed. In these circumstances, if a pack and play is to be used only when a child is actually sleeping, there's no reason not to opt for one of the more affordable options. Even though some of the units at the lower price points can occasionally be frustrating to set up or take down, the fact that their use is infrequent should mitigate this annoyance.

Making The Most Of Your Pack And Play

At first, most pack and plays seem rather confusing and even a bit daunting for the parent or caregiver who has to set them up (or take them down). The first few times you try out a pack and play should occur well before you ever actually need the unit to provide a safe spot for a child. Practice "deploying" and breaking down your pack and play a few times and you will likely get the hang of it. People can set up most pack and plays in seconds once they learn the proper method.

Once you know how your pack and play works, it's time to make sure you have all the right accessories and that you know a few "hacks." At the bare minimum, you should own two sets of sheets for a pack and play. That way, when one is (almost invariably) soiled, you can swap out a clean sheet and keep your child comfortable while laundering the sullied linens. In a pinch, however you can wrap a twin sheet around a pack and play's pad, as the child's weight will hold the pad down and prevent it from coming loose. Just make sure the ends of the sheet are fully underneath the pad.

And while it is not safe to have toys inside a pack and play, you can use a mobile above the unit or attach toys, stuffed animals, or other trinkets to the exterior of the pack and play provided they can't be pulled inside. These can help amuse and soothe a child as he or she rests.

A Brief History Of The Pack And Play

Before the year 1987, you would not have heard the term "pack and play." That's because that is the year in which the baby and child product company Graco first released a unit called a pack and play. Soon enough, the name was adopted by brands all over the globe.

Today, it is in fact much more common to hear mention of a pack and play than of a playpen, even though playpens have been around for generations, with their first noted mention in a dictionary dating from 1902 and with patents for various playpen refinements common throughout the 20th Century.

Playpens were lauded throughout much of the 1900s as a safe place for a child to be placed while the parent worked or took care of other duties, but by the 1970s, the approach to parenting had shifted sufficiently that these units were seen more as confining than welcoming.

Thus the pack and play is designed more for sleep than for confined play, though it can serve both purposes as needed.

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Last updated on December 17, 2017 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and two cats. She enjoys making and sipping margaritas and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.

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