Best Baby Playpen Reviews in 2018

Playpen provide a safe, controlled area, where your child can move around and play freely. However, you should always be nearby monitoring and supervising your child. Playpens are either wood or mesh and can come with a lot of costly, extra, unnecessary features. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Baby Playpen

Safety First

baby play pen

Look for the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) label. It certifies that the play pen meets the Consumer Products Safety Commission's safety standards. Make sure that the sides measure a minimum of 20 inches above the playpen floor, so your child can not climb out. The railings should be able to support 50 pounds. The floor should support 80 pounds of stationary weight, and 50 pounds of bouncing weight. All vinyl should be thick enough that your child can not bite off a piece. There should be no staples or hardware that your child could pull out or bolt heads, other hardware, protrusions, sharp edges, or points that your child could get hurt on if the padding slips. There should be locking devices to prevent the playpen from collapsing or folding up, and dual locks to keep the side from sliding down.The hinges should not potentially pinch or cut.

Mesh Playpens

Made with aluminum, chrome, or chrome-plated metal frames, mesh playpens can be all sizes and shapes. They are sturdy but lightweight. So, they can also be used when traveling. Some mesh play yards have capped straight legs but others can leave rust marks and scratches on the floor. Holes in mesh play yards should be 1/4 inch (0.6 centimeters) or less, to prevent your child's fingers or buttons on their clothes from getting trapped by the mesh. Always make sure that the mesh is securely attached, and there are no tears or breaks in the mesh. Never leave the side lowered on a mesh play pen because your child could get caught between the floorboard and the mesh side. Mesh playpens fold in many ways. Some even have to be turned over to be folded.

Wooden Playpens

Wooden play yard are heavier and harder to move than mesh playpens but your child can view the surrounding area outside the playpen better in a wooden playpen. The wood slats provide back support when your child is sitting up, and your child can use the slats to help them stand. The wood should be smoothly finished and splinter-free. Be sure your child can not get a finger pinched between the rail cover and the rail. The spaces between slats in wooden playpens should be no wider than 2-3/8 inches. Top rails should be padded to prevent bumps. The locks on the side that slides up and down should automatically lock when it is in the up position, and the locks should be out of your child's reach.Hinges and supports should be in good condition and well protected. Make sure the floor of the play pen is also in good condition. 

Used Playpens

If you are considering buying or borrowing a used play pen, check the Consumer Products Safety Commission Recall the first. Never use a playpen with large diamond-shaped openings because your child's head could get stuck in the openings. Also, used mattresses and pads could be sources of bacteria and mold. If the mattress or pad was not cleaned well when accidents or spills occurred, bacteria could have grown on them. If the mattress or pad was stored in a damp place, mold could grow inside the mattress or pad.

Five Best Playpen 

Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard

The Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard is a sturdy, indoor/outdoor, hexagonal mesh playpen. It is 48" wide and 26" high with a total of 14 square feet of space for your child to move around and play freely. To shade your child and provide some UV protection outdoors, you can purchase a Summer Infant Pop N' Play Full Coverage Canopy to easily attach to this playpen. The canopy will fold up and fit in the travel bag with the playpen. It is JPMA certified, and recommended for children six months or older and weighing up to 35 pounds.

  • Lightweight, easily assembled
  • Compact with travel bag
  • Floor is water resistant
  • Easy to wash and clean
  • Can be used as ball pit
  • Can accumulate 2-3 children
  • X-cross bars of the six sides can be dangerous
  • Does not come with a pad
  • The mesh is not taut
  • Sand will be able to seep into the playpen on the beach

Graco Pack 'n Play Playard

Graco Pack 'n Play Playard is a durable mesh playpen with Graco's push-button fold feature that makes it easy to put away this playpen. It comes in two prints, Aspery and Carnival, and is for children under 35" tall and under 30 pounds. It has two wheels to make it easier to move, and two legs to keep it stationary. It comes with a storage bag so it can be used as a travel playpen. It is 39.5" long x 28.2" wide x 29" high, and weighs 20 pounds.

  • Accessories can be purchased to expand the use of playpen
  • Can be easily cleaned
  • A little bit cheaper
  • Can be folded for easy storage
  • Gender Neutral
  • With storage bag
  • Need to aired for awhile when first opened
  • Bottom padding cannot be removed and replaced
  • Too heavy for travelling
  • Not sturdy enough
  • Difficult to clean

Graco Pack 'n Play On The Go Playard

This play pen, Graco Pack 'n Play On The Go Playard comes in to three colors, Go Green, Azalea, and Lambert. This has the same basic playpen as the Graco Pack 'n Play Playard discussed above but this playpen has a removable bassinet that can also fold up with the playpen. This bassinet and playpen combination has a travel bag and only weighs 22.9 pounds or less than three pounds more than the version without the basinet. So if you are looking for a travel playpen, this version with the bassinet will not be that much heavier. 

  • Can be used as co-sleeper & transition to playpen
  • Bassinet can be use as a diaper changing station
  • Bassinet will fit in other Graco Pack'n Plays with the same bassinet connections
  • Narrow enough to roll through doorways
  • Bassinet is removable but can't be use without the playpen
  • Some who bought says the mattress curls up
  • With strong smell when first took off from the box
  • Hard to fold

Graco Travel Lite Crib

Has a canopy, a toy bar, and a removable bassinet that transitions it into a playpen. It offers many of the Graco features already discussed: easy fold button feature, durability, and a travel bag. It has the two wheels and the two legs found on the other Graco playpens. It comes in two color choices: Winslet (grey) and Nyssa (purple). It has a reach-through for quick close, a removable bumper, and a waterproof quilted mattress pad, It measures 22.8" wide x 32" long x 29.2" high, and weighs 22.9 pounds. The bassinet should only be used by children under 15 pounds, or by children, who are not yet pushing themselves up on their hands and knees. The playpen is for a child under 35 inches and under 30 pounds. It can be cleaned by wiping of with warm, soapy water.

  • JPMA certified
  • Compact for those with space
  • Cute and nice design
  • With mesh on sides to let air flow
  • Inexpensive
  • Color is gender neutral but with ruffles
  • Pad are a little bit soft and not
  • More expensive than full-size pack'n'play
  • Doesn't have the stages bassinet

Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard

The Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard provides a playpen, a diaper changer with a vinyl pad and a wipes pocket, and a removable inclined sleeper with a head support, a three-point restraint, and a machine-washable insert. It is 41" long x 29" wide x 28" high, and weighs 15 pounds. It is lightweight, easily folded and unfolded, and portable with a compact travel bag included. It comes in two gender neutral print choices: chevron and a light slate grey stripe. Do not use the sleeper after your child can roll over or push themselves up on their hands and knees. Do not use the playpen for a child over 35" or a child, who can climb out of the playpen.

  • With inclined sleeper which is good for babies with reflux
  • At 15 pounds, it weighs less than many other playpen
  • Cushion of changing pad is larger than other ones
  • Diaper clutch is bigger
  • Inclined sleeper makes it difficult to change the baby
  • Bottom pad is thin and hard
  • It is not compact because the flared side requires more space
  • Legs don't fold up automatically
  • Bottom of it rest on the floor


Unless you need a really compact playpen, or just need a playpen for visits from grandchildren, then the Graco Pack 'n Play On The Go Playard is the best value. It offers a durable bassinet and playpen combination, while only weighing three pounds more than the Graco Pack 'n Play Playard, still making it portable. It does not cost that much more than the Graco Pack 'n Play Playard, and it is easy to clean. It complies with all the safety recommendations for baby playpens, and it is backed by the Graco name and warranty. It is large enough that your child will not quickly outgrow it, and it is gender neutral, so it will still be appropriate for your next child. It folds and unfolds easily with the Graco push button feature, and the bassinet folds right in with the playpen for compact storage. With the travel bag and it's compact size when folded, it is easy to take with you when you travel, and the dual wheels make it easy to move when it is unfolded. So give serious consideration to the Graco Pack 'n Play On The Go Playard for your child.

Sandra Henderson

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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