It’s safe to say that our children deserve the very best when selecting which products you will use with them. You want to make sure that they’re safe and protected, while honoring your budgetary requirements. Their playpen is no different – your individual needs play a large part in determining what product will work best for you.
While these individual preferences do play a large part, there are a number of other considerations that are essentially universal. Your playpen should:
- be simple to fold for storage;
- be easy to clean thoroughly;
- be lightweight enough to be portable;
- and have an attractive design that won’t clash with your home furnishings.
We don’t want to sacrifice style for functionality, and we shouldn’t have to. In order to meet the requirements for our list, the playpens reviewed have all met the above criteria – ensuring that whichever you pick, you will be making an informed decision in regards to the features that are important to you.
Our Top Picks
The Joovy Room2 Portable Playard has a clear focus on portability.
They have wheels on bottom which allows you to easily move the playpen while your child plays inside – great if you are containing them so you can clean the house uninterrupted! This pen also folds up and stows away in the included shoulder bag, which makes it an excellent choice when traveling. It’s not as lightweight as many other playpens, but this is by intentional design – this particular pen offers much more floor space than other models and a rugged durability that promises years of life from a single playpen. Unlike many other playpens, this one does not have a weight limit – fully grown adults have stood in it after assembly to “test it out”, and there was no damage to the yard with this activity. (We advise against this particular strength test, but rest assured that this is both large enough and sturdy enough to accommodate multiple children simultaneously.) All this space for around $200 makes it an excellent choice for those who want containment, but not confinement, for their child or children.
The Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard Totbloc, on the other hand, has a focus on simplicity – which can be wonderful.
It’s only a little bit smaller than the Joovy, but it can be set up in about a minute, without any tools. This is great if you won’t be leaving it set up all the time, as some playpens take a great deal of effort to assemble. It’s sturdy and even has some toys included and attached – you won’t need to spend the time to find all your child’s toys from around the house to occupy them while they’re in the playard. Graco is also backed up by years of experience with babies and children, which makes them a trusted name for your child’s needs. At around $74, this playard is great for those on a budget who don’t want to sacrifice features and quality to meet their pricing needs.
If your personal focus is on adaptability, however, you’ll most likely want the Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard.
This playpen can easily be converted to a changing station or a sleeper – great if you’ll be traveling and don’t want to bring all three items separately. When being used as a changing station, parents will find the attached diaper clutch with built-in wipes container very helpful, and the removable inclined sleeper is machine washable. The angle of the legs means that your baby has a bit less space to play than it would if the legs weren’t angled, but this angling is in place to ensure it sits sturdily on the floor. In my opinion, this particular play yard is best for your travel needs, as it offers the most features, but not really the most room for baby to play.
So, which one wins our title as best pack and play? By far, for your home (and outdoor activities), the Joovy is the winner – hands down. This model offers the largest floor space inside, most durable construction, and it has wheels – what more could you ask for?