When it comes to useful baby items, the right playpen is something that you will use time and time again. A baby playpen can serve as a safe place to set your baby down, a large play area to keep them busy, or even a travel crib. Below, we’ve listed 7 of our favorite baby playpens and what makes them so great.
Best Baby Play Pens
(Best budget — $$)
Why it’s great: This Graco Playpen just screams versatility. It’s not only affordable but also functional in a number of ways including as a small play area for your baby, as a travel crib or bassinet as well. There is a bassinet attachment that allows the mattress pad to be higher up, but this attachment can be removed, allowing for the pad to be moved to the bottom of the playpen turning it into more of a traditional playpen for older babies.
Keep in mind: The bassinet feature is only recommended for babies who weigh 15 pounds or less and are unable to push up on their hands and knees.
Good for: Families on a budget who want to get multiple uses out of their playpen.
(Best for play time — $$$)
Why it’s great: The YOBEST Baby Playpen is the ultimate play area for any baby. This playpen is soft, spacious, and sturdy. It even comes with included plastic balls to turn it into a ball pit. As a safe and fun play area for babies and toddlers of all ages, this item is worth the investment because you’re likely to get many years of use out of it. The mesh side panels are made with eco-friendly, natural materials and feature zipper doors that can be closed to keep your baby contained, or opened to allow them to enter and leave as they please.
Keep in mind: Since this playpen is a bit larger, it may not be ideal for travel. It’s a great item to have set up at home for your baby or toddler to play in.
Good for: Spacious areas and busy babies.
(Easiest to set up — $$)
Why it’s great: Unfolding and setting up in seconds, the Regalo Portable Play Yard is a great playpen to take on the go. As a portable, lightweight option this playpen can go just about anywhere with you and the included carrying case makes it easy to throw over your shoulder (even with a baby on your hip!) This playpen can be set up inside or outside and even features water resistant material. Since this playpen is fully assembled, all you have to do to set it up is unfold it and click it into place.
Keep in mind: This playpen is only recommended for babies between the ages of 6 and 24 months, so it wouldn’t be useful for younger babies.
Good for: Older babies and toddlers.
(Most spacious — $$$)
Why it’s great: The Toddleroo 8 Panel Play Yard helps create a super spacious, safe play area for your baby. This gated play area can be set up just about anywhere and offers up to 34.4 square feet of play space. With the option to set it up as an 8-panel or 6-panel play yard, you’re able to decide how big you want it to be, perfectly fitting it to your space. The included carrying strap makes this playpen easy to take on the go and durable features such as skid-resistant pads make it safe for your little one.
Keep in mind: The super spacious features of this playpen make it ideal to set up in large, open spaces, such as the living room or backyard. However, if you live in a smaller, more condensed home, it may not fit well.
Good for: Multiple children and toddlers.
(Most travel friendly — $)
Why it’s great: The Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome is the perfect item for parents of young babies. This compact, portable, play area can be set up anywhere and can even serve as a safe place for a nap. The included hanging toys help with sensory play. This playpen allows you to go anywhere with your little one. Set it up outside so you and your baby can get some fresh air together, it even comes with a protective canopy that shields your baby from sun and bugs.
Keep in mind: This portable playpen is recommended for babies 0-5 months of age, so it wouldn’t be a useful choice for older babies or toddlers.
Good for: Younger babies who are on-the-go.
(Most sturdy — $$$)
Why it’s great: One of the most distinct features of the Albott 14-Panel Play Yard, is it’s ability to be set up in multiple ways. Keep your kiddos interested by setting it up in a square, circle, hexagon, or really any shape that fits in your space. The suction cup feature helps the pieces securely lock into place, making this playpen sturdy and safe. It also folds up to be pretty compact, allowing for easy storage when not in use.
Keep in mind: This playpen does not include a soft mat or pad, so you’ll need to be sure to set it up on a soft carpeted area for your baby, or purchase a play mat separately to place underneath.
Good for: Babies of all ages and larger areas.
(Best for outdoor use — $$)
Why it’s great: With a machine washable cover and waterproof fabric, the Hiccapop PlayPod is the ideal playpen to set up outside for your baby or toddler. You won’t have to worry about it getting damaged or dirty because the fabric is durable and super easy to clean. This playpen also has two large doors, allowing for an open design for older kids who want to crawl in and out. The anti-slip feet make this playpen great for indoor use as well.
Keep in mind: Measuring at about 4.5 feet when set up, this playpen is great for toddlers and babies to play in but isn’t as spacious as some other options. It’s a great option for parents who plan to take it on the go, and for use in smaller homes.
Good for: Use in smaller areas.
FAQs about Baby Playpens
1. Do I need to get a playpen for my baby?
As a parent, you don’t necessarily have to do anything. However, we definitely recommend owning a playpen for your baby. Playpens are a convenient item to have on hand because they allow you to set up a safe space where you can set your baby down and walk away when need be. Playpens are often versatile, offering many uses and some options may even serve your child for many years.
2. How much do baby playpens cost?
Baby playpens definitely range in price, so this really depends on the playpen that you choose for your baby. On the lower end, playpens can cost as little as $70 – $100, while some of the pricier options may go all the way up to $200 – $300. It’s definitely possible to find an affordable option without sacrificing quality.
3. Are playpens good for babies?
It’s great to give yourself and your baby some independent time and having a safe place to set your baby down is certainly important. However, we do not recommend leaving your baby unattended in their playpen or leaving them confined for long stretches of time. Playpens are ideal for supervised play or for situations when you need to walk away from your child for a few moments, such as when you have to tend to a pet or another child.
4. Which baby playpens are the best?
The best baby playpen will depend on your family’s unique needs. If you’re looking for a lightweight, travel-friendly playpen that can also function as a travel crib you might want to go with something like the Graco Pack N Play. However, if you’re looking for something more spacious for at home use, you may want to go for something like the Albott 14-Panel Play Yard.
5. Are baby playpens washable?
Again, this question depends on the type of playpen you choose but ultimately, there is some way to clean most baby playpens. Some of the fabric options can be spot cleaned or feature removeable covers that are machine washable. The plastic baby gate-style playpens can easily by wiped down with whatever cleaning products you prefer. Check your baby playpen’s user manual for more specific cleaning instructions.
6. Are baby playpens useful for travel?
Yes! One of the best reasons to own a baby playpen is to take it with you when you travel. Hotels are anything but baby-proof, so by bringing along a safe, easy-to-set up playpen you’re guaranteeing a safe area for your baby and it can even serve as a travel crib.
Ultimately, there are tons of high-quality, affordable, and useful baby playpens on the market. So, although it may be difficult to choose one amongst so many wonderful options, rest assured that the best option for your family’s unique needs, is out there waiting for you. Take some time to consider how you plan to use your baby playpen, your kids’ ages, and what your budget looks like.
Every family can benefit from owning a good playpen. As much as you want to hold your baby at all times, there will be moments when you have to step away, so by having a closed in area to set them down, you can walk away knowing that your baby is perfectly safe.