As the name suggests, a pack and play is a product that can easily be packed up and taken on the road, and once the destination has been reached, it’s easy to set up as something the child can play in. Of course, that’s a simplistic explanation of these marvelous devices because many of them even have built-in bassinets that allow the child to sleep in the device as well. Some of them have even more versatile than that because new features are continuously being added to pack and play devices.
No matter which of these devices you choose, you are naturally going to want to buy the best one possible. And with that lofty goal in mind, we’ve done the research for you and have come up with what we feel are the ten best pack and play cribs and playpens currently available. Although all of these are probably not suitable for all parents, there’s probably at least one that will be suitable for your child. Let’s take a quick look at these devices and how well they work.
My Top 10 Best Pack And Plays Recommendations & Reviews
#10 Graco Davis Nearby Napper
The Graco Nearby Napper Davis model is designed to give the child a place to play and/or sleep at any time of the day and night. It has an easy-to-switch reversible seat that allows either the napper or the flat nest bassinet to be used for the child. This unit’s seat turns into a portable rocker that features two-speed vibration and includes an automatic mobile to keep the baby occupied. The bassinet can also be removed, leaving a large play yard for the child to play in. And since it also has an extended use changing table, this pack and play can be used for children from infants all the way up to toddler age.
- This model has a reversible napper
- It has a removable bassinet
- Has an automatic mobile
- Push and fold capabilities
- Its mobile is quite noisy
- Instructions leave a lot to be desired
#9 Baby Trend Tanzania Nursery Center
With a gender neutral design and a number of exciting features, this unit is ready to accommodate just about any baby. It comes with a full removable bassinet, a diaper stacker to hold the baby’s necessities and it has large wheels, so it can easily be moved from one location to the next. This unit also opens easily and folds up nicely, so it’s very compact. It also has a mobile to keep baby occupied, although it’s a bit flimsy and leaves a lot to be desired. Other features which can be found on this exciting nursery center include brakes on the wheel, a one-hand locking mechanism, and a travel tote bag, so it can easily be taken on trips to the zoo, beach or the park.
- It has a lightweight design
- This unit has locking wheels
- It’s a model that folds up easily
- This model features a one-hand locking mechanism
- Its mobile is too flimsy
- This model is tricky to assemble
#8 Disney Baby Minnie Sweet Wonder
This unit has a playful and colorful Disney-themed design and has a wide-open design that allows the play area to also be used as a sleeping area. This unit also comes with a removable changing table that can be used to change the baby’s diapers and the unit has an organizer pocket for stashing diapers–although this doesn’t stay on the unit very well. This model has two large front wheels, so it can be moved from room to room, and it has a toy bar across its top that holds three Minnie Mouse themed toys. Once set up, it has indicators that show whether it’s locked in place or not, so parents know its safe to use.
- It comes with an on-the-go carrying bag
- The model has a colorful and playful design
- Has an adorable toy bar
- The unit has wheels for room to room portability
- This unit doesn’t come with instructions
- Its baby organizer doesn’t stay on unit
#7 Baby Trend Haven Wood Nursery Center
This cute little nursery center has a number of features which make it suitable for a number of different parents. It has a full bassinet and a canopy, plus it has a changing table that flips away. This unit also has a fun music center which can either be used to play nature sound or music. Although the unit is supposed to easily fold for taking it to other locations, it’s a little bit more difficult to fold up than it should be. Having said that, this unit does have large wheels, so it has decent room-to-room portability and has plenty of space for holding toys or diaper changing supplies.
- Has a one-handed locking mechanism
- The unit has large wheels with brakes
- Has a toy storage pocket
- Not as portable as it should be
#6 Ingenuity Smart and Simple Ridgedale Playard
This pack and play are designed to accommodate the needs of the child from playtime to their naptime. Although it’s a little difficult to assemble at first, once it’s assembled it’s a great unit that has a number of convenient features. This product is a useful play yard and comes with a changing table and bassinet. This unit can also quickly be folded up when it’s time to go, and can even be closed without having to remove the bassinet. This makes it extremely portable. This unit also has a lot of storage space and comes with a multi-compartment storage pocket.
- It comes with a convenient travel bag
- This unit comes with bassinet and changing table
- This model has side storage pockets
- It can be folded with even removing the bassinet
- This unit is difficult to assemble
- Its directions aren’t too clear
#5 Graco Manor Change N’ Carry
This playpen has a number of features which makes it suitable for babies who weigh anywhere from under 15-pounds up to 25-pounds. For smaller babies, its bassinet is the perfect place for the child to lay. When the child gets older, the playpen can accommodate children up to 25-pounds. Other features which can be found on this product include a changing station, mesh sides which allow for plenty of air circulation and a mobile that’s equipped with soft toys for the babies entertainment. This product can also easily be folded up with just a push of a button so it can be taken virtually anywhere.
- This unit comes with a travel bag
- This model has a mobile with soft toys on it
- Its mesh allows for air flow
- It has a portable changing pad
- This model sits very low to the floor
#4 Graco Abbington Snuggle Suite LX
Although this unit is a bit expensive, it has many of the features that parents look for when they’re looking for a unit with pack-and-play capabilities. This unit is a playpen, but it also has a portable infant seat that doubles as a bouncy seat and has a removable infant bassinet. This unit can be easily set up and folded up and has Graco’s signature push-button capabilities for convenience. Other features which can be found on this model include high-quality fabrics, a light-shielding canopy to protect the child from light, and a music station that can play nature sounds or music for the child.
- Has a bassinet and a bouncer
- It converts easily to a playpen
- Has a light-shielding canopy
- Uses a push-button folding feature
- This model is more expensive than other comparable pack and play units
#3 Graco Manor Travel Lite Crib
Although it describes itself as a portable crib, this unit is small enough and light enough to be used as a pack and play unit. It weighs less than 20-pounds and is approximately 20% smaller than most of the other playpens currently in use today. This lightweight product folds to a very compact size, so it can be taken just about anywhere. It can also be converted to a small playpen so the baby can have some playtime. This unit is also equipped with a removable bassinet. If there’s one problem with this unit, it’s the fact that it can really only be used until the child is 3-months old. It’s just not big enough for older children.
- This unit weighs less than 20-pounds
- 20% smaller than traditional cribs
- Converts easily to a portable playpen
- Has a removable bassinet
- Only suitable for children under 3-months old
#2 Graco Pasadena Play-On-The-Go
This unit is easy to set up and fold, and it also has a number of features which make it quite a useful addition to just about any nursery. This unit has a removable full-size bassinet that allows the baby to catch a quick nap regardless of whether he or she is at home or away from home. This unit also has a changing table that makes it easy to keep the baby clean, and the walls of the playpen have mesh sides for maximum air circulation. Other useful features found on this product include wheels for added portability, push to fold capabilities, and a convenient carrying bag for storage.
- This model has a full-size removable bassinet
- It folds up quite easily
- This unit has a toy boy equipped with soft toys
- This model comes with a convenient carrying bag
- Its mattress is extremely firm
#1 Babyseater Pack & Play Play Pen
Although this unit may be a bit big for some people to travel with, it does have a nice spacious interior that gives the child plenty of room to play in. This unit also can easily be folded up with one hand, so the parent can take it with them even as they hold their child in their other hand. Other features which can be found on this product include a water-resistant floor that can be used both indoors and outdoors, a machine washable and removable lining, and a clear mesh design that allows the parent to keep the child in sight and promotes air circulation. It also has safety latches for security and is very easy to clean.
- This unit has a nice high-quality design
- This model has a spacious interior size
- Can be folded up with one hand
- This unit is extremely sturdy
- This model may be too big for some people
More products also worth checking out:
Pack And Play Buying Guide
Parents are extremely busy, so it’s important for them to not only choose a pack and play that’s safe for their children but one that’s easy to use as well. Therefore, the parent should look for features that make the device easier to unfold, use and fold back up again. Below are some of the things that parents should consider before purchasing one of these devices.
One of the most important things to consider when buying one of these devices is to make sure that it is well-built. This means that the product should have a strong metal frame, well-designed security clips, and sturdy sides. If the unit is a push to fold-up model, then it’s important that the sides lock into place and won’t simply fold up under the weight of the child.
One of the main reasons for owning a pack and play is that it’s portable, so it’s important for it to be lightweight. Having a lightweight design allows the parent to easily carry it with them when they’re traveling.
Push To Fold Features
Some pack and play devices have a convenient push-to-fold feature that makes it easy to collapse the unit so it can be packed up. Usually, with this feature, all the user has to do is depress a clip and the whole thing will fold up. This design is often augmented with folding feet or wheels. These features make it extremely easy to fold up the unit, even when carrying a child in the other arm.
Although not all of the pack and play units have a canopy shade to keep the baby out of direct sunlight, not all of them have this feature. If you do choose to buy a model with this feature, try to find one that also has an attached mobile to give the child something to do.
Pack and play units come in different configurations. Some models are a crib with a playpen underneath them, and others either have an additional bassinet, or they replace the crib with the playpen. Others are more like playpens which have a large comfy center in them that allow the child to sleep when they’re done playing.
Another helpful feature found on these devices is a carrying bag that allows the unit to be carried easily from one place to another. Having a device that can be placed into a bag makes it easier to pack in a truck or to take on an airplane.
Low Center of Gravity
It’s also important that the pack and play has a low center of gravity so that it doesn’t tip over and potentially hurt the child. In fact, safety standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission dictate that certified units have a low center of gravity for safety.
Cleaning the Pack And Play
Once you’ve purchased a unit that you feel comfortable with, you are going to want to keep it nice and clean—which isn’t always easy to do with a young child. In order to help you out with keeping your pack and play as clean and sanitary as possible, we’ve included a few tips below.
Please Note: Your pack-and-play may have directions which contradict the steps below. In that case, you should follow all of the instructions and safety warnings that came with your model and disregard the following steps.
- 1/2-Cup of Baby-Friendly Detergent
- 1 Bucket of Warm Water
- Soft Cleaning Rag
- Garden hose
Step One: Take the pack-and-play outside to a location that you don’t mind getting water or detergent on it. Some ideal locations may include an outdoor deck or driveway.
Step Two: Add the 1/2-cup of baby-friendly detergent to the bucket of warm water. There are a number of suitable baby-friendly detergents including Dreft Detergent, Seventh Generation and Ivory Snow.
Step Three: Remove the mattress and/or mattress cover as appropriate. If the unit has a plastic mattress, then simply remove the mattress cover and wash it in your washing machine.
Step Four: Dunk the soft cleaning cloth in the well-mixed bucket of water and baby-friendly detergent. Use the rag to scrub the inside and outside of the unit, including the mattress, if appropriate.
Step Five: Grab your garden hose and make sure that you thoroughly rinse off your pack-and-play. Make sure that all of the soap is removed and the water running off of it is clear.
Step Six: Place the unit in a sunny location and allow it to dry. The mattress will probably have to be removed and dried separately from the unit to ensure quick and even drying.
Step Seven: Once everything is dry, put the cover back on the mattress and put it back into the pack-and-play. When that’s done, move it back into the home.
Additional Pack & Play Care Tips
Below are a few additional tips to help you keep your new pack & play in good condition and allow it to last as long as needed.
- Never Clean it With Bleach
- Wipe it Off on a Regular Basis With a Moist Rag
- Clean Messes Promptly
- If Sand Gets Into Unit, Clean it Out Before Folding To Avoid Top Rail Damage
- Wash the Mattress Cover on a Regular Basis