Ask any seasoned parent who’s been there and done that, and she’ll tell you that the number one, can’t-live-without, fought over at Once Upon A Child item is the pack and play. They’re portable, they’re cheaper than a crib, and a lot of times they save you the irritation of buying six different sleeping contraptions for your little one.
There are so many pack and plays on the market, it’s enough to make your head spin. And some of them? Some of them are the worst hunks of junk I’ve ever seen.
But some are magical unicorns that lull babies to sleep and protect them from mosquitos, and it’s time you learned which ones those are.
Top 10 Best Pack And Plays & Playards of 2021
#1: Graco Pack n'Play on the go Playard
#2: Fisher Price Ultra Lite Day and Night Playard
#3: Summer Infant Pop N' Play Portable Playard
#4: Ingenuity Smart and sImple Playard
#5: Chicco Lullaby Glow Playard
#6: Graco Pack ‘n Play with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat
#7: Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard
#8: Graco Pack ‘n Play Totbloc
#9: 4moms Breeze Playard
#10: Big Oshi Playard with Net and Carry Bag
But first, before we get into it…
Do You Really Need A Pack And Play?
Pack and plays are super versatile—your kid can sleep in em’ AND play in them. Plus the good ones are lightweight and feature-rich. So why wouldn’t you want one? Especially over buying multiple devices for your kid to sleep in when they’re a newborn, infant, and eventually a toddler. And then another devoted playard to just play. If you’re us and “stuff” averse, pick up the perfect pack and play and be done with it.
ProtipThe right pack and play will reduce the number of items you need to buy for your babe, and save you money and space.
What to Look For In A Pack And Play
With so many variations of the same thing for sale at so many price points, it’s kind of ridiculous trying to figure out which one’s got the goods you want. During my frantic search for the best pack and play, I decided enough was enough and set up some ground rules for the best pack and plays.
Any pack and play worth your hard-earned money needs to rank well on:
Whether it leaves the house or not, it needs to be easy to carry.
Is it easy to set up? Because my GOD those buttons can be a nightmare. Is it sturdy? Because it’s definitely the scariest thing ever to watch a pack and play collapse. And of course, is it fully loaded? Like does it come with a bassinet insert?
Because you gotta look at it every night.
You don’t need to shell out hundreds to get a good one.
Alright, let’s get right into it. I scoured the web and asked the most seasoned moms for their recommendations, and pulled the ten most sought-after pack and plays together for you here.
The 10 Best Pack And Plays
Super affordable, but with a sleek, modern look, this playard from Fisher Price covers all the basics and doesn’t have a weight limit for the bottom portion.
Okay, so this one isn’t your conventional pack and play, but for parents that basically buy these things for soccer games and yard work, this thing is the bee’s knees, and perfect for the outdoors. Plus you can add on a full coverage canopy too (sold separately). This minimalistic playard is also the lightest and folds up like a camping chair for great portability.
This one’s pretty stinking adorable and has a lot of the swanky features!
I love in the Graco and Chicco models, but it catches a little heat for feeling somewhat less stable than other models.
For the parents that want ALL the bells and whistles, it doesn’t get much more bell-y and whistle-y than this. This thing is LOADED with extras—you can even charge your cell phone on it!
The only major downside is that it's heavy (at 39 lbs it's not very portable) and a bit pricey .
Another feature-packed pack and play, this one by Graco is a bit cheaper and just a little lighter on the electronics than Chicco’s is.
A clean, modern design, the Joovy New Room2 is designed for simplicity, stability, and giving baby plenty of room to roam (without actually roaming).
Another back to basics pack and play, this bad boy is designed primarily for kids that need a LOT of room to roam, but can’t quite be trusted outside of baby jail yet.
Moms all over the internet rave about this bad boy because of it’s no BS setup—only one hand required to set up and disassemble (as opposed to eight). But because it’s still kinda heavy (30 lbs) and nearly $300 bucks, it ranks lower than you might have expected given it's sleek design and no fuss function.
So! If money is no object, and you don't mind a few extra pounds, then spend away and get this sweeeeet pack and play. I know I would.
There isn’t a ton of information available on this pack and play by Oshi, but not much of the internet seems to care.
Not all pack and plays are created equal, and in the end, it really just comes down to what you want. If you just need a safe space for your baby to play, some of the simpler, larger models are going to be a good fit.
If you’re looking for something to see you through the infant years all the way into toddlerhood though, consider one of the options with all of the extra features and attachments. Trust me, anything that actually gets your baby to sleep safely is worth it.
Whatever you do, read the reviews, keep your receipt, and try not to throw it across the room if it takes you more than one go to lock the sides into place.