9 Best Baby Playpens Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

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Babies and toddlers are curious by nature, and they love exploring the world around them. But moms know all too well that they love wandering off and can easily put themselves in danger if you don’t keep a constant watchful eye on them.

That’s where a baby playpen comes in handy. They allow you to do the dishes, cook dinner, or take a shower knowing your little one won’t stray where they shouldn’t. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about baby playpens. We’ll talk about why they’re useful, how to use them, and the important safety guidelines to follow. We’ll also discuss the most important features to look out for when you’re shopping for a new baby playpen. Then, we’ll give you a rundown of the 9 best playpens on the market in 2020.

Best Baby Playpens Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

What Is A Playpen?

A playpen is simply an enclosed safe space for your baby to play. Playpens usually have high mesh walls that keep them safely inside, but still allow you to see your little one.

Playpens have been around for quite a long time. In fact, chances are you spent quite a lot of time in a playpen yourself when you were young. 

Nowadays, playpens have evolved a little. Also referred to as ‘pack ‘n plays’ or ‘playards’, today’s playpens have advanced safety features. Many are also portable and contain extra stimulating toys and activities for your little one to enjoy. 

Why Do I Need a Playpen?

As every mom knows, getting things done isn’t always easy when you become a parent. Doing chores, spending a little well earned ‘me time’, or even visiting the bathroom can be tricky when you’re taking care of your baby or toddler. 

Playpens give you the peace of mind of knowing that your little one is safe and secure while you do what you need to do. 

And unlike baby bouncers or baby seats, playpens allow your child to move around. They can have their favorite toys in there and explore their own little world to their heart’s content. 

Playpens are also perfect for visiting friends and family. Other people’s homes might not be a childproof environment for your little one to roam around. With a portable playpen, you know your child will have a safe space to hang out in, wherever you go.

Some modern playpens can also double up as a bassinet, a changing station, or even a portable travel crib. If you’re short on space, these multi-purpose playpens can be a lifesaver.

When Can My Baby Use a Playpen?

The majority of playpens on the market can be used from newborn all the way to 3 years old. As a general rule though, once your baby is mobile enough to attempt to climb out, it’s time to put the playpen away. 

Baby Playpen Safety Tips

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Here are a few safety guidelines to follow when using a baby playpen.

  • Use It In A Safe Space

Make sure you set the playpen up in an open space, away from any hazards. Keep the playpen well away from window blind cords, electrical cords, and any other hazards that your child could potentially reach. 

  • Make Sure They Sleep Safely

Sure, playpens are primarily for playing, but sometimes your baby might want to catch a few zzz’s in there too. Some playpens are even specifically designed to double as a portable crib. Just make sure that if your baby is going to nap in there, it’s free of any toys, pillows, or blankets that could cause a suffocation risk. Also, make sure there’s no gap bedside of the mattress and the playpen wall. 

  • Check It Regularly

Regularly give your playpen a once over to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Pay particular attention to padded parts and look out for tears. Make sure these are repaired before you continue to use it. Also check hinges, locks, and screws to make sure there are no loose or faulty parts.

  • Make Sure Everyone’s in The Know

Show all caregivers, including babysitters, how to safely set up the playpen and make sure everyone understands the safety rules. 

  • Think Twice About Second Hand

Modern playpens have a whole host of safety features. But older models made before the 1990s leave something to be desired in the safety department. Many have hinges and gaps that can trap little fingers. Some even had non-locking, collapsible walls that can pose a real danger to your child.

That’s why we recommend that you always choose a new playpen or at least one made in the last 10-15 years. Save the vintage look for other items. 

What Features Should I Look For In A Playpen?

Safety First

  • Does it Have a Safety Certificate? 

The JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) is the certifying body for baby and children’s products in the US. When you choose a baby playpen with a JMPA certification, you can be sure it’s gone through rigorous safety testing. 

  • Other Playpen Safety Features
  • If the playpen has mesh sides, make sure the holes are no larger than ¼ of an inch. 
  • The sides of the playpen should be at least 20 inches high.
  • Playpens with wooden slats should have gaps no bigger than 3 inches.
  • Choose a model with padded rails to prevent bumps and bruises.
  • Mattresses or pads at the base of the playpen should be no more than 1 inch thick.
  • The top rails of the playpen should automatically lock when they are raised.

Other Features to Look for in a Playpen

  • Is It Portable? 

Ideally, your playpen will be easy to move around. Even if you don’t plan on taking the playpen out of the house, you’re still likely to want to move it from room to room. Most playpens are pretty lightweight, but many are also foldable and easy to store away. 

  • Is It Sturdy?

Check the product reviews to make sure the playpen is sturdy and solid once it’s set up. Your baby will be wriggling around in there so it’s important to make sure it can handle vigorous movement.

  • How Big Is It?

Do you have plenty of space to fit a larger playpen? Or are you looking for a more compact model that can squeeze into an already cramped room? It can be helpful to measure the area the playpen will be used in most. Then you can visualize how much space it will take up.

  • Does it Have Toys?

Some playpens come with toy bars or arches to provide extra stimulation for your little one.

  • Does It Have Additional Features?

If you only need a playpen as a safe space for your little one, you can choose a basic model. But some playpens also have add ons like changing tables and bassinets that can come in handy.  

  • Inside or Outside?

Many playpens can be used inside and outside. If you’re looking for one that works outdoors, consider getting a model with a canopy attached. This can block out the sun’s harmful rays, and also protect them against pesky mosquitos and other bugs. 

The 9 Best Playpens on the Market in 2020

#1 The Regalo My Play Portable Playard 

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Features

  • 48 inches wide and 26 inches tall
  • Portable and lightweight fold and go design
  • Easy and quick set up and pack down
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy to clean
  • Ventilated mesh walls

Things We Love About It!

The Regalo My Play Portable Playard is simple and incredibly quick to assemble. In just a few minutes you’ll have this playpen up and ready for action. It also packs down that fast too.

As you may have guessed from its name, this playpen is also portable. It’s lightweight and folds up in an instant, so you can throw it in the car or carry it down the street with ease. Its flat fold-up design means it’s also simple to store away behind doors, under the bed, or tucked away in the closet.

The walls of this playpen are made from a durable, transparent mesh material. This is strong enough to withstand a beating from your little one, and also lets you keep a close eye on them. 

This playpen is also relatively spacious compared with a lot of models on the market. Your little one will have plenty of room to crawl, wriggle, and totter around. And since babies are notoriously messy, this playpen has been designed for easy cleanup. The nylon floor base can be wiped down with a damp cloth. 

Pros

  • Easy and quick to set up and pack down
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to clean
  • Spacious

Cons

  • No padding on the bottom

Overall Thoughts

We love how easy the Regalo MyPlay is to set up and pack down. It’s also great for taking with you on vacation or even day trips to Grandma’s. 

#2 Delta Children Fun In The Jungle Portable Playard 

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Features

  • 36 inches X 36 inches of play space
  • Folds up to a compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Mattress included
  • Carry bag included

Things We Love About It!

This is one of the more compact baby playpens on the market right now. It’s just 3 feet by 3 feet, so it’s perfect for smaller spaces. The square shape of this playpen also allows it to be set flush against a wall, rather than sticking out into the center of a room.

Despite its compact size, this playpen still gives your little one enough room to crawl and explore. It’s also spacious enough for a baby or toddler to stretch out and take a nap. Speaking of naps, the mattress on this playpen is one of the comfiest we’ve seen. It’s only an inch thick, but your little one will love drifting off to dreamland on it. The tops of the bars are also padded so there’s no danger of any bumps or bruises. 

Since it’s so compact, the Delta Children scores high on portability. It folds up to a small size and at just over 28lbs, it’s relatively lightweight too. It’s so compact when it’s not in use that it’s easy to slot away behind furniture or under a bed.

Another great feature of this playpen is the fun brightly printed designs. The base and the mesh walls have a giraffe and other animal friends that your little one will love.

Pros

  • Compact, space saving design
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Comfortable mattress

Cons

  • Disassembling takes a little practice 

Overall Thoughts

The Delta Children Fun In The Jungle Portable Playard is a great choice if you live in a small house or apartment. The small square shape takes up minimal space, while still giving your little one ample room to play. It’s also easy to store away when not in use. 

#3 Evenflo Versatile Play Space’s

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Features

  • 18.5 square feet of play space
  • Easy to set up and pack away
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Portable design
  • 28 inch high walls
  • Option for additional panels to enlarge the space

Things We Love About It!

The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is one of the bigger playpens on the market. When it’s set up, it gives a full 18.5 square feet of safe playing space for your little one to explore. It’s particularly great for play dates or for parents with multiple young children. 

As the name suggests, this playpen is versatile when it comes to size. Panels can be removed to create a smaller play area, which is great for indoor use if you have smaller rooms. The manufacturer also sells additional panels too, so you can extend this playpen to an even larger size. 

This playpen is designed for use both indoors and outdoors. It’s a great option for summer parties and cookouts where there are lots of young children around. There’s plenty of space for all the little ones to hang out together in a safe and fun environment. 

When used outside, the Evenflo has stakes that can be knocked into the grass to make sure it’s safe and secure. There are also non-scratch anti-slip pads for indoors too. These keep the structure sturdy and solid and also protect your wooden floors.

Pros

  • Versatile size
  • Great for groups of babies or toddlers
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • There’s no floor on this model

Overall Thoughts

If you host regular playdates or backyard parties, the Evenflo Versatile Play Space is a good option for you. When you’re not hosting other people’s kids, you can remove a panel or two to make it much more compact and suitable for any room, no matter the size.

#4 Baby Trend Retreat Nursery Center

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Features

  • Bassinet, changing table and playpen combined
  • Deluxe parent’s organizer
  • An easy one-hand locking mechanism
  • Two toys to entertain baby
  • Large lockable wheels for easy transportation
  • Electronic music and nightlight

Things We Love About It!

The Baby Trend Retreat Nursery Center takes baby playpens to a whole new level. Sure, this offers a great safe hangout for your little one while you get stuff done. But it also includes a plush detachable Rock-A-Bye bassinet with a canopy and carry handle. There’s also a large changing table. Under these is a spacious storage system or ‘parent organizer’. There are several mesh pockets and storage compartments which are great for storing all your diaper changing essentials. 

When it’s in playpen mode, the Baby Trend is a comfy, spacious area for your little one to bop around. The walls are breathable and transparent mesh material so you can keep a close eye on your child. And this model also comes with a plush mattress pad to make nap time super comfy and cozy. 

This model is suitable for babies and toddlers aged from newborn up to 2 years of age. No matter their age, your little one will also love the 2 plush dangling toys, the soothing music options, and the built-in night light. 

The Baby Trend is a great option if you are short on space. You can have a changing table, playpen, and bassinet all in one compact unit. It also comes with large lockable wheels, so you can move this easily from room to room.

Pros

  • Playpen, bassinet and changing table combined
  • Additional music, nightlight, and toys
  • Wheels for easy transportation

Cons

  • More difficult to disassemble

Overall Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck when it comes to baby items, the Baby Trend Nursery Centre is the one for you. It’s not just a playpen; it’s also a diaper changing station and a great place for your little one to catch some zzzs.

#5 Guapamiga Baby Playpen 

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Features

  • 59-inch x 59-inch play space
  • Easy to assemble and take down
  • Additional panels available for extra space
  • Bright and colorful design
  • Anti-slip rubber feet for extra sturdiness
  • Lightweight 

Things We Love About It!

The Guapamiga is another super spacious playpen which is particularly great if you have multiples or are hosting a playdate. If not, you can simply remove additional panels and adapt this playpen to any size. You can also purchase additional panels from the manufacturer, making it even more spacious. This makes it great for outdoor use too, when your little ones want a little more space to romp around. 

The designers at Guapamiga are serious about safety. This model comes with a super grip rubber base that keeps each panel sturdy and in place. It won’t shift or slip across the floor, even when it comes up against the most boisterous toddlers. 

There’s also a clever anti-clip design at each panel junction, making the structure extra rigid. And there’s a childproof safety lock that ensures your little one stays within the safety of the playpen.

We particularly love how bright and colorful this baby playpen is. The cheerful, eye-catching colors will be a hit with babies and toddlers alike. 

Pros

  • Spacious playing area
  • Can be adapted to be smaller or larger
  • Great safety features
  • Bright and colorful design

Cons

  • Some parents say the hollow plastic panels feel cheap compared to other models

Overall Thoughts

The Guapamiga is a great option if you’re hosting a lot of young children or want to give your little one some extra space. However, the removable panels also make it perfect for families who are short on space but want an adaptable playpen for outdoor use.

#6 Baby Delight Go With Me Eclipse Portable Playard 

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Features

  • 49 inches by 49 inches play space
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Canopy included
  • Quick  and easy to set up and pack down
  • Portable, lightweight design
  • Carry case included
  • Machine washable removable fabric

Things We Love About It!

The Baby Delight Go With Me Eclipse scores super high on practicality. To begin with, it’s extremely portable. At less than 12lbs, it’s one of the lightest playpens on the market. It folds down neatly into a compact size, and slots easily into a carry case with a comfortable handle. 

This model is also incredibly easy to set up. You simply unfold it from the center and the playpen is ready to use within seconds. Pack down is just as easy too. 

The Baby Delight can be used both indoors and outdoors. There’s a clip on canopy perfect for outside. It protects your baby from the sun’s harmful rays, blocks out any light rain, and also helps to keep pesky bugs away. 

Another awesome feature of this baby playpen is how easy to clean it is. Simply remove the fabric walls and floor and throw it in the washing machine; this playpen will look good as new for years to come. 

Pros

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy to clean
  • Super lightweight and portable

Cons

  • No foam padding or mattress on the floor

Overall Thoughts

We love how practical the Baby Delight is. It’s lightweight, portable, and great for both indoor and outdoor use. It’s also easy to wash making it a favorite with busy moms. 

#7 GrowthPic Baby Playpen

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Features

  • 15 square feet of play space
  • Easy to clean wipe down fabric
  • Easy to assemble and pack down
  • Clear breathable mesh panels
  • Attractive design with alphabet letters
  • Non-slip base

Things We Love About It!

The Growthpic Baby Playpen is spacious enough that you can even join your baby to play in their little world! The hexagonal shape provides much more space than a standard rectangular playpen. And the extra panels also mean this model is strong and sturdy. 

To provide even more staying power, the base of each panel is fitted with a non-slip fan-shaped base. This means that no matter how hard your little one plays, it won’t tip over and shift across the room. 

The side panels are made from a transparent, breathable fabric. Each panel has part of the alphabet printed in both upper and lowercase characters, with fun and attractive pictures to match each letter. It’s a great way to get some early education into your little one’s playtime!

Pros

  • Spacious play area
  • Sturdy and strong
  • Attractive and educational design

Cons

  • Not as quick to assemble as other playpens on our list

Overall Thoughts

We love the spacious design of the Growthpic Baby Playpen. The hexagonal shape gives plenty of room for your little one to romp around. It’s also perfect for multiples or playdates. The educational alphabet design is a definite plus point too.

#8 ANGELBLISS Baby Playpen

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Features

  • 59-inch by 71-inch play space
  • Portable design
  • Safety suction cup in each corner
  • Transparent, breathable mesh walls
  • Easy to clean wipe down fabric
  • Easy to set up and take down
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

Things We Love About It!

The ANGELBLISS Baby Playpen gives your child plenty of room to bop around in. There’s so much space, this model would be perfect for playdates or sharing time with mom, dad, or siblings too. 

The transparent mesh walls are easy to see through, so you can chat away to your baby while you do chores or enjoy a well deserved break. 

This model is also easy to clean. The base and the mesh walls are all wipeable, so this playpen can stay looking fresh and sparkling as your little one grows. 

Another bonus to the ANGELBLISS is the patented Snap design. This playpen is literally assembled in a snap. Within seconds, it’s ready to welcome your little one. It’s also just as quick to take down too. 

Pros

  • Quick and easy to put up and take down
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Extra-large play space

Cons

  • No padding on the base

Overall Thoughts

The ANGELBLISS is ideal for groups of toddlers to play together in, but it’s also great for solo play too. The extra transparent walls also make it easy to interact with your little one while they play.

#9 Kidsry Portable Playard

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Features

  • 42 inch x 30 inch play space
  • Playpen, bassinet and changing table combined
  • Large lockable wheels for easy transportation
  • Convenient one hand mechanism
  • Three color choices available
  • Comfy mattress included

Things We Love About It!

The Kidsry Portable Playard is another awesome baby station combo. Not only is it a playpen, but it also doubles up as a changing table and a bassinet. 

The changing station slots onto the top of the playpen area and is comfy and easy to clean. It’s also at a comfortable height for most parents. The bassinet is even comfier, with plush, cozy padding and fabric to envelop your little one as they snooze. 

The playpen itself is safe and spacious enough for your little one to love spending time in. 

The  Kidsry Portable Playard also has large, lockable wheels at the base. This makes it super easy to move from room to room. It also comes in three color choices, so there’s something to suit every nursery or living room. 

Pros

  • Playpen, bassinet and changing station combined
  • Large lockable wheels make it easy to move around
  • Three color choices to suit every home decor

Cons

  • Playpen space is smaller than many models on our list

Overall Thoughts

The Kidsry Portable Playard is perfect for younger babies who also need a changing station and bassinet. This model feels high quality but is still one of the most affordable options on our list. 

There you have it, the 9 best baby playpens on the market! What is your favortie? Share in the comments below! 

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