When your little one is on the move, a playpen is an invaluable tool. Not only can you ensure your child’s safety in a playpen, but you will give them an area that is just theirs, to create and explore freely. You’ll encourage imagination and independent play, while also giving yourself the opportunity to complete the tasks you need, as well.
Our home and family advisor, Richard J. Bartlett, examined all types of baby playpens to determine which is the best option to keep your baby safe, looking at factors like durability, ease of use, and size. He chose the UANLAUO Foldable Baby Playpen for its efficiency and its convenience. You’ll love the Bluetooth functionality and the activated carbon pre-filter. Read how he chose the top 5.
When you have one baby, a playpen is a convenience, when you have twins, it – along with other baby essentials – is a necessity. And if you’re not sure what you need, single or multiple, then you’ll definitely also want to consider a quality pack and play. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
Our Expert’s Top 5 Baby Playpens
Here are our top picks. Compare the ratings and features of different models to find the right one for you.
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Rating||Max Size||Weight||Material|
|Best Overall||UANLAUO Foldable Baby Playpen||51.1″W x 55.1″L x 23.2″H||26.5 lbs||BPA-free plastic|
|Best Budget||LIAMST Baby Playpen||51″W x 51″L x 27″H||10.03 lbs||Alloy steel frame, mesh, and waterproof fabric|
|Best for Travel||Baby Delight Go With Me Haven Portable Playard||49″W x 49″L x 28″H||12.5 lbs||Polyester, nylon, and metal frame|
|Largest||Deraito Baby Playpen||79W”×71”L x 27″H||11.28 lbs||Stainless steel frame, oxford and mesh fabric|
|Best for Outdoors||Summer Pop ‘n Play Deluxe Ultimate Playard||48″W x 48″L x 26″H||13.2 lbs||Metal frame and nylon fabric|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy Baby Playpens
- Parents of new crawlers. For a newly mobile baby, the world is full of mysteries. Every dangerous item or area is a new adventure to navigate. And that’s only going to get scarier when they start walking. Teaching them they have their own space where they can play freely is an excellent way to make the ambulatory situation a little easier on everyone.
- Parents of multiples. When you have more than one kid – or a human child and a furbaby, the need for a playpen is multiplied, too. You may not want to house your pet and baby in the playpen at the same time, but if you use it for each individual, you’ll probably still get twice as much use out of it. And for two babies or toddlers, their attention may be held longer when they play with each other rather than by themselves.
- Work from home parents. More people than ever work from home, and with that being true, it’s important that those parents have every tool in their belt handy for keeping their children happy and active. A well-designed playpen can help you get more work done while still engaging your child with independent exploration.
Who Should Not Buy Baby Playpens
- Big kids. It’s a milestone every parent dreads: When your child can routinely crawl out of his playpen. But once she’s crossed that line, there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. – You may be able to get more years out of it, but as a general rule of thumb, if your child can crawl out of her crib, then a playpen won’t contain her for long, either – so purchasing it may not be worth it.
- No kids. When you have no babies, human or pet, then you won’t have much need for a playpen. You can likely count on your adult family members and guests to not chew furniture, bump heads on corners or destroy your entertainment center.
Purchasing a playpen for your baby is enough of an investment, both financially and in safety, that you’ll want to do some research and find one that’s perfect for your specific needs. Here’s what to consider when picking a playpen for your baby:
- Safety and comfort. The most important quality for anything you’re going to put your baby in is safety, but safety won’t mean much if the playpen is so uncomfortable that your little one won’t use it. Because a playpen is essentially a fenced-in area, the safety and comfort will fall onto you and what you include within the playpen.
- Portability. You may not want to take your playpen anywhere, but if you do, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t weigh too much and isn’t too bulky. If you plan on using the playpen as a permanent fixture in your home, you don’t need to worry as much, but consider that even within your home, you may move it (I.E., from your living room to your kitchen, office, etc.). And for those who take it with you as you travel – the ability to transport is all the more important. So look for features like folding flat, the ability to make a smaller configuration, and even A carrying case.
- Age-appropriateness. You won’t want to buy a playpen that’s already too small for your little one. If you have a toddler that’s already standing, make sure you’re getting a tall enough playpen that she can stand without too much space to see over the fence. If she can, she’ll be more tempted to attempt escape. Luckily, you can’t really buy “too old” for your baby – they’ll grow into it eventually and the only changes will be the contents of the playpen.
- Durability. While your baby may not be destroying any of your furniture yet, bear in mind that toddlers go through rough and tumble stages for which you’ll need to prepare. And when you’re getting a playpen where your little one will be free to explore, you’ll need to consider the durability and potential of an older child as well.
- Size, relative to space. If you’re planning to set your playpen up in a specific area, then you’ll obviously have to make sure that the playpen you choose fits that area. Don’t just eyeball it – measure to make sure you’re not buying a playpen you’ll have to alter to fit a space.
How Much Do They Cost?
The cost of your playpen, of course, depends on a few factors – primarily on size and type. If you’re going to get a rigid plastic fence, then you’ll spend more than a collapsible fabric playpen. Even the least expensive playpens, though, will still be over $70. For a quality playpen for your baby, expect to spend at least $80 to $150. If you can’t find the size you’re looking for, you can add additional panels to a lot of the rigid fence types, but bear in mind that those will increase your total cost, as well.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Safe Sound Family
For a parent who just wants the best for their baby, you have to find the advice you can trust. Safe Sound Family relies on the experience of parents to prioritize the features that are the most important for each of their product recommendations. For playpens, you’ll need to consider the space you have and why you need the playpen. Do you want something you can take to the beach so you can still have an excellent beach family day, even with your little one? Then you’ll need to find a lightweight one that transports easily and shades your baby from the sun. For a permanent fixture in your home, you’ll need to prioritize other features, like stability and entertainment features. If you plan on using your playpen as a tool to help you maintain a healthy work-from-home career, then you’ll need a combination of all of the above! – Richard J. Bartlett
The Best Baby Playpens: Full Reviews
The UANLAUO Foldable Baby Playpen is the ideal stationary playpen for a baby to grow into a toddler. You’ll use this as a permanent fixture, most likely, since it’s not the easiest to transport, and it weighs much more than a lot of its competitors. That also means it’s durable enough to withstand your baby, and then toddler’s, abuse. With a lockable door, your little one will be safe within (and craftier toddlers won’t be able to reach through the fence to unlatch it).
Each panel of this fence is 1.4″ thick, so even the slats that allow your little one to see around the room won’t allow for reaching through and they’re narrow enough he can’t get stuck. The fence has anti-skid pads on each joint, making them perfect for hardwood floors, and if you want a bit of padding, you can easily purchase a carpet or foam pad to place inside.
- Solid buckles on each panel prevent pinching
- Easy to assemble
- Bright colors and beading toys along fence
- Doesn’t transport easily
- Anti-skid pads can be removed by toddler (recommend gluing them in)
The LIAMST Baby Playpen gives your little one the freedom to crawl and wander within a safe, contained environment so that you can get other things done. You’ll be able to create a “Yes space” for her to play and explore freely, allowing her to learn as she does. It has the space you’ll need to create a play space or a nap space – or even a little of both. You’ll love the freedom it gives you both.
It’s made with a durable alloy steel frame, covered in padding to protect your little one from banging her head or pinching her fingers. You’ll also appreciate the strong suction along the bottom that prevents the playpen from scooting as your little one does.
- External zipper door
- Lightweight and portable
- Includes pull rings and carrying case
- Cannot alter size
- Mesh is less durable
Chances are, you already know how to operate the Baby Delight Go With Me Haven Portable Playard. It folds compactly in the same way several lawn chairs and canopy tents do, so traveling with this is going to be an easy solution to any traveling baby concerns. You can purchase the canopy to make it more sunshine friendly or to just give your baby a bit more privacy – for those moments he’s over-stimulated and needs the separation.
The mesh construction complements the durable steel frame and the fabric is removable and machine washable, making it the epitome of convenience. The floor of this playpen will prevent your little one from playing on random floors as you travel and that, too is machine-washable, so you won’t have to worry about spills or leaks staining it.
- Machine washable, removable fabric
- Breathable mesh sides
- Compact folding
- Mesh is less durable
- Small area may not be ideal for larger kids
The Deraito Baby Playpen has an impressive size that will allow you to customize your baby’s “yes space” as much as you’d like. In fact, you can even use this playpen for multiples – just keep in mind you’ll need to supervise all the more when you do this. The frame is covered in extra padding to add to the safety, and the connectors are upgraded to create a more robust frame. The non-slip suction feet keeps your little one from accidentally moving the pen and the solid mesh sides will prevent him from being able to grab anything outside the pen (including the suction cups).
You may even want to turn this playpen into a ball pit for an older toddler, and your purchase will get you started with 80 ocean-colored balls. Of course, it will take far more than 80 to fill this but for a baby, 80 is more than enough to entice and entertain.
- Over 450 sq ft of play space
- Includes 4 pull rings, a carrying case, and 80 balls
- External zipper door
- Not configurable
- Not machine washable
The Summer Pop ‘n Play Deluxe Ultimate Playard is easily transferred from indoor to outdoor by folding compactly and carried in the convenient, included carrying case. The feature that makes this the best for the outdoors is the included and removable full canopy. Not only does it provide shade to protect your baby from the sun, but Summer also boasts it’s 98% effective against harmful UVA/UVB rays. You can leave one side of the canopy open for quick access to your baby or zipper it closed for more protection.
The floor of this playpen is lined with 1/2 inch thick padding – another rare feature that sets it above its competition. That means that even your tumbling baby and toddler will be protected – and you won’t have to find something safe that fits in the unique shape.
- Lightweight and portable
- Includes canopy and carrying bag
- Padded floor
- Mesh is less durable
- Smaller size not ideal for multiples or older children
Frequently Asked Questions
What age should a baby use a playpen?
How long can a baby stay in a playpen?
Note: Some child psychologists have claimed that too much time alone can cause developmental delays in your child, but that time alone can also give your child the opportunity to explore and promote discovery. Giving him that YES space allows your little one the freedom to play the way they want with toys that they want.1
What is the difference between a playpen and a pack n play?
Because of these differences, you’ll notice the age range for the playpen and pack and play are typically different, too. A playpen is mostly used to confine movers and shakers while a pack and play is mostly used for your child pre-walking.
Can newborns sleep in playpens?
You should think of a playpen as a room all to its own. Can a baby safely sleep on the floor? If it can, then you can place it in the playpen to sleep, as well. The primary problem with newborns sleeping in a playpen is the extras that are typically within the playpen. The same rules that apply to a crib, pack and play, or any other sleeping space for a newborn also apply to a playpen. You’ll need to make sure there are no pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals around the baby that can cause suffocation and that when you place the baby down to sleep, he is always on his back with nothing near him or his face.
Typically, the playpen is for more mover and shaker babies, who are a little older. But as long as you’re doing all you can to prevent SIDS, 2 then you can use your playpen ahead of that time, too.
Safe Smart Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Lansbury J. YES Spaces – What They Really Are and Why They Matter. janetlansbury.com. Published June 25, 2021. Accessed April 21, 2022.
- Perrone S, Lembo C, Moretti S, et al. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Beyond Risk Factors. Life (Basel). 2021;11(3):184. Published 2021 Feb 26. doi:10.3390/life11030184