10 Best Playpens and Playards of 2021
Best Playards of 2021
February 26, 2021

Best Playards of 2021

Best Playards of 2021.
Photo by @herrelllynn
On-the-go or at home, these picks will give your little one a safe place to rest and play.Best Playards of 2021

Quick quiz: you’re home alone with your baby and you need to shower, get ready for work or—gasp—eat a warm meal in peace. What do you do with your little one?

Enter the playard, FKA the playpen. Playards sit either directly on the floor or slightly above it and have mesh sides for breathability and visibility. Many are designed for easy transport and have helpful add-ons like bassinets, changing stations and organizer pockets. They’re a safe spot for your baby to hang out in when you’re busy doing other things or simply need a quick break.

Do You Need a Playard?

Playards aren’t the only way to create a safe play zone for your baby or toddler. Playmats, jumpers, activity centers and baby gates are great for keeping little ones contained for a short time.

However, playards have a few distinct advantages, and many parents choose to add one to their registries. Playards provide babies with a safe space where they can move around. Many are easy to move from rome-to-room and to travel with. They can also do double duty as: Changing stations Bassinets Portable crips

How Long Can You Use a Playard?

Most playards can be used from the newborn stage up until about three years old. Once your child reaches 35 inches tall or can climb out, consider your playard’s tour of duty done.

Note: If you get a hand-me-down or purchase a used playard, be sure it folds and unfolds properly and the mattress is snug. Check for holes or tears on the sides. And make sure it was manufactured in 2013 or after as that’s when new federal safety standards were enacted.

Most Versatile Playard

The Scoop
  • Seven ways to use
  • Breathable mesh sides
  • Heavy
What Our Experts Say

It’s no surprise that Graco, a long time leader in the playard space, knocks it out of the park with the ultra-versatile Day2Dream Pack ‘n Play. This playard is a minimalist’s dream; it’s an infant sleep space, a fold-flat travel bassinet, a changing station and a spacious Pack ‘n Play all rolled into one. We especially love the ultra-breathable mesh sides that promote airflow and make it really easy to see your little one. This playard comes with two carry bags (one for the bassinet and one for the playard) and an integrated storage organizer to keep essentials close.

What’s Worth Considering

The Day2Dream is heavy, weighing in at almost 40 pounds. It’s also on the pricier side, but since it takes the place of so many separate items of baby gear, we think it’s actually a pretty great deal.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Portable bassinet off the playard: up to 20 lbs; Infant bassinet: up to 15 lbs; Playard: under 35” tall, unable to climb out
Product Weight 39 lbs

Best Playard for Travel

The Scoop
  • Ultra light
  • Easy set up and break down
  • Color exclusive to Babylist
What Our Experts Say

You have enough to lug around when you’re traveling with your baby—a heavy playard shouldn’t be on your packing list. Babybjörn’s travel crib is our all-time favorite playard to bring along when you’re hitting the road (or the skies) with your little one in tow. It weighs in at just about 13 pounds, a solid 10 pounds lighter than most competitors, and is compact and easy to carry when it’s broken down. It’s designed to set up in one motion and break down just as easily. The sides are completely mesh and both the mattress itself and the fabric frame can be tossed right into your washing machine. And you’ll only find this dark green color exclusively at Babylist.

What’s Worth Considering

This travel crib is expensive, especially considering you’ll need to buy sheets separately as they’re not included with the crib. If dark green isn’t your jam, there are other colors available.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Newborn to 3 years
Product Weight 13 lbs

Easiest Playard to Set Up

The Scoop
  • One push open, one pull close
  • Includes bassinet and changing station
  • Sleek, modern design
What Our Experts Say

You haven’t hit peak parenting frustration until you’ve wrestled with a playard setup at 9 p.m. as your baby wails beside you. Good news: you’ll never have to if you own the Breeze Plus. As its name implies, setting up and breaking down this sleek, minimalist playard is really, well, a breeze. You’ll need just one hand to push down on the center to open it up. When it’s time to pack up, pull the same central hub up and the whole thing collapses into itself. The Plus also comes with a removable side-by-side bassinet and changing station.

What’s Worth Considering

If you like the idea of an easy-open, easy-close playard but want to spend a little less, check out the Breeze Go. It doesn’t feature the bassinet or the changing station, but will save you some money.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Birth up to 30 lbs
Product Weight 23.2 lbs

Best Budget Playard

The Scoop
  • Great value
  • More compact fold than most other Pack ‘n Plays
  • Perfect for grandparents’ house
What Our Experts Say

This no-frills playard is the perfect pick if you’re looking for a budget-friendly Pack ‘n Play, need an extra spot in your home where your little one can sleep or play safely or want something for the grandparents’ house. It features folding feet and wheels, so it’s 20% more compact when folded—a nice perk for on the go. The push-button fold makes it easy to break down and there’s a carry bag included for when you need to take it away from home.

What’s Worth Considering

You won’t get too many fancy features with this playard, but we don’t think you need them—this Pack ‘n Play is a real workhorse for the price and more than gets the job done.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Birth to under 35” tall, unable to climb out
Product Weight 18.5 lbs

Best All-in-One Playard

The Scoop
  • Includes full-size bassinet, detachable changer and more
  • Lots of thoughtful features
  • Heavy
What Our Experts Say

For all-in-one functionality (and not to mention beautiful design), Chicco’s Lullaby playard is at the top of our list if you’re in the market for a playard that goes the distance. There are tons of thoughtful features here: zip-off washable fabrics, a deluxe organizer, a full-size infant bassinet, a detachable changer, a toy bar with sounds, rubberized wheels for smooth, easy transport and of course a large toddler play area. You’ll be able to use this playard from day one until your little one is in the toddler years and there’s a push-button fold for easy breakdown.

What’s Worth Considering

All of the features on this playard are extremely useful but they do contribute to the (heavy) weight of about 35 pounds, so although the rubberized wheels make it easy to move from room-to-room, this isn’t the best choice if you’re looking for something primarily for travel.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Birth until 30 lbs or 35” tall
Product Weight 25.4 lbs (weight does not include bassinet)

Best Playard for Outdoors

The Scoop
  • Great for outdoor use, beach, camping etc.
  • Weighs less than 12 pounds
  • Removable sun canopy
What Our Experts Say

Getting outside with your little one is fun, but it’s also a bit nerve wracking if they’re a little too free to roam. Taking along a playard can help. While you can certainly use this playard indoors, it really shines for outdoor and on-the-go use. There’s a (washable) nylon floor to keep your little one clean and dry on damp ground and a removable sun canopy for warm days, along with six wide panels featuring breathable mesh sides. Everything folds up in seconds and stores in a carry bag that’s lightweight enough to sling over your shoulder and be on your way.

What’s Worth Considering

Unlike traditional playards with mattress-like bottoms, this one doesn’t offer any padding and is made from nylon, making it more of a play space rather than a sleep space.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines 6-24 mos and up to 35” tall
Product Weight 11.9 lbs

Best Playard for Small Spaces

The Scoop
  • Lightweight and compact to store
  • One second to unfold, three seconds to fold
  • Includes bassinet insert
What Our Experts Say

Leave it to luxe stroller brand Bugaboo to come up with a playard that’s just as stylish as it is functional. The Stardust is sleek, simple and seamless. It opens and closes in seconds and is great for use both at home or for travel thanks to its light weight. Unlike most playards, it folds in on itself like an accordion rather than downward, which means you can store it upright just about anywhere and pop it open whenever you need a spot for your little one to play or chill.

What’s Worth Considering

It’s pricey, and there aren’t a ton of add-ons other than the bassinet. There are no wheels on the base legs, but since this playard is pretty light we don’t think that’s too big of a deal.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Bassinet: up to 20 lbs; Playard: up to 33 lbs
Product Weight 14.8 lbs

Easiest to Carry Playard

The Scoop
  • Folds into backpack
  • Ultra light
  • Zippered side door
What Our Experts Say

We’re suckers for any item of baby gear that helps us keep our hands free to deal with the (many) other tasks of parenting. This ultra-light playard folds up into a backpack, making it easy to tote around when you’re traveling so you can also hold your little one, a diaper bag and whatever else you need. And that’s not the only standout feature. Parents love the zippered side door that allows you to lay down with your baby to nurse or cuddle and toddlers love that it gives them a bit of independence. (Not too much, though, don’t worry—you can clip the zipper closed so they can’t escape!)

What’s Worth Considering

The playard can be converted into a bassinet, but this requires an additional kit. Some parents also find the mattress to be quite thin.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Birth to 3 years old
Product Weight 11 lbs (13 lbs with mattress + backpack)

Best Playard for Multiples

The Scoop
  • 50% more space than traditional playards
  • Great for multiples
  • Large footprint
What Our Experts Say

RSVPing for two (or more)? The Room2 is the “big daddy” of playards with nearly 50 percent more space, totaling ten square feet of place space. It’s a good choice for multiples or if you’re simply looking for a playard with a little more room. There are edge-to-edge mesh windows for maximum visibility and a simple, modern design that parents love. A fitted cotton sheet is included.

What’s Worth Considering

You won’t get compact here. It’s also on the heavier side, but considering its size, being just short of 30 pounds isn’t so bad. Some parents also note it’s a bit tricky to set up and take down so it may be a better choice if you’re looking for more of a permanent play or sleep space.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Birth to 35”
Product Weight 29.6 lbs

Best Luxe Playard

The Scoop
  • Maximum breathability from every angle
  • Beautifully designed
  • Easy open and close
What Our Experts Say

Dutch design and an uncompromised air flow system put the innovative Nuna Sena Aire at the top of the luxury playard list. The standout feature here is breathability; the sides, floor and even the mattress are made of mesh so, as the name implies, air can circulate freely throughout the entire playard. There’s a one-handed folding system and an adjustable mat that can be placed at either a bassinet or a playard level. Everything, including the mattress and the crib covering, can be washed right in your machine. And there’s an organic crib sheet included too.

What’s Worth Considering

This is the priciest playard on our list. It’s also on the heavier side at about 25 pounds when the bassinet is in use.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Birth to 3 years old
Product Weight 22 lbs (not including bassinet)

Other Playards We Love

  • The Baby Trend Retreat Nursery Center is a Babylist parent favorite and a well-priced playard packed with features. It includes a bassinet that converts into a standalone rocker, hanging toys, sounds and vibration, a larger removable bassinet and of course a roomy play space.
  • Know for their beloved one-handed fold line of strollers, Baby Jogger’s City Suite Multi-Level Playard delivers both looks and functionality. This multi-level playard is lightweight (a little over 13 pounds), includes a bassinet and folds compactly so it works for either at home or on the go.
  • The Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome is a great affordable option for an outdoor or on-the-go playard, but it works just as well for indoors too. It includes a canopy and a few hanging toys.

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