The 11 Best Pack ‘n Plays, According to Lab Testing

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From the first day a baby comes home, you need somewhere for them to sleep safely, at least a diaper changing station, and as they get older, a place for them to play without the hassle. If you’re planning on doing any travel, you’ll still need all of these, which can be especially difficult when the place you’re visiting isn’t exactly a safe place for young children. With all these demands in mind, it’s no surprise why bundles and plays, aka Pack ‘n Plays (Graco’s trademarked name) or playards, are so popular.

A pack and play can be a play space, crib, and diaper changing station, all within one or some combination of those three features. You can fold them up and store them in a bag for easy travel. It’s also one of those rare baby items that isn’t made for short-term use. “Some [pack and plays] there are infant underwear made for them [infants]”Pediatrician Whitney Casares, tells Verywell Family, so they can ‘grow with your baby'”.

To collect live data on how top packs and plays performed, we bought 13 of the best models on the market and tested them in the Verywell Test Lab. We spent eight hours evaluating each product’s ease of assembly, compactness, cleaning instructions, and overall value to help you choose which is right for you.

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Based on our tests, this is the best pack and play you can buy.

Final Judgment

All the packs and games on this list have benefits, but the 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Music Player ranks highest on our list because it includes a bassinet and diaper changing station, offering plenty of space for small children to play and super sturdy thanks to the extra bottom legs.

The Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

How we rate packages and play

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best packs and plays we’ve tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These bundles and plays are top-notch but they can have minor flaws like excessive setup time or complicated takedowns.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great packages and plays, but the others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These packs and plays are just average.

3.4 or less: We do not recommend packing and playing with this rating; You won’t find anything on our list.

How we tested the package and played

To determine which packs and games on the market are the best, we tested 13 different models in the Verywell Test Lab to gauge size/compactness, special features, ease of mounting. their construction, their mobility potential, and their durability. First, we calculated how long it took to set up and remove each model, and looked at how intuitive the process was. We also take each and every packet out of its carrying case (if available) and repackage it to help us determine ease of use.

To determine portability, we dragged each play on a linoleum floor and a ruffled rug. We also carried each product from one end of the test space to the other to determine how easy it was to lift and move from room to room during setup. Finally, we intentionally poured apple sauce over each product and wiped it off with a baby wipe to determine the material’s level of stain resistance. After each test, we give a product rating, which we then use to come up with an average star rating based on all tested factors.

The Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

What to look for when buying a pack and playing


“Never use or purchase a bundle and game that does not meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission standards or damaged or damaged in any way. . Also, it’s important to make sure any furniture and toys you plan to use as a bed meet safe sleep guidelines for babies under 1 year old to reduce the risk of SIDS. The side panels should be made of breathable material, the mattress should be flat and firm, and any fitted sheets should fit snugly without the risk of coming apart.

To make sure your baby sleeps safely, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding bed-sharing, placing them on their backs during each sleep, and sharing a room, if possible, for the first six months of life. of children. . You also want to keep any soft objects, loose bedding, or any other items, such as blankets, pillows, and toys, out of your baby’s sleeping area as all of these pose a entrapment risk. suffocation and suffocation.

The Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

Dimensions & Weight

Think about what you will use this product for the most and consider its size and weight. If it’s set up at home, something bigger with storage and lots of attachments will benefit you. However, if you plan on moving around a lot, you’ll want something a bit smaller and lighter for easier portability.

Easy to use

Ideally, you want a bundle and game that’s easy to set up and take down, with as little frustration as possible. Many of them are designed with one-step or one-handed mechanisms, simple buttons or interlocking pieces that snap into place easily. Also, consider how difficult it is to pack a toy and play and get it in and out of its bag.

The Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida


Not all travel cots and play beds are intended for the same purpose. Some convert from infant cribs to toddler playgrounds, some are dedicated to sleeping and others are designed just for play. Consider what you need to pack and play for when choosing the right product for you.

The Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

frequently asked Questions

  • How do you set up a pack and play?

    Most packs and plays come with an interlocking frame that can be easily broken down or securely fixed in place, some using buttons while others require an adult to fold them down and up manually. There is also a pull tab usually in the middle of the bottom of the player (covered by a mattress when in use) that functions similar to an umbrella; when it is pulled up, the playard will collapse on its own and when it is pushed down, the playard will fully expand. “Particular care should be taken that it is fully locked into place so that it does not collapse, which can cause serious injury to the infant,” Dr. Casares said.

  • Can a child sleep in a pack and play?

    Dr Casares said: “It is safe for babies to sleep in a bag and play that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s safety standards. Features to look for include “a firm, snug-fit mattress and a specially designed, snug-fit sheet to work with it.” Also, before you use the pack and play to sleep, make sure you know its age, weight, and height restrictions. If there is a crib attachment, find out if there are any instructions for babies who can roll over.

Why trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mother of a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. She has personal experience in researching and purchasing a wide range of children’s products.

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