Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Playard

Last updated on October 21, 2023
Best Playard

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Playards

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

4moms All-In-One Easy Transport Playard

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

4moms

All-In-One Easy Transport Playard

New moms are sure to find this playard a lifesaver. Not only does it offer a safe space to play, but it also comes with a removable bassinet and a clip-on changing table. What's even more exciting is that the entire playard can be set-up and taken down with just one hand!

Overall Take

Everything You NeedGift this all-in-one playard to the expectant mom in your life.

 Runner Up

BABY JOY Mesh Easy Wash Playard

BABY JOY

Mesh Easy Wash Playard

This playard uses a seven-point load bearing system, so you can feel confident that it's safe and stable. Parents will love the detachable mattress for naptime, as well as the provided carry bag for taking the playard to grandma's. There's also a set of wheels for quickly moving the playard from one side of the room to the other.

Overall Take

Choice of ColorsThis playard is available in a choice of gray or blue.

 Best Seller

Pamo Babe Multi-Functional Folding Playard

Pamo Babe

Multi-Functional Folding Playard

In addition to providing a safe place for baby to play, this playard also includes a changing table to make diapering at or away from a home a breeze. The breathable mesh fabric sides provide proper airflow, while also giving parents an unobstructed view into the playard. It's also designed to be used as a portable crib, which is great if you're ca...

Overall Take

Most VersatileIt takes just seconds to assemble and disassemble this handy playard for baby.

  The Best Value

Dream On Me Zodiak Travel Non-Toxic Playard

Dream On Me

Zodiak Travel Non-Toxic Playard

This playard is easy to assemble and can be set up in seconds. It comes with a carry bag with a durable shoulder strap for easy transport when traveling. The playard's most attractive features include rounded corners, mesh sides for added breathability and a decorative soft pad that's comfortable for baby.

Overall Take

Economical OptionThe budget-friendly price tag on this playard mean you can get a second one for grandma's house.

Buying Guide

You can’t keep eyes on your baby 24 hours a day. Infants and toddlers need room to play and move around and doing so can easily get them into trouble. Even if you’ve baby-proofed your house, things can happen.

That’s where a playard comes in. Earlier generations called them playpens, but a brand called Pack ‘N’ Play, manufactured by Graco, transformed the concept of a playpen. Instead of being confined to your home, Pack ‘N’ Plays allowed parents to fold up their playpens and take them on the go. But today, Graco isn’t the only manufacturer making this type of product, so to get a true picture of the market, you’ll need to use the product name “playard.”

Like a playpen, a playard gives babies a small, safe space for them to play freely. Think of it as a gated area, only the gate is a soft, safe mesh, and instead of crawling around on the floor, babies get a soft flooring to crawl around on. But perhaps the best thing about playards is they don’t limit you to one small area of your home. They’re built to easily fold up so that you can take them on the go with you.

You aren’t limited to inside play areas with playards, either. You can find some that can be used either outdoors or inside, making them much more versatile than the playpens your grandparents and their parents used. The mesh walls of playards also ensure airflow gets through, which keeps your little ones from being confined between walls that restrict the oxygen they breathe.

But as with almost every other baby product, playards come in a wide variety, with each offering its own unique features. You may find you love the ease of cleaning one playard, only to discover that a competitor has a more comfortable mattress or better safety features. That’s why it’s important to shop around until you find the playard that has everything you need.

What to Look For

  • One thing many playards offer that playpens didn’t is portability. You’ll find most fold down, with some even coming with storage bags that you can use for carrying. Look at the folding mechanism. The best ones make it easy to set up and break down, taking mere seconds. Some even let you do the setup and breakdown work through the use of a foot pedal, which comes in handy if you’re holding a baby.
  • If you opt for a playard with a storage bag, make sure it has a storage strap that makes it easy to tote around.
  • Some playards have something called a “bassinet feature,” which simply means you can lower and raise the sleeping area by adjusting it. This can make it easier to pick up and put down your baby.
  • If you plan to regularly take your playard on the go with you, look for one that has a changing area built in.
  • Safety features are important with any product geared toward children. Check to make sure the mattress will be secure and that all parts of the frame are sufficiently padded to reduce the risk of injury.
  • As useful as playards can be, it’s still important to keep an eye on an infant or toddler, even when in a confined area.
  • Durability is important, too. The frame needs to be built to last. If you plan to use your playard outside, make sure you buy one that can weather sun, humidity and even a surprise rainstorm.
  • You’ll need to clean the playard. In fact, you’ll probably find cleanup is necessary on a fairly regular basis. Having one with a cover for the mattress area can be valuable since you can simply remove the cover and wash it as needed. But it can also be nice to have one made of material like nylon that can simply be wiped down with a damp, slightly soapy washcloth when needed.

More to Explore

Playpens have a long history. In fact, they’re believed to have gotten their beginnings when primitive moms realized they could confine babies to a corner of the cave using a barrier, effectively keeping them safe. But as a commercial product, playpens weren’t popularized until the late 1800s, when they were referred to as a “baby cage.” These cages more closely resembled a walker than a playpen, though. That version could double as a cot. A later version was an adjustable cot that could double as a playpen and a go-cart. The first known use of the term playpen was seen in a 1931 ad in the Daily Express, which referred to “play-pens in best hardwood.”

From our partners