So, you’re finally thinking of buying a pack and play for toddlers and you want to know what the best one is. If you’ve done any preliminary research, then you’ll know that, while there are only a few major players in this market, it’s actually pretty difficult to make a choice.
All of them seem pretty good and they all have rather ambiguous model names, making it hard to tell the difference even across brands.
What’s the difference between the Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard and the Regalo My Play Portable Play Yard?
And what about the Graco and the Regalo in general? Are there certain pack and plays that only good for toddlers and not for infants or bigger kids?
If you wanted to buy the perfect pack and play for toddlers, which would it be?
I can’t tell you what the perfect pack n play is, really, since there is no such thing as a perfect anything. But I can tell you which are the best for different purposes and then you can pick the one that meets your needs.
Another thing I can tell you is, among the major players, there isn’t really a bad playard. At least none so bad that the others are light years ahead.
It really all comes down to what matters most to you. And I would like you to remember that, as you read this review. All of the current pack and play playards on the market fit some roles very well.
Some of them fill more roles than others, while others have practically taken over a particular niche. For example, there are some best playard for travel, while a few are good pack n play cover to keep cats out. Some are exclusive playpen and bassinet combo, yet we also have best pack and play for sleeping.
But that niche is still important enough that the playpen is a viable choice, even if it lags in other areas. At the end of the day you should pick whichever pack and play fits your toddler activity preferences.
I can’t tell you what your toddler activity preferences are! But I can list for you which pack and play do what well.
I’ll rank them from best to not-so-best (I don’t want to say worst – as I mentioned, they are all pretty good). If you want to learn a little more about each, then you can read their individual in-depth reviews below.
|Graco Pack 'n Play Newborn2Toddler Playard||View on Amazon|
|BABYSEATER Portable Playard||View on Amazon|
|Summer Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard||View on Amazon|
|Lotus Travel Crib||View on Amazon|
|Regalo My Play Portable Play Yard||View on Amazon|
|Toddleroo by North States Superyard||View on Amazon|
|Evenflo Versatile Play Space||View on Amazon|
|BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light||View on Amazon|
|Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard||View on Amazon|
|Delta Children Play Yard||View on Amazon|
The Newborn2Toddlers design is derivative of the standard Graco playards with that preceded it, though we wouldn’t say that it’s an exact copy. Actually, a common running joke about the Newborn2Toddler is that it looks like 2 playards stacked one on top of each other. As a result, this pack and play takes up way more space than its predecessor.
Graco also did a bit of work on the interior. The playpen offers seven ways of use instead of One, that includes a raised bassinet and a toddler cot. In fact, you can use one pack n play for two kids at the same time.
While your newborn baby naps in the raised bassinet which is positioned at your eye level for convenient check-in, your toddler too can access the middle piece that doubles as a small travel bed of her own to play or rest, at the same time.
As for the 7 different ways to use the pack n play from newborn to toddler, this playard is specifically designed to grow with your child. It takes about fifteen minutes to set up all the pieces, and you can use it in so many ways from newborn to toddler age.
It is impressive that the playard takes apart and put together easily and safely. The pack n play is convenient to carry in your trips both by car and plane.
The quality of the Newborn2Toddlers is high enough that, the sleeper is lined with a soft fabric and has a small head pillow. If you want to remove it from the playard and use it alone around the house, you can do it too.
When the changer and sleeper are removed, the bassinet part can be lifted so you can see the baby sleeping, even if you have a higher bed. It, however, has a bassinet and if your baby is already above six months of age, a newborn sleeper may not be that useful.
That said, this pack n play is perfect if you have two children already, or you plan to have more children so this playpen seems perfect.
Though, it would have been great if Graco included two firm pads instead of one, because they advertise this product use with two children.
Overall, the pack and play is good and the only thing that may be added is a second mattress but by the time Graco comes out with another featured playpen, you can buy one additionally.
Those who want to take the whole playard for travel, will see the challenge to fold up the raised bassinet and toddler cot but the playpen itself folds just like any other playard in the market. So, it doesn’t seem hard to travel with only one part of the pack and play.
This is a super tall pack and play when assembled with all pieces, that is quite easy to figure out. Even if you are tall, you will not need to bend over the playard.
The Babyseater is a feat of design that wows anyone who decides to give it a try. It manages to give a feel of home-coming and its big beautiful gate seems to invite you to come and play.
The only sad part is that the bottom is not padded. This is a bad thing as well as a good one, because if you use it on hard floor, you need to place a mattress under it. However, if you use it outdoors, it’s perfect on the grass.
Secondly, a padded bottom would make it much heavier and difficult to fold. Then, the bottom is also not water-resistant. So, you can set it in the backyard or put a water-resistant blanket or a tarp underneath, then you may well be sorted even with this.
The playard also has an interesting overhaul over its competitors in terms of the exterior design. Not only it has an appealing entry gate,the Babyseater uses secure see-through mesh that allows you to check-on baby and baby to see you and feel secure.
It turns anywhere into a safe space to play for the toddlers. It is easy to set it up with single handed operation, so you can set it up with one hand while holding the baby with the other. Safety is not an issue because it got two safety locks while you set it up indoor or outdoor play.
The playard is normally only sold in white/black, so you don’t get much variety there. So, at first blush, there aren’t many style options.
However, the side mesh can be washed, and of course you can decorate your toddler’s playard with exclusive toys of his choice, that will make him stay inside happily for longer duration.
You can also have a light blanket at the bottom for soft padding, that would also be easier to clean regularly.
The Babyseater pack n play size is smaller than 8-Panel Regalo and D.Lin. You can understand it this way, if you replace the baby in that picture with yourself laying down. that’s how big this playard is. Some people find it huge but for some it’s smaller than their requirement.
The pack n play does very well by turning anywhere into a safe space to play. It is also portable and convenient to fold, even with a single hand, then the 3-in-1 playards, which makes your little one to enjoy immense comfort whenever you use your play area.
If you are concerned about the toddler climbing over the playard, then you will be happy to know that this pack and play lacks cross bars, that means less chance of baby bumping into it.
There is no intersection with nuts sticking out, thus ensuring further safety for your baby. Something interesting to note, however, is that its zippered door means kids can go in and out instead of trying to climb over it; zip on the outside only means kids can’t escape from inside.
When it comes to safety, this playpen has much better overall quality than its competitors Regalo and D.Lin, with respect to stitching and material used. It looks much better than they do. This playard will allow you mesh removal smoothly, ensuring a clean play area.
The Babysitter playard looks somewhat the same as the Regalo My Play. However, it does not have cross bars. That means your toddler does not run the risk of adventuring on cross bars and hurting himself.
If you compare the Babysitter with Joovy Room 2, 4Moms Breeze Plus or a square, large playard by Graco, you can be sure that it will give more space to an active toddler than the standard pack and play, because a baby turning toddler is like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly; highly inquisitive and active to explore everything around him.
At the same time, your baby needs a safe and secure place of their own, mainly to keep them safe in and also to keep the pets and bigger kids out.
This Babysitter is lightweight, which is great for those who love to go out at the beach, picnics and holidays frequently. You can even take this playpen along when meeting over Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings, to have a safe spot for baby to play.
Take a look at the Summer Pop ‘n Play and you’ll realize it’s trying to do many things at the same time.
This playard is keeping your super active toddlers in one place safe. After all, whether playtime is indoors or outdoors, it’s essential to have your toddlers secure.
Understandably, when you set outdoors with a baby, expectations and risks are going to be very high. However, the Summer Pop n Play certainly found its target and over the years the sales have taken a significant uptake.
When you buy the Summer Pop n Play, you’ll find:
- You can use it indoor or outdoor
- Lightweight and portable for convenience
- Innovative pop and fold design for compact fold
- Water resistant floor to keep it dry
- 14 square feet playing area that is 48” wide and 26” tall for big playing area for toddlers
- Travel bag with strap to carry comfortably
Those are a lot of features, and they all come with great quality construction and comfort. The whole playard is not only novel, but also has a great cool factor.
The pack and play, with see-through walls and secure play area, is something that you can use not only for toddlers but also for bigger kids. In fact, it is a great pack n play to turn into a Ball Pit, for that you can use about 700 something uncrushable balls of 6.5cm and turn this playard a happy zone for your kid with his playmates.
The Pop n Play itself has quite a lot of functionality built into it. Not only you can use it in the park, a vacation at the beach but it is also a perfect size to squeeze in a small apartment.
What’s more! It is portable enough to carry back and forth between home and grandparents’ house.
One more concern that even I had as a mother of two young toddlers, as soon as a baby turns around six or seven months of age, he starts crawling and pulling up almost everything to his mouth.
He gets into each corner and finds things out, which missed your attention, and of course it was next to impossible to handle two toddlers at the same time, with work, home chores and relatives at the same time.
In that situation, this pack and play is handy enough, to ensure your little ones are playing in front of your eyes and you are not exhausted to faint.
Further, this is great for keeping the toddlers contained at friends’ houses, at the beach, out in the park, at grandma’s house, family functions and safe from the kitchen and stairs.
The pack n play is lightweight, innovative pop and fold design that sets up and comes down in seconds, plus an easy and compact fold, that allows you to travel with your toddler.
Moreover, it is a space saver and does not take up much space. Rather it adds fun to your adventures. That includes stretch it out in hotel room for the baby, and you lie down next to him, to allow crawling over you.
The Summer Pop n Play itself is jack of all trades. This is super convenient as a travel companion, and can be used at home with some cushioning under it.
It is extremely spacious and you’ll find it useful when baby starts to crawl. As a playpen, it is about double the size of a pack n play and a lot lighter and easier to transport and set up.
It cleans up very easily with a little soap and water and fits nicely in its bag which has a handy shoulder strap. Not only for your baby but this playpen is also a great gift for baby showers.
A major drawback of the playard is its metal frame, that is very solid and sturdy, which is good to hold it in place.
But at the same time this is something you need to be careful about. The baby may hit their head on the metal cross bars and hit themselves hard. It would be safer if you buy some pipe insulation foam to cover the bars from all sides.
Secondly, the pack and play has a canvas floor, which is thin for tile floor, so you need to place some blankets or other padding underneath if you use the playpen on a hard surface.
The playard is not huge but large enough for you to sit in it with the baby, all the way stretched out, and still there would be a few spare inches left. The given size is 14 square feet of playing area (48 inches wide, 26 inches tall).
Overall, the Summer Pop n play is a great playard for toddlers for outdoors and indoors, and it provides a more spacious play area to your exploring toddlers, than a typical bassinet cum pack n play.
If you’re comfortable with canvas flooring (that you can cover up with a blanket), then this should be a good pack and play for you.
The main difference between the pack n play playard and its sibling, Travel Crib, is that the Travel Crib is compact in size and consumes less space.
You don’t need large space to set it up. As a result, it is lighter and more compact than the outdoor playards. It comes with a comfortable baby napper, with soft mattress, but maintains limited play area.
A direct result of this greater compactness is that the Lotus Travel Crib feels much more comfortable as a playard. This is especially important if you have small space.
That said, I still think the most toddler friendly pack n play is Graco Newborn2Toddler, which isn’t as wide as either the BabySeater or the Summer Pop N Play.
The portable playard on the Travel Crib has secure space. So, no crawling out of this crib. On the Newborn2Toddler, the Toddler Cot was removable so you could set them on the floor for a safe baby crawling on the floor.
In case of extensive travel which, to be honest, I prefer Lotus Travel Crib. It feels safer and more comfortable for a toddler to play and rest.
Both the Newborn2Toddler and Travel Crib allow multiple usage and baby to toddler transition, though I have to point out that you still cannot stretch them out on the floor with huge crawling area.
In terms of comfort, there is very little difference between Travel Crib and the Newborn2Toddler. The only major differences I experienced were that the Travel Crib is lighter for travel, doesn’t have the baby cot feature that the Newborn2Toddler has, and lacks a bassinet.
You also can’t change baby clothes exclusively as you can do in a changer. It specifically serves you well during your travel with your toddler, and ensures his play and sleep under your direct supervision.
Okay, maybe I should take that back.
Technically, it is easy to fly with the compact, light backpack carry case. This is the only playard with Green Guard gold non-toxic certification, that means low VOC and no lead, phthalates, PVC, heavy metals etc.
You’ll even be able to use quite side zipper door to nurse or cuddle your little one to sleep, then just zip the lockable door back. It is easier on your back and when it’s time to play and crawl, you can set it up easily enough.
The Regalo My Play is all about your crawling toddler in front of your eyes. If you really want your toddler to be crawling safely, then it’s hard to outdo the Regalo. Of course, it will be outdone by Pop N Play, but for now the Regalo My Play is a strong contender.
The real win for the Regalo pack n play is just how much playing area it gives. It comes with 6-panel that measures 48 inches width and 26 inches height.
It also offers safety with all-steel frame and reinforced stitching, safety-lock feature and meets all safety standards.
This is some serious features for a durable playard, and it’s all for good reason, since it’s all to enable indoor and outdoor use. The only fail in the features department is the metal cross bars, which may hurt the active toddler, and so you may mask the side panels with insulated tape.
Due to its nylon bottom, the My Play provides protection from rough surfaces. At the same time, it is easy to clean up with damp cloth and soap. In fact, Regalo My Play is a perfect fit for indoor as well as outdoor, it is water resistant, lightweight, easy to set up and take down within seconds.
As a result, it is convenient to carry anywhere. Not everyone will appreciate this feature, but people who really care about camping and picnics will love it.
The bottom and net are removable and you’d agree that with toddlers, things get dirty so early, and it’s convenient to wash and set up the whole thing again.
It is not only easier to set up but also to fold it down. There are two bars on the bottom of either side to pull or push down with your foot, and it’s done.
When you talk about durability, even if you have older kids who climb in and out, this playpen can stand it and will not wear easily
In terms of design, the Regalo My Play is similar to the Summer Pop N Play. In fact, I would say the only difference between the two are the color scheme and the material used. Another difference between the playards, though this one isn’t a visual difference, is that the canvas used in Pop N Play is better than nylon used in My Play.
The Toddleroo Superyard is an excellent budget playard. All the exclusives that are available on the Regalo My Play are available here.
However, if you don’t want to fork out extra dollars for all the performance perks of a My Play, then this is an excellent alternative. This standard playard will get the job done for most parents, with a respectable playing area and secure fence around.
The truth is that these specifications are good enough for most parents to enjoy this playard with their babies, and only the most comfort-savvy parents will yearn for more feature rich pack n play. I would say that, at best, the Toddleroo Superyard is a spacious playard for indoors or outdoors, and really can’t go beyond that.
The one major place I would say it beats the My Play is in terms of energy efficiency. You don’t have to bother about removing the mesh and bottom, cleaning / washing and set it up again. In fact, you save your energy on setting it up. It’s so easy to do.
That said, I felt like if you do the default hexagon shape; the space becomes less, hence it work out better to use the panels in smaller sections like a barrier structure that allow free baby movement while keeping him protected, from reaching out to danger zones.
I was torn between this play yard and the Summer Infant Play Yard, and did a lot of research before going with the North States. They were the exact same size and price so I could not decide. I went with this one because it is a little shorter at 26″ inches high verses the Summer Infant which is 30″ high. I am very petite so stepping over the 26″ is even a little challenging for me!
The Summer Infant play yard has a door which was appealing, but everyone kept reviewing that the door was difficult to open, so they would just step over it. I don’t think there’s any way I could step over the 30″ height. In my opinion, the 26″ is the perfect height.
Pretty much everywhere else this playpen is similar to the Evenflo Versatile Play Space. The size and price seem to be similar whereas color may vary, but I’m not sure it’s such a significant improvement that you’ll go with the difference.
The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is a great choice for parents, who wish to keep their crawling toddler from reaching out to electronic wires, knobs, gadgets, wheels and everything which we generally do not notice till the time they pick it up and put in their little mouths.
In terms of design, the play space looks very similar to the Toddleroo Superyard, rather a more a diverse, spacious and professionally designed play space for toddlers aged 6 months to 2 years.
While the playard covers over 18.5 square feet space and it can be used indoor or as an outdoor play center. You don’t need any additional tools for assembling it.
More good news is that the Play Space features reversible legs for anti-movement, non-scratch floor pads for interior surfaces and outdoor stakes for enhanced lawn stability.
The playard gives plenty of play space to toddlers. They can crawl, jump around and play in a safe environment but they cannot climb over the 28 inches tall fence, which keeps them safe inside.
Luckily, the Evenflo Play Space for Babies is Easy and Quick to Assemble. It is also portable and has a foldable, molded handle for additional Safety.
Evenflo hit a huge home run with this play space. The single biggest feature that attracts attention is that each part of the webbing is a rounded edge and not a sharp plastic edge. So, you don’t have to worry about your baby hurting their hands or feet on this fencing due to the awesome rounded edges of the plastic.
In the classic octagon shape it is 5ft across by 4ft 10″ across from the two opposite corners and the two opposite straight edges of the octagon. This gives a large enough space for your baby to crawl and maneuver around and explore the area safely.
Each panel of the play space is held together with a simple and effective push button hinge design. The fencing can be easily taken apart by an adult and reconfigured in a matter of seconds yet is completely secure enough where a baby or toddler would be unable to separate the fencing.
The webbing on each panel is small enough where a baby/toddler in the standing stage would be unable to effectively place their foot into the opening and climb. The angled design of the webbing also prevents little feet from being able to climb up the panel.
The play space easily folds up for storage. Think of an accordion style where each fence panel folds over onto the other. You simply detach one corner from the adjoining panel by pushing the white button on top of the joint and the fence folds up easily.
You can really tell Evenflo put a lot of thought into the design of this play space. It is well worth every penny spent.
BabyBjorn Travel Crib refers to two things. First is the pack n play to keep your toddler comfortable and safe at one place and second is the light weight portability which ensures you’ll be able to travel with the baby with utmost convenience.
- Simple to set up and fold up
- Easy to take with you
- Soft and comfy mattress
- Airy design for good supervision
- Removable and machine washable crib textiles
The main selling point of Travel Crib is that it will be possible to travel light with baby, whether you go for adventurous trips or visit relatives frequently the playpen is useful. It weighs only 11 pounds making it good for travel with toddler. That way you can take it anywhere with ease in it’s easy to carry bag.
If your concern is baby’s blowouts and spit ups then you need not to worry because you can easily wash the playard clean. There is also the advantage of setting it up and folding it close hassle-free.
The BabyBjorn pack n play has a soft and comfy mattress that helps during hotel stays when you are not sure about the quality of hotel room crib, at the same time it is utmost important that the baby sleeps well.
The airy design, however, is very convenient as it gives you satisfaction to check-in the toddler during night sleeps without your getting out of the bed.
When it comes to deciding, BabyBjorn pack and play gives a close competition to Guava Family Lotus travel crib, which is a younger sibling in features. They both are good for travel with a baby but there are some differences also, that will help you decide better for your toddler.
The BabyBjorn is a magic to set up and takedown. The Lotus isn’t too bad, but it’s not that easy. Setting in the mattress and fitted sheet may be a bit easier on BabyBjorn. Closing up the Lotus is definitely more complicated: you need to match up the two moon symbols and the two-star symbols to make sure you are folding it up the right way. Closing BabyBjorn is breeze.
When we talk about size, the overall and the mattress sizes are almost similar in both the playards. To be specific, Lotus is external size 45″ L x 32″ W x 25″ H; mattress 42″ L x 24″ W, and BabyBjorn’s external size 44″ L x 32″ W x 24″ H; mattress 41″ L x 23.5″ W.
The BabyBjorn legs slant at a bit more of an angle, which makes the top opening smaller and makes the interior area feel a bit more cramped. They both are good for sleeping, but the Lotus is more suitable for playtime.
Another thing you’ll need to know is they both weigh 13 lbs, but the Lotus folds up much smaller, into a rectangle (23″ L x 12″ H x 8″ W) that can be worn as a backpack. In comparison, the BabyBjorn only folds in half, and so must be carried more like a small suitcase or large briefcase (19″ H x 23.5″ W x 5.5 in” D).
If you’re going to be toting your crib around and/or flying with it a lot (as opposed to primarily using it at home and traveling with it just occasionally), that would be a really good reason to pick the Lotus.
When it comes to quality, Bjorn playard is constructed of higher quality materials, and feels more durable. The legs on the Lotus sometimes bend a little funny and get in the way of folding up the crib. Also, there is some padding on the Lotus legs to prevent abrasions when folded up, whereas Bjorn doesn’t have this padding.
One of the other most important point is, the BabyBjorn has a slightly thicker and cushier mattress for a sound sleep for baby.
That said, Lotus and Bjorn both are great pack n play for toddlers. The BabyBjorn wins a few more points for its higher quality, easier setup/takedown, thicker mattress, and quality certification.
However, the Lotus has some of its brownie points to win. One of the major good things is, if you are traveling with your playpen a lot, you make use of the zip-up door to soothe or nurse your baby to sleep.
A good pack and play for toddlers are considered on two things. First is the comfort provided by the space and second is the convenience for the baby to play as well as for you to set it up and fold it down.
You’ll get to have more features in other playard models, but you’ll also probably be paying higher price for those.
The main selling point of Graco Portable Playard is that it comes with no frills, just a nice streamlined playard for the comfort of baby, so long as you don’t ask for specific napper, changer, rocker etc. Otherwise, it is an identical playpen, and you can trust that your baby can comfortably nap in this Portable Playard.
Graco Portable Playard has a number of good features such as it is lightweight, very easy to assemble and store in the included carrying bag and ready to be used out of the box, but it also means that you don’t get any baby add-ons. You use it for your toddler’s sleeping and playing needs.
The playard, however, is very convenient as it gives you peace of mind to keep baby in a cozy private space of his own, while you can finish other demanding work.
This quality of the playard is as good as the other expensive pack n plays by Graco. In fact, the inside mattress is exactly the same size as other highly priced models, yet this playard is so compact that it takes up lesser space in the room.
Another thing you’ll be interested in is the actual look of this pack n play, the colors are beautifully soothing and print is nice. If you add an extra Dream On Me 3″ Rounded Corner Playard Mattress to the full-size bassinet, it will be cozier and more soft for the baby to spend longer time in it. However, for a bigger baby you can use it even without adding another bedding.
This playard has sturdy wheels that allows you to push it from one place to another, without collapsing it. If you want to take it in a car or place, you can simply fold it and carry it in the included carrying case.
When it comes to most value for money pack n play selection, this simple yet good quality Graco Pack n Play Portable Playard wins the hearts.
Graco Playard is the best budget pack n play for toddlers, if you are not expecting anything more than comfortable sleep and play for the baby.
There comes a time when your newborn outgrows his porta crib and you need an exclusive place, where he could nap and safely play, if you step out of the room. Here comes your toddler’s most loving exclusive place to play in, nap in and move around.
Delta Children Playard is designed for the toddlers and bigger kids to have lots of fun in a specific theme playpen. It’s so colorful yet subtle to fit in your room’s décor. Ideal to make a ball pit or toy center.
This playard is better than the tiny pack n plays because it gives enough leg room to your baby. The main selling point of this playpen is the square old school playard design. It is so big that more than one baby can play in this together.
Delta Playard got a thick bottom and you will not need to place a mattress underneath the baby. It’s so simple to put it together and disassemble it at any time with the side zippers.
This playpen is perfect to gives you a short break. Keeps child safe and helps them to self-entertain.
And with that we come to the end of our review. Whether you’re getting a pack and play for your toddler or for someone else’s baby; whether you want to create a ball pit for baby or want to keep your baby occupied while you finish your work, the solid playards in this review should keep you and your toddler highly entertained for a long time.
No matter what your tastes, I’m pretty sure you’ll find something here that works well for you, and I’m confident you’ll enjoy it.
Until next time, have fun!