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Best Play Yards & Playpens for Babies of 2022 (Guide & Reviews)

Based on Consumer Ratings & Reviews and Research


Whether you are looking for the best play yards for babies or the best baby playpens, you have come to the right place!

Wouldn’t it be great to keep your baby or toddler happily playing in one spot, instead of wandering all over the house looking for fun?

This page is all about finding the perfect arena for keeping your little one safe and entertained.

Towards the bottom of this guide, you will also find a Frequently Asked Questions section, as well as safety warnings, and more!

Evenflo Versatile Play Space

We want to be your “Go-To” source for all the information you need about play yards and playpens to keep your baby safe!

Wondering which play yard gates and playpens are the best on the market? Take a peek at this list to find out!

Our Top Pick for the Best Play Yard

Evenflo Versatile Play Space

Evenflo Versatile Play Space

We chose the Evenflo as our #1 Pick for a standard play yard because we love how tall it stands, it has great versatility for inside or outside use (those yard stakes are awesome!), and the fact that any panel can be opened as a walk-thru door!

Our Top Pick for the Best Portable Playpen

BABYSEATER Portable Playard Play Pen with Carrying Case for Infants and Babies, Pink

BABYSEATER Portable Playard Play Pen

We picked the Babyseater as our favorite portable playpen because we love the padded floor, machine-washable fabric, easy, fast setup, and the really cool side zip door!

What is the difference between Play Yards and Playpens?

This is a great question!

Both Play Yards and Playpens are dedicated play spaces that do a great job of keeping children contained to one specific area, but since the terms commonly overlap each other, it can be a bit confusing when you are shopping.

For ease of discussion, in this article, we will be referring to play yards as structures that have separate panels that are connected to each other and that attach to themselves to form an enclosed space, similar to how super wide baby gates are capable of being used.

Play yard

Evenflo Versatile Play Space

In this article, you will see reviews for two different styles of play yards, both regular and chunky. They essentially perform the same function, but each has their own distinct look. The “chunky” types are more commonly a bit shorter and used most often for younger babies.

Portable playpen

Summer Pop ‘n Play SE Hex Playard, 6-Sided, Sweet Life Edition, Aqua Sugar Color – Full Coverage Play Pen for Indoor and Outdoor Use - Fast, Easy and Compact Fold Aqua Sugar

For the word “playpen” we will be using this term to distinguish units that are fully contained in one piece, don’t come in panels, and generally have their own floors. Because these units are designed to fold for storage and travel, we will also refer to them as portable playpens.

For more information about the differences in details, please check out our blog post called: Should I Choose a Play Yard, a Playpen, or a Pack ‘n Play?

Best Play Yards for Babies in 2022

Here is our curated list of the best playards!

We use strict criteria for including products on this list, including those that have received the best customer ratings and the most positive reviews.

We have eliminated any selections that have design flaws that may prove to be dangerous, such as ill-placed openings (holes) that could be used for footholds and climbing or that might allow a child to get an arm or leg stuck.

Keep in mind that we have included reviews of 2 distinct styles of play yards. You will first find standard play yards and, after that, the slightly shorter “chunky” type of play yards that are typically used for younger or smaller babies and toddlers.

1. Best Regular Play Yards

Our Top Pick: Evenflo Versatile Play Space

Evenflo Versatile Play Space

Why We Choose this As Our #1 Pick?

We have picked this as our Top Pick because it stands the tallest of the play yards, plus has the option to use any panel as an easy-access door and has built-in stakes to secure it when using it on the lawn outdoors.

This fantastic indoor/outdoor standard play yard is tall and sturdy, making it ideal for keeping your child safe!

We love that it has non-slip pads for firm surfaces indoors but also has reversible feet with built-in stakes to secure it when using on your lawn outdoors!

Every panel on this unit is designed to be used as a walk-thru door, so no matter which side you want to enter from it is as simple as “opening” the nearest panel with a one-handed motion.

We love the color options that range from neutral gray to creamy white to bright and colorful primary colors. Plus, you can pick from 2 sizes depending on whether you have a large or small space.

This gate comes fully assembled and can be folded for easy transportation or storage. It is lightweight but well-made with UV weather-resistant plastic panels.

Specifications:

  • 6-Panel, with option to buy 2-Panel Extension for 8 Panels (Choose Versatile Option)
  • 28” Tall
  • 18.5 Square Feet of Space or add extension to nearly double your space
  • Every panel is hinged & can swing open as a walk-thru door
  • Foldable
  • Has 3 color options
  • Indoor/Outdoor Design

PROS:

  • Extra-Tall
  • Every panel is a Walk-thru Door
  • Foldable
  • Configurable with extra panel option
  • Reversible feet with stakes for outdoor use
  • Non-slip pads are included to keep the gate from slipping on hard surfaces.
  • Great color options
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy and quick Assembly: No tools required
  • Only sturdy when properly positioned (follow directions – hexagon, octagon, decagon – don’t rely on other users’ pics!)

CONS:

  • Not as sturdy as a metal play yard
  • Not ideal for mobile children who may try to climb or pull up on the honeycomb grid
  • Be Aware: A few reports of children getting cut on the sharp edges of the plastic
The Bottom Line

With a multitude of happy customers, this play yard comes highly-recommended. We love the various features and believe that for a standard plastic-molded play yard, this is one of the best play yards on the market. It rates the highest for sturdiness and is available for a fantastic price!

Toddleroo by North States Superyard Ultimate Play Yard

This classy play space is truly the “ultimate” standard play yard. It stands tall enough to securely keep your little one safe inside.

With 2 size options, you can either go big or stay small if necessary, if you only have a small area.

Our favorite feature is the walk-thru door that makes it easy to access and that can be opened with one hand.

Toddleroo by North States Superyard Ultimate 8 Panel Baby Play Yard, Made in USA: Safe Play Area, Indoors/Outdoors. Carrying Strap for Travel. Freestanding. 34.4 sq ft Enclosure (26" Tall, Ivory)

There are skid-resistant pads on the bottom to keep it from sliding around on a firm surface. It can also be used inside or outside.

This molded plastic play yard comes fully assembled and ready to set up. It folds for easy transport and storage. Color choices include neutral ivory which matches the decor of most homes and a brightly colored “kid-friendly” option.

Specifications:

  • 6-Panel or 8-Panel Options
  • 26” Tall
  • 18.5 Square Feet of Space (6-Panel Version) or 34.4 Square Feet of Space (8-Panel Version)
  • Configurable. Can add or remove panels.
  • Can purchase additional 2-panel extensions.
  • Foldable
  • Has Walk-thru Door
  • Has 3 color options
  • Indoor/Outdoor Design
  • Play Mat Sold Separately
  • Wall-Mount Hardware Unavailable
  • JPMA Certified

PROS:

  • Walk-thru Door
  • Foldable and easy to transport or store
  • Comes in a large size with additional panels available
  • Configurable
  • Lightweight & portable
  • Comes with non-slip pads that prevent the gate from slipping on firm surfaces
  • Sturdy only when properly positioned (do not rely on the square form; instead, use a hexagon, octagon, or decagon!

CONS:

  • Plastic is not the most sturdy
  • Walk-thru door can be difficult to open and close
  • Expensive for its class
The Bottom Line

We love that this play yard provides plenty of space and stands tall enough to contain children very well. It is great for when you need something easy to move to a different location. It is not as sturdy as a metal play yard but does the job well for its class.

Don’t necessarily want a Walk-thru Door?

North States Superyard Colorplay 6 or 8-Panel Play Yard

Here is the North States regular play yard option. If you change your mind, it even has the option to add extra space with a 2-panel extension with a walk-thru door! Same specifications as the Ultimate Superyard listed above.

Differences include the following:

  • Does not have a Walk-thru Door
  • Has 4 color options.
  • Wall-Mount Hardware Sold Separately
  • Extra 2-Panel Extension with Walk-thru Door Sold Separately

Toddleroo By North States Superyard Colorplay 8 Panel Baby Play Yard, Made In USA: Safe Play Area Anywhere. Carrying Strap For Easy Travel. Freestanding. 34.4 Sq. Ft. Enclosure (26" Tall, Multicolor)

f you are looking for a metal play yard:

If you are looking for a full-size metal play yard that can be configured in various ways or used as an extra-wide baby gate across large areas, please see our page: Best Baby Gates for Multiple Configurations. 

There you will find some unique options for sturdy metal baby gates that can be either attached to the wall or used as larger play yards that attach to themselves.

Toddleroo by North States 3 in 1 Metal Superyard: 151" long extra wide baby gate, barrier or play yard, Hardware or freestanding, 6 panels, 10 sq.ft. enclosure (30" tall, Light Taupe)

2. Best Chunky Play Yards

After conducting research on the 14 chunky play yards that are now sold on Amazon, we have come to the conclusion that, according to our findings, there are actually only two of these play yards that have been constructed with safety in mind.

UBRAVOO Learn Coloring Baby Playpen

Why We Choose this As Our #1 Pick?

We have picked this as our Top Pick because it stands the tallest of the play yards, plus has the option to use any panel as an easy-access door and has built-in stakes to secure it when using it on the lawn outdoors.

This rainbow-themed play yard is the best based on our research.

We used at least 13 criteria in this research, and this chunky play yard has 12 of them. More of all the play yards we looked at, including:

  1. The opening is designed in a vertical shape that allows your child to see you from the inside but is not positioned such that children can use it as a ladder to climb.
  2. Does not have a large hole that can be a child’s attention to insert his hands, feet, or head so that it can cause pinching.
  3. No gaps between panels.
  4. Free of installation and easy to store and carry everywhere.
  5. Has an activity center where none of the reports have broken anything that creates a choking hazard.
  6. We also did not find reports from reviewers that there were things that could create a choking hazard, such as screws, broken locks, and others. Note: They use physical keys, not spring locks.
  7. And ASTM certified, of course.

PROS:

  • Safe with non-climbable vertical opening
  • Fun activity toy panel
  • Highly configurable for any shape or size
  • Natural and attractive rainbow colors
  • Comes already assembled
  • There is no gap between panels

CONS:

  • Only one color is available
  • The extension is currently unavailable for purchase.
  • The tie joints may need to be adjusted fairly regularly because they loosen quickly, and this is a common fault we see in all play yards, so please keep this in mind.
  • More expensive than the competition
The Bottom Line

This is our top recommendation for the chunky play yard. It has everything you need from a play yard, including easy to configure, foldable, and a safe design.

Our biggest plus point is that it doesn’t have a big hole or a wide gap between panels, so there is no risk of children getting pinched.

The price is higher than the competition, but if the quality is what you are looking for and consider the safety factor, we will not look at other play yards than this.

We wholeheartedly recommend it.

Costzon Baby Playpen, 16-Panel Foldable Baby Fence w/Locking Gate

Costzon Baby Playpen, 16-Panel Foldable Kids Safety Activity Center Playard w/Locking Gate, Non-Slip Rubber Mats, Adjustable Shape, Portable Design for Indoor Outdoor Use (Beige + Gray, 16-Panel)

Why We Choose this As Our #1 Pick?

We have picked this as our Top Pick because it stands the tallest of the play yards, plus has the option to use any panel as an easy-access door and has built-in stakes to secure it when using it on the lawn outdoors.

While Ubravoo was our favorite, we were equally wowed by this pre-assembled play yard.

It has a simple neutral design that will fit nicely with your existing decor. The color choices are pleasant, and there are moveable toys on the activity wall. It offers enough space and appeals to both children and parents.

Similar to Ubravoo, it has vertical openings in the panels so that your baby can see out, but they are positioned in such a way that they will not allow your child to use them to climb out. Each panel has a built-in handle, so they are easy to grasp and move into position.

The hinge mechanism on this play gate is also easy to use and locks into place, which adds sturdiness and strength. There is a non-slip rubber pad to help keep it secure when placed on hard floors. When you want to store or move the unit, just unlock the panels and fold them together.

PROS:

  • Built with safety in mind: safe with vertical openings that are not climb-able
  • No assembly required
  • Foldable
  • Gender neutral color
  • Configurable to many shapes and sizes
  • Equipped with 14 additional suction cups that may be attached as needed and featuring a non-slip rubber pad at the bottom.

CONS:

  • Limited to just one color scheme
  • The acitivity board is limited compare to Ubravoo: Only have flower& windmill shaped turntable
  • Fastener joints may need tightened fairly often because they loosen too easily
The Bottom Line

We really like the neutral look and function of this chunky play yard. It is well priced and gives an adequate amount of play space for the little ones.

The main difference between this and the Ubravoo is that this one has a non-slip rubber pad on the bottom of the panel, which makes it more difficult to tip over and move. This non-slip floor mat is our favorite, aside from the hinge system.

This is a popular choice among customers, and we recommend it so highly that it is our #1 Top Pick!

Best Portable Playpens in 2022

BABYSEATER Portable Playard Play Pen

BABYSEATER Portable Playard Play Pen with Carrying Case for Infants and Babies, Pink

Why We Choose this As Our #1 Pick?

We have picked this as our Top Pick because it stands the tallest of the play yards, plus has the option to use any panel as an easy-access door and has built-in stakes to secure it when using it on the lawn outdoors.

The Babyseater Portable Playpen is quite large at nearly 5-feet across. It is super easy to set up and has a quick locking mechanism on each side. It has mesh sides for great visibility and air flow. It comes with a carrying case with a handle which makes it very portable.

The floor is padded and the fabric is removable and machine-washable, making this both comfortable for baby and easy to keep clean. There is also a side zip “door” which is perfect when you want to climb in with baby or let older siblings enter and exit with ease.

PROS:

  • Great Size
  • Foldable and portable
  • Simple to setup
  • Removable and washable fabric
  • Padded floor
  • Great quality
  • Side zip door
  • 3 color options

CONS:

  • No canopy
  • Bars are not padded
  • Padding on floor is thin
The Bottom Line:

We love this playpen and are very impressed with the quality and its ease of use! If you are looking for an easy-to-use play space with super cool features, we highly recommend this one so much that it is our #1 Top Pick!


Baby Delight Go with Me Eclipse Portable Playard

Baby Delight Go With Me Eclipse Portable Playard (Canopy Included)

Why We Choose this As Our #2 Pick?

We love the Baby Delight Go with Me Eclipse because it is so well-made and easy to use! Plus, it comes with a canopy, making it just that much more useful for when you want to use it outdoors!

This portable playpen comes standard with a canopy. It is 28” tall and spans 49” across.

The sides are mesh allowing for air circulation and visibility. The floor is made of durable nylon and is easy to wipe clean. Plus the fabric is all removable and machine-washable.

It is foldable and portable with a carrying case that has a handle. Setup is easy and only takes a few seconds with 2 locking mechanisms. It only weighs 12 pounds, so it is lightweight and great for traveling.

If you don’t want or need the canopy, there is also a cheaper option to purchase without it.

Great for babies 6-24 months who are up to 35” tall.

PROS:

  • Foldable and portable
  • Comes with a canopy
  • Fabric is removable and machine-washable
  • Lightweight
  • Folds and unfolds in 2 seconds

CONS:

  • No padding on floor
  • Bars are not padded
  • Canopy may be tricky to attach
  • Expensive
The Bottom Line

This is a nice well-made playpen with great features. It isn’t the cheapest option, but with the machine-washable fabric and canopy, it may be worth the extra money! The only downside is that it doesn’t have any padding on the floor.

Milliard Playpen Portable Playyard with Cushioning

Are you looking for a portable playpen that has extra padding?

Not only is the floor portion lightly padded, but there are even cushions on all the side support bars and padding on the mesh in front of all the joints.

Milliard Playpen Portable Playard with Cushioning for Safety, for Travel, Indoor and Outdoor Play Yard Pen (6 Sided)

It is constructed with steel bars for stability and mesh sides for visibility and air flow. It is 48” across and 27.5” high. It folds easily and can be stored and carried in its travel bag. It is lightweight and only weighs 12.5 pounds.

Setup includes connecting the 5 safety buckles around the leg joints. It is simple and only takes a few minutes to put up and take down. The fabric is also removable and machine-washable.

PROS:

  • Foldable and portable
  • Comes with a canopy
  • Fabric is removable and machine-washable
  • Lightweight
  • Folds and unfolds in 2 seconds

CONS:

  • No padding on floor
  • Bars are not padded
  • Canopy may be tricky to attach
  • Expensive

The Bottom Line:

We love the extra-padding on this playpen, as that is a hard-to-find feature. The floor is only lightly cushioned, so don’t expect a heavily-padded floor. It doesn’t have the fastest setup and breakdown, but it is still very easy. We highly recommend this playpen overall, especially for the price.

Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard

It compactly folds and can be carried in its own travel bag with a shoulder strap, plus it only weighs 12 lbs. Set up is fast and easy! Great for indoor or outdoor use!

There is an option to purchase a canopy separately, or if you want to upgrade and buy it WITH a canopy, see the link below for the deluxe model.

Summer Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard, Green - Lightweight Play Pen for Indoor and Outdoor Use - Portable Playard with Fast, Easy and Compact Fold

PROS:

  • Mesh sides for air circulation and visibility
  • Water-resistant floor
  • Super-lightweight and easy to carry

CONS:

  • Not easy to clean
  • Floor is not padded
  • Mesh may tear with repeated use
  • Metal bars don’t have any padding
The Bottom Line:

This is a great budget-option playpen. It has all the basics and gets the job done. Plus it is easy-to-use and fast to set up. Plus, you have options to upgrade it with a canopy, if needed.

Like the Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play, but want a deluxe version? Read on!

Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play SE Hex Playard (Sweetlife Edition)

The Sweetlife Edition gives you the same basic profile, but also comes with a removable, washable ½” thick floor pad to make baby’s life more comfortable and your job easier!

Plus it comes with a full-coverage canopy with 2 zip-open panels for easy access. Great for keeping baby protected from the sun on a hot day!

With this link, you will also find an option to purchase the regular Pop ‘n Play with an included full-coverage zip-open canopy for a bit cheaper than purchasing it separately.

Summer Pop ‘n Play SE Hex Playard, 6-Sided, Sweet Life Edition, Aqua Sugar Color – Full Coverage Play Pen for Indoor and Outdoor Use - Fast, Easy and Compact Fold Aqua Sugar

Play-Away Portable Playard Deluxe

This portable playard is a deluxe model that includes a sun shade that can be used in full or half-dome mode and is perfect for indoor or outdoor use.

It has a special pouch that can hold a touchscreen device for baby to play or learn on, if desired.

Evenflo Play-Away Portable Playard Deluxe

It has a large area to play in that is 15 sq. ft (48″ wide and 27″ tall), so there’s plenty of room for more than one child and lots of toys. The six mesh sides have roll-down shades to control breeze and light.

The frame is lightweight, foldable, and durable, plus it comes with a carrying bag with shoulder strap to make transportation easy. The floor is water-resistant and lightly padded for comfort.

PROS:

  • Mesh sides for air circulation and visibility
  • Water-resistant floor
  • Super-lightweight and easy to carry

CONS:

  • Not easy to clean
  • Floor is not padded
  • Mesh may tear with repeated use
  • Metal bars don’t have any padding
The Bottom Line:

This gorgeous, well-built portable play yard has a lot of features and is a fast favorite. We especially love the roll-down sides that allow you to block sun and wind and provide some privacy, if necessary. Great choice that we highly recommend.


Why Does Your Baby Need a Play Yard or Playpen?

Babies and toddlers are notorious for being great escape artists, finding trouble to get into, and slipping away quickly when you turn your head. For this reason, many parents love the idea of safely containing their little ones by creating a designated contained play space.

Lovingly called “baby jail” by many families, play yards or playpens can play an important role in keeping your child safe while you are busy nearby cooking, working, or even taking a much-needed shower or bathroom run. The idea is to keep your child entertained in a baby-safe area.

Baby Playpen Kids Activity Centre Safety Play Yard Home Indoor Outdoor New Pen (Multicolour, Classic Set 14 Panel)

We here at Baby Gates Expert believe that play yards and playpens can be a great tool to use, oftentimes in place of or in conjunction with well-placed baby gates in your home. However, we also believe that greatly limiting a child’s play space for too long isn’t wise either.

For this reason, we encourage parents to choose and use a play yard or playpen for times when they need a safe play space for their child, but to not use it exclusively. Children also need time and space to explore and exercise in larger areas, as well.

Also, children should never be left unattended in play yards or playpens and you should remain in the nearby area so as to monitor their safety at all times. These units are not fool-proof and are merely tools to make your job easier and do not eliminate the need for your watchful eye.

So use them carefully and sparingly, on an as-needed basis, and always be in tune with your child’s need to escape the confines of their “baby jail.”

All You Need to Know About Play Yards and Playpens

If you are new to the world of play yards and playpens, it might seem overwhelming at first. In this section, we will address any concerns or questions you may have about these products. We want you to feel confident in your use of them and know their benefits and risks.

What do I need to look for or avoid in a Play Yard or Playpen?

Always make sure that you choose products that are designed with safety in mind. Not all baby products are necessarily well-thought-out, so make sure that any play yard or playpen that you use doesn’t have sharp areas, pinching parts, or improperly sized openings.

Plus, you will need to make sure that your choice fits the size and age of your child. If your child is older or taller, you will need to measure to make sure that they are not too big for the play yard or playpen or that the unit is sturdy enough to accommodate them.

You will also want to consider the size (surface area) that you need, as well as ease of set-up, portability, or other factors that will assure you pick a play yard or playpen that adequately meets your needs and that of your child.

Safety Warnings for Play Yards and Playpens

To prevent accidents, always ensure that:

  1. Baby is not left unattended when using a play yard or playpen.
  2. There are no tears, holes, sharp or broken areas that baby could hurt themselves with or get caught in
  3. If baby can stand or climb, remove any large objects or toys that baby could use to attempt to climb over the sides.
  4. Do not tie any toys to the top rail, as baby could get entangled and they are a suffocation hazard.
  5. Make sure there are no openings that baby could slip through or low sides that baby can get over.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What age is a playpen or play yard suitable for?

This depends largely on the size and mobility of your child. Generally speaking, playpens are recommended when your child begins to roll around, scoot, or crawl. This may be about 6 months for the average baby.

Many children can continue to use their playpen until they are anywhere from 1-2 years of age, depending on how tall they are and whether they have learned how to climb out of it. It also depends on how high the walls of your playpen or play yard is.

If your child outgrows their playpen or one of the shorter chunky play yards, you may have success keeping them contained safely in a taller standard play yard, either a plastic option as reviewed on this page or upgrading to a metal play yard with vertical slats, as can be found elsewhere on this website.

The important thing to remember is that if your child’s chest comes above the top rail of your play space or has learned to climb out, then it is no longer safe to use for that child, due to risk of them falling out headfirst.

2. Are playpens or play yards a good idea for babies?

Yes, for many parents, these wonderful inventions can help keep baby contained and entertained, keeping them safe and happy while you are busy.

Since most young children who are mobile are super fast and love to wander, a play yard or playpen may be the perfect answer for helping you keep an eye on them by keeping them in one general area.

On the other hand, never leave a small child unattended in a playpen, nor should you over-use a playpen that has limited space. Children do need the opportunity to stretch out, move freely, run & toddle, which is nearly impossible to accomplish in a playpen.

For this reason, use these items, but use them wisely and with good judgment, considering always that a child “penned up” for too long will likely be restless and bored.

3. Can I use a playpen instead of a crib as my baby’s bed?

Only allow your baby to sleep in a playpen if it has a firm surface with no additional mattresses, soft bedding, toys, or other objects in it.

Many playpens on the market are advertised as being an alternative to a crib, but when used for sleep, they must also resemble a proper crib without anything that could potentially become a suffocation or entrapment hazard.

4. Is it okay to leave my baby in a playpen?

Only if you are nearby and are monitoring them. Babies should not be left alone or with another child in a playpen without proper supervision.

Plus, they should not be left for extended periods of time in a playpen, as they may lack proper exercise by doing so or begin to feel bored or overwhelmed with being in such a small space.

Watch your child for clues that they need a break from the playpen. Are they fussy, crying, or attempting to climb out? Those are signs that may indicate that they need more space to play or a change of pace outside of the playpen.

Wrapping Up

We hope this page has been helpful to you on your quest for the best playards and best playpens for babies as you make your decision for what will work best for your little one. We wish you great success as you seek to provide a fun and safe environment for your child!

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