The Top 12 Baby Playpen Picks for 2021 | Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
Last Updated on 2 May, 2021 15:57 by highreviews
The best playpen not only provides younger children with a safe space in which to play, it also allows you to get on with other tasks without having to constantly monitor them. However, in order to be suitable for regular use, your playpen should be comfortable for youngsters, as well as ensure maximum security. Playpens come in a variety of forms, from basic grips to expandable designs that can provide massive areas in which to crawl, play and learn to walk.
Our guide will explore baby playpen pros and cons and all of the things you should be looking at when selecting the best baby playpen for your child.
Types of Baby Playpen
There are several types of playpen to consider. If you are looking for an area a very young child can play in, a large crib or travel cot may be an ideal option. However, these should be large enough that your child can move around within. They should also include interactive elements, such as colourful mobiles, handlers and integrated soft toys.
However, as your baby grows, you will need to provide them with a larger space in which to play. Wooden and metal frame playpens are a good option for those who want something durable and adaptable. These playpens are made up of multiple frame sections that are locked firmly together to provide an enclosure.
They also tend to include a gate panel, which serves in much the same as a stair gate. The best wooden and metal frame playpens can also be used as room dividers, allowing you to keep babies safe in a certain area of your home.
Plastic playpens are a good alternative for those who are worried about children injuring themselves on harder materials. They are also very lightweight, so can be erected or stored away quickly. They also tend to be fairly colourful, with plenty of vibrant details and play elements that will keep youngsters engaged for hours at a time. However, make sure any plastic playpen is sturdy enough that youngsters will not be able to topple panels over and escape.
Finally, you have mesh and fabric-covered playpens to consider. These are very similar in appearance to travel cots and cribs, with mesh panels on the side providing you with an eyeline to the interior. They are lightweight and easy to move, while the mesh construction ensures air can circulate within, preventing your child from overheating. The downside of these playpens is that they can be harder to clean and are generally quite small.
Essential Baby Playpen Safety Features
When choosing a suitable playpen for your baby, you need to seriously think about safety features. If you opt for a sectional playpen with individual panels that need to be fixed together, make sure there is no chance of your child’s fingers becoming trapped in the spaces between sections.
If your playpen has a door or gate, you should also make the hinges leave no room for digits to become trapped. Doors should also be easy to lock, without babies able to access the mechanism and free themselves from their play area.
Materials are also very important when it comes to selecting a playpen. Babies have a tendency to chew on anything they can get their hands on, so plastic should be BPA-free and non-toxic. Maintenance should also be taken into account.
Wooden playpens and plastic frames can be easy to wipe down and dry, while fabric-covered playpens can be more difficult to clean. If you do opt for a fabric-covered playpen, check to see whether these fabric panels can be removed from the frame underneath and laundered separately for convenience.
Our Top Picks of Baby Playpen
- Koo-Di Deluxe Baby Playpen
- Hadwin 14 Panel Baby Playpen
- Venture All Stars DUO Baby Playpen
- Gupamiga Activity Centre Baby Playpen
- Uanlauo Foldable Baby Playpen
- Dripex Large Activity Baby Playpen
- EastSun Ocean Activity Baby Playpen
- Exqline Pop-n-Play Baby Playpen
- Dreambaby Royale 3-in-1 Baby Playpen
- Baby Vivo Foldable Baby Playpen
- GYMAX Travel Cot & Baby Playpen
- Graco Contour Electra Travel Cot
Reviews of 12 Baby Playpen
Need to provide a safe space for little ones to play? Below are some excellent baby playpen reviews for you to consider.
Koo-Di Deluxe Baby Playpen | Best Baby Playpen | Best Foldable Baby Playpen
This deluxe playpen from Koo-Di is a good choice for those who want something portable and ready to use in moments. This playpen pops open in seconds and can be folded down just as quickly. The mesh panel sides ensure air is circulated within, keeping children cool in warmer weather.
The soft play mat flooring also makes this a safe place for your little one to play. The padded base is also water-resistant, making it suitable for indoor outdoor use and easy to clean.
- Easy to set up and fold away
- Comfortable padded base
- Good for summer months
- Easy to clean
- Lacks play and activity features
- Not a good choice for older babies and toddlers
If you are looking for something larger to keep your little ones entertained, this 14 panel baby playpen is a good option. This foldable playpen opens up to provide babies with a large playard area, which can be covered with a padded surface or filled with toys and balls.
The heavy-duty plastic walls are filled with interactive elements to keep little ones engaged, while cut-out window sections ensure you can always keen keep an eye on your baby as they enjoy themselves in their indoor play yard.
- Practical panel foldable baby playpen design
- Provides little ones with a huge play area
- Interactive elements make playtime more stimulating
- Does not include a baby play mat
- Too low to be used as a room divider
This Venture All Stars DUO plastic baby playpen will go down well with those with a lot of must-haves on their wish list. Like the previous product in this list, this playpen is a foldable plastic design with multiple panelled sections that provides little ones with a substantial area to play in.
There is no worry of little digits becoming trapped between dividers, while the safety gate will also ensure that little ones remain firmly in place when left to play. This playpen also comes with enough padded tiles to cover the entire interior, along with plenty of plastic balls and a carry bag for storage.
- Large play area
- Secure baby gate for peace of mind
- Includes protective flooring pads and plastic balls
- Requires a significant amount of floor space when fully assembled
This panelled playpen from Gupamiga is perfect for those who want to provide babies with a large playing area and plenty of distraction. This interlocking playpen can be packed away when not in use, while the non-slip feet ensure each panels remains upright when assembled.
The spacious interior provides plenty of room for toys, while also allowing youngsters to crawl and learn to take their first steps.
The colourful panels will also stimulate young minds, while the interactive wall elements provide plenty of distraction. The reliable safety gate will also prevent little ones from wandering away form their playpen, providing parents with peace of mind.
- Provides a large playing area for babies
- Durable and child-friendly plastic construction
- Colourful with interactive elements
- Interlocking design takes a bit of time to assemble
If you want the convenience of a foldable design, this Uanlauo playpen is a good option. Easy to assemble with reliable buckle attachments, this playpen can be erected and packed away in moments. It is also very sturdy, with the non-slip rubber feet ensuring individual panels do not give way as children knock into them while playing.
The spacious dimensions also provide plenty of space for soft toys, activities and other items. You can combine this with a playpen mat, or place it on soft surfaces inside or outside the home. The BPA-free material also makes this a safe option.
- Easy to assemble and very sturdy
- Non-slip feet make it suitable for installing on any surface
- Generous dimensions
- Easy to clean
- Perhaps a bit too large for some indoor spaces
This large activity playpen from Dripex is a good option for particularly young children. Unlike plastic alternatives, this playpen is made from a fine mesh material, which provides you with clear visibility of the interior and ensures excellent air circulation. This keeps little ones cool in warmer weather.
Although the majority of the wall panels are made from mesh material, this playpen is reinforced with strong structural support, with adjustable feet in each corner. The zip-fasten hatches also allow for easy access for crawling infants.
Although this playpen lacks any interactive elements, there are several handlers spaced around the perimeter, which babies can use to grab onto and stand.
- Soft and child-friendly design
- Mesh material makes this good for warmer weather
- Very spacious dimensions for playtime
- Handlers promote standing and walking behaviour
- Lack of interactive elements and not very colourful
EastSun Ocean Activity Baby Playpen | Best Indoor Baby Playpen
This ocean-themed activity playpen from EastSun is a great choice if you want a more stimulating play environment for your little ones. The interlocking design of this playpen means you can adapt it to different interiors, removing panels if you need to fit it into smaller spaces.
The colourful theme and aquatic elements will definitely impress enquiring minds, while the robust build means you can fill it with toys and plastic balls. The safety gate also ensures little ones will not get free of their playpen when you are not in the immediate vicinity.
- Adaptable design to suit all spaces
- Suitable for use indoors and outside
- Colourful design with interactive elements
- Does not come with padding or mats
Exqline Pop-n-Play Baby Playpen | Best Outdoor Baby Playpen
This collapsible playpen from Exqline is a good choice for those who want something versatile that can be used inside and outdoors. Unlike bulkier plastic designs, this playpen is made from mesh material, with a heavy-duty frame providing exceptional support. Once fully assembled, this playpen provides babies with plenty of space to play.
The tall sides ensure youngster remain safely in their playpen at all times, while the domed top can be fitted out with a canopy sheet to keep them protected from UV rays if using this playpen outside. The mesh panels also ensure excellent breathability. A carrying bag is also included, making this a good choice for those after something portable.
- Good for use outdoors, with excellent airflow and UV protection
- Generous proportions
- Easy to assemble
- Dull colours and no interactive elements
If you are familiar with stair gates, this Dreambaby Royale 3-in-1 playpen is something that might appeal to you. Although this is a no-frills playpen design, it definitely delivers when it comes to security.
The sturdy panels serve as an effective barrier to prevent crawling infants from staying out of your sight, while the configurable design means you can use this as a free-standing playpen, fireguard or room divider.
You can also purchase additional panels to extend the playpen dimensions if you wish. The door panel with safety lock provides you with a convenient entrance if you are using this playpen as a room divider, while wall brackets are included if you want to opt for permanent installation.
- Adaptable to any space
- Very secure playpen solution
- Can be used as a room divider or stair gate solution
- No colourful design or interactive play elements included
If you like the look of the previous product in our list, but need something with softer aesthetics and smoother materials, this Baby Vivo foldable playpen is a good option. Made from high-quality softwood, this expandable playpen can be used as a free-standing play area for little ones, but can also be used as a room divider.
You can also play around with the configuration if you wish to erect this a free-standing playpen, ensuring you will have no trouble putting it up in smaller rooms of the home. The plastic interlocking sections also provide you with exceptional security, with no danger of little ones pushing over individual panels and breaking free.
- Can be used as a standard playpen or room divider
- Softwood material makes this a child-friendly choice
- Can be reconfigured for smaller rooms
- Not very portable
- No colours or points of interactivity for little ones
If you are looking for a baby bed that can double up as a playpen, this product from GYMAX is worth looking into. This portable cot bed is large enough that it can be filled with toys to keep babies entertained. The tall sides prevent little ones from escaping, while the mesh panel sections provide you with visibility of the interior.
There is also a canopy section for mounting mobiles, while an attached storage bag provides you with handy storage for toys and smaller items. The built-in wheels also make this very portable.
- Provides you with a suitable sleeping and play area for babies
- Colourful design with integrated mobile holder
- Mesh panels for visibility and breathability
- Fairly portable, but not necessarily easy to transport
Graco Contour Electra Travel Cot | Best Portable Baby Playpen
If you find most cot beds too large to travel with, this Graco Contour Electra is a good alternative. Designed with babies and toddlers in mind, this travel coat provides you with ample space inside for little ones to play, while you can also mount a raised bassinet if you are using it for newborns.
You can also make use of a removable changing table, while the toy bars allows you to switch between play and sleep mode in moments. This quality travel cot also comes with a night light and lullaby music function, with a removable vibration unit also on hand to help little ones drift off to sleep. It is also fairly compact, making it well-suited to travel.
- Suitable for babies and toddlers
- Compact and very portable
- Includes numerous features that will promote sleep
- Expensive compared to other playpens
- Nowhere near as large as standard playpens
The Verdict on Baby Playpen
Our pick of the best overall playpen has to be the Koo-Di deluxe playpen with floor mat. Although it lacks colour and interactive features, this playpen provides children with a generous area in which to crawl about and play with toys. It is also fairly sturdy, while the collapsible design makes it easy to store and travel with. For this reason, it also our pick for the best foldable baby playpen.
Looking for an indoor playpen for your youngsters? The ocean-themed EastSun playpen is a good option. Not only is this playpen easy to reconfigure for smaller rooms, it comes loaded with colourful details and interactive elements that will keep youngsters engaged and stimulated.
Need a playpen for outdoor use? The pop-n-play baby playpen from Exqline is a good choice. With its generous size and superior safety features, this playpen will keep little ones comfortable in warmer weather. The UV canopy is particularly handy if you need an outdoor playpen that can be used on very bright summer days.
Searching for a playpen you can travel with? The Graco Contour Electra is a must-have. This is our top pick of the best portable and best travel playpen. It can be used with newborns and toddlers alike, with the compact design a good match for those who need something they can easily transport in the back of their car. There are also several useful features designed to help little ones drift off to sleep more easilly.
Baby Playpen FAQs
Are playpens good for babies?
Provided you have picked a large enough playpen and there are enough toys within, a playpen can provide a safe space for babies and toddlers. However, you will need to ensure babies are constantly engaged and regularly monitored.
What age can a baby use a playpen?
You should only introduce babies to playpen environments once they reach crawling age. For most children, this will be when they reach around six to seven months of age.
Which is better, a crib or a playpen?
Cribs are better for much younger children as they allow them to comfortably nap in between play sessions. However, they have little adaptability and will prove too restrictive for older children.