Looking for the best baby playpen? We’ve done the research and found the best playpens 2021 to make your job easy.
Babies sure know how to keep you busy! It seems like there are always things that don’t get done. A baby play area can be a great solution for parents who need to multitask. Every parent deserves some time to cook dinner or clean up messes while a baby is playing.
The perfect playpen is an essential item for your baby that just has to be right. It needs to be safe, portable, easy to set up, and affordable. Thankfully, this article is here to help both you and your baby find the best baby playpen that fits your needs.
Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen Activity Center
Best Baby Play Pen
- Foldable for easy storage
- Easy to assemble
- Safe and sturdy
- Fun activity center
- Indoors or outdoors
The Lineup At A Glance
10 Best Playpens In 2021 Reviews
1. Fortella Foldable Playpen – Safety Play Yard
Want your baby in a playpen that is safe, sturdy, and portable? This is the playpen for you! It has all the best features and for what you are getting, it’s worth the money.
- Easily folds up for storage or travel
- Bright, fun colors keep baby engaged
- No assembly
- Indoor and outdoor use
- Can purchase expansion panels
- One-year warranty
- Does not come with a playmat
- Costs over $150
Fortella Foldable Playpen Activity Center will meet almost any parent’s needs in a playpen. It is extremely sturdy and easy to set up. All you have to do is open it up and it’s ready to go.
This is a high-quality playpen made of non-toxic BPA free materials. There are no gaps between the baby fence pieces for baby to accidentally get stuck in and the holes in each panel are shaped so that your child can’t get stuck there either.
This baby playpen has an activity center that will keep your child entertained while you tend to your housework or take a much-needed break. You won’t have to worry that your child will push this sturdy playpen around either. It’s reinforced anti-slip base ensures that it won’t slip and slide, even on smooth surfaces.
The best part about this baby playpen is that it easily folds up with one click of a button so you can store it or stick it in the trunk to take to the beach. You can use it both indoors and outdoors and it has a one-year warranty.
Not big enough? No problem! Fortella sells additional expansion panels that you can add on to create a bigger play area. It does cost just over $150 but for the price, it is easily the best pick for families looking for the best portable baby playpen.
Still not convinced? Here are some comments from people who have used this playpen:
“This was very easy to assemble, and it’s a nice size for babies to be active. Super cute design!”
“The playpen is easy to use, no need to install it. I tried it, it is very stable, not easy to push down and I can set up as different shapes easily.”
2. North State Colorplay 8 – Super Large Playpen
Need a large baby play area and don’t want to spend a lot? Then this playpen will work best for you. It comes out of the box pre-assembled, all you have to do is open it and place where you like.
- Large size
- Best bang for your buck
- Baby fence panels are thin and not sturdy
- No gate for entry
Looking for something bigger? North States playpen is quite large and is less than $100. When in the hexagonal shape it is over 6ft across, giving your baby plenty of room to move around. For the money, you’re getting a lot of space. This is the best deal but there are other things to consider.
The plastic panels are thin and flimsy when they are not connected and standing up. The large holes in each panel may make it easier for babies to grab and try to pull up. It is strongest in the hexagonal shape suggested by North States.
You can purchase extra panels and add them to make your playpen even bigger, making this a good choice for people who have multiple young children and need extra space without breaking the bank. However, adding extra panels may make the playpen less stable.
Here are some comments from parents who have used this product with their children:
“We love it! Plenty of room for baby to move and explore.”
“Let’s be clear…this is not a playpen to leave baby unattended for extended periods of time. It does move if the child leans or pushes on it but it holds up well and won’t collapse.”
3. Qilerui Playpen Kids Activity Center
Worried about your baby? This playpen is one of the safest on the market. Designed with safety and function in mind, it is a safe place for your baby to play while you take care of the important household details.
- High quality
- Extremely safe design
- Expensive at almost $200
- Assembly is more involved than other brands
Qilerui’s playpen is sturdy, very large playpen, and has an entertainment center for your baby. It is also the most expensive baby playpen on this list. If you are planning on having additional children, this playpen should hold up for many years to come.
Assembly is a bit of an issue with this playpen and many reviewers report that the instructions were not clear enough. When assembled, this is a very cute playpen with a mixture of pink, blue and white baby safety fence pieces and a gate with a very secure safety lock.
If you’re worried about safety features and you want to know that your child has the safest product, then this should be your choice. It’s a bit more expensive but will be well worth the money to have that peace of mind.
Still not sure? Here are some reviews:
“Very big. Fits a queen size bed. $190 is worth it.”
“I like that the material is very sturdy. My 4-year old and 5-month-old play freely and it doesn’t tip over when she pulls herself up to stand. It’s a good buy. Would definitely recommend.”
4. Evenflo Versatile Play Space – Top Choice
Looking for something inexpensive and basic? Evenflo has you covered with this playpen featuring reversible legs with stakes for outdoor use.
- It is only sturdy when in the octagonal shape
- No gate for entry
This Evenflo playpen is of average size, sturdy, and expandable if you are willing to purchase a second set. It does come in several colors: gray, multi-color, and cream.
It’s not much in the looks department but if you’re all about function then this is a versatile playpen that can be expanded by purchasing an additional playpen and using the panels. Unfortunately, you must configure this playpen in the octagonal shape and limit it to 8 panels (it comes with 6) for it to be sturdy but the panels have no sharp edges and can be used indoors or outdoors.
There is no gate but you can detach the panels easily to enter the playpen. However, some reviewers complain that despite the stakes attached to the legs of the playpen, it is not very sturdy when assembled outside using the stakes.
If you’re looking for something lightweight and inexpensive, this basic playpen is your best bet.
Here are some comments from people who have used the product:
“The single biggest feature that my wife and I love is that each part of the webbing is a rounded edge and not a sharp plastic edge.”
“The panels would not be sturdy with stakes outside. This particular play space is not sturdy. At all. Before purchasing… compare weights of the play spaces. If I were to purchase another… I would go with a heavier unit.”
5. Uanlauo Foldable Baby Playpen Kids
With set-up this easy, it’s no wonder so many people purchase this fantastic playpen. If you are an on-the-go parent and you need something hassle-free, then this is your playpen.
- Easy to set up
- Folds easily for storage or travel
- Hard to see into the playpen when sitting
- Hinge on the door breaks easily
With panels in blue, white, and pink, this is a stunning playpen for any baby. It’s also sturdy and easy to set up. All you have to do is take it out of the box and arrange it in the shape you want. It was specially designed rubber feet with suction cups to grip the floor and can be used indoors or outdoors.
Do keep an eye on the door hinge, as some people have reported that it has a tendency to break. Don’t let your child lean heavily on the door for this reason.
Not big enough? No worries. You can easily purchase additional panels one at a time to add to your playpen. This playpen is sturdy enough that you can configure it into any shape without compromising sturdiness and safety.
Overall, this is a very good choice if you don’t mind paying a little bit more. It is sturdy enough for babies who are using the plastic baby gate panels to pull themselves up. At about $150 you can feel comfortable with your choice, knowing that this is easy to set up, sturdy, and customizable.
Need more evidence? Here are some reviews:
“Love this playpen!! So easy to set up! Love that it’s plastic so easy to clean. Perfect size! Fits perfectly in my dining room area, and keeps our hyper dogs away from our daughter. I love it!”
“We love this playpen for how easy it is to set up and takedown. We’re on the go a fair bit, traveling to family and friends, and it’s nice to be able to toss this in the car and break it down or set it up very quickly as many of the houses we stay at are not already child-proofed.”
6. Summer Infant Pop N’ Play – Portable Play Yard
Not sure if you need a playpen or play yard? This one is a bit of a hybrid so you get the best of both worlds for an inexpensive price.
- Portable with carrying bag
- Not sturdy in the wind
- Kids may hit their head on X-shaped metal bars
Summer Infant Pop N’ Play is a great way to travel to the beach or attend a sibling’s baseball game with your baby. It’s not the biggest playpen but that’s what makes it so portable. It folds up and fits in a shoulder bag that comes with the playpen.
You can purchase this playpen with the optional canopy, which will shield your child a bit from the sun at outdoor events. It is also easy to pack and unpack to and from the travel bag that comes with it.
This playpen has a floor made of tent-like fabric that is sewn into it and cannot be removed, which is what makes it a bit like a playard. You don’t want to use this playpen before a child can sit by themselves, though. Other than that, you can use it all the time and take it wherever you like.
It’s open design features x-shaped bars that a baby may hit their head-on. Some creative parents have found that wrapping pool noodles around the bars solves the problem. Other parents are using this as a makeshift ball pit for their children with great success.
Don’t believe us? Here are their stories:
“I wanted to make a ball pit. Something that would be big enough for both of [my kids] and collapsible without being inflatable (I didn’t want to deal with holes). And this was exactly what I needed! I can actually get in it with them.”
Once he became mobile we had to do an “upgrade” as we noticed he was starting to hit his head on the X shaped metal bars. We tried some alternatives but the best so far was wrapping the metal bars with pool noodles (see picture).
7. Guapamiga – Small Playpen
Does your baby have an active imagination? This castle themed playpen is a great place to pretend while being safe, sturdy, and also cute as can be!
- Hard to climb out of
- Sturdy but Cute
- Not foldable
- Play panel has small pieces
Want your baby to have the coolest castle on the block? Guapamiga had created an adorably cute castle-themed playpen that will inspire your child’s imagination and keep them safely inside. It’s nice and big, with enough space for several small children.
This baby play area comes pre-assembled, so you don’t have to worry about putting anything together. It features an activity center to keep kids busy while you relax. At one point, there were concerns about the small pieces on the play panel being a choking hazard, but that issue has been corrected making this playpen safe for small children.
This playpen is relatively sturdy but kids can rock it or move it around. The bummer about this playpen is that it is not easy to transport or move. It does not fold up and must be completely unassembled for storage. Also, taking it apart daily will cause wear and tear.
This will work best for parents who are looking for something sturdy that they would like to use in one specific location. Expansion baby barrier fence panels can be purchased to make this space bigger for your kids.
These parents are pleased with their purchase:
“Absolutely love this thing. I do feel that it’s a little bit expensive but I do like that it can expand sizes it does seem to be very durable so far and I’ve not had any issues with it sliding or moving around when the baby uses it stand up on or pushes on it or anything like that.”
“I was worried after reading the reviews, I got mine and they changed the dangerous parts. I’m happy with this product. Super easy to assemble. Thanks a lot!”
8. Regalo 192-Inch – Adjustable 4-In-1
Do you enjoy customizing things yourself and saving money? This product is fully customizable and can be a baby gate, playpen, or whatever you come up with.
- Made of Steel (Literally)
- Requires permanent holes in walls
- Baby safety fence panels for not stand alone
We were excited to see Regalo’s adjustable baby gate and playard, since it promises to work as a baby gate but also as a playpen. It’s pretty heavy since each piece is made from stainless steel. The connecting parts are plastic and can be replaced if necessary.
This product is fully customizable but one drawback is that it requires permanently screwing the panels into a wall to anchor it if you are using it as a baby gate. As a playpen, it is sturdy and can be arranged in many shapes while remaining stable. There is a locking baby gate piece that serves as a door. You can purchase additional sets if you want to build a bigger play area.
Some parents have reported problems with the gate latch with clever children and other parents to report that their baby could easily knock down the panels. Make sure if you do use this product that you read and follow the safety instructions. Injuries can occur if you are not careful with installation.
There are so many things you can do with this baby fence but some parents have used this set to create the perfect baby playpen! Here are some examples:
“It’s a life saver for me and worth the money! I wouldn’t hesitate to order another one if ever needed. It looks so much better than the plastic baby gates and the fact that it attaches to the wall or whatever surface is a major perk.”
“This gate is very easy to set up and assemble/disassemble. It’s a great quality gate that’s also a good height. Sturdy and perfect for my need of a long gate to extend across my living room.”
9. Portable Playard Playpen – Easily Opens
Looking for something portable? This playpen folds up into a travel bag and is machine washable, great after those long trips.
- Low Price
- Easy to set up and takedown
- Zipper on the door breaks easily
- Bottom is not padded
The BabySeater’s Pack and Play’s best feature is a zippered door for babies who are in their crawling phase. It’s also handy for pulling an infant in and out from the side. Some parents report that this zipper breaks easily, so treat it with care.
It’s nice to know that this playpen is completely machine washable. It is also lightweight and portable making it ideal for travel. It’s also durable, making your purchase even sweeter.
Some assembly is required and unfortunately, assembly sounds like it is more complicated than most of the other playpens featured here. The biggest drawback is that the bottom is not padded, making it not ideal for use on hard floors.
Overall, this is a sturdy, durable product for the price.
Need more convincing? Here are some reviews:
“Wow! I did not expect to see something this strong and solid for this amazing price! The quality is beyond and it also looks really nice and modern.”
“I’ve owned this for over a year now, and with all four of my children, ranging from 1-12, going in and out of this every day I’m still going to say it was the best investment ever and well worthy of 5 stars.”
10. Costzon Baby Playpen – Small Playpen
Looking for small playpen that will fit in a smaller space? This playpen is on the smaller side but if you have a smaller room, it may be just the perfect fit.
- Suction cups don’t work on vinyl floors
- Hard to find a playmat that works with suction cups
This brightly colored playpen by Costzon snaps together easily and suction cups to the floor. The suction cups do not work well on laminate or vinyl though, which makes them virtually useless on a lot of surfaces.
If you are looking for something sturdy, this will do the trick but some of the other playpens mentioned here are sturdier. For the price, this is an excellent deal.
Unfortunately, this product is not foldable or collapsible. To store, you must take the pieces apart. Luckily, taking apart and putting together this playpen only takes about 5 minutes and requires no tools. You simply snap and unsnap the pieces.
This has an activity center, which is nice for the price. Your toddler will be entertained while you do dishes or relax and unwind. Some parents say it is difficult to find a playmat that works well when the unit is suction cupped to the floor, but suggest cutting one to fit.
Need extra plastic baby gate panels? You can’t buy them individually so if you want to expand this playpen, you’ll have to buy an additional playpen.
Here are some reviews from parents who have tried this playpen:
“I am absolutely IN LOVE with this product! It is super easy to put together AND take apart (for adults, not children. I promise!) It’s super sturdy and adorable! My 14 month old daughter certainly enjoys this far more than her pack n play when mommy is busy. Lol. Definitely 5 stars!”
“It’s perfect. Sturdy!!. Love the suction cups on the bottom. Sticks to the tile and stays in place. Big enough so my 1 yr old enjoys it and doesn’t feel stuck. She hated her pack n play. So worth the money.”
How To Choose The Best Baby Playpen
Having trouble deciding on a playpen? Choosing a good playpen can be confusing and time-consuming.
To help you in your decision-making process, we have developed a set of criteria that you can use to compare different playpens.
A good parent like you is always thinking about safety. A 20-year study on child safety showed that playpens were the second largest cause of trips to the emergency room for children under 2. Luckily, what they learned from this study has helped improve the safety of baby play areas in 2021.
Buying a used playpen is not recommended because they are not up to today’s more cautious safety standards. If you purchase an older playpen you should definitely check the CPSC website for playpen recall notices.
We put together an easy guideline for you to evaluate the safety of the playpens:
- Extremely Safe: Extremely safe products with no negative safety reviews
- Safe: Safe products that have one or two negative safety reviews that may be unfounded or extremely out of the ordinary.
- Moderately Safe: Safe products that have had negative safety reviews, but the product has been corrected so that it is now safe.
- Not Safe: Products that have had three or more negative safety reviews and the reviews appear to be valid.
Of course, all of the items on this list are at least moderately safe but hopefully, you will use a similar system to evaluate any product your baby will be using
Are you always on the go? Do you need to move your baby playpen all over the house, even outside? Or are you the type of parent who is just looking for a playpen that will work in one room in your house?
This list will help you make sure the playpen you purchase will meet all of your portability and storage needs.
- Folds up: Some playpens fold up for easy storage. You do not need to disconnect every piece to put it away.
- Folds up with a strap to carry: Some playpens fold up, but also include a handy strap that you can attach to the folded up panels and easily carry.
- Folds into a bag with strap: Some playpens fold up and fit into a bag that can be carried by its handle wherever you need to go.
- Not portable: Requires complete disassembly in order to put away or store. Pieces are completely separate for storage.
If you hate hassling with complicated instructions and putting things together, we have created a way for you to easily see which of these playpens are easy to assemble and which ones take a little more patience and skill.
You can save yourself some time by purchasing a playpen that is already assembled, or you can go for the more customizable playpens that require a lot of assemblies. It’s really just about your personal preference and how much time and energy you are willing to put into setting up your baby’s playpen.
We created the following criteria to help you decide:
No Assembly Required: Playpens come already put together and all you have to do is unfold and place. Easy!
One-hand, pop up assembly: The playpen requires a push of a button to open and/or close.
Easy Assembly: The playpen comes in pieces but they easily snap together without the need for tools.
Moderate Assembly: You have to put the playpen together and it may require some tool and/or more complicated instructions.
Difficult Assembly: You have to put the playpen together yourself and it requires tools and ingenuity.
Customizable: Playpen can be configured to be other items besides a playpen
4. Expansion Panels
Sometimes bigger is just better and sometimes it’s an actual necessity. If you have multiple children or have a large space to fill, you may want to consider if the playpen you are about to purchase is expandable.
Many of the playpens on this list have additional panels that can be purchased to add to the playpen and create a larger play area.
- Yes: Expansion baby fence pieces are available for individual purchase
- No, but could combine two sets: Expansion baby fence pieces are not available for individual purchase but if you buy an additional playpen, you can combine pieces from both sets to increase the size of the play area.
- No: There are no expansion baby fence pieces available and/or they are not recommended to be combined with an additional set.
- Not always available: There are expansion baby fence pieces available but they are not always available because they are often out of stock.
Frequently Asked Questions
A playpen is an indoor/outdoor structure, usually made of plastic baby fence material to create a safe area where babies can play.
A playard is a portable place where babies can be safely contained for sleep or play and may include items like bassinets.
Yes! Rigorous safety tests are done on baby products to make sure they are safe for use with small children. Some are safer than others but you can use this guide to help you get a better idea of what makes a playpen safe. Solid construction, no small pieces that can become dislodged and present a choking hazard, and lack of gaps between the walls of the playpen fence panels are the biggest things to look for when choosing a playpen.
Yes. Most playpens are for use in both indoor and outdoor settings but always read the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure before you purchase.
We recommend over $50 but no more than $200 on a baby playpen. Make sure you take a look at the features before you purchase. Obviously, $50 playpen may not have all the features that a $100 playpen does.
Most play areas that are cleared for airplane travel are actually playards and not playpens. Most playpens are too bulky for airline travel.