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9 Best Baby Playpens to Keep Little Explorers Safe

No matter where you are, these playpens will come to the rescue when baby needs a safe space to crawl, play and explore.
ByEmma O'Regan-Reidy, E-Commerce Editor|Updated February 22, 2024
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Baby playpens can be a real sanity-saver. These enclosed areas provide a safe space for little ones to crawl, play and explore while keeping them away from potential hazards in the home, backyard, a relative’s house or elsewhere. This allows caregivers to keep a close eye from the sidelines instead of playing constant defense.

While they’re similar to playards, playpens aren’t intended for sleep—just play. Loretta Cody, MD—a board-certified pediatrician based out of Connecticut—reminds us that they shouldn’t be used for hours on end; rather, they’re intended to “be used for brief periods for ‘hands-free’ time for a parent.”

Ready to find the best baby playpen for your curious kiddo? Below, check out our favorite designs for several budgets and lifestyles. That includes our pick for the overall best—The California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go Playpen—which stands out because of its safety features and ease of assembly.

How We Chose the Best Baby Playpens

To help you pick out the best baby playpen for your needs, we put in the research and browsed dozens of options, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. Here are the steps we took to create this article:

  • Some of these products were evaluated by our independent product testers, and rated them for ease of use, portability, features and design and value for money.

  • We interviewed two pediatricians to understand the essential features to look for in a baby playpen—plus, safety advice to keep in mind when using on in your home.

  • We surveyed over 650 new and expectant parents in The Bump community for additional insight on the ins and outs of specific playpens.

  • We researched safety advice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ASTM International and Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and adhered to their guidelines. For extra reassurance, we also looked for products that have certifications and seals of approval from these key organizations where possible.

  • We leveraged our familiarity with leading brands and online retailers to make sure items are from reliable manufacturers. And since many of us are parents ourselves, we relied on our own experience with some of these products.

  • We considered several factors when selecting products, including ease of use, quality and durability, value, size, portability, product weight and, of course, safety.

  • We read user reviews to understand how these playpens have worked for real families and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Best Baby Playpens

Overall best baby playpen

The California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go Playpen
Image: The California Beach Co.
What We Love
  • Simple setup and breakdown
  • Travel bag included
  • Wipe clean
  • Can fit multiple children
Things To Consider
  • Relatively high price point

If you’re looking for a baby playpen that’s superior in all areas, the Pop N’ Go Playpen from The California Beach Co. beats the rest. This hexagonal-shaped design is roomy enough to fit multiple children (and even adults), thanks to its almost 5-foot-long width. A large zipper enclosure makes it easy to get in, but it’s secure enough to prevent little ones from getting out. Other highlights include a UPF 50 sun cover and mesh sides that provide ample ventilation (and an easy view of the kiddos inside—a factor that 92 percent of our survey respondents listed as important when choosing a playpen).

Ease of setup was a priority for a full third of our survey respondents, and the real standout feature of this playpen is the patented pop-and-release technology, which makes this foldable baby playpen one of the most seamless to assemble and disassemble—one of our writers used this playpen with her own family, and told us she was able to do it with one hand while 8 months pregnant! Whether you need a safe space for your kiddos indoors or outdoors, at home or on the go, this playpen for babies is a winner all around.

Dimensions (open): 59" (L) x 48" (H) | Dimensions (folded): 8" (L) x 36" (H) | Weight: 7.2 lbs.

Our community says:

"I'm a fan of the ease of set up, style, quality and longevity of use." – Georgia*, The Bump survey respondent

"Easy to set up and compact for traveling." – Annemarie, The Bump survey respondent

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Best large baby playpen

Costway Babyjoy Baby Playpen Extra Large Kids Activity Center
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Non-slip suction cups for stability
  • Spacious design
  • Soft mesh walls
Things To Consider
  • Setup can be tricky, according to some reviewers
  • Floor isn’t padded

A whopping 92 percent of our survey respondents told us size was an important consideration when looking for a playpen. If you want to keep your little one contained while still giving them room to crawl, walk and play, check out the Costway Babyjoy Baby Playpen, which provides more than 6 feet of space for your baby or toddler to explore. There’s so much room that even the most cunning escape artists won’t notice the mesh walls (which stand at 27.5 inches high) or the durable zippered entrances keeping them securely inside this extra-large baby playpen. Even better, it’s ASTM- and CPSC-certified—plus, you can choose from several colorways to find the best fit for your home.

If you’re after a large structure, this option (which moms say is easy to put together) will surely meet your needs—but, if you’re looking for a compact design for a smaller space, this probably won’t be the best fit for your family.

Dimensions (open): 75" (L) x 59" (W) x 27.5'" (H) | Dimensions (folded): N/A | Weight: 17.5 lbs.

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Best outdoor baby playpen

Veer Basecamp Pop-Up Tent
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Meets CPSC and JPMA safety standards
  • Interior pockets for extra storage
  • Temperature-regulating sun cover
  • Super lightweight
Things To Consider
  • Floor isn’t padded
  • Relatively high price point

According to our survey, 25 percent of parents noted that they were looking for a baby playpen that could be used outdoors. If you include yourself in that category, then the Veer Basecamp Pop-Up Tent will check all the boxes on your list. Setup is simple—thanks to a pop-open design—and the six stakes and four sandbags that are included will keep it in place against even the strongest winds when it’s used outside. A UPF 50 sun cover provides protection from harmful rays, while the tight-knit mesh keeps any insects and pests out. Other standout qualities include the travel bag for easy transportation, the moisture-resistant base to keep your belongings dry and the mesh sides (complete with a zippered doorway) that will allow you to keep an eye on your little one from all angles.

Whether it’s being used inside or out, this tent can fit multiple kiddos, making it a great option for families with several siblings and cousins or who love hosting playdates. In particular, our product tester, Megan V., praised how "versatile enough [it was] to use at home, on the go and more," giving it top scores across categories like ease of use, portability, effectiveness, design and value. We’re sold!

Dimensions (open): 56" (L) x 43" (W) x 35" (H) | Dimensions (folded): 36" (L) x 6" (W) | Weight: 7 lbs.

Our product tester says:

"This is great for us to bring to friends’ or family's houses as well as to the beach or playing outside in the backyard. We love that it has many uses and our twins can use it for years to come."

Buy Now

Best baby playpen with built-in activities

Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Meets ASTM and CPSC safety standards
  • Strong hinges and anti-slip pads for stability
  • Built-in toys
  • Expandable with the purchase of additional panels
Things To Consider
  • Heavier than other options
  • Relatively high price point

Baby playpens come in all shapes, sizes and colors—plus, this one even comes with built-in activities to keep your little love occupied while you work through your at-home to-do list. When inside, your kiddo can let their imagination run wild thanks to engaging features like the whiteboard panel for drawing and the play panel with five different sensory toys. You could even fill it with plastic balls to transform this pastel-hued design into a stimulating ball pit. 42 percent of parents who responded to our survey considered play features to be an important factor in a baby playpen; if you agree, this option will surely meet your needs, and then some—parents rave about the built-in toys on the activity wall. Unfolded, this sturdy, foldable baby playpen offers 25 square feet of play space, making it a great option for parents with multiple kiddos or looking for a larger structure. It can also be folded so you can easily tuck it away for storage or travel; we call that a baby gear win-win.

Dimensions (open): 60" (L) x 60" (W) x 24.4" (H) | Dimensions (folded): 28.6" (L) x 11.6" (W) x 24.4" (H) | Weight: 34.9 lbs.

Buy Now

Best adaptable baby playpen

Evenflo Versatile Play Space Adjustable Play Area
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Can be used inside or out
  • Easily adjustable and simple assembly
  • Reviewers love its versatility
Things To Consider
  • Suitable for kids between 6 months to 2 years

Whether you’re in your living room, at the beach or anywhere in between, you can set up a safe play zone in minutes with this adaptable baby playpen from Evenflo. The eight-panel design features an easily adjustable, unique hinge design—so configuring it to meet your family’s ever-changing needs won’t be an issue. While it doesn’t have a dedicated doorway, any panel can be turned into an access point for your kiddo by simply lifting the molded handle. Even better, the playpen offers 34.5 square feet of space for your little one, so they’ll have plenty of room for playtime. One of our survey respondents, Aurelia*, a mother of one, was a big fan of this option’s versatility. "It's simple and can be broken down to be made smaller or added to to make it bigger,” she praised.

But that’s not all—this baby playpen is also great for outdoor use. Each panel is UV weather-resistant and the legs are complete with stakes that can be put into sand, soil or any other terrain for extra stability. Then, when you move back inside, you can reverse the stakes back into the legs to reveal non-scratch pads that won’t damage your floors. Just keep in mind that it’s only suitable for kids between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, so this might not be the best choice if you have an older tot or big kid at home.

Dimensions (open): 34.5" (L) x 10" (W) x 27.8" (H) | Dimensions (folded): N/A | Weight: 16.9 lbs.

Our community says:

"This playpen is very sturdy, and I like how you can easily see your child through the gate. It does fold up easily which is helpful for storage, and is simple to set up and take down." – Suki*, mother of one

Buy Now

Best baby playpen with mat

Suposeu Baby Playpen with Mat
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$79.99
What We Love
  • Meets ASTM and CPSC safety standards
  • Easy to assemble, according to reviewers
  • Breathable mesh walls
  • Double-sided play mat
Things To Consider
  • Suitable for children between 6 months and 3 years old

Dreaming of a contained space baby can crawl and play in to their heart’s content? Look no further than this baby playpen with a mat. The breathable mesh walls will allow you to easily see your little one—plus, it has a zippered doorway for your kiddo to use when they get a bit older. This playpen, of course, also comes with a non-slip double-sided play mat for added peace of mind. Moreover, thanks to the internal stainless steel tube structure with ABS connectors, you’ll appreciate the suction cup base for extra stability and ease of assembly. If you’re in need of an extra-large baby playpen, this pick also comes in a larger size—plus, it comes with a travel bag for straightforward portability.

Dimensions (open): 50" (L) x 50" (W) x 27" (H) | Dimensions (folded): N/A | Weight: 8.7 lbs.

Our community says:

"It's sturdy. It came with detachable handles that helped [my child] pull to stand." – Lindsay, mother of one

Buy Now

Best wooden baby playpen

Sinda Furniture Safety Gate
Image: Wayfair
Buying Options
Wayfair|$184.99
What We Love
  • Easy assembly, according to reviewers
  • Adjustable eight-panel design
  • Non-toxic finish
Things To Consider
  • Relatively high price point

Most baby playpens are made of a combination of fabric and mesh with internal steel frames. However, if you’d prefer a wooden option, this pick will be a surefire winner. The look of this playpen received high praise in our survey—the simple but attractive design is crafted from high-quality New Zealand pine wood that’s durable and finished with a non-toxic polish, so you don’t have to stress if baby (inevitably) licks or bites the structure. This playpen is also super versatile, thanks to its adjustable design. It’s made up of eight panels that can be configured to your liking—whether that be a square, a rectangle or even an L-shape—plus, it can fit more than one kiddo. For added safety, this playpen comes with anti-slip stickers that can be applied to the base and it has a doorway that can be locked by parents.

Dimensions (open): 78.7" (L) x 70.9" (W) x 24" (H) | Dimensions (folded): N/A | Weight: 25.3 lbs.

Our community says:

"It fits our aesthetic vibe, is safe, roomy and can fit more than one child!" – Liz, mother of one

Buy Now

Best octagon baby playpen

What We Love
  • Meets ASTM and JPMA standards
  • Simple to assemble, according to reviewers
  • Easy to clean
Things To Consider
  • Suitable for kids between 6 months to 2 years old
  • 250-lb. weight limit
  • Carry case not included

If, like the overwhelming majority of our survey respondents, you’re prioritizing size in a baby playpen, you can’t go wrong with this option from Regalo. The extra-large structure is made up of eight breathable, mesh walls, so you can easily watch your little one as you work through your to-do list. Plus, it features a nylon bottom to keep your child up and off the ground, protecting them from rough surfaces. And, when inevitable messes occur, don’t fret—it can be wiped clean quickly.

Parents also love that this baby playpen can be used inside or outside—and just because it has more sides than the average design doesn’t mean it’s more complicated to set up. You’ll be able to set it up easily at home or elsewhere, thanks to the user-friendly adjustment system. Simply click it into place by pressing it down with your foot (this will be a real lifesaver when you have your hands full). Then, when it’s time to move, simply release the locking mechanism and fold it closed. However, keep in mind that this option is designed for kids between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old. This may not be the best choice if you’d prefer a baby playpen that will grow with your kiddo through toddlerhood.

Dimensions (open): 62" (L) x 62" (W) x 24" (H) | Dimensions (folded): N/A | Weight: 16 lbs.

Buy Now

Best baby playpen for newborns

Fisher-Price Portable Bassinet and Play Space On-The-Go Baby Dome
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Super lightweight
  • Folds flat and has carry handles
  • Canopy protects from sun and insects
Things To Consider
  • Only one side of the canopy folds open
  • 25-lb. weight limit

This portable baby playpen is perfect for newborns and younger infants. The versatile, lightweight design doubles as a bassinet and a playspace for little ones, whether you’re at home, at a friend’s house or in a park. And it’s small enough to move from room to room with ease, a quality almost half our survey respondents were looking for in a playpen.

You’ll love the overhead canopy that offers protection against sun and insects, and how it folds flat with convenient carry handles. What’s more, the baby playpen features overhanging toys to captivate your child’s attention while also nurturing their gross motor skills.

Dimensions (open): 31.5" (L) x 30" (W) x 28" (H) | Dimensions (folded): N/A | Weight: 3.9 lbs.

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*Note: Some names have been changed due to privacy requests.

Baby Playpen Comparison Chart

Overall best baby playpenBest large baby playpenBest outdoor baby playpenBest baby playpen with built-in activitiesBest adaptable baby playpenBest baby playpen with matBest wooden baby playpenBest octagon baby playpenBest baby playpen for newborns
Overall Best
The California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go Playpen
Costway Babyjoy Baby Playpen Extra Large Kids Activity Center
Veer Basecamp Pop-Up Tent
Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen
Evenflo Versatile Play Space Adjustable Play Area
Suposeu Baby Playpen with Mat
Sinda Furniture Safety Gate
Regalo My Play Deluxe Extra Large Portable Play Yard
Fisher-Price Portable Bassinet and Play Space On-The-Go Baby Dome
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$
Dimensions (open)59" (L) x 48" (H)75" (L) x 59" (W) x 27.5'" (H)56" (L) x 43" (W) x 35" (H)60" (L) x 60" (W) x 24.4" (H)34.5" (L) x 10" (W) x 27.8" (H) 50" (L) x 50" (W) x 27" (H)78.7" (L) x 70.9" (W) x 24" (H)62" (L) x 62" (W) x 24" (H) 31.5" (L) x 30" (W) x 28" (H)
Dimensions (folded)8" (L) x 36" (H)N/A36" (L) x 6" (W) x 6" (H)28.6" (L) x 11.6" (W) x 24.4" (H)N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Weight7.2 lbs17.5 lbs.7 lbs34.9 lbs16.9 lbs.8.7 lbs.25.3 lbs.16 lbs3.9 lbs
UPF protection
Number of sides64 646 448 N/A
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Baby Playpen Safety Tips

Safety is always an important factor to consider when shopping for and using a baby playpen. First and foremost, Cody reminds parents to “never leave a child unattended in a playpen.” Additionally, she advises parents not to place the playpen near a window, to never leave the side of the playpen lowered and to not leave your little one in it for long periods of time. Cody further suggests not to leave pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or string toys to reduce the risk of suffocation and other accidents during playtime.

As you shop, keep the following in mind to find an option for your family that’s equal parts fun and safe:

  • Enclosure features. Before you buy, be mindful of enclosure features (such as zippers, snaps or a gate) and how easily they might be opened by tiny hands. In fact, 83 percent of parents who answered our survey told us that having an escape-proof baby playpen was of utmost importance to them. For your little one’s safety, Cody recommends checking for tears in mesh sides and opting for a design that has well-protected hinges. Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO—a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas—adds to this. She informs parents that “if the playpen has mesh sides, the holes in the mesh should be no larger than a quarter-inch to prevent small fingers and small buttons on clothes from getting caught.” Plus, “top rails should automatically lock when lifted into an upright position,” she states.

  • Limitations. Check if the playpen has any age, height or weight limitations, says Cody. While most designs are flush with the ground (meaning they have no weight limit), others are better suited to infants or younger tots. Regardless of these limitations, Phillips-Walker advises that “the sides of the playpen should be at least 20” high from the floor of the playpen.”

  • Set up. It’s no surprise that 73 percent of our survey respondents told us sturdiness was a priority when they searched for a baby playpen. With that in mind, take note of how secure the playpen is once set up, and if it poses any risk of being pushed over (or climbed out of) by little escape artists.

  • Padding. Many baby playpens don’t come with a mat or a padded floor. If that’s the case, Phillips-Walker recommends lining the bottom with a one-inch firm mattress or pad. Moreover, she suggests you “look for padding on the tops of the rails to protect your baby from bumps.”

  • Safety standards. Check that your baby playpen also meets the ASTM safety standards or has a certification label from the JPMA, this way you can be certain that it meets the most up-to-date CPSC safety guidelines, says Phillips-Walker. Lastly, double-check that the brand and model haven’t been recalled on the CPSC’s website before purchasing, advises Cody.

What To Look For in a Baby Playpen

Like all baby gear, there are many different features to keep in mind when picking out the best baby playpen for your family. Playpens range from super lightweight and portable to more sturdy and stationary, each with their own benefits (depending on your needs). There are also plenty of accessories—like sun covers, padded play mats and carry bags—that can be particularly useful.

To narrow down the choices and know what add-ons to look for, it’s important to first determine where, when and how you’ll use a baby playpen and what you’ll need from it. Will it be used outdoors or indoors (or both)? Does it need to be portable? How many children will be using it? How is it cleaned and cared for? How easily does it set up and fold down? Asking yourself these questions before selecting a playpen for babies will help you make a solid decision.

Still not quite sure what to look for? Survey respondents from The Bump community highlighted size, ability to watch their child and escape-proof designs as the top elements they considered when choosing a baby playpen for their household. Below, browse what other factors they told us were important to them.

Image: bsd studio | Shutterstock, The Bump

About the writer:

Emma O’Regan-Reidy is an editor at The Bump. She specializes in writing e-commerce content about the latest and greatest in pregnancy, postpartum and parenting. O’Regan-Reidy has researched an array of topics, from prenatal vitamins and postpartum pads to the best non-wifi baby monitors, toddler learning towers and everything in between. With over a four-year career in digital media, O’Regan-Reidy has written dozens of articles about baby and toddler gear, and aims to create engaging, helpful content that informs new and seasoned parents.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Sources

Loretta Cody, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician based out of Connecticut. She received her medical degree from New York Medical College and completed her residency at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, is a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. She earned her medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens.

ASTM International, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs/Play Yards, November 2022

The Bump January 2024 Survey. Editors conducted a survey of over 350 new parents from among The Bump community, and asked whether they used a baby playpen, what type they used and what they did and didn’t like about it.

The Bump May 2023 Survey. Editors conducted a survey of 300 new parents from among The Bump community, and asked whether they used a baby playpen and what type they used.

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

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