Mother and Baby

The best playpens that babies will love

Section: Baby
Baby in playpen

Finding the best baby playpen can be a game-changer when it comes to safely keeping your baby in one place. 

As soon as your baby starts moving independently, that's it - you won't see them for dust if you let them have their freedom. 

Keeping them confined to one area is sometimes necessary for their safety, and for us parents to be able to get anything done - but they don't have to be boring for the children.

Choose one of our favourite baby playpens and you'll soon hear no more protesting - it's not baby prison after all! The right playpen will give your baby a safe space to play and provide you with the peace of mind that they're playing safely - where you can see them at all times. 

Our top picks for the best baby playpens: 

  • BabyDan Deluxe Playpen
  • Hadwin 8 Panel Foldable and Portable Baby Playpen
  • Dripex Baby Playpen and Activity Center
  • MoKee Foldaway Play Pen
  • Babymoov Babyni Pop-Up 3-in-1
  • Gupamiga Baby Playpen and Activity Centre
  • Venture ALL STARS Baby Playpen
  • Hoppekids Ida-Marie White Playpen

What is a baby playpen and do you need one?

A baby playpen is an enclosed play area that gives your baby a safe place to play, always under your watchful eye.

The self-contained units are usually made from wood, plastic or metal. Most baby playpens are lightweight so they can be easily carried around the house and stored.

As much as you might want to cuddle your baby 24/7, it's pretty much impossible with so many other things to do - going to the loo, for instance... 

A baby playpen will not only make your life easier, but it will also give your baby some sense of independence at an early age.

To use, simply set up your chosen playpen on a flat floor surface, fill with toys, and watch them play while you do something else on your hefty to-do list (or maybe just have a coffee).

Which are the best baby playpens to buy?

There's a huge range of playpens on the market, depending on your own style and budget; we've picked some of the best for you to choose from.

Scroll down to see our top picks for the best baby playpens available. 

Best playpens to buy right now

This trusted company has been in business since 1967. The playpen is simple and effective and can also be used as a room divider (with additional fixings for the walls). It also comes with a playmat for inside the pen, which is (handily) washable.

Tested by Naomi Johnson, 32, from Peterborough, mum to Logan, 10 weeks, and Elizabeth, 11; she said: ‘This is sturdy, spacious and very easy to use. I loved the extra storage bag. However, the mattress isn’t very thick, and it takes up rather a lot of space.'

Advantages:

  • Trusted and well-loved company 
  • It's simple and effective
  • Can also be used as a room divider

Disadvantages:

  • Includes no toys so you'll need to add your own 

 

This Summer Infant playpen is portable and folds into a compact travel bag, meaning it's great for taking with you on holiday, or for playdates. It has a weather resistant canvas floor so it's great for using outdoors too. There is no door or gate opening so you will have to lift your baby in and out - bear this in mind if you've had a C-section and it's still tricky to lift your baby.

Advantages:

  • It’s portable and folds into a compact travel bag
  • It has a weather-resistant canvas floor

Disadvantages:

  • There is no door so you have to lift your baby in and out

This playpen has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon, with more than 600 reviews from happy parents. It's a large playpen, with plenty of room for your little one to enjoy playing in safely - but remember to measure your room to make sure you have enough space before you invest.

The perfect playground for walking and playing, the fence features hand holds for assisted learning to walk. Made with safe and eco-friendly materials, all BPA free, simply hand wash and wipe with a damp cloth – we love an easy clean.

Advantages:

  • Large playing area (200 x 150 x 70 cm)
  • Safety lock
  • Eco-friendly and non-slip materials

Disadvantages:

  • Self-assembly required

A perfect playpen if your house is styled with Scandi designs - it's beautifully simply and stylish, but also super practical. Really easy to fold away and store when your baby isn't playing in it.

We love the range of colours this is available in - whether you want simple white, or a subtle pastel colour. It also gets brownie points for being made of a sustainable material, which is important to us these days. 

Advantages: 

  • Scandi-style to suit any nursery decor
  • Foldable and portable - great to take on holiday or to visit friends and family
  • Available in five colours: White, White Beech, Stone Teal, Stone Blue and Dusty Aqua
  • Size: H63 cm x W72 cm x L103 cm
  • Made from: Solid beech wood

Disadvantages:

  • Self-assembly required
  • Not the largest playpen on our list 

This playpen has a weather shield that protects from UV rays, wind and sand - perfect if you plan on spending lots of time outside - plus a mosquito net too. The pen comes with an over-the-shoulder carry bag. It's only for when your baby is still small and not crawling yet, as a crawling baby could easily climb out and escape. It's easy to fold up and store, plus it comes with a couple of toys too.

We love this one as it's great for using in the garden, and the added protection from the sun's rays is a real boon. 

Tested by Lindsey Brown, mum to Tahlia; she said: "We've used this as a playpen and sun shade at the beach for our toddler and she loved it! It kept her covered from the sun, was a handy nap pod and also a playpen with a few of her toys thrown in." 

Advantages:

  • It's perfect for spending lots of time outside
  • It has a weather shield that protects from UV rays, wind, and sand
  • It comes with an over-the-shoulder carry bag

Disadvantages:

  • Only for young babies who aren't crawling yet

This playpen is very colourful with different shapes, patterns, and designs. It has in-built toys and activities. It’s lightweight, easy to put together and take down, with rubber feet underneath, so parts don’t go sliding around. Brightly coloured and engaging, your little one will love spending time inside.

Advantages:

  • Colourful and engaging
  • In-built toys and activities
  • Lightweight
  • Safety gate

Disadvantages:

  • Covers a large area – measure your space to ensure it fits

The size of this playpen is a massive selling point, plus it's so flexible - it's easy to change the size and shape depending on how much space you have. This is great if you've moving the playpen between rooms, or if you take it to a friend's house for a play date. 

We love this grey colour, as it matches with pretty much any colour scheme in your home. It's also easy to build, and take down - the plastic panels click together easily and it's lightweight, too. 

Tested by mum Jasmine: "The product is fantastic. It’s very large so it means my toddler can play inside it safely with a lot of her toys in there as well. This is a handy place for me to store her toys as well so it means that at the end of the day everything is going back into one place rather than various toy boxes and bags. Because it’s spacious and secure I can sit her in there whilst she’s happily playing if I need to nip out of the room quickly to get her a drink etc. While in there, the dog and her are kept separate although I don’t obviously rely on this but it’s an extra barrier between them whilst she is playing. The soft mats mean she’s safe for small trips and falls so gives me peace of mind."

This product won the Mother&Baby 2021 awards for Gold Best Safety Product. Read our full review.

Advantages:

  • It's large, at 1.5m square
  • Features anti-slip playmats
  • 200 brightly coloured balls are included in the price

Disadvantages:

  • It requires a lot of space to make full use of this playpen

This Hoppekids playpen has three adjustable height options for the various baby/toddler stages. Beautifully made from solid pine wood, this playpen will fit in with any home décor, as well as provide a safe space for your little one. Self-assembly is required, but not at all difficult.

Advantages:

  • Made from solid pine wood
  • Three adjustable height options
  • High quality

Disadvantages:

  • You need to buy the mat insert separately

Choosing the best baby playpen for your baby

In order to find the best playpen for you and your baby, the first thing you need to think about is how much floor space you have.

There’s no point buying something that doesn’t fit in your front room. Next, look for something with a strong construction but that is lightweight with foldable features for easy storage, or wheels for easy transportation. 

There are so many different designs and shapes for baby playpens so you are sure to find something that's suitable for you.

The types of baby playpens

 

Traditional wooden baby playpens: 

This type is usually more spacious and can easily match with your decor. They provide plenty of room for your baby to play safely.

Coloured plastic baby playpens: 

These are eye-catching and fun for baby but usually large and harder to move from room-to-room, so make sure you have enough space for them.

Metal structured and fabric-sided baby playpens: 

These are better for smaller spaces and very easy to keep clean. These tend to be durable which is great if you're planning to have more than one child.

How much does a baby playpen cost?

A basic model will set you back about £30, while some of the fancier ones can cost well over £100 depending on the type of baby playpen you choose.

The average price for a good playpen is about £50-£60.

Important: Avoid buying a used playpen if possible as over the years several popular baby playpens have been recalled. It's better to buy a new one to keep your baby completely safe or at least research the second-hand model you are buying to make sure that they are still deemed safe for use. 

Important safety points for baby playpens

Here are some important things to note about playpen safety to avoid accidents and injury.

  • Only buy a playpen with the BS EN 12227:1997, 1999, or 2010 safety mark.
  • Never leave children alone and unsupervised in a playpen.
  • Keep the playpen clean.
  • Make sure there are no large items inside the playpen that your baby can step on to and use to climb out.
  • Never leave a playpen near an open fire or other heat sources.
  • Don’t tie anything across the top of a playpen as this is a strangulation hazard.
  • Never leave a playpen near doors or windows that can be opened.
  • Keep playpens away from any dangling cords or cables.
  • Make sure that the baby playpen is in good condition with no holes or broken pieces of wood or plastic.

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  • Author: Sophie Knight Sophie Knight
  • Job Title: Contributing Editor

Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited motherandbaby.co.uk before moving on to write about family cars for Parkers.co.uk - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and WhatsTheBest.co.uk 

She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.

Sophie studied History at the University of Sheffield and has been in journalism for 16 years. 

Other contributors

Emily Thorpe - Digital Writer

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