The best baby playpens that families will love

Best baby playpens

by Lorna White |

Finding the best baby playpens can be a game-changer. Especially when it comes to safely keep your child 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.

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 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 it 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 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, our breakdown of the different styles, and valuable safety tips.

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The best baby playpens

JUST SO YOU KNOW, WHILE WE MAY RECEIVE A COMMISSION FOR PURCHASES MADE THROUGH LINKS, WE NEVER ALLOW THIS TO INFLUENCE PRODUCT SELECTIONS.

Venture ALL STARS Baby Playpen

Best baby playpen
Venture ALL STARS Baby Playpen
Amazon

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This product won the Mother&Baby 2021 Award for Gold Best Safety Product.

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're 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 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."

Read our full tried and tested 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

Babymoov Babyni Pop-Up 3-in-1

Best pop-up baby playpen
Babymoov Babyni Pop-Up 3-in-1
Amazon

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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

MoKee Foldaway Playpen

Best foldaway baby playpen
MoKee Foldaway Playpen

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A perfect playpen if your house is styled with Scandi designs - it's beautifully simple 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

Hadwin 8 Panel Foldable and Portable Baby Playpen

Best portable baby playpen
Hadwin 8 Panel Foldable and Portable Baby Playpen
Amazon

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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

Review: "My little one has recently started crawling and pulling everything down. I couldn't leave the room but didn't want to put him into a small place in which he couldn't move around much. This playpen is a fantastic size, he has all his toys in there and still a lot of room to crawl and move around. It is easy to put up and take down which means you could easily take it with you to a friends house, to the beach etc. It folds down to a very small size and is easily carried and put in the car. My baby enjoys being in it, no troubles so far."

Dripex Baby Playpen and Activity Center

Best large baby playpen
Dripex Baby Playpen and Activity Center
Amazon

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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

Review: "Exactly what we were after. The playpen is huge, easy to assemble and sturdy. It also looks good as it’s a soft grey tone and would suit any room. Takes up a lot of space as expected and we don’t mind one bit. We are moving home soon so this pen saves us baby proofing a home unnecessarily. It will also be useful during the chaos of settling into and unpacking at our new home as little one will be crawling by then and need a safe space."

Gupamiga Baby Playpen and Activity Centre

Best colourful baby playpen
Gupamiga Baby Playpen and Activity Centre
Amazon

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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

Review: "It's brilliant! The pieces go together so easily, so you can change the shape x I brought two as I run a daycare nursery so we could make a separate area outside for babies x it's important they can be with the older children and safe! Easy to use, bright colours and practical!"

Hoppekids Ida-Marie White Playpen

Best luxury baby playpen
Hoppekids Ida-Marie White Playpen

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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

Review: "Good quality, easy to build, great delivery service."

Koo-di Deluxe Foldaway Playpen

Recommended baby playpen
Koo-di Deluxe Foldaway Playpen
Amazon

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With an integrated zip door for easy access to your tot, the airy mesh sides of this playpen mean that you can check up and see your little one at all times. The mechanisms are cleverly hidden away under the padded top to prevent bumps and you can use it indoors or out.

Advantages:

  • Folds up quickly for easy storage.
  • Comes with a carry back for transporting.
  • Water resistant, padded base.
  • Suitable up to three years or over 89cm in height.

Disadvantages:

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

Review: "The playpen allows our grandson freedom to crawl and play without us having to worry. A great buy."

Exqline Pop up Play House

Recommended baby playpen
Exqline Pop up Play House
Amazon

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Designed to set up instantly and fold down compactly with a single motion, this tent has ample room for your little one to move around. We love that the UV canopy shade cover comes with it and you can also remove it as and when you require. There's also a double locking system for extra peace of mind and it can be used for pets too!

Advantages:

  • Easy to put up and take down
  • Lightweight and well packaged for carrying around.
  • Good quality and sturdy.
  • UV Canopy provides shade when used outside.

Disadvantages:

  • No pockets or storage.

Review: "Fab purchase! My little guy is an absolute monkey and just started crawling, in a house of many things to get in trouble with! I love that this is big enough for all my kids to play together so he doesn’t have to be separated from his sisters like in smaller pens. The zip door means the girls can get in and out, and I can see me taking this absolutely everywhere. It really is so small and light when folded. A bit stiff to open at first but no doubt it will get easier in time."

Choosing the best baby playpen for your child

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 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.

What to read next:

The best baby playmats for your newborn baby

The 6 best travel cots – tried and tested

What to buy to make having baby number two that bit easier