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
- Summer Infant Pop 'N Play Playpen
- moKee Foldaway Playpen
- Venture Allstar Joy Baby Playpen
- Surreal Bear Infant & Baby Playpen
- Babymoov Babyni Pop-Up 3-in-1
- Venture ALL STARS Baby Playpen
- BabyDan Medium Wooden Beech Playpen
- KIDUKU Foldable Baby 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.
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.'
Trusted and well-loved company
It's simple and effective
Can also be used as a room divider
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.
Tested by Sophie Knight, mum to Eli: "This is so easy to set up - it folds and collapses back up in just seconds. Much easier than having to build a playpen with screws and fixings - it's also great for taking on holiday or to visit family."
Read our full review about the Summer Infant Pop 'N Play Playpen here. It was Shortlisted in the 2017 M&B Awards in the Innovation of the Year category.
It’s portable and folds into a compact travel bag
It has a weather-resistant canvas floor
There is no door so you have to lift your baby in and out
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.
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
Not the largest playpen on our list
This playpen has an average rating of 4.8 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.
We like the innovative design meaning there aren't any steel cross-bars, and of course an easy-to-clean floor is always a bonus. It's also bound to be a favourite when it's so easy to put up and fold down - it just takes a few seconds.
Folds up and down easily in seconds
Features a floor mat so can be used indoors and outdoors
Includes a zip-open panel to get in and out easily
Measures 136 x 136 x 75cm
This playpen is very colourful with different shapes, patterns, and designs. It has in-built toys and activities. It can be made bigger or smaller by simply adding or removing panels, which is really handy if you're moving it between rooms, or taking it with you when you visit family or friends. (Please note - the balls in the photo are not included).
In-built toys and activities
Easy to change its shape and size
Balls not included
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."
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
Only for young babies who aren't crawling yet
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.
It's large, at 1.5m square
Features anti-slip playmats
200 brightly coloured balls are included in the price
It requires a lot of space to make full use of this playpen
This play pen blends easily with any decor scheme and has manageable panels, so you can change its shape, making it flexible for your room. It is very plain and natural by design, so you'll need to add some extra colour for your baby with toys inside. It measures 70cm tall so is good even when your baby starts to stand up by themselves. If you wanted to create an even bigger playpen space, you could buy a second one and attach them together.
Blends easily with any decor scheme
It has changeable panels, so you can alter its shape to suit your room
It's very plain, so you need to add some exciting toys for your baby
This BabyDan playpen has three adjustable height options for the various baby/toddler stages. Features lockable wheels so it's easy to move around from room to room. You need to buy the mat insert separately and remember to lock the wheels to stop it from moving about.
Made from European furniture-grade hardwood
Three adjustable height options
Features lockable wheels
You need to buy the mat insert separately
You'll need to remember to lock the wheels
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 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, whilst 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.
Did our top picks help you make your choice? Let us know on Facebook - we'd love to hear from you
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