Play Yards / Pack N Plays?


CPST Instructor
I need shopping advice!

I'm going to need some kind of portable crib / play yard for upcoming baby. I have several months to shop and watch for a good price.

I really want something with a bassinet feature. I tend to use that in the living room until baby outgrows it. Then the play yard usually ends up being a travel item, not typically something that stays set up for regular use. Although I'd like it to be sturdy enough that I could use it that way if I wanted to and baby happens to be a temperament that doesn't mind being set down in it for a few minutes now and then. I did use my play yard for things like "taking a shower" when my younger son was a baby because he didn't mind being in it, but I never used it as a play pen for my other two kids.

I don't want to spend a ton of money and don't need a lot of "features." But I also don't want a piece of crap that is going to pinch my fingers off when I set it up or fall apart in a couple of months.

I like the looks of "Disney" ones made by Dorel and they are priced right, but I'm scared they will be junk since Dorel tends to put the Disney brand on their crappiest products overall.

Surely there must be Play Yard Gurus out there who can help me!

Patriot201 Ambassador
I've had a few different Pack N Plays (I always get rid of one and then realize I should have kept it) over the past 15 years.

My favorite is the one I have now. It is VERY simple-- a playpen and a full-length bassinet-- and therefore is EASY to pack and unpack. It is similar to this one:

I also like the one I had a few years ago. It had a "half-size" bassinet and a changing station (which I never used). It was similar to this one:

My friends and family have had some of the full-featured play yards with all the changing tables, vibrating bassinets, diaper stackers, etc., and I don't like those as much as my simple one. There are just too many parts! :eek: My super-simple Pack N Play takes about 30 seconds to set up, and about 30 more seconds to attach the bassinet. Done.


Well-known member
My favourites have been the Gracos as well, both the full size and travel size. I had a Chicco passed down to me and I HATED it- it took forever to set up and take down, it was insane!!


New member
We have almost the identical one to the first one linked above. I loved it also for it's simplicity. We used it as a co-sleeper until the babies reached the weight limit for the bassinet and then it was mainly used for traveling. I didn't miss not having any of the other features that were on other 'fancier' ones. I honestly don't see the point of the separate changing area - I just put a different blanket/lap pad on the bassinet to change them if I need to and set it aside when they needed to sleep.


CPST Instructor
Awesome. I really appreciate it!

I really don't want all the "parts" either. At MOST I might consider one with a little sun shade on it. I see the appeal of one with a changing station if this is going to be your main piece of baby furniture, but at home I already have a changing area and for traveling I'm fine with using a towel on the floor. I just can't imagine hauling a changing table with me when I am going places. Simple is *exactly* what I want!


Well-known member
We also have a Graco with a full-length bassinet. Ours is slightly more complex than the basic one, but it's been quite sturdy and we still use the changing table (ours has that feature). (DD is very small.)

DS never really slept in the bassinet--I used it mostly for storing diaper laundry when on vacation. DD slept in the bassinet when she came home in the NICU until I transitioned her to my bed. It's still set up in my bedroom and full of laundry and diapers. We've also used the bare bones bassinet-model of the Graco while visiting family. I was comfortable with the sturdiness.


New member
My sister has a Guava Family Lotus crib. She loves it; her daughter loves. It has a bassinet conversion kit. Multi-use- my sis takes it to beach (buy the sun shade. For travel, etc. I plan on getting one.


New member
I have a Graco that I used with my now almost seven year old and still use for travel with my 22 month old. It's very sturdy. We do have the full bassinet and add on changing with side holder for supplies and if I did it over I wouldn't pay for those features. We used ours as a crib in our room until our kids were 8-9 months. Mostly our littles co slept but it was nice to have the pack and play as an option.


Cute, but $300 is at least double what I am prepared to spend on this kind of an item. :) I'm just not a heavy play yard user and can't justify the expense. Especially since this is absolutely going to be our last baby. And any future grandkids are WAY in the future.

LOL I totally understand! She just sold hers used for $75... Something to maybe think about. "Easiest" play yard I've ever used, but I know how to use and don't mind the typical Graco, Chicco, Fisher Price.


Active member
I've owned four Graco Pack n Plays now and loved all of them. My first one was secondhand and had belonged to my aunt before me, it was about five years old at the time and was used as Levi's crib for six months before we transitioned him to a full sized one. With almost daily up and down use after that it lasted another year before the top rails stopped locking. We bought a bare bones basic one after that for Hunter that I loved. I gave that to a friend who couldn't afford a crib and it's now on her second child and has been used almost daily since I bought it three and a half years ago. For Ella, I bought one with a bassinet insert, changing table, and a newborn napper thingy which I kept in our living room and only used for naps and changing her until she got older and played in it. For Aubrei, we bought one that just had the changer and bassinet insert, we've used it in our room and she's slept in it every night since we brought her home. It's been my favorite by far, basic but not too basic. I actually plan on using it long term with her because half the pieces to our crib were lost while using it as a toddler bed for Ella. So we'll just keep using it until she's ready for the toddler bed. It's the Element Pack n Play in Metropolis, I paid $110 for it from Amazon.


CPST Instructor
Is the Aprica Haven the same as the Nuna Sena?

I found a Haven on CL for $75 NIB (unfortunately, about a 2 hour drive from me) and from looking at Albeebaby it appears to be the same as the Sena.


Well-known member
I bought a full featured graco one in craigslist for $50. It wasn't the easiest thing to set up with all the parts, playyard, full size bassinet, changing table, cocoon type slightly reclined newborn bassinet. I love it. That newborn part has been awesome, he loves it. It cradles a baby. And it does have the option to vibrate, music, etc. I only use the vibration. The vibrating pack can be used on newborn bassinet, full bassinet, or playyard. You just move it.

I have one similar to this. But I'd never pay what they are new!


Well-known member
We've only had Gracos, but they worked great. I had no complaints.

I just remembered about the ones with a changing area that some flip up, while others have to be removed each time from the frame. The ones that need removing were horrible in store, so we got the flip type and loved it.


CPST Instructor
If I get this one... can I leave behind the "extra" stuff like that caddy on the end for better portability?

I am kind of leaning toward a "travel size" one but my husband thinks he'd rather have a "full size" one. We had a full sized one with my daughter (borrowed; we gave it back) so I know how big they are. The one we had was hard to use, though. I think it might have been an Evenflo.

This looks like a pretty good price. But it's clear on the other side of town so I don't want to go look at it and find out it's too cumbersome to pack around.


New member
My favourites have been the Gracos as well, both the full size and travel size. I had a Chicco passed down to me and I HATED it- it took forever to set up and take down, it was insane!!

The only pack and play I've ever had that I liked how it worked was Graco. SO easy to take down and set up. And the basic full size one we had lasted a LONG time. we bought it before DS was born, used it through two kids and just sold it on Craigslist. ($30 or $35. I forget). DS slept in the bassinet when he first came home from the hospital. (The pack and play was half in our closet while the 2nd bedroom got used by guests). And it made a VERY nice changing station when he was little.

We also had a travel Size Graco for DD that I used next to the bed her first week of life and then brought in to work for her when she was here. since that was the size space I had. She outgrew it VERY early. The full size pack and play will take a kid to 2 or 2.5 (3 if they don't climb out). The travel size was getting too small for DD before 1 year old.


Well-known member
When the kids were babies we had two PNP's, both Graco. I bought them off CL and both were in practically brand new condition. I only paid about $50 each for them and they were the ones with the changing table, bassinet, music/vibration, etc. I didn't find it to be a pain to have all those parts and it really wasn't hard to set up. We also had one of the larger square Graco playyards like this:

I had this one in the family room to have somewhere to put the babies down to play if needed as the other two were in the "nursery" since we used them as cribs before we got real cribs.

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