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Playard vs Crib – Which is Best in 2024?

So you have a baby on the way – firstly huge congratulations!

But now comes all those difficult decisions that you have to make, yes even before they are born. One of these is whether you are going to purchase a crib or a playard or both.

Maybe you are concerned about your budget…or the space you have? Or maybe you are looking for something a little more portable!

You are not alone and many parents are asking themselves these questions, wondering what the differences are between a playard and a crib.

Let’s take a look at both and help you to decide which is right for your baby and you.

Short On Time? Here Are Our Choices for a Playard and Crib

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

The Main Differences Between a Playard vs Crib?

There are a few differences between a Playard and a crib such as dimensions, weight, and price. Many parents feel that they need to purchase a playard even though they have a crib and this is not always the case.

Here are the differences between a Playard and a crib that should help you decide which is going to be best for you and your baby.

  • Cribs are permanent pieces of furniture in your home, usually in the nursery. They are very difficult to move from room to room. So if you intend to travel with your baby or have nights away, a crib may not be the best option for you.
  • A Playard is smaller in size than most cribs so your child will outgrow it much faster than a standard crib. But they are super portable, fold in seconds, and can be taken traveling with you.
  • Playards are multi-functional and can be used as a safe space for your child to play in.
  • Cribs are normally more expensive than playards.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of them and see what the pros and cons of each are

What is a Crib?

Cribs are permanent structures in your home, usually in the nursery and they provide a safe space for your baby to sleep.

They are quite heavy compared to a Playard and the dimensions of a standard crib are 28 x 52 inches. But you can get mini cribs that have a smaller footprint if you are lacking space. 

Cribs start from around $100 but you must remember that you will usually have to purchase a mattress separately.

Cribs are available in a huge range of colors and finishes, so there should be no problem in finding the perfect one that matches your nursery decor.

Cribs can generally support a lot of weight. Usually, between 35-50 pounds can be supported safely before you need to transition your child to a bed.

Pros of Cribs

  • They are built to last.
  • They have a larger sleeping area meaning that they allow your baby to sleep comfortably for longer.
  • Cribs are available in a convertible form so could last your baby right through to adulthood.
  • They are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

Cons of Cribs

  • They can be quite expensive.
  • They are not portable and can be quite bulky and heavy.

Our Top Three Cribs

1. Delta Children Emery Mini Convertible Crib

Delta Children Emery Mini Convertible Baby Crib with 2.75-inch Mattress, Grey

The Delta Emery is a mini convertible crib meaning that it is smaller than a standard crib.

It is only 38 inches long x 24 inches wide which makes it smaller than most standard Playards, making it suitable for smaller nurseries. The Delta Emery is available in three color options, grey, white and dark chocolate.

It comes with a two-position mattress height adjustment allowing you to lower it once your baby is able to sit or stand. It also includes a mattress with the crib

It can be converted from a crib into a twin bed (the bed frame is sold separately).


  • Small footprint making it an option for smaller spaces.
  • The mattress is of good quality.
  • Super easy to assemble.
  • Lightweight.


  • Baby will outgrow quicker than a standard crib.
  • Some issues with the mattress not fitting correctly.
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2. Union 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Union 4-in-1 Convertible Crib in Ebony, Greenguard Gold Certified

The Union 4-in-1 convertible crib is available in four color options and can easily be converted from crib to daybed, toddler bed and full-size bed (kits are sold separately).

This crib is Greenguard Gold Certified meaning that it has been tested for over 10,000 chemicals and it contributes to cleaner indoor air. It is made from solid sustainable New Zealand pine wood.

The Union crib does not come with a mattress so you will need to purchase one separately.


  • Greenguard Gold certified.
  • Can be converted to a toddler bed, daybed, or full-size bed.
  • Made from sustainable pine.
  • Large sleeping area allowing your baby to use this crib for an extended period of time.


  • There is a smell when first unpacked – recommend that you leave to air for 24 hours.
  • Not very sturdy feels quite flimsy.
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3. Carter’s By Davinci Colby 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Carter's by Davinci Colby 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Trundle Drawer in Grey and White, Greenguard Gold Certified

Carter’s by Davinci Colby 4-in-1 crib is available in four color options and comes with a trundle drawer, providing additional storage.

It is also Greenguard Gold certified and contributes to a healthier environment for your baby to sleep in. It comes with a four-position height adjustable mattress that can be lowered as your baby begins to sit and stand.

Once your little one has outgrown the crib it can be easily converted to a toddler bed, daybed, or full-size bed (kits are sold separately).


  • 4-in-1 convertible bed.
  • Greenguard gold certified.
  • Four-position adjustable mattress height.
  • Additional storage with trundle draw.


  • The draw is difficult to operate.
  • Wood is delicate and easily dents.
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What is a Playard?

A Playard is just another name for a playpen or travel crib. Essentially a Playard is a portable crib that can also be used as a playpen.

Many Playards come with wheels making them super easy to move around the house if you need or want to. They are also considerably lighter than a standard crib.

The base of the Playard is raised off the floor but is still low enough o ensure that it can’t be toppled over by a wriggling baby. The sides are made from a breathable mesh to increase visibility and airflow.

Many Playards come with a raised sleeping area that is great for newborns. Once your baby is over the weight limit it can be removed. The limit is usually around 15 pounds.

Some Playards also come with additional accessories such as toys, changing area, and parent organizers. The maximum limit for Playards can vary from model to model but it is usually around 30 pounds or 35 inches.

A Playard is smaller than a crib and is normally only around 40 inches long by 28 inches wide. There are a few different shape options with added space that can accommodate two babies.

Pros of A Playard

  • More budget-friendly than a crib.
  • Portable and can be moved from room to room with ease.
  • Multifunctional as provides a safe space for your baby to play in.
  • Lightweight and comes with wheels.

Cons of A Playard

  • They are smaller than cribs so your baby will grow out of them sooner.
  • They are not as strong as a crib.

Our Top Three Playards

1. Graco Pack and Play Portable Playard

New Graco Pack Play Playard Portable Automatic Folding Crib Ashford Baby Travel

This is just one of many Playards in the Graco range and comes with no additional accessories. But other models in the range do come with a bassinet, changing area, and parent organizer.

The Graco Pack and Play Playard is perfect for travel as it comes with Graco’s signature one-button fold.

It also has automatic folding feet and wheels meaning that it has a 20% more compact fold. It can then be easily packed into its convenient carry bag for storage or travel.


  • Quick and easy to set up.
  • Super portable – great for traveling.
  • Comes with a storage/travel bag.
  • Budget-friendly.


  • The mattress is very thin and hard.
  • Not very durable.
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2. 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard

4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard with Removable Bassinet and Baby Changing Station, Easy One-Handed Setup, from The Makers of The mamaRoo

This Playard comes with a bassinet and changing station. It boasts easy one hand take down and set up with one push button.

The bassinet is removable once your baby reaches the maximum weight of 18pounds. The changing station can be flipped out of the way when not in use.

The Playard has a maximum weight of 30 pounds and the mattress from the bassinet can easily be converted for use in the Playard once your baby has outgrown it. It comes with its own storage/travel bag making it a great option for vacations.


  • Easy to set up and disassemble.
  • Removable bassinet.
  • Detachable flip changer.
  • Generously sized for longer use.


  • No parent-organizer included.
  • High price tag.
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3. Baby Trend E Nursery Center

Baby Trend E Nursery Center, to Rising Star

The Baby Trend nursery center comes with a full-size bassinet, parent organizer, and mobile. It comes with large wheels for maneuverability and these also have brakes to lock the wheels when not in use.

It has a quick and easy folding system and it easily fits into the included travel/storage bag. This makes it very portable.


  • Comes with a full-size bassinet.
  • One-click locking system.
  • Compact fold and storage bag.
  • Lightweight and easy to move around


  • The mattress pad is hard and thin.
  • Very basic.
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Is A Playard Safe To Use?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is something that everyone involved with babies takes seriously.

From designers to manufacturers, to parents, which means that there are very few if any Playards on the market that are unsafe. They all go through thorough and rigorous testing and vetting.

There are safety standards that all infant sleep furniture must meet, so parents can rest assure that Playards are safe for your baby to sleep in. This is assuming that safe sleep guidelines are followed.

Some of the design features of a Playard provide the perfect sleeping surface for infants, such as the breathable mesh and firm mattress pad. But you also need to make sure that you follow the safe sleeping guidelines:

  • Make sure that your baby is always placed on their back to sleep.
  • Never allow infants or newborns to sleep with additional blankets or stuffed animals.
  • Do not place extra padding or bumpers into the crib or Playard.
  • Ensure that your baby is monitored at all times either in person or through the use of a baby monitor.

Should I Get A Crib or Playard?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question and it will depend on your personal circumstances.

Playards are more affordable and multifunctional. You can use them as a bed or a playpen. While cribs are more expensive but they do offer a long-term option for your baby in a nursery.

Playards are extremely portable and are perfect for a temporary bed. If you are planning on frequently traveling with your baby or having something that you can take for sleepovers with friends or relatives then a Playard is the perfect solution.

If you are looking for a long-term sleep solution for your bay’s nursery and want something that looks stylish – then a crib is going to be right for you. Cribs can be expensive but as with all baby equipment prices vary considerably.

If you are on a budget, you may want to look at your local classified ads or Facebook Marketplace, where you will no doubt find countless bargains. Just ensure that you replace the mattress of any preloved crib.

The Final Thought

Whether you decide to purchase a crib or playard they both have their advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is that you find the one that fits the needs of your baby and you the best.