Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard Review

An intuitive and durable space for your baby to play and sleep away from home

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4.5

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard

Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

What We Like
  • Intuitive setup

  • Sits up off the ground

  • Compact when packed up

  • Wheels make for easy repositioning

What We Don't Like
  • On the heavier side

  • Tear down is a little complicated

Bottom Line

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard is an affordable, easy-to-use, and durable way to give babies a safe spot to play or sleep when they’re somewhere other than home.

4.5

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard

Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

We purchased the Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard so our reviewer could thoroughly test it with her infant and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.

During a baby’s first year of life, there are so many safety precautions a parent needs to take, which isn’t always easy while traveling. The Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard offers a safe sleep and play space for babies in a compact and easy-to-carry travel bag. The pack n’ play is designed with safety, durability, and convenience in mind. Keep reading for all the details of our testing. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard
Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

Setup Process: Like riding a bike

I’ve used a different, but similarly designed, portable play yard before so my knowledge may have helped me here, but the setup was fairly intuitive. You basically push the middle section of the bottom of the play yard down and everything kind of snaps into place. If it were my first time using a product like this, I’d probably need to read the directions to safely install the mattress (by looping the straps through) because that’s not an obvious step. 

Teardown, however, took a little more work. I was apparently a little overconfident the first time I tried to tear it down and wound up very flustered. It wasn’t exactly hard to break down, but it wasn’t easy either. After I checked my ego and actually read the instructions, I was able to do it correctly. After that initial time, I didn’t have to read instructions again for subsequent teardowns. 

This is nice to have even just in your living room if you need to keep your newly mobile baby in one spot while you work on something.

Packing everything up to put into the bag was fairly easy as well. I do wish the little handle that’s sewn onto the bottom of the mattress were a different color because literally every time I tore the pack n’ play down and packed it up, I ended up putting it in the wrong direction, which meant the handle wasn’t sticking out for me to carry it. It was an easy fix, but frustrating nonetheless. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard
Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

Design: Durable and convenient 

The basic model comes with the play yard frame, a mattress pad, a removable pocket, and a carrying bag. The frame is made with strong metal pieces and covered with a canvas-like fabric. The space between each metal piece is held together with a mesh fabric that allows for airflow and transparency in the play yard itself and keeps the space safe for a sleeping baby should they press their face up against it. 

The mattress pad is surprisingly plush (not as plush as an actual mattress, of course, but not just a hard surface either). It has adhesive straps that lace through the bottom of the frame so that it will stay in place to avoid safety risks. When it’s not in the play yard itself, the mattress folds into a rectangular position, which encases the play yard frame when it’s torn down. The carrying bag then fits over the folded-up mattress, which has a handle sewn onto the side and zips up to create an easy-to-carry crib in a bag. While the carrying bag can be machine washed, the mattress pad will have to be wiped down if it gets dirty. 

What I liked best about the design was how compact it is.

There are two wheels on one end of the pack n’ play when it’s set up, which makes it very easy to move or reposition as needed. This was especially nice when I wanted my 7-month-old to have a place to play in the common area at her grandparents’ house but later needed to move it to a quiet spot for her to nap. I also liked that the play yard sits up off the ground because it made it easier to pick my daughter up and place her down as needed. 

What I liked best about the design was how compact it is when everything is torn down and packed up. I have a small crossover SUV and a family of four so when we travel we have to be very conscious about storage space. Since it’s rectangular shaped, it can easily be tucked in small open spaces. The carrying bag is thin but is durable enough for a car trunk. If I were to check it for a plane ride, I’d probably invest in a bag to put it in, just for a little extra protection. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard
Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

Safety: No need to worry (as long as you follow instructions)

Graco seems to have put a lot of thought into this play yard’s design because it has a lot of safety features. From the fastening straps on the mattress to the mesh siding, down to the carefully padded metal bars, parents really don’t have much to worry about—unless their child is over the height, weight, or development limits. 

Graco clearly notes that babies 35 inches and taller, weighing more than 30 pounds, and/or who are able to climb should not use this product. There is definitely a tipping hazard if you have a little climber on your hands, and that is obviously a major safety issue. Even if your baby doesn’t meet these criteria but you know your little one is a little rambunctious, you should use your judgment to determine whether or not they have the strength to tip the unit over if they were to roll around or pull up and shake it.

Age Range: Less about age and more about size

This particular model is strictly the play yard (no changing table), so it’s great for a baby who is a little older and has head/neck strength. It would be difficult to safely lift or put down an infant in this play yard since it’s so low to the ground. On the other hand, a baby who is able to pull up and is ready to explore may be too big for this. There seems to be a sweet spot between 3 months old and 9 months old (give or take). A lot of it has to do with the baby’s size and development, though. 

This is a budget-friendly option, especially when you consider how long your baby can safely use the product.

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard
Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler 

Price: On the low end of comparable models

This is a very basic model—no real bells and whistles—but it’s still a lot of bang for your buck. At around $60 it seems to be in line with its competition. In fact, some pack n’ plays are priced at well over $100, so this is a fairly budget-friendly option, especially when you consider how long your baby can safely use the product. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard
Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

Competition: It depends on what you’re looking for

Regalo My Play Portable Play Yard: This Regalo play yard is a comparable product if you are simply looking for something to provide your baby with space to play. It’s safe for indoor or outdoor use, is designed for easy setup and teardown, and has a travel bag. The price is similar to the Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard, but it might not be quite as durable. It’s a good option for local travel, but may not withstand the beating it would get in the luggage compartment of an airplane. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play On the Go Playard With Full-Size Infant Bassinet: This is the upgraded version of the basic Graco pack n’ play. It retails for closer to $100, but you can use it from the time your baby is born until they’ve grown out of the play yard model. This design allows you to move the mattress up higher to safely lay an infant down without risking injury and has a little mobile attachment to give it a little extra fun. If you’re an avid traveler, spending the extra money on this model makes sense. 

Still undecided? Check out our roundup of the best pack n’ plays.

Final Verdict

Add it to your registry, now. 

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard will come in handy so many times during your baby’s first year of life. You never really realize just how “unfriendly” baby-free homes are until you have a baby you have to bring over. Even if you don’t travel or socialize much outside the house, this is nice to have for the backyard or even just your living room if you need to keep your newly mobile baby in one spot while you work on something. Don’t hesitate on this one, just get it.

Specs

  • Product Name Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard
  • Product Brand Graco
  • Price $59.99
  • Weight 20.1 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 39.5 x 28.25 x 29 in.
  • Color Aspery, Carnival
  • Manufacturer Age Recommendation Children unable to crawl out of crib; less than 35 in. tall
  • Warranty 1-year limited
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