The Best Travel Cribs of 2021
We've been testing playards and travel cribs for over 10 years - in the stores, in friends' houses, and in our own home. Below are the top 5 best travel cribs we've found, followed by in-depth reviews of about a dozen different options.
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Lotus Travel Crib|
|#2. BabyBjorn Travel Crib|
|#3. Joovy Room2 Portable Crib|
|#4. 4Moms Breeze Plus|
|#5. Nuna SENA Travel Crib|
Traveling has never been easier for parents - no longer do you need to rely on a hotel or in-laws to have a clean and safe crib for your baby. With a travel crib (sometimes called a playard or Pack and Play), you simply unzip it from its carrying case, unfold it, and throw on a sheet. Your baby or toddler is then ready to sleep, play, or relax in a portable crib that is both convenient and safe. It's also great when you need to shower, get ready, get dressed, or do some cleaning - a safe place where your baby can't get in trouble while you're not in within direct view. Super convenient for home or travel.
This year, we considered 4 new models alongside over a dozen existing models, some of which have been around for nearly a decade! Our hands-on tests considered five primary things: weight and portability, ease of use, durability, comfort, and safety. The result was about a dozen of the best travel cribs of the year, with some truly exciting newcomers.
- Top 5 Travel Cribs Comparison Table
- 1. Best Overall: Lotus Travel Crib
- 2. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib
- 3. Joovy Room2 Travel Crib
- 4. 4Moms Breeze Plus
- 5. Nuna SENA Aire Travel Crib
- 6. Phil and Teds Traveller Crib
- 7. Delta Novel Ideas
- 8. Flisko Travel Crib
- 9. Summer Infant Pop 'n Play
- 10. Kidco Travelpod Portable Crib
- 11. Graco Pack N Play Travel Crib
- 12. Kidco Peapod Plus Travel Crib
- Recall Alert: Fisher-Price
Here are the Best Travel Cribs of 2021!
This is the best travel crib option of the year, and for some fantastic reasons! The Lotus Travel Crib is made by the Guava Family, which has a stellar reputation for quality and customer support. The Lotus hits all the right spots: it's ultra-portable, lightweight (11 pounds!), stylish, can fit into an included backpack, and can be brought on a plane as a carry-on (folded, it measures about 24" x 11" x 7"). Parents absolutely love it, and so do we! It assembles and disassembles in about a minute each, is nicely padded and comfortable, is GreenGuard GOLD Certified for low VOC emissions, free of harmful chemicals (PVC, BPA, Lead), and has a zippered side-door for fun (think play fort!) and easy access to put down a sleeping baby. It has a unique style and shape, durable construction, and is super easy to use. In our testing, we loved the all-mesh sides for breathability, the padded upper bar, the sleek and lightweight legs, and the zip-down side. We also loved how the legs are separated from the mesh, so your child won't lean or roll into them uncomfortably.
We measured the crib at about 42" long, 32" wide, and just over 25" high. The legs do stick out a bit on the corners, so the length and width measurements are actually about 5" longer and wider when measuring from leg to leg. It includes a typical foam mattress that is about 1" thick, making it a good firmness for newborns and infants. We found the legs and other supports to be high quality and sturdy, the fabrics to be well-made and easily wiped clean, and the mesh sides to be surprisingly durable. As a playard it's a ton of fun with the zippered side, the wide top opening, and the see-through mesh; the size is impressive at about 7 square feet of play space. The entire travel crib folds up and fits into an included backpack. Yes, the backpack is pretty large, but this is still an awesome capability! The only little cons are that the mattress is relatively thin (about half the thickness of the BabyBjorn option), and the price is a little steep at about $210. Outside of that, we love it, and think it's definitely the best travel crib of the year! Who else loves the Lotus travel crib? Everyone! Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and The Bump also call it a top pick! Interested? Check out the Lotus Travel Crib here!
This excellent playard is very similar to the Lotus option, with a few important differences. The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light is stylish, lightweight (11 pounds!), ultra-compact (but doesn't fit in a carry-on-sized backpack like the Lotus), assembles and disassembles in about 30 seconds, has a very thick and comfortable mattress, and is durable and easy to use. The BabyBjorn is similar in size to the Lotus, coming in at about 42" long, 32" wide, and 25" high. The shape is a bit more angular, tapering to a relatively small opening once it reaches the top. It uses airy mesh sides, and high quality Oeko-Tex certified fabrics that can be removed and machine washed. In our testing, the opening and closing of the BabyBjorn was very similar to the Lotus, and just as easy. The mattress was impressively thick and soft, coming in at about 2" thick, and the entire travel crib felt high quality, sturdy, and durable. When folded, it measures about 24" long, 19" wide, and 6" thick, which is about 8" wider than the folded Lotus.
There are a few-trade offs when choosing between the BabyBjorn versus Lotus travel cribs. With the BabyBjorn, there is no zip-up side, it folds to a larger size, and it's about $100 more expensive. The lack of the zip-up side can make it more challenging to lower a sleeping baby onto the mattress, especially for shorter parents. On the other hand, we do think the quality of the BabyBjorn is slightly superior to the Lotus, and the mattress is definitely more comfortable for a toddler. Whether those points justify the higher price is up to you! Who else loves the BabyBjorn travel crib? It is also a top pick by our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, and The Bump! Interested? Check out the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light here.
The Joovy Room2 is all about, you guessed it, room! The biggest travel crib on our list, the Room2 comes in at about 40" wide, 40" long, and 31" high. As one of the only square travel cribs on our list, it offers a huge 11 square feet of sleeping and play space - this makes it a great option for twins, or simply more play space for a baby and toys. In our testing, we didn't think the mattress was very plush, but it did feel very sturdy, well made, and safe. It has awesome breathable/ventilated mesh sides that aren't too scratchy on the face or skin. While it is very sturdy and looks great, it's also quite a bit heavier than other options, tipping the scales at just under 30 pounds! That makes it simply too heavy for most parents to comfortably carry to the beach or through the airport, making it an ideal option for at-home use. It's pretty heavy, but we also point out that the weigt pays off in the sturdiness department.
The major downfall with this unit is that it was honestly rather difficult to set up, and required a bit more brute force than we thought it should in order to fold open. The mattress is about the same thickness and comfort as the Lotus, which means it's just fine (but nothing like the BabyBjorn). Outside of that, it's an excellent playard option and you'll likely get used to the opening/folding mechanism after a few uses. This thing is big, but the price is not, coming in at about $140! Who else loves the Joovy Room Travel Crib? Our friends at Babygearlab and The Bump call it a top pick! Interested? Check out the Joovy Room2 Travel Crib here.
This is an awesome newcomer, and we're happy to have gotten a chance to test it out (thanks, 4Moms!). The Breeze is good sized and a bit heavy, coming in at 46" by 33" by 29" high, and just under 25 pounds. That's enough to make a sore arm if you need to carry it through an airport. The size makes it a comparable square footage to the Joovy Room2, both coming in just over 10 square feet of room for sleep and play. The 4Moms is slightly rectangular, and the Joovy is square. They call this the Breeze for good reason - it is extremely easy to pop open and close up when you're done using it, especially on a hardwood or tile floor. It's not quite as easy on carpet since the legs can't slide out into position easily on a thick carpet (too much friction). It has a convenient bassinet feature that attaches and hangs from the top sides. This is great for infants to keep them at a higher level (like at bed level), but you'll only get a few months out of this feature since its max weight is 18lbs (it can also be used as a changing table later on). The bassinet is convenient but unfortunately not very soft or comfortable. Of course, infant sleeping surfaces are supposed to be quite firm, so this is expected. The primary mattress is actually quite good, not too firm or soft. We really liked this playard for these reasons. We also liked that it is well built and sturdy, has a nice simple style, and is very spacious. What we didn't like is that it's quite heavy and awkward to carry along, the bassinet attachment doesn't fit into the carrying case, and its price is a bit outrageous coming in at around $300! Not to mention that the 4Moms fitted sheets for this playard are an additional $40 or so. That's too much for us, especially when you can get other great options for substantially less money. So, it has good features and high quality that put it high on the list, but a price that drops it down several notches. Who else recommends the 4Moms Breeze? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and The Bump all call it a top pick! Interested? Check out the 4Moms Breeze Travel Crib here.
This is an awesome, stylish, portable crib that has a unique look and feel. Like all Nuna products, such as their awesome car seats, it is very high quality, well designed, and uses soft-touch fabrics. This travel crib has an awesome feature where the mattress can be placed at a higher position to make it a bassinet - providing a sleeping surface that is much higher up than the bottom of the actual travel crib. That means it's great for use with infants and toddlers alike, transitioning from an infant bassinet to a toddler travel crib within minutes. What's really cool is that the entire unit folds up with the bassinet system in it. Unlike other portable cribs with bassinets that require you to remove the bassinet attachment and pack it separately, this system combines it all into a single folding mechanism that fits easily right into the included carry bag. When we tried this portable crib out, we found it easy to assemble and use. It has a removable changing station you drop right onto the top when needed, true one-handed folding, and a truly excellent quilted mattress that is among the most comfortable portable crib mattresses used. We also thought it was super sturdy, with its 8 grippy feet on the bottom, and its cross-rails. So overall, we really liked this Nuna SENA Aire travel crib, and it gave us peace of mind for safe sleeping during family travel to grandma's house and beyond. But we also want to point out some things. First, it's really expensive and only available at premium retailers like Nordstrom, coming in at around $300. Second, it's a bit heavier than some other options, coming in at 25 pounds, so keep that in mind if you'll be traveling alone and trying to carry this, your bags, and wrangle your baby at the same time. It's still nowhere near as heavy as a Graco Pack N Play, but worth mentioning. Third, it's only rated up to about 3 years of age, at which time they'll be able to climb out and probably get too heavy for the mattress and bottom supports. Finally, the cross-bar design is stylish and super functional, but we found that our 2-year-old could push his foot against the mesh side and used the cross-rails to step on and boost himself out of the travel crib. Keep that in mind if you have a monkey like us! So overall, it's an excellent portable crib, but just like the 4Moms system it's a bit too expensive for our tastes. Interested? You can check out the Nuna SENA Aire here.
This is the lightest travel crib on our list, coming in at only 6 pounds, but offering some impressive features and functionality. Just in case it's hard to conceptualize what 6 pounds feels like, that's lighter than a single brick! When it's all folded up in the small carry bag, it feels super lightweight and easy to transport, making it the perfect travel crib for air travel or travel in smaller vehicles. Another huge benefit of the Phil and Teds Traveller, in addition to its superior portability, is that it has a zip-open front like the Lotus Travel Crib. We love the concept, making it amazing for play and also super convenient to pull a little baby in and out (since the mattress height doesn't adjust). In our testing, we actually ended up taking this portable crib on a little road trip and set it up in a hotel for our 18-month old to use. It fit nicely between the bed and the wall, and our toddler loved playing in it during the day. When it was time for bed, the mattress is very firm against the floor, making it a bit uncomfortable for a toddler (but good for an infant). The only con is related to how lightweight it is: because the entire thing only weighs about 6 pounds, it's not very sturdy or stable, and we worried a bit about it tipping over when our toddler was leaning on the side. Phil and Ted clearly were aware of this risk, so they put some goofy-looking feet on it that stick out to the side and lower the risk of tipping. Other than the potential stability issue, if you're looking for a super lightweight and highly functional travel crib for a relatively low price (about $150), this might be a good option for you. Who else recommends the Phil and Teds Traveller Crib? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, and WhatToExpect all consider it a top pick! Interested? Check out the Phil and Teds Travel Crib here.
Just like the Joovy option, this is another square playard. The square units are quickly gaining in popularity, giving parents and babies more flexibility to spread out and nap without having to face one direction or another. It's more like the old-fashioned playpen rather than the traditional playard shape. This particular Delta Novel Ideas unit is a bit smaller than the other two, however, coming in at 36" x 36" (9 square feet of play area), which may seem large but when it's next to the Joovy Room2 it looks quite small. It is close to other options in terms of weight, however, it does come in a bit heavy at 28 pounds. When we took it out of the box we were pleasantly surprised that it was not only fully assembled, but it was very easy to pop completely open and have it ready to use within a minute or two. The mattress was decent, if not a bit thin. Overall, our testing moms thought this was one of the best options for those on a limited budget. They thought it really gets the job done. Not quite as sturdy as the Joovy, and not quite as spacious, but it's also only about $75. You can't go wrong with this playard. Since it is relatively new to the market, however, we're holding off on putting it higher on our list until we see some good reliability out of it. We'll update in a few months with some more info. Interested? Check out the Delta Novel Ideas Travel Crib here.
Update: The Flisco travel crib might be discontinued as of March 2021, we'll update when we learn more. Look familiar? Flisko clearly was studying the top travel crib, the Lotus, when they were designing this product. The question is whether you can get quality, features, and comfort levels of the Lotus for nearly $100 less? Quick answer is not really, but it's definitely a respectable attempt. To be clear, this is not simply a Lotus knock-off, it actually has an added capability to be used as a bassinet (thus the "2-in-1" claim). The owner's manual does not provide any information about the weight limit of the bassinet, but our advice is to stop using it once your baby can roll from their back to side, or back to front. In contrast, if you're using the travel crib mode with the mattress down on the bottom of the crib, you can use it until your baby is about 35" tall or can climb out. Out of the box, this travel crib is relatively easy to assemble and unfold. It doesn't feel quite as sturdy as the Lotus, but it's a reasonable approximation. The legs unfold and lock into place pretty easily, and it feels reasonably built without being very heavy or cumbersome. The mattress leaves a bit to be desired, and in the travel crib mode it doesn't quite rest on the floor so it's not entirely stable in that regard. But that does compensate for the somewhat flimsy mattress since you wouldn't want that sitting on a hard surface anyway. The bassinet attachment is easy enough to use, but again it uses the same mattress. We liked the mesh sides for high airflow, and the zippered access window on the side was easy to use (when using as a playard) and the zipper felt like reasonable quality. It does fold up into a relatively portable package, like the Lotus, and it includes a zippered travel bag that can be brought on a plane as a carry-on (assuming it's a full size plane with normal overhead bins). Works very nicely as a ball pit as well, just don't open the zipper and let them all dump onto the floor of your living room (we made that mistake!). Overall, we liked this but don't believe it's really on par with the Lotus in terms of quality, especially regarding the overall sturdiness and mattress quality. Is it worth compromising a bit and gaining the bassinet feature, while also saving nearly $100? Maybe, but we'll let you decide! After a longer term reliability test, we'll update this review with any issues that may arise. Interested? Check out the Flisko Travel Crib here.
This is a great, large, inexpensive, no-frills playard that is perfect for at home, on the beach, and in the yard use. We found it very sturdy, easy to pop open and fold closed, and quite large. It comes in at 48" wide and about 26" tall. At 14 square feet of play area this is the largest playard on our list. Less for sleeping, more for playing, unlike the Lotus and BabyBjorn options. We found it perfect for car travel to the beach or park, great for an indoor ball pit or out in the yard, but less suitable for travel by plane. Even completely folded up in the included carrying case, it's just way too big for that type of travel. The mattress is fine, but not really comfortable for sleeping. So overall, you're getting a very large, sturdy, and well-constructed playard that is great for some particular uses. So why so far down on our list? Well, the architecture of the playard is a bit unfortunate with the cross-bars all around the sides. The mesh netting is a bit loose, so a few things happened during our testing. First, one 20-month baby quickly climbed right out by pushing his foot to stretch the netting and climbing on the cross bars. Second, when we used it as a ball pit, one toddler bonked his head on the cross bars. There are some ways to solve this, for instance by placing foam pipe insulation (or even pool noodles!) on the bars, but that seems like a bit of work that should have been done by the company in the first place. In any event, we definitely think this is a great playard, but you will need to do something about to pad the cross bars. Of course, this doesn't solve the climbing issue. Interested? Check out the Summer Infant Pop and Play Travel Crib here.
This Kidco travel crib is most similar to the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light, with similar styling and functionality. Coming in at just about $130, it's a pretty good deal given its features. This baby travel bed and toddler bed is super easy to set up and fold down, and get into its included carrying case. It folds into a flat rectangle, about the size of a very large briefcase. It uses highly breathable side mesh, removable fabric for machine washing, a decent mattress that's a little flimsy for our tastes, and supports from baby up to about 3 years of age. What's really amazing about this travel crib is that it's super lightweight, coming in at only about 10 pounds! That's really impressive and makes it an awesome candidate for popping right into a large suitcase without going over the airline's weight limits. But given that it's so lightweight, it's also a bit sparse on the padding and comfort, which is its primary limitation. It also makes it less sturdy than some of the others, and we found that our 1-year old test toddler was able to tip it a bit to the side when he was pushing against the mesh. But it's so inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to assemble, it's almost forgivable that it's so spartan. Worth checking out, but probably not worth a higher spot on our list. Interested? Check out the Kidco Travelpod Portable Crib here.
The Graco Pack N Play is like the Cadillac of playards - you can get a basic model for a mid-range price, or you can load it up and get it into a much higher range with all sorts of options: attachable changing tables, baby rockers, music players, vibrations, etc. With all those options you will end up paying around $150-200. You'll have a great playard, but you'll also have a very heavy (37 pounds!) and cumbersome portable crib with lots of peripheral parts to lose, break, and replace batteries in. Graco has ruled the playard market for over a decade now, so much so that their trademarked name "Pack N Play" has become a more common term than playard, making it one of the most popular travel bed options on the market. It was one of the first portable cribs to make the idea of travelling babies more tolerable for parents, providing a safe and clean option for infants and toddlers, rather than using the old and often dingy and dirty hotel crib or bassinet. But it's also a little bit outdated in comparison to the portable cribs higher up on this list. It's big, heavy, cumbersome, and not great for anything other than car travel, making it one of the less ideal travel cribs for babies. But it's sturdy, well built, and has basically any feature you can imagine having in a playard - except for an ultra-portable carrying case or zippered side. Note that Graco makes a lighter-weight version of this, the Graco Travel Lite Crib, which brings the weight down to under 20 pounds (though that's still pretty heavy overall). Prices range from about $100 to $200 depending on the number of features you need. Interested? Check out the Graco Pack and Play Travel Crib here.
This is a super unique portable crib that looks like a miniature tent for your baby or toddler, complete with the zip-up mesh sides and fly covers. It's a truly awesome idea for more adventurous kids who would value the experience of sleeping in something that looks and feels like a real camping. There are a lot of types of travel cribs, most of which are crib based, but this one really takes the cake for its unique form and function. We're not really sure whether to call it a travel crib, but it's definitely the lightest travel bed that we've seen, coming in at less than 4 pounds and folding down into a super small circular pouch. We actually bought it and used it only as a baby beach tent, which it does a great job of given its UV protection and anchor straps that you can use to secure it down into the sand (with stakes, which it doesn't include). We never used it as a travel crib because we're not quite that adventurous, but we do see how valuable it could be to have something so small and light to take with you when travelling. Kudos to Peapod for figuring out that new marketing angle for this! Overall, it's cute, durable, functional, and super fun for babies and toddlers who might like this sort of thing. Or you can just use it as a baby tent for the beach or pool; for about $90, it might be worth the versatility and ease for portably baby travel. Interested? Check out the Peapod Plus Travel Bed here.
This Fisher-Price travel crib included an inclined sleeper option that could be attached to the top of the playard. For this reason, this travel crib was included in a recent large-scale recall that included popular bassinet and travel crib models from many of the top baby product manufacturers. Fisher-Price was not spared from this recall. When it was first released, this was a cool concept: it combined a top "inclined sleeper" seat with a playard. The sleeper idea was intended for smaller babies who have not yet learned to roll over or pull up on the sides. However, inclined sleepers are currently being recalled for the high risk of suffocation and even death. They are just not worth the risk. See our article about these risks and the recall of inclined sleepers here. You can check out the recall notice on the Fisher Price Ultralight Travel Crib here!