Confused about purchasing a bassinet or pack and play but can’t seem to find complete information about the same? Let us save you some time (and energy) as we unpack the pros and cons of a pack and play vs bassinet and answer some FAQs about the same.

Debating Purchasing a Bassinet or Pack and Play?

While some parents are confused about selecting between a co-sleeper and bassinet, others are muddled between picking a bassinet or pack and play for their little angels. No matter what sleep option you are considering, it can be overwhelming for new parents to choose one option that’s best for their baby’s safety and comfort.

Moreover, as babies tend to outgrow their bassinets quickly, many parents are of the viewpoint that they should use pack and play as bassinet. So, if you are in the same dilemma, we have your back. By expanding on what a bassinet and pack and play actually is, we’ll help you understand the benefits and limitations of each so that you can make the right decision without us (or anyone else) influencing your decision.

What is a Bassinet?

A bassinet is a baby bed for newborns that keeps them near their parents until they reach the perfect age to switch to a crib. Usually compact and portable, bassinets come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Moreover, they are foldable and acquire very little space – making them perfect for small rooms as well.

Highly breathable and secured by mesh walls, bassinets are versatile and affordable. However, they usually have a weight limit of babies up to 25 lbs and cannot be used for toddlers who can roll on their tummies or sit.

What is a Pack & Play?

A pack n play is a playard meant for toddlers who can roll over and sit. Although many parents consider it to be a larger and sturdier form of a bassinet, it actually isn’t. Some even consider It as a travel-friendly alternative to cribs as it is portable and has well-built frames with high mesh walls. Well, pack n plays are primarily intended for toddlers measuring lesser than 35 inches in height to sit and play inside thereby keeping them safe inside without any risks of the baby climbing out.

Pack and Play vs Bassinet – What to Buy for Your Baby?

Many parents prefer to choose a pack n play instead of bassinet to make a better investment out of their money as the former can be used for a longer time. Although there is no perfect answer to whether you need a bassinet or pack and play, some useful insights on their functionality, pricing, and advantages can help you make a fair decision for your bub.

Here are a few important things you must consider while selecting between a bassinet or pack and play:

1. Budget

Depending upon the features available, pack n plays and bassinets can both vary in their price range. So, it is important to determine your budget, understand what’s more cost-effective in the long run and choose the right one as per your requirements wisely.

2. Space Consumption

Although both bassinets and pack ‘n plays are foldable and portable, the former acquire less space if you have a small-sized room.

3. Durability/Longevity

If you purchase a bassinet from a renowned brand, it is sure to offer complete safety to your bub until the baby reaches the recommended age or weight benchmark. The same implies to pack ‘n plays. Depending upon your requirement and preference, determine the right one in terms of durability and longevity. Please remember that although a pack n play can accommodate heavier and taller babies easily, it is just a playing station whereas a bassinet is a sleeping area for babies.

4. Portability

Bassinets and pack ‘n plays are both equally portable but their actual portability depends on your lifestyle and travel preferences.

  • If you are not a regular traveller and looking for a portable baby sleep option to move it from one room to the other, you can simply opt for a sturdy bassinet with wheels.
  • Moreover, if you frequently travel by car or plane, it is better to opt for a pack ‘n play that you can take along anywhere – without compromising on your baby’s comfort on the go.

5. Safety

Safety is the biggest concern for all parents – no matter whether they are purchasing a bassinet, cradle, crib, or playard. So, compare a baby bassinet and playpen wisely and determine the right one for your baby.

But make sure to remember that you cannot consider a pack n play a larger or sturdier alternative to a bassinet for older babies. A bassinet is primarily meant to put in babies for sleep whereas a pack n play serves as a playing station for them.

Bassinet or Pack and Play: Major Pros & Cons

Although there are significant differences between the two, both bassinets and playards share many similarities as well. Both are equipped with sleeping pads so that you don’t have to look for additional padding just like a crib mattress. Moreover, both are foldable, travel-friendly, breathable and sturdy.

If you are still confused about selecting between a playard vs bassinet, the comparison table listed below might come in handy for you:

Bassinet Pack and Play
A bassinet is smaller and intended to be used for newborns until they reach 25 lbs weight. A pack and play is larger than a bassinet and can be used for a toddler.
A bassinet is meant to accommodate babies to sleep. Pack n plays are designed to accommodate babies to play safely.
Although sturdy, bassinets have smaller mesh walls. The mesh walls of pack ‘n plays are thick, sturdy, and high.
A bassinet acquires less space and is more portable. Since a pack ‘n play is larger than a bassinet, it acquires more space but is easily foldable and portable.
More expensive bassinets might include enhanced features such as vibration, rocking mechanism, music, mobile, storage space, mosquito net, Bluetooth, etc. Expensive pack ‘n plays come with additional features such as storage, diaper changing station, etc. but are not equipped with vibrating, rocking or swivel mechanisms.

Pack n Play Instead of Bassinet: What’s a Better Choice?

While both options are safe for your baby, selecting one between the two (or buying both) depends on your requirements, space availability, choice, budget and most importantly, how you intend using it.

If you want to use pack and play as bassinet and crib, please make sure to weigh the pros and cons of both and make a wise decision. Furthermore, whatever you buy, make sure it is from a renowned brand only. Most importantly, cross-check if the bassinet or pack ‘n play meets the suggested industry standards or not.

Best Bassinets You Can Consider

If you want to purchase the best bassinet for your little one, here are our top three picks for the same:

1. Dream On Me MacKenzie Bassinet – Parents’ Top Basic Choice

If you are looking for a bassinet that makes parenting easy and compliments the interiors of your room, the Dream on me MacKenzie Bassinet is sure to impress you. Designed with ultra-soft fabric, highly breathable mesh sides, and a sturdy frame, this bassinet is lightweight, easy to assemble or fold down, and comes with a 1-inch mattress pad.

Primary Features:

  • Easy to clean and wash
  • One-click assembly and quick fold mechanism
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Can carry babies weighing up to 25 pounds

2. Dream On Me Traveler Portable Bassinet – Parents’ Top Travel-Friendly Choice

For parents who constantly keep travelling, the Dream On Me Traveler Portable Bassinet is sure to make life easier. Backed by a lightweight, easy fold frame, this bassinet comes with a removable mattress pad and can be set up on its snap-on legs within seconds. Moreover, it can be easily folded in its carry bag and makes transportation hassle-free.

Primary Features:

  • Mesh side panels that offer optimal ventilation and visibility
  • JPMA certified to meet all the recommended safety standards set by the CPSC and ASTM
  • Easy to wash and clean
  • Quick and easy to assemble or disassemble

3. Dream On Me Karley Bassinet – Mom’s Choice Award Winner

The Dream On Me Karley Bassinet is perfect for parents looking for a portable bassinet that offers enhanced features and additional storage. Backed by a lightweight yet sturdy aluminium frame, this bassinet is spacious and well-ventilated. Moreover, it is equipped with an adjustable double canopy, a 1″ thickness mattress pad, safe polyester foam fabric, thick mesh sides, and an additional storage bag underneath.

Primary Features:

  • Winner at the Mom’s Choice Award
  • Meets all the safety standards set by the CPSC and ASTM
  • Spacious, well-ventilated and comfortable
  • Portable and no-tool assembly

Best Pack ‘n Plays You Can Consider

If you want to purchase the best pack ‘n play for your little one, here are our top three picks for the same:

1. Dream On Me Nest Portable Play Yard – Parents’ Top Basic Choice

If you are looking for a sturdy and budget-friendly pack ‘n play for your baby, the Dream On Me Nest Portable Play Yard is sure to impress you. Spacious and highly safe, this full-sized playard folds easily for travel and storage, features a sturdy yet lightweight aluminium frame for easy mobility, and is made of soft and safe polyester foam fabric.

Primary Features:

  • Winner at the 2020 National Parenting Product Awards
  • Features four airy mesh sides that allow complete ventilation
  • Meets all applicable CPSC and ASTM standards
  • Easy to set up or takedown

2. Dream On Me Travel Light Playard – Parents’ Top Travel-Friendly Choice

For travel-savvy parents who don’t want to compromise with their baby’s comfort and safety, the Dream On Me Travel Light Playard is the right choice. A lighter yet highly secure version of a mini-crib, the DOM Travel Light playard is lightweight, easily foldable and comes with a durable travel bag. Highly breathable yet adequately padded, this playard ensures your baby sleeps like home wherever you are.

Primary Features:

  • Super simple and quick to set up and take down while travelling
  • Highly breathable and comes with a mattress pad and travel bag
  • Awarded Top Travel Fun of the Year Award 2020

3. Dream On Me Emily Rose Deluxe Playard – Parents’ Top High-End Choice

If you are looking for a premium quality pack ‘n play that is more than just a baby bed and serves all your needs perfectly, there is no better choice than the Dream On Me Emily Rose Deluxe Playard. Equipped with a changing tray, a cozy infant lounger seat with a canopy and integrated storage compartments to keep wipes, diapers, and other essentials, the playard offers multi-functionality and can be used from birth all the way up to toddler age.

Available in multiple fashion-forward prints and color choices to enhance the design of your nursery, this playard is waterproof, breathable and features an ultra-compact fold for easy storage and traveling. Moreover, the playard comes with its own carrying bag so that your little munchkin is always “travel ready”.

Primary Features:

  • Comes with a cozy lounger seat with a canopy
  • Equipped with a removable changing table with waterproof fabric
  • Lightweight, sturdy and easy to move from room to room
  • Easy compact folding for hassle-free storage
  • Backed by a storage organizer
  • Meets all applicable CPSC and ASTM standards

Frequently Asked Questions about Playard vs Bassinet

If you are preparing to welcome your baby home but confused about the differences between baby bassinet and playpen, here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the same.

Should I get a bassinet or pack n play?

Whether you should buy a bassinet or pack ‘n play depends on your budget, personal choice, preferences, and availability of space. However, both options are great for babies and completely safe too as long as you purchase from a reliable brand. The only difference is that bassinets are intended to put two to three months old babies in for sleep whereas pack ‘n plays can be used to let babies play inside safely until toddlerhood.

Can you use a pack and play as a bassinet?

Some pack n plays also comes with various features and changing stations for babies. However, it is not recommended to use playpen as a sleeping option for baby.

Do I need a pack and play for newborn?

A pack and play is more of a choice than a necessity for newborns and is usually preferred by parents who want to ensure a safe playing area for their toddlers. However, a bassinet is more like a necessity as it is used to put in newborns for sleep. If your budget allows, you can purchase a bassinet as your newborn’s sleep space and invest in a pack ‘n play for toddlerhood and travel purposes.

Can you add a bassinet to pack n play?

Yes. Some pack ‘n plays have an additional slot to use a bassinet for pack n play until the baby is very small. Later, the bassinet can be removed and the playpen can be used as the baby’s playing station.

Wrapping Up

We hope we helped you understand what’s better – bassinet or pack and play. Always remember that no matter what newborn sleeping option you choose, always ensure the baby’s safety and practice safe sleeping. Do not layer the bassinet or playard with stuffed toys or pillow. Even if you choose a removable bassinet for pack n play, never leave your child unattended – especially if they are over two months old.

Furthermore, stop swaddling when your baby begins rolling over and always place the baby on their back. This not only ensures more safety against risks of entanglement but is also helpful in providing adequate back support to your baby. You can also consider a mini pack ‘n play if you are looking for a playard but travel more often.