Note: There is no one universal “best,” especially when it comes to parenting. These are “The Best Travel Cribs” based on Also Mom's strict criteria, detailed here.
Portable crib. Travel crib. Playard. Play yard. Play pen. Pack ‘n Play. Given that we prefer to use these many-named-thingamajigs as safe secondary sleep spots, we’re going to go ahead and call these “travel cribs” in this article. Regardless, whether you need a safe space for sleep or an occasional hazard-free zone for play, travel cribs can be worthy investments. These are the best travel cribs, in loose order of preference:
- BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light (~$200) – Modern, lightweight, easy-to-assemble, and folds small enough to schlep pretty easily, the BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light has the softest, most comfortable travel crib mattress currently available and is large enough for growing toddlers. This travel crib does not have a bassinet option. [full review]
- Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib (~$200) – Modern, lightweight, ridiculously easy to assemble, and packs into a compact package you can carry like a backpack, the Guava Family Lotus is awesome for travel. Compared to the BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light, the mattress is slightly less comfortable, but the Lotus does feature a zippered side-access door, which turns this travel crib into an easy playard. It is also wider at the top, so it doesn't have that mildly claustrophobic look. The Lotus can be transformed into a bassinet for an extra $100. [full review]
- Phil & Teds Traveller (~$150) – The lightest of the travel cribs (only 6 pounds!), the Phil & Teds Traveller Portacot has a nice modern look and packs to about the size of a rolled-up yoga mat. Unfortunately, it is not easy to assemble or disassemble, and will require some definite manual-following the first few tries. The mattress is also so/so compared to the softer mattress on the BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light. [full review]
- 4Moms Breeze Plus ($299.99) -The 4Moms Breeze Plus is heavy (nearly twice as heavy as the Guava Family Lotus or the BabyBjörn Travel Crib), bulky when folded, and more expensive than other, better travel cribs. Although it comes with a travel bag and can technically be slung over a shoulder, it's designed more as a second sleep space or playard to be used in your house and collapsed/stored in a closet when you don't need it. It comes with both a bassinet and a changing station. [full review]
- Nuna Sena Aire ($299.99) -Like all things Nuna, the Sena Aire is gorgeous… but its usability is limited and it's more expensive than other, better travel cribs. As one of the smaller travel cribs out there, the Sena Aire gets outgrown quickly. It's also heavy and bulky when folded, making it suboptimal for travel. On the plus side, it comes with a bassinet and organic fitted sheet, and is easy to assemble. [full review]
Which is the Best Travel Crib for Your Family?
The playard with the best travel crib mattress… Babybjorn Travel Crib Light has the softest, most sleepable mattress of the bunch.
The lightest travel crib… the Phil & Teds Traveller is the lightest by far, but it does require a bit more assembly.
The easiest travel crib to setup and breakdown… the 4Moms Breeze Plus, Nuna Sena Aire, Babybjorn Travel Crib Light, and Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib are all absurdly easy to set up and break down. (But know that the 4Moms Breeze and the Nuna Sena Aire are both heavy and not ideal for travel.)
To us, the best travel cribs…
- Look great
- Are easy to setup and break down
- Fold up and pack away small
- Are lightweight for easy transport
- Are large enough to accommodate toddlers
- Are non-toxic and fire retardant-free
What Didn't Make the Cut
You probably noticed that we didn’t recommend the two most popular travel crib brands. Although the price point is lower for brands like Chicco and Graco, we just don’t love the look of ‘em. Here’s a little more about them…
- Chicco Lullaby ($200): At 39 pounds assembled, this thing is insanely heavy. It comes in a few decent neutrals, but is automatically disqualified because of of its weight.
- Graco Pack ‘N Play ($180+): Graco is a category leader in travel crib land, but their product looks sadly dated. Graco Pack ‘N Plays do it all– they are cribs, bassinets, and changing stations. They are well-priced. They are only moderately heavy (20ish pounds). If their design ever catches up to their function, we will happily recommend these travel cribs. Until then… not so much.