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Hands-on Gear Review

Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Review

Best Value Award
Price:   $80.00 List | $71.99 at Amazon - 10% off
Pros:  Price, average comfort and quality
Cons:  Large, heavier, not eco-healthy
Bottom line:  Budget friendly with average functionality but it isn't as portable
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 3
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  • 5
 
Manufacturer:   Graco

The Skinny

The Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go is an inexpensive, quality travel crib and play yard for infants to toddler. This Graco is a nice option that provides what you need for a very reasonable price. It is a little harder to use and heavier than some parents will want to carry, but it has what you need for everyday use and on the go sleeping. While this economical option isn't the right fit for every family and it doesn't deny the use of flame retardants, we think it is a good choice for parents on a budget and that most families will be pleased with the features, functionality and overall quality of the Pack 'n Play.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Travel Cribs of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 3, 2017

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The Graco Pack 'n Play offers a large play yard for sleep and good times.
The Graco Pack 'n Play offers a large play yard for sleep and good times.

In Philadelphia in 1942, Russell Gray and Robert Cone launched the Graco company which fabricated car parts. Years later, after Gray left the company, Cone hired an engineer to design baby-centric gear. Their first product was an infant swing inspired by an outdoor glider used to soothe a coworker's crying infant. The cool swing sold millions and helped put Graco on the baby gear map where they soon became the world's leading manufacturers of baby products.

Performance Comparison


The chart below provides a comparison of the overall scores for the travel cribs in this review.


The sections below include information on how the Pack 'n Play performed compared to the other products tested.

The Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go comes with a bassinet  play mobile  diaper storage bag and a changing station making it one of the full-featured options in the review.
The Graco Pack 'n Play on the Go comes with a bassinet, play mobile, diaper storage bag and a changing station making it one of the full-featured options in the review.

Ease of Use


The Graco earned a 6 of 10 for ease of use, which is average for the group.


Our ease of use metric consists primarily of set up and take down as this is the main functionality of this product type.

The included storage bag means you can keep diapers and other supplies nearby when using the Graco.
The included storage bag means you can keep diapers and other supplies nearby when using the Graco.

The Graco took about 5 minutes to setup without the bassinet and closer to 7 minutes with it. If you add the accessories to the mix, it can take over 9 minutes. Over time the average setup time during testing was 1:47 minutes.

The Graco locks into place with the Graco one push button common on most of their play yards.
Folding the Graco is easy with the centrally located pull handle.
 

There are a lot of moving parts with the Graco, but the directions are listed on the bottom if you get confused. The steps include locking the sidebars (above left) and pressing down on the center of the bottom (above right). This is reversed for folding. Once folded, you need to ensure the handles on the product line up with the handle holes on the travel bag before putting it in.

The Graco crib bottom secures to the frame with a snap.
The mattress of the Graco secures to the bottom of the crib with Velcro tabs.
 

You need to snap the bottom to the frame (above left) and secure the mattress to the bottom with Velcro (above right) to complete setup.

This yard is spot clean only. Some areas will be easy to keep clean, and others may require scrubbing or a vacuum. We recommend using the fitted sheet to help keep the mattress clean.

While the Pack 'n Play isn't super long  it is relatively wide compared to the competition. Its overall measurements and weight earned it a below average score for portability.
While the Pack 'n Play isn't super long, it is relatively wide compared to the competition. Its overall measurements and weight earned it a below average score for portability.

Portability


The Graco earned only 4 of 10 in an important metric for traveling.


This travel crib weighs 17lbs and 12 oz when folded in the travel bag. It measures 10.6"H x 27.7"L x 10.3"W making it one of the largest in the group. If you include the bassinet, the weight goes up over 20 lbs.

The Graco has two wheels on one end for easier movement between rooms. While it won't help you while traveling  it can help if you plan to use it as a play yard or safe place to rest baby while you divert your attention.
The Graco has two wheels on one end for easier movement between rooms. While it won't help you while traveling, it can help if you plan to use it as a play yard or safe place to rest baby while you divert your attention.

This weight means carrying the Graco will be difficult. The small handles make it hard to move and the size means it may not fit in some spaces. This product has wheels on one side for easier moving between rooms.

The Graco crib mattress has a decent cushion and is soft with some firmness for support.
The Graco crib mattress has a decent cushion and is soft with some firmness for support.

Comfort


The Graco earned a 6 of 10 for comfort.


This travel crib has a one-inch mattress made of polyurethane foam. It is soft with enough firmness to stop it from depressing to the hard bottom. It is the third most comfortable mattress in the group. It is also fairly easy to get baby into and out of.

The Graco Pack 'n Play is not the nicest of the bunch  but for the price  it provides better quality than some cribs that cost over twice the price.
The Graco Pack 'n Play is not the nicest of the bunch, but for the price, it provides better quality than some cribs that cost over twice the price.

Quality


The Graco earned a 6 of 10 for quality which is good for a product with such a low price.


The Graco frame is sturdy and while it shakes somewhat the legs don't move when you press on the top bar like some of the competition. The fabric feels durable and we didn't observe any stray stitching or random threads. There are some Amazon reports indicating trouble with the fabric, but we didn't experience this in our setup process.

Graco does not provide any information on the materials or possible chemicals used in the construction of the Pack 'n Play which leaves us to assume that flame retardants are potentially used in this product.
Graco does not provide any information on the materials or possible chemicals used in the construction of the Pack 'n Play which leaves us to assume that flame retardants are potentially used in this product.

Eco-health


Graco earned a 1 of 10 for eco-health similar to the majority of popular brands and their use of harmful chemicals.


The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) retains a list of most major manufacturers and their responses to inquiries about their use of flame retardants. Graco did not respond to questions and doesn't provide information on their website about flame retardants leaving the CEH, and us, to assume they use flame retardants.

Manufacturer Video




Accessories


If you plan to use your Graco frequently, you should invest in fitted sheets designed for it. Graco offers both a flat, fitted sheet and a quilted sheet.
  • Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Fitted Sheet — This fitted sheet is 80% polyester and 20% cotton. It is not waterproof, but it can help keep the mattress cleaner. It is machine washable and safe in the drier.

Other Versions


Graco makes more than a dozen play yards and travel crib products. While impossible to compare or purchase all for testing, we found a few interesting options that may be with a look.
  • Travel Lite Crib — This crib is 20% smaller than the traditional Pack 'n Play. It comes with a removable infant bassinet and easily converts to a play yard or travel crib for older babies. It has push-button closure and a travel bag for easy transport.
  • Pack 'n Play Playard Jetsetter Lite — This model has a lightweight frame and fits in a backpack for travel. It has a full-coverage canopy with mesh sides and a bassinet with soothing vibration. This model works from newborn to toddler.
  • Pack 'n Play Playard Nimble Nook
    Graco Pack n Play Playard Nimble Nook
    This smaller model has a light and slim design with hidden wheels you can easily move from room to room. It has a built-in bassinet and vibration and a travel bag for handy travel.
Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz

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Most recent review: May 5, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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