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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
183 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best portable toddler beds

Last Updated June 2019

Traveling with a toddler is easier than traveling with a baby. Or is it? With your portable bassinet gathering dust and the travel crib nearing retirement, on-the-go sleeping arrangements can get downright complicated. Should you sacrifice your own comfort and co-sleep, or blow the budget and shell out extra for a rollaway bed? If neither is an option, a portable toddler bed is a fantastic solution. Portable toddler beds are designed to go wherever you do, providing a comfortable space for tots to sleep when they're away from home.

But choosing one can be tough. Should you opt for an inflatable model or one that folds? How will size and weight impact your travel plans? Are there any safety features you should watch for? And what about bedding?

If you need help choosing a portable toddler bed, you've come to the right place. We’ve scoured the market to pinpoint the best ones around and compiled this shopping guide to help you find a good match. Read on for everything you need to know about choosing a portable toddler bed, and when you're done, don't forget to check out our top picks.

Portable toddler beds not only help parents keep accommodation costs as low as possible but also provide kids with a comfortingly familiar sleeping space in an otherwise strange environment.

Key considerations

Types of toddler beds

You'll come across a handful of different styles while browsing your options. All can work as an on-the-go sleep solution, but you might find that one suits your particular travel needs better than the next. Let's take a look.

  • Inflatables: Blow-up beds are ideal for travel. They're compact enough to fit in a suitcase, don't generally weigh a ton, and setup is relatively easy, provided you have an electric pump, of course. If you're flying, an inflatable toddler bed is an excellent choice. However, there’s always a chance that inflatables might spring a leak, so be sure to choose a sturdy model, and don't forget to bring along a patch kit.

  • Fold-outs: If comfort is key or you're weary of inflatables, fold-out portable toddler beds are worth considering. Larger models are usually well padded and cozy, and many feature built-in bumpers for extra security. On the downside, this style can be bulky and might not be the best option for air travel.

  • Cots: Toddler travel cots typically consist of a metal frame and a canvas sleep surface. This simple design makes them a breeze to set up and take down. If you'd rather keep your child off the floor (or ground, if you're camping), a travel cot will do the trick. With that in mind, it's worth noting that toddler cots don't usually come with bumpers, so you'll need to take extra precautions to ensure your little one doesn't roll off.

  • Tents: While it might not be the first image that springs to mind at the mention of portable toddler beds, tents shouldn't be overlooked. Some pop-up kids' tents come with built-in padding and can serve as a comfortable (and interesting!) toddler bed in a pinch. What's more, most tents are incredibly lightweight and fold up small enough to fit in a bag, making them a great option for travel.

Size

Size is an important consideration for a number of reasons.

  • While traveling: The folded dimensions of a toddler travel bed will affect the way you travel with it. While inflatables, tents, and even cots can work well for flying, you might want to save fold-out beds for road trips.

  • At your destination: The assembled size also requires some thought. How much floor space will you have to work with? Assembled dimensions can vary quite a bit, so keep this in mind if you have limited space or need to place two travel beds in one room.

  • For your child's comfort: Does your child prefer spreading out or feeling cradled? While some kids feel more secure in a smaller bed, others require extra sleeping space. Don't overlook your child's sleeping style when purchasing a portable toddler bed. If your tot's bed is uncomfortable, you can count on late-night visits (and possibly a couple of bruised ribs, too).

Weight

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter where you're going or how you get there — lightweight toddler beds are simply easier to travel with. Getting away with a little extra heft is possible if you're taking a road trip, but every ounce counts when you're flying, so pay close attention to how much a portable toddler bed weighs. Lighter models also present less of a challenge when it comes to carrying, setting up, and disassembling.

Ease of use

Life can be complicated when you're away from home, but your travel gear doesn't have to be. A portable toddler bed that can be set up quickly and taken down without a fight will help keep frustration- and exhaustion-induced meltdowns at bay. Wherever possible, opt for an inflatable bed that comes with an electric pump, a fold-out that opens and closes without a hitch, and a mattress that works with standard crib sheets.

No one likes sleeping on a noisy bed. Flocking on inflatable mattresses can help prevent squeaking caused by movement.

Staff
BestReviews

Portable toddler bed features

Bumpers

Built-in bumpers can provide an added sense of security and decrease the odds of your toddler ending up on the floor. Bumpers are usually situated along the sides, but some models feature wrap-around bumpers at the head of the bed, and a handful even boast bumpers on every side. While most kids do just fine with side bumpers, active sleepers could wind up scooting themselves out at the head or the foot. If your toddler tosses, turns, scuttles, or scoots, bumpers are a safety feature worth looking for. Most high-end inflatables and a few fold-out toddler beds come with bumpers.

Carry bag or carrying strap

Having a dedicated carrying bag will not only make your portable toddler bed less of a pain to tote but can also help keep it in tip-top shape in between uses. This is especially important for inflatable beds, but tents and cots will also benefit from a protective covering. A fold-out portable toddler bed may not be susceptible to punctures and probably won't fall apart if the fabric tears, but a carrying bag or built-in carrying strap can make one easier to transport.

Bedding

Portable toddler beds that come with sheets, blankets, and/or pillows are undeniably convenient, giving parents one less thing to worry about. If you do choose a toddler bed with bedding, make sure that any bedding can be removed and washed without too much of a struggle. Convenience is lovely, but function is essential.

Portable toddler bed prices

Portable toddler beds typically cost anywhere between $25 and $150, depending on the style, feature set, and overall quality.

Inexpensive: Budget-priced portable toddler beds cost between $25 and $35. These are usually lightweight inflatables, simple cots, or basic fold-outs. If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of padding and don't particularly need features like bumpers, one of these can still provide a decent sleeping surface. However, for obvious reasons, you might want to take extra care with inflatables in this price range.

Mid-range: You can find some decent portable toddler beds in just about any style for between $35 and $55. Tents, cots, inflatables, and even a handful of fold-out models all fall within this price bracket, but, as with cheaper options, fold-outs are unlikely to be heavily padded, and it's wise to treat inflatables at the lower end of this spectrum with care.

Expensive: If you’re searching for something that delivers the whole package, expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $150 or more. Regardless of style, most portable toddler beds under this price umbrella are quality items boasting superior safety and comfort features.

EXPERT TIP

Concerned about an active sleeper rolling off a cot? Wedging it between your bed and a wall should keep nocturnal acrobatics contained. If this isn't an option, consider surrounding your toddler's cot with pillows or blankets to cushion any tumbles.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Cold temperatures can cause air to condense and inflatables to appear to have sprung a leak. If you suspect a leak but can't detect a puncture, damaged seam, or faulty valve, a temperature drop could be the cause.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Check bedding dimensions. Although many portable toddler bed mattresses are made to fit standard toddler bed sheets, this isn't always the case. To avoid unnecessary frustration, check bedding dimensions before you buy.

  • Consider using a waterproof sheet. If you're in the process of potty training your toddler, a waterproof sheet will help keep your bed protected from nap-time accidents. Even if your tot is already a potty pro, spills and messes happen, and covering your child's mattress with a waterproof sheet will help extend its shelf life.

  • Introduce the bed at home. The benefits of first test-driving a portable toddler bed at home are twofold: parents get some hands-on experience with the setup process while kids are granted an opportunity to acclimate to a new sleeping surface in the comfort of home.

  • Find out if you need an adapter for your electric pump. If you're traveling overseas with an inflatable bed that comes with an electric pump, check if it's compatible with power outlets at your destination. If not, be sure to pick up an international plug adapter before you leave home.

Other products we considered

If you're looking for a hassle-free experience, the  Quambee Swag Kids' Travel Bed is hard to beat. While it doesn't have bumpers, this bed-in-a-bag does offer an insulated mattress, a removable cover, and a built-in pillow. All you need to do is unroll it at bedtime and roll it back up when you hit the road. When it comes to affordable inflatables that are also comfortable and reliable, Intex is a go-to brand for many, and the Intex Kids' Travel Bed Set doesn't disappoint. Aside from being sturdy and comfortable, this option also features a four-sided raised frame to keep kids from rolling out. If you like the idea of a multifunctional toddler bed that works both outdoors and indoors, then the KidCo Peapod might be the perfect fit. Effortless setup, a Micro-Lite sleeping pad, and a UV-blocking canopy allow this option to follow you from your accommodation to the beach and back again.

Portable toddler beds aren't just good for traveling; they're also excellent multitaskers. Use the bed for trips to Grandma's house or as a spare bed when you have visitors with kids spending the night. A portable toddler bed can even help ease the transition from crib to bed.

FAQ

Q. What can I do if my inflatable toddler bed starts leaking air?

A. Unfortunately, punctures are a common issue with inflatable beds and mattresses. Luckily, though, most are also relatively easy to fix.

  • Find the leak. More air inside the bed equals higher air pressure and easier-to-detect leaks, so blow the bed up before you start. Stand it up against a wall with the base facing outward (most punctures occur on the underside of inflatables) and listen for the hiss of escaping air. If the base is intact, place the bed on the floor. Put some weight on it and run your hand over the entire surface until you feel a rush of air. Lightly wetting your skin can help. If your bed deflates significantly before you're done, take a break and re-inflate.

  • Mark the problem area. Once you find the leak, circle it with a marker or pen.

  • Deflate the bed. With the puncture pinpointed and marked, you can safely deflate your bed before patching the leak.

  • Use a patch kit to fix the puncture. If your portable toddler bed doesn’t come with its own patch kit, you should be able to pick one up at any outdoor store. Follow the instructions to fix your bed. If the leak is situated on the mattress, you might need to sand off any flocking before you get started.
     

Q. How can I make a travel cot more comfortable?

A. If your child finds the canvas surface on a travel cot uncomfortable, or you feel it could do with a little extra padding, folded blankets or a piece of foam cut to size should do the trick.

Q. Is there any way to clean a non-removable fold-out mattress if my child has a spill or an accident?

A. Accidents are a part of life, which is why we strongly recommend covering your child's mattress with a waterproof sheet. However, if you've purchased a fold-out bed and a spill has already occurred, you might still be able to salvage it. We recommend applying a suitable enzymatic cleaner to the affected area and leaving it to work before going over the mattress with a handheld steam cleaner. To keep mildew from setting in, leave the bed in the sun and allow it to dry completely. If stains or odors persist, try repeating the steps outlined above before giving up and replacing your portable toddler bed.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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