LIFESTYLE

Best Dog Playpen: Choosing a Safe Space for Playful Fido

This exercise metal playpen is a must have for any dog lovers.
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Dogs are sometimes unruly thanks to their wolf instincts and hunting urge. This renders their confinement without the right supplies difficult. Luckily with the best dog playpen, it’s possible to contain your canine pals while allowing them freedom for play and little exercise.

The task now lies in selecting just the right one for your needs and budget. Remember the playpen has to be sturdy, comfortable, dry, roomy and affordable. Unfortunately for buyers, the overwhelming variety flooding the market can leave you confused as playpens come in different sizes, shapes, flexibility, materials and more.

Image showing dogs in a carlson-portable-play-pen

Luckily in this article, we’re are focusing on the best pooch playpens to provide you with a comprehensive guide on what to consider before purchase, a comparison of the top playpens specs and an in-depth review of some of the best products out there. Let’s take a look!

Product NameMaterialPet SizeAccessPrice
ToysOpoly Pet Playpen600D Oxford clothSmall to medium-size2 zippered roll-up doorsCheck price on Amazon
Petsfit Dog Playpen600D Oxford cloth fabric
230D polyester lining
Small to medium-size2 zippered roll-up doorsCheck price on Amazon
MidWest Exercise PenDurable steel Small to large breedsSteel gateCheck price on Amazon
IRIS Pet PlaypenHeavy-duty molded plasticSmall to medium-sizePlastic gateCheck price on Amazon
SmithBuilt Animal Dog PlaypenHigh strength, all-steel wiresSmall to medium-sizeA steel door with a slide-bolt latchCheck price on Amazon
BestPet PlaypenDurable steel fabricSmall to large pet breedsEasy to open steel doorCheck price on Amazon
Pet Exercise Pen Tube GateDurable fabricSmall to large pet breedsBuilt-in doorCheck price on Amazon
Parkland Pet PlaypenDurable fabric; little nettingSmall petsZippered front doorCheck price on Amazon

Things to consider before buying

It feels guilty closing a pet in a different room, a tiny dog crate or simply tying it up so as not to bother us as we perform daily chores. Based on their loyalty, our canine friends really deserve better and that’s where playpens come in. Like you can have the exercise pen somewhere at the backyard or in the house and the pooch will be happy and calm seeing you around.

However, much as these pens provide the pet with ample room for play and exercise, just don’t purchase any that you come across. Rather, take the following into account.

Place of use

Dogs exercise pens can be used either indoors, outdoors or both. The latter is the best option as it’s economical than having to purchase two playpens. On their side, outdoors cages are awesome thanks to their adequate exposure to elements of nature.

However, they ought to be provided with sunshade and rain protection covers; not to mention their materials should be strong and sturdy. Such playpens are made of hard plastic and metallic fabrics. Why? These materials are durable and highly resistant to adverse weather conditions. Metallic cages should be painted though to prevent corrosion.

Image showing a red playpen in a garden

Indoor pens are great as the pooch is assured of safety and all time protection from weather elements. However, care should be taken to ensure the pen has no irreparable damages to the floor or house inhabitants.

That is, are their bases/floors sharp to an extent of leaving marks on the floor, can they impose danger to the kids and toddlers in the house, are they too big to occupy too much interior space etc. Indoor pens can be crafted from polyester or wooden as the material is durable and user-friendly, like you can’t have a sharp wooden object as that of a metallic or plastic one.

Weight, size and breed of the dog

Weight, size, and breed are key dog aspects to consider before purchasing the playpen. Various dog breeds have unique preferences, traits, sizes etc. Our canine pals possess human attributes in that they can be depressed if caged for too long and can even refuse to eat/drink. It’s therefore important to be knowledgeable on your dog breed/behavior so as to culminate a healthy interaction whether in/out of its cage.

Moreover, dogs (regardless of the breed) will always be dogs bound to be unruly thanks to their hunting urge. This can render their confinement tough and even dangerous. It’s thus advisable to train the pooch to be comfortable in the pen gradually.

Image showing two white dogs sitting in a dog playpen

As far as sizing is concerned, the dog size plays a major role too. For example, big-sized pups call for larger playpens. Remember, the pen should comfortably house the pooch as well as leave room for it to play/exercise. Weight comes in handy too as the pen should be sturdy and strong enough to accommodate the pooch without any significant damages within its design life.

Capacity and sizing

Exercise pens are available in varying sizes and flexibility. Some can house up to 5 dogs while others just one. The decision depends on the number you wish to contain. However, it’s advisable to purchase different pens in a case where you just procured another pooch and the existing one is a little hostile.

Other than the number, the pen’s height is key. Dogs like jumping and they can jump as high as over the fence, thus consider a pen high enough for a dog not to jump out. Better yet, you can go with a covered pen as the former can be too cumbersome especially for an indoor pen.

Image presenting few dogs playing outside in a pen

On flexibility, the pens can be categorized as being fixed or flexible. Fixed pens have unchangeable design features and are mainly crafted for single dog housing. On their end, flexible pens are crafted in an assembly format such that if you need a bigger pen, you just need to add more panels to enlarge it. Most flexible exercise pens are made of steel following its easy connectivity and light weight. With that, you can make an informed decision.

Materials

Just like any product, playpens should be made of durable and strong materials. Think about it, the pen has to withstand pressure from all that dog jumping, exposure to weather elements, unintentional kicks from household members etc. As you may have noted, playpens are made of either polyester, wood, plastic or steel.

The latter is mainly the flexible types. They are usually lightweight and thus can be used as a carrier when moving to a new place/house. Based on their flexibility, steel pens are way economical for individuals with more than one pet.

Image showing a dog sitting in a Petsfit Portable Play Pen

Wooden ones on their end are mainly used for indoor purposes as wood is less resistant to weather elements. In their defense, they’re way comfortable than other materials. It’s advisable though, to add a base pad for pampered puppies.

Plastic pens are safe, durable, waterproof and thus can be relied upon to provide a dry and cozy environment for your canine. Moreover, you don’t have to provide a base lining for added comfort but either way, you’ll have an issue with ventilation especially for closed pens so, choose carefully.

Accessories

In every business competition, various entrepreneur works towards retaining customers while striving towards obtaining new ones. And, with the competition on price becoming too expensive, that on customer satisfaction is trending. To achieve this, manufacturers provide lots of packages alongside the playpen and as a buyer, it’s highly advisable to take advantage of such free stuff.

Image showing a little puppy sitting in a play pen

For example, manufacturers may provide extra panels for the case of flexible pens. Others may add dog play toys, books about puppies, dog food etc. On the same note, it’s highly advisable to go for playpens with a guide on how to use, assemble, and clean them.

Now you know what to consider while purchasing the best dog exercise pens. It’s not all about the price, rather, the pen has to be comfortable, sturdy, durable, lightweight, adequate in terms of capacity, and/or flexible too. You don’t want to place your pooch in the pen only to find it strolling around every corner of the compound, do you?

Best products in today’s market

Just like toddlers, pets are important in our lives. But, as much as we would love spending every second with them; we often have chores to perform. While at it, we would feel happy knowing our canines are contained in a safe and comfortable place in that, they can play and exercise without leaving the house/compound messy. Oh! What of when procuring another pooch and the existing ones are a little hostile, or when migrating to a new house?

The point is, as a pet owner; you’ll require a dog playpen at one point in time if not now. The task lies in obtaining the perfect pen for your budget and needs. Are you tired of research and open to recommendations? Below is an in-depth review of the top rated playpens in the market today.

ToysOpoly 45″ Pet Playpen ToysOpoly Pet Playpen

Price: approximately $44.99

Weight: 5 pounds

Dimensions: 45” diameter; 24” height

Special features: zippered bottom panel; durable 600D Oxford cloth materials; 2 zippered rolls up doors; meshed sidewalls; 4 steel anchors; carrying bag present; attached water band

Best use: dogs, cats, puppies and other small animals

Description: Afraid of suffering sad puppy-dog eyes when closing the door on your canine pal?  You feel guilty but deep down you’d love to tag him along if only you wouldn’t spend the entire time holding onto a leash. Your solution lies in the ToysOpoly 45″ Pet Playpen – a portable, a durable and strong pen that will ensure your pet remains contained while enjoying the environments.

For starters, the playpen is roomy making it adequate for a small to medium-sized canine. It’s an indoor/outdoor pen which simplifies the task of having to purchase two different types together. Based on its weight, the pen is highly portable making it the best option for travels, camping picnics etc. This fixed pen comes in as one entity constituting of a tent, 4 stainless steel stands, zippered top, and bottom. That eliminates time that would’ve otherwise be spent on its assembly.

Once the cage is setup, it’s well thought-out design manifests. The sides are meshed for maximum air circulation alongside keeping the pen fresh unlike in most kennels. The water-resistant (600D) material ensure the pet stay dry and comfortable while the tent like top serves as a sunshade.

In addition, the pen includes 2 zippered roll-up accesses which allow the pet freedom of movement in and out of the cage while at the same time being contained if need be on rolling up the doors. In short, this is the playpen to consider on your next camping trip to the White Mountains together with your pooch.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable
  • Highly portable
  • Easy to setup

Cons:

  • Too big for a cleaning machine
  • Only suitable for small to medium-sized pets

Related: The aforementioned playpen is usually bought together with IRIS Training Pet Pad Holder. It’s a light, highly affordable holder with a high polish finish for fast and easy cleaning. The product includes messes for floor protection making it suitable for indoor use too.

Check the price on Amazon

Petsfit Dog Playpen Petsfit Dog Playpen

Price: approximately $59.99

Weight: 8.5 pounds

Dimension: 46″Dia X28H» (L)

Special features: 600D oxford cloth fabric; 230D polyester lining; hexagonal meshed sides; side pockets; zip-off/removable bottom, zip-off top; include carry bag;

Best use: dogs, cats, quails, birds, rabbits

Description: The Petsfit Dog Playpen is one of the most sturdy and durable cages in existence offering excellent security and portability to medium and small sized pets. Being a pop-up pen, it’s hexagonal mesh-sided for great aeration and a decent view. The cage is crafted from a 600D Oxford cloth padded with a 230D polyester lining making it durable, waterproof, easy to clean and maintain. The maintenance is way easier thanks to the zip-off Velcro-based bottom too.

Zip-off top panel together with the 2 zippered roll-up doors make accessibility in/out of the pen easy and fast. Petsfit provides great portability and folds and fits easily in the accompanying transport bag.

Mmhh, what of the price, that heavy weight? Well, based on the quality materials used in its crafting, the added features including the side pockets; the cage is bound to be heavy. Pricewise, the pen is economical for its quality, it may not be as cheap as the peers but it is indeed worth the dough. Therefore, in your next off-trail hike and camping adventure; tag your pet along with the aid of this dog pen.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Highly portable
  • Well ventilated
  • Cozy

Cons:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Costly

Related: The Petsfit cage is usually bought together with a Nylabone Puppy Chew Toys especially by owners nursing little puppies. The toy is cheap, light and durable. It mainly comes in handy to discourage destructive chewing habits while at the same time satisfying the canine urge to chew. The bristles resulting from chewing help clean the puppies’ teeth while preventing tartar build up _indeed it’s an environmental-friendly, excellent product for teething pets.

Check the price on Amazon

Midwest Exercise Pen Midwest Exercise Pen

Price: approximately $76.14

Weight: 18.2 pounds

Dimension: 50 x 25 x 2 inches; panel size: 24″W x 48″H

Special features: 8 ground anchors; 4 thumb-snaps; durable electro-coat finish

Best use: dogs, birds, rabbits, chicken, quails, cats

Description: Don’t let the high price and bulky weight prevent you from obtaining the Midwest Exercise Pen. With a 16-square feet ground coverage, the cage is suitable for even large breeds. Interesting, MidWest pens come in a variety of heights giving you the freedom of choice for the best fit.

The cage is made of quality, durable, water-resistant, and strong materials for a safe and cozy confinement of your pet. To add to its outdoor use stability, the pen has 8 ground anchors for support while the 4 thumb-stamps make its setup and package way easy.

If your pet love jumping and leaping high heights, it’s advisable to purchase a roof that comes in with various designs for a controlled pet’s hopping addiction. The roof serves as a sunscreen blocking 80% of sunlight thus keeping the pet cool and cozy.

The durable e-coat finish makes it attractive alongside easing the cleaning process. The steel gates help keep the pooch in place while its 2-direction hinge eases the pet’s walk through. What’s more? You get to rip all these benefits at an economical price.

Pros:

  • Easy to customize
  • Durable
  • Easy to setup
  • Highly collapsible for easy transportation and storage

Cons:

  • Flimsy hardware
  • Costly
  • Relatively heavy

Related: The AmazonBasics Dog Bowl is a stainless steel, lightweight and affordable jar that is mainly used to feed the pet without tartar buildup. It’s great for wet food, dry kibble, water or treats. Its smooth finish, rust resistant, small size and a high capacity of up to 32 ounces make it one of the key item commonly bought together with the aforementioned exercise pen.

Check the price on Amazon

IRIS Pet Playpen IRIS Pet Playpen

Price: approximately $ 38.00

Weight: 12.7 pounds

Dimension: 35.25″L x 35.25″W x 24″H

Special features: 8 square-feet ground coverage; nonskid rubber feet; heavy-duty plastic material; full-length connecting rods

Best use: dogs, puppies, cats, birds, rabbit etc. exercise, play or training

Description: Crafted from a commercial-grade plastic material, IRIS Pet Playpen is bound to survive whatever indoor/outdoor use may through at it. The plastic fabric guarantees its durability as it’s not prone to rust. The material is waterproof too, keeping the pet dry and comfortable. With the full-length connecting rods, the pen is way easy to setup.

This pen is suitable for small to medium sized pets making it ideal for individuals in need of small sized cages (8.5 square-feet coverage). Luckily, the pen can be used indoors without any unrepairable damage to the floors thanks to its non-skid rubber feet. In addition, the cage can be enlarged to a 6-panel pen by adding two affordable panels. The 2 pieces can be bought or if lucky, you can find them on offer. What’s the excuse now? The cage is not that heavy to hinder pet transportation to any trip so, go with this right, quick pick.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Expandable
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Only suitable for small to medium-sized pets

Related: Pet owners with large breeds of pets or individuals in need of confining more pets in a cage usually purchase the IRIS 24» 2 Panel Add-On alongside the aforementioned pen. Why? The panels are affordable, lightweight, and same size as the mentioned kennel. They’re plastic models eliminating any possibility of rusting. The two are easy to assemble too expanding the 4-panel to a 6-panel pen.

Check the price on Amazon

SmithBuilt Dog Playpen SmithBuilt Dog Playpen

Price: approximately $61.99

Weight: 36.5 pounds

Dimension:  24”long & 48’’ high panels

Special features: 6-gauge epoxy-coated finish; high strength, all-steel wire material; folds nearly flat; include a carry bag; flexible;

Best use: puppies, dogs, quails, birds

Description:  The SmithBuilt Dog Playpen features quality fabrics, superior manufacturing, and unbeatable finishing. The high strength, all-steel wire material result in a strong, durable pen with the same effect being supported by the powerful coat. Epoxy is way superior compared to the electro or powder coats in addition to being rust, fade and corrosion resistant.

The playpen is easily accessible thanks to the convenient door with a slide-bolt latch for easy close and lock at the side. Much of the pen ship in a pre-assembled state, it’s easy to setup with bare hands. Moreover, you can set the cage in whatever configuration you see fit following a simple procedure provided by the manufacturer.

For transportation or storage purposes, the playpen can be collapsed into nearly flat positions and be placed in the included all weather nylon bag. Note, though, the pen should be used to house trained pets as rowdy ones can break free, injure themselves or hurt others.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to setup
  • Durable
  • Well-ventilated

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Injuries may arise due to accidental sharp ends

Related: The aforementioned item is bought together with DTOL 8″ Plastic Cable Zip Ties. They’re plastic, lightweight, long and affordable zip ties helpful in organizing or hiding cables. This comes in handy as the playpen discussed above ships in a pre-assembled state hence the need to organize the steel cables.

Check the price on Amazon

BestPet Heavy Duty Pet Playpen BestPet Heavy Duty Pet Playpen

Price: approximately $84.99

Weight: 52.8 pounds

Dimension: panel size: 40″ High, 31″ Wide, 32’’Long

Special features: 0.5” heavy duty frame; single door; durable wired fabric

Best use: cats, puppies, dogs, quails, birds

Description: You don’t have to close on your friend while going camping. Just carry the BestPet Heavy Duty Pet Playpen along for a convenient confinement of your canine pal. The cage is crafted from durable wired mesh like fabric. This provides the pet with fresh air and a decent view of the surrounding.

The pen is stable thanks to the heavy duty frame. Pets can easily access the cage thanks to the easy to-use door and based on the size of the resulting cage; it’s possible to house small to large breeds of pets. Again, following the durability and rust, corrosion and fade resistance of the cage finish, the pen can be used both in the indoor and outdoor.

This pen’s flexibility is unmatched like you can clamp multiple cages together into one large octagon or rectangle creating room for more pets. In addition, at 40’’ in height, the pen minimizes the possibility of dogs hopping over and breaking free. In short, the pen is the best means of confining any large breed pet available.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to clean
  • Well aerated
  • Roomy

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Heavy

Related: Pet owners frequently purchase this playpen with the ProSelect Everlasting Ground Stake for Pens. It’s light, affordable crafted from a heavy-duty steel and finished with a durable epoxy coat. The two aspects ensure that the stake is durable and strong enough to anchor the pen to the ground surface. In short, the ground stake comes in handy to keep the cage securely in place.

Check the price on Amazon

Pet Exercise Pen Tube Gate Pet Exercise Pen Tube Gate

Price: approximately $84.95

Weight: 22 pounds

Dimension: 72.8 x 31.9 x 72.8 inches

Special features: include anchor support; rust resistant coating; all metal construction; highly collapsible; built-in door

Best use: cats, puppies, dogs, quails, birds, rabbits

Description: Overwhelmed with chores while at the same time wondering on how to confine your rowdy pooch? Pet Exercise Pen Tube Gate got you covered. It’s a sturdy pen crafted from durable fabrics including the strong anchor supports. The mesh like design provides your canine pal with an adequate fresh air circulation alongside a decent view of the environment.

The metal construction guarantees a durable pen that can withstand adverse weather elements, especially for outdoor use. Rust resistant coating ensures the pen remain appealing for a sensible duration. For accessibility purposes, the built-in door is easy to open and lock minimizing any movement’s hindrances.

The pen is highly collapsible making its storage and transportation way easy too. In terms of capacity, the playpen can accommodate small to large breeds of pet making it a suitable choice. Therefore, on your next trip to the White Mountains, tag your pooch along with the help of this tube gate.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable and well-ventilated

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Relatively expensive
  • Lack sun and rain cover

Related: The aforementioned tube gate is usually bought together with an EZwhelp Washable Puppy Pad. As the name indicates, the pad is washable making it easy to maintain pet hygiene. The waterproof bottom and a laminate designed to maximize on the absorbency of liquids work in conjunction to keep the pooch dry and cozy.

Check the price on Amazon

Parkland Pet Playpen Parkland Pet Playpen

Price: approximately $19.99

Weight: 2 pounds

Dimension: 17 x 27 x 27 inches

Special features: zip-off top, zippered front door; durable, lightweight fabric

Best use: indoors, outdoors, traveling, camping

Description:  Parkland Pet Playpen is an affordable indoor/outdoor pooch portable playpen. Crafted from strong and durable fabric, the pen can withstand whatever its use throws at it.  For starters, the zip-off top serves as a rain and sun shade and can be removed for easy access. The accessibility into the playpen is further enhanced by the presence of a zippered front door.

As you’ll note, the pen is more fabric than netting making it’s cleaning and maintenance way easy. That’s doesn’t disregard the meshed side patches, no, as they provide the required aeration and decent view of the surrounding.

For ease of transportation and storage, the pen is designed to be highly collapsible to flat positions. However, based on its fixed nature, the pen can only accommodate small sized pets such as kittens and puppies. It’s the real deal when procuring small sized pets to add into your family more so if the existing pets are hostile.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Highly portable
  • Easy to setup

Cons:

  • Not suitable for large pets

Related: The Parkland pen is frequently bought together with the Doskocil Kitten Litter Pan. It’s a durable, lightweight, affordable and small-sized litter pan with a Micro ban antimicrobial treatment. It’s mainly used in feeding the puppies or kittens without tartar buildup.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap up

With our busy schedules, chores and everything, it’s impossible to spend every minute with our canine pals. It’s scary too, having to leave them unconfined while we work lest they carry out irreparable damages in our houses. Worse still, it’s really hard to bear the guilt on witnessing those sad dog eyes when closing the door on them on our way out for an adventure. Procuring a new pooch or moving to new house calls for a playpen too.

Now, cage selection can be a hassle following the overwhelming variety in existence; we’ve simplified the process for you. Discussed above is a list of key factors to consider before purchasing the best dog pen. If research isn’t your thing and are open to recommendations, we’ve provided an in-depth review of the best playpens in the current market for a quick pick.

Image of a dog sitting in a pen with roof

As we conclude, hopefully we have helped you decide which dog playpen to purchase. Therefore, have your say by telling us more about your favorite playpen or the recommended product that caught your eye. Which brand do you like best? Let us know in the comments!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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