Top 5 Best Dog Playpen Options of 2020

There’s a reason we call the dog man’s best friend. They’re loyal companions, and they offer us unconditional love. In return, it’s our job to give them what they need to live happy and fulfilling lives: food, shelter, exercise, love, and safety. For many doggy owners, the safety aspect includes picking the best dog playpen.

Whether you’re training a new puppy or just want to keep your tail wagger contained to one area of your house or yard, picking the best dog playpen can be a challenge. There are lots of options out there, and it can be hard to figure out the differences between them. You want to protect your pet first and foremost, but cost, appearance, and portability may also be a concern for you.

What to Look for in a Dog Pen

You know your pooch better than anybody else does. So, when you decide to buy a playpen for your pup, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions about your doggy and yourself before you start comparing your options. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when buying a pet playpen.

Best dog playpen example

Size of your pet

You need to pick a pen based on the size of your pooch. Larger pets will require a big area to be comfortable. The overall size of your dog is important as to the height of the cage, as well. You’ll need higher playpen walls for taller dogs if you want to keep your pooch contained.

Pen location

Are you using it inside or outside? Will you have to move it frequently, or can it stay in one place most of the time? The materials a dog pen is made of can have a significant impact on how it looks, so you may want to choose nicer materials for inside pens. The design and materials will impact how easy it is to set up, tear down, and transport.

Your pooch’s disposition

You need to give some attention to the disposition of your dog. Consider things like how active he is or if she has anxiety issues. If your pup is rambunctious, then you need a heavy duty pen he can’t knock down, tear apart, or move. If your doggy has anxiety issues, will she even be comfortable in an enclosure? You may need to do a trial run before making a purchase. Also, consider whether your dog is an escape artist. This type of pup requires a more secure pen and a covering for the top.

Your budget

How much money are you comfortable spending? There are puppy pens at a wide range of prices, so you need to make sure that you set a budget before shopping. Your budget will determine the overall quality, including materials, and size of the pen you can buy.

Top 5 Best Dog Playpens for 2020

Now that you’ve thought about what you and your tail wagger need in a playpen, it’s time to share our top five best dog playpen picks for 2020. We go over the essential aspects to give you an excellent overview of each option so that you can make the most informed buying decision possible.

Before reading the in-depth reviews, here is a quick chart that provides an at-a-glance view of each of the best dog playpen options on our list.

#1 – Best overall – Midwest Exercise Pen

MidWest Homes for Pets Folding Metal Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen
  • Each panel measures 24"W x 48"H, Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen folds flat for convenient...
  • Exercise Pen provides 16 square feet enclosed area (1.5 meters) for your dog & other pets....
  • 8 ground anchors for outdoor use and 4 thumb snaps for easy assembly included with...

Our top choice is this versatile and affordable dog playpen. You can order it in five different sizes to accommodate any size pup. It’s also very lightweight, weighing in at about ten pounds. This pen also has joints that make it completely collapsible due, which in turn makes it easy to move around. This is ideal if you want to take your pet on trips or longer vacations. This dog playpen also gives your little buddy a generous space for exercises, while also preventing bad, destructive behaviors and unwanted accidents.

You can use it indoors and outdoors. It has a welded metal with a tight mesh and a rust-proof coating. It’s got a sleek black look that makes it inconspicuous enough to put in your home.

Given its versatility, this playpen for dogs has a very affordable price. It offers the perfect marriage between a heavy-duty dog pen and a lightweight dog kennel, which is why it’s our top choice.

#2 – Best for puppies – Smithbuilt Premium 8-Panel Black Dog Exercise Play Pen

Our second pick for the best dog playpen is this model from Smithbuilt. What separates it from the pack is that it is extremely lightweight and portable, collapsing down to a flat two inches when completely disassembled. Like the Midwest pen, the Smithbuilt comes in five different sizes so you can pick the right height for your pet.

This pen is the best option for breeders or owners that travel a lot with their dogs because it sets up and breaks down without any tools. It was clearly designed with portability in mind since it comes with its own all-weather nylon carrier bag and is made of materials that are lightweight yet strong.

You can easily install this pen in your backyard or inside your home. In addition, you can combine more pens together to make a big one, so that your pet can have a bigger area in which it can enjoy running and playing or make room for multiple dogs.

#3 – Best for exercise – Bestpet Heavy Duty Pet Playpen

BestPet Pet Playpen 8 Panel Indoor Outdoor Folding Metal Protable...
  • 【A LARGE SECURE AREA】Our puppy playpen is great and keeps your pets safe from others,...
  • 【CHANGE THE SIZE WITHOUT ANY TOOLS】Our puppy playpen design allows for multiple shape...
  • 【EASY TO SETUP】This dog playpen is a must have for any dog lovers. Quality of our pet...

Our third choice is this heavy-duty pet playpen from Bestpet. It’s made of heavy-duty rust-resistant steel, and the sides are 40 inches high, which is high enough to prevent all but the most agile pets from escaping. The rust-proof coating means that you can use it indoors or outdoors. Plus, it comes with eight panels that you can reconfigure based on your requirements.

This pen is fairly easy to transport, and it doesn’t require any tools to put together or take apart. It also collapses flat so that it won’t take up a lot of room in your car.

When the door opens, the small furrows do not split because of the raised door threshold. This protects the curious fur noses from dangerous individual creatures.

The eight individual metal panels connect with pins, and depending on your spatial situation, you can choose from multiple configurations. Outside, you can anchor the pins in the ground to give the kennel additional fixation and stability.

#4 – Best for large dogs – Oxgord Dog Animal Heavy Duty Playpen

Paws & Pals Dog Playpen, Portable Heavy Duty Metal Pen Fence for...
  • PICK YOUR SET: Available in 24”, 32”, and 40” inches tall - All pen tube gates are...
  • DURABLE DOGGY PENS: Constructed from sturdy rust-resistant coated metal for increased...
  • WIRE PLAYPEN FENCES: The ½ inch heavy duty tube frame with an 8-panel design allows for a...

Our fourth pick for the best dog playpen is this heavy-duty option that is built to contain even the most active dogs. It comes in a variety of heights so you can choose the one that will best hold your pet.

A nice feature of this pet playpen is that you can set it up in different configurations. You can adjust both the shape and size of the pen, which makes this one of the most versatile choices around. Do not worry about the size of this pen either because you can always order more pieces and put them together.

This dog pen comes with stakes that you can drive into the ground to make it stable if you are using it outside. Even if your dogs are going to be running around, they’ll have a hard time getting out of this pen.

It is also easy to assemble so that you can create the space you need without using any additional tools. It’s even more easy to break down. This product is exactly what you need if you want to go somewhere and take your dog with you. Furthermore, it’s compact after being disassembled to save space and make it more portable.

Finally, the steel panels are made to offer protection against rust and corrosion. This means you get a long-lasting and durable product for your money.

#5 – Best plastic option – Iris Indoor/Outdoor Plastic Pet Pen

IRIS USA 34'' Exercise 8-Panel Pet Playpen with Door, White CI-908
  • Safe, convenient enclosure for your pets
  • Includes 8 interlocking panels made from commercial-grade plastic
  • Hinged access door with double steel latches, panels interlock securely with full length...

Our fifth pick is this super affordable plastic pen. If cost and portability are your primary concerns, then this is a great option for you.

It does not come with a roof, but the company does sell a mesh top separately. If your pet is a real escape artist, then this might be the best choice for you. This is the lightest of all the options listed here because it’s made of plastic and not metal. That means you don’t have to worry about rust, and the whole pen is very easy to move around. You also have the choice of ordering four panels to make a square pen or eight to make a large octagonal pen.

Designed without any sharp edges and because of the lack of metal, this product is very safe. In addition, if you are tired of cleaning up the mess your dog left, then you will enjoy that it is easy to wipe clean.

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Best Dog Playpen Buying Guide

Now that you have seen our top picks, we want to give you a little more assistance figuring out which one is the right one for your dog.

It’s difficult to pick a pen when you really aren’t sure what’s good and what’s necessary.

Do you need a door? What about the size?

It can help to learn more about how to use it, the features to look for, and other details that will make it easier for you to narrow down your choices to the perfect option.

Reasons to get a dog playpen

A puppy pen allows your mutt to have some freedom when in the house or outside, but they still confine your pet to ensure that he or she is restricted to a specific area. There are many reasons why owners use a playpen.

It is very common to use one when your pet is a puppy. uncommon to come home from work to find that your sweet, big-eyed puppy decided to gnaw on the legs of that piece of antique furniture that has been passed down two generations.

Dogs are naturally going to be mischievous when they’re younger, and they’ll do a lot more than eat your furniture. They’ll also:

  • Use your new carpeting as an outhouse
  • Chew through socks and shoes
  • Rip up blankets and pillows
  • Get in the trash
  • Knock over lamps

Dog playpens help put an end to these mischievous activities and curb the occurrence of these events.

They are especially nice when you’re trying to potty train. By limiting the space the puppy is in, you work with his natural instincts to not mess in his area. It also allows you to pay more attention to the dog so you can pick up the clues that he needs to use the bathroom.

A playpen is also nice for training purposes and to help a dog get rid of extra energy. Some are specifically designed for exercising your dog. Plenty of people keep their pets in crates at night for comfort reasons, but you don’t want the pet to live in a crate for 70% of their lives.

If you leave your pet in a small crate all day, they’ll get cramped and be miserable. Muscles don’t have the chance to gain strength, and the pet won’t be able to be active. In some cases, the lack of movement can cause proteins in the dog’s liver to buildup, which is hazardous.

Putting all of this together, you’ll find the importance of a dog playpen is to:

  • Keep a pet confined
  • Allow for enough movement when confined

Another great use is if you have a pet that will run when you open the door. It’s much better to put them in puppy playpens than to allow them to bolt out of the house.

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Types of Playpens

Dog playpens come in a variety of types. A pen suitable for a Great Dane is not suitable for a puppy. An indoor pen won’t work well outside. If you need a pen for breeding, then an exercise pen isn’t the right choice. This is why you get options. The right type of pen will be spacious enough for your pet and suit your intended use.

Indoor options

BestPet Pet Playpen 8 Panel Indoor Outdoor Folding Metal Protable...
  • 【A LARGE SECURE AREA】Our puppy playpen is great and keeps your pets safe from others,...
  • 【CHANGE THE SIZE WITHOUT ANY TOOLS】Our puppy playpen design allows for multiple shape...
  • 【EASY TO SETUP】This dog playpen is a must have for any dog lovers. Quality of our pet...

These are the playpens to use for training puppies or constricting your dog within your home. The main use is to help keep your pet and your home safe and secure when you can’t be there to keep an eye on things.

Since these playpens are designed to be used indoors, they won’t have the same level of durability or protection against the elements like an outdoor model. They can be metal or plastic, but are usually lightweight and easy to set up and tear down.

MidWest Homes for Pets Folding Metal Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen
  • Each panel measures 24 width x 30 height inches, exercise pen / pet Playpen folds flat for...
  • Exercise Pen provides 16 square Feet enclosed area (1.5 meters) for your dog & other pets;...
  • 8 ground anchors for outdoor use and 4 thumb snaps for easy assembly included with...

Outdoor options

An outdoor pen is a good idea if you need a way to contain your pet outside. If you want your furry friend to enjoy the outdoors with you but don’t have the ability to watch over their every move when you’re out in the yard, getting one is a smart choice.

Outdoor pens, compared to indoor ones, offer a more durable design. They’re similar in nature, but outdoor pens typically have some form of rust resistance to ensure they can withstand the elements, so the pen’s material does not degrade and pose a risk of injury.

Exercise pen options

You would use this type of pen to help your pet get energy if you do not have time to take your pet out to exercise. Exercise pens are made for indoor and outdoor use. These are typically larger in size than other types of pens as they need to allow for room to run, jump, and move. There isn’t really any other differences. Do keep in mind they must be tall so your dog cannot jump out.

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Shopping tips

There are a few basics that you’ll want to consider before you start shopping for a pen. This starts with preparing before you step foot in a store or click onto a retailer’s website. Here are some tips to help make this a smoother experience.

Set a budget

Go into the buying process with a budget. These products come in a range of prices. You need to know what you can afford so you avoid spending too much.

Read reviews

The most important thing to do before shopping is to read reviews. They give you insight into these products from a consumer’s perspective. You’ll learn a lot more than the manufacturer would ever tell you. Plus, you get a good idea about how it works in real life.

Space

Where will you put the dog playpen? You need to know this before you shop. It will influence many of your choices, including the size and whether you get an indoor or outdoor unit.

Paws & Pals Dog Playpen, Portable Heavy Duty Metal Pen Fence for...
  • PICK YOUR SET: Available in 24”, 32”, and 40” inches tall - All pen tube gates are...
  • DURABLE DOGGY PENS: Constructed from sturdy rust-resistant coated metal for increased...
  • WIRE PLAYPEN FENCES: The ½ inch heavy duty tube frame with an 8-panel design allows for a...

Specifications and features to consider

Each playpen has its own specifications and features that you want to consider. Having an overall idea of what you want before you start to shop can make the whole process easier and allow you to choose the right pen more quickly. Here’s a look at some of the specifications and features to think about.

Pen size

We cannot stress enough that you need to match the size of the playpen to the size of your dog. This includes both the space it provides your pet and the height of the walls. A small and short product won’t work well for a pet that barely fits in it or can easily jump over it. On the other hand, a huge pen can seem intimidating to a small dog.

Most models will allow you to customize the size of the pen by reducing or adding panels. This allows for versatility, letting you adjust the size as your pet grows or its needs change.

Configuration

There are many configuration options. You can go with a standard square or rectangle. There are also circular or octagons.

Doors

Never underestimate the importance of a door. A playpen for puppies may not need a door because you can lift them out, but with a larger pet, you will need a door. The door style will vary based on the type of pen. For example, a metal pen will probably have a metal door that latches or even locks whereas a fabric pen may have a mesh door that zips.

You need to figure out what works best for your situation. Think about whether you want to have to bend down to let your dog in or out. Consider if your dog will chew on the door or if he could break out of a door without a strong lock.

Materials

There is a range of material choices. Each has its own pros and cons.

Plastic

A plastic pen is durable and affordable. It won’t rust nor will it scratch up your floors, so it will work well outside or inside. However, pooches that like to chew can chew through a plastic model over time so this may not work in some cases.

Metal

These models are usually the most expensive, but they’re also the most durable. Metal models are generally high quality, but if you will use it outdoors, make sure there is a rust-resistant coating. Also, you need to inspect it often for damage that could pose a safety risk to your pup.

Mesh

Mesh pens have the benefit of being more comfortable. They usually have a floor and a ceiling. They are lightweight and easy to set up, as well. However, they are easy to damage and not nearly as durable as plastic or metal pens. There is also the risk of escaping since they usually use Velcro or zippers as closures and for connecting panels together.

Stabilizers or Stakes

There is always the risk of a pen moving around either due to a rambunctious dog or weather conditions. A movable pen causes a hazard for your pet and property. Stabilizers or stakes help ensure it stays in place.

IRIS USA 4-Panel Pet Playpen with Door, size 35.25"L x 35.25"W x 24"H...
  • Ideal for play, exercise or training, indoors or out
  • Made of durable, heavy-duty molded plastic
  • Easy to assemble

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Safety

Safety is always a concern as a pet owner, especially when choosing homes for pets. As you shop for a playpen, keep in mind that you need to pay attention to labels. Always choose a pen that is made to safety standards.

However, even if you buy a high-quality product, there are still some safety risks that could come up. For example, it is up to you to regularly examine the kennel to ensure it is not broken or otherwise damaged.

There are possible issues with all types of pens. Metal pens can rust and break, and your pet can be severely injured on the jagged edges left behind. A dog may chew through a plastic pen, causing it to break or even ingesting some plastic, which could become lodged in the doggy’s throat.

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FAQs

To finish up, we want to ensure every question you have is answered so you have all the information you need to be an informed shopper. So, with that in mind, here are some common questions people have about buying playpens for dogs.

Do dog playpens breakdown for easy transport?

Many models are made to be broken down so they are easy to move about and store. However, not every model is like this, so you should read the manufacturer’s information and reviews to ensure the pen you want has these features.

IRIS Wire Exercise Pet Pen, 36-Inch, Black
  • Heavy-gauge exercise pet playpen keeps pet safe
  • Epoxy-coated wire provides long lasting protection against rust and outdoor elements
  • Easy-twist panel connectors make assembly a breeze; folds flat for storage

How do I care for a playpen?

You need to visually examine it to ensure that the unit hasn’t broken or rusted over time. If it’s used out in the snow and rock salt gets on the pen, then you’ll want to wipe this off with a rag to ensure the salt doesn’t begin to corrode the metal. If your pet has an accident or gets the pen dirty, then you can clean it with pet-friendly cleaning supplies.

How much does an average doggie playpen weigh?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Weights vary drastically depending on design and material. A larger, heavy-duty pen can weigh as much as 50 pounds whereas smaller, lightweight units can weigh under 15 pounds.

Should I use it at night?

Pets like to have their own space. Many pet owners find that their mutt will want to use their crates and pens at night. The reason for this is security. Smaller breeds, for example, often suffer from security issues, so they’ll find comfort sleeping in their dog playpen.

Make your own judgment. If your Fido is teething or going through a phase where they want to sleep on the bed and it’s something you don’t prefer, you may find keeping them in a doggie playpen is in everyone’s best interest.

How do I get my pet to like the playpen?

One of the biggest mistakes owners make is they cause their pet to believe they’re in their playpen because they’re bad. Putting your pet in the pen out of anger can cause this to happen. You want to make it a positive experience for your pet.

A lot of owners will place food and water in the pen, making it the pooch’s place to eat. This reinforces that being in the pen is a good thing. You should also introduce it slowly. You have to train your pet to like this new space. Never force him in it, and use treats and praise to make it a good experience.

Do make sure to put some rules in place, though. If he starts to whine or bark, ignore him. He probably wants you to let him out and believes these things will get your attention. Soon he’ll learn it won’t work and he’ll be quiet. You should also teach your dog how to sit so when you go to let him out, he doesn’t charge out the door. Instead, you make him sit and wait until you have the door open before he leaves.

What items should I place inside?

This is really up to you, but a few of the items people put in their dog playpens include:

  • Toys
  • Blankets
  • Pet beds
  • Paper or housetraining pads
  • Water
  • Food

Don’t make the area too cramped, though. You want your pet to be able to move around freely without tipping bowls or making a mess.

Why can I not just use a gate to close off a space?

This is fine if you have a space that will work, but many people don’t. You would need a space that is not highly frequented by humans and that can be closed off in a doorway where gate goes. It also needs to provide a secure and comfy space. Most people find getting a playpen is a much easier option.

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Start Shopping for the Best Dog Playpen

There are a lot of reliable dog playpens out there, but we’ve given you our top picks based on our research to make it easier for you to find the one that best suits your needs. While we certainly encourage you to choose one from our list, we also provided you with shopping tips, advice, and information to become a more informed shopper. This will help ensure that you know what to look for and how to choose the best dog playpen to suit you and your dog.

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