SmithBuilt Premium 8-Panel Black Dog Exercise Play Pen Review

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SmithBuilt Premium 8-Panel Black Dog Exercise Play Pen Review

SmithBuilt Premium 8-Panel Black Dog Exercise Play PenThis SmithBuilt Premium 8-Panel Dog Exercise Play Pen review will look at a few key features important in choosing a pet playpen, including size, safety, portability, build flexibility, and sturdiness. The SmithBuilt Exercise Play Pen is made with commercial-quality all-steel wire that coated in a durable epoxy for a black finish look.

It arrives fully assembled for a simple out-of-the-box assembly experience, and folds into a product that’s almost flat at two inches tall, making it portable and easy to store. It also comes with a carry bag that you can use to store and carry the pen around in wherever you take your dogs.

The eight panels equate to 12 feet of panels that can be converted into a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the needs of the space you have and the boundaries your pet requires. The door closes with a side-bolt latch that keeps the gate tightly locked.

The SmithBuilt Exercise Play Pen comes in five different heights – 24 inches, 30 inches, 36 inches, 42 inches, and 48 inches – with prices increasing with the height of the product.


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If this SmithBuilt Premium 8-Panel Dog Exercise Play Pen review is solely based on the product doing what it’s supposed to do, this product gets five stars. It keeps most dogs confined within the space mapped out by the owner, and it would be pretty difficult for most dogs to jump up and out of especially the taller models.

It’s a functional model that gets the job done as described. Most owners, even those with larger breeds, noted that their dogs couldn’t escape the play pen and were content staying within the pen, given the large space it provides.

The pen is fairly sturdy, and unless you have a very active dog who attempts to jump out or push the play pen down, should do the job of creating a boundary between Fido and wherever you don’t want him to go.

Easy Configuration

The SmithBuilt Premium Exercise Play Pen comes fully pre-assembled, which means it’s quick and easy to set up out of the box. It’s also easy to move it around and create the configuration you’d like set up for the space you have.

You can use all eight panels provided to create a large space for your dog to train or play in, or if you have a smaller dog or smaller space, can reduce the size of the play pen by utilizing fewer panels. This also means you can create different shapes that fit your space efficiently without a lot of effort.

Additionally, if you have a few dogs or have a larger area where you want to keep your dogs than what one set will provide, you can always buy another Play Pen and use additional panels to create the larger area you need.


This model is definitely on the more affordable side, especially for a play pen of this size and structure. The fact that it comes with a carry case is just an added bonus.

However, as you’ll see in the cons list below, you are paying for a less sturdy product compared to others on the market. While it’s still a good purchase for the price, make sure you’re aware of what you’re missing out on by paying for a lower-priced play pen.


No tools are required to set up or break down the SmithBuilt Premium Exercise Play Pen, which makes it a quick, easy and portable product for you to take wherever you take your dogs.

It folds down to an almost flat two-inch height, and at around 30 pounds, is much lighter than other play pens out on the market today. Given the additional all-weather nylon carry case that comes with this product, it was obviously created with portability in mind.

Multiple Uses

This SmithBuilt Play Pen is intended for both indoor and outdoor use, and the ability to use it in both settings makes this a good option for those who take their dogs to many different locations. The set comes with “stakes” that can be used to stabilize the play pen securely into the ground in outdoor settings.

This, along with the light-weight portability and carrying case, allows dog-owners to use the play pen for travel purposes when going to the beach or going camping.

No Rust

It really doesn’t rust! Many dog play pen companies claim that their product won’t rust, but most do rust after a few uses in outdoor conditions. However, the SmithBuilt Premium Exercise Play Pen is finished with an ultra-durable epoxy coating, which means it’s really hard to get this thing to rust, even in more extreme climates.

Other products on the market use an electro or powder coat. This creates the same color effect out of the box, but doesn’t protect it from rust, corrosion and fade like the epoxy coating on the SmithBuilt play pen does.

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Dangers of the Tight Mesh Pattern

The company boasts that this product is created with all-steel wire that is welded into a tightly-formed mesh pattern – and this indeed helps make the play pen secure from escaping dogs. However, this also may results in some dangerous situations for active dogs who are trying to escape by climbing the pen or digging their way through the bottom of the pen.

Some owners have noted that their dogs have gotten their paws stuck in the openings of the mesh pattern, causing their dogs a lot of pain and even a few visits to the vet due to lacerations to a dog’s paw. This, of course, depends on how active your dog is in trying to escape the play pen, but be careful and keep an eye out on your dog’s behavior the first few times it’s placed in the play pen.

Structural Weaknesses

The SmithBuilt Play Pen comes with clips that attach to the panels, supposedly to keep the structure upright and firm once built. However, many have complained of the flimsiness of the entire structure, and of the weakness of the wires that form the panels.

Comparable play pens in the market are built with much firmer materials and are heavier duty in their construction; however, they do not have the lightweight, small-size portability that the SmithBuilt Play Pen provides.

Another complaint about this play pen is the flimsy door that seems to break quite easily. The door latch is flimsy and weak, and of course, if the latch breaks, the play pen is rendered useless. While not a frequent occurrence, it seems to be a structural design problem that can cause an issue after some amount of extended use.

Sliding Problem

Depending on the type of flooring you have in your home, the SmithBuilt Play Pen may not be the best fit for indoor use. Multiple owners have complained about the lightweight product sliding around on wood or tile floors, which of course, makes it that much more difficult to keep you dog in the place you want it to stay.

[/vc_column_text][title_mod title_name=”Conclusion”][vc_column_text]Overall, the SmithBuilt Premium 8-Panel Dog Exercise Play Pen is an affordable dog play pen that will get the job done. It’s lightweight and portable, making it an easy choice for those who take their dog around to many places. Ultimately, however, you are paying for the portability, light-weight factor with the lack of sturdiness in the structural make-up of the play pen.

Its flimsy material makes it unstable and less sturdy than others on the market at similar price points, and results in some structural weaknesses that can be too much of a problem to overlook if you’re looking for a sturdy, long-term play pen for your dog.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

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