Many pet-owners tend to stick to a singular kennel, or crate, and generally don’t bother with keeping an alternative portable dog kennel, or one for their cat, as the case may be. However, it’s surprising what a difference portable dog pens for outside, make to owners’ and their pets’ lives. Portable dog playpens are, as the name suggests – portable.
But first, a quick comparison of the features and qualities of the best pet folding play pens we shortlisted for 2016:
|The ESK COLLECTION Pet Puppy Dog Playpen Exercise Pen|
|The Zampa Pet 45" Playpen|
|The Precision Soft Side Playpen|
|Petsfit Portable Foldable Pop Up Dog Playpen Exercise Pen|
|The PAW Pet Pop-Up Playpen Deluxe|
This in itself expands the range of uses it can be put to by quite a bit, and which a regular crate or kennel can’t really provide – not without the expenditure of a significant amount of effort on your part, or the suffering of the accompaniment of headaches and so forth, of course. The best of the pet folding play pens have an amazing range of uses, be it merely as portable dog pens for outside, exercise pens for your dogs & puppies, or for training before you introduce your puppy in the crate.
Portable dog pens for outside can seem like a godsend, especially if you wish to take your pet along with you on your excursions. Also, not having to leave your puppy in the crate whenever you don’t have the time focus all your attention on him can be really liberating. It’s good to have an alternative even otherwise, if nothing else, as a reliable substitute when the primary crate or kennel needs repair or cleaning or isn’t usable for any other reason.
Now, even if you’re convinced that you’d do well to buy a portable dog play pen, zeroing in on the best pet play pen could be a little tricky, what with the variety of products out there. We’ve saved you on most of the effort involved by shortlisting some of the newest, proven, and best pet folding play pens in the market. Read on to find out more about portable pet play pens in general, how to best use one, and the lowdown on some of the better ones available.
Best Portable Dog Playpen Reviews of 2017
We’ve already pointed out the number and diversity of portable playpens on offer in the market, and how at times it might be confusing to decide on the best option for you and your dogs. In the following section, we’re going to summarize some of the best aspects of the portable pet play pens in 2015, that we believe offer the best value in terms of functionality and features for their price.
#1 – ESK COLLECTION Pet Puppy Dog Playpen Exercise Pen Review
This popular portable playpen has an excellent design, standing at 48”x24” with spacious, eight-panel interiors, two zip-up doors, and a similarly zip-on top and bottom. The bottom was initially Velcro-based, but was changed to a zipper-based one, presumably after the manufacturer learned of the multiple complaints from owners of the Velcro’s flimsiness. That’s props for considerate design revisions for the brand.
It’s made of great quality oxford cloth that is sufficiently water-resistant and very breathable, and easily washable too. The frame is solidly built, and holds well to pressure. It’s pre-assembled, and setting up is quite simple. It also folds down to a conveniently flat position, and comes with a carrying case for easy portability. The weight of this playpen, listed at about 6.4 pounds, is quite reasonable for a portable kennel, and adds quite a bit to the convenience in handling and carrying it.
This offering from the ESK Collection is one of the best exponents of the versatility of portable playpens, coming with exterior pockets, and stakes for grounding the playpen when outdoors, if needed – pretty much everything you need. It’s also one of the lowest priced portable dog playpens we reviewed, which means it offers amazing value for the price. For a not-too-frisky small-to-medium sized dog, this is a top option to go with.
#2 – Zampa Pet 45″ Playpen Review
This is another great eight-panel portable pet kennel in the market, and is one of the sturdier playpens we reviewed, with reinforced seams and corners, making it quite safe and effective. The Zampa Pet 45” playpen is also quite roomy, with generous dimensions of 45”x24”.
It’s quite comfortable for small to medium sized pets, and will even house larger pets if they merely need to rest or sleep. The top zips off, if need be, and the panels are made of see-through mesh. It’s quite light, considering its sturdy build and excellent security, at 6.2 pounds. It’s extremely portable, and folds down quite easily, enabling you to store it in the carrying case that comes with it.
What sets this particular portable playpen apart from most of its competition, however, is the permanently attached floor, a revision in design from the earlier models, which featured Velcro-based detachable floors. This feature, while making it a little inconvenient to clean the bottom of the pen, makes this playpen quite a ways more secure than its peers, virtually eliminating any possibility of escape from anywhere around the bottom of the pen, which is where most of the weak spots lie in portable playpens.
Also, the manufacturer includes an excellent range of additional features, such as grounding stakes, pockets, a water bottle holder on the exteriors, and a feeding hole for the bottle too.
The main detractor, if anything, might be the price, which leans towards the expensive. However, considering its excellent build and design, and brilliant functionality, it’s worth it if you’re willing to buy one of the elite, safest and most effective portable playpens out there.
#3 – Precision Soft Side Play Pen Review
This playpen from Precision is a spacious and versatile product, with a strong, epoxy-coated steel wire frame which is covered by good quality, weatherproof canvas fabric. It has two doors that zip-on and also have Velcro tie-offs. This playpen is easy to clean and maintain, owing to the removable zipper-based top mesh, and the Velcro-attached bottom.
It offers excellent portability, being foldable into the matching carrying case that comes with it, and also being quite light. The 29”x17” small-size playpen we reviewed weighs in at a mere 4.6 pounds, making it very convenient to handle.
This playpen is offered in the medium and large sizes, too, by Precision, so you’re not limited for size. The playpen is priced slightly on the higher end of the spectrum, but considering its great build and functionality, and that the manufacturer matches the best offerings of extra features, including pockets, a bottle holder and stakes, this is a good investment.
#4 – Petsfit Portable Foldable Pop Up Dog Playpen Exercise Pen Review
This Petsfit product is one of the more sturdy and durable portable pet kennels, and offers good security and portability for small and medium sized pets. Like most pop-up playpens, it has eight panels that are mesh-based, and therefore offer great ventilation and a decent view of the surroundings.
The fabric is of good quality 600D oxford cloth, and is very easy to clean and maintain. Maintenance is even simpler with the removable Velcro-based bottom. The top is a meshed based cover that can be zippered on or off easily. This playpen offers excellent portability, and folds down easily to a flat position that fits easily in the accompanying carrying case, and is pretty light, even if it weighs slightly more than its competitors at about 8.6 pounds.
Considering the quality of materials used, the playpen is priced well, even though it’s not as economical a buy as some of its peers. It doesn’t offer the full range of features as the other reviewed portable playpens, but its light weight and dependable durability enable it to be used reliably in a variety of roles, be it as a portable exercise pen for dogs, or a handy kennel while traveling.
#5 – PAW Pet Pop-Up Playpen Deluxe Review
This playpen is a decent, economically-priced product from PAW, offering a good-sized and very portable dog kennel that can be really useful as a substitute for a regular dog crate or playpen. It measures at 42”x25” and is a comfortable fit for any small or mid-size breed of dog, and pretty much any cat.
It folds down quite easily to a convenient size, and can be carried around in the canvas bag that comes with the playpen. The top is, again, removable and attaches to the main body with a zipper. The bottom is also detachable, and uses Velcro instead of a zipper. The removable parts of the playpen let you play with the dogs more freely when they’re inside, and also makes cleaning up any messes a much easier and painless job.
The playpen also features two zip-up doors, is overall quite lightweight, at about 6.5 pounds, and also has a nifty exterior pocket to things like treats and small toys. Although the finishing may not be quite as up-to-mark as some of the pricier competitors in the market, the Paw Pop-Up Playpen Deluxe is still a very portable and versatile playpen, that is ultimately great value for the price.
The Qualities Essential To A Good Portable Dog Playpen
In terms of its main function, a portable dog kennel is no different from a regular playpen, or even a crate or doggie kennel – it’s meant to keep your pet confined within it, without you having to worry about its safety and security. Also, obviously, it’s meant to be a place your pet enjoys hanging out or having a rest in, so it must be comfortable, and spacious enough for your pet to stretch out, lie down, stand up and, if you’re going for one of those exercise pens for dogs, space enough for your dog to generally gambol around as much as he likes.
If you have a female on your hands who isn’t neutered, you might want to give some extra consideration to the size, seeing as you might have to deal with a litter at some point. So, as you can see, some of the primary qualities you’d want to look for in your portable dog play pen, would be spaciousness and sturdiness. When you’re evaluating quality of the build, apart from that of the material used, one should also consider the quality of the design.
What determines whether the dog kennel is portable is its lightness of weight, the ease with which you can setup or fold it, and the convenience of carrying or storing it. The frame should have a good balance – of rigidity so it keeps its shape despite some reasonable rough play from your pets inside, and of give, so you’re not pulling your hair out getting it to fold down.
The material should ideally be durable, and waterproof, or at least resistant, so it can be cleaned with ease. Most of these portable dog pens for outside have mesh tops and sides as a standard, where the top is removable via zipper. And, you should also give enough consideration to what may appear to be extras – be it the loops on the exteriors for inserting stakes, side-pockets, or feeding holes for water bottles – they can make life much easier.
Now, the security of the portable pet play pen is a critical function. Unfortunately, not all of the doggie playpens available are as secure as leaving your puppy in a crate, and most are no match for dogs & puppies who are particularly bent upon escape, or the destruction of anything they can get their jaws around.
You want the material used in the portable dog kennel to be strong enough to withstand the strains of your pet’s everyday fun and frolic, and perhaps the occasional escape attempt. Dogs & puppies that are a bit rambunctious would, naturally, need the playpen to be made of appropriately stronger materials.
Portable dog kennels for sale nowadays generally come with reinforced corners, seams and the likes, so you normally don’t have much to worry about the durability of the fabric used. But you should watch out for particularly shoddy finishing, or the use of poor quality zippers, Velcro, or other material.
A usual problem, with even the best pet folding play pens, is that they have a removable bottom or floor that attaches to the pen with Velcro. Velcro can be a weak spot, especially for the craftier dogs & puppies. Most people buy the portable dog pens for outside so they get to play with the dogs or as an ex pen for dogs & puppies, and also safely secure them in their doggie playpen when they want some time out for themselves.
A weak bottom through which the dogs and puppies might be able to escape can be a really dangerous in such a situation. So better give such dog kennels, portable or not, a wide berth. At the very least, make sure the Velcro is reinforced, and hard to pry open, and at best, that they’ve used zippers instead.
The best pet folding play pens are designed for versatility, so they can be used in a variety of different situations, so make sure you’re well covered for features and functionality to make the most of your portable dog play pen. After all, without that, you might as well put your puppy in a crate, or get one of those pet fences that are both sturdier and more roomy in general than a portable dog play pen.
However, the trouble with using something like a dog fence, or keeping your puppy in a crate, is that these are quite unwieldy, and inflexible for certain situations. What if you needed to separate a sick pet from the other ones? Or if you wanted your dogs and puppies to enjoy some sun and fresh air in the garden or the park? Or, the most glaring disadvantage, what if you needed to travel, and need to take your pet along with you?
A good portable dog kennel would most likely have you covered in all these situations. Another key design aspect for your portable dog playpen, is that it must have enough openings as doors or windows so you can check in as much as you like, and even play with the dogs if you wish to.
Most portable dog kennels have a removable top, so you can have a more open space when indoors, or even outdoors if your dog can keep within the playpen. Apart from allowing you to play with the dogs or pups, the open top also lets you clean around inside more thoroughly, and in case you have a nursing mother, it allows her to enter and exit the playpen without disturbing the litter.
The final factor which you would consider, as have we, in the hunt for the best pet folding play pen, is whether your portable dog playpen of choice is priced economically or not. Most of the best pet folding play pens are priced quite competitively, and so, the best way to determine if the price is right is to weigh it against the features and quality offered. We’ve considered these factors in our reviews of the top portable dog play pens here.
Pros of Portable Dog Playpens
The advantages that portable dog kennels hold over regular crates and playpens are clear – their lighter weight and portability, often combined with some of the extra features some of the brands provide, allow them to be used for a wider variety of purposes compared to regular crates and pens.
The use of fabrics like canvas, or a mix of canvas and other synthetic water-resistant fabrics as the primary material makes portable dog kennels much easier to move around, whether within the house, or outdoors. No longer do you need to leave your puppy in a crate in some corner of the house where it might feel lonely.
Inside the house, this can be extremely useful – for instance, where you need to separate some of the pets from the others, whether due to sickness or injury, or just as a part of housebreaking. This also lets you tag your puppy or kitten along with you as you move around the house getting your chores done, while also preventing them from getting in the way of things.
The fact that most of these portable dog playpens are light, as well as foldable is what gives them their greatest strength – portability. You can carry your portable dog play pen virtually anywhere, and store it away immediately if you so wish. Most of them also come with a carrying case with straps, making it all the more easy to carry them with you.
Traveling with your pet is a much less daunting prospect with the insurance of a handy and portable playpen when you need it. Again, you don’t have to leave your poor puppy in a crate back home anymore, and can take him along on your travels.
Ideally, portable dog pens are for outside use, where they have regular pens and crates completely beat in terms of convenience and ease of set-up, maintenance, and storage. If your dog is well trained for the outdoors, portable dog pens for outside can be incredibly fun.
The open top lets you play with the dogs to your heart’s content, and lets you use it as a handier version of one of those exercise pens for dogs. In fact, your dogs would probably enjoy these more than regular exercise pens for dogs, due to the see-through fabric of the mesh walls. These give a den-like feel to the playpen, that is often absent if the enclosure has grills or a wire mesh.
This quality makes the dogs feel more secure, while also allowing a view of their surroundings, as well as good ventilation. Additionally, some brands provide some useful extra features such as the ability to stake the playpen to the ground when outdoors, to prevent your dog from rolling or flipping it over in exuberance.
Also, most portable dog kennels for sale these days have a detachable floor. This, and the fabric material used in the walls makes cleaning the playpen much easier than a crate. You can use a regular sponge or cloth with some common cleaning product to simple wipe it clean, or even give it a more thorough wash, if you so wish.
The weight and portability, again, makes things much simpler in this regard. The simple maintenance of the playpen also makes it ideal for crate training, before you put your puppy in a crate, as cleaning up after accidents is more convenient.
Cons of Portable Dog Playpens
In many ways, the very qualities that work for portable dog pens for outside, i.e. light weight, foldability, detachable tops and floors, etc. is what often becomes their undoing when put through their paces. This may be the case, especially, if you have a really spirited, escape-minded dog, who might not be trained enough for an enclosure that trades in some of the security for convenience.
The fact is, the primary material that is confining your dog within the playpen here is canvas fabric, which can hold out only so long if your dog worries at the seams and corners enough. These playpens are not built for holding an escape-minded pet for extended durations, or to withstand the aggressions of a very energetic and/or large pet. Most of the portable dog kennels for sale come with Velcro-based detachable floors, which aren’t as secure as permanent, or even zipper-attached floors.
Another common complaint with portable dog kennels is with their sometimes confusing folding instructions, which aren’t clear or specific enough in some cases. They’re straightforward enough to set-up, but when the time comes to put them away, owners sometimes struggle to fold them down.
Despite all this, though, the fact remains that portable playpens offer amazing value, and are fairly safe, secure and proven alternatives to a standard pet playpen or crate.
As you can see for yourself, there are a lot of portable dog playpens in the market, and most of them offer useful features, excellent portability and great versatility for your various needs. In fact, it can be difficult to determine the best fit for you and your pet amongst this array of choices. We’ve done our best to narrow down your options, and have picked out the five outstanding products described in this write-up. Hopefully, these pointers will help you pick out the best pet play pen that will make you and your dog the happiest.