By investing in the best dog playpen, you can give your dog space to play free, while also making sure they’re safe, secure and don’t have access to areas that you might not necessarily want them to go into.
Although dogs are naturally inclined to roam free, that’s not always practical for a number of reasons. Having a playpen means you don’t have to keep them locked up in a small crate for long periods of time, while also giving you the flexibility to go about whatever you need to do, or keep them away from potential dangers.
Perhaps you need to keep your dog away from certain areas of the house while you carry out some important work, your backyard isn’t so secure and suitable for an inquisitive dog, or perhaps you’re travelling and need to keep your dog in certain areas at certain times: a playpen simply keeps them under your watch. Just be sure to pop in a good few high quality dog toys to keep them occupied!
There’s a variety of different dog pens available on the market, designed to meet different needs. There’s pens for outdoor use, pens for indoor use, pens for smaller dogs and pens for larger dogs. There’s also a good selection of travel and temporary options that can be quickly folded down and transported for when you don’t necessarily want to use the pen all the time.
Our round-up covers a number of options to suit whatever you need, so it’s a great place to start your research.
PetRadar’s pick of the best dog playpens
- Best overall dog playpen: MidWest Foldable Metal Dog Exercise Pen
- Best budget dog playpen: Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Pet Exercise and Playpen
- Best puppy playpen: MAGINELS Pet Playpen Puppy Crate
- Best travel dog playpen: Ruff ’n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
- Best dog playpen for large dogs: New World Pet Products Foldable Metal Exercise Pen X-Large
- Best outdoor dog pen: BestPet Pet Playpen Dog Kennel 8 Panel Folding Metal Exercise Pen
MidWest Foldable Metal Dog Exercise Pen
Best overall dog playpen
Measurements: 62 x 62 x 24 inches | Weight: 17.8lbs | Materials: Metal Wire / Gold Zinc finish
If you’re looking for a basic, but well-built and useful dog playpen, that you’re going to use regularly, then something like this option from MidWest will likely suit a wide variety of different dog parents.
You can use it to create a contained enclosure, or you can position it to divide up rooms - say if you want to keep your pooch away from the meal-prep area of a kitchen.
It has a secure double latch door which you can open and close when you or the dog needs to get in and out of the pen, which means you won’t need to lift them in and out - ideal for heavier dogs, or those with mobility issues.
The pen is easy to set up, requiring no specialist tools or expertise to get it into position. If you don’t want to use it all the time, it also folds flat for easy storage - meaning you could also take it with you on trips to unfamiliar locations too.
You can use this pen either indoors or outdoors, with ground anchors included in the box for outdoor use, plus corner stabilizers - so it’s also a good option for those who have unsecured gardens but want to give their dog a little fresh air while you enjoy the garden yourself.
The major downside of this pen however is that it’s mainly suitable for small-medium dogs. Larger dogs may be able to easily escape it from the top.
Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Pet Exercise and Playpen
Best budget dog playpen
Measurements: 24 inches (XS) up to 48 inches (L) | Weight: Variety of weights | Materials: Iron metal
If you’re looking for something that simply does the job but don’t want to spend too much, this pen from the Amazon Basics range is a great idea.
Available in a variety of sizes depending on the size of your pooch, it’s a basic metal wire construction that is quick and easy to set up. When not in use it also folds flat for easy storage.
You can use this pen either indoors or outdoors, with anchors supplied in the box for outdoor usage. The black finish is rust proof, so you don’t need to worry too much about leaving it outside in poor conditions if you don’t have room to bring it inside.
With this pen you can either create a complete enclosure, or you can use it to divide up spaces making use of walls and other areas to block off parts of the room.
The basic / cheapest option of this playpen doesn’t include a door, so you’ll either have to lift your dog in and out of it, or lift the pen out of the way to free them - so it can be a little awkward for larger dogs. A version with a door is also available for a little extra outlay, though.
MAGINELS Pet Playpen Puppy Crate
Best dog pen for puppies
Measurements: 31.5 x 21 x 3inches (basic size) | Weight: 11 pounds | Materials: Steel and Plastic
An interesting alternative to the typical wire crates that are featured in the rest of this guide, this Maginels product is ideal for small animals such as puppies who are just learning about boundaries. With its transparent panels, it’s easy to see exactly what your pooch is getting up to - and easy for them to see out too.
Available with either 12 or 24 transparent panels depending on the size of your dog, you can quickly and easily attach the panels together to create a full enclosure or divide off areas of a room. You can stack the panels on top of each other to create a taller pen for larger dogs too. Another alternative is to create separate areas within the pen for a fun maze-like setup.
As well as being useful as a pet playpen, you could also use it to protect other things - such as your Christmas tree for example - from your puppy or even older dog from reaching it.
Some users have reported that extremely strong / boisterous puppies may be able to break the panels so it’s recommended as a pen that can be used with supervision, or for smaller / less active dogs.
Ruff ’n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
Best dog playpen for travel
Measurements: 29 x 29 x 17 inches (medium); 36 x 36 x 23 inches (large); 48 x 48 x 23.5 inches (extra large) | Weight: 2.4lbs (medium) 3.05lbs (large); 6lbs (extra large) | Materials: Nylon
Available in three different sizes depending on the size of your dog, this playpen is ideal for those with like to travel with their dogs.
Made from lightweight and water-resistant materials, the playpen quickly pops up for easy assembly without hassle or tools. When not in use, you can fold it flat and transport it with the included carrying case.
This would be an ideal pen for taking pets to the beach or the park if you want to spend time in one location - such as while having a picnic. You won’t need to worry about your dog running off or pulling on the lead, yet they can still enjoy the outdoors with you.
It’s also a good alternative for those who are travelling with their dogs to an unfamiliar location and aren’t sure how dog friendly their accommodation is going to be. It could also easily double up as a travel bed, too.
The playpen has a zippered top which you can remove if you prefer, or leave it on to provide extra security, or shade when in a sunny location.
Price is the only downside of this option, particularly if you don’t intend to travel a lot - but for opening up a variety of travel options it could easily be considered excellent value for money.
New World Pet Products Foldable Metal Exercise Pen X-Large
Best dog playpen for large dogs
Measurements: 62 x 48 x 62 inches | Weight: 29.2lbs | Materials: Metal wire
If you have an extra large dog, then you’ll need an extra large playpen if you want to keep them fenced in.
This product from New World is available in a variety of sizes, but of course for this entry we’re focusing on the X-Large option, which is suitable for dogs which are up to 30-inches tall.
Easy to construct and dissemble when not in use, although the playpen takes up a lot of space when it is fully assembled, it folds down flat for easier storage when you’re not using it. You can use it either indoors to block off certain areas, or construct it as a fully-enclosed pen either indoors or outdoors.
For use outdoors, there are ground stakes included to keep the pen anchored to the ground. The outer coat of the pen is also rust-resistant, so you shouldn’t ned to worry too much about bringing it inside should the heavens open.
You can use the pen in conjunction with an existing crate to expand your dog’s living areas indoors, while also keeping them away from any areas you don’t want them to get to. There’s no door inbuilt to this crate however, so so you’ll need to unlock one of the panels to allow you/your dog to walk in and out of it.
BestPet Pet Playpen Dog Kennel 8 Panel Folding Metal Exercise Pen
Best outdoor dog playpen
Measurements: 40 x 30 x 32 inches | Weight: 52.8lbs | Materials: Metal
If the primary purpose for a pet playpen is to create a secure area in your garden, then a durable and sturdy pen is what you need.
This option for BestPet can be used indoors, but it’s well-suited to outdoor use thanks to its heavy-duty construction and rust-resistant coated metal materials.
It can be easily constructed without tools, and if you need to make it bigger, you can even attach multiple pens together for an even larger set up. A door means that you and your pet can easily get in and out of the playpen without having to make awkward manoeuvres or move an entire panel out of the way.
You can set up the pen in a number of different shapes, which is useful if you have an awkwardly shaped outdoor space. If you don’t want to use it all the time, it collapses down flat for easier storage too. The playpen is available in three different sizes from 24-inches up to 40-inches. If you have the space for the larger pen, it’s recommended that you get that one, even if your dog is small, to give them maximum room.
Although quite a high price compared with some of the other pens on the list, if you need something stable and secure for outdoor playtime, it’s better to spend a bit more to get a well-made product.
How to choose the best dog playpen
Height and weight
A dog playpen obviously needs to be able to contain your pooch appropriately. The size you need will of course depend on the size of your dog, as well as their ability to jump.
If you have a large dog who can easily scale obstacles, look for a playpen which offers plenty of height, or you could also look for those which offer the option of extending the height as they grow or get older.
Another alternative is to purchase a playpen cover which should keep your dog secure, as well as providing good shade if you’re intending to use the pen outdoors.
Weight is important for two different reasons - you’ll want to be able to manoeuvre the pen reasonably easily, but if it’s very light, you might find some strong dogs can lift it up and escape. Bear this in mind in relation to your own dog when choosing a pen.
Most playpens are made from metal wiring, which acts as a sort of cage for your dog. This helps to keep them contained without being too heavy or cumbersome.
Alternatively however, you might look for pens which are made from transparent or translucent plastic sheeting. This gives you a better sight of your dog from a number of different angles, so you might consider it to be more appropriate for your needs.
Entry and exit points
The cheaper dog pens often don’t include a door or gate for the dog (or you) to get in and out of the pen. That won’t be a problem for some dogs, but if you have one that you don’t want to lift in and out of the pen, it makes sense to get one with an inbuilt door for the easiest operability.
Some pens don’t have doors, but do have sections that can easily be released and move in a door-like way. It’s generally worth paying a little extra for an inbuilt door if you can, though.
Have a think about how you intend to use your dog pen. If it’s for indoor use only, you might be able to get away with cheaper options that haven’t been designed to be particularly durable.
If however you’re wanting to give your pooch a run around outside to get some fresh air, you should look for those that feature rust-proofing, as well as coming with stakes to secure the pen to the ground. You’ll probably find that you don’t want the hassle of having to move the pen in and out of the house if you're using it frequently, so investing in one that can withstand various weathers makes a lot of sense.
Amy Davies is a writer and photographer with more than ten years’ experience working in the media. She lives with her miniature dachshund, Lola, a rescue dog who is very much the boss.
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