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Best dog playpen: Keep your canine contained when necessary

Best dog playpen
(Image credit: Getty )

Having the best dog playpen is worth its weight in gold. It provides a great way of ensuring your pooch is kept within a confined but reasonably large space and it helps to ensure they are safe and secure whether they're inside or out.

Many owners use playpens indoors to prevent their dog from roaming into areas they shouldn't. It enables them to keep an eye on a canine, especially if they are proving to be destructive when you're not around. Having a playpen outdoors is also useful if you want a dog to fill their lungs with fresh air but worry they may run away or be attacked by other animals. They can be preferable to the best dog crates in situations such as those.

Since most have a lot of room to move around in, a playpen can easily become an exercise space. With certain models, you may even be able to expand the pen to suit particular requirements – perhaps widening it to allow dogs to stretch their legs and making it smaller if you simply want them to sleep indoors without being distracted.

As you'll see from our selection below, the playpens also come in a variety of materials. Which you choose will depend mainly on where you are going to use it. If your pen is going to be mainly kept outdoors, it's a good idea to avoid metal which can rust when it gets wet. Heavy-duty plastic is preferable outside although you could also opt for cloth and mesh which are water-resistant and easily cleaned.

Indoors is a different matter. Any material, including metal, will be absolutely fine although your main concern is going to be how it looks. A playpen can get away with being ugly when it's in the yard but bring one inside and you're going to be seeing it much more often. If it sticks out like a sore thumb and fails to blend in with your décor, you're going to end up disliking it.

As for size, well, the bigger the better really. At the very least make sure there is sufficient room for your dog to lie down, with extra space for several of the best dog toys too. You should also think about whether or not your pooch would be able to leap over the sides: the larger the dog, the steeper the sides will need to be.

Consider how your dog will legitimately get in and out of the playpen as well. If you're creating a self-space for a canine and want them to come and go whenever they please, then a swinging door is ideal. But if it's lockable as well, that's all the better, because it widens the scope of how you can use it. Finally, if you're going to be taking your playpen on your travels, bear in mind the range of portables. Here's our pick of the best dog playpens in 2022.

PetRadar’s pick of the best dog playpens 

MidWest dog playpenBest buy award

(Image credit: MidWest)

MidWest Foldable Metal Dog Exercise Pen

Best overall dog playpen

Specifications

Measurements: 62 x 62 x 24 inches
Weight: 17.8lbs
Materials: Metal Wire / Gold Zinc finish

Reasons to buy

+
Folds flat 
+
Durable gold zinc finish  
+
Easy assembly  

Reasons to avoid

-
 Not suitable for very large dogs  

 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 dog playpenPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon Basics)

Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Pet Exercise and Playpen

Best budget dog playpen

Specifications

Measurements: 24 inches (XS) up to 48 inches (L)
Weight: Variety of weights
Materials: Iron metal

Reasons to buy

+
Good value 
+
Variety of sizes 
+
For indoor or outdoor use 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Basic option has no door  

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 dog playpenPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: MAGINELS)

MAGINELS Pet Playpen Puppy Crate

Best dog pen for puppies

Specifications

Measurements: 31.5 x 21 x 3inches (basic size)
Weight: 11 pounds
Materials: Steel and Plastic

Reasons to buy

+
Highly configurable  
+
Easy to assemble and disassemble  

Reasons to avoid

-
Very boisterous dogs may damage it 
-
Fairly high price  

 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.

North States MyPet Petyard Passage Playpen

(Image credit: Amazon)

North States MyPet Petyard Passage Playpen

Best dog playpen with lockable pet door

Specifications

Measurements: 35.25 x 10.3 x 26.5 inches
Weight: 22 lbs
Material: Plastic

Reasons to buy

+
Convenient locking pet door
+
Configurable for any space
+
Foldable panels for easy portability

Reasons to avoid

-
Not tall enough for big dogs

Far and away one of the best and most popular doggy playpens around, this model features an ingenious swinging pet door that allows your pup to enter and exit the playpen as they please, but that also locks for those times when you're wanting to keep your furry friend securely contained. 

Made from strong and durable plastic and with an attractive espresso brown finish that fits flawlessly with any decor, this playpen has eight panels that can be made bigger or smaller and configured to fit any space. So it's ideal for both play times and for when you're wanting to create a crate for training or sleep purposes.

The panels are foldable and come with a convenient travel strap, which makes this lightweight playpen ideal for taking with you wherever you go. It also has skid-resistant pads which hold it in place and protect your floors.

As far as we can tell, the only downside to this playpen is the side of the panels themselves. Measuring 26-inches in height, they're brilliant for containing small to medium sized breeds, but we wouldn't recommend this model for humongous hounds, who will easily be able to clamber over the panels and escape. 

Ruff ’n Ruffus dog playpenPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Ruff ’n Ruffus)

Ruff ’n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen

Best dog playpen for travel

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with travel case and travel bowl
+
Easy construction   
+
Variety of sizes  

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly high price 

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 dog playpenPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: New World)

New World Pet Products Foldable Metal Exercise Pen X-Large

Best dog playpen for large dogs

Specifications

Measurements: 62 x 48 x 62 inches
Weight: 29.2lbs
Materials: Metal wire

Reasons to buy

+
Easy construction 
+
Ideal for outdoor use 
+
Suitable for very large dogs  

Reasons to avoid

-
 No door 

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 dog playpenPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: BestPet)

BestPet Pet Playpen Dog Kennel 8 Panel Folding Metal Exercise Pen

Best outdoor dog playpen

Specifications

Measurements: 40 x 30 x 32 inches
Weight: 52.8lbs
Materials: Metal

Reasons to buy

+
Heavy duty  
+
Easy to construct  
+
Door included

Reasons to avoid

-
 High price 

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. 

Best dog playpen

(Image credit: Amazon)

Unipaws six-panel walkthrough playpen

Best versatile dog playpen

Specifications

Measurements: 46.3 inches x 24 inches (rectangle)
Weight: 46.25lbs
Materials: Pressed wood and wire

Reasons to buy

+
Looks amazingly stylish
+
Can be configured in many ways
+
Has anti-scratch feet

Reasons to avoid

-
Indoor use only

If you're looking for a stylish playpen that will fit well in most homes, then this product by Unipaws should be high on your list. It's been produced using strong pressed wood and wire and, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, it's also durable and, just as importantly, versatile too.

Since it consists of six foldable panels, you can decide how you want to arrange it. You could, for example, opt for a simple rectangle or you may even want to spread it across a wide doorway, making an entire room a pen. If you place it against a corner wall you could have a narrow playpen five panels long. Maybe you want a hexagon. It really is up to you and your imagination, helped by hinges that rotate 360 degrees.

Whichever option you choose, your setup will benefit from a pet gate, making access easy. This is lockable for added peace of mind and since the gaps between the bars are just 1.3 inches, there's little chance of escape elsewhere. 

The playpen also sits on four support feet which should ensure it doesn't get knocked over and, to protect your wooden floors, there are anti-scratch pads. It's just a shame it's indoors-only although we suspect the wood and wires would get ruined outside.

How to choose the best dog playpen

best dog playpen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

Materials 

 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.

Outdoor options  

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 freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.