A dog playpen doesn’t seem like an important addition to your list of canine essentials, until you discover your perfectly manicured turf grass decimated by your puppy’s claws.
On a bad day, your exquisite, expensive woodwork can be at the receiving end of your pet’s energy expending needs.
A playpen keeps them contained. It gives them a limited but sufficient space to play around, keeping your furniture and lawn safe from potential damage.
Despite being one of the simplest pet products, playpens are available in a mind-boggling variety of designs, sizes and configurations.
Here’s some help.
Dog Playpen Review Center 2019
|#1 - MidWest Homes for Pets Foldable Metal Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen||99%|
|#2 - IRIS Exercise Panel Pet Playpen with Door||96%|
|#3 - ESK COLLECTION Blue 45" Pet Puppy Dog Playpen Exercise Pen Kennel||93%|
|#4 - Pet Trex 8 Panel Pen Exercise Playpen for Dogs with High Panel and Gate||89%|
|#5 - EliteField 2-Door Soft Pet Playpen||85%|
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Now that you’ve seen our top 5 recommendations, we’ll give you more detail on each of them, including why we liked them. When you’re ready, click the below buttons to head on over to Amazon to get the best price!
#1 – MidWest Homes for Pets Foldable Metal Exercise Pen
Our first pick is this incredibly durable outdoor playpen from Midwest. Made from heavy-gauge steel, this one will keep your dog confined to their personal play area irrespective of their size.
Even the sneakiest, escape artist would have their task cut out trying to break their way out of this.
The simple, wireframe design makes it a breeze to install. Also, this keeps things bright and airy, just the way doggies like it.
Easy to secure
The Midwest Foldable playpen consists of 8, interconnecting metal wire panels. Each panel stands 36-inches tall and 24-inches wide, giving your pet a total play area of 16-square feet.
8-ground anchors and corner stabilizers keep it grounded and secured. It won’t tip over even on a windy day or with your dog pushing against it. The hardware included in the package is plastic. But the quality is excellent.
The panels are coated with a protective e-coat finish that keeps it impervious to rust. However, we recommend that you store it indoors after use. It collapses down completely flat to a compact size after all.
Multiple-size and color options
The playpen is available in a five size increments. The smallest size for small dogs measures 24”x24” (each panel) whereas the largest-size measures 24” x 48”.
Also, you can choose a door-less design or one with two doors. The doored design allows you or your kids easy access to the playpen without having to disconnect one of the panels.
You can also choose from an all-black version or a golden-zinc one. Comes with a one-year warranty.
- Easy to install and fold after use
- 8 interconnecting panels
- 8 ground stakes and thumb-snaps
- Rust resistant Black e-coat finish or Gold-zinc finish
- Available in Five sizes and two colors
- Great customer reviews all over
- Attractive price tag
#2 – IRIS Exercise Panel Pet Playpen with Door
The IRIS Exercise Panel is a lightweight, sturdy, playpen that’s best suited for small dogs and puppies. It consists of 8 interlocking panels that give your pet a luxurious 21-square feet play area.
Allows you to get along with your household chores without a rambunctious puppy running amok in the house.
Sturdy, plastic construction
We know exactly what just popped up in your mind. How can a plastic playpen withstand the constant pushing and battering that an energetic pup can subject it to?
Don’t let the unassuming design fool you. This is an incredibly sturdy unit. The plastic panels are thick and stay grounded. Unless you have a battering ram for a pet, this should easily hold up and keep your them contained.
It weighs just 21 lbs. So, it’s easy to move outdoors if need be.
While the manufacturer recommended way of installation is to form an octagon, you can actually connect it just about any way that you want to. A square, rectangle, it can be arranged in just about any shape that works for you.
Easy installation, door for quick access
The IRIS playpen features slide-in rods that make it extremely easy to assemble and dismantle. Just lift the rods to disconnect the panels and fold them away for storage or for transport.
There have been a few complaints about the caps for these connecting rods falling off. Just use some glue and they should be fine.
Accessing the playpen is easy because doesn’t have a roof. You can scoop off puppy litter or refill the water bottle with ease. Also, it features a double-latched door that allows your pet to bound outside easily when it’s time for a break.
- Lightweight but sturdy playpen
- 21-sqaure feet play area for your pets
- Best suited for small dogs and puppies
- Easy installation and dismantling
- Double-latched door for quick access
- Can be installed in just about any shape
- Budget priced unit
#3 – ESK COLLECTION Playpen
Another one for those tiny energy bundles.
This is the soft, playpen from Esk Collection that creates a meshed, all-enclosed, play/containment area for small dog breeds or puppies.
It has a protective fabric covering with see-through windows on all sides. Zippered walls keep the puppy from clawing or chewing their way out and you can keep an eye on them all the time. A win-win for everybody.
Set up in two minutes
Setting up this puppy playpen is as easy as attaching the zippered top and bottom panels. The sides pop out into shape pretty easily. Most customers are able to get this ready in just about two minutes.
Ditto with tearing it down for storage.
Once collapsed, it neatly tucks into the travel tote that’s included in the package. Makes for a great, portable dog playpen.
It stands 24” tall which more than suffices for puppies, small breeds and cats.
Most pet parents are concerned about their puppies tipping this over or chewing their way through the mesh. Not possible. The fabric is incredibly durable and can easily withstand normal attempts at chewing.
Zippered sides keep the puppy tucked in
A lot of the initial dog playpens had Velcro on the top and bottom panels to make it easier to attach and remove. However, it didn’t take long for puppies to figure out a way to escape. So, Esk Collection has replaced the Velcro with metallic zippers. This will be impossible to break out of. Also, you can just unzip the bottom panel if you are installing the playpen in the lawn.
Access to the inside of the play area is through two zippered doors and gives you ample room to refill the water or remove the litter box (for cats).
If you have a small dog breed or cat that needs to be contained while you can keep an eye on them, there’s no better choice.
- Compact, puppy playpen with roof
- See-through mesh walls and sunroof
- Zippered doors on the sides for easy access
- Removable and washable bottom panel
- Waterproof fabric
- Easy to install
#4 – Pet Trex 8 Panel Pen Exercise Playpen
The Pet Trex 8 Panel Pen Exercise Playpen is a great aid for potty-training a puppy. It is a budget-priced playpen that sets up fast and keeps your puppy confined inside until they are ready to be taken outside for potty time.
8, lightweight, interconnecting metal panels come together to complete what is a simple, but effective design.
Durable, metal construction
The panels are made of tough stainless steel wireframe and feature a protective Electro-Coat finish that keeps it from rusting. It is rated for use with puppies that are up to 40 pounds and at a price tag that’s at least 50% less than the nearest competition, it offers phenomenal value.
Slide bolt latches make set up a cakewalk. Just slide in the rods and the panels lock into place.
However, the gauge of the steel isn’t the heaviest that we have seen. It is very durable, mind you. But may not be as heavy as the Midwest one in this list.
If your puppy leans against it a lot, it might deform the shape of the interconnected octagon or rectangle, whatever the shape that you have set it up with. That’s not a biggie. And an easy workaround would be to secure the panels using some extra cable ties.
Also, standing 24”x 24” per panel, the Pet Trex barely suffices for a puppy that’s a few weeks old at best. If you feel that an upgrade might be required sooner than you expect to, then you can opt for the 30-inch version instead.
Doggy door with Double latches
A convenient doggy door gives you access to the inside of the cage and allows the puppy to get in and out pretty easily.
The door features a heavy duty stainless steel double-latch that thwarts breakout attempts.
When not in use, the Pet trex dog exercise pen stores flat and can easily be stored in a corner of the house.
- Budget-priced playpen
- Metal panels with weatherproof coating
- Double steel latch on the door
- Available in two sizes, 24-inches and 30-inches
- Panels that can be interconnected to form any shape
#5 – EliteField 2-Door Soft Pet Playpen
This playpen for dogs is identical to the #3 pick in this list of best dog playpens, the Esk Collection model. However, this one stands 32-inches tall. That’s at least 8-inches taller than any other competition.
If you feel that your puppy has a future in the NBA and might outgrow the 24-inch height a lot sooner than you imagine, then this one from Elitefield might be better bet.
Roomy dog exercise pen with a roof
There’s plenty of room for your puppy to move around inside this playpen. This means that for puppies being toilet trained, there’s ample room to add potty pads and water bottles.
The removable bottom surface is waterproof and there are two layers of overlapping zippers protecting it. This ensures that nothing spills out of it.
You can install this indoors on hardwood or carpet without any worries whatsoever. If you are venturing outside, four ground stakes keep you covered.
The fabric and the construction is top-notch. It can easily withstand the abuse that comes with rambunctious puppies trying to be contained.
Mesh doors all around
There’s nothing more important than keeping an eye on your puppy at all times, even when they are inside playpens. The see-through mesh walls on the sides give you the much desired peace of mind about the safety of your little ones.
This also ensures that your puppy can watch you at all times from the airy and bright confines of their new play area.
Sets up and collapses in the blink of an eye and extremely easy to move around the house if need be.
- Cheap, dog play pen with a roof
- 32” high side walls
- Removable bottom and top panels
- Waterproof fabric
- Spill proof design
- Bright and airy due to mesh side walls
- Easy to install and collapse
- Ground stakes for outdoor use
Best Dog Playpen Buying Guide
One of the best birthday or Christmas presents for dogs this year is the dog playpen. Getting a dog play pen is the perfect way to give your dog some exercise without the danger of him or her running out into the street, as well as the perfect way to give them their own space indoors. There are lots of advantages to dog playpens, serving as an outdoor dog kennel, a spacious indoor dog crate and a whole lot more.
But choosing the best pet playpen can be pretty difficult. There are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of choices out there and dozens of different factors to consider. Choosing a pet play pen isn’t like choosing a blender. You want the best for your dog. You choose our doggie playpen with the same amount of care and precision that you choose toys for your children; to make sure that they get enough space, are safe and secure and that the pet pen is exactly what they need.
That’s why we have created this dog play pens buying guide. This guide will help you decide what kind of puppy playpen to get if your dog is still growing, whether you need a plastic playpen or one made of some other material and an in-depth look at some of the other factors that will influence your decision. Let’s get started.
How Will You Use it?
The first thing that you have to decide is how you will your playpen. If you are using it as a temporary play area outside, then your needs are going to be very different than someone looking for a an indoor dog pen with floor to give their puppy their own space and keep them out of trouble while they are at work. If you are leaving your dog in their indoor dog pen for several hours at a time, then you are going to need room for a dog bed, automatic dog feeder and dog bowl for water.
If you are looking for a collapsible dog pen for outside exercise, then you are going to need plenty of space for your dog to run around, a dog house or a roof for shade and more. You can get around the space problem with additions like a dog treadmill or interactive dog toys that keep them running in circles and occupied while they are outside, but the bottom line is that you are going to be looking for a very different doggie play pen than someone whose focus is preventing destruction and puppy “accidents” while they are at work.
So, before you begin shopping or even deciding what features you want; think about how you are most likely to use your playpen for puppy. That way, you will be ahead of the game when evaluating things like features, size and price.
Things to consider while buying puppy playpens
As we said earlier, the purpose of a playpen is very simple. To keep your dog or your puppy safe and secure inside the play area. However, the reasons for buying dog playpens vary from one dog parent to the other. And therein lies the difference.
The intended use: What is the intended use of the playpen? Do you want a durable playpen that can be installed in the lawn giving your dog ample room to play? Then you might want to check out the hardwire metal dog exercise pen from Midwest. It gives your dog a 16-square feet play area and is best suited for outdoor use. For indoor use or for potty training, even the soft playpens from Esk and Elitefield will do fine.
The size of your pet: Always consider the size of the pet before selecting a playpen. You want the pet to have ample room for rest and play. But it is also important to select playpens that they cannot break out of. With puppies, consider the possibility that your puppy might outgrow the play pen in a few months.
Material: While metal is the most desirable playpen material for obvious reasons, it is not always a prerequisite. Plastic playpens like the IRIS Exercise Panel Pet Playpen are cheaper and are equally durable. Mesh playpens are best suited for puppies and well-behaved small breed dogs. If your dog is a certified chewer, then it might not be the best of options at hand.
Roof: Not all playpens have a roof. But not all pet parents look for playpens with a roof. For outdoor use, playpens like the Midwest foldable or the Pet Trex 8 panel roof-less ones work best. If you feel that the puppy might pole vault their way out, look for a playpen with a roof.
Price: Last but not the least, always consider the price as the least important variable. If you try to cut corners with the price, you might end up with a cheaply made gimcrack that your puppy will destroy in no time. Having said that, we have included some good quality playpen for dogs at prices that don’t break the bank. Hope that one of these works for you.
We spent days researching dog playpens. Big playpens, small ones, indoor, outdoor, interconnecting panels, metal, plastic, playpens with roof, with a cover, for large and small dogs and whatnot! Whew!
We met dog breeders, lawn care companies, families with kids, empty nesters, seniors, recent customers for some of these products, past customers, sales guys and pet forum moderators.
Lastly, we sifted through thousands of product reviews. In the end, we were able to narrow down on what we believe are the best dog playpens that offer a great combination of features and value for money.
The size of your playpen will depend upon several factors. One of the major ones things to consider in dog play pens is what breed of dog you own. But you also need to decide on a sort of pet playpens floor plan. For example, if this is an outside playpen, are you going to be including anything large like cooling pads for dogs, puzzle toys for dogs that take up a lot of space or an area for dog food and water? If you have a feeding area for wet dog food or dry dog food, then you are going to need to keep it separate from the rest of the large dog playpen so that your pup doesn’t knock over the water or spread the food everywhere.
Puppy play pens can obviously be smaller than dog play pens for full-size canines, but you also have to consider how quickly dogs grow and whether you will want to replace a cheap dog playpen with another one down the road or get the best dog playpen you can right now. You also want to make sure that they have plenty of room to get excited and run (if your dog is an escape artist). Obviously, the whole point of an outside playpen is so that you don’t have to go with a dog collar and chain when they are in the yard. A GPS tracker for dogs can be a useful backup plan, but making sure that they don’t feel restricted and want to escape is a much better idea.
Now, let’s look at some common dog breeds and how the breed of your dog affects the size of your outside playpen for dogs.
Larger breeds are obviously going to be the most expensive and difficult when it comes to an exercise playpen for dogs. That’s because they need a whole lot more space than the smallest breeds. Large dog breeds like the Great Dane, Newfoundland, Neapolitan Mastiff or English Mastiff are going to need a much bigger large dog playpen with top because they can easily jump over most of the ones that are out there.
With medium breeds, such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters and Beagles, you can go with an average-sized outdoor playpen. Generally, playpens are designed with medium dogs in mind, although some of them actually specify what size of dog works best with that particular playpen.
Small breeds are the easiest to accommodate. They don’t need nearly as much space to run around and you can get away with a fairly inexpensive outdoor playpen and still give them plenty of space and include room for them to eat. You may want to utilize a tool like dog activity monitors that will let you know whether your dog is on the move and getting enough exercise in their pen or whether you need to expand it and give them some more space. But almost any outdoor kennel out there will work for smaller breeds like the bichon frise, Chihuahua, poodle, Pomeranian, Terriers or toy dogs.
Indoors vs. Outdoor Playpens
You will have to determine whether your playpen is going to be an outdoor playpen or an inside playpen; at the same time you determine the size you need. Some playpens may even work well as both if they are easily collapsible and transportable. There are plenty of folding playpens that can be set up in literally seconds and then moved indoors or outdoors when needed.
The thing that you have to remember about indoor versus outdoor playpens is that there are lots of different materials that these playpens come in. Some materials work better indoors. There are three main materials that playpens are made from, but only some of them are suitable for permanent installation out in the yard.
There are also considerations when it comes to indoor playpens. For example, if your puppy is using a pad indoors to go to the bathroom, then you might want to go with a metal or plastic playpen that can be easily cleaned because materials like mesh are difficult to clean urine from and will begin to smell after a while.
So, there are definitely some considerations between indoor and outdoor playpens for your dog. Whether yours is a foldable playpen that can easily be transported, if it can stand up to the weather and if it is suitable for indoor, long-term use are just a few of these considerations. Let’s get into the construction materials a little deeper.
The material that you choose for your playpen for dogs is also important. There are three main materials that these dog playpens are made out of. These three main materials include steel, plastic and mesh. You can also find wood doggy playpens, but they are less common.
You have to consider the material that your playpen is made out of carefully, because the material you choose will affect almost every other factor. For example, steel playpens are much more durable than mesh or plastic. But steel playpens are also more expensive. So, the material can affect both the durability and stability of your playpen as well as the price.
But the material that you use can also affect other factors. For example, if you were to install a mesh playpen outside, there is a good chance that it can get blown away in a high wind. Some playpens provide stakes so that you can stabilize them, but that is no guarantee that it will be there after a storm. Metal playpens, on the other hand, are much more likely to ride out high winds.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to playpen material. Let’s take a close look at the three main materials and their advantages and disadvantages.
Metal playpens are more expensive than the other materials out there, but they are also more durable. A metal playpen is going to last you for a long time. However, you also want to make sure that you choose the right kind of metal. If you have a steel playpen that has the ability to rust, and you leave it out in the rain, then it is going to look ugly and have less security than it did before. Stainless steel that doesn’t rust may be your best option.
The playpens made of plastic are a lot more lightweight than steel playpens, but they are also the best playpens when it comes to trying to bridge the gap between price and stability. A mesh playpen is going to blow away quickly when the wind picks up, but a play pen made out of plastic may not. On the other hand, plastic playpens are a lot less expensive than metal ones, but not nearly as sturdy.
Finally, you can choose mesh playpens, which are made of even cheaper materials and cost less than plastic or steel, but you are pretty much restricted to using them indoors. Mesh playpens are lightweight, easy to set up and can be transported with no problem, but they have disadvantages as well; like not being able to use them outside. However, most of the indoor dog pen with floor options are mesh. Another advantage that you may not have thought of is that a dog harness or dog collar may easily get caught on metal playpens, but this is much less likely with mesh.
Ease of Setup
Another thing that you want to consider is how easy the unit is to set up. If you are setting up the playpen permanently in your home or out in the backyard, this is not as big of a consideration. However, most people want portability and that means breaking it down and moving it somewhere else when they want to.
Some units are made to be portable. They either collapse or fold up into an easy to carry package, or they break down into panels that you can stack and easily move. These portable units are very useful, but they also have less stability then playpens that are permanent fixtures in the backyard.
On the other hand, there are playpens that you install permanently and join the panels together with pins or ties that make it a much more stable unit; but also make it extremely difficult to move. You have to weigh the stability against how often you are going to have to transport it somewhere else.
Finally, you want to consider expansion, which we will get into in more detail shortly. If you have to expand your playpen at some point, then you want to make sure that it is not too difficult to tear apart and add panels to. If you’re concerned about expansion in a door way, you may want to consider a dog gate.
The roof is another thing that you’ll need to consider when choosing an outside playpen. You should not need a roof for an indoor playpen unless your dog is an escape artist and tears apart the house while you are away. But for yards they have no fencing where the solution is a doggy playpen that is located outdoors, a roof might just be the exact solution you need.
Roofing provides more than just security to keep your dog from getting out. Roofs also provide shade. You can do a lot with accessories like cooling vests for dogs, but you still want to provide them with as much shade as possible and that’s where a roof can come in. Even if your dog doesn’t get out regularly, setting up a shaded area will help them to stay comfortable inside of their outside playpen for dogs.
Unfortunately, many of the dog playpens on the market right now do not come with roofs. This is something that you have to buy separately, and it is not always available. That’s why you need to choose your dog pen carefully to make sure that you are able to add a roof later on if you want to.
Whether or not you can expand your dog play area as your puppy grows will depend upon what sort of playpen you purchase in the first place. There are a lot of choices out there, but not that many offer expandability. Some of these playpens are universal and work with extra panels that you purchase from the company to make your playpen as large as you want.
If you are getting a play area for your puppy, then you may want to consider getting one that has room to grow. Being able to add panels later on as your dog grows can be extremely useful because otherwise, you will have to either stop using the playpen; or you will have to replace it with a larger one.
Expandable playpens usually are composed of universal panels that fit together in any direction. The model that you buy may have extra panels that you don’t need it first, or you may have to go to the manufacturer website and order more panels. In either case, you should be able to extend it to fit as much space you happen to have in your yard or apartment.
If your dog is already full grown, then you may not have to worry as much about expandability as those that are tasked with raising a puppy. But if you decide to get another dog later on, then you are going to need enough room for both dogs to be able to use the playpen effectively.
The style may not seem like an important consideration, but it goes right along with the material that you use. Remember, this may be a permanent fixture in your yard or inside your home. That means that you want it to look as nice and stylish as possible.
This starts with choosing the material that both fits your needs and looks great. Metal playpens are kind of Spartan; but they can be painted in bright colors to fit your unique style. Plastic cages also have various paint options available. Mesh is by far the most stylish type of dog playpen available on the market. Mesh playpens come with contrasting colors and pinstripes or other style marks that make them look great no matter where you put them up.
This should be one of the last things that you look at though, because other – more important – considerations like whether your dog playpen has enough space or whether it will keep your dog secure are much more important. However, if you have narrowed down your choices to several, then you may as well think about style.
Of course, price is something that you need to consider, but it should be one of the last things that you consider, because even if you spend more on a solid playpen that is going to last you for years or decades, you will be saving money. That doesn’t help much if you are on a budget, so if you have a limited amount to spend, and you need a playpen right now, then you may want to go with one of the cheaper options. However, if you have enough money to spend on a better one and you think it will be useful later, then you may want to go with a bigger price tag so that you can save money later on and get a better quality playpen for your dog.
Other Features & Accessories
There may be other accessories to consider. For example, if your dog gets anxiety and chews everything up inside the playpen, then you may want to get steel dog bowls and something like one of the indestructible dog beds. There are a lot of additional accessories out there that go with your playpen, and it all depends on your dog’s personality and what you want to provide in that playpen. For example, you could place a feeding area with dog bowls and an inexhaustible feeder for both water and food, as well as a sheltered dog house to keep them out of the sun. You can also provide them with toys to play with so that they keep occupied while they are in the playpen and do not try to escape. There are plenty of additional accessories to consider when you are buying your first dog pen no matter what breed, size or activity level of your dog.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that there are plenty of things that you need to consider when choosing a dog playpen. The size and breed of your dog are just two of those considerations. You also need to consider where you are going to be using the playpen so that you know what material to get. Some materials work better indoors, while others are more suited for an outdoor climate where storms and high winds can carry them away.
Some of the other considerations include the material that you are buying for durability, the expandability of the playpen so that you can keep using the same one whether your dog is a puppy or a full grown mutt, and the ability to move your playpen from an indoor set up to an outdoor one in very little time. Keep all these things in mind when you’re buying a dog playpen.