by | Nov 23, 2021 | Z

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2021 @ 7:13 pm.

What is the best dog playpen? We asked our parent readers and then did six more hours of research, comparing quality and features. Which were best for outdoors? Travel? Older pets? Here are the ones we think are best.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best for Puppies

Made in the USA
Quick assembly is the star feature—this playpen is super easy to set up, since the panels snap together. Plenty of space for puppies.
$59.99

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Best for Puppies: IRIS USA Dog Playpen

The best playpen for your dog depends on your needs, of course! Are we talking puppies? Or an older dog?

For puppies, we researched six different brands before deciding IRIS USA’s dog playpen is the best bet. It is both light weight and sturdy enough for a puppy (or a litter). Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to assemble and break down.

• Light weight.

• Made in USA.

• Swing door gives easy access for puppies to go in or out.

What Needs Work

• Can move around when pups push against the sides.

• Not the best choice for bigger dogs or outdoors. 

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Best for Outdoors

Easy to assemble
This playpen folds down to a compact size and can be stored in a small space. We like how sturdy it is—great for outdoors. Love the large size and versatile configurations.
$45.99

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Best for Outdoors: MidWest Foldable Metal Dog Exercise Pen

Metal playpens are best for outdoors—or around a Christmas tree to keep dogs out of a sensitive area.

We researched several metal playpens and looked for those that were easy-to-assemble and sturdy. In the end, MidWest’s Foldable Metal Dog Exercise Pen is out top pick for most folks.

What We Liked

 Folds flat for travel.

• Easy to assemble.

• Sturdy.

• Also great for rabbits.

• 30″ tall height is good size to keep even medium-size dogs inside.

What Needs Work

• Metal bends easily. Care should be taken when setting up or taking down to prevent damage.

• Can scratch a floor if used inside.

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Best for Older Pets

Also great for travel
If you are going camping with your canine friend, this pop-up style playpen is an excellent solution. We liked the airflow from the mesh and simple assembly.
$26.98

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Best for Older Pets: BODISEINT Portable Pet Playpen

If you have an older dog or need a playpen for travel, we prefer the pop-up style enclosures. They are lightweight and super easy to assemble. Because they are a bit fragile (not for dogs that are teething or destructive), they are best for older or more mellow dogs!

This model by Bodiseint is a favorite of our readers—we liked the bang for the buck here. 

What We Liked

• Great for small or older dogs.

• Easy to set up and take down.

• Affordable.

• Breathable mesh.

• Also great for cats or rabbits.

What Needs Work

• Not for dogs that are teething.

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Best For Small Dogs

Easy to fold
If you want to corral a smaller dog, this playpen does the trick. Bonus: it can be used to wall off a Christmas tree to keep your curious pooch from getting into presents.
$43.74

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Best For Small Dogs: Pet Trex Foldable Metal Pet Exercise Playpen

For small dogs, this 24″ high metal playpen is a good solution. We liked the construction quality . . . and it even comes with eight stakes for use outdoors.

What We Liked

• Easy to assemble.

• Great for camping.

• Lots of room.

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Can rust if left outside for long periods of time.

About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living off of affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet

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