Home 6 Best Dog Playpens in 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide

6 Best Dog Playpens in 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide

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puppies in a playpenWhy do you have to get your pup a playpen? Many dog parents buy crates and pet beds for their canines to make their living more comfortable. The dog pen is a useful thing for keeping your puppy away from unwanted zones in your place. The pens allow dogs to have exercises while staying inside. Opposite to crates, which are smaller to represent the den, most pens can be used without time limitations. Despite this difference, pens can help crate training very well. If your dog gets used to staying inside the enclosed space, they will be able to stay in the cage or in the pen accordingly.

As it was already said, a playpen is a totally necessary thing in the house with a new puppy. It will keep the little one away from dangers and mark his own safe space to sleep and play. The pen is usually larger than a crate thus, puppies can stay inside for a long time playing and doing all the things they need without harm. You can use the pen as a temporary accessory to contain your dog while you’re away or busy at home. Eventually, some pens are great for outdoors when pet parents want to leave dogs to play outside without direct supervision.

How To Choose The Best Dog Playpen?

Dog playpens are very different in design, size, and materials to allow canine parents to choose the one that is perfect for their needs. At first sight, there are too many options that are completely different by parameters. You need to take into consideration your personal plans regarding the usage of the pen for your dog to make the proper choice.

First, the playpens are suitable for puppies and toy to medium dog breeds. The pens we review in this article are not supposed for large or aggressive dogs because they won’t be able to contain really strong canines. If your pup is a renowned escape artist of any size, you need to put special attention when choosing the enclosure. We recommend using a heavy-duty crate or outdoor kennel for dogs that are not suitable for the standard pen.

The next thing you should take into consideration is your lifestyle and the purpose of buying a pen. What do you want to use it for? Do you have to contain your pup during weekend trips or camping? Maybe, you need a cozy private space for several young puppies in your bedroom or a safe place in your backyard for them to play? The right kind of pen depends on your personal intentions.

Does it have to be lightweight and portable or rust-resistant and spacious? All other features come from it.

Pens vs. Crates

Playpens usually are larger than crates, they provide more space for moving, not just lying and waiting for the human to come like it is in crates. Create a cozy living space for your pup and don’t feel guilty for leaving him or her closed alone. Put inside the dog bed, toys, and even doggy toilet if necessary.

Top-Rated Dog Pens Comparison Table

Name
Material
Features
Our Rating
Nova Pet Exercise Playpen
Editor's Choice 2021
metal
  • Multishaped
  • Outdoors and indoors
  • Rust and elements resistant
  • Hassle-free assembly
  • Flat storage
  • Convenient door with a lock
4.9 out of 5 stars
Check price
ESK COLLECTION Puppy Playpen
- Best Portable Pen
fabric & mesh
  • Four color options
  • Lightweight
  • Mesh roof for shadowing and protection
  • Collapsible
  • Pockets for accessories
  • Washable
4.5 out of 5 stars
Check price
MidWest Exercise Pen Outdoor
- Best Outdoor Dog Pen
metal
  • Different color options
  • Accessories available
  • Ground anchors included
  • Anti-rust coating
  • Connects to MidWest crates
4.5 out of 5 stars
Check price
Richell Convertible High Pet Playpen
- Best Barrier For Dogs
plastic
  • Plastic won’t damage floors
  • Good for dogs up to 88 lbs
  • Pet gate and divider options
  • Pets won’t climb panels
  • Improved stability
4.8 out of 5 stars
Check price
Giantex 16/8 Panel Pet Playpen for Large Dogs
- Best Large Playpen
metal
  • High enough for large dogs
  • 16-panel option provides vast space for exercise
  • Weather-resistant coating
  • Two doors for convenient access
  • Easy installation
4.6 out of 5 stars
Check price
Richell 3-in-1 Convertible Elite Pet Gate
- Best Indoor Dog Pen
wood & wire
  • Classy look
  • 3-in-1 multifunctional pet product
  • Safe for pets and kids
  • Won’t damage floors
  • Two size options available
4.7 out of 5 stars
Check price

What Am I Looking For?

Material – There are three types of materials generally used for playpens. These are metal, plastic, and fabric. Metal and plastic pens are resistant to rust and elements; therefore, they can be used outdoors in any season. Fabric playpens are suitable for short periods of time outside but, despite the water-resistant cloth, they are not weather-proof. On the other side, fabric pens are the handiest to fold and transport due to their construction.

Metal pens are the sturdiest but they can damage the hardwood floors if used indoors. Some metal xpens have protective features against scratches on the floor, so if you want to use them at home, check out their product descriptions.

Size – Usually, the playpens are purchased for pet games and exercise thus, they have to be large enough for your pup to play. Many owners put inside the pen a dog bed and training pad to potty train a young puppy. If it’s what you’re buying the pen for, be sure that there is enough space inside to provide some distance between bedding and toilet because dogs are sensitive to such things.

The height is another important parameter regarding your den. Some dogs are better jumpers than others, that’s why you should consider it when choosing the proper size of the den. Very young puppies or old dogs don’t require high pen walls. Medium dogs will benefit from higher walls instead.

Indoors or Outdoors – The purpose of using a playpen defines its features. For indoor use, pet parents have to choose products matching their décor and are easier to maintain. The pens for outdoors must be weather-resistant. Many products tailored for use outside the house have the means to attach them to the ground for securing playpen.

There are plastic pens that can be successfully used indoors and outdoors depending on pet parents’ wishes. These pens are easy to wash/ disinfect hence you can clean them after the outdoors and use them indoors right away.

Construction – Dog playpens can be solid or collapsible. The latter ones often provide several modes of use. Some multifunctional products can be assembled in different shapes and even various sizes. Few models require special tools to fold them up; the rest is easy to assemble without extra conditions.

Pet Gates Individual Reviews in 2021

#1 Nova Pet Exercise Playpen
– Best Dog Playpen

The top choice of the category is the Pet Playpen by Nova. This metal pen is multifunctional and versatile in many ways. Its 16 panels allow you to construct it in different shapes: square, rectangular, and octagon. And even the non-symmetrical L-shape. If you buy more than one playpen, then it’s possible to make a larger exercise pen for dogs or other pets like rabbits or ducks.

It is great for outdoor use but it’s good for indoors too. You can set up this pen using fewer panels to create a cozy enclosure for your pup inside the house. The tool-free assembly is the reason we recommend it to any dog owner. Fold it easily and store flat whenever you want to use this pen.

The playpen is 24” high that is enough for small and medium-sized pets to safely stay inside.

Your pets won’t hurt themselves because of rounded edges and metal stakes that keep the construction stiff. The door has a latch to lock it when needed. Besides, the door is raised under the floor to prevent puppies from slipping out.

We recommend using additional anchors when setting this pen outdoors. It will protect the whole thing from moving. The black coated metal panels are strong enough to sustain doggie teeth and are rust-resistant.

What are the downsides of this model? Well, there is a couple actually. One of them is the metal nature of the pen. When used at home, the panels can scratch the floor. Avoid placing the pen directly on the hardwood floor or something prone to damage. We would like the panels to have rubber stands for indoor use.

The other flaw depends on the nature of your pet. Some toy breed dogs are known for their ability to climb the bars. It is something dogs rarely do but if it’s your case, you probably should look for another pen. Check out the models with roofs for example.

Rundown

Aside from these relatively minor negative points, this pen is a perfect choice for most pet owners. With its versatility and durability, it will suit most of your needs as a pet parent. Superior choice!

  • Multishaped
  • Outdoors and indoors
  • Rust and elements resistant
  • Hassle-free assembly
  • Flat storage
  • Convenient door with a lock

Our rating:
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

#2 ESK COLLECTION Puppy Playpen
– Best Portable Pen

The runner up is the Puppy Playpen by ESK Collection. This kind of pen is portable ones made of fabric. It makes this model very light and easy to carry. It also is super easy to fold and collapse which is perfect for trips or temporary use. You won’t need any tools for assembly.

This is not much of an exercise pen due to its size but rather a cozy den for puppies or adult dogs. It is octagon-shaped and has a fabric floor and mesh ceiling. Its panels have mesh windows as well. You can use it as a private and safe space for your dog instead of a crate especially if you put a dog bed inside.

The strong Oxford fabric is durable and water-resistant so that cleaning the pen is a breeze. Nonetheless, young puppies tend to chew on everything and the pen may be damaged by their teeth. You need to check up your pets for bad habits before purchasing any fabric dwelling for them. For older dogs that are crate trained properly, this option is among the best. In some cases, it can make a better den for your pup than the regular crate.

The 600d Oxford cloth is strong enough to handle frequent usage. It is also waterproof for easy cleaning and protecting the floor from pet accidents. The mesh roof is a savior for those pet parents who struggle to keep their tricky fur babies inside. When the puppy pen used outdoors, the roof protects pets inside from direct sunlight and other animals.

This particular model has outer pockets to store treats and toys. You can choose from four color options that stand out from other types of playpens.

Rundown

The pen by ESK Collection is the best option for trips or camping due to its portability. It would be a good substitute for crates, especially for small pets or puppies because they need cozy space rather than a large kennel. This model can be placed literally anywhere – from your bedroom to your backyard – in minutes!

  • Four color options
  • Lightweight
  • Mesh roof for shadowing and protection
  • Collapsible
  • Pockets for accessories
  • Affordable price
  • Washable

Our rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

#3 MidWest Exercise Pen Outdoor
– Best Outdoor Dog Pen

MidWest Metal Exercise Pen is another great product for dogs. This option is considered the best among others for the outdoors. The pen has a rust-resistant coating that makes it the all-season option. This feature is a must-have for such playpens but this xpen additionally comes in with 8 ground anchors for keeping it in place. Your dog won’t upturn the pen even if they jump on the walls.

Moreover, there is a mesh top sold separately to prevent escapes and protect pets inside the pen. Another thing we like about this model is the step-through door that allows pet parents to step inside if they need to. There are MidWest wire crates compatible with the pen through the doors to create the space where your dog can sleep and play during the day. It is very handy for young puppies and house pets that are not used to the outdoors – they will feel more confident having access to their familiar crate.

Well, the assembly is a breeze due to 8 corner stabilizers and 4 thumb-snaps that comes with the 8 wire panels. There’s no need to use any tools to set up this octagon pen. It folds flat when not used to save space.

The MidWest Exercise Pen has five size options for different dogs, its largest one is 48” high. These measurements provide enough space to keep inside large pups but they should be trained to stay inside since big dogs have the power to break through if they’d like. There is a double latch on the door for security reasons.

We particularly like the nice gold color of the Zinc finish because most metal pens are black or steel. Alternative options are blue and pink coating.

Rundown

This product has great quality and looks that many will like. If you’re looking for an outdoor exercise pen this would be one of the best choices due to its versatility and additional safety accessories. The manufacturer provides pens for large breeds that are relatively rare. The high walls may help to keep the small pets inside if they are prone to escaping. 

  • Different color options
  • Big size for large breeds
  • Accessories available
  • Ground anchors included
  • Anti-rust coating
  • Connects to MidWest crates

Our rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

#4 Richell Convertible High Pet Playpen
– Best Barrier For Dogs

Here is our favorite convertible playpen for pets. The High Pet Playpen by Richell is an outstanding product by its look and features. This product represents a distinct kind of pens for dogs because it is made of heavy-duty blow-molded plastic instead of metal or cloth. Plastic resists water and elements no worse than metals do, moreover, it never has rust. You can use this pen outside due to its versatile material but it is a great option for indoors too.

First, the construction of this playpen allows using it in three ways – as a regular pen, as a room divider, and as a pet gate. Multifunctionality means pet parents have 3-in-1 with this pen. It can form a safe enclosure for your pup or a barrier in the room to keep your pet away from your guests at family meetings, for example. This product can be set up as a temporary gate to the kitchen when you don’t want your dogs there. It’s super versatile!

The second thing that makes this pet pen perfect for indoor use is its plastic base. Unlike metal wire, plastic won’t damage your floor. This feature is the less evident profit of the Richell pen than its stylish appearance.

There are 4 and 6-panel options for this model. The latter can be set up in either rectangular or hexagon-shaped pen. One panel has a lockable door in it to provide easy access no matter what kind of construction you’ve assembled. Its setup is tools-free; additionally, this pen/divider/gate has special caps to lock the panels in the right angles for extra stability depending on the type of construction.

This Richell pen is not for aggressive dogs but it is perfect for small breeds prone to climbing up the wire walls. Plastic panels of this pen don’t have horizontal bars so that pets can’t use them to escape. A real savior for their parents!

Rundown

The neutral soft tan shade of the panels will suit any décor. After all, this option is the best for indoor use as a pen or gate. It has all that a proper playpen should have and even more. Use it to calm pups up to 88 lbs.  

  • Plastic won’t damage floors
  • Good for dogs up to 88 lbs
  • Pet gate and divider options
  • Pets won’t climb panels
  • Improved stability

Our rating:
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

This Panel Pet Playpen by Giantex wins the prize for the best x-pen for large dogs. With a 40-48” height, it is suitable for almost any breed. There are options with 8 and 16 panels. We recommend dog owners purchase the 16-panel one because it provides more space for bigger dogs. If you want to install the pen outdoors, you definitely should opt for the larger one.

The 16-panel pen comes with two doors that can be placed wherever you want for easy access from different sides of the kennel. You can set up the pen in various shapes as well. Thus, pet parents can customize this model as they like by simply changing panels and doors.

Like many pens of this kind, this one doesn’t require tools during assembly. Panels are fixed with metal stakes; you have to put them out to dismantle the pen. The doors have double locks on each of them. For additional confidence, pet owners would want to anchor the pen to the ground when used outdoors but no special means for it are included. This is the only real downside we’ve found in this product.

Certainly, any pet owner should assess their pets’ temper before buying the collapsible x-pen for them. When it comes to large dogs, and especially strong and aggressive ones, their parents may face the necessity to install a heavy-duty kennel instead of a playpen because the latter won’t contain the rebellious escape artist. This is not what common dog pens are designed for.

Rundown

From many points of view, this product is perfect for large pups. It is suitable for indoors and outdoors due to its anti-rust weather-resistant coating. Storing it disassembled is easy as its setup is. The top feature of this pen, however, is the freedom to customize it depending on the pet owner’s needs. 

  • High enough for large dogs
  • 16-panel option provides vast space for exercise
  • Weather-resistant coating
  • Two doors for convenient access
  • Easy installation

Our rating:
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Bonus: Richell 3-in-1 Convertible Elite Pet Gate
– Best Indoor Dog Pen

Elite Pet Gate is the last on the list of the best playpens, although it may be the superior choice for some pet parents. This multifunctional product by Richell has the same construction idea as the Richell Convertible High Pet Playpen that was reviewed earlier. The difference is in material – this one is made of hardwood frames and wire. Looking elegant and furniture-style this product will match your interior design.

You can use it in one of three shapes – a pen, a room divider, or a pet gate. There are 4-panel and 6-panel versions of this playpen which allow dog owners to choose the proper size for them. The pet gate version of this multifunctional product is the best choice for large door openings. Unlike many standard gates, this one is larger. The lockable door can be opened with one hand for easy access. This gate is also perfect as a temporary option.

Rundown

Eventually, this pen/gate is the most versatile purchase in the long run. Pet owners will use it as a playpen for a puppy, then as a room divider or pet gate if necessary. Unlike the other pens on the list, this one is not suitable for the outdoors because of the material it’s made of. It is not for large dogs as well. Apart from it, you will get a very decent and nice product that will please your eyes just like your heart. 

  • Classy looks
  • 3-in-1 multifunctional pet product
  • Safe for pets and kids
  • Won’t damage floors
  • Two size options available

Our rating:
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

How To Introduce Your Dog To The Playpen

The playpen is a very helpful thing in the household with dogs. There are numerous ways to utilize pens inside the house or outdoors. Unfortunately, some dogs don’t like to stay in the x-pens, they start whining or try to get out. Does it mean that pens are not for such pups? Completely wrong.

husky dog in the penYou can teach your dog to stay inside the pen gradually but assertively. Basically, it is very similar to crate training technic. The first rule is to start pen training as early as possible.

Put your pup inside the enclosure for a short time while being around. Then let him/her stay in the pen for a longer period. When your pup has got used to it, go out of the room for a few minutes, then more and more. Soon you’ll be able to leave your dog to play in the pen while you’re out for hours.

Don’t Isolate The Dog To Punish

The most common mistake pet parents make is to put their dogs into the pen as a punishment for unappropriated behavior. It’s no surprise pups don’t like pens. Don’t do this if you want to use playpens with your dog. Do a little trick instead – put a treat or a favorite dog’s toy inside the pen and close the door. You will see that your dog will go around and try to get into the pen. Just let the dog crave it for some time, don’t hurry! Then let your pup in. Repeat. If you do it right, this positive reinforcement may help you get your dog used to a pen seamlessly.

Whining Is Not an Obstacle

Puppy crying in the crate or playpen. A totally heartbreaking thing for most pet parents. Don’t give up. Every dog is not very happy to stay closed for the first time. You just have to get over it. Keep it cool, don’t show any reaction to your dog’s whining or barking while they are in the pen. Don’t pay attention, look, or sigh, your dog shouldn’t think vocalizing can force you to release him or her from the enclosure. Try to calm down your pup before you open the pen. The more patient you are during the training, the more efficient it will be overall.

Conclusion

Dog exercise pens are great things for comfortable living with your fur babies. They will come in handy in numerous situations – if chosen right. In this review, you will find the top products for any category of pens you may need. Check out the perfect options for indoors or outdoors, or get a versatile 3-in-1 model if you want to try. The fabric foldable pen is the savior for many dog owners as well.

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