When training a new puppy or getting an adopted dog used to your household, crate training can be invaluable as a way to give your dog a safe place that is only theirs while they learn the rules. Primarily used for housebreaking, the theory goes that a crate creates a “den” for your pup and dogs don’t like to soil their den.
While the science there isn’t exactly proven, the method is. Many well-behaved dogs were trained with the crate method, which can be used as a way to keep a dog on a tight schedule for going out and for sleep. After the initial training period is over, many dogs will continue to use an open crate as a bed, which can save the frustration of keeping them out of yours or off of furniture.
Crates are also the safest method for transporting a dog. Having a crate for the house and one installed in your car ensure that your pooch will remain relatively still while the car is moving. This will prevent injury for them and could prevent an accident for you. There are generally three different styles: plastic or flight crates, fabric foldable crates, and metal collapsible crates.
Crates aren’t a total solution as some dogs can see them as frustrating and anxiety-producing. Given the success of them as a training tool, though, they’re a great option. Here’s our list of the top five best dog crates for everything from your tiny puppy to your full-grown mutt.
1. MidWest iCrate Pet Crates
Probably the gold standard for convenience in dog crates, this MidWest product is the ubiquitous metal crate. It’s simple, easy to assemble and use, and folds flat for easy storage and transport. The double door version is especially useful since it can be used in different orientations in cars. I’ve owned two of these at different points and have always found them useful. In a pinch, they can be used as travel cages for other animals, too. MidWest makes pet beds and polyester covers for these crates.
Price: $56.99 for 42-inch double door (53 percent off MSRP)
- Very durable
- Easy to transport
- Simple setup
- Not solid-sided
- Some units have sharp edges
- Pan is flimsy
2. Casual Home 600-44 Pet Crate End Table
If you only need something for a well-appointed living room, consider a crate made to blend in. This end table model will perform all the necessary functions of a dog crate without being an eyesore in your living room. Since it doubles as an end table, you won’t give up any needed floor space, either. Also available in white and black, this gives you a couple of options. Especially in tiny spaces, having dual-function furniture is a must. Even after training, this will serve as a perfect dog bed. Other brands have models for larger breeds.
Price: $86.65 for 24-inch size (26 percent off MSRP)
- Attractive furniture design
- Dual purpose
- Not made to be used in the car
3. Petsfit Travel Pet Home Indoor/Outdoor Collapsible Soft Dog Crate
For dogs that aren’t prone to chewing or otherwise destroying things, this soft dog crate is a great travel option. Built for ventilation, this is a good solution if you need your dog to be crated while outside. This will work pretty much anywhere, though, and the metal locking frame sets up in seconds. A good option for maximum dog comfort.
Price: $49.99 for medium to large dogs (50 percent off MSRP)
- Ultra portable
- Good ventilation
- Flaps roll up for use as a bed
- Not as durable as other designs
- Not an option for destructive dogs
Find more Petsfit Travel Pet Home Indoor/Outdoor Collapsible Soft Dog Crate information and reviews here.
4. Petmate Sky Kennel
When it comes to flying with your dog, the plastic flight crate is the only option. The heavy duty plastic shell and durable door meet airline requirements for animals and this form factor will keep your pet safe while airborne. This model comes with a food and water dish that clip to the inside of the door. With windows on all four sides, it’s designed for maximum ventilation. It even includes a “live animals” sticker so there can be no confusion.
Price: $130.41 for extra large (62 percent off MSRP)
- Very durable
- The only option for flying
- Corrosion resistant fittings
- Doesn’t collapse fully
- Relatively large
5. Advantek Pet Gazebo Modular Outdoor Dog Kennel
If you’re looking for something a bit larger to use in the yard, consider a kennel-style enclosure. This will give your dog more freedom to move around without the danger of wandering off. This could also be used for training purposes. We don’t recommend sticking your dog in one of these alone for hours at a time, but it can be a useful product while you’re working in the yard or to get them to associate a certain area of the yard as theirs. This model includes a weatherproof polyurethane cover to keep rain and sun off your dogs. This one is the medium size and is good for up to 100 pounds at 60 inches per side. They also make a large 90 inch model and a small 48 inch model. You can buy a nylon tote for travel and storage and ground stakes to keep it in place on your lawn.
Price: $129.88 (32 percent off MSRP)
- Ideal for yard use
- Large enough to let your pet move around
- Polyurethane cover provides shade
- Can’t be used in the house or car
- Dog could dig underneath and escape
- Not super portable
6. MidWest Homes for Pets Foldable Metal Exercise Pen
Another option from MidWest, this one is like the option above and can work both inside and outside of the house. By skipping the gazebo topper, they’ve made this one considerably cheaper, in a range of panel heights. Each of them provide 16 square feet of space for your dog to move around. It won’t contain a rowdy dog, but it will work just fine for many a pooch.
Price: $36.99 to 63.20
- Folds flat for storage and travel
- Available in five sizes
- Available with door or without
- Includes anchors and corner stabilizers
- Can’t be used in the car
- Dog could dig underneath and escape
- Rowdy dogs could potentially knock it over
7. ProSelect Empire Dog Cage
If your dog is either aggressive or a world-class escape artist, you’ll want to look at this and the next pick on our list. This one is a very tough crate meant to resist even the most persistently destructive dogs. The 20-gauge steel tubing is fused together with heavy-duty welding, all perched atop locking casters. You’ll need the casters as this weighs over 70 pounds. If your dog has destroyed everything else, try this one.
Price: $344.99 to $501.53 (14 percent off MSRP)
- Heavy-duty bars prevent destruction
- Locking casters
- Dual door latches
- Not intended for travel
8. Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate
Another durable option is this molded plastic crate from Gunner Kennels. While a very determined chewer could probably work their way out of this, for all other applications, this would offer the best protection. It’s still on the heavy side at 60 pounds, but this more closely resembles the Petmate Sky Kennel above and will work for flying and especially for working dogs in vehicles. There are tie downs and durable handles to make transport easier, while the front door features two locking mechanisms. The first is a keyed door latch, while two smaller locks secure the top and bottom of the door. The door itself is reversible to suit your vehicle. This one works for dogs up to 75 pounds, while the G1 Large is for dogs up to 110 pounds. All Gunner Kennels are made in the U.S.A.
- Keyed locking door
- Swappable stainless steel hinge
- Double-walled molded plastic
- Tie downs
- Very expensive
- Since it’s plastic, a determined dog could chew it
- Somewhat small interior
9. Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
On the other hand, if a simple, fabric-sided crate is all you need for your well-behaved pup, this offers an alternative to the Petsfit above. Available in six sizes for dogs from ten to 70 pounds, this lightweight crate uses an easy-to-assemble metal frame to support the canvas-like cover. It folds completely flat for easy storage and transport. The roll-up screen door offers plenty of ventilation when closed. The cover can be removed and thrown in with your laundry for cleaning. The manufacturer recommends the Nature’s Miracle Orthopedic Pet Bed for use with this.
Price: $33.92 to $56.66
- Very portable
- Roll-up door
- Folds flat
- Machine washable cover
- Sizes only extend to 70 pounds
- Better for short trips
- Not for flying
10. AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate
Designed to compete with the iCrate at the top of this list, Amazon introduced this option from their Basics line to save you a few bucks. Choose from six different sizes — 22, 24, 30, 36, 42, and 48 inches — and an option for one or two doors. If you like the iCrate but want to save a little, this is the option for you.
Price: $17.57 to $64.45
- Inexpensive, effective crate
- Available in six sizes
- Choose double- or single-door
- Not solid-sided
- Won’t work for air travel
- Pan is flimsy
For more options for taking your dog on car trips, check out our best dog car seat covers and hammocks post here.