5 Best Puppy Playpens: Compare, Buy, & Save

puppy playpen

When the weather is nice, there are few greater joys than sitting outside with your dog. Soaking in the rays, enjoying the sights and sounds and generally relaxing. It’s good for both of you to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Depending on your dog and the setup of your yard, however, this could be somewhat tricky. Especially if your dog is a puppy. It’s not great for puppies to be hooked up to a tie out as you might with an older dog, but you still want to let them play in the sunshine. Enter the puppy playpen.

Puppy playpens are equally good indoors, too, bridging the gap between letting them free roam (which could mean your stuff gets chewed) and sitting in a dog crate all day. Puppy playpens are the perfect solution for corralling your young dog that hasn’t quite figured out all the rules yet. You can load the pen up with toys so they learn what things are theirs to play with and what things are not.

The options on this list will work well for very young puppies or small breeds, but might also work for especially docile larger dogs. Dog pens come in a variety of configurations, and we’ve chosen one each of the most common styles for you to peruse.

For the puppy or puppy at heart who could benefit from having a limited place to play, here are our options for the best puppy playpens:

What is the best puppy playpen?

Ruff n Rufus puppy playpen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Removable covered top
  • Folds flat for travel
  • Easy setup
Price: $44.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Iris pet puppy playpen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Durable plastic construction
  • Expandable
  • Choice of colors
Price: $56.55 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Paws & Pals puppy playpen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 30 square feet of play area
  • Four heights to choose from
  • Easy set-up
Price: $38.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
BestPet puppy playpen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Heavy duty 1/2 inch tube frame
  • 34 square feet of play area
  • Easy-open door
Price: $38.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Lucky Dog puppy playpen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Tall, fully enclosed kennel
  • Weatherproof and UV blocking roof
  • Assembly requires no tools
Price: $218.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Best Soft-Sided Puppy Playpen: Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen

    Pros:
    • Removable covered top
    • Folds flat for travel
    • Easy setup
    • Includes a travel bowl
    Cons:
    • May be too light for some rowdy dogs
    • Some dogs use it more as a toy in and of itself
    • Definitely won’t stand up to a good chewing
    • Some units arrive with stuck zippers

    We start out with the lightest-weight option. This can be an entirely closed pen, with a removable roof that will keep sun off your puppy while outside. It folds up flat for easy travel and could be used in a hotel room when on the go. The material is water resistant and it comes in three sizes ranging from 29 by 29 by 17 inches to 48 by 48 by 23.5 inches.

    Ultimately, this will be a better choice for smaller and more docile dogs as the structure is quite light and could quickly become a dog hamster wheel under the right conditions. Still, the smaller sizes are relatively inexpensive, so you could try this as an initial training step before moving on to something more substantial.

  2. 2. Best Plastic Dog Pen: Iris Pet Playpen with Door

    Pros:
    • Durable plastic construction
    • Can be combined with add-on panels for a larger play area
    • Optional mesh topper
    • Comes in your choice of six colors
    Cons:
    • Small breeds may eventually be able to climb out as they get older
    • Slightly flimsy
    • Some units ship with missing hardware
    • Some reviewers consider the topper non-negotiable

    Moving to a slightly more rugged option, this very popular model from Iris Pet trades the fabric for high-density plastic. This pen provides eight square feet of playing area, measuring just over 35 by 35 by 23 inches. You can expand this with two-panel add-on packs to make the area even larger, if you like.

    The door features easy-to-use latches that mean you don’t need to lift your puppy out when playtime is over. Choose from the following colors: black, brown, green, white, gray, or red.

    Iris Pet offers a mesh topper, which according to the reviews, may not be optional as some dogs are handy with an escape. Additionally, they offer a version without the door, which is inexplicably a few dollars more expensive. They also offer a more traditional eight-sided puppy playpen, if you prefer.

    There’s also a version from Amazon, as well, but it isn’t as well-reviewed.

  3. 3. Best Wire Dog Playpen: Paws & Pals Pet Exercise Pen

    Pros:
    • About 30 square feet of play area
    • Four heights to choose from
    • Easy set-up
    • Can be set up in different shape configurations
    Cons:
    • Door latch can be somewhat difficult to operate
    • May rust if left in the rain
    • Somewhat flimsy
    • Some dogs may work the panels apart with their teeth

    This is what most people envision when looking for a puppy playpen. This is well-suited to outdoor use, focusing on providing a large area for puppies to wander around, measuring at 30 square feet. This is a simple hinged construction that is easy to put up and take down. There are four sizes available, but this determines the height of the sides only as all offer the same square footage.

    Your height options are 24, 26, 42, and 48 inches. To be sure, this isn’t the sturdiest option out there, but for most young puppies, this is the optimal balance of price, size, and ease of use. If you like, you can upgrade later to the company’s heavy duty offering.

  4. 4. Best Heavy Duty Puppy Playpen: BestPet Heavy Duty Pet Playpen

    Pros:
    • Heavy duty 1/2 inch tube frame
    • 34 square feet of play area
    • Easy-open door
    • Metal stakes secure playpen in place
    Cons:
    • Heavy at 50+ pounds
    • Must be disassembled to store
    • Some dogs may inevitably learn to climb out
    • Grates could stand to be sturdier

    If you need heartier bars and a little more space, consider this option from BestPet. This offers not only a larger play area at 34 feet, but a thicker frame which can be secured to the ground with the stakes that hold the panels together. A dog pen of this size is large enough for two to three border collies according to one review, with 40 inch tall sides that should prevent most dogs from jumping out.

    To be sure, you can go a lot sturdier than this, but for less than $100, you get all the benefits of a relatively heavy duty playpen that will certainly contain your new puppy. It’s a nice touch that the stakes which hold it together can anchor it to the ground.

  5. 5. Best Small Dog Kennel: Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Wire Kennel

    Pros:
    • Tall, fully enclosed kennel
    • Weatherproof and UV blocking roof
    • Pre-assembled panels require no tools
    • Raised legs make it easy to clean out debris
    Cons:
    • Separate ground anchoring may be required
    • Pricey for some applications
    • Relatively small play area
    • Latch could be better

    If you have a dog who will almost certainly jump out of the other options on this list, you might have to look into a kennel. While dog kennels can get quite a lot more involved than this, we chose this one because it adds height without tipping over into to being a full-fledged, full-time kennel. This is great for outdoor use, measuring six feet at the peak of the weatherproof roof. It only offers 16 square feet of play area, which is about middle of the pack for this list. There’s also a shorter 4.4 foot tall option, if you prefer.

    This is almost certainly overkill for a puppy, but on the other hand, this could be a good option to grow with your dog. This could be used for years as an outdoor kennel for short periods until you’re ready to graduate to a full-sized kennel — which we’ll cover in a future post.

See also:

 


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