When your pup can’t be trusted with a free rein in your home or yard, then you definitely need to consider a dog playpen. For travel, for times away from the house, or for Houdini dogs who you can’t take your eyes off for a second – a playpen can save you and your pup a lot of trouble – maybe even save his life.
Our vet advisor, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, looked at all types of dog playpens to determine which is the best option for your pup, looking at factors like durability, portability, and escapability. She chose the BestPet Extra Large Indoor Outdoor Dog Fence Playpen for its durability and versatility. This playpen is a universal choice whether you’re using it inside or out and no matter what breed.
While this was Dr. Whittenburg’s top choice, she also offers a series of her top tips for what to look for in choosing the best dog playpen, a section on who should avoid purchasing them altogether, and she personally selected the best playpen for a variety of specific use cases.
The 5 Best Dog Playpens
- Best Overall – BestPet Extra Large Indoor Outdoor Dog Fence Playpen
- Best Budget – Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Pet Dog Exercise Fence Pen
- Best Outdoor – Chicken Coop Outlet
- Best Portable – Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
- Best for Exercise – FXW Dog Fence Outdoor Pen
Dog Playpens Compared
Here are our top picks. Compare the ratings and features of different models to find the right one for you.
|Activated Carbon Filter?
|Honeywell HPA 250B
|310 sq ft
|Filtrete Pet Air Purifier
|80 sq ft
|Oransi Mod HEPA Air Purifier
|1,250 sq ft
|Touch and toggle for several speed options
|Best for Large Spaces
|1,560 sq ft
|LG PuriCare Air Purifier
|Immediate Area Only
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy Dog Playpens
- Escape artist parents. When your dog can get out of every confinement you create, the time may be to find a playpen especially designed for him. Even if you have a room that your dog is safe in, putting a playpen around the majority of the room may keep him from scratching up, chewing, or otherwise destroying your door.
- Working families. If you have long chunks of time away from your dog, then you want to make those times as stress-free as you can for your dog. Not only will a stressed dog act out, but you don’t want your fur baby more anxious than he needs to be – especially when a new puppy is transitioning to longer times away from you. A playpen will prevent your dog from endless amounts of trouble.
- Isolationists. If you have multiple dogs, there are plenty of ways that can go wrong. From fights to mating to just about everything in between – separating two dogs in one household is tricky but sometimes necessary. A playpen can help you keep your dog in heat away from accidental impregnation and, should a dog get sick, you can isolate the sickness to prevent others from catching anything communicable.
Who Should Not Buy Dog Playpens
- Old dogs, new tricks. When you have an older dog, no longer prone to puppy-ways, you may not need a playpen. If he can have free reign of the house and it’s a non-issue, then why bother confining him? There’s not a lot to gain by restricting a dog’s movement when the movement isn’t a concern to you.
- Safe spaces. When your home – or a segregated area of your home – is dog-proof, then you don’t need to confine him to a playpen. If your dog has a room that he can be shut into that gives him all he needs and causes no potential risk, then the worry for when you’re away isn’t as significant and the playpen is less of an urgent purchase. Just remember that you’ll likely still have travel and exceptions when a playpen can still be of use.
Buying Guide: Research Tips From a Veterinarian
Because purchasing an air purifier can be a moderate investment financially, you will want to do some research and find a unit that will fit your needs. Here’s what to consider when picking an air purifier for eliminating pet odors:
- In or out? It is important to first decide what you will be using the playpen for, whether it will be used outdoors or inside, and how large it needs to be to comfortably accommodate your pets.
- Portability. Another feature to consider is the ease of setup and transport if you need to move the playpen often. Whether you plan to take it when you travel or just move from one room to another, it’s worth looking for portable options.
- Durable materials. Also, it is essential to consider the material that the pen is made from. Heavy-duty metal (steel) kennels will last longer. You may prefer the models that are coated for protection from rust. If you have a strong dog or an escape artist, it is essential to consider the strength of the bars. Flimsy or small gauge wire playpens can be easily escaped by some dogs. Inspect the panels to make sure there are no sharp points or edges.
- Your dog as an individual. Your needs may vary based on the intended use and the size and personality of your dog. Locking mechanisms on the doors are a good idea to prevent escape, so I suggest avoiding doors without them.
- Don’t be afraid to ask around. It is also a good idea to ask friends, neighbors, and your veterinarian for recommendations. When you have discussions with someone you know about a purchase you can ask the questions you really want to know; like “Can it fit through my kitchen door?”
- See it in action, if you can. If possible, it is best actually to see the playpen prior to your purchase. This will enable you to inspect the construction and ensure the pen is suitable for your needs.
If you’re looking for a more compact, temporary option, then don’t forget about crates – just make sure they’re the right size for your dog. And if you have a specific dog breed that you’ll want to predict their adult size, make sure you’re checking before you adopt. If you have a small apartment, a Great Dane may not be the best breed choice for you. If you plan on keeping a puppy in a dog playpen for extended periods of time, you may even want to consider litter training them.
How Much Do They Cost?
Most of the cost differential between playpens is down to size and durability. If you’re getting the escape-proof playpen that a large dog can’t chew through or jump over, you’ll be spending far more than if you want a portable playpen for your toy breed. You’ll spend even more if you want it to be a permanent fixture in your yard – those types can run you over $500, while the bulk of others will be between $50 and $200.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily
As a veterinarian, I’ve seen a lot of problems with dogs getting into trouble and can testify that a good playpen will help with several of those troublemaker problems. After treating injuries that occur when a dog is trying to escape, or when they’ve gotten into something they shouldn’t have when the owner was away, I’m confident saying the right playpen can even keep your pet safe. – Not to mention it can keep your belongings safe, as well. – Dr. Jamie Whittenburg
The Best Dog Playpen Reviews
1. Best Overall – BestPet Extra Large Indoor Outdoor Dog Fence Playpen
The BestPet Extra Large Indoor Outdoor Dog Fence Playpen is well-built and spacious enough to allow dogs to play safely while still being contained. Dogs who jump are not good candidates for this type of structure as they may easily escape. It’s a great choice because it can be configured in different shapes, comes in various sizes, and can be connected to another playpen to increase the space.
Assembly is simple, and the playpen comes with assembly instructions that will enable you to construct the structure in a matter of minutes. This playpen is well-built and sturdy. The coating should guard against rust and it is portable for the needs of campers or travelers.
- All metal construction
- 6 size options
- Easy assembly
- Some rust issues over time
- No nonskid pads on bottom; may damage floors
2. Best Budget – Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Pet Dog Exercise Fence Pen
The Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Pet Dog Exercise Fence Pen is versatile and can be used indoors or outside. Lightweight and easily moved, this playpen is most appropriate for small dogs. There are no tools required for set-up and the panels fold down flat for easy storage between uses.
The pen is made of durable iron metal with a rust-proof black finish which will enable its use for years to come. The playpen has a step-through door that is equipped with two secure-locking slide-bolt latches. There are also eight ground anchors included for outdoor use.
- Easy assembly
- With or without door options
- 6 size choices
- Door locks stick occasionally
- Wire bars will not restrain a determined large breed
3. Best Outdoor – Chicken Coop Outlet
You’ll like the Chicken Coop Outlet Backyard Dog Kennel for outdoor use because it allows dogs room to play but also an area that is covered to give dogs shade and protection from the weather. This enclosure is large, measuring 16 Panels W26″X H32″, and is only suited for outdoor use. This enclosure is big enough for multiple dogs; however, it may not be ideal for very strong dogs or escape artists as the chain link is not heavy-duty.
No tools are required for assembly. Rod-connected design, connecting each panel through dome rods, easy to assemble and disassemble.
- 32ft tall to prevent escape
- Durable rod-link construction
- Has corrosion resistance it can adapt to all kinds of extreme weather and is durable
- Difficult assembly
- May require additional latching for more determined escape artist dogs
4. Best Portable – Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
There is no assembly required for the easily portable playpen, Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen. It also comes with a carry case which increases the ease of transporting it. The playpen is available in three sizes – Medium (29x29x17 inches), Large (36x36x23 inches), and Extra Large (48x48x23.5 inches).
This playpen is a nice way to give your dog more room than a crate but is not ideal for vigorous exercise. It can easily be used for traveling and camping. The playpen is made from durable water-resistant materials and comes with a removable zippered top that can be used to provide shade.
- 3 size options available
- Includes portable water dish and carrying bag
- Folds flat and pops up in seconds
- Not for escape artist dogs
- Smart dogs can turn it on its side to run while still in it
5. Best for Exercise – FXW Dog Fence Outdoor Pen
With the FXW Dog Fence Outdoor Pen, you’ll get 48 panels that provide 729 square feet of exercise space, making it a great choice for enclosing large areas and allowing dogs to exercise vigorously. This outside dog enclosure features a powder coating that will help protect against rust and extend its life. The steel wire of this dog fence is smooth and solid, so no need to worry that your dog will be able to chew the panels and escape.
The dog fence’s panels can be put together in just a few minutes using the supplied poles, in multiple combinations, shapes, and configurations. The fence folds flat for easy storage and transportation, which makes this an ideal choice for a large exercise pen.
- Size customizable from 24″H to 50″H
- Choose from 8, 16, 22, 24, 32, or 48 panels
- Includes metal stakes for added stability
- Some rust issues when kept outdoor for long periods
- Small dogs may get muzzles stuck between bars
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s worth noting, that even the USDA approves penning dogs, provided the pen is large enough.2(They’re only concerned the dog can stand up, turn around, sit upright and lie down, though, so that’s not a limiting factor for most playpens.)3
This answer depends entirely on your circumstances. Primarily, you’ll have to decide on the size based on your dog’s breed and how you plan on using your playpen. If you plan to just keep him safe and secure for short bursts while you’re away, it won’t need to be too big. After all, consider how many dogs are kept in a kennel while their owner is out. For dogs who love to snuggle in, like dachshunds, as long as he can burrow into the blanket and stretch out, he’s going to be fine. For active dogs who need some space to play, you’ll want to give them more of it. You can certainly find oversized playpens for dogs, but the reality is you’ll need to cater the pen to the area you put it in. Most pens will be large enough for you’d dog to walk around some and even play a bit. That means you’ll want at least a couple hundred square feet of room within the pen. They should still get the bulk of their energy spent in play with you, though, so don’t think the space you give him relieves you of your responsibility to interact with your dog.
Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Hubrecht RC, Serpell JA, & Poole TB. Correlates of pen size and housing conditions on the behaviour of kennelled dogs. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 1992:34(4); 365-383. doi:10.1016/S0168-1591(05)80096-6.
- Yeon SC, Golden G, Sung W, Erb HN, Reynolds AJ, & Houpt KA. A Comparison of Tethering and Pen Confinement of Dogs. 2010;257-270. doi:10.1207/S15327604JAWS0404_03
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Inspecting the Kennel – Kennel Size. USDA. Updated June 2, 2020. Accessed April 4, 2022.