The Best Dog Playpens & Exercise Pens in 2021
Every experienced dog owner knows how difficult it can be to keep track of growing puppies. At the end of the day, you’ll find them either digging into the trash or rolling around in a mysterious brown substance on the yard.
That’s where pet playpens come in. In contrast with traditional crates, playpens provide a safe, spacious area for growing puppies to roam around in and explore.
Whether in the house or outdoors, playpens give pet owners the peace of mind to take a break every now and then. With a sturdy and durable pen on your side, you won’t have to grow eyes on the back of your head.
Our Top 6 List
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1. Midwest Foldable Metal Pen
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Offered in sizes ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches high, the Midwest playpen can fold flat for convenience and storage. Providing just over sixteen square feet of enclosed area, this pen is perfect for pups that weigh between twenty-six to forty pounds.
The pen also comes with eight ground anchors for outdoor use and four thumb snaps for super easy assembly. No additional tools are needed for secure assembly and the entire pen comes with a one year “no questions asked” warranty.
Moreover, the durable black metal bar cast provides long lasting protection – it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to cash in on a breakage, according to satisfied customers.
In particular, dog owners appreciate the secure double latch door on the play pen gate, which gives them more peace of mind that their pups are secure. In contrast with other pens, the set-up is very sturdy and stable.
All in all, the Midwest is perfect for a wide variety of small to mid-sized animals.
- Provides ground anchors for safe and secure outdoor use
- Pen requires no additional tools for successful set-up
- Comes with one year, no questions asked warranty provided by the manufacturer
2. Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Playpen
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Though the spongy material of the Ruff playpen may throw you off at first, customers around the US are extremely satisfied with its long term performance compared to traditional metal playpens.
Constructed from lightweight and water-resistant mesh, this secure playpen is offered is sizes ranging from medium to extra large for dogs both big and small. The pen itself is based off of a roomy eight panel octagon with fully protected seams and reinforced corners.
Interestingly, the top of the pen comes with a zippered, rain resistant cover that keeps the breathable play area weatherproof. One zippered door provides easy in and out access for your dog.
Excellent for both indoor and outdoor spaces, buyers particularly recommend this product for camping and frequent travelers since it comes with a carrying case. Moreover, there’s no need for assembly, since the pen can folds flat and dense.
- Comes with compact carrying case
- No assembly required
- Comes with rain cover and soft mesh sides for weather resistance and breathability
3. BestPet Indoor & Outdoor Puppy Playpen
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The BestPet playpen is just as sturdy as it is protective of your furry friends. Made from high-strength solid wire, the eight panel fence can easily be reshaped to fit different interior spaces.
The cage itself features an anti-rust, protective epoxy coating that extends the life of the pen significantly. Resistant to all sources of rust and corrosion, it’s not uncommon for buyers to state they’ve used the BestPet pen for over a decade.
Additionally, the playpen gate is reinforced with resin and features a dual locking system for extra security. Interested buyers can find this pen ranging in heights from 24 inches to over 48 inches for the largest pets.
- Easy to shape and rearrange according to your home’s size
- Reinforced with epoxy coating for weather and rust resistance
- No tools required, since all panels are pre-connected to each other accordion style
4. Iris Exercise Indoor Playpen
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The brightly colored, playful Iris pen provides a spacious eight square feet for your young puppies. Featuring a four-panel, doorless design, the IRIS is very simple to immediately set up and lightweight for all forms of travel.
The pen is constructed from durable, heavy duty molded plastics, which means the pen will never rust nor fade due to sun exposure. Moreover, this design keeps the pen light enough for you to move but tough enough to resist overexcited puppies.
- Customers love the doorless design of the pen
- Pen is made from weatherproof, dense plastics that never corrode
- Spacious and simple to set up
5. BestPet Metal Playpen
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Providing a large and secure play area, this updated BestPet pen provides your puppies plenty of room to run around. Buyers should keep in mind that this crate is meant for young and small dogs, since the fencing is designed for children to be able to reach in.
The pen can easily be reshaped into new and unique shapes depending on the space available in your home. In particular, this BestPet pen differs from its predecessor due to the unique design of the gate.
Unlike previous designs, the pen door is slightly raised so that very young puppies can’t step out of the gate themselves. This pen is perfect for holding a nursing mom with her new pups.
- Great for young and small puppies
- Pen can easily be reshaped or laid flat accordion-style
- Unique gate design is perfect for dog breeding and nursing mothers
6. Tespo Portable Large Yard Fence
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Constructed from twelve see-through plastic panels, the Tespo is sure to catch your eye. The translucent, white materials panels can easily be arranged into different shapes for any combination.
No matter your viewing angle, you can always keep an eye on your pets through the Tespo pen. In particular, this pen is recommended for small animals and puppies that may be hard to see through traditional metal bar pens.
The pen itself provides a maximum interior space of twenty square feet, which is spacious enough to accommodate several dogs.
- Great for hard-to-see, small animals
- Doors and see-through for best viewing
- Provides spacious interior space and can be easily resized
Although it’s based off a simple design, there’s just no beating the performance of the Midwest Foldable pen. Providing a luxurious sixteen feet of roaming space, the Midwest is sure to sustain your dogs for years with its sustainable black metal coating, secure dual latch system, and octagonal design.
No matter where you are, the Midwest can be instantly reshaped, resized, and folded down flat in seconds. Not sure? No worries, the one year “no questions asked” warranty has your back covered.
Not every exercise and play pen will work for your dog. Depending on your preferences and the dog, the right pen for you may be distinct from anyone else’s perfect product. Below, we’ve broken down a few of the most features to play attention to when selecting a pen.
Select the Right Materials
Typically, the type of materials used for the playpen will give you the most direct insight into the product’s quality. Traditionally, most dog and infant playpens were made of wood and featured a simple rectangular design.
Nowadays, the vast majority of dog pens are made from flexible, hinge-based metals and dense plastics. It’s not uncommon to see stainless steel used as the base of the pen itself.
If metal or stainless steel is used, it should also feature a coating of either resin or epoxy. Without a protective coat, many metals corrode due to poor weather, excess humidity, and sun exposure. You should be wary of most metal pens that don’t feature a protective coating.
If you opt for a plastic pen, you may need to be careful about the density of the material. If the plastic is too lightweight, the pen itself could shift around if it’s not weighted down.
Alternatively, mesh and fabric pens are becoming increasingly popular as of late. Mesh pens are perfect for young puppies or older dogs that aren’t particularly destructive.
Mesh pens may be machine washable, weather-resistant, and feature roof covers for long term outdoor use. Of course, you should keep in mind the personality of the dogs you are containing before investing in a fancy mesh pen.
Choose the Best Size
The size of the playpen you should be based on your dog’s weight, age, and size. Naturally, growing puppies will require more space to roam around in and explore than older, sedate dogs.
For puppies, we recommend that you use an indoor playpen with, at very least, six panels. Older, mid-size breeds often do well with pens that feature four to eight panels. Even larger dogs may require between eight to twelve connecting panels to roam around in.
Depending on the weight of your dog, the height of the pen itself should be taller to account for your pet’s increased ability to escape. For dogs under forty pounds, the fence height should be around thirty inches, while dogs over ninety pounds should opt for at least 42 inch height fences.
Older and elderly dogs are usually sedate enough to be kept in smaller pens. However, if you’re only containing one elderly dog, it may be best for you to select a normal dog crate.
It may be often overlooked, but portability and ease of use remain some of the most important features of a dog playpen. If you travel frequently, you should look out for pens that are easy to store and don’t take up excess space when broken down.
It’s best for you to select a pen that doesn’t require extra tools for set-up. Most metal and plastic pens are able to fold accordion-style once the gate is undone. In general, any pen that is based off of a panel design is very likely easy to compactly fold.
Additionally, you should keep an eye out for helpful add-ons included with the particular pen. Many pens come with carrying cases, additional straps, or folding velcro components that make the product very portable.
We are the Pet Dog Pals, a group of avid pet owners, bloggers, product testers, and writers for all your canine needs! We own a collective 16 dogs and 21 cats to help us test and review pet products. Our top lists and tips come from experience to help you be the best dog owner you can be!