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The Best Pet Playpens

New Africa/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated May 2023

Getting enough playtime is an essential part of a happy and healthy pet's routine, and these trusty pet playpens can provide your pet with a safe spot to have fun.

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  Top Choice Best for Travel Best For Indoors Best For Rodents Also Great
  Amazon Basics
Foldable Metal Dog and Pet Exercise Playpen
Ruff 'n Ruffus
Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
4-Panel Pet Playpen with Door
Small Animals Playpen with Zippered Cover
New World Pet Products
Foldable Metal Pet Playpen
Our SummaryThis rustproof metal playpen is available in a multitude of sizes to better suit different types and numbers of pets.This pet playpen is lightweight and portable, allowing you to take it on long trips.This lightweight indoor playpen is a lower risk for scratching floors than its metal cousins.This contemporary-style pet playpen was designed specifically with rodents and other small pets in mind.This no-nonsense pet playpen is accommodating and folds down for easy storage.
Pros✓ Durable
✓ Works in and out of doors
✓ Multiple sizes
✓ Door option
✓ Easy assembly
✓ Very good value
✓ Light and collapsible
✓ Water-resistant
✓ Removable top
✓ Panels can be removed and arranged
✓ Easy to assemble, fold up, and store
✓ Anti-skid rubber feet
✓ Larger model available
✓ Won't rust
✓ Suitable for a variety of smaller pets
✓ Zippered mesh lid
✓ Waterproof and easy-to-clean nylon material
✓ Lightweight
✓ Metal stakes included
✓ Multiple colors
✓ Affordable
✓ Great size variety
✓ Foldable
✓ Can attach to dog crates
✓ Easy setup
Cons✗ May scuff floors
✗ Less stable inside
✗ Not chew-resistant
✗ Bottom isn't waterproof
✗ Less sturdy
✗ Expensive
✗ Too small and light for bigger dogs
✗ Not for bigger animals
✗ Hard to fold
✗ Pets may chew holes in mesh
✗ May scratch floor
✗ Not rustproof
✗ No door
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11 Models Evaluated

7 Hours Researched

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The Best Pet Playpens

Cute Akita Inu puppy in playpen indoors
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Pet Playpens

Two puppies in a playpen.
Mary Dimitropoulou/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a pet playpen?

Pet playpens serve basically the same function as baby playpens, except they’re designed for animals instead of infants and toddlers. Pet playpens are viable alternatives to dog crates and kennels and can help prevent owners from over-crating their dogs. Many breeders also use them to keep un-housebroken puppies contained in one area while still allowing them to romp around together. Pet playpens aren’t only used for dogs, though. They come in various shapes and sizes to provide almost any type of pet with the freedom to roam and stretch their legs while also creating a safe place for them to play or nap. There’s plenty of room for toys, treats, blankets, and more.

If you work from home, a pet playpen gives your pet a safe place to relax and play with their toys as you work while still keeping you in their line of sight. If you have rabbits or guinea pigs, you can bring a pet playpen outside on a warm day and give them a safe place to nibble on the grass while preventing them from running away. There are even lightweight, portable models that allow you to bring the playpen on the go, which is handy if you take your pet on vacation, camping, or back home for the holidays.

What should you look for in a pet playpen?

  • Capacity and Size: If you own multiple pets, especially large dogs, you’ll want a big playpen. However, with smaller animals, size is less of an issue. The nice thing about small playpens is that they’re viable for both indoor and outdoor settings. In contrast, large playpens are more limited in this respect. You’ll also want to consider how tall the playpen is, especially if your pet is a jumper or a climber.
  • Assembly: Many modern playpens offer simple and intuitive assembly with instructions on how to set everything up. A simple assembly allows you to take your playpen with you almost anywhere; no special tools or extra hardware are required. With ideal portability and easy assembly, playpens are great for people constantly on the go with their pets in tow.
  • Multipurpose Design: Most playpens are multifunctional. In some cases, you can use your playpen not just as an enclosed space for your animals but as a divider for different rooms in your home. Design variations can also include a freestanding gate, which better secures access to various areas.

How expensive are pet playpens?

Playpens are one of those products where the cost can vary considerably depending on several factors. The size of the pet playpen will have a big effect on the price; in general, the larger the playpen, the larger the price tag. Metal playpens are usually more costly since they’re sturdier and more durable than other materials, and your pets won’t be able to chew their way out of them. Extra or specialized features, such as a swinging doggy door, tend to bring the cost of a playpen up, too. On average, you can expect to pay somewhere between $30 to $100 for a pet playpen.

Our Picks for the Best Pet Playpens

Top Choice

Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Dog and Pet Exercise Playpen

This rustproof metal playpen is available in a multitude of sizes to better suit different types and numbers of pets.

Pros: There’s a lot to love about this metal pet playpen. The sturdy iron frame is rustproof for better protection against the elements, so you can easily use it as an outdoor or indoor enclosure. Eight ground anchors come with it for better stability when used outside. This playpen also offers incredibly simple assembly; no tools or extra hardware are required. All you have to do is unfold the playpen, arrange it in the shape you want, and connect the panels to each other. It’s available in six different sizes and heights to better suit different types of dog breeds and pets, and you have the option to buy it with or without a door.

Cons: Using a metal playpen indoors runs the risk of scratching or scuffing your floors. It’s also less stable if used inside rather than outside since the ground anchors only work outdoors. Your pet still shouldn’t be able to escape, but larger and heavier dog breeds may be able to push the playpen around some.

Bottom Line: This durable iron pet playpen will suit most households with furry friends and will last a long time. It’s available in sizes and heights for small and large pets alike, and its rustproof body and complimentary ground anchors make this playpen an excellent choice for outdoor use.


Best for Travel

Ruff 'n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen

This pet playpen is lightweight and portable, allowing you to take it on long trips.

Pros: This nylon pet playpen is collapsible and extremely lightweight, making it easy to fold flat, pack up, and take with you on trips, especially since it comes with a complimentary carrying case. Even the large and extra-large sizes are easy to bring with you when tucked away in the slender bag. Thanks to its water-resistant body and the zipper-removable top, you can use it indoors or outdoors. The top is also handy for providing your pet with shade on hot, sunny days and for ensuring they can’t climb out of the playpen. In addition to the playpen itself, its roof, and its carrying case, you also receive a collapsible food bowl with your purchase.

Cons: This fabric pet playpen isn’t poorly made or flimsy, but it simply isn’t as strong as iron or stainless steel playpens. Even with the strong nylon and mesh make, this playpen isn’t resistant to claws and teeth, either. Also keep in mind that the bottom isn’t waterproof, so moisture can soak in through the bottom if the ground is wet. This may also cause issues if your pet has an accident inside the playpen.

Bottom Line: This small but portable playpen is ideal for people who are constantly on the go. Whether you want to provide your pet with a safe place to play at a friend’s place, a pet sitter’s house, on vacation, or even while camping, this lightweight and compact pet playpen has pretty much every feature you could want in a traveling pet playpen.


Best For Indoors

IRIS USA Inc. 4-Panel Pet Playpen with Door

This lightweight indoor playpen is a lower risk for scratching floors than its metal cousins.

Pros: Designed specifically for indoor use, this plastic pet playpen gives you the option to remove and arrange the panels to your liking, allowing you to construct various configurations according to the size and number of pets you own. It’s easy to assemble, fold up, and store away when not in use. The larger eight-panel model can comfortably hold a bigger dog that weighs up to 50 pounds or two smaller dogs at once. A four-panel version is also available if you have smaller pets or dog breeds (up to 30 pounds). And unlike some pet playpens, there are anti-skid rubber feet along the bottom to protect your floors against scratches and scuffs.

Cons: Handy as this pet playpen is, it’s a little on the pricey side, especially for its size. The four-panel version is also too small for certain animals to use at all, namely any dogs over 50 pounds. And it’s more lightweight and not as sturdy as a metal playpen, which makes it less effective for containing bigger dog breeds and more active pets.

Bottom Line: Metal playpens are great choices for many, but some pet owners don’t find them to be very aesthetically pleasing or worry about rusting. Neither of these factors will be an issue with this plastic pet playpen that’s especially perfect for house/potty training puppies.


Best For Rodents

Pawaboo Small Animals Playpen with Zippered Cover

This contemporary-style pet playpen was designed specifically with rodents and other small pets in mind.

Pros: Pet playpens aren’t just for dogs, puppies, and kittens. Other smaller pets, from turtles to guinea pigs to ferrets to hedgehogs to rabbits, can also benefit from having a safe, contained space to play either inside or outside, and this playpen is one of the best options for these types of pets. The bottom panels are completely opaque and solid—no wires or holes or openings that small rodents can squeeze through, and the upper half is see-through mesh so you can keep an eye on your pet. And there’s a zipper-on mesh lid, so you don’t have to worry about your pet jumping over the sides of the playpen. The bottom is waterproof and the nylon material wipes clean. It’s nice and lightweight for greater portability. Three metal rods to stake it to the ground outside come included with your purchase, adding to the value of its already reasonable price, and it’s available in several fun colors to boot.

Cons: This playpen’s suitability for small animals means that it’s not a great option for bigger pets. It should work fine for young kittens and most puppies, and maybe some truly miniature dog breeds like Yorkies, but it’s too small and short for pretty much all full-grown dogs or cats. And there aren’t any alternative size options. Folding it up for storage may prove tricky for some, and it’s possible some animals may be able to chew holes in the upper mesh half.

Bottom Line: This simple yet contemporary playpen is perfect for smaller animals, especially rodents. Thanks to this playpen’s zippered mesh top, even the greatest escape artists won’t be able to jump their way to freedom, allowing you to give them some quality outdoor time safely.


Also Great

New World Pet Products Foldable Metal Pet Playpen

This no-nonsense pet playpen is accommodating and folds down for easy storage.

Pros: This metal pet playpen comes in a multitude of sizes, providing you with options for all but the smallest rodents and the most gigantic dog breeds. There are five different sizes to choose from, ranging from small to extra-large. Ground stakes keep it firmly in place while outside. Setup is a breeze, not requiring extra tools or hardware, just a couple of locking thumb snaps to connect the panels. And it folds down flat for simpler storage. Dog owners will also appreciate that this playpen can attach to most dog crates and kennels.

Cons: Some pet owners prefer pet playpens that have a door or gate, either so their pet can come and go as they please or so they themselves can more easily enter the playpen. Unfortunately, this playpen doesn’t have a gate or door option. It isn’t rustproof, so even though you can use it outside, you won’t want to leave it set up out of doors around the clock. And as is often the case with metal pet playpens, there is the risk of it scratching or marking up your floors.

Bottom Line: This foldable pet playpen allows you to create a contained play space for many different pets, from small and large dogs to rabbits to ducks and more. As long as your pet isn’t a climber, this playpen should suit them well, especially since there are so many different sizes to choose from.

Final Thoughts

If you’re worried about over-crating your dog, need to monitor a troublemaking pet more closely, or simply want to let your rodent or tortoise enjoy a nice day outside, a pet playpen is a great product to have on hand. And contrary to what some pet owners might think, they aren’t just for dogs—the right pet playpen can be used with just about any animal that can’t fly or climb.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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