Best Pet Pens

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
212 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best pet pens

Having a pet brings plenty of joy, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. You have to look out for your furry friend’s safety at every turn, but when you can’t keep an eye on it, a pet pen comes in very handy.

A pet pen is essentially a small fence that you set up to create a freestanding enclosure or against a wall in a C shape. Pet pens are available in various dimensions to accommodate pets of all sizes. Some owners use a pen to give a small pet a safe place to play or exercise, while others rely on a pen to keep a pet out of trouble when they have to leave the room. Your pet can sleep, play, and stretch inside the pen without you having to worry about it getting hurt or destroying your home.

But choosing a pet pen can be tricky because there are so many on the market. Our buying guide has plenty of tips to help you find the best one for your home.

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It takes several weeks for a pet to be entirely comfortable in a pet pen, so be patient during the training process.

Key considerations

Indoor vs. outdoor

The first thing to figure out when you’re shopping for a pet pen is where you plan to use it. You can find both indoor and outdoor pet pens.

Indoor: These pet pens are meant for use inside the house. They’re suitable for those times when you have to leave your pet home alone or need to keep it contained in a certain area of the house. Because they’re meant for indoor use, these pens aren’t as durable and don’t necessarily offer as much protection as other options. They work particularly well for small or young pets.

Outdoor: These pet pens are designed to stand up to the elements and so are typically sturdier and more durable than indoor models. One of these is a great way to keep your pet safe and entertained if your yard isn’t fenced, and it generally offers more protection than an indoor pen. Some outdoor pens also have a cover over the top to shield your pet from inclement weather.

If you can’t choose between the two types of pen, you can find some models that are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. These are usually larger than the other types, so check the dimensions to make sure you have enough space inside your home.

Size

Your pet should have enough space in a pen to be comfortable, so it’s essential to choose the right size for your particular animal. Outdoor models are generally meant to be large enough for pets to exercise. Indoor pens tend to be smaller but should still be large enough for your pet to walk around, stand up, and lie down, as well as have space for food and water bowls.

For small pets, nearly any size pen will be comfortable. For large dogs like retrievers or German shepherds, it’s essential to pay attention to the dimensions. Some manufacturers list the breeds that a specific size pen is suitable for.

Materials

Pet pens are available in a few different materials. The most common include the following:

Metal is the most durable, sturdy material for a pet pen. You’ll find metal pens of various heights, so you can sometimes use one as a dog gate. Metal pens are heavier than other options, making them more difficult to move around and store.

Plastic is often used for indoor pet pens. These models are lightweight but still fairly durable. However, they’re not always strong enough to contain large or very active pets.

Mesh is another common option for indoor pet pens. It’s the lightest material but also the flimsiest, so it’s best for young and/or small pets.

Dyk1 
Did You Know?
If your pet is willing to walk in and out of the pet pen without any coaxing, you know that it’s ready to be left on its own.
Staff
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Features

Assembly

In most cases, you won’t want to leave your pet pen up all the time, so you want a model that’s easy to set up and take down. Most pens don’t require any special tools to assemble but look for a model that can be put together by one person in a couple of minutes or less.

Floor

Most pet pens consist of just a fence, so there is no floor except the surface that you set it up on. However, some models have a built-in floor, so you don’t have to worry about your pet dirtying your carpet or other flooring. One of these can be a good option for pets who are still being house trained.

Convertibility

Some pet pens are convertible, so you’re able to use them for more than just a playpen for your furry friend. You can find models that can be used as a pet fence or gate to increase their versatility and give you the most bang for your buck.

Portability

Whether you frequently travel with your pets or just like to take them to the local park, it helps to have a portable pet pen. That allows you to protect your pet no matter where you go. Most portable models are made of plastic or mesh, so they’re lightweight and easy to carry. You also want a model that’s easy to assemble, so you can set it up quickly on the go.

Storage

If you’re concerned about how you’re going to store your pet pen when it’s not in use, look for a folding or collapsible model. That not only allows you to disassemble the pen quickly for storage but also makes it more compact so you can slide it into a closet or beneath a piece of furniture to free up space.

Make sure that any outdoor pet pen you choose is made of rust-resistant metal, so you don’t have to worry about it being damaged in the rain.

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Accessories

Bowl: AmazonBasics Dog Bowl
If you’re going to leave your dog in a pet pen while you’re out of the house, you need bowls for food and water. This stainless steel bowl from AmazonBasics is a favorite because it has a wide base to prevent tipping and is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Interactive dog toy: Kong Jump N Jack
You want to keep your dog entertained when it’s in a pet pen, so provide an interactive toy to play with. We love this one from Kong because it’s highly durable and can be filled with peanut butter or treats for your pooch to enjoy.

Cat bed: Twin Critters KittiKubbi Cat Cave Bed
Your cat will love curling up in a cozy bed in the pet pen. This one from Twin Critters is a favorite because it’s made of merino wool with soft poly-foam walls and a supportive pillow for your cat to sleep on, and it comes in several cute shapes.

Cat toys: Fashion’s Talk Cat Toy Variety Pack
Keep your feline friend busy in a pet pen with plenty of fun toys. This set from Fashion’s Talk is an excellent value because it includes 20 assorted toys that your cat is sure to enjoy.

DYK2 
Did you Know?
Some pet pens have a built-in door, so you can easily let your pet in and out.
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Pet pen prices

Pet pens vary in price based on size, material, and other features. Most cost between $12 and $325.

Inexpensive: The most affordable pet pens are usually smaller models made of mesh or plastic that are best suited for small pets. They’re typically not the most durable, but they’re lightweight for easy storage and portability. These pens generally cost between $12 and $50.

Mid-range: These pet pens are usually medium to large and made of plastic or metal. Many fold to make storage and travel easier. These pens typically cost between $50 and $110.

Expensive: The most expensive pet pens are usually large metal models that are incredibly sturdy. Some are foldable, but they tend to be heavier, so they work best in a fixed location. These pens typically cost between $110 and $325.

Tips

  • Set up the pet pen on carpeting indoors. If you’re setting up a pet pen indoors, avoid placing it on hard floors like wood, linoleum, or tile. It can slip and slide on a slick surface and potentially damage your flooring.
  • Do not use the pen as punishment. It’s not recommended that you use a pet pen to punish your pet. Instead, use it when you need to give your pet a safe space to play and rest when you can’t keep an eye on it.
  • Give your pet time to get used to the pen before leaving it alone. Let your pet play in the pen for several minutes at a time, gradually increasing the time as it gets more comfortable, before leaving it alone in it for an extended period.
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If you have a destructive pet that loves to chew, opt for a metal pen that can withstand any abuse your furry friend dishes out.

FAQ

Q. Why should I use a pet pen?

A. The main benefit of a pet pen is that it provides a safe place for your pet to play when you can’t watch it. Also, by keeping your pet contained to a specific area in your home, the pen can also keep a pet from damaging furniture and other items when you’re away.

Q. Are pet pens better than pet crates?

A. It depends on how you use it and what your pet’s issues are. A pet with separation anxiety usually does better in a crate because the enclosed space helps it feel more secure. But if your pet doesn’t have anxiety issues, a pet pen can be a better option because it provides more space for your pet to move around in and play.

Q. Is it safe to leave my pet in a pen when I leave the house?

A. If you set up the pen in a safe area of your home, your cat or dog is usually perfectly safe. It’s not a good idea to leave a puppy or kitten alone in a playpen, though, because young animals are more likely to get into trouble. You’re better off leaving a puppy or kitten in a crate if you have to leave the house.

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