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Best Pet Pens

Updated August 2023
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Best of the Best
IRIS USA Exercise Pet Playpen
Exercise Pet Playpen
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Easy to Assemble
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A spacious and portable pen that works as a play gate or fence. Best suited for medium to large-size dogs.


Provides enough room for pets to play, eat, and sleep. Great option for both indoor and outdoor use. Features a door with built-in, twistable locks for easy entry and exits. Non-skid rubber feet protect flooring from scratches.


Doesn’t come with a topper, so some larger pets may be able to leap over and escape.

Best Bang for the Buck
MidWest Homes for Pets Folding Metal Exercise Pen
MidWest Homes for Pets
Folding Metal Exercise Pen
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Convenient Storage
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A durable exercise pen that provides a safe and secure outdoor playtime solution.


Comes with thumb snaps and corner stabilizers that allow for easy assembly. Ground stakes secure pen when used outdoors. Includes a step-through door for easy entrance and exit. Can also be connected to a crate for extra room.


Cannot be secured to tile or wood floors, so not the best option for indoor use.

Outback Jack Happy Habitat Cat Playpen Tent
Outback Jack
Happy Habitat Cat Playpen Tent
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For Smaller Pets
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A perfect solution for indoor cats that long to be outside and suitable for smaller dogs when supervised.


Comes with over 30 square feet of playing space. Ultra lightweight and easy to put up and take down. Can accommodate small dogs and cats, even guinea pigs and rabbits. Great for both indoor and outdoor use.


Its all-mesh sides and base tend to snag cat claws.

ESK Collection Portable Pet Playpen
ESK Collection
Portable Pet Playpen
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Ideal for Travel
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An excellent choice if you plan on using it exclusively as a travel pen for small dog breeds or puppies.


Lightweight structure and easy setup make this a great portable pen. Has mesh screens on the top and sides to keep an eye on your pet as they play. Easy to clean. Everyday use is best suited to cats.


Some users find their dogs chew on the zippers.

Pet Trex Crate-N-Kennel Exercise Playpen
Pet Trex
Crate-N-Kennel Exercise Playpen
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Great for Training Pets
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A great option for training your puppy or keeping your pets from getting into mischief.


Users rave about the quick and easy setup. Features ground anchors, safety latches, and corner stabilizers. Includes a doggy door for easy entry and exit. Can be folded up for easy storage.


When used indoors, active pets can easily push the unsecured frame around.

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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. About BestReviews  
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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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.

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.


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.


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.

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

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

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.


  • 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.
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.


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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