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Whether you are indoors, outdoors, or on the road, dog pens are an essential tool for pets and pet owners alike. They can safely keep a mischievous puppy from chasing other animals or gnawing on the living-room furniture, provide an exercise space as a dog run, or help with obedience or anti-anxiety training. Whether you’re searching for one of the best dog pens for your living room, backyard, or to take on the road, here’s how to find the best option for you and your furry friend.

How we chose the best dog pens

When you’re leaving your pet home for a few hours or are working in the backyard, a dog pen is a good solution to keep your canine secure while still providing room to play. We researched options from leading brands, including Chewy, BestPet, and Petmaker, to compile our list of recommendations. We considered the quality of material; the ability to customize shape and size for different breeds; whether the dog pen is designed for the outdoors, indoors, or can work in both; and user experiences. We also considered durability and price in making our picks.

The best dog pens: Reviews & Recommendations

The dog play pens on the market range from large metal pens designed to keep big dogs secure in the backyard to smaller, cushioned dogs pens that are easily transportable for traveling with your pet. Whether you’re looking for an option for your living room, backyard, or a campsite, you should find an option that works for you and your dog.

Best overall: Frisco Wire Dog & Small Pet Exercise Pen




  • Dimensions: 62 inches L x 62 inches W x 36 inches H (36-inch model)
  • Material: Metal
  • Sizes: Five (24, 30, 36, 42, 48 inches)


  • Comes in five sizes and can customize shape
  • Can attach to a second pen to double space
  • Works indoors and out


  • Some users say the metal bends easily
  • Dogs may get paws caught

A dog pen should provide room for your pet to play while keeping your canine safe and secure. The versatile Frisco Wire Dog & Small Pet Exercise Pen does a good job of both. Made of sturdy metal wire, this pen comes in five sizes (24, 30, 36, 42, and 48 inches) that allow you to provide more space. The system also allows you to join two of the pens together with snap hooks. And you can customize the shape of the right panels and customize the shape into a square, rectangle, or octagon to best fit your place. 

The versatile Frisco dog pen also works both indoors and outdoors and comes with metal anchors to secure it into the ground and keep it in place. It’s also designed with double-locking doors and high walls to keep your pet securely inside. And when you’re done using it, this foldable dog pen is easy to collapse and store or take on the road with you.

Best for small dogs and puppies: ESK Collection Puppy Dog Playpen

ESK Collection



  • Dimensions: 48 inches L x 48 inches W x 25 inchesH
  • Material: Mesh
  • Sizes: One


  • Cushioned
  • Made from breathable mesh
  • Comes in four colors (pink, red, blue, black)


  • Only available in one size
  • Some users say material tears easily

The ESK Collection Puppy Dog Playpen is a great option for small dogs and small spaces. At 48 inches by 25 inches, this small dog pen is available in black, pink, red, and blue. It’s made with Oxford cloth and mesh material that is breathable, durable, and waterproof. This puppy pen also features quality zippers and Velcro to keep your pooch inside. And when you’re done, reward the pup with one of these treats for your dog.

Best for large dogs: BestPet Pet Playpen Exercise Pen




  • Dimensions: Comes in oval and rectangular shapes 
  • Material: Metal
  • Sizes: 24, 23, and 40 inches high; 8, 16, 24, and 32 panels


  • Range of sizes and heights
  • Spacious
  • Metal is rust-resistant


  • Some users say the metal is lightweight 

The heavy-duty metal BestPet Pet Playpen Exercise Pen features eight panels that can easily be set up into rectangle, octagon, and circle shapes that will keep your pooch intrigued when he enters. With a perimeter of 126 inches, this large dog pen allows your dog to run around freely and safely solo or with other dog friends, making it an ideal dog exercise pen. The rust-resistant metal works both indoors and outdoors, and its foldable structure is simple to set up and break down. 

Best for indoors: North States Mypet Petyard Passage




  • Dimensions: 35.25 inches L x 10.3 inches W x 26.5 inches H (8 panel)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Sizes: Two (8 and 6 panels)


  • Designed with lockable door
  • Portable
  • Comes with pads to avoid scratching floors


  • Some users say latch is not secure
  • Some dogs can climb out

If you’re in search of an indoor dog pen, the North States Mypet Petyard Passage creates up to 34.4 square feet of play room, and includes a swinging doggy door, which you can lock as you please. It comes with eight panels, and can be made smaller by removing two panels at a time. The assembly is super simple, thanks to its foldable panels, lightweight build, and carry-strap. Now that your pet is safe, keep him healthy with the help of these top vitamins for dogs.

Best for outdoors: Richell Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Pet Playpen




  • Dimensions: 63.8 inches L x 33.1 inches W x 36 inches H
  • Material: Plastic
  • Sizes: 6 and 4 panels


  • Can adjust from hexagon to square
  • Converts into gate
  • Works indoors and outside


  • Designed for small dogs only
  • Some users say dogs can easily get out

Recommended for dogs up to 88 pounds, the Richell Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Pet Playpen can be used indoors or outdoors due to its easy-to-clean and durable plastic construction. This plastic dog pen features specially designed caps that lock the panels for extra stability, customizable panels, a lockable gate door, and a convertible pet comfort mat (for the six- panel hexagonal configuration) which can be used as a top for shade protection or a mat for paw comfort. This indoor and outdoor dog pen is also available with four or six panels for optimum sizing.

Best for travel: EliteField Soft Pet Playpen




  • Dimensions: 62 inches L x 62 inches W x 36 inches H; 30 inches L x 30 inches W x 20 inches H; 42 inches L x 42 inches W x 24 inches H; 48 inches L x 48 inches W x 32 inches H; 62 inches L x 62 inches W x 24 inches H; 62 inches L x 62 inches W x 30 inches H; 36 inches L x 36 inches W x 24 inches H; 52 inches L x 52 inches W x 32 inches H
  • Material: Mesh
  • Sizes: 8


  • Easy to transport and set up
  • Designed with breathable mesh
  • Comes with floor pads that are easy to clean


  • Some users had issues with the quality of the material and zipper

In the market for a portable dog pen? Consider the EliteField Soft Pet Playpen. It’s designed for safety, with both doors featuring locking zippers. This dog pen also includes two accessory pockets (never lose your treats or leash!) and a water bottle with holder. You’ll get a removable zip-off portion as well as a floor mat and top cover that can be put in the wash. The material is well-ventilated, lightweight, and stylish (it comes in eight different colorways!).

Best budget: PETMAKER Exercise Playpen




  • Dimensions: 58 inches L x 60 inches W x 30 inches H
  • Material: Steel
  • Sizes:  One (30-inch x 24-inch panels)


  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable
  • Easy to set up and store


  • Only comes in one size
  • Not customizable

The budget-friendly PETMAKER Exercise Playpen is ideal for pups up to 40 pounds. It includes eight ground anchors, four snaps for extra safety, and an easy-access door for the pooches to enter. It folds flat for convenient storage when you no longer need it, and is made with durable coated steel panels with a black epoxy finish that will protect it against the elements over time. And if your pet appreciates a challenge, try one of these great dog puzzles.

Things to consider when buying a dog pen

Dog pens are enclosed spaces that ensure your pet is safely confined (hello, owner peace of mind!), while not having him feel as limited as he would if put in a crate. They come in many different shapes and sizes, can be used in different environments, and have been designed for different purposes, like training and/or exercise. When thinking about which dog pen is best for you, consider these factors.


Dog pens are meant to provide safe and enjoyable experiences for dogs and their owners alike. Your pooch won’t be so thrilled if this new enclosure feels like a jail cell, so it’s vital to ensure the space is large enough for your dog to trot around a bit and play with its dog toys. Plus, if your pup thinks that the dog pen is an awesome place to be, there will be no problems encouraging your pooch to get in next time! 

Not only do you have to consider the size of your puppy or dog (the larger the dog, the larger the pen), but you also need to bear in mind the measurements of the space you are planning on occupying (the smaller the room, the smaller the pen). Also consider your dog’s ability to run around and keep the height of the enclosure in mind so they can’t jump out. This is important for those crazy jumpers! Make sure the height makes sense as compared with the height of your dog’s typical jump.


There are dog pens designed for indoor-only use, outdoor-only use, and some that can cover both categories. If you know it will be inside, you can basically have your pick of the litter of what type of material you want. If you plan to use your pen outdoors, you’ll have to consider the elements. You can easily find an outdoor dog pen that’s waterproof, rust-resistant, and durable enough to last.


Consider you and your pooch’s lifestyle, too! If you like to hit the road and travel at times, you may want to invest in a portable playpen that is easy to transport—you’ll be able to get your adventures in while having peace of mind that your pooch is in a safe place. 

If you want to take your new dog pen with you on a trip, or simply put it in storage for some time, check out how easy or difficult it is to pack up and move. Some are made with this in mind, while others are better off staying put in one place. In line with portability, make sure you read the assembly instructions before buying so you know what you are getting yourself into!


If you are hoping to keep your pup safely confined to one space, but don’t want to pay a pretty penny for a new product, look no further than this budget option.


Q: What should I look for in a dog pen?

When buying a dog pen, you should be sure to consider the product’s size, height, environment, durability, portability, and assembly requirements. Think about your lifestyle and the needs of your dog to find the best match for you. 

Q: How tall of a playpen should I get for my dog?

If the point of the playpen is to keep your dog safely enclosed, you’re going to need one that he or she can’t escape out of. Think about how high your dog typically jumps, and beat that height in your next playpen.

Q: Is a dog pen better than a crate?

Dog pens and dog crates serve different purposes and should not be used interchangeably. While crates are great for a night’s sleep or a safe space for one dog (and is also highly necessary when training puppies), a dog pen will allow for more room to roam. The dog pen should be used when you want to keep your pooch safe and confined, but still allow them to get some exercise in.

The final word on the best dog pens

There are many great options on the market for dog pens. Once you figure out where you’ll be situating your dog pen and match the size of the pen to your pooch (and possibly his or her doggie friends), it’s smooth sailing! Get on with your day while you enjoy peace of mind knowing your pet is secure.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.