Best Dog Crates

PetGuide
PetGuide logo

Dog crates have many uses: from training, to shelter, to safety precaution- a solid, spacious crate will be more of a safe haven than a prison for your pooch. While the fact that crates look similar to a cage puts off many from using them, it’s not to say that crating dogs is a cruel practice. When done properly and at shorter time intervals, it’s perfectly comfortable and safe for a pooch to spend time cooped up in a crate. In fact, in some cases, a dog crate can be an absolute necessity, for instance when traveling with your dog or if you have a pet with separation anxiety issues. As their ancestors were denning animals, most dogs still have instincts to hole up in an enclosed space when in need of a sense of safety and comfort. That’s why most pooches take to crating in no time, as it can give them a sense of security and calmness.

To make sure your dog is comfortable in his new crate and feels safe and relaxed, it’s important to take all the right steps. The first is to make sure that the dog crate of your choice suits your pet’s size and strength. It should be robust and durable, and large enough to give your pet room to walk around, stand up, sit, and lie down without feeling cramped. Next, you should furnish it with a soft pillow or bed for a touch of coziness- and depending on the time they’re spending in it, toss in some of their favorite toys and food and water bowls, as well. Regardless of your dog’s attitude towards spending time in a crate, you should never leave them locked in a crate for no more than a couple of hours.

While proper crate training and approach to creating practices are essential for success, your choice of a dog crate is as important. Your dog’s individual needs should be taken into account, as well as your preferences and budget. The first factor you need to pay attention to is the dimensions of the crate. You should measure your dog’s height when standing and sitting, as well as their length when they are lying down. Add a couple of inches to those measurements to ensure that your dog will have freedom of movement.  If you’re buying a crate for a puppy, pick one that will fit them as they grow into adults. It’s the budget-friendlier and more convenient alternative to buying a different crate each time your puppy grows out of it!  

In addition to size, crate materials are also important to consider. Do you want a wooden crate that looks more like furniture than a pet accessory? Is the crate going to be used occasionally, so you want a collapsible wire or soft crate? Are you planning on using it for travel, so you need a strong plastic crate for an airplane? There are many choices and we’re going to help you make the best one for your pet. Take a look at our list of best dog crates the market has to offer and pick the one that is tailored to your unique needs.

This double-walled, rotomolded kennel from Gunner Kennels is a beast. It’s the only one that’s on the market tested to withstand over 4000 pounds of pressure. That’s two tons of pressure if you’re counting, so it makes it one of the safest you’ll find. In fact, it was the first dog kennel to ever get a 5-Star Crash Test Rating from the Center For Pet Safety. The design is what keeps the interior of your dog’s kennel cooler or warmer (40 degrees cooler on hot days and 40 degrees warmer on cold days) so comfort is a given for your dog no matter the outside temp. It’s covered by a lifetime warranty and if you’re looking to keep your dog safe no matter the element or circumstance (including a 200-foot cliff drop)? This is the one you’re going to want.

Pros 

  • Crash Test Rated from Center For Pet Safety
  • Double-walled
  • Rotomolded
  • Heavy-duty: will withstand over 4000 pounds of pressure
  • Customizable for various setups
  • Lots of accessories available
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons

  • Big
  • Cost

SHOP NOW


An all-around good choice, the MidWest pet crate is versatile, sturdy, and easy to assemble. This wire crate comes in one door and two-door options, seven sizes (fits everyone from petite pooches to large breeds), and three colors- black, pink, and blue. The crate comes with free dividers so you can use it from puppyhood to adulthood, and the plastic pan that goes under the crate will act as a waterproof barrier- saving your floors from potential “accidents”. Ideal for all stages of life, really. This is also a good choice if you want a dog crate that’s assembled and disassembled fast, as MidWest crate folds into a suitcase-style carrying form in just a few seconds.

Pros 

  • 7 size options
  • Free dividers and plastic pan
  • Choice between single and double door
  • Heavy-duty slide bolt latch
  • Easy assembly
  • 3 color choices

Cons

  • Latch could be better designed
  • Could be sturdier

 

SHOP NOW


If you and your four-legged best friend are wanderers at heart, a good travel dog crate is a must-have accessory. This folding soft crate is a perfect option for a crate on the go, as it will give your pooch a safe haven and a place for a time out during hectic holidays and travels and all that without being too bulky to always have on hand. The solid steel tubing and durable canvas fabric make this soft crate surprisingly sturdy, and the three mesh doors ensure easy access and good ventilation at all times. The EliteField soft crate comes in five different sizes and in fourteen different colors- it will suit small to large breeds.  

Pros

  • Foldable and portable
  • Ideal for travel
  • 5 size options
  • Waterproof fabric
  • 16 color options

Cons

  • Not for rowdy dogs
  • Zippers could be better

SHOP NOW


Is your dog’s crate their bed at the same time? Or is your pooch suffering from separation anxiety and needs to be in his crate while you’re at work? Either way, you’ll want a sturdy dog crate that will be a permanent fixture in your home, rather than go through the fuss of putting it up and putting it away each day. In that case, this stylish decorative crate is a great choice. Doubling as an accent table, this dog crate is made from mahogany wood panels snapped over a wire crate. The wooden frame makes the crate less of an eyesore even more durable and sturdy. To boot, if you happen to need to take this crate with you on a trip, just snap off the wooden panels and fold the crate in seconds. No need to buy a separate portable crate!

Pros

  • Elegant look
  • Removable wooden panels
  • Doubles as an accent table
  • Removable plastic tray
  • Easy to assemble
  • Small, medium, and large size available

Cons

  • Pricey

SHOP NOW


If everything seems better when you’re looking through rose-colored glasses, is the same true when you’re peeking through pink wire crate sides? Even if your pupper can’t tell the difference, it might be more to your liking to avoid dull and dark standard wire crates and switch to a brighter, bubblier option. This soft pink wire crate won’t stick out like a sore thumb in your pastel living space, that’s for sure. The single door Carlson wire dog crate is suitable for toy dogs and small breed dogs, so if your pooch is a gentle giant, your palette might be more limited. 

Pros

  • Lightweight but sturdy
  • Pretty color options
  • Suited for puppies or small dogs
  • Single point of entry
  • Removable tray for easier cleaning and potty training

Cons

  • Plastic tray isn’t very durable

SHOP NOW


Okay, how many times have you called your dog’s crate a ‘cage’? Or had someone else do the same? Because let’s face it, many traditional crates look just like that with the bars and the metal. When KindTail founder Amy Kim thought about pet crates, she wanted to have something more of a relaxing nesting pod for her own dog, Monkey. That’s where the idea for the PAWD Fully Collapsible Crate came from, and this innovative design is not just fashionable, it’s super functional for travel as well. It can be your dog’s safe space anywhere you want, but not obtrusively sticking out like a metal cage in your living room. It’s lightweight for travel and there are no sharp edges or corners. The built-in handle makes it super easy to get up and go but the best? The ease with which something so stylish and designed with your dog’s nesting comfort in mind simply collapses into an easy to store stack. IT comes in pastel grey, pink and white, and for small dogs who want to feel loved and protected? It’s a must.

Pros

  • Doesn’t look like a classic crate
  • Fully collapsible
  • Fashionable and functional
  • Easy to store and assemble
  • No sharp edges
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Perfect for small dogs

Cons

  • Not for aggressive chewers

SHOP NOW


If the budget is not an issue, and you want to invest in a virtually indestructible dog crate, then go for this bad boy. Made from premium 22-gauge steel with 1/2-inch diameter steel tubing, Frisco Ultimate dog crate can withstand even the most destructive canines in training. Also, furry Houdinis won’t have luck breaking out of this dog crate that doubles as a fort, as the locks are positioned away from their reach. The wheels on the bottom make it easy to move around this heavy crate when your pet is not in it, and you can set built-in foot brakes when the crate is occupied. 

Pros

  • Heavy-duty construction resistant to chewing and damage
  • Durable gauge steel
  • Safe and sturdy locks 
  • Wheels on the bottom with built-in brakes
  • Pull-out tray for easier cleaning

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bulky

SHOP NOW


Soft dog crates are a great choice for traveling or short outings, as they give you a way to contain your pooch for their safety, and they are not difficult to transport or store. If you are looking for a dog crate for training purposes, a soft crate won’t do it for you- these are only for crate trained dogs. The Port-A-Crate comes in 6 sizes, for dogs under 10 pounds sizing up to pooches that weigh up to 70 pounds. Safe, durable, easy to clean, and super comfy, this dog crate will become a must on your “what to pack for travel”  list.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Best for road trips or safe play outdoors
  • Breathable fabric and mesh windows
  • Durable
  • Suited for small breeds or puppies
  • Easy to clean
  • 6 sizes available

Cons

  • Not for dogs over 15 pounds
  • Not suited for restless dogs

SHOP NOW


If you prefer dog crates that can pass as furniture pieces, ecoFlex is a fantastic choice, as this end table lookalike hides a comfy crate in its interior. Available in antique white, grey, espresso, and russet, this beautiful crate is made from a unique material called ecoFlex that combines reclaimed wood and plastic into a new form that won’t warp, crack, or split. The locks and the spindles are from stainless steel. This dog crate is not portable or collapsible, so it’s only a good choice if want a crate that will have a permanent spot in your living room. On the other hand, the design is so gorgeous you wouldn’t want it any other way!

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • ECOFLEX material won’t warp, crack, or split
  • 2-in-1 function
  • Stainless steel latch
  • 4 color choices
  • 4 size options
  • No tools assembly

Cons

  • Not for chewers
  • Could be sturdier

SHOP NOW


Petmate Sky Kennel is considered the gold standard for pet travel and with good reason. Not only that this is the closest you’ll get to a fully airline approved dog crate without much tweaking, but it’s also sturdy, safe, and comfortable for pets. If your dog is traveling in an airplane cargo, it’s crucial for the crate to be up to standards, and Sky Kennel is. The heavy-duty plastic shell and the extra strong steel wire will keep any pooch safe inside, and the ventilation openings all around let air circulate freely inside the crate. This travel dog crate comes in 6 sizes and with a travel kit full of goodies included (2 “Live Animal” stickers, clip-on bowls, and ID stickers).

Pros

  • Meets most airline cargo specifications
  • Durable, heavy-duty construction
  • Comes with 2 Live Animal stickers, clip on bowls and ID stickers
  • Ventilation on all sides
  • 4 way vault door
  • 6 sizes for dogs of all sizes

Cons

  • Handle could be sturdier

SHOP NOW


If you want to kill two birds with one stone, then go for this starter kit from the beginning. In addition to the double door wire crate, you’ll also get a suitable crate cover, 2 bowls for food and water and a bed that fits the bottom of the crate perfectly, all included in the kit. The iCrate starter kit comes in 6 sizes, accommodating everyone from toy dogs to extra large breeds.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a crate cover, 2 food and water bowls, and a crate bed
  • 3 color options
  • Includes a divider panel, 4 roller feet, and a leak proof tray
  • Great all-in-one offer
  • Easy to assemble
  • Available in 6 sizes for all dog breeds

Cons

  • Could be more durable

SHOP NOW


Just like you, we’re pet parents. For the past 10 years, we’ve spent our days researching a broad range of products in every product category we cover to bring you a perfectly curated list of recommendations. With 50 pets on staff and over 40 years of pet industry experience writing and testing products, we’ve got an uncanny sense of what’s worth your money and what isn’t. Our aim is to give you the most accurate and unbiased reviews to help you pick the best products for your furry, hairy, feathery, and/or scaly family.

 One of the biggest concerns pet owners have when it comes to crates is the way they could make their pet feel. Let’s be honest for a second, most (if not all) crates look like a cage so it’s easy to see why the initial reaction would be to link them to cruel practices- after all, the idea of essentially jailing your dog is not appealing to anyone. However, despite what it looks like, if done properly, crating is not cruel to your pooch in the slightest. When putting your dog in the crate, you have to follow a few basic rules to make sure that your dog feels comfortable and at ease, as well as to ensure that their needs are met. First and foremost is never trying to forcibly crate your pet. If they are unsure what to make of the crate and are not relaxed enough to be in it without whining or trying to claw their way out, don’t push them or yell. Give them time to realize that a crate is a safe place for them to be in and that they needn’t be scared instead of further exacerbating their distrust and fear. Proper crate training practices will help you ease them into using the crate in a fun, friendly, and positive way.

Another crucial aspect is making sure that you don’t overdo it. The most common mistake that people make when crating their dogs- and the one that makes crates cruel- is leaving their dogs locked in a crate for hours and hours on end. Even when your pet has everything they need inside the crate (e.g. food, water, pee pads), crates are not meant to be used for a long period of time- a general rule of thumb is no more than 6 to 8 hours for an adult, and the number is quite lower for puppies and elderly doggos. Dogs need to move around and explore, and while a crate can be a great way to keep them in one place while you’re not around, that can only be a temporary solution.

It is also important to note that you should NEVER use a crate as a way to punish your pet for bad behavior. Not only that it would be cruel to resort to basically putting your pet in prison for chewing your shoes or peeing on the carpet, but it would also be counterproductive in general. Your pet will start associating crate with punishment and negative feelings instead of seeing it as their safe place and private retreat- which can only hurt your training efforts and generally deteriorate the relationship you have with your dog.

We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.


Comments