The 7 Best Puppy Playpens (2021 Reviews)

Puppies, while incredibly cute, have an uncanny way of getting into trouble around the house. Thankfully, playpens are the perfect way to allow your pup to be themselves without creating a mess everywhere. But with so many options, you may be wondering which is best for your puppy.

To help, we sifted through tens of thousands of reviews to find the 7 best puppy playpens available now. Here’s our comprehensive review and buying guide:

Our Picks for the Best Puppy Playpens

1. New World Foldable Dog Playpen

new world foldable puppy playpen

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The New World Foldable Playpen is an affordable, no-frills pen that’s made for puppies of any breed or size. It snaps together without any tools, and provides a flexible 16 square feet of space for your puppy. Most importantly, it’s one of the highest rated metal playpens available.

Key Features:

  • Puppy playpen with 8 metal panels
  • Suitable for all puppy breeds and sizes
  • Creates 16 square feet of play space
  • Easily snaps together with no tools required
  • Available in 5 sizes fitting small through extra large puppies
  • Wall heights between 24” to 48”

Pros:

  • Affordably priced
  • Flexible sizes; combine 2 or more playpens to form a larger play area
  • Rust and corrosion resistant
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors; includes ground stakes
  • Folds flat when not in use

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include rubber feet or felt pads. We suggest adding material to the bottom rack if using on hardwood floors.
  • No people gate (though panels are easily unsnapped to enter and exit)

2. Iris 6-Panel Exercise Playpen with Door

iris 6 panel puppy exercise playpen

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The Iris Exercise Playpen is a stylish option that’s designed to blend with the decor of your home. It includes six panels that easily snap together, and a fully customizable space through the purchase of additional walls (sold separately). Just a heads up, as this playpen has 24 inch walls, we suggest using it for small to medium sized puppies only.

Key Features:

  • Puppy playpen made of durable plastic
  • Suitable for small to medium sized puppies
  • Panels easily snap together without tools
  • Dog door for easy access
  • 24” wall height
  • Available in white or black

Pros:

  • Door has double locking mechanism for safety
  • Add on panels can be purchased to create a custom large playpen
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Heavier than other playpens, less portable

3. MyPet Petyard Passage 8-Panel Dog Pen

mypet north states petyard passage

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The MyPet Petyard Passage is one of the highest rated plastic playpens. It’s designed with flexibility in mind; each panel is pre-assembled and quickly snapped together to create a fully customizable play area. The pen can also be used indoors or outdoors, and is perfect for small through large breed puppies.

Key Features:

  • Puppy playpen with lockable pet door
  • Suitable for small and medium puppies (large breed is OK, depending on size)
  • Available in brown and gray color options
  • 27” wall height
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors

Pros:

  • Includes skid-resistant rubber pads
  • Encloses up to 34 square feet of play space
  • Pen can be customized with added panels
  • No assembly required; panels easily snap together
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • More expensive than other playpens
  • No human gate, will need to step over walls to get inside

4. Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Dog Playpen

precision pet soft sided dog playpen

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Looking for a soft pen that can withstand some wear and tear? The Precision Pet Soft-Sided Playpen is the most durable option we reviewed. It includes nested panels, covered seams, and reinforced corners for extra sturdiness, and a removable top and bottom for easy cleaning.

Key Features:

  • Soft-sided puppy playpen with reinforced corners and seams
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Assembles in seconds with no tools required
  • Available in two sizes: wall heights of 17” and 28”

Pros:

  • Portable design; easily folds down for travel or storage
  • Made of breathable mesh, and water resistant polyester
  • Top and bottom panels are removable for accident clean-ups or washing
  • Includes ground stakes for use on lawns
  • Side pockets for storage

Cons:

  • Expensive for a soft-sided playpen
  • Not a permanent option, and requires supervision

5. Frisco Playpen with Step-Through Door

frisco wire dog pen

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Have a large puppy that needs high walls in their pen? The Frisco Playpen is your best bet. This metal option includes a step-through door for easy access, and a double locking mechanism to make sure your pup doesn’t escape while you’re away. It’s easily set up without any tools, and comes in sizes for all puppy breeds.

Key Features:

  • Puppy playpen with step-through door
  • Suitable for all puppy breeds and sizes
  • Made of 8 metal wire panels
  • Can combine 2 or more playpens into a larger play/living area
  • Wall heights between 24” to 48”

Pros:

  • Affordably priced
  • Easily folds up for storage or travel
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use; includes ground stakes
  • Each metal panel has rounded edges for safety
  • Door locks for safety

Cons:

  • Panels are permanently connected. While the playpen can be folded into different shapes, individual panels cannot be added/removed.

6. Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Dog Playpen

ruff n ruffus portable dog playpen

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If you’re looking for an ultra-portable playpen, check out the Ruff n’ Ruffus. This pen pops open in seconds, and collapses down into an included carrying case for easy transit. It’s also breathable and water repellent — perfect for summer days in your backyard or the park.

Key Features:

  • Soft-sided, portable puppy playpen
  • Suitable for small breed puppies
  • No assembly required; quickly pops open
  • Available in three sizes
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

Pros:

  • Collapses into lightweight carrying case
  • Top can be removed or left on as a sunshade
  • Made of water resistant material
  • Includes carrying case and pop-up dog bowl
  • Comes with “100% Satisfaction Guarantee”

Cons:

  • Should only be used as a temporary, supervised playpen (not permanent)
  • Material is not chew proof

7. MidWest Wire Dog Playpen with Step-Thru Door

midwest homes wire dog playpen

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The MidWest Wire Dog Playpen is another sturdy metal pen that’s perfect for any size puppy. It’s easily assembled in minutes, and can be used both indoors or outdoors.

Key Features:

  • Metal puppy playpen with step-through door
  • Suitable for all puppy breeds and sizes
  • Provides 16 square feet of play space inside pen
  • Available in 5 sizes that fit small through extra-large puppies
  • Wall height options between 24” to 48”

Pros:

  • Affordably priced
  • Door is double latched for safety
  • Water and weather resistant
  • Easy to assemble, with no tools required
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors; includes ground stakes
  • Folds flat for easy storage

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include rubber feet or pads. We suggest adding felt to the bottom to solve if you plan on using it on hardwood or other similar flooring.

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Buying Guide for Puppy Playpens

Guide provided by Marguerite Larsen

What is a Puppy Playpen?

Puppy playpens are structures that provide a safe space for your puppy to play, move, and eat inside your home or backyard. They’re made from materials such as plastic, metal, or cloth, and come in different heights to fit every breed.

Reasons to Use a Puppy Playpen

Even if you’ve never had a puppy before, you’re likely aware of the messiness they can leave in their path. For this reason, playpens are an essential accessory recommended by both veterinarians and dog trainers.

golden retriever puppy

Among the reasons you should purchase a playpen are:

  • Limiting your puppy’s space while you train them.
  • Avoiding accidents before your puppy is potty-trained.
  • Preventing damage to your house and possessions due to chewing.
  • Keeping your puppy safe from choking on small objects around the house.
  • Safety when traveling on the road or in an unfamiliar location.

Puppy Training

Puppies are like babies in that they don’t yet understand etiquette for eating, playing, or using the bathroom. While they learn, playpens provide a safe, confined space for accidents to happen (and one that doesn’t take over your entire house).

Playpens are also important for training itself. Puppy training is all about setting boundaries — for both desirable and undesirable behaviors. A playpen is your puppy’s first physical boundary, and therefore an important first lesson in learning what they are and aren’t allowed to do. You can also use playpens in location-based training to help your puppy respond to commands by sending them to a quiet, controlled space.

What to Look For When Buying a Puppy Playpen

Height

A playpen should be tall enough to stop your puppy from jumping out — even as they grow. As a general rule, a 30’’- 36” wall is suitable for most puppies, though giant breeds or fence-jumpers may need up to 40”. Small breeds usually only need a 24” wall. Here’s a table for easy reference:

Type of Puppy Recommended Playpen Wall Height
Small breed, some medium breeds 24 in.
Medium to large breeds 30-36 in.
Giant breed or high jumpers Up to 40 in.

If you’re still unsure of the proper height for your pen, we recommend checking each product’s packaging for ideal sizes and weights.

Durable

A playpen should be made of durable plastic or metal to prevent your puppy from chewing through it. Certain dogs can use soft, foldable pens, but for most puppies, it’s better to opt for chew-proof material. If you’re only looking for a soft playpen, we’ve provided some suitable options in our list above. Your playpen should also be designed to not collapse or fall over when jumped on.

Adjustable

Look for playpens that can adjust their size by adding or removing panels. These flexible pens also allow you to meet your puppy’s needs as they grow larger.

Other Features

  • Vertical Bars make it less likely that your puppy will climb out of their pen.
  • Ground Anchors: If you plan to use your puppy pen outside, look for a product with “ground anchors” to prevent the structure from moving.
  • Skid-Resistant Padding: Some indoor playpens are made with skid-resistant material to prevent slipping on hard floors.
  • Gates for People: Look for playpens with a gate, so you can easily enter/exit to bring your puppy food, water, or clean up messes. This is especially important for pens with high walls.

What to Watch Out For When Buying a Pen

Have a large breed puppy? Avoid playpens made of cloth, nylon, or mesh, as these are quickly outgrown and can be a chewing hazard.

Check for wear, damage, and sharp edges on your pen. Puppies’ skin, fur, and gums are delicate. Be sure to inspect your playpen for any signs of wear and damage, or any edges that can cut your puppy if they rub against or chew them.

How to Set Up Your Puppy Playpen

Location

Put your puppy’s playpen somewhere that’s easily visible and close to you/your family, such as the kitchen or living room. This keeps them close to the action, while also allowing you to quickly check on them while you’re busy around the house. The playpen should also never be isolated, as this increases separation anxiety and may create a negative association between your puppy and their pen.

Pro tip: consider putting your pen on a hard surface, such as wood or tile. Your puppy will likely have accidents while potty-training, and clean up is much easier on these surfaces compared to carpet.

What to Put Inside the Pen

Your puppy’s crate

If you intend to crate-train your puppy, placing their crate inside the playpen is an essential first step. Be sure to block access to the top of the crate so your puppy won’t have an easy perch to climb out.

Here’s a detailed video that explains how to set up a crate in your puppy pen:

For more information on dog crates, check out this article on the benefits of crate-training your dog, or our guide to the best dog travel crates.

Toys

Toys are a great way to keep your puppy entertained in their pen throughout the day. Be sure to provide a few different types so they can discover which one they like best.

puppies sleeping in playpen

Rubber or vinyl flooring panels

These are optional, but highly recommended if you have wood or laminate floors. Rubber panels can protect your flooring and make clean ups easier when your puppy has an accident.

No pee pads

This one might be surprising (and there’s some debate about it)! While pee pads seem great in preventing accidents, they can actually reinforce the bad habit of peeing indoors and make training your puppy to pee outside more difficult.

What about water?

Water should only be set down for short periods when your puppy is thirsty. Puppies typically need to pee soon after drinking — too much water can lead to accidents in their playpen.

That being said, if you leave the house for an extended period of time, be sure to give your puppy clean drinking water in their pen for the duration of time you’re away.

Puppy Playpen Frequently Asked Questions

How big should a puppy playpen be?

A playpen should give your puppy ample space to move around, though the height of the playpen’s walls is more important than the surface area it covers. Be sure to see our guidelines above for choosing a playpen that’s the appropriate height for your puppy as they grow.

Beyond that, most playpens are adjustable to fit the space you have available. Be aware, the larger the play area, the more places your puppy has for accidents until they’re potty-trained!

Are puppy playpens worth it?

Puppies are notoriously unruly, so even if you’re able to stay home all day, there will be times when your puppy will be alone. In these situations, it’s helpful to have a safe place for your puppy to play without the risk of getting into trouble.

To put the cost into perspective, a good puppy playpen will run $50-100, but a veterinary bill for an accident can be several $1,000s of dollars. Peace of mind alone can make a pen a quality investment.

Can you leave your puppy in a playpen?

Puppies shouldn’t be left alone all day in their playpen. But it’s completely fine to leave them in their pen for short periods when you need to cook dinner, take a shower, or leave the house.

Is a crate or a playpen better for a puppy?

Crates and playpens serve different functions, so the two are actually best used together. As your puppy grows and becomes trained, you shouldn’t need to confine them to a playpen during the day, but a crate can still act as a sleeping, time-out, or travel space as an adult. While your dog is still a puppy, a playpen also gives them more room to move around during the day compared to a crate.

References

Benefits of Playpens:
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/playpens-for-dogs/

New Puppy Checklist:
https://westpark.vet/new-puppy-checklist/

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