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Which outdoor pens for dogs are best?

Devoted dog owners enjoy taking their fur babies with them while on-the-go. Whether going camping or over to a friend’s house, there usually aren’t many fenced spaces available to keep your dog safe and secure. One exceptional alternative to having to hold your dog’s leash the entire time is to put them in an outdoor pen. Outdoor pens for dogs are available in a multitude of widths and heights, making it easy for both you and your pet to enjoy time away from home.

We’ve chosen the IRIS USA, Inc. Eight-Panel Pet Playpen as our top pick for best outdoor pen for dogs. Available in three colors, this heavy-duty playpen is made from durable plastic and is effortless to assemble.

What to know before you buy an outdoor pen for dogs

Dog’s size

Outdoor pens for dogs are a fantastic alternative to having a fenced-in space. However, in order to keep your pup contained, using the right size is crucial. Both the height and width of the playpen that you select must be appropriate for your dog. It must provide sufficient space for them to walk around and play. It also needs to be high enough to prevent them from jumping over the top.

Finding the correct width is relatively easy by “guesstimating.” Looking at product images and considering product dimensions should be more than sufficient. The most challenging selection is the playpen’s height. Common heights for outdoor pens for dogs are 24 inches, 30 inches, 36 inches, 42 inches and 48 inches. If your dog is able to jump higher than 4 feet, an outdoor playpen may not be a suitable choice. 

Energy level

Depending on your dog’s energy level, you may need to purchase a larger model. Even if the playpen is technically appropriate for your dog’s size, they may benefit from added space to run and play. This is often the case for puppies and energetic small breeds. When in doubt, there is no harm in going up one size.

Intended use

Another core consideration when selecting an outdoor pen for dogs is the intended use. This can factor into the size that you ultimately choose. For example, if you plan to use the playpen while on vacation, consider what space you will have available (both in your vehicle and at your hotel or rental unit). Ensuring that you have plenty of room for your dog’s new playpen — wherever you choose to use it — is key in being satisfied with your purchase.

What to look for in a quality outdoor pen for dogs


Rarely do you set up an outdoor pen for your dog and leave it one space. Many times, pet owners will use these playpens indoors, outdoors and while away from home. Top brands are well aware of this, and ensure that their designs are portable. Many fold up easily, and some soft pens even come with carrying cases.


An outdoor pen is of no worth if your dog can easily knock it over. Quality brands are built to be sturdy and long-lasting. They can withstand pushing from your dog, as well as accidental bumps from rough play. Some of the best models also use materials that are extra durable. From strong cloth to solid metal, your outdoor playpen should be sturdy enough to prevent escape.

Easy setup and take-down

Simple setup and take-down are two more highly desirable features in outdoor pens for dogs. Instructions should be clear and easy to follow, both for soft and hard playpen designs. Having a playpen that is easy to both put up and put away makes it more likely that you’ll get full use out of your chosen style.

How much you can expect to spend on an outdoor pen for dogs

Outdoor pens for dogs typically cost between $45-$150.

Outdoor pen for dogs FAQ

Why should I purchase an outdoor pen for my dog?

A. The primary benefit of using a playpen for your dog is to keep them safely contained, while allowing them to enjoy the outdoors. Outdoor pens for dogs are open on top, which helps dogs feel as though they are fully outside. These pens are a fantastic alternative when a fenced-in area isn’t available.

Can more than one dog be placed in a dog pen?

A. Yes, if it is large enough (and if they get along with each other). Always ensure that your dogs have plenty of space to stretch out, play and sleep.

What are the best outdoor pens for dogs to buy?

Top outdoor pen for dogs

 IRIS USA, Inc. Eight-Panel Pet Playpen

IRIS USA, Inc. Eight-Panel Pet Playpen

What you need to know: Built using sturdy plastic, the IRIS USA, Inc. Eight-Panel Pet Playpen is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

What you’ll love: Measuring at just over 34 inches in height, and just under 63 inches in width and length, this spacious outdoor pen can accommodate dogs of varying sizes. It does not have a door and is quite easy to assemble. This design is available in black, chrome and chocolate colors.

What you should consider: There have been select reports of quality control issues.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Wayfair and Chewy

Top outdoor pen for dogs for the money

Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen

Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen

What you need to know: Individuals in search of a durable yet soft option should consider the Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen.

What you’ll love: Soft, sturdy and water-resistant, this playpen for dogs is made with small pups in mind. Available in sizes extra small through medium, this design also comes with a convenient carrying case.

What you should consider: Not suitable for larger dogs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Worth checking out

MidWest Homes for Pets Foldable Metal Exercise Pen

MidWest Homes for Pets Foldable Metal Exercise Pen

What you need to know: The MidWest Homes for Pets Foldable Metal Exercise Pen comes in a wide range of heights.

What you’ll love: Those who have dogs who tend to jump, or who try to escape playpens, can have added peace of mind when using this design. Available in heights of up to 48 inches, this pen can contain some of the most active and clever dogs. No tools are required for set up. Comes with eight ground anchors for added stability.

What you should consider: Some reports of the metal scratching up floors when used indoors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy


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Valerie Jacobsen writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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