The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide To The Best Dog Crate

Dogs don’t require a lot of things to keep them safe and happy, but one essential part of dog ownership is having a quality crate for your pet.

These multipurpose accessories can be used for everything from transporting them on vacation or to the vet, and to help them with sleeping and training, so they’re pretty important for their wellbeing.

Just as there are hundreds of different types of dogs though, so too are there hundreds of dog crates to choose from.

If you’re in the market for the best dog crate you’ve probably already realized just how expansive the options can be, which is why we’ve created this handy buyer’s guide to walk you through it.

​After countless hours and plenty of dog crate reviews, we’ve got some recommendations for the best on the market in all shapes and sizes, and come up with our number one picks. ​

​There are comfortable dog crates, one for large breeds, and those better suited to travel, so you can find the perfect fit to make you and your pooch very happy

​Our Top Picks for the Best Dog Crates

RANK

​Picture

​Name

​Rating

​Shop

#1

MidWest Dog Crate

BEST OVERALL

​MidWest Dog Crate

(4.9)

#2

Petmate Dog Crate

​Petmate Dog Crate

(4.​6)

​​#​3

Noz2Noz Dog Crate

BEST ​SOFT SIDED

​Noz2Noz Dog Crate

(4.​​5)

#4

AmazonBasics Dog Crate

​AmazonBasics Dog Crate

(4.​​4)

#​5

A4Pet Dog Crate

​A4Pet Dog Crate

(4.​1)

​Finding the best crate for dogs is a matter of knowing what your pet needs, but also selecting a brand and product that’s well made, within your price range, and has all of the basic features.

These are our recommendations for the best of the best, to make your search for this dog accessory stress-free and successful.

​Best Hard Sided Crate - Midwest Home For Pets iCrate

For an all-inclusive hard sided crate that’s got one of the best reputations on the market, our number one choice is the Midwest Home for Pets iCrate. This is a 36” inch crate that weighs around 22lbs, and it’s suitable for dog breeds that weigh between 41-70lbs, coming with plenty of extras to brag about.

 What customers loved best about this dog crate was the size and how many extras came with it that made it easier to use for them and their pet. It features 4” roller wheels, a sturdy dog tray on the bottom, two openings with large double doors, and a divider panel if you want to keep more than one pooch inside.  With the divider, you can make any customizations you need, including keeping a puppy in a smaller space until they need more room.

On the negative side, people found that dogs who were a little rambunctious could rattle their cage and cause a lot of noise. If this happens, you’ll need to come up with a way to add extra padding to reduce the noise.

In addition, leaving it outside for more than a day or two led to rust, this one isn’t suitable for outdoor use but better kept in the house or wherever you’re traveling.

With a solid metal construction that’s been finished with a black satin Electro-Coat surface and round edges to prevent anything sharp, this might be a hard edge crate but it’s certainly comfortable.

It comes together easily and is totally portable, without the need for any tools. The cage is locked down with two heavy duty slide bolt latches so you can get them out, but your dog can’t.

​With a one year warranty and a price tag of around $45 on Amazon, this is the best dog kennel for those who want something heavy duty but doesn’t want to spend a fortune to get it.

​The Midwest Homes for Pets iCrate is durable, comfortable, and packed full of features, so it will make you and your dog both very happy.

Specifications

  • ​Size: 36”
  • ​Material: ​Metal
  • ​Weight: ​22lbs
  • ​Dog Size: 41-70lbs
  • Soft/Hard: Hard

Runner-Up - ​PetMate 2 Door Dog Kennel

For dog owners who only have a little pet to care for, you won’t require such a big and bulky cage, so getting something made of metal might be offputting.

The PetMate 2 Door Dog Kennel is a durable plastic cage that can be used just like a crate, but weighing less than 5lbs and measuring just 24” long for a lightweight feel.

​The PetMate 2 Door Dog Kennel has plenty of happy customers who love how light it is, and it’s ideal for small dog breeds or tiny puppies who don’t need a lot of space. The durable plastic made it easy for owners to keep clean and it’s still breathable and with visibility so that your dog feels safe and secure inside.

Customers weren’t very happy with the peepholes that are part of this cage’s design though and some found that they felt sharp.

It’s best to check the cage when it arrives and possibly smooth these down by hand if you think they could pose a threat to your dog. For the price, it’s not really a job you want to be doing, but it will make the product safer overall.

Other notable features includes the double door entry, with one on the top and a wider one on the front. You’ll get a choice of four color combinations, an ergonomic comfort grip handle, and one handed latch that can let your pet out with ease.

There’s enough room to fit a small bed inside and the size makes it perfect for crate training or traveling with little dogs.

 If you want a hard edge dog crate but don’t need a lot of room or bulk, the Petmate 2 Door Dog Kennel is a smart pick. Covered with a 12-month warranty and available for around $40 on Amazon, this is the best dog kennel for a lightweight feel. 

​The Petmate Kennel is easy to keep clean and will ensure your pet has breathability and visibility whenever they’re inside, which is everything we can ask for as their owner.

Specifications

  • ​Size: ​​24”
  • ​Material: ​Plastic
  • ​Weight: ​4.9lbs
  • ​Dog Size: Small
  • ​Soft/Hard: Hard​

​Best Soft Sided Crate - Noz2Noz Soft Krater

The Noz2Noz Soft Krater is a comfortable and soft way to keep your dog secure, made of tight weave mesh fabric for durability and breathability. This 36” Soft Krater is suitable for dogs up to 70lbs and can be used indoors or outdoors wherever you need it, and is a softer alternative to the hard metal crates and carriers.

​What customers loved most about this crate was how portable it was, making it a top choice for the best travel dog travel crate. It folds down to nothing when not in use but is less than 9lbs in weight so it won’t take up any room in your car or wherever else you need to store it. Even though it’s fabric is can be outside as well as in, so there’s plenty of versatility with the Soft Krater.

The only issues with this are small design flaws that could hopefully be upgraded on the next Soft Krater. The teeth of the zipper should be wider to prevent material being stuck and people found the fabric to be too tight as they were trying to close it.

Be prepared to spend a little time and some fiddling to close it correctly if this is the case. This crate has rounded corners so it won’t do any damage in the home and it’s incredibly soft on the outside and inside.

Thanks to the mesh fabric it has a lot of breathabilities and despite how lightweight it is, you’ll be able to easily carry dogs that are up to 70lbs within. You can set it up in seconds because of the pop-up design and there’s no need for tools at all.

​As the best dog crate for car and our pick for the best soft-sided crate, this one seems to be able to do it all. The Noz2Noz Soft Krater retails for around $80 when you shop on Amazon, so it’s not exactly cheap, and there’s no word of a warranty from a manufacturer.

​However, if you put your trust in the hundreds of good reviews you won’t be let down by the Soft Krater.

Specifications

  • ​Size: ​​​36”
  • ​Material: ​Mesh Fabric
  • ​Weight: ​​​8.76lbs
  • ​Dog Size: 70lbs
  • Soft/Hard: Soft

​Runner-Up - AmazonBasics Soft Dog Crate

AmazonBasics has succeeded in creating a budget friendly soft dog crate that’s also one of the best dog portable cage picks on the market. The Soft Dog Crate folds down to virtually nothing and weighs a tiny 6.5lbs, while still being capable of carrying dogs a little over 40lbs. It’s a 30” size with ample room for your dog inside but without the harsh edges that metal carriers are known for.

​The durability of this soft dog crate is what customers were most impressed with, and it was surprising for something so lightweight. Thanks to the heavy duty polyester and PVC frame, owners were able to carry two dogs inside at times which made it a lot easier thanks to the 6.5lbs weight of the crate itself. When it’s not in use, it won’t take up any room at all and can be rolled up neatly for storage.

On the downside, if your dog tends to scratch at their crate in an attempt to get out, they could do some damage. This is a common issue with soft crates but seems to present even more of a problem here because of the material used.

There’s also no handles or strap to hang onto which can make it a little hard to carry around if you’re traveling, so that was a letdown for many dog owners.

AmazonBasics has added plenty of features to this crate that makes up for the negatives, includes two doors, fastening straps to keep it rolled up stored away when not in use, and a set up that takes mere seconds without the need for any tools.

The fuss-free way this comes together makes it perfect for travel and you can use inside or outside without an issue.

​AmazonBasics has a competitive price of around $40 on this soft crate, available through Amazon itself, and that also includes a 12-month warranty in case there are any faults. ​

​As an extremely lightweight but durable option, if you prefer a soft crate but don’t want to spend twice the price, this would make a reasonable alternative for any dog under the 70lbs mark.

Specifications

  • ​Size: ​30”
  • ​Material: ​PVC and polyester
  • ​Weight: ​6.5lbs
  • ​Dog Size: 42lbs
  • Soft/Hard: Soft

​Alternative - A4 Pet Collapsible Dog Crate

If you prefer a mixture of both metal and fabric on your dog crate, the A4 Pet Collapsible Dog Crate could be right up your alley. Measuring 36” and capable of holding dogs up to 70lbs, it a good choice for a large dog crate that can still fit inside your car. This crate is made with a durable oxford fabric but held together thanks to the sturdy steel frame and both of them work excellently at keeping your dog safe inside.

 The best feature of the A4 Pet Crate is its waterproof bottom which is something that more crate makers should consider adding. If you’re traveling in the car and want to make sure no accidents get through or don’t want anything seeping through to your carpet, having a waterproof lining like this takes care of it for you.

The negatives are that the material didn’t seem as durable as you’d hope, especially for one of the more expensive products. People with dogs who chewed nervously or scratched had their pets tear holes in this pretty quickly, making the whole thing obsolete.

For that cost, it’s not really an issue you plan on dealing with and could end up being an expensive investment.

This crate is totally collapsible so when it’s not being used it can be easily stored away. It takes around 40 seconds to set up without tools and weighs around 9lbs so it’s pretty lightweight to carry.

There’s a screen on the side and top access that zips open as well as sturdy handles to transport your dog wherever you go.

​The A4 Pet Crate is one of the more expensive options on the market at around $70, and there’s no word on a warranty either. 

​However, if you want something soft and waterproof this is a good choice, as long as you’re prepared for the possibility of your pooch tearing a hole in it the next time they’re feeling nervous.

Specifications

  • ​Size: ​​​​​36”
  • ​Material: ​Oxford fabric and steel frame
  • ​Weight: ​​9.3lbs
  • ​Dog Size: 70lbs
  • Soft/Hard: Soft

​The Best Reasons To Invest In A Dog Crate For Your Pup

dog travel crate

A pet crate is one of the essential items that every dog owner should have, purely because of the myriad of ways you can use them.

Most people invest in one when their dog is a small puppy and find they get many years of use from them, and there are plenty of benefits to be enjoyed by you and your pet.

​Travel

​A pet will feel safer and more secure traveling in their crate, whether it’s in the car or a plane. For car rides, this helps confine them to one space so they don’t cause a disruption for the driver and it’s great for dogs who usually feel nervous on long trips.

A dog crate can also transport your pet to the vet for checkups if you’re worried about taking them on the lead.

​Toilet ​Training

​Whether it’s a puppy or an adult dog you’re trying to train, using a crate has been long proven as the most effective way to toilet train.

Dogs are hesitant to use the bathroom in small spaces which makes it easier to establish a routine for going outside, and after a month or two they will hopefully not even need their crate again for this purpose.

​Sleeping

​Dogs like to feel comfortable and protected when they sleep, and this usually means being in a confined space.

Having their own crate at home to sleep in helps show them when it’s time for bed and stops any whining that sometimes occurs, especially during the puppy stage.

Safety And Comfort

​A dog crate is a source of comfort for your pet and provides a safe haven for them. No matter what they might be afraid of or if they just want somewhere to relax, many dogs prefer the space of their own dog crate as somewhere to retreat to.

FAQs​ On Pet Crates

small dog crate

Pet crates are a quintessential item for any dog owner, but there’s a lot to learn about using these devices.

We’ve answered some commonly asked questions that dog lovers have about these crates so you can be sure you’re getting the most benefits from them for you and your pet.

Can Dogs Hurt Themselves In A Crate?

Certain designs of dog crates may cause an injury for dogs, including getting a body part trapped in a door or scratching their nose on something.

It’s imperative for owners to inspect crates before putting their dogs inside, always choose a reputable brand, and never leave them alone for too long.

Can I Crate My Dog For 12 Hours?

The maximum amount of time you should leave a dog in a crate is 6-8 hours, and this applies to adult dogs only.

For puppies, a time limit of 3 hours should be followed and for younger dogs up to 5 hours. Leaving them too long in a crate without access to outside can cause physical and mental harm, as well as problems for their bladder.

Is It Cruel To Crate A Dog At Night?

New dog owners worry about crating their dog at night because it seems cruel, however most dog experts agree that it’s okay to do.

Dogs appreciate the sense of security and safety that comes with being inside of their crate, and many choose to go in their voluntarily throughout the day.

How To Teach Your Dog To Crate?

Start slowly by showing your dog to go inside of the crate on demand, and when they follow your instruction give them a treat.

You don’t want to start shutting the door until they feel comfortable being in that space, which can take a few weeks of practice.

Is It OK To Cover A Dog Crate With A Blanket?

If your dog is having trouble winding down, a lightweight sheet or blanket might help to calm them when they’re in their crate and allow them to breathe easily as well.

However, listen out for signs of distress as you do this and remove the blanket immediately if it upsets them, and don’t cover the crate for too long.

Somewhere Safe ​And Comfortable For Your Best Friend

car dog crate

As pet owners, we only want the very best for our pooches, and investing in a crate is a way to ensure that this happens.

Whether you only want a crate for traveling in the car or need a total training accessory for the toilet and sleep habits, this one device has the potential to do it all.

​There are plenty of features to consider before choosing a dog crate but with the right one, this is something that can last your dog for their entire life.

Made with a lot more durability and practicality than ever before, the dog crate has evolved to something that can be taken virtually anywhere to provide our dogs with a safe and comfortable space of their own.

​Choosing the best dog crate is a very specific thing that must take you and your pet into account.

Depending on where you plan on using it, how long they’ll be in it for, and the physical requirements your pet has, you’re likely to find one of our top picks here as the best choice.

​You’ll be surprised at how much use you get out of one of these dog carriers, from travel to toilet training and everything in between.

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