Three best dog crates

Lauren Corona

Some crates come with a divider, which you can use while your puppy is still growing and remove when he reaches full size, so you don't have to buy two crates of different sizes.

A crate can be a helpful addition to your dog-training supplies, not to mention it's a safe and comfortable retreat for your pooch. If finding the best dog crate for your four-legged friend is on your agenda, help is at hand.

Variety might be the spice of life, but too much variety can make it hard to reach a decision. To help you pick the right crate from the hundreds on the market, we at BestReviews have compiled this quick guide. Read on to learn all you need to know about dog crates.

Considerations when choosing dog crates

Uses: Learning about the potential uses for a dog crate can help you decide if you need one.

Many people use crates to help toilet train puppies, especially overnight or during times when owners aren't around to keep an eye on their pups.

If your dog engages in destructive chewing, a crate can be helpful as a temporary way to restrict your pet's movements around the house when you're not home (while you train him to abandon his destructive ways).

You can use a crate to safely secure your dog in your vehicle or for traveling by air or rail.

If your four-legged friend gets injured, your veterinarian might recommend crate rest.  

Size: Make sure you choose the right size crate for your dog. She should be able to stand up without crouching, lie down flat, and turn around. It should be around two to four inches longer than the length of your dog from nose to tail, and two to four inches taller than the height of your dog from the floor to the top of her head.

Dog crate features

Material: Wire is the most popular choice for indoor crates since it's lightweight, well ventilated, and fairly affordable. Plastic is more popular for travel, whether by car, plane, or train. You can also find soft-sided fabric crates, which are best for small dogs without destructive tendencies.

Latch: The latch on your dog's crate should be easy for you to open but not so simple that your dog can figure out how to open it.  

Base: A solid plastic base is ideal because it's easy to wipe clean. Fabric crates don't have plastic bases, but many of them are machine washable.

Dog crate prices: The cost of a dog crate varies depending on the type, size, and quality. Expect to pay somewhere between $20 and $80 for an average wire crate. Plastic crates tend to cost between $50 and $200. Fabric crates vary widely in price, but a decent model should cost between $50 and $100.  


Q. What kind of crate should I get if my dog needs to travel on an airplane?

A. The exact specifications depend on the airline, so check with it before buying a crate. However, you'll generally need a well-ventilated, solid-sided plastic crate if your dog will be traveling in the hold. If your dog will be traveling in the cabin with you, you'll require a compact hard or soft crate that's small enough to stow under the seat in front of you.

Q. Should my dog stay in her crate whenever I'm out of the house?

A. Ideally, your dog should be free to roam the house while you're out and about. Crates can help you get to this stage while you work on toilet training or deal with destructive behaviors, but keeping your dog in a crate shouldn't be an all-day, everyday solution. If you leave the crate door open, your canine companion might choose to hang out in it when she's feeling stressed or just wants a cozy spot to relax, but she shouldn't be restricted to the crate for hours at a time.

Dog crates we recommend

Best of the best: MidWest Homes for Pets Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate 

Our take: An excellent choice if you're looking for a simple wire crate.

What we like: Much sturdier than similar models. Divider panel included, which is handy when buying for a puppy. Six size options.

What we dislike: Heavy compared to similar crates.

Best bang for your buck: BestPet Wire Cage 

Our take: Sizable 42-inch crate offers exceptional value for money. Perfect for pet parents on a budget.

What we like: Folds down for storage. Easy to clean. Rust-resistant, powder-coated finish.

What we dislike: Not as rugged as we'd like.

Choice 3: Merry Products Cage with Cover 

Our take: With its attractive crate cover, this model is ideal for living rooms or other spaces where a crate might look out of place.

What we like: Classic wood veneer finish blends in with home furnishings. Three sizes.

What we dislike: Expensive. Not especially durable.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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