Shopping for a dog crate can be a complicated chore. Pet owners often struggle to find a good product that they won't regret purchasing in the future. We've all heard the stories about dogs who Houdini their way out of any crate or kennel they are put into. It's true that the best soft sided dog crates aren't for every pet, but they are often a good first option to try.
If your pooch likes to chew, often escapes enclosures or likes to dig, odds are he's going to rip a soft crate shortly after being he's been placed in it. Even the best soft dog crates are not suitable for puppies or rambunctious dogs. This is where crate training will be essential for your puppy or adult dog, according to the experts.
When purchasing a soft crate, be careful with your choice and mindful of your dog's behavior. Soft sided dog crates are called soft for a reason. They are made from fabric, not metal or plastic. Your dog needs to be 100% crate trained if you expect him to stay in a soft-sided crate without damaging it.
Overall, crates – soft or hard – are very helpful to pet owners in a number of ways. According to The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (ADPT):
“The Association of Professional Dog Trainers recommends the use of crates for puppies and dogs as a short-term training tool and as safety equipment throughout the dog’s life.” (source)
Over the years, we've bought, tested and reviewed a huge number of different dog crates. For this ranking of best soft sided dog crates, we've managed to find and round up ten top rated products that are worth their price tag. You can see the full review of each below, but here are the top five picks:
When Are Soft-Sided Dog Crates Appropriate?
Soft-sided dog crates can be used/needed primarily for:
- pet owners who need a lightweight portable doghouse for traveling
- dogs who prefer to relax in a comfortable crate with no distractions
- dogs that aren't overly aggressive, destructive, jumpy, hyperactive, etc…
If you're looking for a pet crate to contain your new puppy or a rambunctious large dog, it would be better to invest in a plastic or heavy-duty metal crate. You may be thinking that a soft-sided dog crate will be more comfortable, but your pup will likely end up ruining it. You'd be better off adding a cozy bed or blanket to a stronger kennel.
A soft-sided dog crate makes a great oasis for older dogs that have already been kennel trained. They're comfortable, well ventilated, and make the ideal spot for an afternoon nap. They're also the absolute best option for pet owners who take their dogs traveling with them.
The best soft dog crates are often collapsible and usually weigh less than half of what a traditional metal or plastic crate would weigh. They're easy to store under a bed or in a closet when not in use, and they can also be taken on cars, buses, or airplanes without much hassle, which makes them perfect for travel.
How to Choose the Right Type and Size Dog Crate
The size will be one of the crucial aspects. A crate that's too small for the dog will confine them, and make them uncomfortable. They will hate being in a crate and you'll have trouble with crate training as well.
On the other hand, a crate that's too large is an issue, too. Often, dogs begin pooping and peeing in one side of the crate because they consider that area to be their “backyard.” For young puppies especially, this will become a problem with house training them too, not to mention the need to regularly clean the crate from poo and pee.
Here are the three steps to follow when picking a new soft-sided dog crate:
1. Always Plan for the Future
Are you buying a crate for a full-grown adult or senior dog, or is it for a young puppy? With puppies, they grow quickly and if you buy “the right fit” now, that crate will be too small in about 3 months. Always choose a pet crate that grows with your pooch.
At the same time, you also don't want the crate to be too big for the dog. This is where it's better to choose either (a) a cheap soft dog crate that you won't feel bad about replacing in a while, or (b) buy a crate with a divider. The divider allows you to decrease the size of the crate for now, and then increase it as needed.
2. Measure Your Dog Beforehand
As mentioned above, the best soft-sided dog crate will be the one that fits your pup perfectly, so measure your dog beforehand. If you need help on how to do this, watch this video guide on how to measure your dog for a crate and pick the right size crate for your pet.
For puppies, you'll have to know what their “adult-size” is going to be. This is easy to find out as long as you know the breed – a quick Google search will give you all the answers. After that, there are some measuring guidelines you'll have to follow, such as:
- Measure dog's length: Measure them from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Then, add 2 inches to that number (for small/medium breeds) or 4 inches (for large breeds). The number you come up with is the length of the soft dog crate you'll need to buy.
- Measure dog's height: Measure them from the floor to the top of their head (for dogs with floppy ears) or from floor to top of the tip of their ears (for dogs with erect ears). Take that number and add 1 inch to it – that's the height of the pet crate you need.
- Measure dog's width: Finally, measure them from the widest point across the dog's chest and add 4 inches to that number. That's going to be the width of the soft dog crate you're going to buy.
All of that will completely cover you in terms of measuring the dog for a perfect soft-sided dog crate.
3. When in Doubt, Get a Bigger Crate
When you take those measurement numbers and try to buy a new crate, sometimes, you may not be able to find a perfect fit. In those cases, get a larger one (in width, height, and length) that's the closest to your perfect measurement numbers. A few extra inches will not let your pooch decide to defecate in a crate. On the other hand, if you pick a few inches smaller, it's likely to be uncomfortable for the dog.
These three steps will ensure you'll buy a perfect soft-sided dog crate that'll last. With that being said, here are some of the top brands we've found to be most reliable and cost-effective.
Top 10 Best Soft Sided Dog Crates
13-Door Folding Soft Crate
The EliteField 3-door soft dog crate takes the top position in our list of best soft dog crates for the price. You’d be happy to know that this brand has five sizes and an array of colors to choose from. This particular size is 36” long, 24” wide, and 28” high when fully assembled. Folded and packed away, it’s the same length and width but only 3” thick, so it becomes easier to squeeze between boxes, blankets, luggage or to carry around in the bag that comes with it.
- Size: 36" long x 24" wide x...
- The crate frame is made of...
- Three mesh doors (on the top,...
- Free carrying bag and fleece...
- 2 Year Warranty from...
Pet owners who travel a lot with their dogs understand how important it is to always have the best soft-sided dog crate with them. This size of crate provides so much interior space so it’s ideal for medium to large dogs. The EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is made of top-notch fabric that could withstand the dog’s weight and normal movements. Durable mesh material was used to provide adequate ventilation, light, and view. Strong steel tubes lend shape and strength to the crate’s frame.
According to pet owners who’ve been using the EliteField crate for their dog, it’s important that dogs be house-trained first before they’re introduced to this soft-sided dog crate. This is fabric and it would not be a pleasant thing to clean it up every time it gets soiled. This is a joy to bring during trips and it helps dogs relax especially when they’re staying in a totally new place. As long as there’s proper dog preparation, this soft dog crate would be an awesome choice for your dog.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “We have an Akita Rescue and have purchased and used many different types of crates. Not one crate is a one-size-fits all and despite negative reviews where people have said their dog destroyed the soft crate, that is not…”
2Sof-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
Second, on the list of best soft dog crates is the very familiar and popular brand among pet owners. Close to the size of our first product is Noztonoz Sof-Krate indoor and outdoor pet home. There are five sizes to choose from. The size that measures 36” long, 24” wide, and 27” high is designed for pets weighing up to 70 pounds.
- Durable, Well-Ventilated Pet...
- Made With New Heavy-Duty...
- For pets up to 70 pounds
- Sets Up In Seconds Anywhere...
- Rounded Corners Protect Home...
The Noz2Noz soft-sided dog crate is made of steel tube framing, strong water-resistant basic, washable cover, and tight-woven mesh. It sets up and folds down in three simple steps with a push-button mechanism. It folds flat and remains secured with buckled straps for ease in storing and carrying. Like EliteField, this opens from the top, front, and one side.
Most dog owners bought this soft-sided dog crate because they needed to drive long distances with their dog – moving to another place, traveling for dog competitions, and road-tripping. The Noztonoz Sof-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home always exceeded their expectations. The information as to measurements provided in the listing is spot on to the product’s actual dimensions.
This is easy to position inside your vehicle because it has front and side doors allowing entry on either the short or long side. Whatever works for your dog, it works for the crate. Dogs need to be familiar with the crate at home first before using it for trips so that there will be no resistance. It’s a breeze to fold, carry, and set up again upon reaching the destination. With Noztonoz, you and your pet have less to stress about during long trips.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “I just received this 42″ crate and my 72 lb Golden Retriever is already asleep in it. Many people commented on the smell and I came close to not buying it because of those reviews. There is a new plastic…”
3Port-A-Crate E2 Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 is available in six sizes and the largest is about the size of the first two items in this list. It measures 36” long, 25” wide, and 25” high and is designed for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds. It is one of the best soft-sided dog crate choices available because it is made of a strong steel frame, a durable crate fabric, and tight-weave mesh material. It has doors on top and at the front and mesh-covered windows on the side. Setting up is easy by simply releasing the side clips and lifting a two-piece top bar. Folding it down is equally simple, too, and hardly takes a couple of minutes.
- Lightweight, portable and...
- Tightly weaved mesh fabric...
- For crate trained dogs up to...
- Sets up and folds down in...
- Measures 36 x 25 x 25 inches;...
This soft-sided dog crate does so well in trips and they’re often bought for that purpose. Some dog owners were very amused then because their dogs took so much liking to the Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home during their trip and refused to go to their old metal crates when they got back home. They had to set the soft crate up again and fold the metallic one for storage.
Taking your dog to a trip also means taking its home along. That shouldn’t be difficult, stressful, or expensive because with the Petnation crate, there’s not much need to stretch your imagination, patience, or budget. This is priced way below the more expensive brands. This soft sided dog crate is noticeably distinct from the first two products we’ve ranked higher because of the openings, which this crate only has two and the side windows which are smaller. These are actually ideal for dogs that need less or limited visual stimulations from outside.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “I had a very low expectation for this order, but I needed a crate that I could transport easier than my large metal crate. I remained ambivalent even after receiving the product thinking that if my dog really wanted…”
4 Soft Collapsible Dog Crate
Different dogs, and especially dog owners, have different needs and preferences. For those who need windows or air passage on all four sides of the crate, this A4Pets soft collapsible dog crate would be perfect. There are three entryways – the top, front, and one side. There are only two sizes available, and this is the bigger of the two. It is 36” long, 25” wide, and 25” high, and is designed for pets weighing 70 pounds or less.
- For crate trained small/medium...
- Leak-proof bottom protect your...
- 2 doors, 1 top access and 1...
- Easy assemble and washable,...
- Foldable and Portable , it...
Pets need a quiet refuge after a whole day of outdoor fun and excitement, and this soft-sided dog crate would be that perfect place. This fourth best soft-sided dog crate has mesh screens to keep mosquitoes and insects away without blocking the view and fresh air. The flaps zip and can be rolled up or down. The base is water-resistant but you’d need a bed or cushion to make your pet more comfortable.
This size is huge, as pet owners realized when their order arrived. They are found to be one of the best soft dog crates for traveling and for all-around outdoor fun, such as sleep with kids in the yard, go to a neighbor’s barbecue, laze at the beach, or chill out in the park. It’s the ideal temporary home for your dog when you expect you’d be distracted by other things and people. Your dog gets to see the goings-on without you worrying about him every second.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “I purchased this travel carrier because I have 3 small-medium sized cats (the smallest is 7lbs, the middle is 9lbs, and the largest is 12lbs, all full grown) who like to lay together. Rather than purchasing three…”
5Foldable Dog Crate
This dog crate from 2PET is another fold-and-go type of dog crate. This size is Medium, and it measures 24” long, 17” wide, and 17” high. Shoulder straps and handles are provided for carrying the folded crate. Its frame is made of steel tubing that keeps the soft dog crate in a rigid form. Sturdy and water-resistant Oxford fabric was used to encase the frame and durable mesh provides ventilation and view. There are two openings – at the top and front – and windows on each side and the back. Two larger sizes are available. There are three colors to choose from.
- ALL-IN-ONE FOLDABLE DOG CRATE...
- STRONG STEEL TUBE DESIGN –...
- WASHABLE SOFT FABRIC COVER –...
- PERFECT VENTILATION, MESH...
- MEASURE YOUR PET: Correctly...
2PET soft-sided dog crate comes with a fleecy mat on the flooring, but it would be cozier to place a cushion or downy bed underneath the fleece. It arrives folded and opens up fully assembled. You only need to connect the bars that and that hold the shape in place. Disconnecting those same bars will fold it back in a matter of seconds. The 2PET Foldable Dog Crate is very lightweight and compact, more so because this is smaller than the others mentioned before it.
Pet owners observed how their dogs and cats love to just curl inside this pet house so much more than they show interest in going to their main crates. They don’t need to be bribed with treats before they’d hop in this fabric bag. This is a potentially good option for pet owners looking for a durable and affordable product.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners: “Very happy with this product so far. Carrier sets up and folds up very easily and stores away nicely. I ordered the med size due to a large 18lb cat we have but returned for the smaller option as its easer to…”
Pet Gear 3 Door Portable Soft Crate
by Pet Gear
Traveling with a pet can be simplified with this basic item – a foldable dog crate that holds your pet and pet essentials. The Pet Gear Generation II Deluxe portable soft crate is held in shape by a steel tube frame and utilizes a push-button mechanism for setting up and folding down. Durable nylon denier fabric and mesh were used to encase the frame and turn it to a well-designed pet crate. There are three access doors with mesh flaps with zippers. This sixth-best soft-sided dog crate comes with a waterproof mat and fleece sheet.
- Three doors with a large side...
- Strong internal steel tube...
- Removable fleece pad and...
- Most compact fold takes up...
- Measures 35.75"L x 23.5"W x...
On top of this soft-sided dog, the crate is a pouch where some basic stuff can be stored. This is a well-thought-out detail, especially when traveling and you’d want all pet stuff in one place. There’s another storage pouch on one side which is about the same size as the one on top. The Pet Gear Generation II Deluxe Portable Soft Crate is a large size and it fits a dog weighing 70 pounds. Some pet owners have used it for multiple smaller pets and that worked for them, too.
Taking cross-country trips is not a joke especially when taking pets along, and this is one of the best soft dog crates to take on long journeys. Folding the crate at stopovers and setting up again inside motels is achievable with this crate. Since it holds the pet’s things in it, there’s less chance of forgetting and leaving things behind.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “Earlier this year I needed to move coast to coast, and decided to drive my 2 cats with me instead of hiring a pet mover. The only problem is that regular cat carriers are way too small for a 5-day trip- the cats need to…”
7Soft Pet Crate
by Go Pet Club
After a long list of square or near-square crate shapes, we have a curved-top crate in this green Go Pet Club soft pet crate. This soft sided dog crate is quite large at 42” long, 30” wide and 37” high. Access is through the front where it is 30” wide. Openings on all three sides are covered with mesh screen and a polyester fabric flap that can be rolled up or down and fixed in place with Velcro. The front has a zippered mesh flap.
- Size: 24"L x 19"W x 20.5"H...
- Size: 24"L x 19"W x 20.5"H...
- Size: 24"L x 19"W x 20.5"H...
The material used for the Go Pet Club Soft Pet Crate is polyester with PVC backing supported into the crate’s shape by sturdy framing. It comes with a nylon carrying case, metal rods for staking, and a soft mat. Many pet owners like the added flaps because it gives them leeway to allow or limit draft especially at night. It has also been very useful for dogs that needed less visual stimulations. The front flap has no, cover though, and many pet owners would have preferred to have that.
Possibly an outstanding feature of this soft sided dog crate is its height because it’s really tall. That’s a good thing for tall dogs. Though crates are mainly used for lying down and sleeping, a good height makes it easier for tall dogs to move around and stand upright every now and then. This is a sturdily made soft sided dog crate and roomy, too. You can’t beat it for its size and the price it’s being offered at.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “I am BEYOND happy with this purchase! Trying to find a travel crate large enough for both of my furkids (Great Dane & Boston Terrier) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and that doesn't take up a lot of space…”
8Portable Soft Pet Carrier or Crate or Kennel for Dog
This soft sided dog crate is similar to most of the previous ones on our list. This is TopPets’ large size which has the dimensions of 28” x 20” x 20”. Two smaller sizes are available, and there are four colors to choose from. A steel tubular frame with some spring-lock mechanism puts the crate into its shape. The covering material is made of durable 600D fabric and mesh for the windows and access points. This is one of the best soft sided dog crate choices as there are three entry points and windows on two sides. A fleece mat goes with the crate.
- Portable soft-sided carrier...
- Great for indoor or outdoor...
- Water resistant, washable 600D...
- Single piece design assembles...
- Lightweight interior steel...
This works well for pets as a soft sided dog crate, but not likely as a pet carrier except for very small dogs or average-size cats. The handles are meant for carrying the crate when moving it about, but it would not be safe to carry it that way with the pets inside. That said, the TopPets Portable Soft Pet Carrier or Crate or Kennel for Dog has as many uses as a pet owner has need for, such as its use as pet’s bedding area, play pen, training kennel, catch-all for pet’s stuff when at home or on the move and the like.
Some pet owners didn’t have an idea what to do with the tubular metal bars the first time they saw it. They figured it out after that initial bewilderment, and setting up was a breeze. They say now that it doesn’t take 2 minutes for them to set it up or fold down. This is definitely smaller than the 36” soft sided dog crates you’ve seen, but if your dog’s nose-to-rump measurement is way within 28”, then this just might work for you. At half the price of most above mentioned crates, this is a top rated soft sided dog crate for pet parents on a budget.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “My 18lb Shiz Tsu loves this foldable crate and so does mommy ! It's great for trips to the vet or for rides to the dog park. It's easy to set up and take apart, it's pretty sturdy to and allows him enough room to stand or…”
9Travel Pet Home
This soft sided dog crate from Petsfit is quite unique in its dimensions, because it is longer than most soft crates of about the same height. This is more rectangular than other mentioned best soft crates, too. Given this shape, it works well as a pet’s sleeping area where he can stretch to the fullest. It can also be ideal for multiple small pets since it has a large area for them to share. The lower roof height suggests that it won’t work for a tall pet when upright.
- Petsfit soft crate is good for...
- This travel dog crate is...
- Light weight and sturdy,...
- PATENTED screw-in frame design...
- Removable and washable soft...
The structure of this soft sided dog crate is sturdy and uses metal tubes held securely by a patented locking system. Setting up is easy and so is folding down. Two sides and the top can be opened and each has a mesh panel that can be zipped and rolled. The mesh panels provide ventilation and good view. They’re usually left open by pet owners so that their dogs could go in and out of the Petsfit Travel Pet Home as they please.
Soft dog crates are actually soft, so it’s unfair to expect them to be the Alcatraz for wily pets. It would be easy for dogs and cats to escape this soft sided dog crate by chewing on or ripping the mesh. It’s assumed that pet owners would crate-train first and supervise their pets before using this for the first time. If those prerequisites are met, then this would definitely higher up on our best soft sided dog crates list.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “This is great for our puppy. He loves it and feels content in it, and having the three door openings in different positions works great when we use the crate at night in our room, or in the back seat, or when we put him…”
10Deluxe Blue & Beige Indoor/Outdoor Crate
Jespet Deluxe soft sided dog crate has two sizes and two colors to choose from, and this model is the blue one with dimensions of 36” x 24” x 27”. It has three access points – from the top, front, and one side. The access point from the top is smaller than the other two. It shares the area with a zipped storage pocket. Another storage pocket, this time with a flap, is located on the back of the crate. The frame is made of powder-coated steel tubing, while the fabric used is water-resistant 600D. This last best soft sided dog crate comes with a mat with fleecy surface, too.
- Size: 30”L*21”W*23”H;...
- Three Entrances Door (Top,...
- The crate frame is make of...
- Fleece bed included: Quality...
- Collapsible Bars with...
This is one of the best soft sided dog crates thanks to its roominess and relatively low price. Other brands would be smaller at this price point. It’s an awesome place for dogs to rest and be comfortable in during a long trip. Those who have used metal crates before and listened to the clanking of metal in transporting their dogs would certainly swear by the quietness of the Jespet Deluxe Blue & Beige Indoor/Outdoor Soft Dog Crate.
The storage pockets are thoughtful details. They’re very functional for containing the small yet important pet stuffs. Items like clippers, toys, treats, and blankets can easily be forgotten. Just tossing them all in and returning them to the pockets after every use helps a lot in keeping things in order and all there. This is a great option for pet owners on a budget and that any person traveling with a pet shouldn’t leave the house without.
From dog crate reviews of other pet owners:: “This thing is huge! I was worried for our 50 lb lanky dog, but this is roomier than her wire crate. We'll use it for travel and camping. So easy to set up and take down. Folds up flat for packing. She's one and all done…”
MORE RANKINGS: Top 50 Best Dog Crates of All Time