My work commitments these days are making me travel more than I used to, and because such trips can take weeks and sometimes even months, I prefer to take my dear Labrador Retriever known as Trevor along with me. After a lot of research, I found the Noz2Noz dog crates to be my go-to solution for traveling with a dog, and their N2 Series Sof-Krate is currently serving as the best summer house for my friend.
My research of the product and other dog soft crates also brought to my attention some of the disadvantages of this crate, which I'm going to address in this review alongside the solutions and fixes for those problems (spoiler: it's the smell). Mostly, it appears that customers are extremely happy with what they bought, and I have to say I'm going to join those ranks as well – read on to learn why.
Firstrax is an American company based out of Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. They label themselves as “Solutions and Designs for Pets” and are well-known to be an outside-of-the-box thinking company in terms of pet products, with their N2 series crates becoming very popular. That's about as much as I could dig up on them in terms of what I thought might interest you.
Now, onto the crate's review.
Noz2Noz Dog Crates Sof-Krate Specifications
- Over 400 five-star customer reviews on Amazon and growing!
- Made out of heavy-duty mesh fabric: The tight-weave fabric is particularly strong.
- Safe: All parts of the crate are made out of non-toxic light materials with no sharp pieces.
- Rounded corners: Help to prevent the crate from damaging anything at home or in car.
- Available in any size you might need.
- Extra-strength steel frame: Even though the crate is light, the frame is very sturdy.
- Three openings: These doors are more convenient than you would think.
- Definitely the best crate for dog's crate training procedure!
- Strength zippers: These heavy-duty zippers with door lock will survive through the most.
- Lightweight design: While the crate itself feels sturdy, it's very light to carry.
- Easy to set up: Fold it and put it back together in less than a minute.
- Water-resistant base: Easy to clean.
- Well ventilated: The wire mesh and the numerous openings ensure proper air flow. Comfortable for the pet, and the crate itself doesn't hold any odor afterwards.
Full Noz2Noz Dog Crates Sof-Krate Review
Honestly, I'm a difficult customer to please, mostly because of my frugality – I'm always trying to get the best bang for my buck. Trust me when I say that if money is to be spent on an item, that particular product better be worth my cash and time. Otherwise, I'll make sure to shoot a complaint to everybody and their moms.
My search for a sturdy and lightweight dog crate began after I learned that I'll need to travel more due to work commitments, and there's no way I'm leaving my best friend with dog walkers. So naturally I began my research by visiting different online forums and reading reviews of various pet crates on Amazon. Before the whole process got tedious, I came across the NozToNoz sof-krate indoor/outdoor pet home.
My first reaction was that something named “sof-krate” cannot serve its purpose very well. Nevertheless, I looked into it a little further and couldn't have been more wrong at my initially judgement. Based on all the positive reviews, I ordered the N2-36 model for Trevor, my 66-pound Lab. Considering Trevor's size, it was a relief to see that the crate was a perfect fit with some room left. And it's not even the largest model!
After finding a soft dog crate that seems to have met my “online expectations” and placing the order, my next worry was that Trevor will refuse to accept it as his new house for our travels. I've used a smaller metal crate with him before, which he passionately hated. Not so with the Noz2Noz dog crates. After it arrived, I left it out in the open indoors for Trevor to check it out if he wanted to. He did.
3 days later, Trevor was already taking care of his business (biting nails) while lying inside of his very own home. Since I didn't have any travel plans at that time yet, I was trying to keep the crate out at all times, both indoors and outdoors, to make sure he befriends it.I think the strategy worked very well.
This is going to sound like an 90s ad right now: From my own personal experience I can say that my dog didn't like any kind of crates. We can speculate about the reasons, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly because it felt like a cage rather than a home. But the soft crate is a completely different story. I suppose the fact that he can come and go whenever he wants also helps.
All of Noz2Noz dog crates are very well-ventilated and have three “doors”. Surprisingly, the tight-woven mesh fabric seems to be extremely sturdy. There's a “new car” kind of smell to it, but it goes away quickly. It's not bad or good, it's just noticeable to a certain extent (I will expand on this later in the review).
Size of this new pet home was absolutely perfect! Not only was the almost-largest model crate big enough for my massive Labrador, there was enough extra room to put his pillow and toys in there, as well as anything else he constantly drags inside of the Sof-Krate when he gets into the “hamster phase.” So make sure to measure your dog before choosing the model.
This awkwardly named Sof-Krate home from NozToNoz is fairly ergonomic and user-friendly. Those three openings are extremely useful – there's one even on top of the crate, which is my favorite by far! I didn't need to put the crate away yet, but whenever you're not using the sof-krate, it can be flattened in less than a minute, and put back together in less than a minute too.
Here's an image with all five different models (different sizes):
If you are a little pedantic or OCD, you are going to value the fact that Noz2Noz dog crates are easy to clean. Resistance to water is particularly useful, since that just makes the whole process so much easier, as you might imagine.
Manufacturer claims that those rounded corners of the dog crate help to protect decor of your house and interior of the car. I can't comment on this as I keep the crate away from expensive stuff anyway, but I do see how that might work. It’s also been 3 months since I bought the product and the crate itself still looks as new (could also be due to those rounded corners, who knows).
Lastly, because of its lightweight design, sturdiness and mobility, the NozToNoz Sof-Krate pet home is one of the best for dog crate training and teaching pets on how to behave in and around their new homes.
The “new” smell. Okay, here's the thing: if you go and read some of the customer reviews out there, you'll see that the only problem this soft dog crate has is its specific smell of the mesh fabric. Some people have even given the crate 1 star out of 5 just because of the smell, so they must really hate it. Let me clarify something.
1. The smell is not strong. It's noticeable in the first week, but it isn't “in your face” strong.
2. The smell is not bad. Yes, you can notice it if you really wish to, but it doesn't stink.
3. It goes away after a while. I've had my crate for 3 months. The smell has evaporated within a week. Right now, you can only smell it if you place your nose right to it.
If you passionately hate the plastic-y smell of mash fabric or are allergic to similar type of noticeable scents, then I would advise you to definitely stay away from this crate, because it will irritate you during first weeks of usage. But keep in mind that not all customers had the smell (in fact, majority didn't!) including myself.
Lastly, if you know you can withstand the first week or two of neutral but noticeable “new car/plastic” smell around the dog crate, then I really can't imagine how you can have any problems with it.
How many customers experience the noticeable smell of this crate?
Very, very few. I've gone through all of the reviews before purchasing it and noticed that only a small portion of customers complained about the smell with others refuting the claims. The war for product's credibility is on!
Tips on how to reduce the smell of NozToNoz Sof-Krate
I personally haven't tried any of these solutions as I didn't need to (most customers seem to be lucky with not having to deal with the “new car” smell for some reason), but a few others claim that one of these solutions or a combination of several have helped to rid their Noz2Noz dog crates from plastic-y stench.
1. Thoroughly wash the product in the washing machine immediately after it arrives and then let it sit a whole day in the sun while drying. The smell should be barely noticeable after this.
2. You can also use the famous OdoBan – Odor Eliminator (works best with a great car wash brush). There are very few things these chemicals don't kill. I've read one customer claiming that when she had to clean the crate because of urine smell, she unintentionally reduced the plastic-y smell of the Sof-Krate.
3. Use a combination of vinegar and Febreeze. Wipe down the crate with vinegar, wash it off, and then spray inside and outside of the crate with Febreeze.
In the end, it seems that dog owners who might have any problem with the smell should consider that they will need access to a yard for at least 24 hours. Just airing it outside seems to be the number #1 (and the most common sense) solution to fighting the smell of this crate according to the manufacturer and multiple customer reviews.
Okay, let's see what the people are saying about it.
Amazon customers' rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
This is one of the most popular soft pet crates on Amazon. You can (and probably should?) read all customer reviews on the product's Amazon page, where you will also find a Q&A section with most – if not all – of your questions already answered.
“Perfect for our golden” (read the full Amazon review): “Great crate for our golden puppy. He slept in it every night until very recently. Easy setup, and very durable. Our boy is a chewer, and he's given up trying to chew on this crate. Seemed very large when we first got it, but now his paws brush the sides/back when he stretches out. He's…” 5 out of 5
“Best dog crate ever (from one who knows)” (read the full Amazon review): “I bought these crates for my Sheltie puppies. Having had dogs for the past 30 years, I have owned all kinds of dog crates, and these are by far my favorites. They are sturdy and attractive (for dog crates), fold down small enough to be handy for travel, and are easy to fold and unfold. One of my favorite features is…” 5 out of 5
“Not really smelly” (read the full Amazon review): “I usually wait a few months before writing a review, but I just wanted to let possible buyers know that the smell issue has either been fixed or was overstated by previous reviewers. I often suffer from migraine headaches and anything with a strong smell is a definite no go for me. I was hesitant to purchase this product based on the complaints but decided to give it a shot…” 5 out of 5
Measurements and description of Noz2Noz dog crates
Noz2Noz make pet crates that come in 5 different models/sizes; please see their dimensions below. For more details on which Sof-Krate size is the best fit for your dog, click on the chart that's slightly below.
N2-21: 21″ x 15″ x 15″ (for dogs up to 20 lbs)
N2-26: 26″ x 18″ x 21″ (for dogs up to 30 lbs)
N2-30: 30″ x 21″ x 23″ (for dogs up to 40 lbs)
N2-36: 36″ x 24″ x 27″ (for dogs up to 70 lbs)
N2-40: 42″ x 28″ x 31″ (for dogs up to 90 lbs)
As far as I know, they currently supply only one color: Sage Green
There are 3 openings or entrances into the crate: front, side and top
In terms of weight, the largest crate weighs about 11 lbs and the smallest model is under 5 lbs.
How to choose the perfect size?
Before buying, I would suggest you to measure your dog. If you have measured them before, make sure the stats are up to date. If you haven't done so, get a measuring tape and see how big your canine is: while the dog is on all four, measure him/her 1) from head to floor, and 2) from tip of the nose to the base of the tail.
The crate needs to be:
1) 1-2 inches taller than your dog
2) 4-6 inches longer than your dog
The measurements above are the absolute minimum so that your dog feels comfortable within the crate. They will allow him/her to stand up and turn around without too much trouble. You can (and probably should) get a bigger model if you see the measurements to be tight or “just right”. Better be safe than sorry!
Use the chart on the right to find the most ideal containment measurements.
Manufacturer also recommends Nature’s Miracle orthopedic dog bed for your pet. These beds have been sized to ideally fit Noz2Noz dog crates. Below you can see a chart which will help you to pick an orthopedic pet bed that fits best with your crate's model.
Directions on how to set up Noz2Noz dog crates
Seconds to build. My very first tries to set this crate up took me about 1 minute per fold/unfold. Now it takes about 15 seconds to accomplish this. It really is pretty easy. All you have to do is push on the buttons and couples that are located on the frame of the crate, and then you collapse or raise the whole thing. Watch the video below for better instructions.
Very easy to store. Due to its “accordion-like” design, the whole crate can be stored completely flat and does not take up any space. You can throw the Sof-Krate into your car's trunk when going somewhere or store it in some narrow, well-hidden space at home when unused.
Safety tips for responsible dog owners
This has been mentioned on the product's Amazon page, but it never hurts repeating. Never leave your contained pet unattended for extended periods of time, especially inside of a soft crate.
You never know what will trigger paranoia, anxiety and fear within your dog. Aside from the fact that it's inhumane, your pet will also do anything to break out and, therefore, the crate can be ruined very quickly.
Furthermore, remember to always remove your canine's leash and collar before closing them inside of a crate (any crate!) to prevent accidental choking. I general, you should never leave your pets unattended in vehicles for extended periods of time!
VIDEO: How to set up Noz2Noz dog crates
The video below explains how you can easily set up and break down the crate within seconds.
So is it worth it?
Whenever I'm investing in a new product, my frugality dictates to spend money only on the best item that has already proven itself. I always make sure to do my research and read the reviews from previous customers. This is what I've done yet again before purchasing NozToNoz Sof-Krate indoor/outdoor pet home crate for my Labrador, and it payed off.
I suggest you to always do the same – research, double-check, research again and only then decided whether to buy or not.
So with that being said, would I recommend Noz2Noz dog crates to other dog owners?
Yes, absolutely! I haven't tested many other options, but based on what people are saying online, this seems to be the ultimate bang for your buck, and that is what I was looking for. My initial requirements for the crate were that it had to be cheap, durable, lightweight and provide a nice summer house and “mobile home” for my dog. It definitely delivered and did its job to a tee!
Unfortunately, a few other customers experienced some issues with the smell of this crate, so you must be aware of that. Since I personally didn't have that problem, there's literally not a single bad thing I can say about it. I love it, and so does Trevor!