Getting our canines crate trained is one of the first things most dog owners do. It’s a reliable way to get their own home within a home, and with a bit of extra application, you can even take it on the go.
If your dog is well trained, however, and you’re looking to take things to the next level then you may be interested in snatching up the best soft dog crate you can find. They’re not the right solution for every dog, but for those who can use them they’re a lightweight and comfortable alternative to the cage-like constructions which people normally use.
What Dogs Can Use a Soft Dog Crate?
Anytime you’re planning on a big change in your pet’s lifestyle, you’ll want to ensure that you’re making the right choice. After all, dog stuff can get expensive in a hurry, so you want to ensure you’re making the right choice the first time.
You shouldn’t try to crate train a dog for the first time with a soft crate. If that’s what you’re looking to do, then you’re going to want to instead invest in a standard wire crate to get them trained, since a dog which isn’t well mannered can make short work of a soft crate.
Instead, this is a good option for dogs who are already familiar with crates.
Dogs which can get particularly boisterous are also unsuited for soft crates. Even a smaller dog may be able to do enough damage to escape if they get into a serious mood, and that kind of defeats the whole purpose.
You’ll also want to avoid using one for a dog who likes to chow down on any cloth in their immediate vicinity.
What to Look for in a Soft Dog Crate?
If you’re only used to looking at normal dog crates, then it may take just a bit to make sure that you’ve got everything you need when you’re looking at a newer option.
Fortunately, picking your crate isn’t all that hard. Examine the following before committing and you’re going to be in good hands:
- Size: You’ll need to size your crate appropriately for your dog before you do anything else. Too small and it’ll be overly confining and you can definitely go too large when you’ve got a smaller dog which will also make your animal uncomfortable. Our sizing chart further down in this article should help point you in the right direction.
- Material: The material usually comes in two forms. You’ll have the overall material which the crate is made out of, and then window panels made from some kind of mesh. Both of them need to be tough in order to withstand little doggy paws, scratching, and other things which might occur along the way. You should also make sure the stitching between them is good, as a crate where a dog can just pop out the mesh is about as useful as no crate at all.
- Framing: Ideally the frame would be made of something lightweight and indestructible. A few of you are laughing at the idea of anything being indestructible with your dog involved, so the best you’ll be able to shoot for is tougher than average. Avoid soft crates with plastic frames for all but the smallest of dogs, and really any dog which weighs over 25lbs or so should have a steel frame in place instead of an aluminum one.
- Washability: One of the lesser known benefits of having a canine companion is dealing with the various fluids and other mess which comes with them. Some dogs are more prone to crate problems than others, but even the best dog occasionally comes down with a stomach bug. That means you want to be able to wash the crate as easily as possible in order to save yourself a bit of time and elbow grease.
- Portability: The ability to transport the crate easily boils down to a couple of factors. The first is how quickly, easily, and completely the crate can break down. Ideally, you’ll be able to get the whole thing flat pretty easily. For smaller dogs, you’ll also want handles so you can carry them in their cozy den while you’re transporting them, but it’s not important for mammoth mutts.
- Zippers: Locking zippers are pretty much a must for any smart dog since most will figure out how to undo them pretty easily. They also need to be high-quality and smooth, in order to make the experience of opening and closing them better for the both of you.
- Flaps: Closing flaps which go over the windows on the sides are great for dogs who prefer a more secure environment when they’re bedding down. On the other hand, you still want to be able to open the sides for extra aeration on hot days.
- Warranty: Warranties are a tricky thing, but here’s the rub: what they really mean is that the company in question is standing behind their product. The longer the warranty, the more faith the company has in them and it’s important to know that you can replace things if something is messed up in the construction.
- Pricing: The price is always going to drive your purchase, but keep in mind that if you go super cheap… well, you’re going to get what you pay for. For the most part, the luxury pet goods brands haven’t really touched these, so you’ll generally get what you pay for instead of just a brand name but you can find something which will fit nearly any budget and work well.
Individual Reviews of the Best Soft Dog Crates
Now, to what you were really looking for: our favorite soft dog crates.
We’ve ranked them, for your viewing pleasure, from our favorites to least favorite, but keep in mind one thing: all of these are high-quality soft crates that are here for a reason. We take our recommendations seriously because you and your pet deserve only the best.
2PET Foldable Dog Crate
Our favorite of the bunch is this crate from 2PET.
The first thing: this one comes with a solid steel tube frame, which makes it one of the strongest on our list. That’s especially apparent when you realize that it’s combined with a strong Nylon material which can be removed and machine washed.
In addition to the usual side covers, you can also open this soft dog crate from the top to put snacks in or whatever your usage might be.
The real nitty-gritty is how many different sizes it comes in. No matter what the size of your dog, there’s something here. Within reason anyways, Great Danes and the like really aren’t going to fit in any soft dog crate.
You’ll also get some convenient carry handles which are still present when things are folded down, great for carrying small dogs while it’s assembled and making easy transportation for the bigger crates.
Our opinion: If you’re looking for a high-quality soft dog crate with all of the bells and whistles, you could do a lot worth than investing in the 2PET Foldable Dog Crate for your favorite canine companion.
- Steel tube frame is durable and lightweight
- Four mesh windows with covers
- High-quality zippers with full fronts to prevent tricksters from escaping
- Easily cleaned Oxford fabric
- Rather expensive overall
- No support on the bottom
K&H Manufacturing Classy Go Soft Crate
K & H Manufacturing always comes through when you’re taking a look at canine products and their Classy Go Soft Crate is no exception. It’s a high-quality, cube-shaped crate which has lasting power and a ton of durability.
The durability really isn’t in question here. All of the sides are constructed from durable, high-quality materials which can stand up to quite a bit of scratching. It even has a bottom pad to make sure your animal is comfortable wherever you decide to set it up.
It also comes in four different sizes, making it a good choice for a variety of different animals instead of just smaller or larger ones.
The zippers are also protected from determined escape artists, adding an extra layer of security. Add in the fact that they’re smooth and seem to hold together well no matter what and you’ve got a clear winner in the durability compartment.
There are a few questionable design choices which will turn some people off, but the sizable cubic footprint is something that makes it an excellent setup for the average dog.
Our opinion: If you’re looking for something durable with some extra anti-escape measures, then look no further than the Classy Go Soft Crate.
- Comes with a pad on the bottom
- Sizable footprint due to cubic design
- Escape proof zippers
- Reinforced sides with excellent stitching
- Front zips downwards, leaving a flap in front of the crate
- Some people have trouble setting it up, especially the larger variations.
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
If you’ve been looking for something simple and small, then you’re likely to be pleased with this simple carrier. On the other hand, if your furry friend is bigger than 25lbs you’ll have to skip out on this entry. Even the largest variation is still quite small.
It’s a really basic design, but it’s also well stitched and allows for some pretty impressive airflow despite the fact that the flaps can’t be closed. It also comes with a nice little fleece pad to keep your pet comfortable while you’re on the go.
If you’re planning on using it for more than just travel, you’re going to want to order a size up for your dog since the rectangular footprint doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for a dog. On the other hand, as a temporary home on the road, it’s pretty much perfect.
It even has a shoulder strap for carrying it around.
Our opinion: For those who are on the go frequently, the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is a perfect way to keep your pet comfortable and with you while you’re on the go.
- Included fleece pad
- Comfortable shoulder strap for carrying
- Allows for optimal air flow
- Sturdy stitching and zippers for a durable design
- Minimal foot print for actual crate use
- Even the large size is quite small
EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
With a wide range of sizes and colors, the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is one of the best foldable homes for your dog we were able to find. It’s not quite as portable as many of our other favorites, but it has a lot that makes it stand out from the crowd.
With thirteen different color schemes to choose from and five different sizes which you’ll be able to fit most dogs in. It also comes with a comfortable fleece pad and easy-carry straps for when you’re on the move.
It folds all the way down for easy transport, thankfully, and the dimensions actually tend to be a little bit bigger than similar crates. That’s great for the dog, but it can also be a bit of a pain if you had a specific area you wanted to place it.
It even has a couple of pockets attached to it which will allow you to make sure that you’ve got everything you need if you’re using it away from home.
Our opinion: While it’s not the best travel crate, the Elite Field 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate might just be our favorite for those who are homebound or setting it up in parks and hotel rooms while traveling.
- Large footprint due to cubic design
- Pockets for snacks and toys
- Tons of size and color options
- Great zippers
- Rather expensive
- Size is a little bit bigger than expected
NOZTONOZ Soft-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
Another cubic design, the NOZTONOZ is one of the most easily assembled of the different crates that we took a look at, as well as being of excellent quality. The only real problem is that it’s not quite as suited for travel as many of our favorites.
If you’re willing to overlook that, you’ll have an excellent frame and reinforced corners. Even better: NOZTONOZ also designs orthopedic beds which are sized perfectly in order to make sure that even the oldest dogs can rest in comfort while they’re in it.
The fabric on the sides is also remarkably well ventilated and they zip down to allow for more vision on the dog’s part. They’re quite spacious as well, even larger dog breeds should be able to find a good home in it.
Our only real issue: the expenses are going to add up if you decide to pick up the memory foam bed along with the crate.
Our opinion: If you’re willing to go with it, however, this might just be the best soft crate we’ve seen for at home usage. Just make sure to pick up the pad with it, otherwise, you may be better off with a different option.
- Extremely spacious design
- Reinforced and rounded corners
- Super strong frame
- The brand has matching orthopedic dog beds
- Not as portable as many on the list
- Escaped fairly easily
Petsfit Indoor/Outdoor Soft Portable
It’s not the prettiest, and it’s not the toughest, but this soft dog crate is fantastic for the price. Where others limit you to just one door, it also has two which allows you to make sure that you can keep things open or closed for your pet as you wish.
It’s also rather lightweight, making it fairly portable although the frame is a bit jutting compared with many of the other options we’ve looked at.
Unfortunately, the material really isn’t suited for outside, despite the labeling. The dye fades rapidly in the sun and it’s anything but waterproof. This can also make it a bit more difficult to wash than many of the others on our list.
Our opinion: On the other hand, the styling is great for what it is, and it’s an awesome choice for those who are primarily looking to do something utilitarian.
- Budget priced
- Sturdy metal frame
- Folds down fairly easily
- Removable and washable pad
- A bit sparse on features
- Exposed frame can be chewed on
Advantages of a Soft Crate
Despite the fact that they’re not quite as durable as traditional crates, soft crates have some pretty awesome advantages.
The first is simply the fact that they’re easier to travel with. Nearly all of them fold down into a manageable size, and the cloth and plastic or wireframes will ensure that they’re also lighter than any traditional options.
That said, we don’t recommend them as travel crates for extended periods. A small crash can seriously injure a dog which is contained within them.
Another advantage is that many soft crates have multiple covers for their mesh windows. This allows you to customize things to your dog’s liking since some animals will naturally prefer more of a “den” while others will want something open to view their people.
The final advantage is the pricing. For the same size and roughly the same quality level, when compared to other soft crates anyways, they’re a bit cheaper than steel cages due to the lower costs of construction.
Switching Your Dog to a Soft Dog Crate
Provided that your dog is already crate trained, you’re in for an easy time.
The first step is to move your dog’s bed and food dishes to the soft crate. Chances are that your dog will switch of their own accord if you’ve done this. If not, you may need to lead them to it but you should leave them the option of both in most cases so they don’t feel suddenly “disrupted.”
On the other hand, if your dog isn’t quite crate-trained… we strongly recommend getting your canine familiar with a hard crate first. They’re likely to tear up even the best soft crate when they’re not yet used to the confinement.
Picking the size for your dog crate is… well, it can be problematic if you haven’t done things before.
While the best method is likely to just measure them from tip to tail, we’ve put together a handy chart to help you figure out which size is best.
|Size||Max Weight||Rough Category||Example Breeds|
|24”||25lbs||Miniature||Jack Russel Terrier, Pug,|
|30”||40lbs||Small||French Bulldog, Dachshund, Scottish Terrier|
|36”||70lbs||Medium||Bulldog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi|
|42”||90lbs||Large||Border Collie, Boxer|
Any dog much bigger than this isn’t really suited for a soft dog crate, unfortunately, as even the calmest of them are going to do some serious damage.
If you’ve been looking for a soft dog crate in order to make things a little bit more comfortable around the home and on the road, then you know that you’ve tuned into the right place. Finding the best can take a little bit of digging, but we’re confident that our choices are going to guide you to exactly what you need.