Soft dog crates are lightweight and highly portable, convenient whether you’re traveling or staying home. But not all crates are equally well-designed. How do you make sure you’re buying a durable, functional soft dog crate?
That’s where we come in. To help you find a great crate, we tested all the top brands and came up with this ranked list of the 10 best soft dog crates of 2020. For each crate, we’ve written an in-depth review, looking carefully at price, durability, materials, overall design, and warranty so you can feel confident about your choice. And if you’d like to know more about the available features, look at our handy buyer’s guide.
A Quick Look at the Winners of 2022:
The 10 Best Soft Dog Crates Reviewed:
1. AmazonBasics Soft Dog Crate – Best Overall
Our top pick is the AmazonBasics 12002-30 Folding Soft Dog Crate, a fairly-priced, well-designed model with all of the features you and your dog need.
This 8.8-pound crate, which is designed for medium-sized dogs weighing up to 42 pounds, is 30 inches long and folds very flat. There are convenient top and front doors, plus mesh windows for ventilation and rounded corners that won’t scratch your floors. The crate has a PVC frame covered by water-resistant, durable polyester fabric.
In testing, we found this crate easy to set up and take apart. There are useful fastening straps to keep the doors rolled up, and the fabric cover can be hand-washed. We found that the zippers are less durable, and the fabric may be too thin to hold up against sharp claws. Amazon offers a one-year warranty.
2. topPets Portable Soft Pet Crate – Best Value
If you’re shopping on a budget, you may prefer the topPets Portable Soft Pet Crate, which is a low-cost, lightweight option with plenty of functionality. We found it to be the best soft dog crate for the money.
At four pounds, this crate is highly portable. It features a lightweight steel frame with an injection-molded locking mechanism, plus a water-resistant, machine-washable fabric cover. Sold in a range of colors and sizes, this crate is easy to fold and unfold, and it collapses to a compact four inches. The package includes a fitted machine-washable fleece mat for extra comfort.
This crate, which has rounded corners and windows and doors that can be rolled up, feels fairly durable and is easy to carry. When we tested it, we found that the zippers were somewhat poorly made, and the mesh fabric isn’t very strong. This model doesn’t come with a warranty.
3. EliteField Soft Dog Crate – Premium Choice
The EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is a costlier, fairly heavy model that has added features and a good warranty.
This 17.6-pound crate is wider and taller than similar models, so your dog will have more space. Sold in multiple sizes and a range of colors, it quickly folds down to a very compact three inches. There’s a steel tube frame with a durable 600D fabric cover, plus hex mesh fabric doors and windows. Allowing easy access, this model has three doors, on the top, front, and side. The package includes multiple accessory pockets, a padded shoulder strap, handles, a carrying bag, and a removable, machine-washable fleece pad.
We found the sides sturdy and appreciated the reinforced corners. The frame is easy to lock into place, but in testing, we found that the seams tend to tear along the zippers, and the mesh isn’t strong enough to withstand claws or chewing. EliteField offers a good two-year warranty.
4. Petnation 614 Port-A-Crate
Another low-cost option is the Petnation 614 Port-A-Crate, which has a fun design but isn’t especially durable.
This heavy 10.9-pound crate comes in a range of sizes. It has mesh fabric panels and a steel frame, plus fun bone-shaped windows. There are front and top doors that can be rolled up, and the machine-washable fabric cover is fairly easy to remove. You’ll need to buy a suitably-sized pad separately.
When we tried this crate out, we found that the zipper lock worked well, but the mesh fabric wasn’t strong enough to keep a dog in. Though the frame was durable, the plastic pieces that held it together broke easily. We also found that this crate had a strong plastic smell. The one-year warranty doesn’t include the fabric cover.
5. Noz2Noz Soft Indoor and Outdoor Crate
The Noz2Noz 667 Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate is a heavy and somewhat pricey model that doesn’t feel durable enough to hold many dogs.
This light green crate weighs a hefty 12.4 pounds and comes in a choice of five sizes. It sets up quickly and has non-scratch rounded corners. The steel frame features a locking mechanism with push-button tabs and couplers, and the canvas cover is removable and fully machine-washable. We found very little odor on this crate.
Though the mesh is tight-weave, we didn’t find it especially sturdy, and the plastic zippers aren’t very well-designed. Noz2Noz doesn’t offer a warranty for this model.
6. 2PET Bone Foldable Soft Dog Crate
2PET’s Bone Window Foldable Dog Crate has a clunky design but is well-priced and includes useful accessories. 2PET donates a portion of its profits to pet-related charities.
This light 6.82-pound dog crate has a steel tube frame and a water-resistant 600D fabric cover. The mesh windows are loosely bone-shaped, and there are convenient built-in water bottle and food container holders. The package includes a waterproof mat and a reversible, machine-washable fleece pad, plus handy shoulder straps for easier carrying. The front door zipper has a cover to prevent your dog from escaping.
In testing, we found that this crate didn’t feel very durable and had a fairly inelegant design. The mesh and zippers aren’t very strong. 2PET offers a one-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects.
7. Arf Pets Dog Soft Crate
The Arf Pets FBA_APSC0026 Dog Soft Crate is a somewhat expensive and less-durable option with a basic design. It folds well and is quite portable.
This 8.6-pound dog crate has a steel frame and a water-resistant base, with a machine-washable fabric cover. There are collapsible bars and retractable strings, and the crate conveniently buckles together when folded. There are functional, basic handles, but no shoulder straps.
Our least favorite feature was the thin, non-reinforced bottom layer, which doesn’t feel durable enough to last. The plastic frame connectors break fairly easily, and the seams aren’t particularly well-sewn. Arf Pets offers a basic one-year warranty.
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8. Go Pet Club AB43 Soft Crate
Another option is the Go Pet Club AB43 Soft Crate, which is lightweight and reasonably-priced but has a cheap-looking design and a less durable feel.
This portable four-pound crate has roll-up windows for ventilation and a front door. It also has a PVC frame and a water-resistant polyester cover, and the package includes a sheepskin mat and a carrying case. The crate folds to a very compact two inches.
When we tested this crate, we found that the included mat wasn’t very padded, and the seams and mesh tore fairly easily. Go Pet Club doesn’t offer a warranty for this model.
9. Petsfit Travel Soft Dog Crate
The Travel Dog Crate from Petsfit is pricey and offers limited features and less ventilation.
This decent-looking crate has two side doors and a top entrance, all of which can be rolled up, but no windows or ventilation on the other two sides. The plastic frame has a patented screw-in design, which takes longer to set up and take down, and the zippers have locking clips. We liked the non-slip foot pads and the included machine-washable pad.
In testing, we found that this crate had a strong plastic smell, and the frame didn’t feel as durable. The mesh doors and seams also ripped fairly easily. Petsfit doesn’t offer a warranty.
10. MidWest Portable Soft Tent Crate
Our least favorite soft dog crate is the MidWest B007ZOBZLC Portable Tent Crate, which is the most expensive and heaviest model we tested. This crate is less portable and not very durable, with small windows and an ineffective brace system.
At 19.75 pounds, this soft crate is more difficult to carry. It’s sold in a range of sizes and features a water-resistant fabric cover with reinforced corners. The folding steel frame is held up by a U-shaped wire, which isn’t very stable and can easily be bumped by your dog. The mesh windows are small, limiting the ventilation. The package includes a synthetic sheepskin pad, and the folded crate has buckle closures.
This crate is heavy but not very durable, and it has a fairly strong plastic smell. MidWest offers a one-year warranty.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Soft Dog Crates
Now that you’ve seen our list of the best soft dog crates on the market, it’s time to start shopping. But which model should you choose? Keep reading to find our guide to your options.
What is a soft dog crate?
A soft dog crate is a fabric-based crate that can be folded for transportation and then set up at your destination, somewhat like a camping tent. These crates typically have a folding frame that is covered in fabric, with mesh windows and doors for access and ventilation.
Unlike wood or metal crates, fabric crates are soft and less structured. In exchange for much lighter weights and higher portability, soft crates are less durable. Before you choose a soft crate, you may want to think about your dog. Is your dog a puppy, an escape artist, or a chewer? A soft dog crate may not work as well. If your dog is well-trained, a soft crate may work very well.
The frame is one of the most important components of your soft dog crate. Generally made of either PVC plastic or steel, the frame holds up the crate and keeps it from collapsing on your dog’s head. Plastic frames may be lighter and less expensive but are also often less durable. Steel tube frames are sturdy but may be heavier.
Keep in mind that many frames are held together by less-durable plastic components. Even if your crate’s frame is strong, these pieces may fall apart and cause issues. Some frames have screw-together designs or push-button tabs and couplers for added locking security.
Your crate’s fabric cover will determine not just how it looks but how well it works. A sturdy, water-resistant fabric is essential to prevent rips and fend off mold and mildew. You may also want a cover that can be easily removed from the frame and machine-washed.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors provide access to the crate and good ventilation for your dog. Many soft crates feature roll-up doors that can be secured open so that your dog can enter and exit the crate whenever it wants.
The thinner mesh can be a weaker component, however. You may want to look for sturdy, tight-weave mesh that your dog won’t be able to easily chew or tear, as well as extra-strong seams and zippers. Some models also have zipper covers or locks that can keep your dog from chewing on the zipper or even unzipping it.
Most of these crates are only designed to be carried while folded up. This means that they don’t have sturdy enough bottom layers to support your dog off the ground and don’t have hefty built-in handles. Most do have good handles or carrying cases that work while the crate is folded.
Would you prefer a crate that includes a correctly-sized padded mat, or are you willing to buy one separately? Some of the models reviewed here come with appropriately-sized, machine-washable mats that will keep your dog more comfortable. Some also include waterproof mats, which can protect your crate and your floor from spilled water bowls or other accidents. You may also be interested in models with built-in holders for water bottles and food containers.
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Would you like your soft dog crate to be protected by a warranty? Many of the models we reviewed here include a one-year warranty. Keep in mind that most warranties only cover manufacturing defects, so they won’t cover your dog ripping the mesh or chewing the zipper. You may want to pay attention to the details of each warranty before you make your choice.
Our top pick is the AmazonBasics 12002-30 Folding Soft Dog Crate, which is well-designed, sturdy, and folds very flat. If you’re looking for a less expensive model, you may prefer the low-cost and lightweight topPets Portable Soft Pet Crate, which has a sturdy steel frame and includes a fleece pad. And if you’d like a premium soft crate, take a look at the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate, which has a great warranty, reinforced corners, and plenty of useful accessories.
Compact and travel-friendly, soft dog crates can be a great option, but you’ll want to find a good model to keep your dog safe and comfortable. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a lot of time shopping. We hope this list of 2020’s 10 best soft dog crates, complete with in-depth reviews and a detailed buyer’s guide, helps you pick out a great model. Before you know it, your dog will be sleeping or traveling in comfort.