Lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, plastic crates have a den-like feel that can help your pup feel safe. In this guide, I’ve reviewed five of the best plastic dog crates, so you can find the right option for your pet.
- Why Buy a Plastic Dog Crate?
- Which Are The Best Plastic Dog Crates?
- How to Choose a Plastic Crate
- Crates Should Always be a Positive Place
These benefits are only possible if your dog feels happy and relaxed in the crate though. If your pup is anxious or fearful of the crate, spending time inside will feel like a punishment.
While there are many potential reasons for crate anxiety, some dogs prefer an enclosed and den-like feel. These dogs are often more comfortable in plastic crates, as the solid walls offer less visibility than wire alternatives.
Due to their lightweight design, plastic crates are usually associated with travel or trips to the vet, but they can also be used at home (as long as you buy a big enough size for your dog.) Plastic crates are mostly suited to small to medium-sized breeds, but some models are available in larger sizes for bigger dogs.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of five of the best plastic dog crates. I’ve also included a handy buying guide, so you can find the right match for your pup.
Our #1 Pick: Frisco Plastic Dog Crate
Strong plastic crate with plenty of ventilation
Our top pick for a plastic crate is the excellent Frisco Plastic Dog Crate. It’s a sturdy model with a hard plastic shell, stainless steel door, and a secure latch. There are also lots of ventilation holes and an interior moat in case your pet has an accident.
Why Buy a Plastic Dog Crate?
Plastic dog crates are hard-sided alternatives to wire and soft-sided crates. They are usually made from heavy-duty plastic with a hinged, front-facing metal grate as a door.
All plastic dog crates have ventilation holes along the sides, but, unlike wire crates, offer limited visibility. Most plastic crates also have at least one carry handle on the top for easy transport.
Plastic crates are best-suited for small to medium-sized dogs and offer several advantages over fabric or wire options:
- Easy to clean. Unlike fabric or wire crates, plastic dog crates keep unfortunate messes well contained and are easy to keep clean. Should your pup have an accident, you can simply wipe down the interior and you’re good to go.
- Strong and Durable. Most plastic crates are tough and can withstand scratching and the occasional chew. They may not be suitable for persistent chewers though.
- Comforting den-like feel. Many dogs instinctively crave a “den” to safely rest in. As plastic crates have less visibility than wire crates, they are darker inside and create a den-like feel that can be comforting. Anxious, stressed or reactive dogs may also feel more secure.
- Lightweight. Plastic crates are lightweight yet strong. This makes them easier to move around the home or take on a trip.
- Travel. Plastic dog crates often make good choices for airline crates, as they are durable and lightweight. However, airlines have differing requirements, so you may need to modify the crate. Always check with your airline before traveling to make sure your crate is suitable.
Plastic crates are a popular choice for good reason, but they do have some drawbacks when compared to wire crates.
Most plastic crates cannot be folded down like wire models, so they take up more space than collapsible crates when not in use. They are often not big enough for large dog breeds, and provide less airflow than wire crates. This could be an issue in warm climates or if your dog easily overeats.
Plastic crates also cannot be modified with dividers. Dividers can be useful for housetraining, as a large space may encourage the dog to soil in one corner.
Overall, the right type of crate for your dog depends on their preferences. Some dogs feel more secure when they are able to hide in a low-visibility crate, but others may feel less anxious if they can see you and their surroundings.
Which Are The Best Plastic Dog Crates?
Listed below are my top five picks for a great plastic dog crate. Make sure you read each mini review to find the best option for your pet.
Note: While the Gunner G1 Kennel has been crash-tested, the rest are not necessarily safe for car travel. You should only use crash-tested dog crates when traveling in a car to keep you and your pup safe. To learn more about dog crates, read our full guide here.
1. Frisco Plastic Dog CrateVIEW PRICE
My top pick for the best plastic dog crate is the Frisco Plastic. It’s made from 95% recycled plastic and available in five sizes, so there’s an option to fit all but the largest breeds.
This crate is simple to assemble and designed to keep your pooch safe and comfortable.
It has a hard plastic shell that comes in two halves, which must be fastened together before use. The smaller sizes are assembled with snap-shut latches, while the larger ones for bigger breeds have bolts and wing nuts for extra strength. It’s also easy to take apart for cleaning and storage when not in use.
The front door is made from stainless steel and features a tight mesh so your dog can’t push their nose through the gaps and hurt themselves. It swings open fully and allows your dog plenty of room to get in and out without knocking it, which is useful if your pup is easily spooked.
The secure, spring-loaded “squeeze” latch is simple for humans to open, but pretty much impossible for dogs, so you won’t have to worry about them escaping during transport. This crate also offers 360 degrees of ventilation so your pup gets plenty of fresh air.
Another great feature of this model is the interior moat. The floor of the crate is slightly raised in the middle and lower at the edges. This means accidents run off to the sides and keep your dog clean and dry.
The small dog sizes come with a foldable handle for easy carrying, but the larger ones have hand grooves on the sides instead. This isn’t too much of a big deal, but it means you may struggle to lift it single-handedly.
2. Aspen Pet Traditional KennelVIEW PRICE
Another great option is the Aspen Pet Kennel – although only for smaller breeds. This crate is constructed from heavy-duty plastic and the thick walls feel strong and reliable. It comes in a choice of three sizes that are suitable for dogs weighing between 10-30 pounds.
The Aspen features a metal mesh door with a tight grid, so your dog can’t stick their nose or paws through and hurt themselves. The squeeze lock ensures the door stays firmly closed, so even if your pup is an escape artist, they shouldn’t be able to open it.
This crate needs to be assembled before use, but it’s easy to put together without tools. It comes in two main parts that can be connected in minutes with the included screw fasteners. These fasteners are made from plastic and metal for a strong, tight fit, so you can be sure your dog is safe inside.
Aspen says this crate is airline approved. However, as most airlines require screws to be 100% metal, you’ll probably have to replace them before traveling. We recommend checking with your airline first just to be sure.
Should your pup have an accident inside the crate, the floor is slightly raised, so any messes will run to the edges to keep them dry. You can take the crate apart for a deep clean if needed, and this also makes it easier to store when not in use.
This crate has plenty of air holes on all sides for good ventilation. The downside is that the air holes are positioned very close together. This creates a weak point that makes this crate unsuitable for dogs that are heavy chewers.
The Aspen Pet Kennel is made from heavy-duty plastic for strength and durability. It comes in three sizes and is easy to assemble without any tools. The mesh door has a squeeze latch that keeps your pup secure, and the raised floor ensures messes drain away from their body to keep them dry. It offers great 360-degree ventilation, but the proximity of the air holes makes it unsuitable for chewers.
3. Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate (For Escape Artists)VIEW PRICE
If you need the toughest crate on the market for your canine escape artist, take a look at the G1 Dog Crate by Gunner Kennels. This crate isn’t cheap, but is secure and designed to keep your pet safe.
The Gunner G1 Dog Crate has a lifetime warranty and comes in a choice of four sizes to fit most breeds up to 110 pounds in weight. This ultra-durable model has a 5-star crash test rating and is built to withstand tough environments.
As you can see by the picture, the Gunner is a heavy-duty and weather-proof crate. It’s built with a rotomolded, double-walled ABS plastic body that is rock solid and impervious to damage. The windows are reinforced with hexagonal mesh, so your dog can get plenty of ventilation, while staying safe and secure.
This tough crate also has a patented escape-proof design, so even the most experienced canine Houdini can’t get out. The reversible access door is custom welded for superior strength, while the reinforced aluminum frame and paddle latch lock add further layers of protection.
While the Gunner is hard to beat if you have a dog who is adept at escaping crates, it shouldn’t be used as a solution to fear or anxiety-driven escape attempts. It’s unfair to put a scared dog in a crate, so you should contact a positive reinforcement dog trainer to discuss a training plan.
The biggest drawback is the price. With an RRP of nearly $600, the Gunner is one of the most expensive crates on the market. It’s also a heavy and bulky crate. This isn’t a criticism, as it’s an unavoidable consequence of such a tough design, but is something to keep in mind.
Tip: We’ve also written a full guide to heavy-duty dog crates, which includes the Gunner as one of the top picks.
4. Petmate Ultra Vari Dog KennelVIEW PRICE
Another single door choice for keeping your pooch safe and secure is the Petmate Vari Kennel Ultra. This plastic crate has a heavy-duty shell that provides a decent level of durability, while still being lightweight and easy to assemble.
The Ultra Vari is available in two sizes, either 32-inches or 36-inches in length, so it’s best suited for medium breeds. The metal wire door has a tight mesh so paws and noses can’t poke through, and it swings completely open for easy loading and unloading. The squeeze latch is easy to open and close, but it locks securely so your dog can’t get out.
This plastic crate has windows along each side and ventilation holes on the back panel, for all-round airflow that prevents them from overheating. We like that the side windows are covered with thin metal bars, so your pup can see what’s going on outside but remain secure.
Another useful feature of this plastic crate is the moat in the floor panel. If your pooch has an unfortunate accident, their urine will flow from the center of the floor and drain into the moat at the edges, keeping them dry and clean.
If you’re planning to use this crate for travel, the tie-down strap holes are useful for keeping it stable during transport. This model meets the requirements of IATA and USDA for live animal shipping, but we recommend checking your airline’s policy too.
A downside is the lack of a handle. This makes the crate a bit more difficult to carry than some of the other models on this list.
5. AmazonBasics Two-Door Hard-Sided CrateVIEW PRICE
If you’re looking for a budget option, the AmazonBasics Two-Door Hard-Sided Crate is a good choice. This model is available in 19-inches or 23-inches in length – so it’s only suitable for toy or small breeds weighing up to 25 pounds – but provides excellent value.
Unlike other crates we’ve seen so far, the stand out feature of this model is its dual-door design. It has a standard front wire mesh door with a squeeze latch, but there’s also an access door on the top.
A convenient feature of the top door is that you have the option of opening it from either the left or the right, so you can access the crate whichever way is easier. The front mesh door swings outwards and opens fully, so there’s plenty of room for your dog to enter and exit the crate without bumping the sides.
This crate comes in two pieces that are easy to assemble with the included latches and screws. The body of the crate is made from durable plastic and there’s a carry handle on the top for easy transportation. Just be sure to check that the top door is properly latched before lifting, though.
In terms of ventilation, this model has numerous airflow holes on all sides, but they are pretty small compared to the other plastic crates on our list. Therefore, you should take care to supervise your dog when using it in warm weather.
This plastic crate is a good low-cost choice for training or traveling with your small pooch. The secure double door design makes it easy to load your pup stress-free and the top carry handle means it’s comfortable to transport.
How to Choose a Plastic Crate
If you’ve decided that a plastic crate is the best option for your dog, the next challenge is to choose the right one.
In this section, I’ll talk you through how to pick the perfect plastic dog crate for your pup’s needs.
It’s crucial that you choose the right size crate for your dog. If the crate is too big, there’s a chance that your pup will use the extra space as a toilet area. If it’s too small, they won’t be able to stretch out, stand up fully, or turn around – which will be uncomfortable for them.
The correct size crate should allow your dog to stand up with their head in a natural position. They should be able to turn around in the crate easily and lie down without any part of their body (excluding the tail) touching the sides of the crate.
Rather than resorting to guesswork, the best way to ensure you get the right size crate is to measure your dog first.
You’ll need two measurements: one from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail, and one from the floor to the top of their head.
Next, add a few extra inches onto the measurements to ensure your pup will be comfortable in their crate. It’s a good idea to choose a slightly larger crate for home use, to ensure your pup is comfortable when resting inside.
Plastic dog crates should have a solid, durable construction to ensure your pup stays safe and secure.
While the main shell of the crate will be made of plastic, there are several different grades of plastic and the quality can vary considerably. You should look for a model that has a well-molded shell without any weak points. It should be BPA free and also thick enough so that it doesn’t flex when pressed.
For airline travel, you’ll typically need tougher plastic. Airlines also often require metal screws and wing nuts for additional security. If you’re looking for a plastic crate for air travel, you should always check the requirements with your airline before purchasing.
You should also pay attention to the quality of the crate door and latches. Most plastic crates have a metal grate door that swings outwards, and this should be made from steel for strength and durability.
Metal hinges and latches are the toughest choices, but heavy-duty plastic snap locks can still provide a high level of security for most dogs.
Unlike wire crates, plastic dog crates provide a comforting, enclosed environment. However, the downside is that there’s less ventilation.
Plastic crates can become warm in the summer, so you must choose a model that has a good level of ventilation to keep your pup cool. There should be plenty of vents that run the length of each side of the crate, and some models may have air holes in the roof, too.
It’s a good idea to look for a crate that has lots of small air vents, rather than a few larger ones. This is because your pup may hurt their nose by trying to stick their snout through the vent. Furthermore, if they’re prone to the occasional nibble, they may find it easier to target a larger air vent and injure their mouths.
On that note, it’s worth mentioning that plastic crates are not recommended for determined chewers. If your pup displays destructive behavior, a wire crate is a safer choice. Keep in mind that consistent destructive behavior in a crate is a symptom of anxiety, however, which shouldn’t be ignored.
Aside from these main considerations, there are a few other things to look for when buying a plastic crate.
Strong and comfortable carry handles are a good choice, as they make it easier for you to transport the crate. Some models without a carrying handle will feature hand grips on the sides instead. These are OK, but they’re not as secure as top handles and make lifting and carrying the crate more difficult.
Wire crates have interior trays that can be removed and wiped clean, but plastic dog crates don’t. Therefore, we recommend looking for a model that can be taken apart for easy cleaning. Usually, the top section will detach from the bottom, so you can access all the surfaces without having to reach inside to wipe it down.
If you’re planning to transport your dog by air, you should get a plastic crate that has tie-downs, so that it can be secured during the journey. Don’t forget to check other requirements with your airline, though.
Lastly, you’ll need to get a soft dog bed or crate pad to ensure your pup has a soft surface to lie on. The bottoms of plastic crates are far too cold and hard for your dog to sleep comfortably without one.
Crates Should Always be a Positive Place
Successful crate training means teaching your dog that the crate is their sanctuary, somewhere they can retreat to relax. It should not be somewhere they associate with negativity or fear.
Therefore, you should never use the crate as a form of punishment.
If your pup misbehaves, scolding them and putting them in their crate will negate all the benefits of crate training. Your dog will see the crate as a place of misery, not somewhere they can feel safe and secure, and they will be unlikely to want to go in the crate again.
Crates are also not suitable for all dogs. Those who suffer from severe anxiety, separation anxiety, or simply hate crates should not be forcibly crated. They won’t “get used to it” – instead, they are likely to become distressed and injure themselves trying to escape.
Plastic dog crates are a great tool for training and transporting your pup. Lightweight and easy to clean, plastic crates offer a comforting den-like feel that can help your dog feel relaxed and secure.
My pick for the best plastic dog crate is the Frisco Plastic Pet Crate. It’s available in a large range of different sizes to suit most breeds and is made from highly-durable, 95% recycled plastic to keep your pup safely contained.
This model is secure, easy to assemble, has great ventilation, and a sturdy carry handle for comfortable transport. I also like that it has an interior moat that drains any accidental messes away from the dog’s paws to keep them clean and dry.
Do you have any questions about choosing the best plastic dog crate? Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!