Almost every dog will need to spend time in a crate, kennel, or pen at some point. Crating could be necessary for a car journey to the vet’s, for potty training, or simply to keep your dog comfortable at night.
Most people think of dog crates as being made from metal wire or plastic. However, you can also buy soft dog crates in different styles. But are soft-sided dog crates a good fit for every dog? And how do you choose the right one for your pet?
In this guide, we bring you our reviews and comprehensive buyer’s guide to the best soft and portable dog crates on the market today.
Comparison Table of The 7 Soft And Portable Dog Crates
Amazon Basics Folding Portable Soft Pet Dog Crate
- Five sizes and wide range of colors available
- Foldable for easy storage
- Excellent quality
K&H PET PRODUCTS Travel Safety Pet Carrier
- Robust, sturdy design
- Designed for car travel
- Excellent quality
2PET Folding Soft Dog Crate
- Easy to set up
- Foldable dog crate for easy storage and portability
- High-quality materials
- Perfect for those on a limited budget
- Lightweight and easy to assemble
- Excellent ventilation
JESPET Soft Pet Crates
- Attractive, practical construction
- Nice quality product
- Comes in several sizes
DONORO Dog Crates Kit for Small Size Dogs
- Attractive portable crate with fabric waterproof cover
- Easy to assemble
- Ideal choice for small dog breeds
EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Crate
- Robust soft-sided travel crate
- Reasonably priced
- Ideal for use at home, too
What Is A Soft Dog Crate?
Soft dog carriers are usually used for transporting small to medium-sized dogs. Generally, soft-sided carriers are suitable for calm dogs that are accustomed to traveling.
A soft carrier is usually made from a robust but flexible fabric in combination with soft material for comfort. Soft carriers are not as bulky as hard dog carriers, but they are generally not as supportive.
Usually, these soft, collapsible comfy crates have multiple openings to make it easy to load and unload your pet.
Soft Dog Crates Vs. Hard Dog Crates
If you’re wondering whether a hard or soft dog crate would be better for your dog, check out this handy comparison between them.
Hard crates have plenty of advantages, including:
Security And Safety
Thanks to their rigid construction, hard crates typically offer better protection for your pet while he’s in transit. In the event of a collision, a hard crate will keep your dog safe, whereas a soft crate won’t. Also you should consider car safety harnesses.
Best For Poor Travelers
Not all dogs are good travelers, and some become quite distressed when riding in a car. A hard crate can make your pet feel more secure and confident.
Best For Destructive Dogs
Dogs that chew and dig are best transported in a hard crate simply because they are much less likely to damage the crate. Usually, a dog that chews will damage a soft crate beyond repair.
Safest For Escape Artists
Hard crates are much more secure than soft crates, generally having strong, tamper-proof locking systems. So, if your dog is an escape artist, a hard crate is the most secure option for you.
If you like to take your dog with you on trips when you need to fly, many hard crates are airline-approved for transit in the cargo hold.
In contrast, you can sometimes take a small dog under a certain weight onto a plane as cabin luggage, and a soft crate is best for that.
Easy To Clean
If your dog has an accident in a hard crate, cleanup is generally pretty easy. You can simply wash a crate liner or wash the whole crate out with warm water if necessary.
Generally, a hard crate is the best choice for you and your dog if:
- You have plenty of storage space
- You have concerns around security and safety
- Your dog is not a good traveler
- Your dog is destructive
- Your dog is an escape artist
- You’re a frequent flyer
So, those are the plus points of using a hard dog crate.
Generally, soft crates are made of mesh, nylon, and other sturdy but collapsible materials. These carriers are lightweight in comparison to hard crates and are best suited to dogs that are calm, quiet travelers.
The fastenings on soft crates are usually zippers or, sometimes, Velcro.
Soft dog crates have a number of benefits when compared with hard dog crates.
Soft crates are usually collapsible, making them easier and less space-consuming than hard crates.
Soft dog carriers are usually a more comfortable ride for your pet than hard carriers since the material used to make them is much more forgiving. These carriers often have a soft, plushy floor insert included for extra comfort.
Many soft crates have additional storage options as an extra feature in the form of pockets that can take treats, water bottles, and poop bags.
Although most hard dog crates have some form of ventilation, soft crates always have lots of mesh siding or a partial mesh window. That means excellent airflow to keep your pet cool.
Hard dog crates usually have one or two entrances; one on the front and, sometimes, a toploader. In comparison, soft carriers generally have much wider doors than hard crates. Many even have a zipper that extends along the whole length of the carrier, making it much easier to get to your pet.
Another awesome option that’s often offered by soft crates is multiple ways of loading your pet into the crate, generally via several doors.
Easy To Clean … But …
Most soft fabric carriers are machine washable, which is handy if your dog has an occasional accident.
That said, if your dog regularly pees in his carrier, the odor can quickly soak into the fabric, making it very difficult to get rid of the smell.
There are also a few downsides to soft dog crates, including:
- Soft carriers are less secure than hard, plastic crates, and a strong or clever dog can often unzip the carrier and escape.
- A soft, collapsible crate won’t protect your dog in the event of a traffic accident, whereas a hard crate will.
- Soft carriers are not suitable for dogs that become frightened or unruly during transit, as the fabric can be damaged or even destroyed.
A soft crate is probably the best choice for you and your dog if:
- You don’t have much storage space
- Your priority is your dog’s comfort
- Your dog does not have many accidents
- Your dog is calm and well behaved when traveling
Also, from a strength and durability perspective, a soft crate is best for a small to medium-sized dog rather than a large one.
What To Look For In A Soft-Sided Dog Crate
Now, let’s take a look at what features you want in a good soft-sided dog carrier.
Ventilation And Airflow
Whether you intend to use your soft dog crate for travel or at home, it’s crucial that the crate provides your pet with good ventilation and airflow, especially for those who live in warmer climates.
Look for a crate that has windows made from plastic mesh. Mesh gives good ventilation in warm, muggy weather and helps to keep biting insects out, too. However, a soft crate with plastic windows can offer more protection against wind and rain.
Lightweight, Robust Frame
A soft crate should have a robust but lightweight frame, similar to a popup tent. If the frame is too heavy, the crate won’t be easy to transport. That said, you don’t want a flimsy frame that collapses readily.
Ideally, you want a soft crate that ha rounded corners. Not only does that prevent you or your pet from injury, but is also makes a soft crate more robust and gives it longevity.
Accidents do happen, and you want a crate that’s easy to keep clean and smelling fresh. So, choose a soft crate that can be put in your washing machine.
Some dogs are happiest when they have a good all-around view from their crate. However, others prefer a crate that resembles a dark, safe space.
One of the big plus points of soft crates is that many have a zippered portion or an adjustable cover that enables you to control how much your dog can see, depending on where you are and on your pet’s preferences.
Cushioned, Comfortable Mat
Whatever soft crate you choose, you want one that offers extra cushioning for your dog’s comfort and wellbeing. So, if your new soft crate doesn’t include a comfy mat or crate cushion for your pet to sit on, you’ll need to buy one.
Some soft crates have special orthopedic mats that are designed with older dogs in mind, whereas others have waterproof or washable mats. If you have a puppy or a senior dog with continence problems, make sure that you can put the crate’s mat in your washing machine to clean it when necessary.
As with any style of dog crate, the one you choose must be the correct size for your dog. Ideally, your dog must be able to stand up, sit down, lie down, and turn around easily inside the carrier.
That said, you don’t want a crate that’s too big or offers too much space inside, or your dog might begin using one end of the crate as a toilet area.
Most soft dog crates are extremely simple and straightforward to assemble, and many don’t even need tools to put them together. That’s a very important consideration for you if you tend to use your dog crate when traveling around.
You don’t want your pet to escape from the crate, so look for one that has zipper locks fitted to the doors as an extra feature. Most dogs can’t figure those locks out, although you may need to make sure that your pet remains confined by using a carabiner.
7 Best Soft And Portable Dog Crates
In this buyer’s guide section of our article, we review our seven favorite soft and portable dog crates.
1. Amazon Basics Folding Portable Soft Pet Dog Crate
Five sizes and wide range of colors available
Foldable for easy storage
This best-selling soft dog crate from Amazon is available in five different sizes, with 42” as the biggest crate size. Also, you can choose from five exciting colors, including khaki, red, gray, black, and blue.
The crate is pretty sturdy, being made from durable, water-resistant PVC and polyester material. The interior is cushioned with plush fleece to keep your pampered pooch comfy and warm. The crate features a side and top door opening that fastens via a strong zipper, and all four sides of the crate have breathable mesh windows for excellent ventilation.
There are several handy extra pockets on the sides of the crate, and the whole thing folds flat for convenient, space-saving storage and easy portability. The crate offers multiple methods of transporting your dog, including a shoulder strap and top handle.
We love this crate, as its largest size can accommodate a sizeable dog, which is not the case with most soft-sided crates.
- Foldable for easy storage
- Reinforced corners for durability
- Easy to assemble
- Decent quality for the price
- Not escape-proof
- Not machine-washable
2. K&H PET PRODUCTS Travel Safety Pet Carrier
Robust, sturdy design
Designed for car travel
This gorgeous soft travel crate from K&H is designed specifically with car travel in mind and comes in three different sizes to accommodate small and medium-sized dogs.
You can secure the crate to your car seats by clipping it to the car seatbelt and to the seat headrest for extra stability. The crate is very easy to assemble without the need for any tools, meaning that you can set up and disassemble in just a few minutes.
The crate has large mesh windows, enabling your dog to enjoy a good view of his surroundings and providing excellent ventilation. Also, there are two doors, making it super-easy for your dog to enter and exit the crate.
The crate isn’t crash-tested, but it does prevent your dog from distracting you while you’re driving. When the crate isn’t in use, you can break it down so that it lies completely flat, saving you valuable space in your home.
- Excellent ventilation
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Keeps your dog secure while in transit
- Reasonably priced
- Not crash-proof
3. 2PET Folding Soft Dog Crate
Easy to set up
Foldable dog crate for easy storage and portability
If you have a very small dog, you’ll love the 2PET Foldable Dog Crate!
This soft crate is so easy to transport that you don’t even need to take your dog out of the carrier. You can open the crate from the front or from the top for easy access to your pet. The machine-washable crate cover is made from water-resistant Oxford 600D durable fabric that’s removable for easy cleaning. Included with the crate, you get a machine-washable fleece cushion and a waterproof mat.
The crate is available in a range of sizes from small to large, accommodating dogs up to 50 pounds in weight. There are lots of mesh windows for excellent airflow and to enable your dog to see outside. As an attractive bonus, the manufacturer donates a small amount of each sale to charity.
- Collapsible design for easy storage
- Very easy to set up
- Perfect for small dogs
- Sizes available to suit the vast majority of dogs
- Crate feels flimsy and the door zipper is not easy to open
4. Petnation Port-A-Crate
Perfect for those on a limited budget
Lightweight and easy to assemble
Petnation have produced the best budget soft crate option on our list. The Port-A-Crate E2 is easy to carry, ideal for a small dog, and doesn’t take up too much space.
You can assemble the Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 in a matter of minutes without the need for additional tools. The exterior of the crate is made from a tight-weave, heavy-duty mesh fabric on a robust steel frame to give the crate strength. Also, the waterproof fabrics are used to make this crate, which is is handy in the event of a toileting accident.
This classy crate’s mesh windows provide the occupant with excellent airflow and comfort, and the doors at the top and front of the crate make access easy and quick. The crate comes in six different sizes that can take dogs from 10 pounds right up to 70 pounds.
Although the soft-sided crate doesn’t come with a mat included, you can buy Petnation mats that fit the crate.
- Portable and foldable for easy storage
- Machine washable for easy cleaning
- Excellent quality and value
- Not suitable for dogs that chew or are anxious travelers
5. JESPET Soft Pet Crates
Attractive, practical construction
Nice quality product
Comes in several sizes
The JESPET soft-sided dog crate is collapsible and foldable for easy transportation and space-saving storage. This attractive crate is of excellent quality and has three entrances at the side, front and top, allowing plenty of light and air into the carrier for your pet’s comfort. An adjustable carrying strap and fleece mat are included with the crate.
The soft kennel cover is made from machine-washable 600D material and hex mesh durable materials that are stretched over a robust collapsible steel frame with retractable springs for quick and easy assembly and disassembly.
- Foldable and collapsible
- Perfect for transporting your pet
- Includes adjustable carrying strap and fleece mat
- Excellent quality
- Not suitable for large dogs
6. DONORO Dog Crates Kit for Small Size Dogs
Attractive portable crate with fabric waterproof cover
Easy to assemble
Ideal choice for small dog breeds
DONORO crates for dogs can be used in your home and this one is also suitable for use as a travel crate for puppies and small dogs up to 30 pounds in weight.
The crate has a double door front and side entry system with heavy-duty bold latches to keep the carrier firmly locked. The crate has a carrying handle and includes a leak-proof plastic liner to protect your floors and car upholstery in the event of an accident.
The crate has a stylish, practical 600D Oxford fabric cover that’s machine-washable and machine washable. The waterproof material slots smoothly into place via a simple hook and loop system.
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Can be used for travel and at home
- Attractive, machine-washable waterproof cover
- One-year guarantee
- Not suitable for very large dogs
7. EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Crate
Robust soft-sided travel crate
Ideal for use at home, too
This soft-sided crate comes in three different sizes and a nice range of colors. The crate can be put together and taken down in a matter of seconds without the need for any tools. The crate’s frame is constructed from strong steel tubing, and the cover is created using high-quality, durable 600D material with hex mesh fabric windows. The end result is a well-ventilated, attractive, lightweight crate that’s built to last.
Excellent airflow and natural light are provided by three mesh doors on the side, front, and top of the crate. There are two handy accessory pockets on the side and top of the crate that are ideal for snacks and essentials. A machine-washable, removable cover, carrying bag, and fleece bed are included, as well as a useful handle and carrying straps.
- Sturdy and robust construction
- Two-year warranty
- Ample ventilation
- One-year money-back guarantee
- Not suitable for dogs that chew
Thank you for taking time out to read our guide to the best soft and portable dog crates. Please share the article with your friends if you enjoyed it.
Of all the crates we reviewed, the one we liked the best is the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate. This gorgeous crate is available in nice range of colors and size options, and can be assembled and taken down again in just a few seconds. The crate is made from robust steel tubing and durable 600D material enhanced with three hex mesh panels for excellent ventilation and easy access.
The design includes two handy pockets for essentials, and the cover is removable and machine-washable. Included with the deal are a handle, carrying bag, fleece bed, and carrying straps.
Which of the soft-sided crates we reviewed did you choose for your furry friend? Tell us in the comments box below.