Wire Crate VS. Plastic Kennel: Which One Is Better?

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Love them or hate them, wire crates and plastic kennels are two of the most popular options for housetraining puppies and containing dogs. 

That said, there are some important differences between wire crates and plastic kennels that you should know about before you decide which one is right for your pup. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of both, so that you can make the best decision for your dog.

What’s The Difference Between A Plastic Crate vs Wire Crate?

The main difference between metal wire crates and plastic dog crates lies in the way they’re constructed. A wire dog crate is made of metal wire mesh panels that are connected together with metal wires, while a plastic dog crate is made of sturdy molded plastic.

Wire crates typically have more ventilation than plastic kennels, and they’re also collapsible so they’re easy to transport. However, plastic crates are more durable than wire crates, and they’re also better at insulating from the cold.

The bottom line is that both wire crates and plastic crates have their pros and cons, so you’ll need to decide which is more important to you – ventilation or durability.

You might also like to read: 5 Best Plastic Dog Crates – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Wire Crates vs. Plastic Kennels – Which One Is Better?

Sometimes, simply deciding which type of crate is better – wire or plastic – can be difficult. Now that you know the difference between wire crates and plastic kennels, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option. Hopefully, this will help you make a decision about which type of crate is best for your dog.

Wire Crates

Plastic Kennels

MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate e1646844581351
Aspen Pet Porter Travel Kennel (for Pets up to 50 pounds)



  • Space-efficient
  • Good ventilation
  • Size-adjustable
  • Better insulation
  • Lightweight
  • More durable



  • Prone to damage
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Poor airflow
  • Noisy

Product Recommendations:

Product Recommendations:

Best general-purpose wire crate: MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate

Best wire crate for small pups: PRECISION PET ProValu Wire Dog Crate

Best wire crate for large dogs: Paws and Pals Dog Crates for Large Dogs

Best general-purpose plastic kennel: ASPEN PET Traditional Kennel

Best plastic kennel for small pups: Petmate Compass Plastic Pets Kennel with Chrome Door

Best plastic kennel for large dogs: SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels

Wire Dog Crate Overview

MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate e1646844581351

Wire Crates – PROS

More Space-Efficient

Dog parents living in tiny homes understand the importance of space efficiency – and that’s where wire crates come in handy. Because they’re collapsible, wire crates take up less space when they’re not in use. Rather than have the entire crate taking up space in your living room, you can simply collapse it and store it in a closet or under the bed.

This feature is especially important if you need a crate for larger breeds such as German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers. Plastic crates rarely come in such bulky sizes, and even if they did, most people would rather not have a large, clunky crate taking up space in their home.

Good Ventilation

As we mentioned earlier, wire crates have better ventilation than plastic kennels. This is important if you live in a hotter climate, or if your dog tends to overheat easily in the summer months. Brachycephalic dog breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, are especially prone to heatstroke, so a wire crate is a great option for them.

Additionally, good ventilation also discourages pests such as flies and mosquitoes from hanging around your pup’s living space. These insects can carry diseases, so it’s important to take steps to keep them away from your dog.


Flexibility is key, and that’s what makes wire crates with dividers so great. This type of crate can grow with your puppy, so you’ll have a crate that’s the proper size for your dog at every stage of his life. Picture this – your 15-pound Doberman puppy will be able to use the same crate until he grows to his full adult size. How cool is that?!

Additionally, using a size-adjustable crate also allows you to house two dogs in one crate. This can be helpful if you have a small home and don’t have enough space for two separate crates. Plus, it’s a great option if you’re always on the go and needs a way to transport your pup. See our list of the best wire dog crates here.

Wire Crates – CONS

Prone to Damage

As we mentioned earlier, wire crates are not as durable as plastic crates. If you have a particularly active dog who likes to chew on things, you may find that your wire crate starts to show wear and tear fairly quickly. This is especially true if your pup tends to scratch or dig at the metal wires.

To make things worse, a damaged wire crate can seriously hurt your dog. Dogs that are particularly rambunctious or have separation anxiety will not only ruin their crate, but they could also hurt themselves in the process. This is the last thing you want, so it’s important to be aware of your dog’s personality before you decide on a crate type.

Heavy and Bulky

Wire crates are also heavier and bulkier than plastic kennels. This can be a downside if you need to move your crate around often, or if you need to take it on trips with you. Many airports do not allow large crates to be brought on board as carry-on luggage, so you’ll need to check your crate instead.

Plus, if you need to move your crate up or down flights of stairs, the added weight and size can make things difficult. If you need something lightweight, a wire crate may not be the best option for you.

Plastic Dog Crate Overview

Petmate 41035 Compass Fashion with a dog inside

Plastic Kennels – PROS

Better Insulation

Dogs that live in colder climates need a crate that will keep them warm in the winter months. This might not be the case if you own a fluffy, majestic Samoyed, a snow-loving Alaskan Malamute, or any of these dogs that enjoy cold weather, but most other breeds will need some extra insulation. Small dogs can get cold easily, and a plastic kennel is a great way to keep them cozy and warm.

Additionally, if you live in an area with high humidity levels, your dog will appreciate the extra insulation that a plastic kennel provides. Plastic does not allow moisture to pass through it as easily as metal does, so your pup’s living space will stay dry and comfortable. A moist environment heightens the risk of skin infections, so know that a plastic kennel that will do a much better job of keeping your dog dry.


Let’s face it – most of us don’t have the strength to carry around a 50-pound wire crate. Plastic kennels are much lighter, making them much easier to move around. If you need to take your dog with you on trips, or if you need to transport him frequently, a plastic kennel is the way to go.

Even if you’re not a frequent traveler, a lightweight kennel can come in handy for everyday tasks such as moving your dog from room to room. Nobody likes to break their backs performing everyday tasks, so a lightweight kennel is definitely a plus.


One of the biggest plastic dog crate pros is the fact that they are virtually indestructible. Plastic kennels can take a lot of abuse, making them perfect for dogs that like to chew or scratch. If you have a teething puppy or an older dog suffering from separation anxiety, a plastic crate can keep them safe in a comforting den-like environment while you work on their behavior.

Yet another aspect of a plastic crate’s durability lies in how easy it is to keep clean. Plastic crates can be washed with soap and water, making them ideal for dogs that are prone to getting messy. You want your crate to look as good as new for years to come, so this is definitely a pro for those of you who care about aesthetics.

Plastic Kennels – CONS

Poor Airflow

One of the biggest drawbacks to a plastic kennel is the fact that it does not allow for good airflow. This can be a problem in warm weather, as your dog may become overheated. This may not be a problem if your dog prefers warmer climates, and may even be a plus as it will keep your dog warm in the winter.

However, if your dog cannot cope with warmer temperatures, then it might be a good idea to steer clear of plastic kennels. This may not be a major issue if you only intend to use your crate in an indoor, temperature-controlled environment. However, we’d strongly urge you to reconsider if you intend to use plastic kennels outdoors for a dog that doesn’t do well with hot weather.


If your dog likes to bark or chew, he may make a lot of noise in his plastic kennel. The solid, hard surfaces of a plastic kennel amplify sound, so your pup may feel more confined and anxious in his crate. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which your dog barks more because he’s in a noisy crate, and the noise only worsens his anxiety.

The good news is that most dogs eventually stop making noise after they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Even dogs that aren’t initially a fan of their crates can be taught to stop barking in their new homes. It may take some time and effort on your part, but it’s definitely doable. Things like crate toys and positive reinforcement can help make the process a little bit easier.

Which One Should I Get?

So, which type of kennel is right for you? It really depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you need a lightweight kennel that is durable and easy to clean, a plastic kennel is the way to go. However, if good airflow is important to you, or if you live in a humid climate, a wire crate may be a better option.

No matter which type of kennel you choose, make sure to get the appropriate-sized crate for your dog. A kennel that is too large will give your dog too much room to move around, while a kennel that is too small will be cramped and uncomfortable. With so many options available, there is definitely a kennel out there that is perfect for you and your pup.

You might also like reading our guide to:

Wrapping Up

There you have it! The pros and cons of wire crates and plastic kennels. Hopefully, this article has helped you make a decision about which type of kennel is right for you and your pup. Ultimately, the most important thing is that your dog is comfortable and safe in his kennel, so make sure to choose the one that best meets his needs.

Thank you for reading, and please let us know in the comments section below if there is anything else you would like us to cover about crates or kennels. In the meantime, please feel free to check out our other articles on popular dog crates, and share this article with your friends and family who are looking for a new kennel!

Meet our writer

Wanda has LOVED dogs ever since she was a child, and is currently a dog parent to a 3-year-old poodle who means the world to her. She was a volunteer with the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC), a no-kill shelter based in Brooklyn, New York.

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