They're lightweight and foldable for easier travel, and they're often much more comfortable for your pet — which is why more and more dog owners love the best soft dog crates. Still, when choosing the right crate for your dog, the texture isn't the only determining factor. You'll also need to consider the size, the portability, and the extra features like being expandable or being made of water-resistant material.
Size is pretty self-explanatory: Your pet needs to fit comfortably inside, but if the crate is too big, it might be unnecessarily cumbersome for you. This helpful chart helps narrow down your options using your dog's weight and breed, but as a general rule of thumb, your dog should have enough room to stand up, lie down, and turn around. (Most best-selling soft crates offer a wide range of different sizes and the available dimensions are all listed below.)
Next, consider the portability factor. Ideally, your soft crate will weigh less than 20 pounds and fold up flat when not in use while still remaining sturdy enough to support the weight of your dog. The best options are usually made from a combination of rip-resistant fabric and steel or PVC rods, which, when combined, offer a well-rounded mix of structure, durability, and portability.
Finally, take a look at the extra features that improve convenience for both you and your dog. Do you want extra doors? Built-in storage pockets? Water-resistant fabric? Expandable panels? A comfortable lining that doubles as a crate bed? No matter the size and preferences of your dog, the five options below offer a range of features and reviewers can't stop raving about them.
1. The Fan-Favorite Best Soft Dog Crate
The EliteField soft dog crate is one of the best-selling options on Amazon. It also has more than 7,500 reviews and a 4.5-star rating overall, all because it offers quality construction, handy features, and tons of size and color options. It's made from durable fabric (that can be used indoors and out) with mesh panels as well as a steel-tube frame that sets up and breaks down in seconds. It also has three zipper doors, two pockets for your dog's essentials, and privacy panels for keeping your pet calm on the go. In addition to the crate, you also get a carrying bag and a fleece bed for the bottom.
- Available sizes: 20 by 14 by 14 inches, 24 by 18 by 21 inches, 30 by 21 by 24 inches, 36 by 24 by 28 inches, 42 by 28 by 32 inches
One reviewer wrote: "After trying other crates and doing some research, I opted to purchase the EliteField crate. I'm very happy with my choice. [...] As soon as I set it up he went in and laid down. No coaxing, no treats, he just liked it."
2. The Best Budget Pick
It doesn't have a ton of extra frills or color options, but if you're looking for a sturdy, well-reviewed soft crate that gets the job done for a great price, the Amazon Basics travel kennel is worth considering. In fact, all five sizes (including the biggest 42-inch one) come in well under $100. The PVC frame is durable while the polyester fabric folds up for easy storage. It has two doors, mesh windows on all four sides, and secure zippers. So far, thousands of reviewers have given it a 4.5-star overall rating.
- Available sizes: 21 by 15 by 15 inches, 26 by 18 by 18 inches, 30 by 21 by 21 inches, 36 by 24 by 23 inches, 42 by 31 by 31 inches
One reviewer wrote: "I travel for work and hauling my dog's heavy crate back and forth twice a week was taking its toll. Bought this and VOILA! Life transformed! Light and very easy setup and takedown. Heavy canvas so my pup feels safe and secure in it. Thanks Amazon basics! This is a very quality product at much less than competitor prices!"
3. A Travel-Friendly Carrier With Lots Of Mesh Windows
The morpilot pet carrier, features a rectangular shape and several features that make it easier to travel with your pet: First, it's made from sturdy, stain-resistant fabric and can be carried as a handbag, shoulder bag, or even secured to rolling luggage. Second, it has two doors and ventilated windows to keep your dog comfortable and accessible. Third, the bottom is lined with both a load-bearing plate and a soft, cushioned bed. It comes in three colors and two sizes, and all of them fold up when not in use. Each order even includes a few freebies, like a collapsible dog bowl and a seat belt. However, while the manufacturer calls it airline-friendly, keep in mind that its a dimensions are a little bigger than most carriers' carry-on restrictions.
- Available sizes: Medium (17 by 12 by 13 inches), Large (18 by 12 by 14 inches)
One reviewer wrote: "Bought it for a small breed puppy so he could sleep in my room at night without having to carry his metal crate upstairs. It was cozy but allowed him to see out and me to know that he was not wandering around while we were sleeping. Also, worked great to take him in the car."
4. The Most Durable Dog Crate
Maybe your pet is a chewer and a scratcher, or maybe you like taking your dog camping or to the beach. Either way, when a standard soft crate falls short, the MidWest portable tent crate is durable enough to handle the aforementioned. It's made from water-resistant material with reinforced corners and has a folding steel frame. Plus, each purchase comes with a year-long manufacturer's warranty. In addition to durability, your dog remains comfortable thanks to the included faux-sheepskin cushion. There are four size options, but the biggest one is sturdy enough to support dogs up to 90 pounds.
- Available sizes: 24 x 17.5 x 20.25 inches, 31 x 21.75 x 23.75 inches, 36 x 25.5 x 28 inches, 42 x 26 x 32 inches
One reviewer wrote: "Five years after purchase I still have my crate - and am still using it heavily. My (now 60 lb) collie uses it happily. [...] The zipper is still sturdy and the mesh windows are 100% intact. I would absolutely recommend this product."
5. The Best Expandable Pet Carrier
Expandable crates offer additional lounging space for your pet, which is a brilliant feature if they'll be spending a lot of time in there. This one from Siivton expands on all four sides, so when fully set up, it's almost twice as roomy. Still, it collapses flat for easy storage and travel. It has mesh windows and multiple doors, and it can be carried three different ways thanks to its various straps. It also comes with a reversible pad: One side is warm and the other is cooling. (Note that despite the "large" and "extra-large" sizes, this one isn't well-suited for big dogs.) And while the manufacturer calls it "airline-approved," you'll want to check the carry-on dimensions for your carrier if that's important to you.
- Available sizes: Large (18 by 11 by 11 inches), Extra-Large (20 by 12.4 by 11.4 inches)
One reviewer wrote: "My dog typically does not like carriers, but he loves this one. It has so much space. I practice traveling with [with him] in it around town before boarding his first flight. It fit perfectly under airplane seat [and] expanded perfectly."