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A dog gate or playpen can be a useful tool for dog parents, whether you need one to keep your dog away from potential hazards or simply to confine him in a certain area so he can’t get into trouble. Dog gates can also be used to separate pets that have trouble getting along or to protect your property against damage from curious teeth and sharp nails.
When it comes to shopping for dog gates, there are just as many options as there are reasons to use them. Before you start, however, it’s important to ask yourself some practical questions.
Are you looking for an expandable dog gate you can put up quickly or something more permanent? How tall does the gate need to be to prevent your dog from stepping over it? Do you prefer a pet gate made from certain materials to match your home décor? And how much are you willing to spend?
Types of Dog Gates
To help you answer these questions, here is a quick overview of the most common types of dog gates you should consider:
- Freestanding Dog Gates: These gates stand on their own, so they are easy to move from one location to another. They vary in size and can be custom adjusted to fit certain spaces.
- Adjustable Tension Gates: This type of gate is generally used in doorways to create a temporary barrier. They are easy to install but some models take longer than others to put up and take down, so you may find yourself stepping over the gate.
- Hinged Dog Gates: These gates can often stand on their own and can be linked to create a playpen, if desired. They are also typically foldable which is great for storage and travel.
- Walk-Through Dog Gates: Perfect for more permanent applications, walk-through pet gates can be freestanding, tension, or hinged gates with a walk-through door for convenience.
The Top Dog Gates and Playpens to Safely Contain Your Dog
The best dog gate for your home will depend on your dog’s size and temperament as well as the intended location of the gate and what you plan to use it for. As you think about these details, take a look at our top picks for the best dog gates and playpens below.
If you’re trying to keep your dog out, don’t waste your money on a flimsy pet gate. This MidWest gate is ultra-sturdy, constructed from tubular steel and comes in an attractive white or textured graphite color.
This gate is completely chew-proof (as well as free of pet harming toxins) and expands from 29.5 to 38 inches to fit most standard doorways. It features a convenient walk-through door that you can operate easily with one hand, but it latches securely to keep your dog where you want him.
If you’re looking for a sturdy dog gate that you can use in a variety of different ways, try this freestanding gate. It’s both functional and attractive, with a hardwood frame and black metal fencing. The side panels have rubber feet to keep them in place, allowing the gate to stand on its own and stay put.
The barrier stretches between 39.8 and 71.3 inches wide, but its height (just over 20 inches) works best for smaller dogs weighing 20 pounds or less. It can also fold up nicely for travel.
Richell Freestanding Dog Gate
Expand and fold this freestanding gate in stylish hardwood and metal.
Designed as much for its attractive appearance as its durable construction, this sturdy steel and hardwood gate requires no tools for assembly, and it goes up easily, held in place by four pressure-mounted springs.
Adjustable for a variety of doorways, this dog gate fits openings between 30 and 42 inches. The door opens easily with a latch and secures simply by closing, allowing you to pass through without moving the barrier.
Regalo Home Accents Extra Tall Walk-Through Dog Gate
Adjust this steel and cherry wood gate into doorways up to 42 inches.
For very large dogs, the average pet gate is easy to jump (or even step) over. If you’re looking for an option with more heighth to keep big dogs contained, try the Carlson Extra-Tall Expandable Dog Gate.
Extremely easy to install, this gate fits doorways 26 to 38 inches wide and stands 32 inches tall. Pressure mounts lock the gate into place, and the smaller gate in the lower corner opens to let smaller pets through. This is a great feature if you have both cats and dogs.
Carlson Pet Products Extra-Tall Big Tuffy Expandable Gate with Pet Door
This spring-loaded steel gate keeps large pets in while letting smaller pets through a small door.
For some dogs, a visible barrier is all it takes to keep them out. If you’re looking for a simple but sturdy freestanding dog gate, the Pawland Wooden Freestanding Foldable Dog Gate is tall enough to keep puppies and small dogs in their place but easy enough for you to step over.
It features a folding design that fits a wide variety of openings and it has a wood finish with nonslip rubber feet to protect your flooring. Simply unfold the gate to set it up and fold it back down for storage.
Pawland Wooden Freestanding Foldable Dog Gate
Simply fold and unfold this portable gate in a wood finish.
Sometimes you need something quick you can throw up in a doorway to keep your dog in (or out). There are plenty of heavy-duty dog gates on the market, but they can fetch a hefty price.
This pressure-mounted wood dog gate is a great option if you’re looking for something simple and affordable. It’s incredibly easy to move and resize (reaching from 31 to 50 inches wide), if you need to section off different parts of the house at different times.
Evenflo Tall Pressure-Mount Wood Dog Gate
The position and lock gate comes in two non-toxic finishes.
Another affordable option in pressure-mounted dog gates, this barrier is made from heavy-duty steel. It fits standard doorways, extending from 29 to 31.5 inches, and stands 29.5 inches tall to keep dogs from jumping over it.
It also comes with a handy step-through door so that, when you need to get through, you can simply press the release button and lift the handle.
KidCo Command Pet Products Pressure-Mounted Pet Gate
Made in the U.S., this heavy-duty steel gate has a non-toxic finish.
A dog gate works well to keep your dog out of certain areas, but what if you’re trying to keep them contained to a more limited space? Dog playpens allow you to create a buffer zone inside or outside, giving your pet space to roam while controlling his range.
This model stands 34 inches tall and provides 21 square feet of space. It’s made from heavy-duty molded plastic, and rubber feet keep it in place without scratching your floors. Plus, the door latches securely or swings freely to allow pets to come and go when you’re home to supervise.
Iris Eight-Panel Plastic Exercise Dog Playpen
Made from durable plastic, this pen offers 21 square feet of room plus a steel latch door.
If you have an extra-wide or oddly shaped opening you want to cover, a standard dog gate simply won’t work. This gate is the perfect solution.
It features an accordion-style all-steel construction measuring 38 inches high and extending up to 76 inches wide. It mounts quickly to your wall and features a walk-through gate with a sliding lock handle.
It also features a small door in the bottom to let smaller pets pass while keeping your dog where you want him.
Carlson Pet Products Flexi Extra Tall Walk-Thru Dog Gate with Pet Door
Got an extra-wide entrance to block? Grab this steel gate, which extends up to 76 inches.
If you’re looking for a sturdy option with a convenient walk-through door, this Paws & Pals model is a great choice. The durable stainless steel construction creates a sturdy perimeter that can be easily set-up and disassembled, so you can create a “chill zone” at home or while traveling.
Paws & Pals Heavy Duty Portable Wire Dog Playpen
This rust-resistant stainless steel pen is great for indoor or outdoor use.
This playpen is ideal for puppies that get a bit mischievous while you’re washing the dishes or cooking a meal but also works for small and medium-sized dogs alike.
The open mesh design, with two doors and zip-top, folds up easily and packs into a carrying case. The playpen comes in four different sizes and includes helpful accessories such as a pocket and a water bottle holder.
Frisco Soft-Sided Exercise Playpen
Portable, this soft-sided pen is great for indoors, outdoors, and travels well.
Who said a dog gate only belongs in the home? Dog gates can also be used in your vehicle to create a separate compartment to keep you distraction-free and safely confine your dog for drives to the park or longer road trips.
This steel-frame barrier installs in minutes—no tools needed. It stretches between 31 and 45 inches tall and 39 to 65 inches wide, fitting most wagons, vans, and SUVs.
Reese Adjustable Pet Barrier for Vehicles
Contain your pet on the road with this steel-frame vehicle barrier.
Choosing a dog gate over a crate gives your dog a higher degree of freedom while still keeping him safe and out of trouble when you’re not able to supervise him.
However, finding the perfect dog gate is only half of the equation. No matter how well-mannered your dog may be, they are likely to get bored after a few hours alone and that’s when destructive behaviors tend to appear.
Keeping your dog busy when they’re alone is all about providing the right combination of toys that will keep them entertained and stimulate their mind to relieve boredom.
To learn more about how to occupy your dog when you’re not around, check out our handy guide to keeping your dog busy.