Best Heavy Duty Dog Crate

A good crate should keep the escape artist dog in your life both safe and comfortable.  Enclosures that can be pushed open, warped or bent can prove extremely dangerous to a dog while he is escaping in the event he becomes trapped while trying to escape. After 30 hours spent researching and testing popular heavy-duty dog crates on the market and for 2020, we recommend the Dakota 283 Trikos Kennel due to its one-piece construction, high quality hardware and outstanding features.

Best Heavy Duty Dog Crate

Best Budget
Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel
Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel Best Budget
$73
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Tie-down strap holes
  • Easy Assembly
  • Wire vents are proportionally small
  • Metal screws
  • Covered Door posts
  • What we Dislike
  • Door post can be bent outwards and door forced open (most common means of escape)
  • Floor is not flat and smooth
  • Best for smaller dogs without strength to force door open
  • Wire door can be chewed and the solder points popped apart
  • Quality control issues
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Plastic & Wire style
MATERIAL Plastic
Steel
SIZE x-small (21" x 16" x 15")
small (28" x 20.5" x 21.5")
medium (32" x 22.5" x 24")
large (36" x 25" x 27")
x-large (40" x 27" x 30")
xx-large (48" x 32" x 35")
COLOR CHOICES 2
Our Review

We love a good classic kennel dog crate, as these are easy to clean and take apart for storage if need be. However, if you have an escape artist dog, this one may not be right for you. Dogs are able to bend the door post outwards, pop the soldered joints on the wire panel and if they are able to stand up inside it and push upwards, can easily bust the screws that hold the top and the bottom portion of the kennel apart and at that point the door will fall open, and freedom! The plastic can eventually be chewed if your dog is a power chewer. We do like that the ventilation ports on the sides of the upper half of the kennel allow lots of fresh air but those too can be ground down by chewers. It’s a great product, just not for dogs that are strong enough to bust out of it.

Best Plastic-Crate-Style
Gunner Kennels G1 Small Dog Crate
Gunner Kennels G1 Small Dog Crate Best Plastic-Crate-Style
$0
on amazon
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Fits dogs up to 45 lbs
  • Double-wall construction
  • Elevated feet
  • Escape-proof door
  • Paddle latch
  • Top and bottom safety locks
  • Drainage system/plug for easy clean-up
  • Crash-test certified
  • What we Dislike
  • Extensive assembly needed
  • Kennel is quite heavy (39 lbs)
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Plastic Style
MATERIAL Plastic
Steel
SIZE 29.5 x 20.5 x 23.5
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

This is an outstanding made in the USA plastic kennel with double-wall construction, ventilation, elevated feet to keep dog off a hot or cold surface, and a well-engineered door with back-up safety latches. Available on their website is a stainless steel kit for power-chewers or anxious dogs and a whole line of accessories to keep your dog comfortable and safe including kennel pads meant just for the Gunner, an all-weather kit to waterproof the kennel, tie-downs, and much more. We love that this one is crash-test rated. The ventilation in this kennel is designed to keep your dog cool whether he is lying down or standing up inside the kennel. The rounded surfaces inside the kennel will make it harder for him to get a grip and chew holes in the plastic.

Dakota283 Medium Kennel
Dakota283 Medium Kennel
$137
on amazon
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Locking door
  • Drain hole
  • One-piece molded design
  • What we Dislike
  • Small ventilation holes
  • Higher price point
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Plastic Crate-style
MATERIAL Plastic
SIZE 30.5L x 21.5W x 25H
COLOR CHOICE 4
Our Review

This single-piece molded design is a refreshing change from the 2-piece standard plastic crate design we’ve seen for the last 50 years. It’s rugged, with rounded corners and single-shell design intended to withstand impact, scratching, and cracking. The door is a paddle-latching, double-hinged steel grid that can be reversed or completely removed and locked with a key for additional security. We wish the ventilation holes were a little larger but there are plenty of them, top and bottom. Many kennels only have ventilation on the top half of the kennel and that does not help a dog laying down. These travel well and can be placed side by side in the bed of a truck.

BestPet 36" Dog Cage with Two-Door Indoor Outdoor 4 Casters
BestPet 36
$0
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Eco-friendly epoxy-coated metal
  • Top and side entrances to crate
  • 4 casters, 2 lockable
  • Easily cleaned tray
  • What we Dislike
  • Best for smaller to medium dogs
  • Weak latches easily popped out
  • Requires extensive assembly
  • Wire can be bent and soldered joints popped
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Wire style crate
MATERIAL Metal
SIZE 36 x 25 29
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

This crate is sturdier than some of the other wire crates we’ve reviewed but has some of the same weak points- solder joints can be popped out with pressure. Enough pushing by a dog standing up and using his back could easily pop the top off the cage. Wire can be gnawed and bent by a determined enough dog. This is better then most wire cages but probably not good for a larger escape artist dog. While we like that the tray sits inside the cage and is reinforced underneath, the opening where it slides out is big enough that a dog could injure itself trying to squeeze out and the tray could be pushed out.

Gelinzon Roof Dog Crate Heavy Duty Large Homestead Series Dogs Cage Kennel
Gelinzon Roof Dog Crate Heavy Duty Large Homestead Series Dogs Cage Kennel
$0
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • 2 inch spacing between bars on sides, .8 inches on bottom grate
  • Removable plastic trays
  • Top and side door entry
  • What we Dislike
  • Weak locks
  • Metal coating/paint comes off easily
  • Quality control issues
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal bar style
MATERIAL Steel
SIZE 42 x 30.3 x 37.3
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

These bars are welded together with very small dots of solder and with enough pressure could give way over time and the bars themselves can bend and buckle as they are hollow and somewhat thin. We were concerned that the paint/powder coating was coming off the product before it was even assembled. It looks like a fortress but is cheaply constructed and may not hold your Houdini for very long.

Impact Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate
Impact Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate
$0
on amazon
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Collapses easily to less than 8 inches in height
  • Rust resistant powder coated aluminum
  • 4-sided ventilation
  • Spring loaded handles
  • Slam-latch door
  • Piano hinge
  • What we Dislike
  • Higher price point
  • Powder coating can be chewed off over time
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE
MATERIAL Aluminum
steel
SIZE medium (30 x 19 x 22)
large (35 x 25 x 29) x-large (41 x 25 x 29)
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

This cage looks seriously industrial and it means business. With crush proof corners, powder-coated 0.63 aluminum reinforced with steel, welded rivets and reinforced cross-bars, it will present a challenge to all but the most dedicated of escape artists. It may not be suitable for very large dogs, however. We like that there is ventilation on all sides, the spring-loaded handles making it easy to transport and tie down this crate if need be. Bonus that it’s made in the USA with no harmful toxin or chemicals and the powder-coating is non-toxic in the event your dog likes to chew.

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier
Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier
$0
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Smaller sizes have carrying handle
  • Ventilation openings
  • Heavy duty plastic
  • Metal nuts and bolts
  • What we Dislike
  • Plastic is brittle
  • Door can easily be pushed out of place
  • Plastic window grates can easily be chewed through
  • Quality control issues
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Plastic style
MATERIAL plastic
steel
SIZE x-small (19 x 12.6 x10)
small (23 x 15.2 x 11.8)
medium (24.1 x 16.7 x 14.5)
large (26.2 x 18.6 x 16.5)
x-large (28 x 21 x 22)
xx-large (32 x 23 x 24)
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

This is another manufacturer’s version of the Petmate style crates. It’s probably decent for smaller dogs but a larger dog will blow out the front door easily as the posts that sit in the plastic holes will either crack out of the plastic or the door itself and post will bend out of place with pressure. It does not have the wire ventilation on the sides that similar products have and the slats are thin and a dog could chew right through them. It also has issues with the hardware holding the top and bottom pieces together and the edges can be jagged. For a dog that doesn’t chew and is relatively calm this crate may work, but an escape artist will make short work of it.

Sliverylake Dog Cage Crate Kennel - Heavy Duty
Sliverylake Dog Cage Crate Kennel - Heavy Duty
$0
on amazon
3/10
  • What we Like
  • Lockable wheels
  • Composite tray for easy cleaning
  • Two door openings
  • What we Dislike
  • Weak lock
  • Quality control issues
  • Difficult assembly
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal bar style
MATERIAL Metal
SIZE small (37 x 24.4 x 28.7)
medium (41.7 x 29.1 x 33.5)
large (48.8 x 33 x 37)
COLOR CHOICES 3
Our Review

This crate has many weak spots, including its cheap paint/powder coating that comes off easily. Hollow bars are easily bent and chewed by dogs. The bottom grate is dangerous as dog’s collar could get caught in it and it has the strength of a birdcage. This crate has killed dogs who got trapped trying to escape it. The latch can easily be dislodged by a determined dog. This does come in various sizes but we can’t recommend it for anything bigger than a small-medium sized dog.

Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage
Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage
$0
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Easy to clean tray below
  • Two sizes
  • Dual locks
  • Metal tray
  • What we Dislike
  • Weak latch
  • Wheels break off easily
  • Higher price point
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal bar style
MATERIAL metal
SIZE 35.75 x 23.5 x 24.5
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

This metal bar style cage is in the higher price echelon and more sturdily constructed than many similar styles but it still has a few weak points, including hollow bars. If your dog is a power chewer with severe anxiety he may be able to bend these bars or flatten then and break the welds. We do like that it has sturdier screws holding it together and the wheels and casters are higher quality. Welds seem to be stronger. The lock is weak though and we’d recommend using a secondary lock with this crate for an escape artist.

LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage Strong Metal Kennel and Crate for Medium and Large Dogs
LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage Strong Metal Kennel and Crate for Medium and Large Dogs
$400
on amazon
3/10
  • What we Like
  • Top and side entry points
  • Dual locks
  • Corrosion-resistant steel frame
  • Plastic tray for easy cleaning
  • What we Dislike
  • Weak locks that can be bent
  • Weak welds
  • Quality control issues
  • Assembly issues
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal bar style
MATERIAL Metal
plastic
SIZE small (37 x 30.5 x 41.5)
medium (39 x 46 x 32)
large
COLOR CHOICES 2
Our Review

We like the silver and black color options for this crate but the manufacturer lists that it was spraypainted. The hollow bars on this crate can be chewed and flattened by a nervous dog. The hinges are welded on and can be popped with enough force. The weak latches will necessitate an extra lock being used. Wheel casters are metal and can be fixed, which we liked but the welds there are also weak. For most dogs this crate would be adequate but parents of escape artists beware that this one can be broken out of by a larger dog.

SmithBuilt Heavy-Duty Dog Crate Cage - Two-Door Indoor Outdoor Pet & Animal Kennel with Tray
SmithBuilt Heavy-Duty Dog Crate Cage - Two-Door Indoor Outdoor Pet & Animal Kennel with Tray
$0
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Corrosion resistant hammer tone coating
  • Two entry points- top and side
  • Locking wheels
  • Metal tray
  • What we Dislike
  • Plastic casters
  • Bent wires
  • Weak latches
  • Vertical stanchions not welded in
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal Bar
MATERIAL Metal
SIZE small (36 x 24 x 29)
medium (42 x 30 x 34)
large (48 x 33 x 37)
COLOR CHOICES 2
Our Review

This heavy duty dog crate suffers from many of the same weak points its counterpoints do. We like that the thinner wire grid may offer a dog more comfort than thicker bars, but dogs’ feet and claws can easily become caught in the birdcage-thin wire bars on the bottom grate. Locks are weak and can be busted right off. The paint can chip off with chewing. There are some quality control issues encountered with assembly and the company does not cover any damage caused by your dog. This is not a good product for an anxious or aggressive dog.

Frisco XX-Large Heavy Duty Double Door Dog Crate, 54-in
Frisco XX-Large Heavy Duty Double Door Dog Crate, 54-in
$200
on chewy
2/10
  • What we Like
  • Black electro-coat finish
  • Plastic pan
  • Two door entry
  • What we Dislike
  • Flimsy construction
  • Weak locks
  • Weak welds
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Wire style
MATERIAL Metal
plastic
SIZE 54 x 36.5 x 44.75
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

Yes, this is a BIG crate and great for multiple dog households where the dogs like to cuddle together. It’s collapsible and the tray can easily be cleaned. However, it’s not very strong. Wire cages can be so easily bent by dogs that they should not be considered heavy duty crates. A small dog pressing against these latches could easily bend the door outwards and start snapping welds and bending connections. So while we do appreciate the size and features of this crate, wire crates are not economical or safe for escape artist or anxious dogs. They are easily destroyed, bent and made useless.

Zinger Winger Heavy Duty 5000 Front Entry
Zinger Winger Heavy Duty 5000 Front Entry
$190
on zingerwinger
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Aircraft grade aluminum
  • Lockable slam latch
  • Lightweight but sturdy
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • What we Dislike
  • Higher price point
  • Lock can be tampered with by dog
  • Assembly can be complicated
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal Bar Style
MATERIAL aluminum
SIZE 40 x 28 x 32
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

This crate is one of the most rugged options we’ve seen so far. It has outstanding ventilation with top and bottom holes on the rear panel and sides that are 3/4 inch thick powder-coated aluminum bars. For dogs that panic because of an enclosed space, a crate with bars might be the better option.

The door is reversible with a slam latch and an additional keyed lock for your dog’s protection. The bars on it are welded on, not a screwed-on panel. Zinger crates have a modular design and can be stacked or placed side by side.

The reason why we don’t have it as a winner is the higher price point but if you have tried just about everything else, these crates might be an additional option to try.

Owens 55065 Dog Box
Owens 55065 Dog Box
$0
on amazon
10/10
  • What we Like
  • Diamond treat construction
  • Rubber floor mat
  • 4-season vents with storm covers
  • Top storage compartment
  • Slam latch door
  • What we Dislike
  • Lining can be expensive to replace if chewed
  • Long lead time for production
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Solid panel/metal bar hybrid style
MATERIAL Steel
SIZE 21 x 38 x 26
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

These beautifully made US manufactured dog crates are meant for hunting dogs. They are built to hold up to indoor and outdoor weather and are sturdy enough to contain most dogs. We love the storage compartment on top and all the spring handles on the unit for transportation or tie-down. One entire wall of the crate is ventilated as well as the door so your dog can still take in the world around him but be safely contained. Owens offers a wide variety of outstanding accessories and add-ons for their dog boxes and for the dog who gets out of everything- this is his equal.

Best Metal-Bar-Style
SMONTER Heavy Duty Dog Crate Strong
SMONTER Heavy Duty Dog Crate Strong Best Metal-Bar-Style
$0
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Rugged
  • Unique bar design
  • Brakes on wheels
  • Pull-out tray
  • What we Dislike
  • Quality control issues
  • Made in China
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Metal bar
MATERIAL Steel
plastic
SIZE 42L X 31W X 37H
COLOR CHOICE 2
Our Review

This is a well-made steel cage with the vertical bars around the top third of the cage forming a diamond pattern to discourage destructive chewing and pushing outwards.

There are several options with this cage regarding the door. The smaller, less reinforced door has a built-in smaller door for feeding and watering, and the more reinforced option has an anti-collision door lock with the loops actually welded to the cage itself, not just screwed or bolted on. The tray that comes with this cage is flimsy and could probably be destroyed but the two bottom trays that slide out aren’t where the dog can destroy them and can be cleaned without taking the dog out of the kennel. This kennel also has spinning wheels that can be locked, keeping the kennel in one place.

Best Overall
Dakota 283 Trikos Kennel
Dakota 283 Trikos Kennel Best Overall
$0
on dakota283
10/10
  • What we Like
  • Rugged
  • Piano-hinge 2-button lock door
  • Molded handles
  • Made in the US
  • What we Dislike
  • High price point
  • Heavy
  • Not as much ventilation
Product Details
TYPE OF CRATE Plastic crate-style
MATERIAL Military-grade plastic
SIZE 40.5L x 26W x 30.5
COLOR CHOICES 1
Our Review

The Trikos kennel is one of the best we’ve ever seen. Designed by a military/police dog trainer, it’s military-grade all-around, molded in one piece with rugged corners to protect from impact, molded-in handles and rails for air transport. Handles can also be used for tie-downs. The flammable, full stainless steel door alone is nearly 2 inches thick with north/south button lock, and key lock for additional security. There’s a drainage hole for easy cleaning. The Trikos kennel is pricey but made in the US with high quality materials. For a repeat offender jail-breaking dog this one might be just the thing.

Best Heavy Duty Dog Crate
Product Name Best for Rate
Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel Best Budget 6
Gunner Kennels G1 Small Dog Crate Best Plastic-Crate-Style 9
SMONTER Heavy Duty Dog Crate Strong Best Metal-Bar-Style 7
Dakota 283 Trikos Kennel Best Overall 10

How to Choose a Heavy Duty Dog Crate

As much as we all dream of the placid dog waiting patiently on the unblemished sofa patiently waiting for our return, the reality is that dogs are like people and many of them have anxiety, behavioral issues or destructive tendencies when left to their own devices. Sometimes it’s necessary to contain them for their own safety during our absence or during travel.

You should choose a crate that’s comfortable and functional if your dog will be spending any amount of time in it. Consider the size of your dog, how long he will need to be in the crate and if it is for travel or home use. There are multiple categories of heavy duty dog crate on the market and we’ve narrowed it down to three for the purpose of our review.

Some heavy duty dog crates are more specialized such as vehicle-mounted or built-in laboratory/veterinarian office style. Most users will not require that level of containment so we’ve chosen crates the average consumer might purchase.

When assessing a dog crate, pay attention to weak points and potential escape routes. Dogs learn quickly how to operate door latches, push through doors, or even separate components of a crate that are held together with insubstantial joints or wire connectors. They will chew on anything they can get their jaws around. With the force of his body, even a medium-sized dog can force his way out of a standard wire dog crate or a wooden dog crate with a wire door. Some dogs even blow out of sturdy plastic crates with metal doors by bending the door until the posts come out of their holes and voila- freedom!

While you want to ensure your dog is unable to escape his crate you should also pay close attention to how it is built – if he manages to push through a wall or joint are there components that might puncture or pinch his skin, catch a leg or trap him by the neck? Some dogs tend to chew on wire grates and we’ve seen permanent and serious damage to their teeth and jaws when they do this all day long, day in and day out. If you choose to reinforce your crate with additional hardware or connectors such as carabiners try to position them so the dog cannot get them into his mouth and grind on them.

We recommend heavy-duty crates that are constructed from metal with removable pans vs. a bottom panel that could provide a weak seam to break through. The locking mechanism or latch should be outside the door and your dog should not be able to manipulate, chew, or otherwise tamper with it from the inside.  The crate should be well ventilated but beware that crates that use flimsy wire grates or easily bent aluminum tubes can be busted through easily. You should be certain though that the dog has adequate ventilation and nothing is blocking the ventilation openings in the crate.

Crate anxiety can be a real issue, so be sure to determine where he will be most comfortable while in his crate. Some dogs prefer quiet while in their crates such as a basement or back bedroom, and other dogs become nervous and manic when they cannot hear what is happening around them.

And most importantly of all – ensure your dog has had adequate exercise and play before putting him in his crate so he will be more likely to take a nice long nap and spend less time and energy trying to escape.

Categories of Crates

Wire Cage Style: Typically made of panels made of rigid heavy metal wire held together with tabs or connectors and a bottom tray

  • Collapsible
  • Can easily be forced open
  • Carabiners may not hold them closed tightly enough for them to be safe
  • May not be accepted by airlines or shipping companies for transporting your dog

Plastic Crate Style: Typically 2 pieces (top/bottom) with an inset steel door and/or window panels or cut out ventilation panels

  • Most commonly used for travel
  • Easy to collapse for storage
  • Can be chewed
  • Easier to clean and won’t rust as easily

Metal Bar Style:  Sturdier than a wire crate, will typically consist of powder-coated steel bar panels bolted together

  • Once assembled can be bulky
  • May not be as easy to use for travel or transport
  • Excellent ventilation