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Pet Carriers and Crates: What is better?

Buyer's Guide Carriers Pet Crate Pet Travel Petmate

Pet carriers and crates


Having a pet crate can save you so much time. They provide a ton of benefits when it comes to toilet training and keeping your pet secure.

In most cases, they are used for both security and travel, especially since airlines will not let you fly unless your pet is contained.

If you have all the right equipment in the crate, you will be allowed to fly. This can be a pain if you don’t know what you need and if you miss anything such as dog food and water. Make sure it is dry food. Failing this can lead to you and your pet staying grounded.

For this reason, a lot of people will go for pet carriers as opposed to crates.

Pet carriers, sometimes called dog kennels, can also be taken on board planes and the process is a little easier. Primarily because you can have the pet with you in the front.

There is no need to place them in the cargo. However, saying this, you are only allowed to bring them to places if you have a small animal breed.

The last thing the airlines want is for a large Great Dane to be disturbing their passages.

As you can quickly see in that example, there are a number of benefits and disadvantages when it comes to crates and carrier. This is the reason why people either choose one or the other.

However, which one is better when it comes to practicality?

That is exactly what this article aims to answer. If you’re interested to learn which side of the coin is the brighter one, we suggest you keep on reading.

Let’s Begin with Definitions

So, before we start this battle, let’s first identify what we mean when we talk about dog kennels and crates.

The two are quite different despite the fact they kind of do the same thing – contain and secure your pet. They can be used in a wide range of situations and have their advantages and disadvantages, as you will see a little later.

To be completely honest, you’re more likely to see pet carriers being used for transport reasons because they’re light and easy to carry (hence the name). However, we will still review them to get a comprehensive view.

Pet Crates

Pet crates are the things that we always talk about on Pet Crates Direct.

This should be obvious since it is kind of in the name. Crates are one of the best things to have (in our opinion) if you’re a pet owner.

They are the large dog kennel looking objects that you’ll often see at a breeding farm and they are very useful for a number of reasons.

When comparing them to dog carriers, it is quickly identifiable that they are normally larger and more secure.

They can also be made from a range of materials, including wood and metal (materials you don’t see in carriers). For this reason, they are commonly used inside the home for permanent use as opposed to traveling.

Midwest Homes for Pets offers a number of excellent single door and double door dog crates to choose from, such as the Midwest iCrate folding dog crate, at a very reasonable cost, and often with free shipping. This line has excellent product ratings.

They are also often used for larger pet dogs. Pet crates also cost a lot more than carriers and you will later see this in our advantages and disadvantages section below.

Pet Carriers

Dog kennels are the type of things you’d likely see someone using when they’re boarding a plane. They are a look lighter when compared to crates and they are more commonly used with small dogs.

They might be a little less practical when compared with crates but they excel when it comes to transport. They come in both plastic and soft-sided but you won’t even see a carrier that is solid metal or wooden. This would make them a little too heavy.

They can also be used in the home as a small den for the pet. They can be used just like crates but are less practical because they’re weaker and more fragile.

Larger pet dogs are likely to break out of them if they’re not secured properly. Although this can be an issue, carriers are still used around the US and often substitute for pet crates when it comes to price.

Cats are often shuttled with carriers, sometimes allowing enough room for a cat litter box.

What are the Benefits of a Pet Crate?

Let’s start the comparison off with pet crates. There is a range of benefits to having a pet crate and getting one will be determined by a range of factors, including your budget, breed, and uses.

Dog crates might be more practical but they come with a heavier price tag and maintenance, but many wire crates come with a divider panel, which allows the dog to grow into the crate.

Below, you will find a range of benefits that pet crates provide. As you will see, there are probably more when compared to carriers.

Very Secure

One of the first benefits of having a pet crate is the fact they are incredibly secure. There are a lot of crates that are made from tough aluminum.

One brand, in particular, known as Zinger, provides some of the best metal crates in the business and they are used for so with larger and more aggressive dogs. In addition, some crates are so secure they can withstand car crashes.

MIM is one of the only brands that crash tested crates. They have escape hatches and crumple zones that stop your best friend from being killed.

Moving back to Zinger, they have crates that have reinforced locks. These are crucial when you factor in the escape artists among dogs.

You know the ones I’m talking about. The dogs that can figure out how the latch works, lifting it up with their nose. This issue can be worse when adding a double door.

Pet crates secure your dog and are very good at stopping them from escaping.

Can Be Used for Air Travel

Although you will see that carriers can also be used for air travel, crates require a lot more preparation. Despite this, pet crates are commonly used in air travel and are very efficient.

As I have just said, you will need to read the airlines guidelines when it comes to traveling but, in most cases, they all follow the standard IATA rules.

Basically, when following these, you will need to have some pet gear with the crates, including containers for dog food and water, as well as a live animal sticker.

Some crates are specifically designed for air travel. One notable best seller is the Petmate Sky Kennel – one of the most recommended air travel crates on the market with unmatched product ratings.

It has been specially built to go in the skies and is approved by almost all airlines. Petmate Pet Products is a well-trusted manufacturer that produces plastic carriers as well as wire crates. These products often come with special offers such as free shipping.

Another popular brand is the Sherpa travel carrier. These travel carriers differ in that they are designed for in-cabin use, and for smaller animals.

Easy to Clean

Compared to a carrier, wire dog crates are easier to clean, especially if they’re metal or plastic. Many of them will also come with replacement pans, allowing you to quickly slide up against any debris and muck and wipe it away.

It is for this reason why crates are commonly used by owners who like long, muddy walks. The last thing you want is for your lovely new car seats to be caped in mud. A pet crate can be used to absorb the filthy and contain it one easily cleanable area.

Make Toilet Training Easier

One of the biggest benefits that a pet crate has is their ability to speed up the toilet training of pups. There is no argument over the fact that puppies love to mess in your new home and the reason behind this is because they haven’t yet associated the garden with the toilet. A pet crate can help out with this.

Because the crate is quickly associated with a den, the pup will refuse to mess inside it (based on instinct). You can use this to force them to hold it in and then when the time is right, quickly grab them and place them outside.

When they go to the toilet, praise them with cuddles and love. Repeat this process over and over again, until they learn where to go naturally.

Can Grow with a Puppy

One of the things that a carrier can’t do is grow with a puppy. As many of you will know, puppies grow very fast and if you have a large breed, it won’t take long for them to outgrow their old bed and crate.

As a result, many manufacturers have crate dividers that allow you to slowly expand the crate as the puppy grows. This allows you to buy one crate and one crate only, saving you tons of money.

These dividers are often seen with wired crates more so than metal or plastic.

What are the Disadvantages of a Pet Crate?

Of course, just like there are benefits, there are also limitations to pet crates. This next section will go through some of the limitations of pet crates and why some people may not want to invest in these products.

They are great to have but as you will see in the section below, they can be very expensive.

The Price Tag

There is no argument over the fact that pet crates are incredibly expensive. Depending on the brand and the material you decide to go with, you could be paying upwards of $600. However, as I just said, it will depend on the brand and material.

In general, metal and wooden crates are considerable more than plastic and wire. It is for this reason we recommend that you view pet crates as an investment opposed to a one-time purchase.


The one big advantage you will see with pet kennels is they can be transported easily. With some pet crates, you will need special wheels and carts in order to move them around.

This is especially true when you consider metal crates like Zinger. They allow you to buy a set of wheels when it comes to transport and this will make things a whole lot easier. However, this means that you’ll have to fork out more cash.

What are the Benefits of a Pet Carrier?

Moving onto dog carriers, we will now explore some of the benefits that are associated with them. They are a little different from crates and the one thing you will notice is that they’re a lot cheaper.

In general, these are the type of things you want if you don’t want to permanently crate your pet or if you don’t want to invest heavily. They have their uses and for this reason, they are used all over the world.

A lot cheaper than Crates

One of the first things that I’ll mention is you’ll save a lot of money if you purchase a carrier instead of a crate.

The majority of carriers are below the $200 mark and are perfect if you’re not very committed to crating your pet.

The price, again, will be determined by the brand and the size of the carrier but, in general, they will be considerably less.


The majority in the market are soft-sided pet carriers but there are a few made from plastic. Because they are made from lightweight materials, you can probably assume they would be light to carry.

It is for this reason older individuals with small animals love carriers, as they make traveling more convenient and less effort.

Perfect for Small Pets

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the carriers are usually used with a small pet.

The main and most obvious reason for this is because larger dogs are very difficult to lift and if you plan on transporting a medium/Large breed, we always recommend that you use a crate.

Small dogs will be easier to carry and, more importantly, they will get accepted for in-cabin use.

Can be used on Planes

Carriers are the only pet transport that is allowed for in-cabin use. The other devices have to be stowed away in the cargo.

This is a massive benefit for owners with anxious pets as they will be able to comfort them directly during the trip. It is a lot less scary for a pet traveling via plane when they’re in the cabin and will result in less “accident” during the journey.

What are the Disadvantages of a Pet Carrier?

As with pet crates, carriers have their downsides. The things you have to understand is that where pet crates excel, carriers don't. For that reason, I have decided to leave the disadvantages a little bare.

Pet crates are more practical and are generally more useful. The main point I do want to clarify is their security.

Not Secure

One of the largest issues with carriers is their security. As they are normally soft-sided, they can be broken out of and will not contain larger dogs. If they want to get out, they can.

All it takes is an aggressive outburst and they will be released. So, with that in mind, it is safe to say that these would not be great for larger dogs.

Summing it up

Pet carriers and crates are two different things yet people tend to mix them up.

They both have their advantages and disadvantages but you should always keep your options open.

In general, pet crates are more useful and have more practical advantages but come with a hefty price tag.

Carriers, on the other hand, are cheaper and easy to transport but they are less secure, not great for larger breeds and they are not as effective when it comes to toilet training.

Have a look at our store, check out some of the options available, and take advantage of the free shipping!

With this guide, you should be able to see what is best for you.

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