Best Elevated Dog Bed of 2021
Our testers were intrigued upon receiving the sleek and well-designed Helinox Elevated Dog Cot. Our dogs approved of the purchase, as shown by sprawling out and lounging on this bed over the others. Our human testers appreciate that it checks the most important boxes—it's easy to assemble, lightweight and packable, durable, and it's not an eye-sore. Weighing under three pounds, this lightweight bed is as travel-ready as much as it is suitable for daily use. The bed is made with an incredibly breathable nylon mesh material wrapped around an aluminum frame. While the material is black, heat collection wasn't an issue during testing due to the thin and breathable nature of the material. This same thin material still held up to our durability testing, coming away with no noticeable marks or damage. The bed is relatively easy to set up with the help of instructions. No additional tools are necessary and while the top material does require some stretching to get across, Helinox utilizes a lever system to latch it into place, making it simple to assemble and disassemble as needed. This model is also a cinch to clean by simply spraying it down with a garden hose.
The downsides of the Helinox Elevated Dog Cot? Not any notable ones when it comes to function, but rather when it comes to your wallet and diversity in options. It is expensive compared to other beds available, but it's also a better product with a higher level of design and nicer materials overall. We were disappointed to see that it is only available in one colorway and two sizes (Medium and Large). However, if you're willing to spend a little more and enjoy the sleek look of the bed, both you and your canine friend should be happy and cool with this elevated choice for use at home and on the go.
The K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot did not disappoint. The bolster, a stuffed pillow of sorts that borders three sides of the bed, sets it apart from the competition, while still utilizing a mesh center to facilitate air circulation. This bolster makes the bed look much more furniture-like. Dogs who like to lean against something or snuggle into a bed will appreciate the bolster, too — many of our pups preferred to lay their heads on it like a pillow. The mesh on the center of this bed is much softer than any others that we tested, with multiple layers that feel comfortable to the touch. It is this softness, combined with the bolster, that earns this model our top praise for comfort. The material also held up well in our durability test and showed no signs of wear after five minutes of continuously scraping it with a fork to simulate a dog's nails on the bed.
While this bed earns high marks in the comfort category, there are still a few things we don't completely love. First, the bed only comes in one color scheme: black mesh with a chocolate border. While this may not matter to some, this dark color makes the material of the bed absorb heat. If it's left in direct sunlight, its cooling effect diminishes significantly. The bolster is removable and machine washable (win!), but the multiple layers of mesh on the bed make it a bit more difficult to clean than some of the others we tested. Overall, we were very pleased with the bed, its furniture aesthetic (especially nice if you plan on having it inside, too), its high-quality comfort and feel — and it was certainly approved by the majority of our canine testers. If your dog prefers a bed where he or she can rest their head on the side or snuggle into a corner, the K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot is our top recommendation.
When searching for an elevated dog bed on a budget, the AmazonBasics Cooling Elevated Pet Bed should be high on your list. One of the more affordable beds on the market, it offers a lot of value. It was sturdy enough for both a human tester and a dog to sit on, held up to our durability test well, and is simple to clean with a hose when it gets dirty. While the set-up process is best completed with two people, once set up, it is easy to move around the house and yard as needed.
The main issue we had with the AmazonBasics bed is that its utilitarian, simple looks aren't going to win many folks over. It also lacks many color options. Although there is a large range of sizes to best suit your dog, if you're particular about how you decorate your home or backyard, you might find the options lacking. Also, because of its tricky set-up, it's not one that you would want to pack up and move frequently. If you get the larger sizes with hopes of travel, this model will be more difficult — a size Medium required the seats of a Subaru Forester to be folded down to fit. That being said, if you are not too picky when it comes to color, this model will treat both you and your furry friend to a durable bed for use outdoors to keep your dog cool or indoors for a nap (we even tried it with a soft bed on top with great success) at a very reasonable price.
Do you have a pup that can't resist chewing? We've been there (some of us still are). It can be frustrating to spend money on a high-quality dog bed, only to have your furry friend rip it to shreds. That's where the K9 Ballistics Chew Proof Armored Elevated Dog Bed comes in. It's constructed with ultimate durability in mind. Its frame is aluminum, making it unattractive to the chewing-inclined, and the rip-stop bed fabric seamlessly connects to it, leaving zero gaps for a dog to put their mouth or catch a paw. The durability was further proved during our testing after we were unable to break through the material after five minutes of scraping it continuously in our abrasion test. Although this test did leave some marks on the surface, its structural integrity did not seem to be affected, and we did not see any visibly broken fibers. This bed was one of the simplest to set up, only taking us 40 seconds to screw the legs of the bed into the metal frame and making it easy to take apart and put in your car, storage, or move around.
One thing to note about the K9 Ballistics bed is that it ranked lower than others when it came to breathability. While the material is thin and did not get hot to the touch when left in the sun (we were testing the light, sandy color; this may differ for the darker colors), it does not have any perforation or mesh, which limits airflow through the actual bed. It also comes in only a small handful of color options, and some of our human testers found them a little lackluster. If your dog is a super chewer, but still needs a reliable bed to keep them off the ground and comfortable, we highly recommend considering the K9 Ballistics bed.
If you're someone who dreads assembling furniture, this elevated dog bed is ready to save the day. Setup includes sliding the bed out of a carrier case (that it easily fits back into if you're taking it on the go), unfolding it like a camping chair, and securing the legs into the pipe clamps for added stability. And voila, the Veehoo Folding Elevated Dog Bed is completely set up in just seconds. Available in sizes Small, Large, and X-Large with a handful of different colors to choose from, the bed is appropriate for most dog breeds. The X-Large that we bought for testing supports dogs up to 200 pounds, and our testers even found themselves lounging on the bed outside without feeling any kind of instability. Our more cautious pups didn't seem to notice any signs of wobbliness or instability, either, and appeared to enjoy midday naps on this comfortable bed without hesitation.
The Large and X-Large beds are quite sizable, with the X-Large standing an entire foot off the ground, which is worth considering if you plan on keeping the bed indoors. It can appear bulky and large. We appreciate the carrying case that comes with this model, but it doesn't pack down nearly as small or lightweight as the Helinox bed for transport. The Veehoo Folding Bed showed average performance during our durability test, with just the outer layer of paint coating showing wear during our abrasion test. None of the actual mesh material that makes up the center of the bed actually came apart or tore during these tests. It also lands about average for breathability. The center mesh allows adequate ventilation, but the thick cloth borders around the edges of the mesh did not allow airflow. Overall, this is a great bed for someone who values simplicity and a bed that's easy to set up or take down over aesthetic appeal.
The Cooleroo Elevated Dog Bed has been a staple for those seeking an elevated bed in hot weather, and it's easy to see why. With a similar construction to the AmazonBasics bed, the metal frame provides sturdy support while allowing air to pass beneath the bed and through its mesh-like material. This material is used throughout the entirety of the bed, providing the most cooling surface area of any product we tested, and because of the many holes on its surface, we noticed that the Cooleroo held onto less dirt than many of the others. The Cooleroo is available in a multitude of colors, meaning you and your pup are sure to find one that speaks to your personal tastes and preferences.
There are a few reasons, however, why this bed did not earn our top spot. First and foremost, the mesh-like material that makes up the surface of the bed is rough and scratchy. Although the woven texture is what allows air to pass through it so easily, it can also be unpleasant for dogs with shorter coats or any who are particularly picky. During testing, it left indents on our human tester's skin. It did not seem to bother dog testers with thicker fur (who may be the ones who desire more cooling), such as Cali, our Husky. The Cooleroo was also one of the more difficult beds to assemble. Similar to the AmazonBasics bed, you have to stretch the surface fabric taut while screwing in the frame. We highly recommend doing this with two people, though it is possible with one. Because of this, the bed is not one that you would want to assemble and disassemble often. If you are looking for a bed with excellent cooling capabilities that comes in many different color options, the Cooleroo Elevated Dog Bed might be a suitable option.
There is no end to the lengths we will go to keep our dogs happy, and the Best Choice Products Raised Mesh Cot with Canopy Dog Bed is proof of that. Fully equipped with a removable canopy for shade and luxury, this bed is like a cabaña for your pup. The bed took only nine minutes for one person to construct, and that includes the setup of the canopy. This bed needs no hardware and features a Velcro attachment on one side that made it less frustrating to assemble than some of the competition. That makes it more appealing for those who want a bed they can set up and take apart often. We also noticed that while it does not block all direct sunlight, the air beneath the canopy was notably cooler than air in direct sunlight, and it helped keep the surface of the bed from collecting heat. If you live somewhere with minimal shade, this bed could provide a great, transportable option for your pet to sleep on.
Now, the downsides. While the canopy does provide shade, it's situated rather low at the entrance, and some dogs might not like walking under it. It also could present a problem in strong winds. The canopy does repel some water, but it does not prevent water from getting onto the bed. We would recommend removing the canopy or moving the bed inside if you are expecting strong weather events. It is also worth noting that this bed only comes in two color options. For a piece that makes quite the statement, you may be disappointed if you don't find a color that you like. Finally, while the bed did not break during our durability test, our wear and tear simulation did scrape off the coating of the mesh and separated some of the material after five minutes of scraping. After testing and reviewing the materials and design, we can't say this model feels built for long-term use. In the end, this bed is an option for someone who's seeking some extra shade for their dog or wants to provide a luxurious place for them to rest their head.
If you have a small to medium-sized dog and want an easy-to-use, transportable, raised bed, the Paws & Pals Elevated Dog Bed is worth checking out. It's one of the easiest beds to set up that we tested — simply unfold it, like a camping chair. Also similar to a camping chair, it comes with a carrying bag, making it easy to bring with you on the go, whether you're leaving for a weekend camping trip, a playground, or anywhere else you may want to bring your dog along in comfort. Because of its folding structure, this was the only bed tested that did not become taut when assembled. The bed has some intentional sag in the middle, which some dogs clearly enjoyed because it allowed them to curl into the bed. Dogs of different sizes may view the bed differently. Our 40 lbs mixed breed dog enjoyed curling up on it but could not stretch out on it, since it's currently available in only one size. Anyone who does take this bed on the go will also enjoy the fact that the cover is easily removable, thanks to Velcro tabs. The bed is machine washable for removing any dirt picked up while playing outside.
Aside from only coming in one color and size (sorry, large breeds!), this bed did not hold up in our durability test. We scraped a fork consistently on the same surface area for five minutes and easily scratched through both the top and bottom layers of the bed to create a hole. The Paws & Pals Elevated Dog Bed also scored low in the cooling category. It's constructed of two layers of oxford cloth with stuffing between them, allowing for no noticeable airflow. If you plan on using this bed in cooler climates, it could be advantageous. With these attributes in mind, if you plan on camping with your dog, this bed could be an easy to transport and simple to clean option.
If you are tired of replacing torn or chewed dog beds, check out the Kuranda All Aluminum Dog Bed. Constructed with an aluminum frame and heavy-duty vinyl bed materials, this bed is practically bombproof. It excelled during our fork durability test — after five minutes of continually scraping the same spot, we left some marks on top of the bed, but the structure of the vinyl still felt and appeared strong. We even tried stabbing the bed with the fork as an added test, and could not break through. The aluminum frame and vinyl topping also make the bed incredibly easy to clean. The vinyl isn't absorbent, so simply brush it off or rinse it with a hose.
While it's incredibly durable, the bed did score low in a few categories. The metal frame of the bed is very bulky and leaves the plain metal exposed, which may not appeal to some people's taste, especially indoors. The bed's vinyl material also does not allow air to flow through, and it doesn't feel very comfortable. Finally, the bed requires a screwdriver and pliers to assemble/disassemble, making it harder to transport or store when it's not needed. This bed would be best suited for someone who is looking for an extremely durable bed, regardless of looks, to keep their dog sleeping off the ground for a long time to come.
The Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed offers many different color options in a comfortable material for dogs of all sizes. Assembling the bed is simple thanks to the use of T-joints and doing so requires zero tools. The final step of setup is using Velcro to attach the top material around the frame, which helps make the setup so quick. We did have a hard time pulling the material taut enough to prevent sagging, and highly recommend using two people for this final step. The T joints and Velcro make the bed easy to assemble and take down, and it would be useful for anyone who's frequently on the go. We ranked the bed highly when it came to cooling because it did not seem to absorb heat when left in the sun, and thanks to the breathable material, it lets a lot of air flow through.
The Veehoo bed is one of the flimsier beds we tested. We noticed this the most when we were transporting the bed — it would twist on its hinges a good amount when picked up or moved. The flimsiness is compounded by the sagging that can occur if you're not able to pull the material tight enough during the Velcro assembly step. We tested the XL 49" size, which provided additional support in the center of the bed. The bed did show signs of wear after our durability test. The bed material frayed enough to turn the coral color we tested to white. In the long term, the top of the bed may need to be replaced. This bed doesn't cost much, though, and the wider range of color options and sizes might sway you toward this model.
Why You Should Trust Us
Together, Sarah Sherman and her canine companion Indy, have made it their mission to bring you honest and insightful reviews across a range of topics. Sarah has been writing in-depth gear reviews for several years, and Indy brings two and a half years of expert dog-napping experience into the mix. Indy is a 40 lbs mixed breed dog, who is either running miles at a time or napping in the yard; there is little in between. Indy is a "bed dog," who prefers any surface more than the ground and seemed more than happy to test each bed out. Having gone through the frustration of trying to purchase toys, food, beds, and more for a picky dog, Sarah understands the desire to provide the best for your dog as well as the desire to find the right product the first time. To ensure that their testing was as thorough as possible, Sarah and Indy not only tested each bed themselves (sometimes sitting and napping on them together) but had several of their human and canine friends join in, too. From Cali the Husky to Nala the Weimaraner to Pacha the Everything Mix and other mixed breeds, our top selections each received a paw of approval.
Our testing process began with elaborate research into the elevated dog bed market, comparing specs, materials, and price before purchasing several models to compare head to head in our backyards, bedrooms, and decks. Our crew of dog and human testers spent weeks sprawling out on each bed. We often left out several beds to see which our dogs picked to nap in. We washed each one to see how easy and effective cleaning was, and we used a hairdryer to test the amount of air movement each bed material facilitated. Our durability test involved scraping against the bed abrasively to simulate weeks' worth of dog nails, recording which ones survived, which ones got scuffed up, and which ones were left with a hole. We strive for the most thorough and exhaustive test methods so that your tired pet can have the best rest possible.
Analysis and Test Results
We scoured the internet for the top-rated elevated dog beds and sorted through other reviews to narrow down our selection to eight beds to be tested in person. We tried to test each bed with the needs of different kinds of dogs in mind. These needs were broken down into five measurable metrics that resulted in the final rating of each bed. These metrics were Durability, Comfort, Ease of Use, Cooling, and Style. We highlight the top performers in each area below.
If you're buying a bed for your dog, odds are, their comfort is important to you. This metric was highly considered during our review process since it affects the likelihood that your dog will want to use the bed, feel safe in it, and choose to sleep in it. While we could not directly ask our pups to write the notes for us, we took it upon ourselves to sit on each bed, feel the material, and consider any other features of the bed that might enhance a dog's comfort. We also gave our dogs the choice of multiple beds to see which ones they gravitated toward most frequently.
The K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot, for example, ranked very high in this category not only because of the bolster, which acts as a pillow for the dog, but also because its mesh material is the softest to the touch of the bunch. Our pups also seemed to prefer the comforts provided by the Paws and Pals and Best Choice beds. The Cooleroo, which excelled in other categories, is made of a scratchy material that was unpleasant to the touch, so it scored lower here.
If you are going to invest in a dog bed that is likely to be used outside, it's essential that it can stand the test of time, and dog paws. For the sake of the testing process, we needed to speed up the process of wear and tear that beds may undergo, and simulated it through what we're calling the Fork Test. For this test, we scraped a salad fork across the same 6" area of the bed continuously for five minutes while applying moderate pressure.
Not only was this a great arm workout, but it also gave us some insight into what a dog's nails might do to the surface of the bed after prolonged use. While some of the beds showed more signs of stress during the test, this test revealed that others, such as the K9 Ballistics Bed and Kuranda All Aluminum showed very little signs of breaking down. The K9 Ballistics and Kuranda are the best models for heavy chewers, with metal frames and very difficult-to-chew bed materials. Although we expect both to last a similar amount of time, the K9 Ballistics stood out a bit more in other areas over the Kuranda, making it our favorite model for big-time chewers.
The Helinox Elevated Dog Cot also stands out regarding durability. Despite being the lightest model in our test group, it's clear that the designers of this bed didn't cut corners. This bed is sturdy. With a weight capacity of over 300 pounds and no signs of instability during testing, we are very impressed with this nimble, yet strong, model.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is inherently a human metric. While our dogs are the ones who will be using the bed, as owners, it is important to know how easy the bed is to set up, transport, clean, etc. If there is a special feature of the bed, is it easy to use? We timed each model's setup process since we suspect some people may want to travel with their bed, which could require frequent disassembling and reassembling. Our dog friends also helped make each bed dirty, and we then cleaned them, assessing the ease of doing so. The beds were moved up and down stairs, inside and outside, and extra features were utilized. We considered all these things to help ensure that you find a bed that is good for both you and your dog.
Examples of excellence in this category can be found in the Veehoo Folding Elevated Dog Bed and the K9 Ballistics Bed. The Veehoo bed took mere seconds to set up as it uses a folding system similar to that of a camping chair. Simple and quick, it scored top marks. The K9 Ballistics Bed was also under a minute to set up and its smooth surface meant it was simple to clean by spraying with a hose or spot cleaning with a towel. Similarly, the Helinox cot cleans off quickly with a spray of water and sets up quickly. Best of all, this is our favorite model to take with us, whether heading to a friend's house or on a camping trip. It packs down small into its convenient carrying case, and, weighing under three pounds, it's easy to port around.
For many, the reason for purchasing an elevated dog bed is to attain superior cooling capabilities over a stuffed bed. To test this, we took a blowdryer on full blast and placed it directly next to each bed. We then use our hands to feel how much air would pass through to the other side of the bed. If more air can permeate and flow through the bed, then we assume greater cooling ability.
Our highest-ranking beds for this metric were the Helinox Elevated Dog Cot and the Coolaroo Elevated Dog Bed. Both of these beds are entirely made with mesh surfaces that are breathable and allow for air to easily pass through (you could even feel your breath through them). The Best Choice Products Raised Mesh Cot with Canopy also scored well because it has a mesh center for airflow, combined with a canopy to protect your dog from the rays of the sun.
While style may not matter to your color-blind dog, it's probably more important to you. A dog bed is essentially a piece of furniture in your home, and for some, the aesthetics make a difference. For style, we considered the general look of the bed and what different options are available to choose from.
Some beds (like the Cooleroo and some Veehoo models) come in a wide array of color options, giving the purchaser more freedom to match their preferences. Others, like the K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot, only come in one color option, meaning you are stuck between that color or not getting the bed, so it scored lower.
Thanks to weeks of our rigorous testing process, we weeded out the bad and mediocre to help you find the best elevated dog bed options for your canine friend(s). Whether you are looking for a durable outdoor bed, something to keep your furry friend cool on hot days, a raised bed for a pup with aging joints, or simply intrigued by the idea of a dog bed that rests above the ground, we hope this review helps you find the right bed to suit you and your dog's needs.
— Sarah Sherman