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Best Hard Sided Cat Carrier 2020: Aspen vs Petmate vs Midwest

Which is the best hard-sided carrier for 2020? In my opinion, this is the best (click here for the reviews on Amazon). This is because it airline compatible (most airline specs), has great ventilation, nice hard-sided, strong shell, simple to clean and easy to setup.

Quick hard-sided cat carrier 2020 comparison (Aspen vs Petmate vs Midwest)

DescriptionImageMy Rating
01. Aspen Pet Cat Carrier (Best Option)
Click here for the price on Amazon
5 stars
02. Petmate Cat Carrier
Click here for the price on Amazon
03. Midwest Cat Carrier
Click here for the price on Amazon
4 stars

What you need to know before you buy

Before you pick up a carrier, it is important to understand some of the best features and benefits to look out for. Therefore, in this section, I will share with you some of the best ones to look out for.

  • It is airline compatible.
  • Good ventilation.
  • Strong build & material.
  • Simple setup.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Secure.

Airline compatible

When you are looking for a carrier. It is a good idea to find one that is compatible with airline travel. Granted, each airline has its own specifications, so its almost impossible to get one carrier to cater to every one of them, are you with me.

However, it should state that its “compatible with most” airline specifications, at least.

Good ventilation

When you are traveling long journeys ventilation is important. Or shall I really say, ventilation is always important, right? For that reason, it’s important to look for a one that has great ventilation.

Strong build & material

The material used in your selected carrier is important too. Remember, this is what will be supporting the weight of your kitty, right? So, it needs to be strong and durable. Especially if you plan to use it for many journeys.

Simple setup

I am not sure about you, but, personally, I love simplicity. So, when I look at a carrier, I want something that will be easy to put together. So, look out for one that meets this expectation.

Easy to clean

The worse I hate is a dirty carrier. The thing is, sometimes its not the owner’s fault. It could be that it is not easy to clean. Therefore, to eliminate this excuse/predicament, its a good idea to get one that is easy to maintain and clean.


Last, but definitely not least is security. It is important that the carrier you choose is secure. Especially when you are traveling on an airline. Look out for strong carriers with the emphasis on security.

Best hard-sided cat carrier for 2020 (Aspen vs Petmate vs Midwest)

01. Aspen Pet Cat Carrier (Best Option)

Click here for the price on Amazon


  • Ideal for cats.
  • Great for airline travel (Meets most specifications, but need to check before travel).
  • Easy to setup.
  • Simple to clean.
  • Easy to open.


  • Plastic, on the top, is a bit flimsy.
  • Metal grills would be better than the cut-out plastic

What I like about this Aspen carrier

This Aspen carrier, by Petmate, is ideal for cats. I like the way it is well ventilated on all sides. This gives me the confidence to use it on long journeys. Especially when thinking of long air travel.

On that note, of air travel, it is reassuring that it has been designed to meet most airline specifications. But, this needs to taken with a pinch of salt. Why? because you still need to check with your specific airline to be 100% certain. And the good thing is Petmate makes this clear.

With regards to long journeys, its good to see that the handle is well designed for comfort. It’s a small feature, to be honest. But, simplicity is the key, in my opinion.

On the topic of simplicity, I have to comment on the latch, which is really easy to open. as well as the ease it is to clean and maintain. That is one of the many benefits of hard-sided carriers I guess.

Finally, the setup, yes the setup, Petmate makes this simple. Even for novices like me, believe it or not.

What I do not like about this carrier

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, right? So, I need to mention a couple of things. Some would argue that they are minor issues, and I would agree, to an extent. However, I still need to mention it to do this review justice and benefit you.

Firstly, the lack of metal grills for ventilation. This carrier has plastic cut out vents. Which, works well, don’t get me wrong, they do their job well. But, I just feel that if you have a naughty kitty, you know an aggressive one (Click here to see how to deal with an aggressive kitten), she may bite this thing to shreds.

On this topic of material choices and quality, I also have to comment on the plastic on the top. It’s fine, but it is a tad bit flimsy, in my opinion.

02. Petmate Cat Carrier

Click here for the price on Amazon


  • Good for cats.
  • Simple to exit & enter.
  • Great ventilation for long journeys.
  • Door latches to improve security.
  • Designed for air travel (Meets most specs, but need to check your airline).
  • Simple to setup.


  • May rattle when traveling.
  • The locking mechanism, particularly on the side, could be improved.

What I like about this carrier

This is a great little carrier for your cat. I love the way that your cat can exit and enter nice and easy. This is made easier with its two-way door opening option. And the fact that you can remove the entire door if needed. Also, with its expandable entrance.

It is well ventilated, allowing great air-flow. Your kitty will appreciate this, especially on long journeys. Also, you can rest assured that Petmate has thought about security. I can see this by the way they added the door latch mechanism to improve this.

If you are a frequent traveler, especially airline travel. Then you will love this. It is designed to meet most airline specs. But, like the last carrier, you need to do your due diligence, ahead of time, before your travel. This is to make sure that your individual airline will accept it.

Finally, it is really simple to set up. If you are a DIY novice like me, then you will really appreciate this feature.

What I do not like about this carrier

There is a couple of observations I would like to share with you. Firstly, not sure if its just me, or I am being too picky, but this carrier may have a tendency to rattle while you are in transit. It may not be a big issue for you, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Finally, the locking mechanism on the side can be a bit finicky, just double-check it before travel to be sure.

03. Midwest Cat Carrier

Click here for the price on Amazon


  • Designed for travel.
  • Perfect for quick trips.
  • Available in 3 cool colors.
  • Simple to assemble.
  • Great ventilation & visibility for your kitty.
  • Simple to clean.
  • Quality Guarantee.


  • No padding on the handle.
  • The door locking mechanism is a bit flimsy.

What I love about this carrier Midwest Carrier

This Midwest carrier is another one designed for travel. In particular, it is great for short trips. Such as to the vets, shopping, etc. Are you with me?

I like it because it has a few quirky color options that I am sure you will appreciate. As well as this it is simple to set up, which is ideal for simpletons, like me, who make even the most trivial DIY task turn out to be a big problem, ha!

It has the right amount of cut holes to allow your kitty to feel well ventilated. It gives her just the right amount of airflow she needs to keep her happy.

It is built well, with strong plastic, meaning it can protect your kitty while in transit. While we are on the topic of plastic, it is great because cleaning it is a doddle with this material.

Accessibility is another perk with this, you can easily get your kitty in and out, with the added benefit of the door being able to open in two directions. It comes with some adjustable tabs making this simply a breeze.

What I find annoying about this carrier

One of the annoying things about this carrier is the fact that the handle does not have any padding. To be honest, it is not expected with these carriers and maybe an unfair critique, but I feel it could be improved with this.

Lastly, the door mechanism does the job. But, I have to say that it is a bit flimsy. Just my observation, you may not share the same concern.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some questions related to cats, carriers, and travel. If you have any further questions that you need to be answered, feel free to drop me a comment below.

Do cats prefer hard or soft carriers?

Cats may prefer a hard-sided case because it is more sturdy. The soft carriers are cozy, but while in transit, your kitty may feel uncomfortable because there is not much protection from the inevitable impact of journeys.