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There’s nothing quite like going on a jaunt with your pooch, and the right retractable dog leash can strike a perfect balance between security and freedom. A trusted lead maximizes the safety of your dog-walking experience. We curated this list of the best retractable dog leashes to help make the most of your adventures with the pooch and something durable, dependable, and comfortable in your hand. 

We chose models popular because you can release your dog’s distance up to 26 feet in some cases (the most common length is about 16 feet). This allows your dog less confinement and more freedom of movement to sightsee as they get their daily steps in. However, because they allow more freedom, you must ensure the brake-and-lock system is up to par. A lock button on the handle controls how much of the leash is extended or retracted at any given time. Some even come with reflective stitching for low-light conditions. There are many leashes to choose from, but for those who love the freedom of a retractable design, here are five of the best retractable dog leashes to get the most out of your daily strolls. 

How we chose the best retractable dog leashes

To find the best retractable dog leashes, we considered dozens of models from several manufacturers. We relied on research, published reviews, and some hands-on experience to find leashes that were both safe and reliable over a long period of time. We looked for models that have solid reputations above all else because failure out in the real world can be catastrophic for you and your pooch. We favored models that can accommodate many breeds with the necessary features for controlling a pup’s movements on the street. Added features like a hook for carrying bags provide nice touches to round out the offerings.

The best retractable dog leashes: Reviews & Recommendations

There are a lot of dog leashes, including these lengthy tethers, out there. And one thing is for sure: There’s nothing worse than a leash that snaps or breaks, so we’ve collected trusted brands known for their durable, long-lasting products. Beyond the actual retractable dog leashes being sturdy, our top picks ensure you get a burly handle that won’t fall apart if it’s dropped or bangs against a hard object.

Best overall: TUG 360° Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Leash

Billy Cadden


Why it made the cut: This extremely durable retractable dog leash is both lightweight and strong for a wide range of dog sizes and strengths and clocks in at under $20, making it the best retractable dog leash overall. 


  • Length: 16 ft
  • Sizes: Tiny, Small, Med, Large
  • Tangle-free: Yes


  • Lightweight yet extremely durable
  • Ergonomic grip handle
  • Consistent positive customer feedback
  • Safety features
  • Range of sizes


  • Not chew-proof

With tons of positive user reviews, a thoughtful set of features, and a very affordable price, the Tug Tangle-Free won us over for the best retractable dog leash overall. A 16-foot, tangle-free, 360-degree movement tape leash with their signature Quick Lock and Brake System ensures your dog follows your lead. 

Reviewers note that the handle is comfortable and wide enough for larger hands, and the wider strap is more durable than previous models for pullers or hyperactive pups. Sizes range from Tiny to Large, for tiny dogs to hefty fur-babies. 

Best tape: Flexi New Comfort Retractable Tape Dog Leash



Why it made the cut: Flexi has been making a version of this leash for 50 years, which speaks to its success.


  • Length: Up to 26 ft
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Tangle-free: Yes


  • 50-year history in dog leashes
  • Customizable (LED lighting, multi box, etc)
  • Safety features 
  • Extra long tape that won’t jam


  • Some reviewers report snapping
  • Not the cheapest option

Looking for the best Petsmart dog leash for your next trip to the store? This Flexi leash is one of the best in the market for tape models, featuring an adjustable handle, brake and lock buttons, and an ergonomically designed handle for comfortable walking. 

It can also be customized with its own LED Lighting System for added safety and protection in low light. Sixteen feet of tape is protected by the tape guidance system, which ensures that your tape won’t get jammed during walks or as it retracts.

One of the main reasons to choose a Flexi leash is the brand name itself. Flexi invented the retractable lead 50 years ago and has been refining it ever since.

Best chew-proof: PUPTECK Retractable Dog Leash with Anti-Chewing Steel Wire



Why it made the cut: With 15 inches of chew-proof steel wire, this retractable dog leash promises to keep your munch-happy pups from chewing through their lead.


  • Length: 16 ft
  • Chew-Proof: Yes
  • Weight: Up to 110 lbs


  • Lightweight chew-proof wire 
  • Reflective strip for low visibility conditions
  • Can handle up to 110 lbs
  • Ergonomic handle


  • Some reviewers wished for more wire coverage
  • Retraction mechanism is slow

For dogs who will munch on anything, this 16-foot chew-proof retractable dog leash from Puptek features 15 inches of detachable chew-proof steel wire rope. Compared to alternative stainless steel rope, the wire design rope is overall lighter making it a more user-friendly experience when going for long walks and the best chew-proof retractable dog leash.

The tangle-free rope can bear up to 110 pounds and features black webbing with a reflective strip attached to it, so night walks are safer and more visible to passing cars. The only downside here is some reviewers wished the chew-proof steel covered more of the leash. This would, indeed, create a heavier lead but would ensure that your pup couldn’t chew through any part of the tape. 

Best for large dogs: KONG Ultimate Retractable Dog Leash



Why it made the cut: Extra durable, extra rugged, and extra powerful dog leash for dogs up to 150 lbs, suitable for most large dog breeds like Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, and Rottweilers. 


  • Length: 16 ft
  • Reflective: Yes
  • Weight: Up to 150 lbs


  • Very durable
  • Suitable for up to 150 lbs
  • Reflective stitching for safety
  • Dependable; long-lasting


  • Some reviewers don’t like the forward placement of the lock button
  • More expensive end of models
  • No keyring slot or holder for poop bags

You shouldn’t have to lift heavy weights to be able to walk your Pitbull or another strong breed. This dog leash is for those hefty pups that require super durable and extra-strength leashes. The Ultimate Kong leash—made by the trusted manufacturer of some of our favorite dog toys—may be rugged and sturdy, but the ergonomic and soft grip handle with added grip support keeps it easy and breezy for the pet owner to maintain total control of their large dog. 

You can use this Kong leash for dogs up to 150 pounds, comparable to a Mastiff, American bulldog, or Leonberger. It also comes color-coordinated with reflective stitching for added safety, which you’ll need with those heavy pullers in low-light conditions. We would have liked a keyring slot for a baggie holder, but that’s not a dealbreaker.

What to look for in the best retractable dog leashes


There are a few types of retractable dog leashes: nylon, tape, and chew-proof designs with steel wiring. It depends on your needs, but we don’t recommend nylon for tough or heavy dogs as they can more easily snap or break. Go for a chew-proof with wiring if your dog is prone to chewing.

Brake settings

Ensure you can easily brake or lock to have optimal control over your dog while walking. Since the lead can be up to 26 feet, this is supremely important for safety. Plus, most leashes recommend you don’t let the dog hit the end of its range because that puts excess stress on the mechanism.

Weight limit

This is very important so your leash doesn’t snap or break, especially with pullers. Be sure to read the product information to ensure your leash can handle your dog’s weight capacity.  Most will offer a weight range that the product can withstand. 


An ergonomic grip handle is important for your comfort, especially for long walks. 

Tangle-free design

Most good brands will have tangle-free designs to ensure you’re not spending precious walking time untangling a lead. Leashes typically achieve this feat by shaping the opening through which the leash comes out of the mechanism and attaching to the dog’s collar with rotating hooks that spin freely. 


Q: Are retractable leashes bad for big dogs?

They are not bad for big dogs, but you’ll need to find leashes suitable for your dog’s weight. For example, our suggestion for the dual doggie leash can only handle dogs up to 50 pounds each, but our Kong leash works well for dogs up to 150 pounds!

Q: How thick should a dog leash be?

It depends on the size of your dog. For smaller dogs, 3/8-inch-thick should suffice. For medium-sized and larger dogs, go with a 3/4-inch thick and up.

Q: How much does a retractable dog leash cost?

On average, retractable dog leashes cost $20 – $30, but some heavy-duty and multi-dog models can venture closer to $40.

Final thoughts about the best retractable dog leashes

Finding the best retractable dog leash for you depends on various factors: your dog’s weight, strength, and habits (like chewing through everything in their path). Choosing the wrong one can end in disaster, and your best friend deserves better than that. Plus, if you have a leash you and your pup enjoy, you’re more likely to get out there and have adventures. 

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.