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Published Feb. 24, 2022

There’s nothing better than going on nature walks with your dog. There are so many sights, smells, and other dogs for your best friend to explore. In order to maximize your dog walking experience, you’ll need a trusted lead that’s durable, dependable, and comfortable in your hand. We curated this list of the best retractable dog leashes to help make the most of your adventures with the pooch. 

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’ll need to make sure that 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 lots of dog leashes to choose from, but for those who love the freedom of a retractable design, here are five of the best retractable dog leashes so you can 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 a number of manufacturers. We relied on research, published reviews, and some hands-on experience in order 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 gave favor to models that can accommodate a large variety of 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.

What to look for in the best retractable dog leashes

Durability

There’s nothing worse than a leash that snaps or breaks. You want to go with a trusted brand that’s known as a durable and long-lasting product. Beyond the leash itself being sturdy, you also want a burly handle that won’t fall apart if it’s dropped or bangs against a hard object.

Type 

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

Make sure you can easily brake or lock so you 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. 

Comfort

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. 

The best retractable dog leashes: Reviews & Recommendations

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

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. 

Specs

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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 retractable tape dog leash: 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.

Specs

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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 retractable dog leash: PUPTECK Retractable Dog Leash with Anti-Chewing Steel Wire

PUPTECK

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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.

Specs

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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 dual retractable dog leash: Wigzi Dual Doggie Gel Handle Retractable Dog Leash

Why it made the cut: Why have two separate leashes when you can get this 2-in-1 solution for group walks? Don’t worry, you can still maintain separate control over each dog.

Specs

  • Length: 10 ft, each
  • 2-in-1: Yes
  • Weight: Up to 50 lbs, each

Pros

  • Can stop or brake each dog individually
  • Dogs can be up to 20 ft apart
  • Reflective design for added safety
  • Color-coded

Cons

  • Only 10 ft per dog
  • Can only handle up to 50 lbs per dog

The Wigzi dual doggie retractable leash is the perfect 2-in-1, tangle-free lead solution for a two-pet household. This gel leash allows you to maintain individual control of each pup with the same leash and features color-coded leads and brake buttons so you can easily identify which dog you’re commanding. The orange and green leads are also reflective for added safety in low-light conditions.

Unfortunately, this won’t work for you if you have large dogs over 50 pounds; the leash can only handle two pups under 50 pounds each.

Best retractable dog leash for large dogs: KONG Ultimate Retractable Dog Leash

Alcott

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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. 

Specs

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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 other strong breed. This Petco dog leash is for those hefty pups that require super durable and extra-strength leashes. The Ultimate Kong leash may be rugged and sturdy, but the ergonomic and soft grip handle with added grip support keeps it easy breezy for the pet owner to maintain total control of their large dog. 

You can use this leash for dogs up to 150 pounds, which is comparable to a Mastiff, American bulldog, or Leonbergers. 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.

FAQs

Q: Are retractable leashes bad for big dogs?

They are not bad for big dogs, but you’ll need to find leashes that are 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-size and larger dogs, go with a 3/4-inch-thick and up.

Final thoughts about the best retractable dog leashes

Finding the best retractable dog leash for you depends on a variety of factors: your dog’s weight, strength, and habits (like chewing through everything in their path). Choosing the wrong one can literally 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. 

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