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The Best Retractable Dog Leash

By: | Updated: October 26, 2019

Retractable leashes are designed to provide your dog with the freedom and flexibility they deserve, while still granting you control when exploring the great outdoors. This must-have accessory allows you to have the best of both worlds, ultimately making your walks together more enjoyable.

View our top picks below or continue reading for more information. Our complete buyer’s guide will help you choose the perfect retractable leash for you and your best bud.


What is a retractable leash?

Retractable leashes have a lengthy lead. The lead retracts to be longer or shorter through the use of a button-operated wheel inside a plastic case.

Is a retractable leash right for my dog?

These types of leashes are suitable for most dogs. However, they are not recommended for strong and large breeds. This is because a single pull from a powerful dog on a retractable lead can eliminate all control from you, if any.

Are retractable leashes safe to use?

It is true that retractable leashes pose greater risks than traditional leashes. The most common reason is for its adjustability in cord length. The longer the leash, the less control you may over your dog. However, learning how to use a retractable leash with the right information and investing in a leash with enhanced safety features will keep your furry friend protected.

If you have further concerns, you can read more in our buyer’s guide below.

The 5 Best Retractable Dog Leash

With so many products on the market, it can be daunting to know where to start. To save you the time and effort, we’ve completed the research for you and narrowed down hundreds of products. Here’s a list of the 5 best retractable dog leashes.

1. Dial-A-Distance Retractable Dog Leash

The Dial-A-Distance leash stands out from its competitors due to its special safety feature. The clue of how it works is in the title: simply “dial-a-distance” to select your safe range from between 0 to 15 feet. This clever retractable leash then automatically brakes at the chosen length to prevent risk and promote safety. The safe range can easily be changed at the turn of a dial in one-foot increments.

Key Features:

  • Item Weight: 15.8oz
  • Dog Weight Suitability: Up to 70lbs
  • Length: 15ft
  • Color: Black

This model comes with a metal collar clip that can be attached to any collar or harness. It is easy and convenient to use with two main controls: the dial to determine the leash length and a push-button brake to stop the leash extending any further. It has been tested to over 275lbs of pulling force, demonstrating its durability and strength. Instead of a cord, this product features a strong tape leash (ribbon-style) and has an ergonomic grip for user comfort.

2. Flexi Neon Leash

With the Flexi Neon Leash, high visibility is guaranteed in all types of lighting. There are reflective stickers on both sides of the casing that can reflect headlights from up to 160 yards away. As an additional safety feature, the cord leash also has reflective neon colored components.

Key Features:

  • Item Weight: 11.7oz
  • Dog Weight Suitability: Up to 26lbs (Small), 44lbs (Medium) or 110lbs (Large)
  • Length: 16ft
  • Color: Neon Yellow/Black

This lightweight model was made in Germany and available in three sizes to suit the size of your dog: small, medium and large. This high-quality product has been designed to use with a single hand, making it easy and convenient to access the brake and stop feature. When the brake button is pushed, the leash immediately stops and is securely held at that length in time. This product also has a 16ft tape lead, offering plenty of freedom for your pup.

3. Flexi New Comfort Retractable Dog Leash

The Flexi New Comfort Retractable Dog Leash is another high-quality leash from Flexi. The most distinctive difference between this and the previous leash is customizability. While it doesn’t come with accessories, this leash is compatible with the Flexi LED Lighting System and Flexi Multi Box designed for treats or poop bags. The great news is that these accessories are aesthetically pleasing and inexpensive too. This leash also comes in a variety of colors.

Key Features:

  • Item Weight: 18.4oz
  • Dog Weight Suitability: Up to 26lbs (X-small), 33lbs (Small) 55lbs (Medium), or 110lbs (Large, 16ft in length) 132lbs (Large, 26ft in length)
  • Length: Ranges between 10 and 26ft depending on size
  • Color: Available in Blue, Green, Grey, Pink or Red

The adjustable handle features a comfortable ergonomic grip. Depending on the size of your breed, this lead can reach up to an impressive 26 feet. This will let your dog to explore further than most other leashes. The craftsmanship is what is expected from a superior brand offering a product that is built to last.

4. TUG Patented 360° Tangle-Free

TUG has a patented tangle-free design, as its retraction opening allows 360-degree tape movement. This means owners can control a dog from any angle. Its durable handle features a comfortable anti-slip grip with an easy-to-use lock and brake system. Users can choose the leash to be free, paused, locked or unlocked at a certain length.

Key Features:

  • Item Weight: Ranges between 8 and 14.4oz depending on size
  • Dog Weight Suitability: Up to 33lbs (Small), 55lbs (Medium) or 110lbs (Large)
  • Length: 16ft
  • Color: Available in White/Orange, Blue or White

The internal coil is made of high-quality Japanese stainless steel for reliable and consistent retraction. Yet, it presents great strength and durability should a dog pull on the leash. TUG are also known for providing excellent manufacturer after-purchase support. They even offer a one-time chew replacement warranty.

5. Ruff ‘n Ruffus Retractable Dog Leash

The Ruff ‘n Ruffus Retractable Dog Leash has been designed for durability. It is made of an extra-tough nylon ribbon with a chrome-plated snap hook reinforced at the joint. Not only is this robust to control dogs of up to 110 pounds, but it is also sturdy to withstand daily use. Even the high-quality retracting spring is strong enough to work in freezing temperatures.

Key Features:

  • Item Weight:
  • Dog Weight Suitability: Up to 110lbs
  • Length: 16ft
  • Color: Neon Green

This retractable lead has a single button to engage in free mode to allow your dog to explore, lock the leash in place or reel the lead back in. The anti-slip, rubber ergonomic handle is very comfortable, even for the longest walks. The leash also features reflective tape and a neon casing for night visibility.

In addition, Ruff ‘n Ruffus have included a free bone-shaped dog waste bag dispenser, a single roll of plastic waste bags and collapsible travel bowl. The bag dispenser can be conveniently clipped onto the handle of the leash. The manufacturers are confident that buyers will love their product, offering 100% satisfaction guarantee.

So Which Option Is Best? Our Winners

Whether you’re replacing a dog leash or new to the retractable scene, it’s understandable that you want to invest in a single great product. While all our featured products are highly recommended, we’ve made a difficult decision to choose an ultimate winner.

Our Top Rated Retractable Dog Leash: Flexi Neon Leash

Here’s why:

  • Designed with a dog’s safety in mind.
  • One of the most lightweight retractable leashes on the market.
  • Available in three different sizes to suit most dogs.
  • The best choice for owners who don’t require additional features.

Safety is one of the most vital features to have in a retractable dog leash, making this product our clear winner. Though, it is also important to note the qualities of some of the other leads depending on your personal requirements.

For instance, the Flexi New Comfort Retractable Dog Leash boasts an extra-long lead (26ft compared to the typical 16ft). It’s an ideal accessory if you wish to have a flashlight or compartment for storing treats or poop bags. However, these accessories are not included compared to the bonus bag dispenser that comes with the Ruff ‘n Ruffus Retractable Dog Leash.

Overall, all the products listed in this article were worth reviewing and are great retractable dog leashes for walking and training. The retractable leash you ultimately opt for will depend on the features and specifications suitable for your pooch.

Buyer’s Guide

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Leashes are brilliant tools for training dogs. This is particularly true in the earlier stages where they are still learning about the world, and to listen and respond to your commands. Generally, there are two types of dog leashes: the classic short leash and the extendable lead (also known as retractable leashes).

While some veterinarians and dog trainers have criticized retractable leashes, many still view them to be remarkably beneficial. As well as for training, retractable leashes can simultaneously grant pooches with the level of freedom that they deserve.

A major concern associated with using such leashes is the lack or inadequate amount of control the user has over a dog. Increasing the cord means increasing the distance between you and your pup. Though they’ll have the freedom to do as they please, reining your dog in from an emergency situation (such as if they suddenly cross the road) could make it very difficult to control or protect your dog.

Another issue could arise if your dog pulls on the leash when the cord has been extended to its maximum. Firstly, the cord may snap. Secondly, a sudden jolt on the cord can apply pressure to your dog’s spine, potentially leading to a spinal injury. There is also a risk of injury to yourself should your dog apply a forceful pull.

Unintentionally, you may also be teaching your dog to pull on the leash. They learn that by pulling on the cord, they are able to increase their freedom to roam. If your dog pulls a lot we’d recommend exploring no pull harnesses to pair with a retractable dog leash.

Despite these potential drawbacks, there are plenty of things that can help dismiss any concerns you may have. The first and easiest thing you can do is to invest in a retractable leash with certain safety features.

Benefits of Using a Retractable Dog Leash

Every product has its own list of benefits and drawbacks. Though we’ve explored some reasons why experts believe retractable leashes should never be used, you should also learn about the benefits of retractable leashes. Below we have listed some of the pros of using a retractable leash.

Let Dogs Be Dogs

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Naturally, dogs in the wild are not restricted in their exploration and adventures. Dogs in our homes may not be the wild type, but they still need some amount of freedom to be canines. A retractable leash grants dogs the independence to wander the great outdoors without being nudged or pulled from time to time.

Adjustable Length

The sole design of a retractable dog leash is so the length can be adjusted accordingly. If you were in a busy environment with a lot of barriers, then locking the cord to a short length of a standard leash would be ideal to keep your dog by your side. Once you reach an open area with no risks to you or your pup, then you can lengthen the lead.

The responsibility for adjusting the length of the cord is yours. In this way, you can guarantee safety and satisfy your canine companion’s need for exploration.

Recall Training

All dog owners should teach their dogs to come to you when you call their name. This is especially important to increase their safety when outdoors. Like all types of training, recall training can take a while to achieve. The technique is to let your dog to wander increasingly away from you. Retractable leashes are particularly useful in this case, because it removes the need for multiple leashes.

Features to Consider When Buying a Retractable Dog Leash

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Retractable leashes differ greatly when it comes to features. Some simple models offer nothing but the essentials, while others have a variety of additional perks to help increase the accessory’s value.

Nonetheless, consider the following features when picking the perfect retractable leash.


Depending on the model, leashes can range anywhere between 5 and 25 feet. The ideal length will depend on the size and temperament of your dog. For example, heavier dogs will benefit from shorter leashes than petite dogs, as they are more difficult to control at longer distances. If you have a trustworthy and obedient dog, you may allow your dog to explore a bit further. In this case, you may wish to opt for a longer lead.

It might take some trial-and-error to know what length will be best for you and your pooch. In this case, it’s best to get a leash that has a reasonably long length. If you buy a leash that stretches out to 10 feet for example, it doesn’t mean you have to use it. However it’s available in the case that you do wish to use it. This will save you effort in buying a replacement leash in the future if the leash turns out to be too short.


If you hope to get the most out of your buck then it is worth to investing in a durable retractable dog leash. Durability is indicated by a leash’s material.

Multi-Dog Practicality

Typical retractable dog leashes have a single lead for a single dog. However, there are other types of retractable leashes with two or three leads designed for multiple dogs.

If you’re considering a multiple dog leash, remember that handling numerous dogs at one time while using one retractable leash will require a lot of arm strength and skill.

Handle Construction

Look for leashes with handles made from sturdy ABS plastic. Make sure that the handle can restrain the weight of your dog (or dogs) without breaking.

Handles that feature a comfortable and non-slip grip are essential for the safety of your dog so you can have upmost control. This is especially important in the case that your hands get sweaty or in wet weather conditions.

Reflective Components

Your dog’s safety is a priority, so it’s always a good idea to opt for a leash with reflective features. This is important for others to see your dog, especially due to the increased distance retractable leashes grant between you and your pup.

Handle Accessories

The best retractable dog leashes have additional features besides a well-made leash. A designated area for storing poop bags are undoubtedly going to be useful for walks.

Flashlights, whether built-in or as an added accessory, are useful for increasing visibility when walking in low-lit conditions. These features differentiate high-quality leashes from cheap counterparts.

Tips On Cleaning and Maintenance

After using a retractable dog leash, remove any dirt and debris from the leash and hook, and wipe with a damp cloth.

When not in use, keep the leash in a dry and cool environment. Water is likely to rust the internal mechanism and affect the leash’s ability to retract. If it does get wet, pull the whole leash out of the casing, set to lock and leave it out to dry completely. Once dry, you can slowly retract the leash back into the housing.

Don’t allow your dog to chew or place the leash in their mouth. Not only would this compromise your dog’s safety, but also the robustness of the leash. Before leaving the home on the next adventure, check the trigger snap to ensure it is performing correctly and has a secure connection to the end of the leash.

Tips For Walking With a Retractable Leash

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Leashes, whether extendable or not, are great accessories for dog walking. Due to issues related to the risk of the cord becoming tangled or strangulation on your dog, it is vital to learn how to properly use a retractable lead. Here are some essential tips for walking your dog using a retractable leash.

Plan Your Walk

Retractable leashes should never be used in areas with high traffic or multiple obstacles where the leash can get entwined. So, it is very important to plan your walk. Create a mental image of the location of hazards so you can stay clear of these when you’re there. You can then adjust the leash suitably to your surroundings.

If you’re visiting a new area, keep the leash short so you can easily gain control should an obstacle or risk arise.

Only Use a Length That You’re Comfortable With

The shorter the length of the cord, the more control you can exert over your dog. As you gain more experience of using a retractable leash, you will start to learn which length you are most comfortable with. Only extend the leash to a distance that you can handle. If you feel confident that you can still control your dog at maximum length then continue to do so.

How to Use a Retractable Leash

Petco have created an informative and useful video on how to use a retractable leash. They also provide a great summary on some of the topics we’ve shared in this article. Check it out below:

Final Thoughts on the Best Retractable Dog Leash

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Ultimately, the design of a retractable leash is to allow dogs to explore freely while still giving you control. For new users, it will take some practice and patience but the efforts will be worthwhile.

Learning how to use a retractable dog leash will help prevent issues associated with defective handling. It will also let you optimize the many advantages that it can provide you and your pup. By doing so, retractable leashes have the potential to be a brilliant, safe and must-have training tool.

About the Author:

Serena is the content publisher for Daydreamdog and a life long dog lover. Between walking them, writing about them and spending too much time liking pictures of them on Instagram, her day literally revolves around dogs! If you want to learn more about Serena click here.