How to Choose the Best Retractable Dog Leash for Your Pet (2018 Edition)

Retractable leashes are an ideal option for taking your dog for a walk. Any gentle stroll or vigorous run will go more smoothly with the help of one of these. With so many choices available on the market it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. In this guide, we will break down 5 of the best retractable dog leashes to make sure you pick right the first time.

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Why Should You Buy a Retractable Leash?

You might have asked yourself why all the fuss about retractable leashes? 

If you have ever taken an energetic pup for a walk, you would know how much they relish the freedom. Dogs love exploring the world outside. Just like us, dogs need exercise in the form of jogging or walking.

retractable dog leashes pros and cons

However, taking your dog for a stroll isn’t always a walk in the park. Keeping up with an excited dog can be hard work and using the wrong leash can make this even worse. That is why people love retractable leashes.

Retractable leashes can be automatically retracted or extended through the touch of a button which means that they have adjustable lengths. They come with a plastic handle in which the cable is rolled up. Like any other lead, you can clip it onto your dog’s harness or collar.

All of this means that these leashes have the following unique advantages:

  • The cord is usually longer than with non-retractable leads.
  • Retractable leashes allow your dog more scope to roam and explore their environment. At the same time, most of them come with a brake that enables you to control when your dog can run free and when not.
  • These leads work well as a training tool to prepare your pet to walk with other types of leashes.
  • In contrast to other leashes, movements can be regulated more smoothly. If you use the lead correctly, your dog won’t be jerked as hard by it and vice versa.
  • People favor these leads for instructing dogs to recall, in other words, teaching your pet to come when called.

Below is a video that shows how a retractable leash can be used for recall training.

How to Use the Leash Safely?

As with any other pet training tool, there are guidelines that you should follow to keep you and your dog safe and avoid unnecessary accidents.

You should remain constantly vigilant whenever you are walking your pet no matter what type of constraint you are using. Because the lead is so long, you need to be particularly careful that your pet doesn’t stray into the path of any hidden dangers. It’s advised to shorten the lead when you walk close to hazardous areas like roads.

retractable dog leashes for large dog

Another unique feature of retractable leashes to keep your eye on is that they retract very quickly. If this action is too fast, it can cause burn-like injuries to you and your dog. You should test how it retracts and extends before using it.

If you have a large dog, like a German Shepherd, you should also make sure that your pet doesn’t stray too far away. Once a sizeable dog starts bolting, there is no stopping them, and you can quickly be pulled off your feet. The rope can be damaged or even snap. So you should pay attention to your dog’s behavior and how they are reacting.

Criteria for Choosing a Leash

No matter how you use your leash if you don’t buy the right one you could still run into problems. The following are things you need to consider before making a purchase:

1. Length

Retractable leashes come in a variety of lengths. What length you want will depend on how well you have trained your dog, where you are going to walk and how experienced you are.

2. Safety

Your number one concern should be the safety of you and your pet. Does it have a reflective coating? Does the lead have an adequate brake?

These are the questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase.

3. Extra Features

best retractable dog leash brands

Many of the products that are currently on the market come with extra features like bag holders. Others are LED lights and even flashlights.

When buying a leash, check whether it has some of these nifty add-ons and consider this when you see how much value you are getting for the price.

4. Durable and Sturdy

As a result of the design of these leashes, their cords are often thinner. To avoid it breaking, you want to make sure that the material is strong enough to withstand some strain. Many of the leashes are woven thickly or doubled to make them sturdier. It will help to make the leash chew proof too!

Before you buy a leash, you need to weigh your dog first. Most leads aren’t suitable for dogs of all sizes. The larger your dog is, the stronger they will probably be.

Here are 5 of the best retractable dog leases I found based on this criteria.

5 of the Best Retractable Dog Leashes

Best for: Small to extra large, up to 110 lbs.

Flexi Giant Tape Leash - Best Tape Length

Quality

Price

Our rating

Flexi Giant Tape Leash is a retractable dog leash that has a pure nylon cord. The tape comes in neon yellow which increases the visibility of the leash during the day and in low light conditions. This means that motorists will more easily spot your pet.

Here you can find a video of it in action.

The brake is controlled with a yellow button on top of the handle. You should note that the handle is quite heavy and can tire you out on a long walk or run. It might take some getting used to.

The tape is the longest of all the retractable leashes on the list and can extend up to 26 feet. This gives your dog more freedom to roam and makes the lead more versatile. It’s made to handle dogs that weight up to 110 lbs so it can be used with dogs of almost any size.

Flexi is one of the more well-known brands on this list and makes a variety of leashes and other pet products. Although the leash is more expensive than some others, it is a high quality product and it comes with a safety collar included. This collar can be used to attach the leash to when you walk your dog.

Pros

  • The cord is very long
  • square-o
    Suitable for all dog breeds.
  • square-o
    The neon cord improves visibility.

Cons

  • It is rather expensive
  • The leash is heavy

Best for: Small to large, under 80 lbs.

SOLOFISH LED Lights Retractable Dog Leash - Best for Walking at Night

Quality

Price

Our rating

Solofish’s retractable dog leash comes with a bright green and dark blue handle and a black cord. The rope is flat and is made of a combination of nylon and ribbon.

Safety is clearly very high on Solofish’s list of priorities. The leash comes with multiple helpful features. Firstly, the lead comes with a brake and lock that is controlled with one button. There are also two lines of reflective thread all along the length of the tape. This means that the leash and your dog can be seen much easier.

In addition to this, the lead has one very unique feature. It comes with led lights installed. There is one light in front of the handle that shines on the tape as well as a circular led lights on the side of the handle. The lights even come with several settings and such violet, flash, and extra bright. The combination of these and the reflective thread means that you can more safely walk your dog at night.

The tape is an average length and can extend to 16 feet in length. It is made to walk with dogs that weigh up to 80 lbs so it is suitable for small to large breed dogs. An adult boxer for example weighs 80 lbs.

Pros

  • Comes with various handy LED lights
  • square-o
    Has reflective threads to keep you highly visible
  • square-o
    Very strong nylon and ribbon leash

Cons

  • The handle is quite heavy
  • Not suitable for large and extra large dogs

Best for: Small to extra large, up to 110 lbs.

PETerials Retractable Dog Leash - Best Value for Money

Quality

Price

Our rating

The Peterials Retractable Dog Leash tape is made from weather resistant nylon. In addition to this, the nylon is very durable and tear resistant which makes it less likely to break or be damaged by your dog pulling or jerking. It’s black and has reflective thread woven into it which makes it extra visible and therefore safer. So if you want to walk at night, you should consider this leash.

Overall, the productive is very attractive. It comes with a handle in shades of light and dark grey. It is padded which makes it much more comfortable to hold especially on longer walks and runs. In addition to this, the handle has a button that controls the locking safety system and brake.

The cord can extend to 16.4 feet. It’s durable and sturdy enough to use with almost all dog breeds as it is made for dogs that weigh up to 110 lbs.

The tape of this leash retracts more slowly than that of some other leashes.

Of all the products in this review, this one has the most extras. It conveniently comes with a waste bag dispenser as well a collapsible water bowl so that your dog can stay hydrated and happy.

Pros

  • The cord has reflective threads
  • square-o
    Has a bag dispenser and a collapsible water bowl
  • square-o
    Suitable for most dog breeds

Cons

  • The cord retracts more slowly than other leashes
  • On some units the retract mechanism stops working after several months

Best for: Small to extra large, up to 110 lbs.

D'Goods Retractable Dog Leash - Best for Large Dogs

Quality

Price

Our rating

The Retractable Dog Leash by D’Goods is made with large breed dogs in mind. It’s cord is made of heavy duty tough nylon. The lead is made to be used to walk or run with dogs that weigh up to 110 lbs which includes most dog breeds from Chihuahuas to Akitas.

To make the product more comfortable to use, the handle is coated with an anti-slip material. This will be especially useful if your dog likes to bolt or tugs at the leash.

Like most of the leashes on the list, the cord can be extended to 16 feet. One of the best features of this leash is that the manufacturer made the retract mechanism so that it’s less likely to tangle and become stuck. It can cause huge problems if you are out on your walk and the leash tangles or doesn’t want to retract or extend when you want it to.

The product is very stylish. Its handle is bright yellow with black and dark grey parts and the nylon tape is a silvery grey.

As an added bonus, the leash comes with a free neon blue frisbee for you and your dog to enjoy and play with while you are in the park.

Pros

  • Suitable for all dog breeds
  • square-o
    The leash is tangle free
  • square-o
    Comes with a free frisbee

Cons

  • Retract and extend mechanism is noisy
  • Handle is uncomfortably large

Best for: Small to medium, up to 55 lbs.

Peteast Retractable Dog Leash - Best for Small and Medium Breed Dogs

Quality

Price

Our rating

Peteast’s Retractable Dog leash looks like a designer leash. It is made of high quality materials and has a high end appearance. The handle looks sleek and is a stylish black colour. The cord is also black and it is made of sturdy nylon. To make it more durable, it is stitched at the sides to make it less likely to fray and break.

The lead can be extended to 16 feet. It’s retraction and expansion mechanism is controlled with an easy-to-use button that is placed on top of the handle within reach of your thumb.

Its handle is nice and light and is smaller than most of the ones on the list which makes it more comfortable.

This retractable leash is ideal to use with small to medium breed dogs like an English Springer Spaniel. It is only suitable for dogs that weigh up to 55 lbs so it can unfortunately not be used with larger breeds.

As a bonus. the product comes with a high quality waste bag dispenser. It can be conveniently clipped onto the leash’s handle or can be attached to your belt so that you don’t have to carry it separately. This dispenser is refillable and its refills are easily available at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Attractive and high end appearance
  • square-o
    Comes with a bag dispenser

Cons

  • Not suitable for large breed dogs

Picking Favorites

Each of retractable dog leash, has it own strengths and weaknesses. They work better in certain situations and for dogs of different sizes.

Here is a summary of all 5 products:


Flexi

SOLOFISH

PETerials

D'Goods

Peteast

Price

$$$

$$

$$

$$

$$

Breed Suitability

Small to extra large, up to 110 lbs.

Small to large, under 80 lbs.

Small to extra large, up to 110 lbs.

Small to extra large, up to 110 lbs.

Small to medium, up to 55 lbs.

Length

26 ft

16 ft

16.4 ft.

16 ft.

16 ft.

Reflective material

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Best Feature

Tape can extend to 26 ft

Comes with LED Lights.

Comes with a bag dispenser and water bowl

Works well with large breed dogs

Ideal for small to medium breed dogs

My review

4.5 / 5

4 / 5

4.5 / 5

4 / 5

4.5 / 5

After weighing all the pros and cons of the different products, my favorite retractable dog leash is the Flexi Giant Tape Leash. Unlike some of the other leashes, this one is suitable for all breeds and it’s the longest on the list. All of this combines to make this one of the most versatile leashes.

However, it is quite pricey and it doesn’t have reflective strips. But the tape is made of neon yellow which greatly increases its visibility.

Tell us what you think about these retractable dog leashes in the comments. Feel free to share to help your friends to walk their dogs more smoothly.

Hey there, I’m Ruby Smith, founder of Pet So Fun, and I’m here to provide you with useful information about your precious pet. All pets deserve the best care, don’t they? But not all pet owners have access to the right products and tips for their pets. And the central core of my work here is to change that.

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