10 Best Retractable Dog Leashes in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks!


Retractable dog leashes are ideal for those canines that love to explore but it needs to be safe for your dog, you, and other dogs and people. It should also be tough enough to withstand the pull of your four-legged friend, rated suitable for their size, and it should be hardwearing to prevent it from breaking too easily. A leash that is easy to clean is also beneficial if your pup likes to jump in puddles and charge through the mud.

Below are 10 of the best retractable dog leashes including a variety of sizes and a good variety of tape and cord options and to meet any budgetary requirements. We have also included a guide to choosing the right retractable leash for your dog, so your dog can enjoy a little freedom without you having to worry about escape or damage.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022

The 10 Best Retractable Dog Leashes

1. Flexi Classic Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash – Best Overall

Flexi Classic Nylon

Recommended weight 55 lbs
Leash length 16 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

There are two types of retractable leash: the cord or tape. Cords are thin, can be easily worn down or snapped, and are more prone to tangling around legs and other items. Tape leashes are wider and stronger. They are considered essential for large and strong dogs but are also typically preferred for smaller dogs, too.

The Flexi Classic Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash does come in a variety of sizes, according to the maximum recommended dog weight. The medium is suitable for dogs weighing up to 55 pounds and has a 16-foot extending nylon tape leash section and a metal clip to attach to a collar or harness. It has a brake button to prevent your best friend from getting too far away or causing too much tangle and the ergonomic grip means that it is comfortable to hold.

When choosing the appropriate size, bear in mind that the smaller models also feature a smaller hand hole section, so if you have large hands, this may not be a suitable choice. However, the combination of a decent price, good leash length, and safety of the nylon tape make this the best overall retractable dog leash.

Pros

  • Available in a variety of other sizes
  • Tape is safer than cord
  • The 16-foot leash is a good length
  • Decent price

Cons

  • Hand hole can be too small

2. Flexi Classic Nylon Cord Retractable Dog Leash – Best Value

Flexi Classic Nylon Cord

Recommended weight 44 lbs
Leash length 16 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Cord

Tape leashes tend to be safer and less likely to tangle, but cord leashes are cheaper and are not as tempting to chewers. They are suitable for smaller dogs and for those that walk sensibly, without pulling too much. The Flexi Classic Nylon Cord Retractable Dog Leash is cheap, when compared to similarly-sized and rated leashes, although it does come in a good range of sizes. As well as choosing the right size, you can also select from one of the four different colors that Flexi has to offer.

The leash is a good length, cheap, and available in a good variety of sizes, making it our selection as the best retractable dog leash for the money.

However, the cord is very thin and impossible to grab hold of for extra stability for the dog. What’s more, the metal clip is small and a little flimsy. Although this is by the same company that makes the tape leash above, the maximum weight recommendations are different, so check this before you buy. The medium tape leash above has a maximum weight of 55 pounds, but the maximum cord leash is only advised for dogs weighing up to 44 pounds.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Good selection of sizes and colors
  • Good leash length

Cons

  • The cord is very thin
  • Maximum weight restrictions are on the low side

3. Flexi Giant Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash – Premium Choice

Flexi Giant Nylon Tape

Recommended weight 110 lbs
Leash length 26 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

If you have a giant dog, it is still possible to use a retractable leash but there are several factors to consider. Not only should the leash tape be thicker, but the clasp needs to be strong, and the handle should be designed so that it is comfortable to hold even under constant pressure.

The Flexi Giant Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash is expensive but with a 26-foot tape leash and a maximum weight of 110 pounds, it is also the best retractable leash for large dogs. The tape itself is 0.75 inches thick and features an internal spring that holds some tension against the leash at all times, preventing even the biggest dogs from being able to easily pull and break the locking mechanism. It is designed so that the brake and lock are positioned at the thumb end of the handle, and it has a chrome snap hook that connects to collars.

As well as being expensive, the thick nylon tape is an invitation to dogs that enjoy chewing, and while it will hold up against pulling and tugging, the nylon is not designed to be chew-proof.

Pros

  • Extra-wide tape leash designed for giant dogs
  • Stronger clasp designed for giant dogs
  • Ergonomically designed handle and brake button placement

Cons

  • Expensive
  • The tape is not chew proof

4. Tug Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash

Tug Nylon Tape

Recommended weight 110 lbs
Leash length 16 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

The Tug Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash is a 16-foot retractable leash, sold as large and suitable for dogs weighing up to 110 pounds. It has a contoured hand hole with a textured surface to prevent it from slipping during use, thumb-activated brake and lock buttons, and it is reasonably priced. It has a metal hook to connect it to collars and harnesses, as required.

Although the handle is textured, the whole thing is quite heavy, which might not be an issue for a short walk but becomes cumbersome on longer trips. Also, while the brake and lock buttons are easy to reach, but the tape leash is easily chewed through.

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Textured handle for better grip

5. Flexi Comfort Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash

Flexi Comfort Nylon Tape

Recommended weight 110 lbs
Leash length 26 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

The Flexi Comfort Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash has a 26-foot-long nylon tape leash and is considered strong enough for dogs up to 110 pounds. The Comfort range gets its name because it has an adjustable handle. Turning the dial inside the handle will retract or extend a section of the handle so it is suitable for walkers with hands of all sizes.

Although you do have to buy them separately, the Flexi Comfort Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash is compatible with the LED light and an accessory box from Flexi. The light is useful for lighting your evening walk or finding keys, and the accessory box is great for holding poo bags or even a training whistle. Overall, the Flexi Comfort Nylon is reasonably priced for a large dog leash.

It is another heavy leash, which means it might cause some fatigue following a long walk, and the leash is tense so there is very little give when you apply the brake. This means that your dog is stopped in its tracks as soon as you pull on the brake, but it can be uncomfortable for a charging pooch. The handle could do with some texture to prevent it from slipping and sliding in wet weather or sweaty palms.

Pros

  • 26ft leash
  • Adjustable handle hole size
  • Compatible with LED lights and accessory boxes

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not much give when brakes applied
  • Slippery when wet

6. Flexi Neon Nylon Tape Reflective Retractable Dog Leash

Flexi Neon Nylon Tape Reflective

Recommended weight 33 lbs
Leash length 16 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

Visibility is key when walking a dog in any condition, but it is especially important during dark and dim hours. When using an extractable leash, your dog may be some distance away from you, so drivers must be able to clearly see you both.

The Flexi Neon Nylon Tape Reflective Retractable Dog Leash has the same smooth leash retraction system that Flexi is known for, but it also has a reflective sticker on the leash base and the tape itself is a neon yellow color, making it more easily visible to all. The braking system is operated by your thumb and found on top of the retraction handle and there is a contoured handle hole.

The handle could do with a better grip, especially as the leash itself is ideally suited to use in poor weather conditions, and, especially in the smaller models, the hole is small and it will be a struggle to fit your hand comfortably inside.

Pros

  • Reflective sticker and neon tape are useful in poor visibility
  • Available in a range of sizes

Cons

  • Handle hole is small
  • Handle is not textured

7. Kong Retractable Reflect Reflective Retractable Dog Leash

Kong Retractable Reflect

Recommended weight 65 lbs
Leash length 16 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

Best known for their range of rubber food dispensing toys, King also makes a selection of retractable leashes as parts of its dog accessory range. The Kong Retractable Reflect Reflective Retractable Dog Leash comes in medium or large, and the maximum weight allowances are quite generous compared to other brands. The medium, for example, is rated as being suitable for dogs up to 65 pounds.

It has a 16-foot-long wide tape, which is made from nylon, and it has a reflective retractable handle sticker, as well as neon tape and reflective stitching on the leash itself. It is quite expensive compared to other, similarly featured leashes, and while the handle is quite small for large hands, the locking button is placed so that it is a challenge to reach with your thumb. It is a strong leash, however, and its locking mechanism works well.

Pros

  • A strong and sturdy leash
  • Reflective sticker, neon tape, and reflective stitching
  • Medium is suitable for dogs up to 65 pounds

Cons

  • The handle is too small for large, gloved hands
  • Thumb brake is difficult to reach

8. Kong Retractable Ultimate Reflective Retractable Dog Leash

Kong Retractable Ultimate

Recommended weight 150 lbs
Leash length 16 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

The Kong Retractable Ultimate Reflective Retractable Dog Leash offers some of the visibility benefits of the reflective leash from the same company and is designed for giant and extra-large dogs, weighing up to 150 pounds.

It comes in a choice of three colors, each with color-coded 16-foot-long tape. The tape has reflective stitching so that your dog is visible to drivers and others and so that you can see where your giant has run off to. Like a lot of retractable leashes, the Kong suffers from an awkwardly sized hand hole, but unlike most other leashes, it is because the hole is too large rather than too small. This not only means that the leash is hard to grab and grasp but it also means that it is a real struggle to reach the lock and brake button with your thumb and you will have to use a second hand.

Pros

  • Suitable for dogs up to 150lbs
  • Tape leash has reflective stitching for greater visibility

Cons

  • The handle hole is very large and hard to grip
  • Difficult to reach the brake and lock buttons

9. Kong Retractable Explore Reflective Retractable Dog Leash

Kong Retractable Explore

Recommended weight 110 lbs
Leash length 25ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

The Kong Retractable Explore Reflective Retractable Dog Leash has a 25-foot-long leash section, rather than the standard 16-foot leash. This is good for dogs that like to run off and explore and that you trust. The wide tape has reflective stitching so that they are easier to find and easier to spot, and the leash is suitable for dogs weighing up to 110 pounds.

It has a soft-grip handle designed to make it more comfortable to grip but there have been some issues with the retractor failing after a few months. The tape is nylon, too, which means that it won’t stand up to chewers, so you will need to keep an eye on your dog while it is away from you.

Pros

  • Soft-grip handle
  • 25ft tape leash
  • Reflective stitching on the tape

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Problems with the retractor sticking

10. Thunderleash Nylon Retractable Dog Leash

Thunderleash Nylon

Recommended weight 25 lbs
Leash length 15 ft
Material Nylon
Leash type Tape

The Thunderleash Nylon Retractable Dog Leash is a combination of a training leash, or pull prevention leash, and a retractable tape leash. It is only suitable for dogs weighing up to 25 pounds and has a 15-foot length. This is the shortest leash on the list, although only by a very small amount and 15 feet should be enough for dogs small enough to fit the leash.

The Thunderleash is designed to wrap around the dog’s torso after being fastened, which means that if the dog pulls or you must apply a corrective tug, it is less likely to cause pain or discomfort around the neck. However, the leash is expensive, is only suitable for the smallest breeds, and it tends to twist so it is difficult to retract, which is a problem if you need to get your dog back to you while out on a walk.

Pros

  • Designed to prevent pulling
  • Should be durable for very small breeds

Cons

  • Only suitable for very small dogs
  • Only 15-ft length
  • Tape gets twisted and is difficult to retract
  • Expensive

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Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Retractable Dog Leash

The leash is a vital part of a dog owner’s kit. Whether you have a well-behaved Dachshund, a boisterous Boxer, or a gigantic Great Dane, you need a leash that is safe for your dog, comfortable for you, and that is durable.

Retractable leashes do court controversy. On the one hand, they are loved for their convenience and because they allow a dog some freedom while out walking. On the other hand, the poor use of retractable leashes has led to accidents involving other dogs and people.

What Are The Benefits Of Retractable Leashes?

  • Exploration – The retractable leashes in our list have ribbons between 15 and 26 feet long. This means that rather than being tethered to the area immediately around your feet, your dog can wander off and explore a wider area.
  • Get Your Dog Out From Under Your Feet – Another benefit of this is that your dog isn’t darting around your feet. Dogs can get excited at the prospect of being out and about and they love to take in as many smells and sights as possible, so they tend to run from one patch to another: usually right across your path. A retractable leash reduces the risk of your dog legging you up.
  • You Can Train The Recall Command – To train recall, you have to allow your dog to leave your side. Initially, you may only want them to go a few feet, but when you can successfully recall them from this distance, it is good to increase the range. A retractable leash lets you do this without ever seceding control.

Why Are Retractable Leashes Frowned Upon?

  • Harder To Restrain A Boisterous Dog – Retractable leashes do have a brake and lock button, which means you can prevent a dog from getting further away than you want. However, it is harder to control a dog that is 10 feet away and you can’t use both hands to pull or hold the leash. Trainers argue that dogs should walk by the side of their owners when on the leash so there is little point in having something that extends further than this.
  • The End Of The Line – Although some extending leashes do have a cushioned brake, this can defeat the object of having a brake in the first place because it allows the dog to keep running. A sharp brake, on the other hand, means that a charging dog can abruptly be pulled back with considerable force being applied around the neck and upper torso. Especially boisterous dogs may injure themselves on this type of leash.
  • Possible Injury To Others – There have been documented cases of retractable leashes causing injury to other people. If your dog darts in front of a passer-by who fails to stop, they can trip over the leash. A much thinner cord leash can also cause rope burn and other injuries, especially on bare skin.
  • Possible Injury To Yourself – These rope burns are a cause for concern for owners, too. If your dog is pulling hard or the leash handle is yanked from your hand, grabbing the cord will lead to burns on the hand and pain.
  • Possible Injury To Your Dog – The leash can become entangled around your dog’s legs and body. Your dog may also be able to pull into the road before you can get full control of the brake.
aggressive dog pulling leash
Image Credit: 99mimimi, Pixabay

Tips To Safely Use A Retractable Leash

There are some potential dangers with retractable leashes, but these can be mitigated with careful and attentive use of the leash. To help ensure that you use a new retractable leash safely, follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t Use In Congested Areas – If you walk your dog through town centers or other built-up areas with lots of foot traffic and other hazards, you should either lock the retractable leash at its shortest or avoid using one altogether. In these circumstances, you are more likely to cause an accident or injury.
  • Know Your Surroundings – Be aware of what is around you when walking. If your dog is on a 10-foot leash, this means that it can run ten feet in any direction of you, including behind and to the sides.
  • Choose A Visible Leash – There is the potential for pedestrians and even dogs to get tangled in the leash cord, so choose one that can be easily seen. Thicker tape-style leashes are more visible, and there are some in neon colors as well as those with reflective stitching and stickers.
  • Longer Isn’t Always Better – Consider your dog’s recall ability. Some dogs will respond when 10 feet away but ignore you when they’re 20 feet away. If this sounds like your dog, don’t let it have the full run of the leash. Although some of the leashes in our list extend beyond 20 feet, there isn’t much call for these except when in a large field or on your property.
  • They Aren’t Suitable For All Dogs – Some dogs are simply better off on a standard leash. Think of dogs like whippets and greyhounds. They might walk slowly by your side for the majority of the walk, but they can also be prone to darting off if they see potential prey.

Leash Type

When buying a retractable leash, there are two main types to choose from:

  • Tape – Tape leashes are thicker and are similar to standard leashes. They offer more control, are easier to spot, and are less likely to burn your hands if you have to grab them. However, they are usually made of nylon and can be chewed.
  • Cord – Cord leashes are thin and lightweight. They are difficult to chew but they are more difficult to hold and are more prone to snapping. Cords tend to be cheaper, but the cost isn’t everything when choosing a leash.
Dog leash and harness
Image Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay

Leash Length

One of the big benefits of a retractable leash is that it offers freedom so that your dog can stray further away from you, but you need to be able to determine where your dog is and what it’s doing at all times. Lengths can vary from about 10 feet up to 25 feet or more. The very long leashes are not suitable for most circumstances but can be good for recall training in your yard or a private field.

Recommended Weight

Check the recommended weight of the leash. Most companies give the leash a size name, such as medium or small, but there are no standard sizes, so it is better to check the maximum weight and err on the side of caution when deciding whether to choose a heavier recommended weight.

Brake And Lock Buttons

There will be a lot of occasions when you need to stop your dog from getting any further away from you. This is where the brake button comes in handy. It uses some mechanism to stop the leash at its current length and won’t allow the dog to extend the string any further. A lock button lets you lock it at this length without having to continue holding the brake down.

Reflective

Reflective leashes are beneficial because they make it easier to locate your exploring dog. They also ensure that other people can see your dog, therefore potentially preventing any trips and falls and helping drivers see the dog if it runs in the road.

Handle Design

A dog can get up a lot of speed in 20 feet, and if this force reaches the end of the leash, it will pull hard against the handle. Without a firm grip, you are likely to drop the leash and potentially have to chase your dog down. The handle should fit reasonably snugly around your hand and the brake and lock buttons should be easy to grasp, but it shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t fit your whole hand in the handle.

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Conclusion

Retractable dog leashes are somewhat divisive, but despite not being suitable for all dogs or circumstances, they do have their benefits. Above, we have outlined ten of the best retractable dog leashes available including the Flexi Classic Nylon Tape, which is an affordable leash that is sturdy enough or regular use and suitable for most dogs. The Flexi Classic Nylon Cord Retractable Dog Leash is cheaper but is made with a cord leash rather than tape and is designed for small breeds.


Featured Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

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