Top 10 Best Retractable Dog Leashes Reviewed for 2021 | (Buying Guide)

Retractable leashes are famous, yet widely used tools that allow your dog to wander off a little more than traditional leashes do. Although they raise a few challenges that conventional leashes do not, they are beneficial for many owners to allow dogs a little more freedom to roam.

Retractable leashes feature a long lead and function inside a plastic housing with a ratcheted, button-operated wheel. This wheel assists to collect any leftover slack and store it. Some of the best circumstances in which you might want to start using a retractable dog leash will be explained below.

We’re also going to talk about things to look for when choosing a dog leash, and we’re going to suggest five of the best retractable dog leashes available on the market. With a few tips and tricks for using your retractable leash like a pro, we’ll wrap up! See also our recommendations on the best GPS tracker for dogs,  best dog beds, the best invisible dog fences, the best electric dog fence, and the best wireless dog fence

Who can use the Retractable Dog Leash?

In certain cases, retractable leashes are pretty useful devices. Think of them for your dog as a fishing reel. To sniff a smelly shrub or chase after a squirrel, you can let your dog run off a little bit while still holding her safely under your control. Then you can take up the slack until she’s lost interest in the diversion and returned to your side. 

Literally, for many cases, retractable dog leashes are fantastic, including:

  • Small, friendly dogs who walk on familiar grounds. A retractable leash would encourage her to visit old friends and make new ones, without needing you to travel far of course, if you take your outgoing Boston terrier every day to the same park and she acts like a perfect lady on each outing.
  • Dogs who twist the rope regularly. Some dogs also seem to have the tendency to curl the leash into knots. But since you can hold slack to a minimum with a retractable leash, you can avoid most twists and tangles.
  • High-energy, hard-to-exhaust puppies. It is vital to get enough exercise on all dogs, but with some breeds and individuals, this is easier than others. If you struggle to get enough exercise from your husky or Dalmatian, a retractable leash will offer more space for your dog to roam, helping to tuck her out a little faster.
  • Joggers and runners who don’t want to stop. If you continually pause so that your dog can pee for the nth time, it can be difficult to keep your heart rate up, but retractable leashes also have enough slack to balance the need for your dog to tinkle, sniff and explore, with your need to keep your feet going.

There are certain cases, on the other hand, in which retractable leashes are not suitable. For instance:

  • Owners who are not able to tightly grip the leash. If you drop a retractable leash, as it reels in the line, it can “chase” your dog. This can lead to panic for certain pups, which could obviously lead to a variety of terrifying possibilities including your dog bolting.
  • Landowners who reside in congested areas. If you live in a heavily populated urban area, if she’s allowed to roam 16 feet or more in front of you, your pup can get into trouble. Without your knowledge, she could round a corner, causing her to experience any number of issues or threats.
  • Dogs and owners who walk in unfamiliar areas. Using a retractable leash allows you to keep a close eye on your dog and to prevent hazards preemptively. When walking around your block, this is fairly easy to do, but practically impossible when taking your dog for a stroll on a forested path you’ve never explored.
  • Dogs who tug on their lead consistently. When using a retractable leash, you won’t have as much control over your dog, so they’re not best suited for dogs that treat each walk like the Iditarod.
  • Dog owners with very large hands. Some retractable dog leashes have relatively short handles, and fitting their fingers through the handhold can be challenging for those with big mitts.

Read more:

5 Prime Features to Look For in a Retractable Dog Leash:

Although there are a range of retractable leashes on the market, in terms of features, they vary significantly. Some bare-bones versions have nothing but the basics, while others have a selection of bells and whistles to help improve the appeal of the instrument.

Nevertheless, when choosing a retractable leash, you will want to include the following features, even if you want a no-frills model.

1. Attached Flashlight

To help increase your visibility and help you see where you are going when walking at night, many retractable dog leashes feature flashlights. Buying a leash with an attached flashlight is not much of a downside, but you should make sure you buy one that has a high-quality, high-powered flashlight, rather than a dollar-store-caliber product.

Note that a few companies are producing add-on flashlights designed to be attached to retractable leashes. Flexi retractable leashes, for instance, will work with their LED lighting system.

2. Comfortable, No-Slip Grip

Keeping a good grip on the retractable leash of your dog is imperative. Therefore, you will want to avoid any models which do not have a comfortable grip. When your hands get sweaty or if it rains, bypass leashes that might become slick.

3. Multi-Dog Functionality

You can probably use two separate retractable leashes at the same time to walk two dogs, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have fun doing so. And it will make it hard to use your hands for anything else, such as answering your phone or grabbing your keys out of your pocket, to try and hold two retractable leashes at the same time. A few retractable leashes, however, are intended to accommodate two dogs at once.

4. Reflective or High-Visibility Components

In low-light situations, it is always wise to ensure that motorists can see your dog, especially if you tend to walk her. However, it is particularly important to choose models with high-visibility or reflective characteristics because of the increased distance retractable leashes allow between you and your dog.

5. Extra Length

A 16-foot-long lead is provided with most regular retractable leashes, which is suitable for most dogs and their owners. If you have a trustworthy pup and live in a wide-open area, however, you might be able to encourage your dog to roam a little more, while keeping out of trouble. In such cases, owners may want to opt for a longer lead, measuring 20 feet or more.

5 Best Retractable Dog Leashes

There are numerous retractable leashes on the market, but after a few uses, you have to be careful to avoid poorly made items that might break easily. All well-built and secure items are the following five leashes, and each offers various advantages to accommodate owners and dogs with different needs.

1. Hertzko Heavy-Duty Retractable Leash

Buy on Amazon

The Hertzko Heavy-Duty Retractable Leash is designed to give a retractable leash a chance for large-dog owners to reap the benefits. The Hertzko Heavy-Duty Leash, suitable for dogs weighing up to 110 pounds, is well-made, has high-quality components and comes with all the standard features that other retractable leashes have.

The Hertzko Retractable Leash is fitted with a locking metal leash connector and a secure handle grip, like most other retractable leashes. To avoid tangles, it also features a silky-smooth belt feeder and it helps you to control the brake with a single button. To secure the leash instantly, keep the button down, or move the button forward to lock it into place.

The Hertzko Retractable Leash only weighs 12 ounces, despite being designed with components appropriate for large dogs, making it easy to carry on long walks. This leash is backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee from the manufacturer.

PROS: The majority of the owners who tried the Hertzko Leash were very happy about it. It was described by several owners as safe, reliable and of good value. Several owners clearly stated that where other leashes had failed, the leash was very solid and held up.

CONS: Few owners have made negative comments about the Hertzko Retractable Leash, but a few have found that the hole you put your fingers through is a bit tight. For those with particularly big hands, this can make the leash hard to use.

2. Flexi Neon Leash

Buy on Amazon

The Flexi Neon Leash is a high-visibility leash that helps ensure that, even in dim light, motorists can see you and your dog. The Flexi Neon Leash, a German-made product, is made from premium materials and is built with the protection of your dog in mind.

While a range of leashes has high-visibility features, most other products on the market are overshadowed by the Flexi Neon Leash. It is mainly made of neon-colored materials, and to help attract the attention of passing drivers, it is also coated in reflective stickers. The leash is visible from up to 160 yards away, according to the manufacturer.

Three different size options are available with the Flexi Neon Leash. The small version is suitable for dogs up to 26 pounds, the medium version is suitable for dogs up to 44 pounds in weight, and the large version is suitable for dogs up to 110 pounds in weight. And also, two adjacent buttons allow you to temporarily apply the brake or lock it into place.

PROS: Most owners appreciated the Flexi Neon Leash and stated that, even at large distances, it is easy to see. Most owners discovered that the leash operated as anticipated, and some claimed that at this price point, its quality seemed to surpass what you might expect.

CONS: Most owners received the Flexi Neon Leash well, so very few owners had any reporting issues. A few owners, however, noticed that there are relatively small grips in the small and medium versions, which can cause issues for owners with large hands.

3. Dial-A-Distance Retractable Dog Leash

Buy on Amazon

A comparatively traditional retractable leash is the Dial-A-Distance Retractable Dog Leash, but it features one key difference: it enables owners to set a pre-determined distance that will extend the leash. In other words, by turning the included dial to the desired number, you can allow your dog to roam away from any given distance between 1 and 15 feet.

There are two key controls on the Dial-A-Distance Leash: a wide dial that allows you to assess the length of the leash and a push-button brake that allows you to stop your dog short of the dial’s defined distance. This offers a little extra protection and helps you, if necessary, to stop your dog. For dogs up to 70 pounds, the Dial-A-Distance Leash is relevant. It features an ergonomic comfort grip, a leash (rather than a cord) in ribbon form, and it comes with an attached metal collar clip to tie it to your dog.

PROS: The Dial-A-Distance Leash has been found by most owners to be robust, durable, comfortable in the hand and well made. Most owners thoroughly enjoyed the convenience the leash offers and found that it allowed them to feel safer during walks. Several owners said that, should the need arise, they would happily purchase the leash again.

CONS: The leash was considered a bit heavy by a few owners, but that was the only common concern. The positioning of the thumb brake was also troublesome for a limited number of owners, but this is a relatively minor issue, and most owners were able to use the leash with ease.

4. Cool-Shop Retractable Dog Leash with 9 LED Detachable Flashlight

Buy on Amazon

The Cool-Shop Retractable Leash is basically a normal retractable leash, except that it comes with a flashlight attached to help you see where you are going (and what your dog is up to). It will also help ensure that you and your dog will be noticed by passing cars, thereby making you both safer during nighttime walks.

An ergonomic grip, a high-quality metal collar latch and a 16-foot-long wear-resistant, tangle-free lead are included in the Cool-Shop Retractable Dog Leash. You can temporarily apply the brake or lock it down and keep the leash at a given length with a thumb-activated push button.

Featuring nine LEDs, the Cool-Shop Dog Leash’s flashlight works on three AAA batteries. If you like, it can be removed from the leash so that you can keep it in your other hand. It also features a small hook for carrying plastic bags or similar items on the underside of the handle. The leash is backed by a satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.

PROS: The majority of owners found that the Cool-Shop Retractable Leash operated just as they had hoped, and the flashlight included was most appreciated. Most owners have stated that during walks, the handle was secure and easy to grip.

CONS: There were not many complaints about the Cool-Shop Retractable Leash, but the graphics on the side of the leash were considered unattractive and inappropriate by a few owners.

5. Wigzi Dual Doggie Retractable Leash

Buy on Amazon

The Wigzi Dual Dog Retractable Leash is designed to make tangle-free walks easier for owners to enjoy with two dogs at a time. This saves you from having to buy or use two different leashes and makes it a joy to walk multiple dogs.

Two separate leads feature the Wigzi Dual Dog Leash, allowing your dogs to walk independently. Each leash can hold dogs up to 50 pounds and is 10-feet-long. To help boost your visibility during walks, both leads are reflective.

To fit the various leashes, two different thumb buttons are color-coded to provide independent control over each leash. To avoid tangles and handle the movements of your pets, the spool features innovative 360-degree spinning technology.

PROS: The Wigzi Dual Doggie Leash delighted most owners and confirmed that it helped make it much easier to walk. For walking several dogs, it seems to fit well and has most of the features you’d like in a retractable leash.

CONS: The Wigzi Dual Doggie Leash was found to fit well by most owners, so complaints were relatively uncommon. A few stated, however, that the spool did not spin as quickly as they would have hoped. The expectation for the leads to stretch a little further was also expressed by a few other owners.

A noteworthy mention: Flexi Explore Retractable Dog Leash

Buy on Amazon

Another high quality retractable leash from Flexi is the Flexi Explore Leash, but this one features a 26-foot-long lead that encourages your dog to roam a little farther than most other leashes allow. This is useful for owners of incredibly active dogs, as well as for those walking in wide-open areas with their dog.

The Flexi Explore Leash is a German-made product with much the same high-quality components and craftsmanship that owners expect from the brand. For dogs up to 110 pounds, the 26-foot-long, ribbon-style leash is appropriate and comes with an added metal collar loop.

One of the thumb buttons allows the brake to be triggered briefly, while the other allows the brake to be locked down and the leash to be held at a given length. The leash is available in three colours (Blue, Black, and Red) and is backed by a limited warranty from the manufacturer.

PROS: Most of the owners who bought the Retractable Leash Flexi Explore were delighted. The length of the leash and the freedom it offers seemed to love dogs and owners alike. The leash was found to be suitably heavy for their pup by many owners of large dogs (including German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Labrador retrievers).

CONS: A couple of owners indicated that after prolonged use, the retraction mechanism stopped functioning. However, most of these owners also considered the commodity to be a good value, due to its fair price point.

Read more:

Tips & Tricks on How to Walk Your Dog Efficiently with a Retractable Dog Leash: 

Retractable leashes perform best when you adopt them with a few practical tips and tricks. Although retractable leashes will keep your dog secure if used properly, while taking your canine for a cruise around the neighbourhood, you must be sure to employ good common-sense safety guidelines.

1. Don’t Allow Your Dog to Walk on the Opposite Side of the Road

This would be self-evident, you would think, but if you’re the one who regularly let your pooch wander across the street, in this practice, some owners fail to see the risk. Your dog may be badly injured if a car flies down the road and hits the leash and you can get hurt, too.

2. Practice Using the Leash in a Controlled Situation

Although retractable leashes are fairly simple devices, flustered owners may make mistakes and panic. You can hit the release button instead of the lock button, for instance, or you can freak out completely and catch the lead with your free hand. Your dog can run into the street in the former case, while the latter will leave you with a nasty rope burn.

3. Keep the Slack Tidy

Retractable leashes are built to hold slack to a minimum, and to your benefit, you would be wise to use this capability. Allowing your dog to slack too much all but guarantees that you will find yourself (or your dog) caught in the lead eventually. This can cause you to fall quickly, which can not only cause you to get hurt, but it can also cause you to drop the leash.

4. Beware of the Metal Clip

Many owners have unhooked the clip from the collar of their dog and suffered from the metal clip’s bruised knuckles as it retracts at high speed. At the end of your walks, only be sure to unhook your dog and allow the leash to completely retract before unhooking your dog, and you should be able to prevent these kinds of issues.

5. Keep the Leash Dry

To ensure a long product life, it is necessary to keep the internal spooling mechanism of retractable leashes dry. In addition to using precautions to keep the handle dry during walks in the rain, before allowing it to re-spool, you may want to unspool the leash all the way and let it dry completely.

Also read:

Final thoughts:

The best retractable dog leashes are great tools for walking and even training your dog  It is crucial that you know how to use them to help avoid the problems associated with defective use. The many advantages it can offer you and your pet are also optimized by learning how to use them. It is also important that you learn how to walk on a retractable leash with your dog. You can understand the utility of such devices only by using these types of leads in the correct way. 

Also read:

Dog Fence Reviews