Dog leashes are an essential item for any dog owner that wants to stay in control of their animal. A leash provides a simple tether between the animal and owner so that they can be free to roam within a certain perimeter on a walk, but can also be kept close and controlled. This is essential for public areas where there may be children and other animals to interact with. Play time off the leash is fun if the dog is well-behaved, but a walk in town or the local neighbourhood requires a leash for the peace of mind of owners and other people in the area. The question for many is what type of leash should owners use? There are two choices here – the standard leash with one length of cord, leather, nylon or chain and a clip for the collar, or a retractable option. In this guide we will look at some of the best retractable dog leashes currently available, as well as some of the key considerations when buying one.
Why are retractable dog leashes such a popular choice with some dog owners?
The problem with standard dog leashes is that there is a limited range of movement for what is seen as greater control over the dog. The animal can only move a certain distance away from the owner at all times. This can be a great idea for some dogs depending on their behavioural traits. However, other feel that this is far too restrictive. Instead, they want a leash where the animal has the freedom to roam much further, but can still be called back and controlled when needed. This is idea when heading out to the country in areas with lots to smell and find, but also other animals and people that you don’t want to disturb. The ideal dog leash with a retractable line needs to offer that balance between freedom, control and security. That is why owners need to consider the following when making their choice.
Important considerations when looking for best retractable dog leash.
# Look at the length of the leash.
The full length of the leash is important. The whole purpose behind this purchase is the ability to allow the dog to wander past the typical limit of a non-retractable leash. But, how far do you want them to go? The models that are mentioned below are all around the 16ft mark on their longest length. There are longer and short lengths for those that want more control, or want to allow their animal to go further. In some cases the models below will have complimentary option in these larger or smaller sizes. The 16ft ones were chosen because this seems to be the preferable middle ground for most owners. When looking at the length, you also have to consider the means in which the cord retracts and extends. Is there a lock or a brake for greater control? Is it a slow process or a fast one? How smooth is it? This is where user reviews from real experiences can really help.
# Look at the strength and quality of the materials.
When dealing with a retractable leash, you also need to make sure that the model is strong enough to handle the dog at the other end. Most products will clearly state their weight limitations and the suitability of the leash for certain breeds. It is important that users do not exceed that, because the line may not be strong enough if these larger dogs bolt and strain it too much. A tough line is essential for durability and security. At the same time, you also want a handle and casing for the retractable cord that is also strong and reliable. It has to be able to withstand drops and interactions with dogs that may like to chew.
# Look at the ergonomics of the handle.
The next thing to consider with these leashes is feel in the hand, this is as much about he experience of the dog walker as the dog here, and this is why so many of the best model try to provide an ergonomic shape that fits well in the hand for a comfortable experience every day. It is important to look at the grip and the size of the handle, as some smaller leashes aren’t big enough for large hands in winter gloves. The weight is also important here, as you don’t want the leash to be so light that it is flimsy, but not so heavy that it is hard to carry around.
# Look at the extra features that come with the leash.
Then there are the extra features that some dog leash makers may add into the package to make the leash more appealing. As you will see with the designs below, the general shape and style of these leashes is pretty similar, with a basic shape to the handle and casing and a retractable line. The difference often comes in those additional features that may add to the functionality, security or user experience. A good example of this is the use of a little poo bag holder that clips onto the leash handle for easy access. Then there are those that provide e-books on dog walking, training and other useful information. Others are reflective for extra safety. A bonus feature like this can make a product stand out from the crowd and ensure that buyers get a better experience.
# Look at the cost.
Finally, there is the cost of the leash. There are price differences between the expensive models with the odd designs and the cheap and cheerful options. It is generally better to go for something in the middle – as long as it has all the features and benefits that buyers need. An expensive model can be a waste of money if it is accidentally broken, damaged by the dog or lost. A cheap model may not have the strength and durability to make sure that it is safe enough for all dogs.
Top 3 Retractable Dog Leash Reviews.
1. Pet Neat Retractable Dog Leash.
This Pet Neat product an appeal option for lots of dogs up to the weight of 110lbs. It is is sold as a “premium quality” option with the addition of the break and lock buttons, a 16 Ft line and an ergonomic anti-slip handle.
The main selling point of this leash over other models is the addition of the waste bag holder and the four different e-book. This makes the product even more practical. Buyers also like that this has a pretty smooth motion and feels like a heavy duty option. This comes from the use of the thick nylon dog leash and heavy duty internal spring.
The only problem with this model is that the retraction can feel a little slow for some, and the heavy duty nature does mean that it is a little heavier.
- STRONG AND COMFORTABLE GRIP: The durable ABS casing has an...
- TOUGH ENOUGH TO HANDLE DOGS OF ALL SIZES: The thick, long...
- 100% SATISFACTION: All Pet Neat products are satisfaction...
- BREAK AND LOCK BUTTON SO YOU’RE ALWAYS IN CONTROL: You can...
2. TaoTronics Retractable Dog Leash.
This product is similar to the one above as it too is a 16 ft option for breeds up to 110lbs with the similar break and lock button. Also, it continues with the theme of functionality with the free dog waste bag dispenser.
This product had to be in this list somewhere because, at the time of writing at least, it was the number one seller on Amazon. There are some great details here, like that little bone-shaped receptacle for the bags, the one-hand operation and the “tangle free” line.
The reason that this model comes below the Pet Neat one is that that buyers don’t seem to be as impressed with the quality. Some have questions over the longevity of the button, and others say that the button is not that easy to use when dogs are moving.
- Walk your dog freely in open area with one hand braking,...
- Retractable dog leash nylon tape extends up to 16 ft, strong...
- Durable ABS plastic casing with ergonomic grip and anti-slip...
- For any types of dog with up to 110lbs in weight, this...
3. URPOWER 16.4 Feet Nylon Retractable Dog Leash.
This URPOWER option show that there are many shared features in most of these devices. You just have to look at the specifics and pros and cons. This leash shares the one-button locking and breaking system of the one above and promises to be as durable as the Pet Neat. The difference is that this is for small to medium dogs.
There are some nice user-friendly features here with the use of materials, the ergonomics of the handle and the tension on the line. It is important to note here that this is large enough for large gloved hands to be comfort for long periods.
The reason why this model is lower down the list than the ones above is that it doesn’t have those little extras that sweeten the deal. There are also complaints that it is difficult to retract if the cord gets damaged, but this is true of them all.
- One Button Brake & Lock Safety System: The reliable lock...
- Retractable Leash: Retractable ribbon leash extends up to...
- Durable Material: The dog leash is made of Eco-friendly...
- Comfortable & Safety: Ergonomic TPE Anti-slip Handle is easy...
When not to get a retractable dog leash.
The reviews above for the best retractable dog leashes should give you a good idea of the strengths and limitations of these products. With that in mind, it is important to remember that these product will not be suitable for all dog owners. Firstly, you will note that there is an upper weight limit and some concerns over the strength of the device with stronger, stubborn dogs. If you have a big dog that likes to run and bolt, these retractable models could be a problem if they aren’t tough enough. Then there is the issue that is seen with dogs that like to chew on the lines, restricting their effectiveness and sometimes breaking them. Dogs that are not trained out of chewing could have issues here. As one owner said when struggling with their purchase – if only there were a retractable chain dog leash.
Finding the best retractable dog leash for you.
In the end, while the models out there may seem pretty similar on the surface, there are some subtle details between them that separate the best from the worst. All of the best leashes will have a strong retraction, easy operation, durable material and a comfortable handle. It it then up to you which weight restriction, shape, colour and price you go for, and whether or not reflective elements, waste bag holders and e-books are important.