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The Best Retractable Dog Leashes (Because You Could Use an Upgrade)

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We can all agree that maintaining control over your dog’s behavior, especially in areas with lots of dog neighbors, is important—and leashes help us keep them close and in check. While it's best to use regular leashes for puppies to teach them boundaries, a retractable leash—along with commands and rules—may be better suited to you and your pup while out walking.

What Is a Retractable Dog Leash?

Retractable dog leashes are leads that change length. They’re spring-loaded for flexibility, meaning your dog can roam farther than they might be able to when tethered to a regular leash. Since you hold the retractable leash, you get to decide how much give your dog gets.

Who Should Use a Retractable Dog Leash?

A pro tip? Wait until your pup is properly trained in dog-walking etiquette before using a retractable leash. They offer more freedom, making them excellent options for wide open spaces. They can certainly be used during training sessions, but untrained dogs may inadvertently put themselves in danger wandering too far from you.

While there are tons of retractable leashes on the market, many are made with plastic and wear down easily (especially if you’ve got a big dog or an avid chewer). We rounded up the best retractable dog leashes of 2022 based on materials, design, innovation and reviews.

The Best Retractable Dog Leashes at a Glance

Overall, the Tug 360° retractable leash is your best bet. With more than 60,000 5-star reviews on Amazon and a best seller rating, it’s a clear favorite. Choose from four sizes with various ranges and seven colors. It’s got an ergonomic grip for you and a tangle-free mechanism for your pup (though it doesn’t stand up to chew tests, so go with our best leash for chewers instead).

Kong never fails when it comes to big dogs and their strength. This leash (with almost 1,500 5-star reviews) is designed to withstand the pull of massive breeds up to 150 pounds. It’s got a soft grip, easy-to-use lock and durable lead.

Nighttime walks are part of the deal—when your dog’s gotta go, they’ve gotta go! With this leash, you can help to ensure that you and your dog are visible. Double click once to turn on the handle’s color light loop. Double click twice to turn on the LED spot lamp. You can also set additional lights to turn on automatically from your phone, too—but that's not all this leash can do. It will also track your walking route, drop pins to send to your loved ones, so they're aware of your location and vibrate when you've got an incoming call or message. Genius!

Best on a Budget

4. Frisco Retractable Dog Leash

Frisco

Get all the goods for a bargain with this Frisco leash. There are four sizes and four colors to choose from, each with a reflective lead and simple locking mechanism. Based on some user reviews, we recommend choosing the size best suited for you, rather than your dog. Since the small, medium and large leashes are all 16-foot options, go with the one that will fit your hand best.

Best for Multitaskers

5. Groomy LED Retractable Dog Leash

Groomy

Picking up poop while holding your phone and the leash? Good recipe for disaster. This Smart LED leash, which comes complete with bathroom baggies, lets users slide the handle onto their wrist for hands-free dog walking. This is definitely not recommended for determined pullers; it’s ideal for dog owners with pups who patiently trot alongside them. Use your phone or hold your coffee (or both! With two hands!) with this leash.

Hundreds of 5-star reviews, a zero-tangle feature and 16 feet of lead make this double retractable leash a must-have for multi-dog households. The handle is fabricated with anti-slip material which helps you when your pups are moving in multiple directions. Use it with dogs up to 50 pounds each (or 100 pounds total).

Best for Dogs That Chew

7. Expawlorer Retractable Dog Leash

Expawlorer

This leash comes with two steel, bite-resistant wire ropes that attach to the nylon strap (which can handle up to 440 pounds of weight pulling on it). This means you can walk one or two heavy chewers without worrying they’ll destroy the leash. It also has a tangle-free design and is comfy to hold.

Most Stylish

8. Maxbone Retractable Leash

Maxbone

When it comes to accessorizing with your dog gear, Maxbone is where it’s at. Designed for dogs up to 44 pounds, this peachy-colored retractable leash extends up to 16 feet and has shiny silver hardware. It has a smooth finish and nothing but 5-star reviews.

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance writer and journalist. Her work has appeared on PureWow, Reductress and Culture Trip. More often than not, Sarah covers pets, dogs, cats and anything related to wildlife. She is currently working towards her master's in journalism at NYU.