Which dog leash is best?

Choosing the right dog leash helps keep your canine companion safe and secure out on walks. However, with a range of leash types available, you can be left wondering which are worth buying. 

It’s not just the leash itself you need to think about but the needs of your dog. For instance, a 5-pound Chihuahua will need a different leash from a 100-pound mastiff. Once you’ve found the right one, it’s easier to enjoy adventures with your pup. 

Types of dog leashes

Deciding the right type of dog leash is the first step in finding the best one for your needs. Some of the most common types are standard leashes, retractable leashes, long-line leashes and hands-free leashes. 

  • Standard leashes: These are roughly between 4 and 6 feet long with no special features. They’re great for everyday walks, especially in areas where you need to keep relatively close control of your dog, such as near roads or in public parks. 
  • Retractable leashes: Retractable leashes extend as much as 15-25 feet but can be locked at shorter lengths to keep dogs safe. They let dogs have the freedom to explore when they can’t go off-leash while still keeping them safe around hazards. However, you must use these leashes responsibly and safely or you can put your dog and others around you in danger. 
  • Long-line leashes: Also known as training leashes, long-line leashes can be anywhere between 10 and 100 feet long, though they’re more manageable under 35 feet. They’re mostly used for training dogs in open areas before their recall can be trusted. 
  • Hands-free leashes: These attach around the waist or across the shoulder. They’re ideal for running and jogging, as well as for anyone who isn’t physically able to walk their dog on a regular leash. 

What to look for in a dog leash

Length

You can find leashes anywhere from 3 to 100 feet long. The shortest are designed for use near busy traffic, while the longest are for training. 

Most standard leashes measure 4-6 feet long, with 5 or 6 feet being the sweet spot for most dogs. You’ll likely feel more comfortable with longer leads for smaller dogs and shorter leads for larger dogs. This is down to the fact that small dogs are further from where you’d naturally hold your hand while holding a leash. 

Width

Most leashes measure between one-quarter inch and 1.5 inches wide. Wider leashes are stronger than thinner ones, so they’re necessary for big or strong dogs, but can be too heavy or bulky for walking small dogs. 

Handle

Padding inside the handle makes leashes more comfortable to hold for long periods. Retractable leashes have chunky plastic handles, but they can still be ergonomically designed or have soft-grip coatings for comfort. 

Reflective stitching

Your dog is easier to spot in low-light conditions when walked on a leash with reflective stitching. It’s especially important if you often walk your dog after dark or before the sun comes up. 

Multi-dog

You can find leashes with a splitter and two clips to walk two dogs simultaneously. Some people find it easier to walk multiple dogs this way, while others still prefer to have a leash for each dog. 

Best standard dog leashes

Max and Neo Double Handle Traffic Leash

Max and Neo Double Handle Traffic Leash

Thanks to its double-handled design, it’s easier to keep close control of dogs near traffic or around other hazards. It’s made from strong nylon webbing with reflective stitching for low-light visibility.

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Joytale Reflective Dog Leash

Joytale Reflective Dog Leash

This simple webbing leash comes in 4-, 5- and 6-foot lengths, each with a narrow or standard width option. The soft cushioning in the handle makes it comfortable to use on long walks, while the reflective stitching increases safety.

Sold by Amazon

Black Rhino Dog Leash

Black Rhino Dog Leash

The heavy-duty design makes it the perfect choice for medium and large dogs. It has a second handle near the clip for close control and comes with a pouch you can use for treats, poop bags and other essentials.

Sold by Amazon

Best retractable dog leashes

Tug 360-degree Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Leash

Tug 360-degree Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Leash

Extending to a maximum of 16 feet on a strong nylon tape, this leash allows dogs to explore while keeping them secure. The tangle-free design keeps the tape from getting twisted up as it retracts back into the handle.

Sold by Amazon

Mighty Paw Retractable Dog Leash

Mighty Paw Retractable Dog Leash

You can choose from two versions of this leash: one for dogs up to 110 pounds and the other for dogs up to 50 pounds. It’s quick and easy to lock to keep your dog safe when you need to.

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Flexi Neon Reflective Retractable Tape Leash

Flexi Neon Reflective Retractable Tape Leash

This bright, reflective leash is perfect for walking dogs in low light. It’s strong with a simple quick-brake system to stop your dog and lock the leash in place.

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Best long-line leashes

Hi Kiss Dog Training Leash

Hi Kiss Dog Training Leash

Available in lengths from 10-100 feet, there’s an option to suit most training uses and styles. It gives dogs freedom to wander without the risk they won’t come back when called.

Sold by Amazon 

Viper Biothane K9 Working Dog Leash

Viper Biothane K9 Working Dog Leash

Thanks to its tough, waterproof construction, this leash is suitable for use in all weather conditions and all terrain types, even in thick mud or pouring rain. You can choose from lengths between 10 and 33 feet.

Sold by Amazon

Best hands-free leashes

The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash

The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash

The belt clips around the waist and the leash itself is length-adjustable, so you can either keep dogs close or give them leeway to roam ahead. It has a quick-release mechanism for safety.

Sold by Amazon 

Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash

Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash

Designed with runners in mind, this leash has a bungee portion to absorb shock when dogs pull. The easy-glide belt clip lets dogs move side-to-side more easily.

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.