Best Retractable Lead & Adjustable Dog Leads 2021 – Our Favourite Picks

It is probably your dog’s favourite moment of the day. You, the beloved owner, clipping the retractable dog lead onto your dog’s collar. Poo bags in your pocket, a treat or two in the other pocket just in case. The door swings open and the two of you rush out into the sunlight for your exercise.

Is it your favourite moment of the day? As with most things, the quality of the tools you use can have a huge effect on what you are trying to do. A good retractable dog lead can make your walk so much more fun. It gives you great control. Your dog can sniff and search as it likes without dragging you all over the place. You can enjoy the walk at different speeds. A sturdy handle with a lock button that does what it is supposed to do makes all the difference. We would not recommend this kind of lead for running, instead, have a look at our selection of some of the best leads for running.

There are many, many retractable leads on the market, so what makes a good one?

Flexi Giant Retractable Lead.
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  • Extremely robust tape lead for active dogs up to 25 kg.
  • Good great freedom of movement for dogs thanks to the 8 m tape.
  • Convenient handling thanks to single-handed use of the brake button, permanent stop feature and ergonomic soft grip.
  • Neon-colored belt improves safety due to better visibility.
  • Wide, stable belt smoothly retracts and extends

Arova Retractable Reflective Lead.
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  • Resistant to wear Durable ABS plastic casing with ergonomic grip and silicone anti-slip handle fits in your hand, provides enjoyable walking experience with your pets.
  • The 1.3 cm wide rope with reflective line of the rim for good visibility at night.
  • A reliable lock button ensures the capability to adjust the length of the leash as you need.
  • For any types of dog with up to 50kg/110lbs in weight, works for large dogs, as well as medium sized and smaller dogs.

GHB Retractable Lead.

Retractable Dog Lead Cord or TapeRetractable Dog Lead Extra Large
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  • Can hold dogs up to 50kg. It's only for adult use.
  • 5m retractable tape lead does give enough freedom of movement for your lovely dogs.
  • This extendable dog leads have an ergonomic and comfortable rubber grip for you to hold.
  • Easy to use brake button with one hand. You can shortly stop, lock or unlock the dog leads.

Pyrus 26 feet Retractable Lead.
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  • The maximum length can be extended to 8m/ 26 feet.
  • Be able to withstand the impact of the 120 pound dog running high speed.
  • Based on the humanized design, fashionable style, comfortable to use.
  • One key operation to change the length of the ribbon which is more convenient to use.
  • Lock & Release Button works every time, built-in light easily detaches, perfect for evening walks.
Flexi Vario Retractable Lead.
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  • Extremely robust tape lead for active dogs up to 25 kg.
  • Good great freedom of movement for dogs thanks to the 8 m tape.
  • Convenient handling thanks to single-handed use of the brake button, permanent stop feature and ergonomic soft grip.
  • Neon-colored belt improves safety due to better visibility.
  • Wide, stable belt smoothly retracts and extends.

Best Retractable Dog Lead UK Reviews

Flexi Giant Retractable Lead (A strong retractable dog lead)

The Flexi Explore is made in Germany and gets positive reviews from almost everyone. Suitable for dogs up to 100 pounds (25kg), it is robust and will be able to be pulled by the largest and most active of dogs. As well as being tough enough to handle such strength, extra freedom is added, as the lead extends to 26 feet (8m) which is the longest retractable dog lead we could find.

The lead is a flat belt, rather than a cord which prevents tangling, and extends and retracts very smoothly. It comes in 4 sizes with a neon lead. Everything works as advertised. The lock features a permanent stop and comes with single-handed use of the brake button, and the handle is ergonomically designed to be a snug fit in your hand, so despite it being tough it will be comfortable. This retractable dog lead is sturdy, versatile, comfortable, and also safe, with it’s neon colour due to added visibility. The Flexi Belt is a heavy duty product that is one of the best retractable dog leads for large dogs.

The Arova Retractable Reflective Lead is a sturdy and heavily build retractable lead, which will last a long time and will suit all dog sizes. Due to it it’s durable ABS plastic casing, it will be able to take being pulled by dogs weighing up to 110lb, or 50kg. The Arova Retractable lead comes with a retractable leash, which extends up to 16ft, or 5m.

Although the lead is strong and heavily built, it has an ergonomic grip, making it comfortable, so it will not damage your hand if the dog pulls and will make for a pleasant walk. As well as the ergonomic grip, it has a silicon anti-slip handle, so it won’t fall out of your hand. The Arova Retractable Reflective Lead has an element of added safety, with it’s reflective rope design, adding visibility in the dark. The lead has a one button brake and lock safety system, so you can allow your dog to sniff around and you can retract as soon as you need to to, and you will have complete control over how far the lead extends.

The Arova Retractable Reflective Lead is a durable, heavily built lead that will give your dog plenty of freedom to roam, and ensure you and your dog will have a pleasant time walking.

The GHB is strong enough to handle a dog up to 50kg and is only suitable for adult dogs. The retractable lead tape can extend up to five meters, giving your dog plenty of freedom to roam as you walk. The GHB dog lead has a one handed brake button, making it easy to use, and mean ing you can pull the lead back with one press.

As well as being strong and easy to use, a level of comfort is added from the ergonomic grip, ensuring your hand hill be okay if the dog pulls a bit too hard. The GHB Retractable Lead will handle a strong dog and give it plenty of freedom to roam, whi!e being easy to use.

Pyrus 26 feet Retractable Lead

A beast of a lead. Extends to 26 feet and claims to be suitable for dogs up to 120 pounds, perfect for giving active dogs plenty of freedom to roam, sniff and other dog things. The claim is actually that it can withstand the impact of a 120-pound dog running at high speed. I am not sure if your wrist could! Lock and tension seem to work well. Reviews seem to complain that it is a heavy unit and a lot to carry around. Certainly, smaller dogs do not need all this firepower!

Despite it being a lot on your wrist, the grip is comfortable to use, and has a one key operation to change the ribbon to which is the most convenient for you to use. As well as all thing, there is a detachable built in light, keeping you safe on evening walks. You can choose from black or blue.

Flexi Vario Retractable Lead

The usual functions work well and there are 4 sizes ranging from 10 feet cords for dogs up to 25 pounds right up to 25 feet cords for dogs up to 110 pounds. The key, award winning feature is interchangeable belts. You can flip between different colour leads and choose cord or tape leads. Having a choice is popular and the product is well reviewed. Colours available are trendy and funky. Anthracite, turquoise and pink for example!

The Flexi Vario Retractable Lead has an ergonomic grip meaning additional comfort, and the single handed use of the brake button means that is easy to use, and you can quickly pull the lead back if need be. As well as this, the neon coloured belt improves safety during darker walks. As I said before, the real star of the show is the interchangeable belts with multiple colours, giving you the ability to customize.

Flexi New Classic Retractable Lead

Ever the innovators, Flexi have added the option of customizing the handle with an LED lighting system. Fun and very practical when it comes to being spotted at night. Kids will love it. Comes in the usual Flexi range of sizes and gets solid reviews.

The Flexi Classic Retractable Lead has the usual Flexi features of having the ergonomic grip, ensuring comfort as you walk your dog, and the one handed braking system, so all you need to do is press one button to retract the lead, and it can be used with dogs up to 50kg. What really makes this stand out is the customizable and/or led lighting system, making it a fun lead for evening walks with children.

Another lead that offers detachable LED lights for walks in the dark. Great fun for the kids as well as practical. Extends up to 16 feet and is suitable for small to medium sized dogs up[ to 70 pounds. Strong polyester ribbon, ergonomic, non-slip grip. Well reviewed by users.

Safety & Considerations

It is all about having a sturdy, strong handle to grip. A retractable dog lead is a better choice for comfort because it has a handle, and is thus easier to control. A dog of any size can suddenly jump forwards and the grip needs to be good enough to stop the lead slipping out of your hand. Consider the size of your hand when looking at options. A big, strong handle is great but can your hand fit snugly around it and in it? How about with gloves on?

One of the biggest mistakes is to ignore the fact that the handle does not sit well in your hand and wrap the cord around your fingers instead. Cords have been known to sever fingers if a big dog takes off quickly and suddenly. At the very least, bruised fingers, split skin and a dramatic rise in your heartbeat are side effects.

Confidence in the locking mechanism is a big factor in safety and peace of mind. The lock cannot slip. You should be very sure that whatever length you decide to let out, you are always in control. A flat, wide belt is best rather than a cord if possible. A cord gets tangled more easily which can lead to malfunctions and sticky moments. Always remember, your dog is quite capable of surprising you. Just when you think you have seen it all, a sudden, sideways dart towards a squirrel will catch you out.

No Substitute for Proper Training

It needs to be said that you should still have your dog properly trained. A dog that pulls on a short lead will still pull on a retractable lead. Letting your dog run with 20 feet of lead is not a solution to the fact it pulls and will not walk properly. Pulling on the lead can cause a host of neck problems for a dog, not to mention the strain on your wrist and sanity.

Also, consider the dog’s body language when it is straining. It is rigid, tail up, short of breath and leaning forward. These are all aggressive actions in the animal world and other dogs might take one look at your dog’s body language and react aggressively. Not what you want in close quarters with people, dogs and kids around. Finally, training will give you peace of mind. If your dog should suddenly manage to yank the lead out of your hand, your command should make it stop in its tracks. You should always be in command.

Go for Strength

The strength of your retractable dog lead is so important. Carefully read the weight limitations on the package. If your dog weighs 60 pounds, a dog lead stating it is good up to 60 pounds is not enough. Nylon seems to be the material of choice, but leather could also be good. Pay attention to the quality and sturdiness of the collar and clip that you use. The best dog lead in the world will let you down attached to a cheap, bendable clip.


Consider the colour. It can be a great idea to get a colourful or even neon cord or strap. Remember that a dog running 20 feet away from you is trailing 20 feet of lead for someone to fall over or get tangled in. Bright colours are easy to spot. Neon cords can help you see more at nights. It all helps make everything just that bit safer.

Best Retractable Dog Lead For Larger Dogs

The Arova Retractable Reflective Lead is sturdy, durable, and a great choice for larger dogs. It is made of nylon, with and an ABS plastic casing, and has a quality construction. It has a bright, reflective line around its 1.3cm wide rope, so you will have visibility, and there will be no safety hazard from the long leash. It can handle being pulled by a dog up to 50kg or 110 pounds, so will be able to be pulled by most large dogs, making it our pick for the best lead for a large dog.

The Longest Retractable Dog Lead

As we said before, the longest we dog lead we could ring was the Flexi Explore. Most leads have the length of 10-16 feet, whereas this is 26 feet, or eight meters long, allowing your dog plenty of freedom.

Further Tips and Recommendations

Now that we have looked at some of the best retractable dog leads, as well as some safety tips, we will now look at some more tips and recommendations on choosing the best retractable dog lead.

Size: The length of the dog lead will impact how much freedom the dog has, and will influence how much control you will have over the dog. For a dog who has not mastered common coaching, it is best to use a shorter dog lead.

Strength: It is always best to spend a bit more on a lead with higher quality construction and strength. The more money you spend, the stronger and better quality the retractable lead is.

Thickness: For a bigger dog, you will want a thicker and wider lead, so you should keep the breed of your dog in mind when choosing which dog lead to buy. As well as making sure to keep what your current dog size is, you should keep in mind how big your dog will grow.

Quality: Generally, the two weakest components of cheaper retractable dog leads are the force and the sturdiness of the clip. It is usually okay to choose a model with a clip made from stainless steel that will not rust. An important thing about clips, is that it fastens safely to you dog’s collar.

Reflective: It is always priceless to get a lead with a reflective cord on it, particularly if you want to take your dog for an evening walk.

Benefits of Using Retractable Dog Leads

Now we have seen some possible choices for retractable dog lead, and how to choose the best one, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of Using a Retractable Dog Lead.

Allows dogs to be dogs

In the wild, dogs do not have leads to tie them down and have freedom to run wild, and while our dogs are not wild dogs, there is still a basic need for a dog to have freedom. A Retractable Dog Lead gives them freedom to wander, and the added distance between the owner and the dog can be seen by dogs as a sign of allowing their basic dog nature to run free.

Adjustable length

The adjustable length of the lead comes in hand when you are in an area with other obstacles such as other dogs and pet owners. If you want the dog to stay by your side as you navigate the area, you can shorten the leash and then lock. Then, in an open are, you can lengthen and allow your dog to roam free again.

Use for recall training

The adjustable length means that you can move the leash a certain distance, allowing the dog to move and wander, and then call him. Wait until he learns to come when he has been called at that distance, and then progressively move the leash farther from there.

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