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The Best Dog Leashes of 2024

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If you have a pup, you’ll need a dog leash — even if the extent of your travels is a once-yearly trip to the vet or monthly groomer visit. The best leashes keep dogs safe and out of trouble and allow owners to maintain control in the event of an emergency.

Hundreds of different leashes are available, so it can be difficult to know exactly what to choose for your pet and your lifestyle. We did the research to narrow down the best leashes on the market today so you and your dog (or your whole pack) can get outside and have a worry-free adventure.

Our tester, Kristi Pahr, rigorously tested seven different dog leashes in various environments and weather conditions. She and her four dogs used these leashes on walks and hikes in sunny and rainy weather through different terrains such as woods and farm fields. This comprehensive testing process gives you a clear idea of how each leash performs in different situations. Kristi, who has extensive experience caring for various animals (furry, feathery, scaly, and wet), understands the importance of a reliable leash.

Take a look at our picks for the best dog leashes on the market so you and your dog can start on your next adventure. Learn about what differentiates dog leashes in our comprehensive buyer’s guide and FAQ at the bottom of the article. Our comparison chart can help you make a decision. Otherwise, read our full gear guide below.

The Best Dog Leashes of 2024

Best Overall Dog Leash

  • Price
    $40
  • Materials
    Nylon, aluminum clasp
  • Best For
    Everyday use, hiking, running
  • Unique Features
    Bungee, hands-free

  • Hands-free capabilities

  • Bungee webbing

  • Padded handle


  • Price

  • Might be too heavy for smaller breeds

Best Budget Dog Leash

  • Price
    $20
  • Materials
    Nylon
  • Best For
    Small to medium breeds, low-intensity walks
  • Unique Features
    Lightweight, affordable price

  • Affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Locking clasp

  • Traffic handle

  • Padded handle

Most Stylish Dog Leash

  • Price
    $45
  • Materials
    Polyester
  • Best For
    Small breeds, daily use
  • Unique Features
    Beautiful patterns

  • Lightweight

  • Beautiful patterns

  • Alligator-style clasp


  • Expensive

  • Limited designs

Best Hands-free Dog Leash

  • Price
    $49
  • Materials
    Nylon
  • Best For
    Hiking, running, and backcountry adventures
  • Unique Features
    Hands-free, dual handles, extenders

  • Rugged construction

  • Hands-free option

  • Bungee

  • Dual-handles


  • Expensive

  • Not suitable for small dogs

Best of the Rest

  • Price
    $22
  • Materials
    Nylon, plastic
  • Best For
    Everyday use, normal walks
  • Unique Features
    Easy-to-use locking mechanism

  • Smooth retraction

  • Long total length

  • Easy lock/unlock feature


  • Ribbon mesh tends to twist as it re-enters the slot in the body of the leash

  • Smallish hand opening may not comfortably accommodate larger hands or gloved hands in winter

  • Price
    $56
  • Materials
    Silicone, recycled ripstop
  • Best For
    Rainy days, regular use
  • Unique Features
    Lovely design, waterproof

  • Waterproof silicone construction

  • Ripstop joinery and handle

  • Locking carabiner clasp


  • Expensive

  • Swivel connection feels flimsy

  • Handle is stiff and uncomfortable to hold

  • Price
    $50 – $69
  • Materials
    Double braided rope
  • Best For
    Walking two dogs at once
  • Unique Features
    Slidelock, comfortable handle

  • Slidelock coupler

  • Comfortable handle

  • Multiple sizes

Dog Leash Comparison Chart

Dog Leash Price Materials Best For Unique Features
Ruffwear Roamer Bungee Dog Leash $40 Nylon, aluminum clasp Everyday use, hiking, running Bungee, hands-free
Ruffwear Front Range Dog Leash $20 Nylon Mellow dogs, low-intensity walks Lightweight, affordable price
Orvis x Fishe Wear Leash $45 Polyester Mellow town walks, daily use Beautiful patterns
Fido Pro Remi Runner Leash $49 Nylon Hiking, running, and backcountry adventures Hands-free, dual handles, extenders
TUG 360° Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Leash $22 Nylon, plastic Everyday use, normal walks Easy-to-use locking mechanism
Herzog Silicone Dog Leash $56 Silicone, recycled ripstop Rainy days, regular use Lovely design, waterproof
Timberwolf Alpine 2-Dog Adjustable Lead $50 – $69 Double braided rope Walking two dogs at once Slidelock, comfortable handle

How We Tested Dog Leashes

Our lead tester for this piece, Kristi Pahr, is an OG dog person who currently has four dogs to snuggle with. She understands that different situations demand different leashes and knows there is “the right” leash and “any old” leash for every activity.

Her pack consists of Spanky, a 13-year-old boxer, Ruby and Jade, three-year-old littermate German Shepherds, and Mr. Pibbles, an 11-month-old foundling mixed-breed. Thye tested these leashes over two months as they walked, ran, and played. Over the course of numerous walks and hikes, Kristi paid close attention to special features, durability, and function. GearJunkie editor Chris Kassar’s pup, Nala, also stepped in for some testing, and we enlisted the help of a guest tester named Cache to get another opinion. We took these leashes on walks around town and pushed their limits on big hiking, running, and wandering adventures in the mountains to see how they performed.

After months of tireless testing, we are sure these leashes are the best on the market. We will update our guide as new awesome leashes hit the shelves.

Need a complimentary collar? Check out our guide to the best dog collars. Or, if your dog needs more guidance while on a walk, consult our guide to the Best Dog Harnesses. And, if your pup needs a solid rest after all the adventures you go on, check out our guide to The Best Dog Beds.

Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose the Best Dog Leashes

We walk our dogs all the time, so the leash we use is important. Understanding the difference in leashes, how they work, what they’re capable of, and how to best use them can make all the difference in how much you enjoy spending time with your dog outdoors.

A leash that works for strolls around the park may not be the best bet for a rugged backcountry hike. And a leash that works for your German Shepherd is probably not the best choice for your neighbor’s Yorkie.

How Will You Use It?

Consider your lifestyle and the activities you like to do with your dog. If your walks consist of a two- or three-times daily walk down the city sidewalk with a mellow pup, the leash that will serve you best is likely something lightweight like the Orvis x Fishe Wear Leash.

Hiking or cross-country skiing? Go for the Fido Pro Remi Runner Leash. Two-dog household? Try a double leash like the Timberwolf Alpine 2-Dog Adjustable Lead. And if your dog loves nothing more than a dip in the lake or a splash in a puddle, a waterproof leash like the Herzog Silicone Leash is exactly what you need.

Materials

Leashes should be strong enough to withstand pulls and tugs but soft enough not to destroy your palms when you hold them. Strong nylon webbing is a great choice that holds together and will keep your dog on the end of the leash instead of tearing across the park or, worse, a busy city street. The Ruffwear Front Range Leash combines form and function. It is a tough leash with a comfortable, padded grip for owners.

Features

A backcountry leash doesn’t need the same features as a daily walk leash, though some, like rings for attaching pick-up bags, are ideal for both. Hands-free leashes like the Ruffwear Roamer Leash are great for multitasking, and the addition of a stretchy bungee makes it easy to control your dog without hurting yourself.

Retractable leashes, like the Tug Retractable Leash, are also great when you want your pup to have more freedom, but we don’t recommend these for dogs prone to pulling.

Training

Will you be using your new leash for training purposes? A long leash is ideal if you’re attempting to teach your dog off-leash obedience. Long training leashes provide dogs with lots of additional space to roam (some even up to 150 feet long, though twenty to thirty feet is more common) while allowing the owner to maintain control. These leashes work well for training, staying at a distance, or giving your dog extra freedom in areas with few people. 

These leads are also great for training working or hunting dogs in the field. Ideally, you’ll get an adjustable leash like the Fido Pro Remi Runner Leash, which allows for freedom in certain situations but also allows your pup to be reigned in when the situation warrants it.

Long leashes can take a bit of getting used to and are not recommended for beginners or use in crowded situations like walks down a busy city street. Ideally, owners will consult with a trainer to learn how to properly use a long leash to avoid frustration and potential injury to the dog. 

Type of Closure or Clasp

Most standard leashes have a metal clasp that attaches to the collar. This clasp, called a snap hook, is usually spring-loaded and thumb-operated. These clasps are fine for most dogs, though owners of very small dogs and very large dogs, as well as dogs who pull, should opt for a different closure.

Locking carabiners have grown in popularity because they are generally stronger than snap hooks and lock closed, preventing any accidental escapes. Carabiner leash clasps like on the Herzog Silicone Leash are ideal for hiking and running and also for rambunctious dogs who pull or jump while leashed.

Take your dog’s size into consideration when choosing leashes. A clasp that will accommodate the strength of even a medium-sized dog will likely be too heavy for a toy breed to wear comfortably, and a clasp that is strong enough to keep your Aussie safely on leash will be a piece of cake for a Mastiff or Great Dane to break through. One of the reasons we chose the Ruffwear Roamer Bungee Dog Leash as our Best Overall was because it worked for various sizes, strengths and breeds.

FAQ

When a dog pulls too strongly on their leash, it can cause injury to their neck, throat, and sometimes their face or eyes if there is enough pressure. Choosing the right collar can help, but ultimately, pulling is a behavior you want to stop as soon as possible, so consider consulting with a trainer or using a no-pull harness.

Most leashes can be cleaned up with a little warm, soapy water and a good rinse and air dry. Some are machine washable, but check the manufacturer’s instructions before tossing it in the washer to ensure it’s color-safe and won’t shrink or become misshapen.

Nylon is always a safe bet when it comes to leashes. The material is tough and durable and able to withstand the elements. Silicone leashes are great for water dogs. Leather leashes are attractive but stretch over time and may become brittle if not cared for properly.

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