Retractable dog leashes I do and don’t recommend

TL;DR: Flexi retractable leashes are superior to the Alcott or Wigzi brands.

I’ve been using Flexi brand retractable leashes for two decades. But after a few years either the internal spring breaks or the tape or cord is frayed to the point it breaks. So with anywhere from two to four dogs in my house during that time I’ve had to buy quite a few leashes during those two decades.

A couple weeks before Christmas 2017 one of my Flexi leashes broke. So I drove to my favorite pet store, Pet Food Express, and was surprised they no longer stocked the Flexi brand. I could have found another local store that carried the brand I had been using for close to twenty years or ordered from Amazon or another web retailer. But I want to support local businesses whenever I can so I decided to try one of the two brands they now stock.

I bought two Alcott retractable leashes. The first thing I noticed is the buttons to lock the leash to a fixed length were awkward to use compared to the Flexi model I had been using. That however was a very minor issue. What wasn’t a minor issue was that at the end of the first week both leashes had stopped retracting the tape all the way with one inch left dangling. And every day the amount of tape not fully retracted increased. By the end of six weeks it was one to two feet as you can see in this picture:

Alcott retractable leashes after six weeks.

So I wrote to Pet Food Express about my unhappiness with the product. I got a reply twelve hours later telling me to take the broken leashes back to the store for replacement or credit. That sort of customer service is why I try to support local businesses. I decided to try the other brand they now stocked: the Wigzi retractable leash. That brand was more disappointing than Alcott. The nylon tape is far too thin and flexible. The tape constantly folds in half longitudinally which causes it to bind when retracted. When not folding in half the tape twists into a tight spiral as my dogs stop, sniff, pee, then circle each other as they resumed walking. Neither problem happens with the stiffer nylon tape used by Flexi. And to top it off after two weeks the Wigzi leashes were also no longer reliably retracting the tape all the way.

I hated doing it but I went to the nearby big box pet store and bought two Flexi retractable leashes. Two weeks later they haven’t given me a single problem. Bonus points for a locking mechanism that is much easier to use than the other brands.