Best Hands-Free Leashes

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
289 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best hands-free leashes

Last Updated October 2019

Energetic and always eager to explore, dogs make excellent jogging, running, and hiking companions. But even the best-behaved dogs sometimes get distracted, and with so many trees to sniff, squirrels to chase, and other dogs to greet, who can blame them? Worn around the waist or across the torso, hands-free leashes eliminate shoulder strain caused by erratic pulling and tugging while leaving your hands completely free.

Whether you need to push a stroller, answer calls, or pump your arms while you jog, hands-free leashes can make outdoor adventures more enjoyable for both you and Fido. But with so many options available, finding the perfect hands-free leash can be a challenge.

If you need help, you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we strive to simplify every shopping experience. Our in-depth shopping guide is crammed with all the information you need to choose the best hands-free leash for you and your dog.

Sizing adjustments on waist belts can vary, so if your waist circumference is smaller or larger than average, be sure to check the minimum and maximum measurements before you buy a waist belt hands-free leash.

Key considerations

Types of hands-free leashes

Hands-free leashes are available in a few different styles.

  • Waist belt: Rather than having a wrist loop or handle, waist belt hands-free leashes feature an adjustable belt that’s secured around your waist. Because they’re comfortable to wear and there’s little chance of getting tripped up by a weaving dog, waist-secured leashes tend to be the go-to choice for joggers and runners.

  • Crossbody: These courier-style hands-free leashes loop over your shoulder and across your torso. Many can quickly be adjusted and used as a conventional handheld leash as well. If your dog is large or particularly enthusiastic, this style can provide some extra stability.

  • Convertible: Convertible hands-free leashes can be adjusted and used in multiple configurations, conveniently delivering several leash styles in one. While some simply convert from crossbody to handheld, others can be fastened around your waist as well. Many can be used as a tether when it’s time for a break, and some will even accommodate more than one dog so you can walk or run with your pack.

  • Bicycle: Although these leashes are in a class of their own, they still bear mentioning – they are hands-free after all. Bicycle leashes come equipped with unique features to boost cycling safety for you and your dog. They typically consist of a metal arm that is attached to the rear axle or seat post of your bike and a sturdy but flexible leash.

Durability

Durability is perhaps the single most important consideration when choosing a hands-free leash. Flimsy materials and shoddy craftsmanship open the door to product failure – something most of us would rather not contemplate when out and about with a four-legged friend. To avoid accidents and canine scuffles, opt for a well-made leash that's constructed from sturdy materials like nylon webbing or leather. In terms of the finer details, plastic D-rings and carabiners are more likely to snap under pressure, especially if you have a large dog. Pay attention to fastening points, and go for a hands-free leash with metal hardware if possible.

Visibility

If you frequently take your dog out in the evening or early morning, using a leash that’s easy to spot is absolutely essential. Keeping your pooch visible can help prevent accidents if you run close to the road and will also make you easier to find in the event of an emergency. Vivid colors and reflective strips or stitching instantly boost visibility in low lighting or inclement weather conditions. For extra visibility, consider pairing your leash with a reflective dog vest.

Easy on and off

Having to fiddle with leash fasteners and adjustments every time you go out can be off-putting. In the same vein, struggling to take a leash off is not only frustrating but can put you at risk if your dog suddenly decides to take off after a squirrel or overthrow the current neighborhood alpha. Either way, a leash that goes on with ease and comes off quickly is a must. Look for a straightforward fastening system with a sturdy buckle and large, easy-to-grip carabiners for fast one-handed release.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most hands-free leashes have a maximum weight capacity. If you have a particularly large dog or want to walk two dogs using the same leash, don’t forget to check the weight limit first.

Features

Shock absorption

Pulling, tugging, and unexpected changes in direction are not only uncomfortable for you but can also place pressure on the delicate bones and joints in your dog’s neck. Shock-absorbing bungee leashes lessen the impact of sudden lunges on both ends of the leash. This means that you won’t easily get yanked off course when Fido gets ahead of himself and you can rest easy knowing his neck is protected.

Extra control

A couple of well-placed handles will make it easier to rein in enthusiastic pups and keep them on track. Having one handle near you will help with gentle steering and changes in direction, while another handle placed closer to your dog will provide better control in excitable or potentially risky situations. Wide, padded handles generally deliver superior grip and comfort.

Gliding clips

Some canines just can’t seem to decide if they prefer to walk on the right or the left, while others may suddenly veer off track when something interesting catches their attention. Whether your dog is a repeat offender or an occasional weaver, gliding waist belt clips allow the leash to slide back and forth freely without tripping you up.

Storage

Most of us need to carry a few essentials when we step out. A leash with built-in storage pockets or accessory loops can make for a truly hands-free experience by providing a dedicated spot for items like keys, dog waste bags, treats, or your smartphone.

EXPERT TIP

Try to keep your hands free when using a hands-free leash – you never know when you might need to control your dog. If you have extras to carry, consider a leash with built-in storage or use a backpack for larger loads.


Staff  | BestReviews

Price

With hundreds of hands-free leashes on the market, there’s one for every budget. Keep in mind that while you don’t necessarily have to shell out top dollar for a decent hands-free leash, you might sacrifice a few additional features or some quality should you opt for a cheaper model.

When it comes to budget-priced hands-free leashes, it’s possible to find some decent options in the $10 to $15 range. In general, basic leashes with few or no frills tend to offer the best quality for the price. While cheap and highly accessorized options can seem like a good deal, you could end up dealing with frustrating design flaws like malfunctioning zippers, flimsy buckles, or thin bungees that quickly become stretched out.

For $15 to $25, you’ll find a selection of sturdy hands-free leashes. If you’re looking for a model with loads of convenient features, aim for a leash that falls between the middle and higher end of this price range.

If you need a heavy-duty hands-free leash for a large dog or one that comes fully equipped to accommodate two dogs, it might be necessary to spend a little extra. Just about any style can be found for $25 to $40, including convertible hands-free leashes, and when it comes to nifty features, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

EXPERT TIP

Although hands-free leashes with bungee material are flexible, they don’t generally offer adjustable length. Unless it’s a one-size-fits-all model, choose a longer leash if you have a small dog and a shorter leash if you have a large dog.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t overlook basic leash training. It’s recommended that dogs have at least some leash training before you strap on a hands-free leash. Remember, you’ll practically be tied to your dog, so if you have a particularly large or energetic pooch, you’ll need to take extra care to avoid injuries.

  • Be alert. As tempting as it can be, you shouldn’t throw caution to the wind just because your dog is secured to your waist or torso. Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to your dog’s body language. That way you’ll have enough time to grab the leash before your dog dashes after a squirrel or rushes off to greet a friend.

  • Mind your dog walking manners. Hands-free leashes that are stretchy to assist with shock absorption also give dogs extra freedom. Keep an eye on your pup to make sure she’s not tripping up other pedestrians or overstepping personal boundaries.

  • Keep yourself and your pooch hydrated. Whether you’re taking a stroll or pounding the pavement, it’s important to make sure that both you and your dog are getting enough water.

Other products we considered

Couldn’t find what you were looking for among our top five hands-free leashes? Then one of our runners-up might be a better fit. If you need an affordable option that doesn’t skimp on quality, the TaoTronics Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash delivers sturdy construction and all the must-have features without breaking the bank. Whether you want extra versatility or simply need something with a little less give, the Kurgo Hands-Free Quantum Adjustable Dog Leash offers six useful configurations, including around the waist and over the shoulder, and does away with bungee material, so wayward pups are a little easier to control. Taking to the road on two wheels? The Walky Dog Plus Hands-Free Dog Bicycle Leash is specifically designed for use with a bike and will keep your dog safely by your side at all times.

Falls, torn ligaments, fractured bones, and dislocated joints are more likely to occur when using a regular dog leash. Hands-free leashes can drastically reduce your odds of suffering a dog walking injury.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a waist-secured hands-free leash for cycling?
A.
While you could technically use a hands-free leash with a waist belt while cycling, it might not be the safest option for you or your dog. Even if you were to shorten it, most hands-free leashes have quite a bit of give and won’t keep your dog from running in front of your bike. Hands-free leashes that are designed for cycling work to keep dogs a good distance away from both the sides and front of your bike for a safer ride.

Q. Is there any way to use a single-dog hands-free leash with two dogs?
A.
If you’ve already invested in a single-dog hands-free leash and recently welcomed a new addition to your fur family, there’s no need to retire your old leash and replace it with a dual-dog model. As long as your leash has a generous weight limit, leash couplers or splitters are an affordable way to transform just about any leash into a dual-dog leash in seconds.

Q. Will a hands-free leash help keep my dog from pulling?
A.
While a hands-free leash might not actively prevent pulling, models that are constructed with bungee material can certainly make the effects less noticeable for both of you. A little stretch can go a long way toward reducing the impact of sudden jerks as well as the resulting strain on muscles, tendons, and joints.

The team that worked on this review
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey