Reviews You Can Rely On

The 7 Best Dog Collars of 2024

We tested various types of dog collars from brands like Ruffwear, Pawblefy, Wolfgang, PetSafe, and more to determine the best models for your pup
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Best Dog Collar Review (We tested models from several of the top brands for this review.)
We tested models from several of the top brands for this review.
Credit: Ross Patton
By David Wise, Ross Patton, and Benjamin Hickok  ⋅  Mar 21, 2024

After extensively researching over 50 of the best dog collars currently available, we bought the 14 most compelling options to test out side-by-side and help you find the best for your trusty canine companion. We went on dozens of walks with dogs big and small, rating and scoring how much work it took to adjust and how convenient each collar was to use. We looked at how durable, stylish, and easy to clean each collar is, including which ones stayed smelling the nicest. Read on to find out which dog collar we crowned the winner, which is the best for pullers, our favorite martingale model, and more.

A good collar goes hand in hand with a great leash — our dog leash review can lead you to the right one for your pup. We've taken the guesswork out of shopping for your pet with our reviews of the top pet goods — everything from the best dog beds and best dog toys to our favorite dog clippers and the top-rated dog frisbees.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on March 21, 2024, to share more info on how we tested dog collars.

Top 14 Dog Collars - Test Results

Displaying 6 - 10 of 14
 
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award    
Price $15.00 List
$12.99 at Amazon
$10.00 List
$9.99 at Amazon
$6.00 List
$5.99 at Amazon
$22 List
$16.97 at Amazon
$17.00 List
$16.99 at Amazon
Overall Score
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65
Star Rating
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Pros Highly visible, reflective, customizable, simple, affordableEasy adjustments, affordable, several colors availableReflective, simple, and affordableEasy to adjust, metal buckle, tons of color optionsMany available colors, separate tag hoop, reasonably durable
Cons Average durability, no dedicated ID ringTags go on leash ring, average lookingAverage durability, average materials, average aestheticsRetains smells after washing, average looksNot the easiest to adjust, so-so aesthetics
Bottom Line An affordable and effective way to give your furry friend a little added safetySimple yet effective, this classic collar is a great choice if you are shopping on a budgetA pretty run of the mill option in the world of affordable reflective dog collarsA metal-buckle model available in an array of solid colorsAn average-looking collar with a leash loop and a dedicated keyring hoop
Rating Categories PAWBLEFY Personaliz... Blueberry Classic A... BoomiBoo Reflective... Country Brook Petz... LupinePet Eco 1"
Ease of Adjustment (30%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (30%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Cleaning (20%) Sort Icon
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Aesthetics (20%)
7.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Specs PAWBLEFY Personaliz... Blueberry Classic A... BoomiBoo Reflective... Country Brook Petz... LupinePet Eco 1"
Size Tested Medium (12-18") Medium 14.5-20" Medium(12-18") Large (16-22") 16-28"
Available Sizes 9-12", 11-16", 14-20", 17-25" 8-11", 12-16", 14.5-20", 18-26" 8-12", 10-14", 12-18", 14-22", 16-26" 11-13", 13-16", 16-22", 18-26" 12-20", 16-28", 25-31"
Collar Material Webbing Webbing Webbing Webbing Webbing
Closure Type Buckle Buckle Buckle Buckle Buckle
Closure Material Plastic Plastic Plastic Metal Plastic
Other Available Options 4 Colors, 3 fonts, 4 font colors 26 Colors, 4 sizes 12 Colors 30 Colors, 4 sizes 20 Colors, 3 sizes


The Best Dog Collars for 2024


Best Overall Dog Collar


Ruffwear Flat Out


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 8.0
  • Durability 7.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 8.0
  • Aesthetics 9.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 12
REASONS TO BUY
Looks great
Easy to clean and doesn't absorb smells
Convenient
REASONS TO AVOID
Fewer color options available

Of all the models we tested, the Ruffwear Flat Out proved to be the top dog. This collar latches and unlatches quickly and easily, and it's especially flexible, even after getting soaking wet and then drying out in the sun. Despite its flexibility, we found it reasonably solid and durable, and it also remained odor-free during testing. The collar includes a separate ID attachment with a silicone sound dampener, and we love all the eye-catching patterns and designs offered.

Formerly called the Hoopie, this model was renamed the Flat Out, and its Tubelok webbing was updated with a locking edge designed to increase durability and prevent unraveling.

There aren't many things we don't like about the Flat Out. Some other models in our lineup offer a more extensive selection of designs and colors, but there is still plenty to choose from here, so we doubt you'll have trouble finding something to suit your style. We noticed that the collar could start looking dingy, particularly the lighter colorways, but because it is so simple to clean, this wasn't a big issue. All told, we think the Flat Out is the best option for most dog owners. However, if you are in the market for a no-pull option, we highly recommend the functional, well-built, and good-looking Ruffwear Web Reaction.

The all-around great Ruffwear Flat Out Dog Collar
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

A Budget-Friendly Cinching Collar


PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 8.0
  • Durability 6.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 8.0
  • Aesthetics 6.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 5
REASONS TO BUY
Quick adjusting
Odors wash out
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Average look
Unimpressive stitching

Martingale dog collars offer an added degree of control when your dog is on a leash. The self-cinching design gently tightens if your dog is tugging too hard and also keeps them from backing out of their collar. If this sounds like a feature that you and your furry friend could benefit from, the PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap is our recommendation for an inexpensive Martingale. Our team found this model very easy to adjust, and the plastic buckle is as easy as it gets when it comes time to remove the collar. Odors also completely disappeared for us with one wash cycle.

We had very few complaints about the Quick Snap. And yet, we also didn't find anything particularly impressive about it either. Overall, this dog collar is very average looking. If you're searching for a snazzy collar to give your fuzzball some extra style, you'll have to splurge a little more for a fashionable look. Compared to other burlier models, we noticed that the Quick Snap also has less stitching, leading us to suspect that it might not hold up for dogs who tend to play hard. Critiques aside, this is an excellent option for a Martingale collar that will hardly put a dent in your bank account. If you are willing to and able to spend just a little more to get some additional features and some really nice aesthetics, then consider the attractive and effective Ruffwear Web Reaction.

The PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap is an affordable and effective no pull collar.
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

A Simple Budget Collar


Blueberry Classic Adjustable


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 8.0
  • Durability 7.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 7.0
  • Aesthetics 5.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 22
REASONS TO BUY
Simple and user-friendly
Affordable
Many color choices
REASONS TO AVOID
No dedicated ID tag attachment
Longer drying time

Look no further than the Blueberry Classic Adjustable for a simple webbing collar that won't empty your wallet. It's flexible, easily adjustable, and quick to put on and take off. However, as with any webbing collar, if your dog gets their teeth into it while not wearing it, it may not survive too long. This collar also performed well in our odor absorption test and didn't retain any odors after a wash.

Compared to some of the flashier patterned options, the Blueberry Classic won't make a huge style statement, but we appreciate the fact that it is available in a plethora of colors. The denser webbing held on to water just a bit more than some of the other collars in our lineup, and if completely soaked through, it took a little longer to dry out. All in all, this is an excellent choice for anyone shopping on a budget and seeking a traditional solid-color webbing option for their dog. At a similar price point, you may also consider adding a little bit of personalization and greater reflectivity with the GoTags Personalized Reflective or the PAWBLEFY.

dog collar - the blueberry is simple, classic, and affordable.
The Blueberry is simple, classic, and affordable.
Credit: Jason Peters

Great for Big Dogs and Strong Pullers


Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 8.0
  • Durability 7.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 8.0
  • Aesthetics 8.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 4
REASONS TO BUY
Reduces tugging
Thin material does not hold odors
Silicone tag silencer
Dedicated tag hoop
REASONS TO AVOID
May wear out sooner than some
Few print options

If you're in the market for a top-tier Martingale collar, we recommend the Ruffwear Web Reaction. Our team agreed that this model is offered in some of the most fashionable prints we've seen. We appreciate the aluminum V-ring dedicated to being a leash anchor with a separate loop dedicated to tags. The asymmetrically shaped ring is less likely to get snagged and bend than a circle ring, and the included silicone tag reduces noise by placing it between metal. We were pleased to learn that this collar is extremely easy to clean and that the material is not prone to holding on to nasty smells after one simple wash.

There is a drawback to the thin material of the Web Reaction — it's not as durable as collars made with leather or thicker webbing. We love the available color options, especially the color we chose for testing, but there are few to choose from compared to other models offered in dozens of colors or have the option to customize. Aside from these downsides, the Web Reaction is the way to go for a great-looking Martingale collar that is easy to clean and easy to use. If you prefer more color options and a non-martingale collar, then take a look at the very similar Ruffwear Flat Out.

The attractive Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale dog collar is great for dogs that pull.
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

Our Favorite Personalized Option


GoTags Personalized Reflective


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 7.0
  • Durability 7.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 8.0
  • Aesthetics 7.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 5 base colors, 15 thread options
REASONS TO BUY
Clear and easy-to-read embroidery
Easy to clean and odor-resistant
REASONS TO AVOID
Fewer base colors to choose from
Reflective strip can show wear

For anyone seeking a customized collar, we recommend the GoTags Personalized Reflective. You can get a total of 25 characters embroidered on it, which should be enough space for most pet names and a phone number, eliminating the need for a separate ID tag with contact information. There are five different base colors to choose from, with 15 separate thread choices to customize. We love how easy it is to put on and remove the GoTags collar from your dog's neck, and we appreciate that it didn't hold on to any residual odors during our testing.

Pure webbing collars offer a lot of flexibility, and we noticed that the embroidery and reflective strip of the GoTags Reflective reduce that flex, which we assume will be more noticeable on smaller sizes than the larger ones. Dirt, scuffs, and scrapes also all appeared rather quickly on the reflective strip, but after a quick wash, the brightness returned fast. This is a great choice for those who tend to take their pet out on early morning or late evening walks when high visibility is of the utmost importance. It's also a good option if you want to minimize the number of jangly ID tags on your dog's collar. If you want a customizable collar and you like the look of leather, we recommend the Custom Catch Personalized.

dog collar - the gotags personalized reflective collar is a great way to keep...
The GoTags Personalized Reflective collar is a great way to keep your furry friend easily recognizable while also keeping them safer at night.
Credit: David Wise

Best Low Light Safety Collar


PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 7.0
  • Durability 7.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 7.0
  • Aesthetics 7.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 4
REASONS TO BUY
A simple collar
Customizable Tag
REASONS TO AVOID
Bright materials, including buckles
Reflective and Bright

The PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon is an exceptional safety product for your dog, especially in the blaze orange color we tested. It doesn't offer any truly groundbreaking or revolutionary features but instead utilizes a combination of simple, high-visibility parts and materials that make it easy to see your dog, especially in low-light situations. The personalized aspect of this collar, combined with the reflective stitching in the already highly visible blaze orange nylon, as well as matching blaze orange hardware and personalized tag, sets it apart from standard dog collars.

We tested the PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon while upland game hunting and on nighttime walks, and really liked the safety this collar adds by improving how quickly and easily you can identify your dog in tall grasses, thick sagebrush, and low light situations. We think the nylon material could be slightly improved, like the treated tight weave of the Ruffwear Flat Out or Ruffwear Web Reaction, and it would also be nice if it was redesigned to be a no-pull collar. Despite these critiques, we highly recommend this dog collar as a great budget-friendly way to increase your furry friend's safety.

The very visible and reflective PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon Dog Collar.
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

Best Illuminated Collar


Illumiseen LED Rechargeable


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Adjustment 7.0
  • Durability 5.0
  • Ease of Cleaning 4.0
  • Aesthetics 8.0
Material: Webbing | Available Colors/Patterns: 6
REASONS TO BUY
Works as a normal collar
Buckle is easy to clip/unclip
REASONS TO AVOID
Shouldn't be submerged
Proprietary charging connector

If you routinely walk your dog at nighttime and want to add a little more visibility, then we recommend the Illumiseen LED Rechargeable. This collar cleverly hides its battery and LED light source in a small enclosure sandwiched between layers of webbing and then uses a pair of flexible fiber-optic tubes to light up almost the entire length of the collar. It's flexible, easily conforming to your pet's neck, and is easy to take on and off. The plastic buckle, leash attachment, and stitching all seem solid and secure.

The Illumiseen manual claims this model is splash and moisture-resistant, but it also states that this collar shouldn't be submerged. Therefore, you will need to consider another option if your dog likes swimming. It also does not include a separate attachment spot for a tag, and it isn't the easiest model to adjust in size. Furthermore, we weren't impressed that the Illumiseen uses a proprietary charging cable instead of a standard one, so if you lose it, you will have to purchase another one directly from the company. All things considered, this model is our favorite LED light-up collar. To add more ability to find and track your dog, consider using one of the Best Bluetooth Trackers we tested. If LEDs are just a bit too much, or your dog likes getting wet, but you still would like to improve your dog's safety, you might consider the PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon.

dog collar - the illumiseen led rechargeable has a thick strap and a solid buckle...
The Illumiseen LED Rechargeable has a thick strap and a solid buckle but cannot be submerged in water.
Credit: Ross Patton

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
79
Ruffwear Flat Out
Best Overall Dog Collar
$25
Editors' Choice Award
77
Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale
Great for Big Dogs and Strong Pullers
$20
Top Pick Award
72
GoTags Personalized Reflective
Our Favorite Personalized Option
$20
Top Pick Award
71
Wolfgang Man & Beast
$20
70
PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap
A Budget-Friendly Cinching Collar
$13
Best Buy Award
70
PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon
Best Low Light Safety Collar
$15
Top Pick Award
69
Blueberry Classic Adjustable
A Simple Budget Collar
$10
Best Buy Award
68
BoomiBoo Reflective Nylon Adjustable
$6
68
Black Rhino Comfort Collar
$25
67
Country Brook Petz Premium Nylon
$22
65
LupinePet Eco 1"
$17
63
Joytale Reflective
$10
60
Illumiseen LED Rechargeable
Best Illuminated Collar
$19
Top Pick Award
60
Custom Catch Personalized
$25

dog collar - broadus and boo think the ruffwear and wolfgang models are the best.
Broadus and Boo think the Ruffwear and Wolfgang models are the best.
Credit: Ross Patton

How We Test Dog Collars


To test and rank these collars, we went on walk after walk, then more walks, and then even more walks. We tested their visibility and reflectivity by conducting walks in the evenings and at nighttime, as well as taking a couple of dogs on upland game hunts that last until dusk, where visibility and safety are of the utmost importance. We evaluated the closure mechanisms and timed how smoothly they operated, and we assessed each collar's wear and tear, checking for weak points or unraveled stitching. The score for each dog collar was determined via testing across four key metrics:
  • Ease of Adjustment (30% of overall score weighting)
  • Durability (30% weighting)
  • Ease of Cleaning (20% weighting)
  • Aesthetics (20% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


With the number of dogs, dog owners, and outdoorsmen that frequent GearLab, we had plenty of experience to draw on for this review. Our dog collar testing and review process was headed up by David Wise, Ross Patton, and Ben Hickok. Between the three of them, they have tested hundreds of home and outdoor products for GearLab ranging from camping gear to power tools and kitchen appliances to fitness equipment. Assisting with this review are David's Newfoundland and Bernese Mountain Dog, Ross's two hounds, and Ben's Catahoula Leopard. They were also joined by a handful of other dogs of all shapes and sizes to help you find the perfect collar for your furry friend.

Checking if this Martingale collar helped curb pulling.
Checking if this Martingale collar helped curb pulling.
Bear giving the Illumiseen collar a try.
Bear giving the Illumiseen collar a try.
Pacha patiently waiting for the Hoopie's very easy to use snap...
Pacha patiently waiting for the Hoopie's very easy to use snap buckle to be latched before her walk.
Our fuzzy models didn't mind the work it took to put this project together.

Analysis and Test Results


After an exhaustive market research process, we purchased the top contenders and split our head-to-head dog collar tests into four metrics. Standout performances of products in each metric are outlined below.


Value


The elements to consider when shopping for a dog collar in terms of value are style, durability, and functionality. Generally speaking, if you're looking for a certain feature such as personalization, fashionable prints or materials, or components such as extra padding or LED lights, it's going to cost more than a run-of-the-mill collar. If you're looking for a model that's basic and affordable, the Blueberry Classic Adjustable is a good standard version, and the PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap is a great option for a cinching model. The BoomiBoo Reflective Nylon Adjustable was the most affordable collar we tested and offers the bare minimum from a dog collar.

dog collar - collars with buckles that clip tend to be easier to put on and...
Collars with buckles that clip tend to be easier to put on and remove than models that are styled after a belt.
Credit: Jason Peters

Considering its LED lights and integrated battery, we think the Illumiseen LED Rechargeable is a great deal. If you like the idea of your furry friend's name being stitched on their collar, the GoTags Personalized Reflective is reasonably affordable and includes customization with your purchase. The PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon is also very affordable, customizable, and very reflective, but most importantly, it is a simple and affordable way to make your dog much more visible and increase their safety factor at night. The two Ruffwear models, the Flat Out and the Web Reaction Martingale, are on the pricier side, but they offer snazzy prints, tough key rings, and silicone tag silencers.

dog collar - a pile of past collars geared up and ready for walking.
A pile of past collars geared up and ready for walking.
Credit: David Wise

Ease of Adjustment


One of our most important metrics relates to how easy these collars are to use and adjust. We assessed the time it took to take them on and off, how smoothly the buckle or clasp operates, how flexible and conforming each collar is, what sort of leash and tag attachment points there are, as well as how easy each collar is to adjust in circumference.


For convenience, we vastly prefer webbing collars with a snap-style buckle over the ones with a belt buckle closure. In particular, the Ruffwear Flat Out, Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale, and Wolfgang Man & Beast stood out from the other models for their extreme flexibility and ability to conform around our dogs' necks.

dog collar - the thin webbing of the ruffwear web reaction martingale makes for...
The thin webbing of the Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale makes for quick and easy adjustments.
Credit: Ross Patton

Regarding flexibility, the Blueberry Classic Adjustable, PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap, Joytale Reflective, BoomiBoo Reflective Nylon Adjustable, and PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon are about what you'd expect from a traditional synthetic webbing collar, whereas the GoTags Reflective collar is slightly less flexible due to its embroidery.

dog collar - the embroidery on this collar makes it a little less flexible but...
The embroidery on this collar makes it a little less flexible but Arlo doesn't seem to mind too much.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Country Brook Petz is another snap collar, but it features an all-metal buckle, which didn't latch and unlatch quite as smoothly as some of its plastic competitors. All of the webbing collars, along with the Illumiseen LED Collar, have sturdy D-rings to serve as leash attachment points. The Ruffwear Flat Out and Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale both have a dedicated ID tag loop, so you'll never need to worry about accidentally clipping your leash to the tag instead of the D-ring.

dog collar - we found the metal buckle on the country brook petz didn't clasp or...
We found the metal buckle on the Country Brook Petz didn't clasp or unclasp quite as smoothly as some of the others.
Credit: David Wise

The embroidered GoTags collars are also very convenient since the customization option eliminates the need for a separate ID tag entirely, so long as you include your phone number in the embroidery. The Black Rhino Comfort Collar and the Custom Catch Personalized both have a belt buckle clasp, which we found to be much less convenient since they take longer to put on. Your size adjustments are also more limited since you must rely on the pre-punched holes for discrete lengths rather than having an entire range available as you do with a sliding adjustment. The Black Rhino is a bit more user-friendly than the other two due to its flexibility.

dog collar - the belt buckle on the black rhino collar can be a bit more of a...
The belt buckle on the Black Rhino collar can be a bit more of a hassle to use.
Credit: David Wise

The illuminated collar we tested — the Illumiseen — is relatively user-friendly but is a bit more work due to its electronic nature. It can be used as a normal collar, but it's harder to adjust and much less flexible, so we would mainly recommend it for its light-up qualities, and it wouldn't be our first choice for a day-to-day collar.

dog collar - the illumiseen truly shines at night, making your pup much more...
The Illumiseen truly shines at night, making your pup much more visible.
Credit: David Wise

Durability


To compare and assess durability, we looked at the materials each collar is made of and if they sustained any wear and tear or damage during testing. We pulled as hard as we could on each collar to see if the clasp separated or if anything broke. All of the collars in our review passed the pull test.


With its metal components, thick webbing, and a layer of neoprene, our team found the Black Rhino Comfort Collar to be the most durable of the bunch. The Custom Catch was not far behind with its burly leather construction. In general, leather collars are probably better for dogs who aren't prone to diving into the water at every available chance.

dog collar - the metal grommets, steel buckle, and thick material of the black...
The metal grommets, steel buckle, and thick material of the Black Rhino make it one of the most durable models we've seen.
Credit: Ross Patton

Collars made from webbing are moderately durable, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. The Ruffwear models are made from fairly thin material, but the weave is tightly knit, and they seem to have a greater sheen to them as if they are coated or treated. They also have bar tacking that is bigger and thicker than that of all other models we tested. The LupinePet Eco 1", Joytale Reflective, and Blueberry Classic Adjustable both have thicker webbing but less stitching. Each of these models uses hard plastic for its buckles, which is very resistant to scratching, wear, and tear.

The Ruffwear materials are tightly woven, and the bartacking is very...
The Ruffwear materials are tightly woven, and the bartacking is very heavy.
Similar but different clip in points.
Similar but different clip in points.

While the PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon can be customized with your dog's name and phone number, we are a little cautious of the durability of the custom printing onto the silicone-like nameplate material. It's worth noting, that many dog owners will attach other safety information to a collar at a dedicated ID clip or anchor point, such as veterinary information and any other county-required tags, so while customization is nice one of the more important durability aspects of a collar is how securely you can attach tags, regardless of customization features.

All of the other webbing collars emerged from our tests relatively unscathed, but we did see some slight tarnishing on the metal buckle of the Country Brook Petz, as well as some scrapes and scuffs on the plastic Wolfgang Man & Beast buckle. The Man & Beast uses glue rather than stitching to hold the collar together, which makes us a bit skeptical of its longevity. We also noticed slight wear on the reflective strip of the GoTags Reflective, but it seemed minor.

dog collar - the wolfgang man & beast uses glue rather than stitching.
The Wolfgang Man & Beast uses glue rather than stitching.
Credit: Ross Patton

While the Illumiseen does have a relatively beefy buckle and a thick webbing strap, its electronics will be more susceptible to damage from impact or liquids. However, not even the toughest dog collar will stand up to extensive chewing, so it's best to make sure the collar is either snugly worn or safely stored if you want to prolong its life and keep it from becoming the next toy your dog shreds.

dog collar - the illumiseen looks like a fairly typical collar by day.
The Illumiseen looks like a fairly typical collar by day.
Credit: David Wise

Ease of Cleaning


Our next series of tests focused on how easy to clean each collar is, how long each took to dry, and how prone each one is to absorb smells. To test this, we soaked all of the collars that could be submerged in an apple cider vinegar bath overnight, then ran them through a washing machine on a “Quick Wash” setting without laundry soap so there wouldn't be any fragrances to mask the vinegar. After washing, we smelled each collar and noted how much water they held after the spin cycle, then laid them out in the sun to dry to see if they lost any flexibility.


We couldn't smell the slightest hint of vinegar on the GoTags Personalized Reflective, Man & Beast, Blueberry Classic, or either Ruffwear collars once they came out of the wash, passing this test with flying colors. Most of these collars were also almost completely dry just from the spin cycle, though a few were still damp. The Black Rhino, PetSafe Martingale, Joytale Reflective, LupinePet Eco 1", and Country Brook Petz all had a strong vinegar smell after the washing machine and were quite wet, but the smell mainly dissipated once they had dried. We also found that the PetSafe collar stiffened up a bit more than the others once it baked in the sun.

dog collar - here, our doggy models piper and milo are wearing the black rhino ad...
Here, our doggy models Piper and Milo are wearing the Black Rhino ad the Joytale Reflective.
Credit: Ross Patton

Leather collars like the Custom Catch are notorious for collecting smells and are more susceptible to water damage than webbing collars. Because of this, we skipped our soak test to avoid destroying them. We also skipped soaking and washing the LED collars, given their electronic nature and manufacturer warnings about submerging them.

dog collar - collars with electronics such as the illumiseen cannot be put in a...
Collars with electronics such as the Illumiseen cannot be put in a washing machine.
Credit: Ross Patton

Aesthetics


In our most subjective metric, we judged the visual appeal of each collar. We aggregated the opinions of multiple pet owners when comparing looks and considered the number of colors/prints available, as well as any other aesthetic features. Collars with elements such as tag silencers, neoprene padding, reflectivity, or LED lights scored higher than if the same collar lacked these components.


Our team agreed that the Ruffwear Flat Out, which comes in twelve different fashionable prints, offers the best-looking aesthetics for most people and also works well with the neutral-colored gray buckle. We appreciate the reinforced aluminum leash hoop that is separate from the smaller, more low-profile keyring hoop meant for tags.

dog collar - broadus expressed his excitement for the stylish look of the...
Broadus expressed his excitement for the stylish look of the Ruffwear Flat Out.
Credit: Ross Patton

The included leash ring on the Flat Out has a shape that's less likely to snag than a circle, and it includes a silicone tag to be used in between metal tags to reduce jingling.

dog collar - the ruffwear models include an oval-shaped keyring that is resistant...
The Ruffwear models include an oval-shaped keyring that is resistant to bending and snagging as well as a silicone silencer that goes in between noisy metal tags.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale has all of these same components, but we wish that the designer used matching webbing for the Martingale section of the collar rather than a solid color. We also found that the color we chose for our test model was one of the most vibrant and aesthetically pleasing prints you'll find on a dog collar, but unlike the Ruffwear Flat Out, the Web Reaction is only offered in four prints, not twelve.

dog collar - the ruffwear web reaction is an attractive no-pull dog collar.
The Ruffwear Web Reaction is an attractive no-pull dog collar.
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

If you don't find a Ruffwear pattern that you like, the Wolfgang Man & Beast has several other stylish options for those searching for something snazzier.

dog collar - the wolfgang man & beast is one of our team's favorites when it...
The Wolfgang Man & Beast is one of our team's favorites when it comes to looks.
Credit: Ross Patton

We appreciate the burly look and added comfort offered by the Black Rhino. The Illumiseen is only offered in a handful of colors, but we awarded it bonus points for its high degree of nighttime visibility.

The Illumiseen makes your dog much easier to see after the sun goes...
The Illumiseen makes your dog much easier to see after the sun goes down.
The Black Rhino has an industrial heavy-duty look that might not be...
The Black Rhino has an industrial heavy-duty look that might not be for everyone.
Dog collars range from fashionable to functional and everywhere in between.

For those seeking a solid color, the Blueberry Pet Essentials Classic, LupinePet Eco 1", BoomiBoo Reflective Nylon Adjustable, and Country Brook Petz offer the most options. The GoTags Personalized and Custom Catch will be your best bet if you're looking for a custom collar with your pet's name on it. The GoTags collar is only available in five different base colors, but you get 15 different thread color options for the embroidery of your pet's name, which allows you to mix and match to achieve your desired aesthetic.

Shasta showing off one of the many available color combinations of...
Shasta showing off one of the many available color combinations of the GoTags.
It's easy to find the perfect match given the variety of thread and...
It's easy to find the perfect match given the variety of thread and color combos available with this GoTags collar.
Embroidering your dog's name and your phone number on the GoTags can eliminate the need for a nametag.

The Custom Catch also allows you to add icons — like paw prints — for some fun visual embellishment. While they don't illuminate, we appreciate the integrated reflective elements of the GoTags Personalized and the Joytale that add a degree of safety while walking your furball at night.

dog collar - reflective materials in low light differ in the amount of...
Reflective materials in low light differ in the amount of reflectivity.
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

The PAWBLEFY Personalized Reflective Nylon adds personalization, high daytime as well as low light visibility, and reflective materials to provide just a little more safety for your companions.

dog collar - cora wearing multiple collars, including the collar, while searching...
Cora wearing multiple collars, including the collar, while searching for upland game.
Credit: Benjamin Hickok

Conclusion


We hope this has been a helpful analysis of the best dog collars on the market and that it helps you find the perfect product. Whether you have a strong puller, an independent work dog, a lap dog, a hiking, climbing, or a hunting companion, there is an option that we are sure will work for you and your four-legged friend.

David Wise, Ross Patton, and Benjamin Hickok