After extensively researching over 50 of the best dog collars currently available, we bought the 12 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.
Of all the models we tested, the Ruffwear Flat Out is 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 collars we tested offer a more extensive selection of designs and colors, but there is still a lot to choose from here, so we doubt you'll have trouble finding something to suit your style. We noticed that the collar could start to look dingy, particularly the lighter colorways, but because it is so simple to clean, this wasn't a big problem. All told, we think the Flat Out is the best choice for the majority of dog owners.
Martingale dog collars offer an added degree of control when your dog is on-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.
While we found little to complain about while testing the Quick Snap, we didn't find anything especially impressive with it either; this dog collar is very average looking. If you're in the market for a snazzy collar to give your fuzzball some extra style, you'll need to spend some extra bucks for a more fashionable look. We noticed that the Quick Snap also has less stitching than some burlier models, leading us to speculate that it may not hold up for dogs who tend to play hard. Gripes aside, this is a solid option for a Martingale collar that will hardly dent your bank account.
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, we think this is an excellent choice for anyone shopping on a budget and who prefers a traditional solid-color webbing option for their dog.
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 that 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 model is extremely easy to clean and that the material is not prone to holding on to nasty smells after one simple wash.
The thin material of the Web Reaction does have a downside — it's not as durable as models made with thicker webbing or leather. And although we love the colorway options offered for this collar, there aren't many of them when compared to models that are offered in dozens of colors or have the option to customize. These things aside, the Web Reaction is the way to go for a great-looking Martingale collar that is easy to clean and easy to use.
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
If you want a customized collar, the GoTags Personalized Reflective is our recommendation. 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 the GoTags collar is to put on and remove 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 and also for those who want to keep the number of jangly ID tags to a minimum.
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.
While the Illumiseen manual states that it is splash and moisture-resistant, it says that this collar shouldn't be submerged, so if your dog is going swimming, you are going to need to consider a different option. There isn't a separate attachment spot for a tag, and this collar isn't the easiest to adjust in size. We also 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 direct from the company. All of this aside, this model is our favorite LED light-up collar.
Why You Should Trust Us
To test and rank these products, we went on walk after walk, then more walks, and then even more walks — to the point where even our dogs were tired. 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)
With the number of dogs and dog owners that frequent GearLab, we had plenty of experience to draw on for this review. Our dog collar testing and review process were headed up by David Wise and Ross Patton. Between the two 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, along with Ross's two hounds. They were also joined by a handful of other testers with dogs of all shapes and sizes to help you find the perfect collar for your furry friend.
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.
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 the way to go for a standard version, and the PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap is a great option for a cinching model. 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 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.
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.
In terms of flexibility, the Blueberry Classic Adjustable, PetSafe Martingale Quick Snap, and Joytale Reflective are about what you'd expect from a traditional synthetic webbing collar. The GoTags Reflective collar is slightly less flexible due to its embroidery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 their stitching is as thick and tightly knit as we've seen. 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 and wear and tear.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 best-looking collar is the Ruffwear Flat Out. This model is offered in a variety of fashionable prints, and we found the neutral-colored gray buckle to be snazzy. We appreciate the reinforced aluminum leash hoop that is separate from the smaller, more low-profile keyring hoop meant for tags.
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.
The Ruffwear Web Reaction Martingale has all of these same components, but we wish that the designer used matching webbing for the Martingale section rather than a solid color. 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.
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.
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", 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 acheive your desired aesthetic.
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 do appreciate the reflectivity integrated into the GoTags Personalized and the Joytale, which adds a degree of safety while walking your furball at night.
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, regardless of whether you have a tiny terrier, massive mastiff, or anything in between.
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