We used the following criteria to assess the 19 LED collars:
The entire purpose of a LED collar is to make your dog more visible. If done correctly, you and everyone else will be able to make out where your dog is from a great distance. This is super important, especially if you live in a place with a lot of car traffic or plan to visit an area with little light.
For this category, we are evaluating whether or not the LEDs are visible from every angle, as well as if any other reflective material is included in the collar. If the LEDs don’t go all the way around the collar, it not only means you have significantly reduced visibility, but it can also be a red flag for cheap manufacturing.
It isn’t enough that the collar lights up. We’re looking for is something that’s made to last and is going to hold up to wear and tear. What’s interesting with LED collars is that they’re not always made like your traditional collar. While some are made of silicon or rubber with LEDs throughout, while the vast majority are made of nylon.
It is also important to consider whether your collar is waterproof, water-resistant, or completely vulnerable to weather. (However, keep in mind that the vast majority of high-quality collars will only be water-resistant. Typically, fully waterproof collars are for extremely limited use.)
The vast majority of LED dog collars come with three light modes: steady beam, fast flash, and slow flash. The setting you use is mostly personal preference–after playing with your options, you’ll quickly discover which one is easiest for you to spot (without being aggressive or obnoxious). It is important to note, though, that the fast flash has a strobe-effect that can be dangerous for people who have seizures.
You don’t want the lights to go out when you need them most. LED collars come in one of two options: replaceable batteries or rechargeable batteries. In both cases, we look at how long a full battery will last. For rechargeable batteries, we also look at how long it takes to get to a full charge.
It’s simple but essential–you need a collar that will fit your dog snugly but comfortably. Many of these collars come in different sizes, so we look at the smallest size they have to the largest.
Why LED Makes Nighttime Better
If you and your pup enjoy spending time in the outdoors at night, it is of paramount importance that your dog wears an LED collar. First, an LED collar helps you to find your dog more quickly in an emergency. But even more importantly, an LED collar helps other people to identify your dog as a pet instantly, which is absolutely essential in areas used for hunting. An LED collar allows hunters to immediately distinguish between your dog and game and helps to keep your dog safe against a preventable tragedy.
Why Reflective Isn’t Always Enough
We love reflective gear. Reflective stitching is an essential safety feature in much of our favorite dog gear. But sometimes, reflective just isn’t enough. As can be inferred by its name, reflective collars are only effective when another light source is there to illuminate them. For example, reflective collars are excellent for running at night near roads, as headlights will illuminate the reflective stitching and keep you safe from drivers.
In the woods, however, you would have to aim a flashlight or another light source directly at your dog for the reflective stitching to make a difference. This is why we strongly recommend LED collars when you and your pup plan to be in a poorly lit location overnight.
Collars vs Clip-Ons
During our research, we encountered many LED options that clipped onto an existing collar. Unfortunately, while these may be convenient, they simply aren’t reliable. In low-light conditions, a detached light can be the difference between a safe and a lost pup. Additionally, the price difference between fully illuminated collars and simple clip-on lights is not great enough to justify the increased risk. For this reason, our reviews focus exclusively on LED collars.
Ensuring your dog stays visible and safe at night is incredibly important, and we absolutely love the guarantees of a solid LED collar. Once you find a reliable option, however, you can fully relax and enjoy your nighttime activities with your pup.
We hope that these reviews were able to help you decide which LED collar to go with and that your dog can now be a shining example to all. Let us know which one you decided to go purchase and how you’re going to use the LED collar to brighten up your life!