Three Keys to Selecting the Right Ratchet Straps for the Job

A strong, long ratchet strap can let you haul a small or large load without worrying about losing anything along the way.

Ratchet straps
Ratchet straps make it easy to secure loads when transporting things from point A to point B, as long as you get straps that are long enough, and strong enough, for the task at hand.Augo

If you hunt or enjoy just about any other type of outdoor activity, it’s likely you’ll need at least a pair of ratchet straps around from time to time. They’re as good for keeping dog crates from shifting in the bed of your truck as they are for stably holding furniture on a trailer when moving to a new home. Additionally, they’re great for a wide variety of other tasks, including attaching deer stands to trees. Most are just as easy to remove as they are to attach, making operation a no-brainer. When choosing ratchet straps, consider the following factors to make the best purchasing decision.

Strength

Ratchet Tie Down Straps
These ratchet straps have a 500-pound load capacity and 1,500-pound break strength.AUGO

You might think ratchet strap strength is too simple a concept for this discussion, but there’s actually more to the topic than meets the eye. Ratchet straps have both a breaking-strength rating and a working load limit. Breaking strength, as you would expect, is the amount of weight that would cause the strap to fail. More important is the working load limit. It’s important to know the weight of the maximum cargo you might haul and get straps sufficient for the task. For instance, if you plan to haul a half-ton (1,000-pound) load, you’ll need at least 1,000 pounds of working load limit. That means at least two straps of a minimum of 500 pounds. Even better would be two straps with a 700-pound maximum load limit, which far exceeds the strength necessary and alleviates worry. Just as important as the strength is securing ratchet straps properly and tightly.

Length/Width

FORTEM Ratchet Tie Down Straps
At 15-feet long, these ratchet straps are useful for tying down a large load in a pickup truck or on a trailer.FORTEM

Length is important because you can’t tie down a load or strap down an object with a strap that is too short. When choosing a strap, get one that is plenty long for your use. If you have a specific use in mind, take measurements to see what length strap you need. Then choose one a couple of feet longer. It’s extremely annoying to have a ratchet strap that is just barely long enough because inserting it into the ratchet and cranking the strap tight is difficult with just a few inches of material to work with. Equally frustrating is to have one several feet too long, which leaves you with lots of extra strap to worry about securing after you have your cargo tied down. One thing’s for sure, though: A ratchet strap that is too long is way more useful than one that is too short. So, err on the long side.

Functionality

RHINO USA Ratchet Straps Heavy Duty Tie Down Set
The coated steel ratchets on these tie-down straps won’t bite into your hands during use.Rhino USA

Usability takes in a number of factors. It is sometimes dependent on the hardware used in the straps. Obviously, the hardware on a ratchet strap that is going to be used to secure a load on a semi-tractor trailer needs to be much heavier and built of much better material than small straps used to strap an ice chest in the bed of your truck. The types of attachments at the end of the straps also affect usability. There are many different options, from D-rings to various types of hooks, so you’ll need to consider which is best for the attachment point you intend to use. Finally, the surfaces of the actual ratchet are a consideration. Some have sharp edges that can cause a painful experience every time you secure them and again when you go to loosen them. Others have rubber or plastic material covering those surfaces making them must more hand friendly.

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