At one point or another, we’ve all probably needed to secure something in the back of a truck or trailer. Whether it’s a load of lumber for a home improvement project or a piece of furniture you’re moving to your new home, ratchet straps are an essential tool for anyone who frequently hauls things around. In this complete buying guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about ratchet straps so you can make an informed purchase the next time you’re in the market for some.
What are Ratchet Straps?
Ratchet straps, also known as tie-down straps, are lengths of webbing with a ratcheting mechanism on one end and either a hook or a loop on the other. You use them by threading the strap through the ratcheting end and then attaching it to whatever you’re trying to secure. To tighten the strap, you simply pull on the free end and ratchet it until the webbing is nice and snug. Then, to release the tension on the strap, you just depress the release lever on the ratcheting end. It’s really that simple!
What Features to Look for When Buying Ratchet Straps
When you’re shopping for ratchet straps, there are several important factors to consider so you can choose the right ones for your needs. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:
Ratchet straps come in a variety of lengths, from just a few feet long to 30 feet or longer. The length you need will depend on how much space you have to work with and what you’re trying to secure. If you’re unsure which length to get, err on the side of caution and go with something longer rather than shorter. You can always cut off any excess webbing if necessary but if your straps are too short, there’s not much you can do about it.
Ratchet straps also come in different widths, usually between 1 and 2 inches wide. Again, the width you need will depend on your specific application and what you’re trying to secure. Wider straps can bear more weight but they also take up more space so keep that in mind when making your selection.
Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS)
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing ratchet straps because it directly impacts their strength and safety. The MBS is essentially how much weight a strap can support before breaking and is typically expressed in pounds (lb) or kilograms (kg). When shopping for ratchet straps, always check the MBS rating and make sure it’s high enough for your needs. A higher MBS rating means stronger straps which are always better when securing heavy loads.
As we mentioned earlier, ratchet straps have either hooks or loops on one end. The type of end you need will depend on what you’re securing your load with as well as personal preference. If you’re using anchors or other types of hardware that require looped ends, then obviously that’s what you’ll need but if not, either type will work just fine. Some people prefer hooks because they’re easier to attach while others prefer loops because they lay flat against surfaces and don’t stick out as much which can be helpful when working in tight spaces. Ultimately, it’s up to you which type of end you choose but make sure whatever option you select is compatible with whatever else you’re using (anchors, hooks, etc.).