Best Ratchet Straps: Add More Security To Your Loads
We looked at some of the best ratchet straps to take large loads and weights.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Todd Brogowski / LAST UPDATED ON October 13, 2021
When you take your gear with you, you want to make sure it joins you at the final destination. However, using bungee cords can be dangerous (the hooks on bungee cords can — and have — injured users’ eyes), and tying down gear with rope can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Ratchet straps, on the other hand, do not end up flying across a roof rack toward your eyes, and their wide webbing and metal hooks do a far better job at securing gear than even the best paracord. This guide will help you pick the best ratchet straps for your needs, whether it involves taking the kids back to college or securing your off-road toys before heading out on vacation.
These are the ratchet straps you want if you have to secure a motorcycle to a trailer; the Rhino Ratchet Straps have a 1,823-pound breaking strength.
- Great breaking strength
- Surprisingly affordable
- Rhino Ratchet Straps are small, with 1-inch webbing
- Use plastic hooks that have been known to break unexpectedly
Affordable ratchet straps that have a 500-pound load capacity and a 1,500-pound break limit.
- Four 15-foot ratchet straps
- Two bungee cords
- 1,500-pound break limit
- Nylon webbing is very flexible, which requires additional ratcheting
- Sometimes can damage items being transported
- These straps are also too weak to secure motorcycles and ATVs
The Erickson 34416 Pro Series straps have a 1,100-pound working load limit and a 3,300-pound breaking limit. They also include a one-button release and retractable webbing.
- One-button release
- Highest weight limits for our collection of ratchet straps
- Only 10 feet in length
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Best Ratchet Straps Reviews & Recommendations
How We Selected The Products
We looked through hundreds of ratchet straps currently available for sale, considered their maximum load limits, cam mechanisms, and customer assessments against our own expertise, which included decades of experience securing cargo on trailers and automobile roof racks. We took into consideration those ratchet straps that came from well-known, high-quality brands as well as those that came from new or lesser known manufacturers. Above all, we prioritized safety of use as towing a motorcycle or other valuable cargo is stressful enough without worrying that your load will come loose on a highway.
Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.
Best Ratchet Straps Buying Guide & FAQs
Types of Ratchet Straps
There are two main types of ratchet straps: loop straps and two-piece straps. Loop straps can be considered an accessory to the two-piece straps. You can run the webbing of a two-piece strap through a loop strap before bringing the webbing back around to secure it to a trailer. Doing so secures a payload without the hook or the cam of the ratchet straps rubbing up against the payload, potentially causing damage. A third type of ratchet strap includes cargo netting so that a large number of small items can be secured together. These are most commonly used by professionals, including the military’s cargo aircraft, but should not be ignored if they can work for you.
What to Consider When Buying a Set of Ratchet Straps
To begin with, you need to know the approximate weight of the items you are transporting and securing with the ratchet straps. If that weight is higher than the operating limits of the straps you’re considering, you need to find different ratchet straps.
If you have ever ridden a spinning carnival ride, you may have experienced feeling like your effective weight, or your inertial momentum, is much greater than your weight when you are not moving. This is because your inertial momentum is a product of your mass and the square of your distance from the central axis of the ride. Your cargo experiences the same thing if your vehicle and your trailer go into a turn on the highway. As a result, if you use ratchet straps with an operating weight lower than the weight of your cargo, and you make a sharp turn, you could find yourself snapping your ratchet straps because the inertial momentum of your cargo is now much greater than your cargo’s mass at rest.
Next, you need to consider your cargo’s dimensions as it relates to how you will secure it to a trailer or your vehicle. If you are securing an ATV that is three feet tall and four feet wide, you will need ratchet straps longer than 10 feet (as you need at least seven feet of webbing to go up over the ATV, three feet to go down the other side, and whatever length of webbing it will take on top of that to link your ratchet strap to its anchor).
Finally, consider the materials used to make the ratchet strap as it relates to where you live. If you live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, you need straps that will not rust if you have to drive through a rainstorm. If you live in the sunny Southwest area of the United States, you do not need to worry about rust, but you do need to worry about the webbing breaking down beneath the harsh sunlight.
Best Ratchet Straps FAQs
Q. How do I know when it is time to replace my ratchet straps?
Like most things used outside, ratchet straps break down over time. If you find, even with lubricating the cams on a regular basis, that your ratchet straps are jamming, that is a good sign that the cams are breaking down and you need new straps. Also, frayed straps mean that you can no longer count on your ratchet straps to be able to handle their initial operating loads. When you see frayed webbing, it is time to replace your ratchet straps.
Q. When should I use loop straps?
If you are transporting a prized motorcycle, the last thing you want is for the cam of a ratchet strap to rub up against a custom paint job on the peanut tank. Loop straps should be used whenever you are towing something that could be damaged by the metal on ratchet straps.
Q. How do I use these straps with my trailer or vehicle?
For trailers and pickup trucks, you want your ratchet straps to hook into the eye bolt anchors in the bed of the trailer or pickup. You may need to install eye bolt anchors if you do not have them already, especially if you are transporting a motorcycle or ATV. For a car or SUV, you want to be able to thread the webbing through a roof rack of some sort.
For most purposes, the RHINO USA Ratchet Straps Motorcycle Tie Down Kit is sufficient for securing an ATV, motorcycle, or other cargo. If you are towing heavier things, though, make sure your ratchet straps can handle heavier weight or decide if you need heavy-duty welded D-rings and chain rigging.