Best Ratchet Straps: Add More Security to Your Loads
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.
PUBLISHED ON November 21, 2019
Traveling with large cargo on your vehicle can be dangerous if everything isn't strapped down securely. While a good bungee cord or rope can get the job done, proper heavy-duty straps are the preferred choice for ultimate safety. Cam buckles are a popular choice of strap, but most serious haulers go with ratchet straps for a higher level of security and convenience. Ratchet straps come in many different strengths and lengths, so here's our guide to everything you need to know to find the right one.
- Best OverallRHINO USA Ratchet Straps Motorcycle Tie DownSummarySummaryA good set of ratchet straps that have a large working capacity and breaking strength for everyday use.ProsProsSimple design and use. Sports a traditional fix end and adjustable end that require little skill to operate.ConsConsThe straps are too thin for heavier loads and will require more straps or thicker straps to use adequately.
- Best ValueAuto Tie Down StrapsSummarySummaryThe value ratchet strap set to choose when you need the most out of the working load without spending too much money.ProsProsGood working capacity and break strength for the price. The pack of four makes it easy to secure different, awkward loads safely.ConsConsThe straps have a certain level of flexibility that makes ratcheting more time-consuming. Slight damage is possible when ratcheting them down too hard.
- Honorable MentionErickson 34416 Pro SeriesSummarySummaryUnique retractable straps that make it easier to secure or remove them from light loads.ProsProsThe retractable design cuts down the time it takes to roll up and store the straps when not in use.ConsConsThe working capacity and breaking strength aren't quite as high as more traditional ratcheting designs.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy a Ratchet Strap
- Secure increased loads. More than anything else, ratchet straps allow you to secure heavier loads than typical bungees and ropes. Heavy-duty ratchet straps are the preferred choice for professional truckers and haulers who need to transport large, awkward loads some distance without worrying about the safety of everything.
- Haul awkward items. Bikes, kayaks, golf carts, farming equipment, and other things you're likely to haul can make it difficult to tie down effectively. Ratchet straps with end hooks have the advantage of connecting directly to parts of the object or wrapping around different surfaces for more flexibility. Multiple straps can also work together for longer lengths.
Top Brands of Ratchet Straps
Rhino USA is a common name for cargo hauling and off-roading where large loads need to be secured. The company's line of straps spans several different sizes, strengths, and uses. For common, everyday use, the Rhino Medium-Duty Strap is a perfect, affordable option to check out.
Seeing the traditional ratchet design with fixed and adjustable ends, Stryder decided the design wasn't good enough for safe use. As a result, the company's offerings, like the UX500 Ratchet Straps, offer a unique take on the classic ratcheting setup. This is a good brand to check out if you want something that's safer than typical options.
Ratchet Strap Pricing
- $25 and under: Budget ratchet straps almost all use the traditional adjustable-and-fixed-end design. Simple in use, these are great for everyday hauling but may be limited for heavier loads.
- $25-$50: There is a good mix of high-quality individual straps and ratchet kits that include multiple low-duty straps. Some of the higher-end options are better suited for larger loads.
- $50 and above: Higher-end straps in this category are great for heavy loads since they tend to use thicker widths and better materials.
The main part of a ratchet strap is the webbing that makes up the length of the strap itself. Most webbing is made up of either nylon or polyester, with polyester being more preferable given its abrasion- and weather-resistant properties. Webbing comes in widths between 1 and 4 inches for larger loads.
The ends of a ratchet strap increase the security and versatility of the device. Most ends come as hooks, either coated or bare metal, you can then connect to different points or to the strap itself when you wrap it up over itself. The size of the end, the material of the hook, and any security device like a locking mechanism will all impact the overall strength of the strap.
The tensioner is the ratchet mechanism itself. This pulls on the strap (the adjustable end) with each click, increasing tension until everything is secured. Most tensioners have the adjustable end slide into a slot freely, but some designs include a retractable mechanism that rolls the strap up for convenient storage.
- Capacities: The strength of a ratchet strap is always the most important consideration for safe use. If you haul loads greater than what the strap can take, you risk breaking the strap and damaging the load or its surroundings. All straps have a working capacity that represents the safest range of use and a break limit that represents the failure point of the strap. For heavy loads, it’s best to maximize these capacities as much as you can. A 500-pound working capacity with a 1,500-pound break capacity is a good rating for a medium-duty strap.
- Length: The overall length of a strap simply influences the distance it can cover. Length typically isn’t a major issue unless you want to haul large items or have long distances between the item and tie-down points. Most ratchet straps are around 10 to 20 feet in length.
Best Ratchet Strap Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: RHINO USA Ratchet Straps Motorcycle Tie Down Kit
With a maximum breaking strength of 1,823 pounds, this set of four ratchet straps from Rhino USA are perfect for nearly any light- or medium-duty moving. As a set, the ratchets can also work together to secure heavier loads like motorcycles and ATVs to the back of a truck or trailer, making it easier to stabilize awkward loads without risk of damage.
The straps use a fairly traditional design that includes a short fixed end and a longer adjustable end with padded hooks. The strap itself is just 1 inch thick. While the straps are on the thin side, the webbing does a good job of stretching without breaking under normal loads, increasing the strength and flexibility of the straps. Use is fairly straightforward, making these a good option for beginners learning how to safely use ratchet straps.
For heavier loads, the straps are too thin to work well with just the four-strap set. Larger straps around 2 inches in width are better suited for heavier loads that can quickly max out the break forces. Overall, the quality of the straps is high, but the plastic hooks have been known to break unexpectedly and under the 1,823-pound limit due to quality control issues.
Best Value: Augo Ratchet Tie Down Straps
These Augo ratchet straps are about as simple as you can get when it comes to securing light or medium loads. Coming in at 15 feet, the ratchet tie-downs have a 500-pound load capacity and 1,500-pound break limit. While they aren't the strongest ratchets available, the pack of four is perfect for weekend hauling that involves smaller equipment and travel distances.
The straps have a solid S-hook design that can wrap around most pipes and tie-down points. Coming in a kit, the straps can also hook up to the included bungee cords or soft loops when wrapping around different types of equipment. The hooks and ratchet handles are all molded to protect secured equipment from damage against the metal.
When ratcheting the straps down, the flexibility of the straps requires more use out of the ratchets than other competitors. One or two clicks past the point of it feeling tight is usually enough to secure the load, but this level of tension can damage less durable equipment susceptible to dents and cracks along the surface.
Honorable Mention: Erickson 34416 Pro Series
Erickson has taken the basic ratchet strap design up a step with its Pro Series ratcheting tie-downs. Instead of a simple fixed-and-adjustable-end design, these straps incorporate a retractable housing that collects the adjustable strap portion for compact storage. As a result, this eliminates the need for awkward rolling and folding when you want to keep the adjustable end out of the way when not in use.
The straps are well-built and have a decent break capacity of 1,200 pounds. At 10 feet long, the 1-inch-wide straps do well with small- to medium-duty equipment and loads. The convenient use these straps offer is by far their ultimate selling point. Securing and removing the straps from loads is aided by the automatic roller that takes up most of the slack between the two ends.
While convenience charts high with these straps, some sacrifices are made in the retractable design. The 400-pound working capacity, for example, is slightly lower than most traditional ratchet straps. Even more, the 10-foot length is a practical limitation since longer straps would increase the size and bulk of the retracting mechanism, making it more difficult to store them when not in use.
- Unless money is an issue, it’s smart to buy a ratchet strap that has a higher weight capacity than what you are likely to need. The extra buffer in the capacity will increase its versatility.
- Learn the proper use of a ratchet strap, including how to fit the two ends together and how to properly store one, right off the bat. This will make it easier to set up the straps more safely from the start.
- A retractable ratchet strap is recommended if you use straps frequently. These can save several minutes of rolling up the adjustable end, especially if the retractable mechanism is spring-loaded to coil automatically.
- Choose short straps if you want simple tie downs for motorcycles or ATVs. The number of straps is more important than the length when it comes to small equipment.
Q. How long of a strap do I need?
A. A 10- to 20-foot strap is usually long enough for most casual loads you may haul. Longer straps are more common for commercial use or for other projects that don’t involve transporting heavy loads between places.
Q. Can ratchet straps break?
A. Like anything else, ratchet straps can fail, especially with improper use. In most cases, the strap itself or the endpoint is likely to fail before the ratchet mechanism. However, if you keep loads and forces under the strap’s limits, failure is unlikely.
Q. Can I use a ratchet strap with other tie downs?
A. Ratchet straps play well with other ropes, bungees, and tie-downs. You can even hook ratchet straps onto the ends of other tie-down types to increase the overall length or wrap around a delicate item.
For a good all-around ratchet strap, check out the RHINO USA Ratchet Straps Motorcycle Tie Down Kit. It offers easy use and good weight capacity.
Save some money with the Augo Tie Down Straps instead.