Hauling Safe to Earn More: How to Find the BEST Ratchet Tie-Down Straps for You!

When moving large or heavy cargo, flatbed truckers know the most efficient way to safely transport these loads is to secure them with tie-downs! There are many different tie-down options on the market these days -- including bungee cords and winch straps -- but one of, if not the most, popular tie-down options among flatbedders is ratchet tie-down straps!

Ratchet straps are heavy-duty cargo straps that can secure almost any hauling job without the risk of damaging the cargo! However, you may notice as you begin looking for which heavy-duty ratchet straps to buy that there are different types of straps! While you may find unique designs such as the retractable ratchet strap and brand names like Kinedyne, these tie-down straps are commonly categorized into three viewpoints:

  1. Size
  2. End-Fittings/Hooks
  3. Color

In this article, we`ll break down what to look for in choosing a high-quality cargo strap so you can be sure you`re purchasing the best option for you!

Size: Length and Width of Ratchet Straps

When it comes to car trailer straps, their strength often goes hand-in-hand with their size. Additionally, knowing the size of your cargo is integral to buying tie-down straps that will properly secure the load! A 30-foot strap will not secure a 40-foot load, and you risk having too much slack if you use that 30-foot ratchet strap on a 10-foot load. You must make sure you pick the right length for a tie-down strap -- or purchase multiple straps in various sizes -- to meet all your needs.

At Mytee Products, you`ll find our straps come in a variety of lengths to fit perfectly over your load, but you also should consider the widths of our straps as well. Again, size and strength are tied together. Our ratchet tie-down straps come in three different width options:

  1. 2“-Wide Ratchet Straps
  2. 3“-Wide Ratchet Straps
  3. 4“-Wide Ratchet Straps

Each inch provides extra support and additional strength to the cargo straps` overall working load limit. However, it also adds to their overall weight; this means our 2“ ratchet strap is the lightest to carry but the lowest WLL whereas our 4“ ratchet tie-down strap has the highest WLL but is the heaviest option.

Strength: How much Weight Tie-Down Straps Handle

A question we often see from other truckers is “how strong are ratchet straps?” Just like with other tie-down options like chains and bungee cords, ratchet straps have a working load limit which determines how much weight the straps can handle before you risk the chance of a tear or snap on the road.

As a responsible hauler, you must consider the weight of your load as well as its length. Since it`s important to know the length of your cargo to purchase the right length of the strap, it`s also important to know the weight of your cargo so you can buy the right width of the strap too.

You need to ensure that the maximum weight of your load isn`t stronger than the combined WLL of your car trailer straps, meaning you must consider the likely possibility you will need to purchase multiple straps.

As briefly mentioned above, at Mytee Products we offer our straps in three different widths, and each width has a different WLL:

  1. 2“-Wide Cargo Strap -- typical WLL of 3,333 lbs.
  2. 3“-Wide Cargo Strap -- typical WLL of 5,000 lbs.
  3. 4“-Wide Cargo Strap -- typical WLL of 5,400 lbs.

Good, heavy-duty ratchet straps will always come with a WLL tag which will tell you the proper strength of the strap. If you ever come across a tie-down strap lacking this tag, it is recommended you toss the strap out and do not use it. In some cases and States, it`s even illegal to use straps that do not have their working load limits visible! Keep this in mind as you shop!

Ratchet Safety: Grip Design and Ease of Use

A complaint or issue that some flatbedders have with ratchet straps is their rough grips. These tough grips can make using the release mechanisms in these cargo straps hard to use.

To combat this common problem, the handle on our ratcheting system is rubber-coated. This keeps the handle from getting too hot or cold during the hot summer and bitter winter months and allows you to get a sturdier grip on the ratchet with less chance of slipping and possibly harming yourself!

Types of Ratchet Strap End-Fittings

As mentioned earlier in this article, ratchet straps can be categorized into three viewpoints: size, end-fittings, and colors. While we discussed the sizes of your tie-down straps and the importance already, let`s discuss the different types of hooks you will find most commonly with ratchet straps!

1. Flat Hooks:

Typically our flat hooks for ratchet straps are black-powder coated or gold-chromate plated, to prevent any rusting or corrosion! These types of end-fittings work best with flat anchor points like the underside of your trailer or any stake pockets you may have! Additionally, if you buy the Double L-track Plat Flat-Hook Receiver, flat hooks can be used with L-tracks to firmly anchor your cargo to the track!

2. J-Hooks:

Also known as wire hooks, J-hooks are very popular end-fittings for cargo straps because they`re very compatible with D-rings, O-rings, and trailers! If you work with a standard truck bed, however, J-hooks also fit on the bottom of a truck`s bed to give you more anchor points!

3. Chain Hooks:

You may find chain hooks under the name `grab hooks` as well. They`re typically attached to a chain end-fitting; designs made to increase a ratchet strap`s traditional working load limit, and are thus compatible with most anchor points. Chain hooks are sturdy and rust-resistant!

More Cargo Securement Methods

When it comes to tightening down your cargo to your trailer or vehicle, you`ll find there are different cargo securement methods for all flatbed haulers! There may be a situation where you realize you could use some extra support or advantage to securing your cargo! Luckily, there are several options available for tie-down securement:

1. Retractable Ratchet Straps

Flatbedders have found a way around adjusting and working with tie-down straps that end up being too long for their load; retractable ratchet straps are designed to reel in loose strap as you tighten, keeping it out of the way during transportation! The strap is secured with a Velcro-like wrapper. If you also struggle with finding a good way or a place to store your ratchet straps when they`re not in use, consider getting a retractable ratchet strap!

2. Cam Buckle Straps

These cargo straps are designed with a buckle that you can thread the strap through while pressing the thumb release. You can pull the thread to the desired or necessary tension before releasing your thumb, thus allowing the cam buckle to bite down on the strap and prevent it from moving even an inch!

3. Chain Lashings

One of the most common ways of securing cargo, flatbed heavy haulers may use chains or webbing/straps for securement by lashings. Lashing is when a flatbedder pulls the chain over the top of the cargo, called top-over lashing, or as direct lashing, in the case of chain lashing. This type of cargo securement is used to prevent cargo from sliding, tipping, and falling over.

4. Hooks

For every vehicle that you will haul, you will find that different car brands have specific anchor points which only work with unique hooks. When choosing tie-down straps, keep in mind you will also need to find hooks that will attach to your strap and the anchor points of these vehicles:

  • R Hook: Compatible with Ford vehicles
  • T Hook: Compatible with GM/Chrysler vehicles
  • J Hook: Compatible with any Foreign-made vehicles

Whether you`re a new hauler buying ratchet tie-down straps for the first time or a flatbedder buying replacement cargo straps, the information provided in this article will hopefully help you find the best, heavy-duty ratchet straps so you know you are properly securing your cargo! Whether a lightweight or heavy load, cargo securement should always be a priority among auto haulers; that`s why it`s integral that you know how to pick the best cargo straps and utilize the best securement method for your load!