The 10 Best Ratchet Tie Downs
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Whether you're hauling furniture, motorcycles, or other heavy cargo, you're going to need something a little more capable than those old bungee cords that are lying around in the garage. These rugged ratchet straps are rated to tie down hundreds of pounds of equipment, are easy to use, and hook nicely into a truck bed or trailer, ensuring your stuff is safe and secure no matter the size. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 16, 2020:
There are several things to bear in mind when choosing a suitable ratchet tie down. Firstly, the weight of the cargo. Usually, companies will give two weights limits, the load capacity, which is the maximum load the strap can hold before breaking, and the working load limit, which is the maximum weight of the cargo it can secure over extended periods of time. Also important is the method of attaching the straps. Many different options are available such as J-hooks, S-hooks, and soft loops, so you should choose one that is compatible with your rack and that won't damage your goods during transportation.
In this update, we replaced several options with either their newer model or with more durable and versatile kits. The Rhino USA Straps still feature the same quality ratchets, soft loops, and carrying bag, but this is now a bigger kit with four of each item instead of only two in the previous set. The Reese Carry Power Retractable were switched with the Reese Secure 9546700. These latest models feature an improved ratchet system that is more durable but less bulky. The Augo 4-Pack were a good quality, all-round option, but we replaced them with the Augo Extra Strong. This is also a four-piece kit that now has an improved 1700-pound break strength and comes with four soft loops.
The Buyers Products 5480005, similar to the CargoBuckle G3, is a versatile set of two straps that feature angled mounting brackets, allowing them to be permanently attached to the rack, making them easy to use and less likely to get misplaced or lost. Those needing to transport unusual loads may consider the Vulcan Axle Combo Kit, which is specifically designed for securing vehicles, the Seculok Heavy Duty, which boasts an impressive 10,000-pound load capacity, or the PowerTye Ergonomic which have extra-large, rubber-coated S-hooks and contoured handles and release levers that are easy on the hands.
July 04, 2019:
When hauling anything in a truck or trailer, there's nothing worse than having no peace of mind about the security of your load. Visions of your kayak, motorcycle, or furniture tumbling down the freeway come to mind. That's why you need good tie-downs like the ratcheting options we've selected.
You want straps that are at least 1-inch wide and that have a reliable locking mechanism to make sure they don't come loose during transport. With that in mind, we chose our selections based on quality, ease of use, and value. In this update, we removed several items due to concerns about their availability or their reputation among users. Added the Seculok Heavy Duty in one of our top slots for its ruggedness--including 2-inch wide straps and steel J hooks.
October 19, 2018:
Added a new model offering top quality at a budget price to the #1 slot
Rhino-Rack A one-stop-shop for all your cargo-hauling needs, Rhino-Rack has been developing specialized vehicle racks since 1992. Their Pioneer system comes with adjustable mounting blocks that slide into C-channels within the rack and include a pair of ratchet straps. rhinorack.com
The Importance Of Using Ratchet Straps When Transporting Items
If the safety of other motorists wasn't enough to motivate you to start securely tying down your cargo with ratchet straps, maybe this will.
We all have friends or family, or maybe it is ourselves, who are scared to fly, yet those same people would think nothing of hopping in the car as a means of transportation. In fact, we all do it on a daily basis. Some of us even spend hours in the car just driving to and from work or school. It may seem like a benign enough activity, but for the average person, this is the riskiest thing they do each day. Perhaps we have become complacent because we spend so much time in vehicles, but if we look at the cold hard stats, the danger is very real. According to the Centers for Disease Control, for people between the ages of five and 24, motor vehicle traffic accidents are the leading form of death. And for people of all other ages not specifically mentioned above, it is the second leading form of death.
The worst part about all of this is that many of these accidents are avoidable if people securely fasten down their cargo during transport. Road debris has always been a problem, but in recent years it seems to be increasing. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris-related accidents have increased by 40 percent since 2001. Between 2011 and 2014, road debris was a direct cause of more than 200,000 reported crashes, resulting in an estimated 500 deaths and nearly 40,000 injuries. That same source states that two thirds of these crashes are a result of improperly secured items falling from a vehicle when driving.
If the safety of other motorists wasn't enough to motivate you to start securely tying down your cargo with ratchet straps, maybe this will. Every single state has laws regarding items falling from a vehicle while on the road. Depending on which state you happen to be in at the time, the fine can be very costly. You even potentially face jail time in 16 states if something falls from your vehicle because of negligence.
Luckily, it is rather easy to prevent debris from falling off your vehicle. Whether you are loading things onto a cargo rack or the back of a pick-up truck, securing your load with ratchet straps takes just a couple of minutes. They are more reliable than human-created knots, which are often fallible, as well as more convenient to use.
How To Use A Ratchet Strap The Right Way
Ratchet straps might seem like a complicated piece of equipment for somebody unfamiliar with how to operate them. Quite on the contrary though, they are actually rather simple, as long as you understand the correct method.
Start by clipping the hook on the end of the longer strap to your attachment point. Run the strap over your cargo and let if fall near the place where you will attach the strap with the ratchet affixed to it. Next take the strap with the ratchet and hook that to your second attachment point.
The next step is to thread the spool. Begin by pulling on the release lever in the ratchet handle. This disengages the lock, allowing you to open the ratchet and gain access to the front and rear of the take-up spool. Thread the strap through the spool from the front side, and fold it back up over the front after coming out the rear side. If you do this correctly, the strap will lay down on top of itself. Continue pulling the strap through to remove the majority of the excess slack. Now, if you ratchet the handle a few times, you will see that it is pulling the strap tighter. Now is the time to reposition your straps so they are in the desired location, or reattach your hooks if they have fallen loose. Once the strap and hooks are in the right position, continue to ratchet the handle until your load is tightly secured. After you have reached your desired tension, always make sure to fold the ratchet handle back down until it locks into place. Depending on the model, you may need to manually pull the release lever as you fold the handle down to lock it.
When it's time to loosen the strap, simply pull the release lever once again and open the handle until it is completely flat. Once it is completely flat, it is in the full release position. At this point, just pull your strap and it should slide right out.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Ratchet Straps
Sure, it seems obvious to use your ratchet straps to tie down loads during transport, or for securing your boat or jet ski to the trailer, but these are actually extremely versatile that tools that lend themselves to a range of other applications, many of which are not quite so obvious.
Once you have lifted off your top, the ratchet straps can also be used to keep it in suspended storage until you need it again.
If you are building some furniture or trying to handle some other woodworking project, but find yourself in a situation where your largest clamp or vise just isn't big enough, not to worry. Ratchet straps can come to the rescue. Simply tighten one over your stock to hold everything together while you wait for the glue to dry, or finish inserting screws or nails.
If you have a jeep, pick-up truck, or any other vehicle with a removable top, you can use ratchet straps to help you lift it off. Not only is this convenient, but it saves you a ton of money too, as they are much more affordable than chain hoists. Once you have lifted off your top, the ratchet straps can also be used to keep it in suspended storage until you need it again.
Ratchet straps can be used for fun too. Maybe you are considering taking up slacklining, but not sure if you will like it. Test out the sport by using your ratchet strap as a makeshift slackline. While it won't have all the same properties of a true, purpose-built slackline, it will give you a taste for the hobby. Once you establish that you like it, then you can go out and buy a real slackline kit.