When moving large cargo, you need to find the best way of tying it down (securing) it your transportation vehicle so that it can be transported from point to point safely and securely. Although there are many tie-down options available, such as ropes, bungee cords and cargo nets, tie-down straps have become an indispensable part of many tie-down applications.

But there are different kinds of tie-down straps and not all of them are made equal, meaning you need to have some criteria to use when selecting them. Read on to find out what to look for when purchasing tie-down straps.

How Much Weight They Can Handle

You have to pay attention to how much you cargo weighs, because if you give the tie-down straps more weight than they can handle, there is a high probability that they will snap on you during use. Each strap has what is known as the Working Load Limit (WLL), and this is what determines how much weight is safe enough for the strap to hold.

What you need to do when purchasing tie-down straps is make sure that the maximum weight of your cargo is not greater than the combined WLL of the tie-down straps. This means that if your load is 1000lbs, and you purchase two straps, their combined WLL should be greater than 1000lbs.

Length of Straps

Length is also another important factor, because if you get tie-down straps that are too short, they will not be able to go over your cargo and you will fail to secure it at all. And if you get straps that are too long, the remaining portion of the strap will be loose, becoming major hindrance during transportation.

But even if the tie-down strap lengths you are finding are too long, all hope is not lost, since manufactures have found a way to deal with the loose ends through housings and wrappers. The housing option is found on retractable ratchet straps and is used to reel in the loose ends as you tighten the strap. The wrapper, which is permanently affixed to the strap, allows you to roll up the strap’s remaining portion and attach it to the Velcro-like wrapper.

Tightening Methods

When tightening cargo to your transportation vehicle, there will be some sort of mechanism that will be used to provide you with a mechanical advantage in securing the cargo. This could be in a form of the buckle or ratcheting system. You should consider the following types when looking for a tie-down strapping:

  • Cum Buckle Straps: With these straps, there will be a buckle with a thumb release that you press while feeding it the strap and pulling it until it is tight enough. When you release your thumb, the buckle’s “teeth” will “bite” on the strap and prevent it from moving.
  • Ratchet Straps: These provide you with a better mechanical advantage by giving you leverage when tightening your cargo. They come with a ratcheting assembly on one end that opens up. When it is open, you insert the other end of the strap and close it. After that, you use a lever to fasten the strap to your liking.
  • Retractable Ratchet Straps: These are the same as any other ratchet strap but provide a better way to deal with remaining unused strap by containing it inside a housing.
  • Truck Tie-Down Winch Straps: Winch straps are ideal for heavy-duty applications, especially when trucking is involved. One end of the strap is fitted with a hook, and you attach the hook to the truck’s anchor point. The other end is then winched using some kind of winching system.

The Types of Hooks they Use

Each vehicle has a different type of tie-down point, which is an anchor where you attach the hook of the strap. When choosing tie-down straps, you also need to know what type of hook will work for your vehicle.

  • S-hooks and J-hooks: These can be secured to flatbed anchor points or thin metals areas of trailers or car bumpers.
  • Flat Hooks: These work well for flat anchor points that are thin like the edges of an angle iron, square stock or bumper.

Next time you are in the market for some tie-down straps, the above mentioned criteria should give you a good idea of what to look for. Whether it is a light or heavy load, flatbed trailer or pickup truck, tie-down straps will be able to provide the best way of securing your cargo for transportation. That is why it makes that much sense to know how to pick them in order to utilize them better.