What Are The Best Tow Straps? (2019 Reviews)
Towing equipment or vehicles with your truck or SUV is easy and safe when you have the right tow strap. But, if you use the wrong tow strap, you could potentially be causing damage and accidents.
So, it’s critical that you find the right tow strap for your towing needs. At first glance, most tow straps look the same — they all claim to have high weight ratings and impeccable durability. Of course, not all tow straps are created equal, so we’ll help you to find the best one.
- Tow Strap Reviews
- Our #1 Pick – Heavy Duty Lab Tested GearAmerica Recovery Tow Strap
- Our #2 Pick – USWAY GEAR 3″ x 30′ Recovery Tow Strap
- Our #3 Pick – RHINO USA Recovery Tow Strap
- Our #4 Pick – Hardware Factory Store HFS (R) 2″ X 30′, 4.5 Ton 2 Inch X 30 Ft. Polyester Tow Strap
- Our #5 Pick – ALL-TOP Nylon Heavy Duty Tow Strap Recovery Strap Kit
- Tow Straps FAQ
- Which features do I need in my tow strap?
- What can I use my tow strap for?
- How can I use my tow strap safely?
- Towing Away
Tow Strap Reviews
Our #1 Pick – Heavy Duty Lab Tested GearAmerica Recovery Tow Strap
This GearAmerica tow strap is the prototypical piece of hardware that you can use to tow gear in an emergency.
- Rated for up to 35,054 lbs
- Great for off-road towing
- Includes convenient storage bag
- May fray with minimal abuse
The advantage of this GearAmerica tow strap is that it’s strong enough to use without a road, which makes it great for trips through remote areas. The cheerful orange texture is easy to find in your trunk whenever you need it.
You may find that attaching this tow strap to a tree with tough bark will cause it to fray. There isn’t much you can do to avoid incurring stress on the tow cable without leaving it in your trunk, however. Furthermore, you may find that most other tow cables on the market have the same issue.
Our #2 Pick – USWAY GEAR 3″ x 30′ Recovery Tow Strap
The USWAY Gear Recovery Tow Strap is a great pickup for your trunk that will ensure you’re ready to help anyone when they need a tow.
- Reinforced loops
- Includes robust instruction set
- Great for storing in your trunk
- Length may be insufficient
The instructions on this tow strap are especially strong, which is great for people who may not feel competent to attach a tow strap without help.
Especially if you are less than confident in your towing abilities, this tow strap can walk you through the process that you’ll need to tow successfully. But, the length of this tow strap is slightly shorter than others on the market.
It isn’t a major issue for most applications, but for extreme off-roading tows, you may find that it makes going over hills and into crevices a bit more precarious.
Our #3 Pick – RHINO USA Recovery Tow Strap
When you need a tow strap that’s ready to go with you on adventures where you might run into trouble, you can count on RHINO USA’s recovery strap.
- Poly/silk webbing material
- Soft and strong
- Powerful carry bag
- D-ring shackles sold separately
The green and black coloration of the straps won’t be too hard to find in your trunk. You’ll also find that the strap is highly durable, and it won’t fray with casual use.
The D-ring shackles that you’ll need to open your towing options up beyond the standard hitch are sold separately. So, you should probably plan to pick up a sturdy pair of shackles if you want to be fully confident in your ability to give people a tow using this strap.
Our #4 Pick – Hardware Factory Store HFS (R) 2″ X 30′, 4.5 Ton 2 Inch X 30 Ft. Polyester Tow Strap
When you’re looking for a tow strap that is ready for use right out of the box, this HFS tow strap can be a great pick up which you can also use in other applications.
- Includes forged safety hooks
- Corrosion-resistant materials
- Rated for lifting things vertically
- 3300-pound load limit may be light for many applications
Sometimes you want a basic tow strap that will serve your needs without a hassle, and that’s where this tow strap shines. It isn’t rated for the heaviest of loads, nor is it the longest tow strap, but it has the built in D-clips and basic durability that will do the trick most of the time.
If you don’t want to tow a vehicle, that’s fine too. This tow strap is also rated for lifting objects vertically like a crane. You’ll need to purchase the right equipment to do vertical lifts with this tow strap, but otherwise it’s a good tool for the job.
Our #5 Pick – ALL-TOP Nylon Heavy Duty Tow Strap Recovery Strap Kit
Everything you need to tow vehicles is included in this set, which means that it’s a great choice for people who don’t want to mess around with finding additional pieces.
- Includes heavy-duty D-rings
- Contains everything required to perform a tow
- May melt with external heat sources nearby
The D-rings on this tow strap are exceptionally strong and they are also very easy to use. The color coding on the rings ensures that you attach them correctly every time, which is an essential safety feature.
The only thing you need to be aware of regarding this tow strap is that it may melt if it is exposed to hot engine exhaust or hot metal because it is made of nylon. Most of the time, you won’t have anything to worry about. Make sure that you don’t touch it to any hot exhaust pipes.
Tow Straps FAQ
Which features do I need in my tow strap?
When you’re looking for a tow strap, you’ll need to ensure that the tow strap:
- Is durable
- Includes d-clips
- Is easy to use
Durability is the single most important feature in a tow strap because a durable tow strap ensures that your tow strap won’t break when you need it the most: during a tow.
Durability has several different factors, however. First, there’s mechanical durability. Mechanical durability refers to the ability of the strap to resist damage from being attached to things like trees and things you want to tow.
The mechanical durability of the strap depends a lot on its material. The best straps are reinforced with internal ribbing at multiple points which means that the fabric material isn’t the only thing holding the strap together.
The chemical durability of the strap is a different issue entirely. Many tow straps become compromised by exposure to oils, solvents, or other chemicals.
Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, except for the fact that the tow straps are meant for attaching to vehicles which may be broken down.
There shouldn’t be any tow straps which disintegrate upon contact with trace amounts of chemicals, but repeated exposure to chemicals tends to eat away at the durability of most tow straps unless they are specifically designed to be resistant to exposure.
Heat durability is the last durability-related concern. Your tow cable will be in the trunk most of the time, but when it is ready to use, it will be in close proximity to at least one heat source: your engine’s exhaust pipe.
Most tow cables are designed to retain their integrity when heated by passing exposure to hot exhaust. But, extreme exposure or prolonged exposure requires a higher standard. This is especially true when your tow strap is in contact with the exhaust pipe itself.
Some exhaust pipes get extremely hot, which can melt tow straps that aren’t ready for it, especially if their heat tolerance is narrow and the day is hot. So, look for the tow strap that is right for your vehicle’s exhaust situation.
The D-clips for tow straps are also critical for proper use. You’ll need D-clips to secure the tow strap properly to your vehicle and any other vehicles that you want to tow.
If the included D-clips are too weak or difficult to use, they may snap when you’re using them, rendering any further towing impossible.
Alternatively, if D-clips aren’t included with your tow strap, you’ll need to procure straps that are strong and capable.
Tow straps should also be easy to use. Because tow straps are simple and standardized contraptions, anything more complicated than the basic design is probably not warranted.
Likewise, a good instruction set is very helpful for most tow straps, especially if you may not know what you’re doing.
What can I use my tow strap for?
Aside from towing vehicles, you can use tow straps for:
- Lifting objects with a pulley system
- Dragging sleds
- Taking down small trees
Most tow straps are only designed for towing vehicles and trailers, but some are capable enough to use as a pulley. Others can be used for light deforestation or for dragging non-wheeled things.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to using your tow strap for non-standard purposes is that it may cause more wear and tear on the tow strap than using it for its intended purpose.
Deforestation is especially difficult for tow straps. You will be able to loop the strap around a small tree or two and then use your vehicle’s torque to pull the tree out of the ground. The more torque your vehicle has the more effective of a deforestation tool your strap will be.
But, your strap isn’t intended for heavy lifting when it comes to ripping up trees. You’ll do much better with a chainsaw or another tool entirely, so pulling trees with your car and a tow strap should be a last resort.
The same is not necessarily true of using your tow strap as a pulley. The same forces are applied to the tow strap when it is lifting something as when it is pulling something. The main issue with using a tow strap as a pulley is that you may need a stronger or a different D-clip than normal.
If your D-clip is lifting ready, it will probably have a much higher weight rating than ones intended solely for towing.
Dragging things which aren’t other vehicles is more within the realm of competency for most tow straps than lifting or deforesting. If there’s a place to mount the strap and it won’t break off when the tow starts with gusto, it’s fair game to use a tow strap.
Figuring out the weight rating can be very difficult with things that aren’t cars, however. Vehicles have listed weight classes which are easy to check against your tow strap’s capabilities, whereas other objects are up to your judgment when it comes to checking their weight.
This means that you might be able to safely pull a sled or pallet in some cases but not others. So, you shouldn’t use your tow strap in these capacities on a permanent basis unless there’s no other way.
Many unsafe tow operations have ended in disaster when their operators misjudged the weight of the thing they were trying to tow or the structural soundness of the place they attached their tow strap.
It’s never a nice surprise when the thing you’re towing falls apart during the tow because it isn’t structurally sound enough to be towed at the point where it was attached. Especially with wooden or plastic constructions, take extreme care where you select your tow attachment point.
When in doubt, don’t push your luck with tow straps. Most can tolerate higher maximum weights than they are officially rated for, but there is no guarantee beyond the listed weight, so play it safe.
Playing it safe means that your tow strap will last longer and also avoid any mishaps that might otherwise ruin your day.
How can I use my tow strap safely?
Using a tow strap safely is a process. First, be sure to always obey all of the manufacturer’s rules and instructions, which should be listed on the container of the tow strap.
Second, ensure that your intended application is within the weight and length tolerances of the tow strap. If you’re trying to pull a heavier load than the tow strap is rated for, there’s a good chance that it will tear or break or otherwise let you down.
Likewise, if your tow strap is too short, you won’t be able to safely tow it because the thing you’re towing might ram into the back of your car or get stuck on the wrong facet of an incline.
Once you have ensured that the tow strap is the right tool for the job, it’s time to rig the strap. Loop the strap into the D-clips if it isn’t looped already. Then, hook it to your towing rig. Make sure it is attached correctly by giving it a good yank or two.
Next, you can attach it to the thing you’re trying to tow. If it’s a vehicle, find the correct mounting point underneath the fender or on the rear. Make sure that you don’t attach it to something that will rip off when the tow is underway. Radiators are the biggest incorrect mounting spot.
While towing, you need to make sure that the thing you’re towing can decelerate when it needs to. This means that you need to have a friend sitting in the thing you’re towing to operate the brakes.
Acceleration may also be an issue, however. If the tow strap is too elastic, it’ll cause a problem because the towed object will jerk forward and backward. Likewise, if the tow strap is too weak, it will break right away.
When you’re done towing, don’t forget to unhook your tow straps from both vehicles.
Now that you know about some of the best tow straps on the market as well as how to use a tow strap, you’re ready to make your purchasing decision.
Remember to use best practices for safety and take care not to expose your tow strap to too much heat or chemical abuse.