Best Tow Strap | Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to the Best Recovery Straps
If you’ve ever had a vehicle stuck in the mud or needed to tow a vehicle from one place to another, you probably wished you had a tow strap. The best tow strap or recovery strap can be an invaluable resource, both for yourself and the people around you. But what exactly is a tow strap? How is it different from a recovery strap? And how can you be sure you’re choosing the best tow strap available on the market? With this handy guide, we’ll take you through the kinds of straps plus how to use and care for them safely. Then we’ll provide a definitive ranking of the best seven tow straps available on the market today.
The Best Tow Strap For The Money (Full Tow Strap Reviews Below)
Recovery Straps vs. Tow Straps
When talking about tow straps and recovery straps, it’s important to understand the difference. While the both serve a similar purpose, they have different properties. That’s why taking the time to understand what each one is used for will help save you trouble down the road. So let’s take a look at what separates the best tow strap from the best recovery strap on the market.
Recovery straps are designed for a very specific purpose. They’re generally used to pull a stuck vehicle out of wherever they might be stuck. That’s where the name ‘recovery’ strap comes from—they’re used to recover vehicles in a jam. For example, if your RV or truck makes its way into a ditch and can’t get out, you can use a recovery strap.
So what makes recovery straps unique, and how do they differ from the best tow strap? They’re designed from a nylon material that’s built to stretch somewhat. The reason they’re designed with some stretchiness is that it keeps them from breaking during the stress of pulling a vehicle free.
Recovery straps are generally used by attaching one loop of the strap to the rear of your vehicle. You’ll want to ensure that it’s attached to the frame rather than a secondary section. Then you’ll attach the other loop to the front of the vehicle you want to pull free. It’s important to make sure that the strap isn’t coming up against any sharp angles or edges. This can cause the strap to split and break while you’re pulling. Then you simply (carefully) use your unstuck vehicle to pull the stuck vehicle free.
But what makes a recovery strap better than a normal chain? For one, they’re not as heavy and cumbersome as chains are. They’re also generally much easier to use in situations like this than even the best tow strap. You simply attach each end and you’re good to go. Most importantly, recovery straps are safer. Chains are heavy and solid, and in the event of a break they can send pieces flying everywhere. Straps also operate more uniformly in a variety of conditions, from rain to high heat or frigid temperatures.
While tow straps are very similar to recovery straps and can be used in some of the same situations, there is a difference. Tow straps are designed to be less stretchy than recovery straps. The reason for this is that they’re designed to be placed under less tension than recovery straps. For example, you would use a tow strap for towing a free-rolling vehicle behind you as you drive. You won’t want a great deal of stretch in this situation. That said, tow straps generally shouldn’t be used for recovering stuck vehicles. Their lack of stretchiness and give can lead them to break more easily.
Another distinction is that tow straps generally use metal hooks at each end rather than loops for attaching to vehicles. This is another signal to their purpose, which is to tow vehicles behind your own.
But knowing the difference between a tow strap and recovery strap won’t help you much if you don’t know how to care for and use them safely.
Caring for Your Strap
Making sure that the tow straps or recovery straps you use are in good condition is very important. It’s not just about their effectiveness—using worn or weakened straps can be very dangerous for you and your vehicles. No one wants to pull a car halfway up a steep ditch only for the strap to break and send it tumbling back down again. Meanwhile, busted straps can fly at dangerously high speeds. That’s not to mention the danger of a strap breaking while towing a vehicle on a busy road. For your own sake and the sake of those around you, you should keep even the best tow strap in quality condition.
Before using a strap for any application, it’s vital that you check it for any damage. Even if it seems just a little frayed or worn, swap it out for a new one. The risk of it breaking is much higher when there is minor damage like this. Don’t risk it—only use straps that are in excellent condition.
It’s also to make sure your straps are stored in a cool, dry place. Otherwise they can develop issues overtime, even when not in use.
Using Tow Straps and Recovery Straps Safely
When it comes time to use your tow straps, practicing safety is absolutely vital. First and foremost, know that even the best tow strap or recovery strap can snap or break. When initiating a recovery or tow, keep anyone nearby far clear of the area. That way, if a strap breaks and flies through the air it’s less likely to strike anyone.
It’s also important to use a strap that’s appropriate for the occasion. Don’t use a tow strap for a recovery, or vice versa. Each of these devices is designed for a very specific purpose and can be dangerous if not used correctly.
You should also make sure you’re using a high-quality strap. We’ll talk more about what makes straps better than others in a little bit. But it’s worth noting right now that when you pay more for a quality strap, you’re paying for safety. Not only that, but you’re also paying for the peace of mind that your vehicle will be taken care of when using it.
Remember, if there’s any question whether a strap is safe for a certain use—don’t use it. It’s not worth the risk.
Before we get into our strap reviews, let’s talk about some important questions that you’ll want to ask yourself when deciding on which strap to buy.
What will you be using your strap for?
This is the number-one question you’ll want to consider. The best tow strap won’t do you much good if you’re using it for recovery. The reverse also holds true—even the highest quality recovery strap isn’t a suitable tow strap. So make sure that before you buy, you know the application you’ll be using a product for. That will save you frustration down the road when you realize that what you have isn’t actually what you need. If you’re worried that you might need both a recovery strap and a tow strap—buy both. The peace of mind you’ll feel will be worth the investment up front.
How much load do you need to handle?
It’s important to factor in what kinds of loads you’ll be handling with your tow straps. If you expect to be towing small vehicles behind you, you can probably be fine with a lower tow rating. But if you anticipate hauling something heavier and more intensive, go for something with a little more strength. You’ll be glad you did.
How long do you need your strap to be?
This is another question you’ll want to keep in mind. Straps that are too short won’t be much value at all, while ones that are too long will be cumbersome and limiting. When in doubt, purchase a few straps in varying lengths so that you can cover all your bases. Generally, a length somewhere in the middle of the two extremes will work best. It will give you flexibility for multiple applications and allow you to get the job done no matter where you are.
One more factor to consider—will you be using your tow strap for recreational activities? We’re talking about pulling a wakeboarder behind a boat or a snow tube behind your truck. If so, you’ll probably want around 50-70 feet of length for your use.
Do you want your strap to be waterproof?
If you live in an area with lots of rain, or you expect to be pulling vehicles from the mud, this question is for you. A waterproof strap might carry a bit more of a price tag, but it will give you peace of mind that your strap is up to the challenge of use in wet weather. Personally, we think that everyone should go for a waterproof strap. Consider the circumstances that most tows and recoveries occur. They usually happen in rainy, muddy, or snowy weather where wet conditions are common. If you want to prepare for anything, a waterproof strap is a must-have.
If you plan to use your strap for aquatic applications, waterproof quality becomes even more important. Whether it’s pulling a water ski setup or towing a boat to and from the water, you’ll want the safety and security of a waterproof strap.
Will you need a heavy duty strap for your needs?
There are plenty of inexpensive straps available out there, but they come with a light-duty approach. If you want to know that your strap will be able to handle anything you throw at it, go with a heavy duty option. As we mentioned above, owning a tow strap is all about being prepared for anything. And you can’t prepare for anything if you can’t tow anything. We suggest going heavy-duty every time.
Types of Tow Rope
In general, there are two types of tow rope available to you. Which you choose will depend a lot on your personal needs and preferences, and each one has its benefits. Tow ropes split into two categories—no-stretch and low-stretch.
Usually made from a durable, firm material known as spectra, no-stretch tow rope has many uses. It’s lightweight, several times stronger than even steel, and is best used for recreational activities like water skiing or tubing. Spectra also carries great waterproof qualities, which makes it perfect for using in the rain and snow.
Important note—when they say ‘no-stretch.’ They mean it. Spectra-constructed tow ropes have no give whatsoever. Keep that in mind when buying.
Made from either polyethylene, nylon or polyester, low-stretch ropes have their own uses. These are great for activities like towing cars and boats behind you. The little bit of stretch they provide helps absorb any shock that might occur over the course of towing.
Low-stretch tow ropes are also usually waterproof.
Comparing the Best Tow Strap Brands
Now that we’ve looked at what tow straps and recovery straps are for, it’s time to compare the best ones. In our ranking, we’ll factor in several considerations that make up a good purchase with solid value.
Everybody wants to pay less for quality products. We’ll rate products higher if they offer a great value for their money. But remember—cheaper isn’t always better.
The attachment mechanism for your tow strap is very important, so we’ll keep in mind the quality and type in our ratings. Whether it’s a metal hook or a simple loop, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into when you buy.
There is a wide range of materials used in constructing tow and recovery straps. The best tow strap will be made from a strong, sturdy material that’s waterproof. It should also offer just enough give and stretchiness.
Manufacturers coat some straps with special materials for durability, waterproofing and extra strength. We’ll keep this factor in mind in our ratings as well.
The width and length of your strap will differ based on your needs. But generally, the best tow strap options should offer a good balance of width and length for your needs.
Perhaps most important of all is strength. You want your tow strap to have the strength necessary to handle even the toughest jobs you’ll throw at it. That’s why we factor strength heavily into our ranking system.
Finally, we’ll combine all factors including price, strength, durability and other features to highlight the value and quality. In the end, we hope this rating system will help you choose and purchase the best tow strap for your own personal needs.
So, without further ado, let’s move on to our rankings to see the best tow strap available on the market.
Vault has a respected reputation as a provider of high-quality tools for all kinds of applications. Their tow strap is no exception. Reasonably priced at $20.97 and loaded with features, it’s the best tow strap on the market by a large margin. Its 30,000 pound capacity is certainly impressive, but so is its reinforced loops and heavy-duty design.
The Vault tow strap can pair with shackles, tow hooks or axle straps. With this capability, you can truly pull anything you need. And with an incredibly durable design its built to last for years to come, regardless of the weather.
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The 3”-wide design is perfect, not too wide but not too thin, and at 20’ in length it’s the perfect distance for towing. Bring this strap home and you’ll have made the best possible choice for your towing needs.
Built with a high strength capacity for any application, this HFS brand tow strap will make recovering a vehicle a breeze. You can also use it to tow a nonfunctioning vehicle, too. The snap-on safety hooks are quick and easy. Meanwhile, 30 feet of strap length gives you the flexibility to get any job done.
The 10,000 pound break strength capacity is not quite as impressive as the 30,000 pounds offered by the Vault pick, but still fairly dependable. And at $13.95, you’ll enjoy a cost discount for the reduced capability.
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The hooks are also finished with zinc for increased durability and strength, plus protection from rust and corrosion. This will keep them lasting longer and help them stay strong for years to come.
Overall, the quality design and capacity of this tow strap earns it the second spot on our ranking.
Priced at $21.49 and rated for up to 30,000 of towing capacity, this product occupies the same space as Vault. But does TGL’s strap match up in terms of durability, quality and value? Let’s take a look.
At 3” by 20’ in size, this strap is a good, robust dimension for general use. The polyester material from which it’s made is strong and versatile while also offering UV resistance for long-lasting strength. The strap has also been extensively tested to ensure that it lives up to the ratings it advertises.
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Overall, this is a sturdy and dependable strap for general towing applications. While it’s rated at 30,000 lbs of strength, we still think you’d be better off with the Vault option. TGL hasn’t knocked it off the perch of best tow strap just yet.
Rhino is a brand known for making tough-as-nails products that always get the job done. They often go above and beyond expectations, and that’s certainly true here. Their 31,518 pound tow strength exceeds the 30,000 pound standard set by our champion. But where Rhino loses out is value, with a price tag of $29.97 that’s 50% higher than the Vault strap. Still, you’ll be getting a durable, dependable product with strength to match.
The triple-enforced loop ends ensure that your connections will hold. Meanwhile the heavy duty drawstring bag that’s included will help keep your strap protected from the elements when not in use. Does a storage bag make this the best tow strap on the market? No, but it’s a nice touch for the sake of convenience.
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Rhino advertises this product as the “ultimate recovery strap,” and we find it’s best in these uses as opposed to general towing. That said, it’s versatile enough to earn a spot on our ranking of the industry’s best options.
Another product offered by Vault, this tow strap is a shorter option designed for vehicle recovery. Its shorter length (8 feet) makes it less ungainly to use, but also limits you slightly in your applications. With industrial grade webbing and a 30,000 pound capacity, you’ll have everything you need to recover a vehicle from any situation.
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Another benefit of this strap is that it offers reinforcedhttps://autodeets.com/best-portable-air-compressor/ loops to make sure that your connection points are always sound. That gives you the peace of mind you need to get the job done stress-free.
Another tree saver design with the same dimensions, this TGL product rates only slight lower on our ranking. That’s because it doesn’t offer the same level of durability as the Vault option. That said, it’s still a high-quality product that’s dependable enough for multiple uses.
As we’ve come to see is the standard for straps like this, the TGL rates at 30,000 pounds of strength. That’s an important figure because it keeps you well within the range of safety for most jobs.
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The reinforced loops help avoid damage due to abrasion, while the yellow color makes this an easy-to-see option in darkness or rainy weather. Overall, this is a great all-around product at a solid value price of $13.29.
The last item on our list comes from Smittybilt, a dependable brand with a track record of well-made products. This recovery strap is no different, with 30,000 pounds of strength and a reinforced design to the loops that you’ll love. It also offers a distinct level of variety, with five different sizes and strength rating options available. If you want to build up a stockpile of various straps for unique jobs, Smittybilt definitely has you covered. They may not be the best tow strap option available, but they get the job done.
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Hopefully this ranking and guide has helped you in your search for the best tow strap available. You can’t go wrong with the Vault brand pick at number one, but any of these straps is sure to serve you well. Just always remember to use proper towing and recovery safety, and you’ll be all set to go.