Ratchet straps are one of those everyday items that might not sound like much of a big deal, however, they play an important role in securing cargo and holding down equipment while being transported.

If you're going to buy this product, it's important for you to know how you can use them both safely and effectively which is why we want to give you a breakdown of what they are, how you can use them, and when you should replace them.

Here at Lifting Equipment Store (LES), we offer a range of different versions and if you need 1, 5, 10, 20, or 100 for your business, please check out our full product range or contact us to discuss how our business could help you meet your business needs.

What are ratchet straps and what are they used for?

This supportive equipment, which are also known as lashing straps and tie-downs, are mainly used for transportation and are a popular method of holding in place equipment and cargo of different weights, sizes, and shapes.

They are used to fasten and secure equipment and cargo during transport either by air, land, or sea which makes them an effective health and safety item to keep loads from falling off the vehicle and in place until delivered and lifted off.

They are usually made from durable, hard-wearing, polyester webbing giving them low stretchability to ensure they keep moving loads secured.

If you go down a motorway and go past lorries or trucks transporting items, there is a good chance this is the piece of equipment that's holding the item to the vehicle to stop them from moving around while in transportation.

They can be used in various ways which include vehicle recovery, vehicle transportation such as cars on the back of lorries, heavy equipment transportation, holding down cargo on a freight plane, ship, and train, and for personal use such as attaching a canoe to the top of a car.

It's important to note that they cannot be used for lifting any items with the safety factors for lifting equipment different from those for lashing equipment and it should clearly state this on the label.

How you can use them

You want to make sure you use your strap(s) correctly or it could lead to serious problems and accidents involving other people which could end up costing money and time to fix the issue and get the items delivered.

That's why we want to tell you step by step how to use them safely and effectively when securing your personal or business cargo and items.

We always recommend that to use your straps properly you should inspect the webbing and handle assembly to ensure there is no damage and they are safe to use for securing your items.

Open the handle

The first step is to release the catch, which is also referred to as the release lever, as this disengages the handle.

It's similar to the way an airplane seat belt works and can be found in the center of the top movable piece of the item.

Pull up the release catch and flip it fully open and place the open slot pointing up so the end of the webbing can be fed through.

Access the axle assemble

The next step is closing it so that the axle assembly is easily accessible to feed the strapping through the assembly.

Feed the strapping through

Lead the strapping or webbing from underneath the assembly and push it through the slot at the bottom, which is also known as the mandrel, and then back out the same way you put it in.

Attach the hooks

The next part is to place the ratchet assembly into position and do the same with the hook on the other end of the webbing or strap. It's important to get it into position first and then you can tighten the strap up later to secure the objects that are being transported.

Remove the slack

This is where you remove any excess slack between the two hooks to make sure it's secured and in place.

Tighten the slack

After the excess slack has been dealt with you can tighten the remaining slack to ensure it's in place.

It might be a case of pulling it back and forth until it's in place and tightened in a secure position.

However, don't over-tighten the strap(s) as this could cause damage to your cargo and the strap which will result in you needing new ones before you've got the full wear out of them.

Close the handle

Once this is done and it's in a tight position to secure the items and cargo it's holding, you can close the strap by flipping it over and closing the handle to lock the strap in a secure position and until you hear it latch or lock into position. If you don't hear it click, it could be you haven't tightened it enough or you have a faulty product.


When you've got to your destination and you need to unload the items or cargo, it's an easy task of pulling and holding the release handle which should open the assembly completely and release the tightness.

Ratchet Strap

Different types you can get

There are a number of different types available to purchase and depending on the weight and size of the items and cargo that it's holding down will depend on what type you need.

The strength of a strap should be shown on its label as the lashing capacity (LC) and measured in decaNewtons (daN) which give the user of the weight and size the assembly can securely hold for transportation.

It's important that when using a strap you take into account the break strength and working load limit which will determine what type of strap you will need to securely carry your cargo.

The bigger the cargo and items that are being transported, the more heavy-duty the ratchet assembly will need to be.

For example, if you need to tie down a canoe or equipment of some sort to the top of your car, you won't need a heavy-duty strap that can secure heavy and large agricultural or construction parts.

It's important to never use this piece of supportive gear for applications over its working limit as it no longer becomes safe to use and does not comply with health and safety measures to transport an item.

Weight capacity variations

The weight capacity changes as you go up the working load limits and what type of strap you need will change as the item gets heavier.

This equipment is rated by its weight capacity which can range from 140kg for a light strap all the way up to 5,000kg for a heavy-duty strap so it's important to know the weight of your items and cargo so you have the right ones to support them.

For example, a LashKing 50mm is well suited for securing bulky loads that need to be anchored to the floor of a flatbed truck or the inside of a trailer with up to 5,000kg minimum breaking force while products such as the auto-retractable ratchet strap lashing are good for smaller items ranging from 600-1,500kg.

Sizes and lengths of 

There are different sized versions available to use and depending on how big the item is will depend on how much length on the strap will be required.

There are straps that have purposes to hold secure larger cargo where products such as the 200X50mm 5 tonnes bulk special come in handy, while there are straps that have a purpose to hold smaller items such as the auto-retractable version lashing which still have strong webbing.

The total length and the allowed extension of the strap should be printed on the label so you're aware of how far you can stretch your strap while keeping it effective and safe to use.

What to watch out for

It's important to monitor your equipment to ensure they are safe to use, however, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to replace them but just have to give them a bit of a tidy up to make them fully effective again.

It might be that the rachet assembly needs lubricating in which case you can use a small spray of dry silicone spray or WD-40 which will give it more durability and stop the assembly from greasing up and causing stiffness.

When you're not using the straps, it's good practice to store them in a weatherproof dry and dark container or compartment so they don't get damaged and wrap the webbing and straps with a rubber band so they don't unravel and fall around.

If you use the straps for carrying heavier loaded and sharper edge items such as steel, concrete, and scrap metal which can potentially damage the strap material and assembly, it's good practice to use corner webbing sleeves to protect the straps.

ratchet strap

When you need to replace them

The health and safety authority explains how employers and self-employed have legal duties to assess the risks of what they do and provide the suitable equipment, information, and training so that drivers and loaders can load vehicles safely.

It's important to know when you need to replace your strap(s) to ensure they're still effective and do not become a health and safety risk as this is what they're supposed to help reduce.

If there are any frayed webbing, mildew, or any holes and tears you should stop using them and get hold of new ones before using them to transport any items as they could cause an accident and are at risk of not being effective.

Do you need ratchet straps?

If you've read this and are thinking this product can help your business, make sure you check out the full LES product range to see how they could help you and your business excel.

If you're needing a number of ratchet straps as part of a bigger order for a bespoke solution, please contact an experienced member of the LES team where they will be happy to discuss your needs and how we can help. 

Tags: Equipment