Whether you’re taking your car out camping or exploring a new trail, having a quality set of straps will save you from many sticky situations. But buying the wrong strap can be disastrous and we’re here to help you choose the best tow and recovery straps for your vehicle.
Tow & Recovery Straps: What’s the difference?
Tow straps and recovery straps are similar in appearance, yet very different in application.
A tow strap is primarily used for towing things (cars) behind a vehicle. A recovery strap, on the other hand, is used for pulling stuck objects (such as a car stuck in the mud).
The main difference between tow straps and recovery straps is the stretch of the fabric. Recovery straps are made of super elastic nylon webbing which is stretched during recovery. As it snaps back to its original size, it extracts the stuck vehicle. Recovery straps are designed to endure extreme tension.
On the other hand, the auto tow straps are made of low-stretch polyester webbing and are designed to tow a free-moving vehicle instead of recovery.
Another thing is that tow straps have hooks at both ends of the strap while recovery straps have loops instead of hooks. Hooks in a recovery strap could be dangerous if the other vehicle were to dislodge from its anchor point. A recovery strap without hooks is much safer in this scenario.
So it is important to identify the right type of strap for the job as they are not interchangeable. Only use a tow strap to tow vehicles-never to perform vehicle recoveries! It might snap under strain and pressure and cause injury to both the operators and the vehicles.
On the other hand, when towing a vehicle, you want the strap to stay taut. If you use a recovery strap to tow vehicles, you run the risk of it stretching and contracting too much- which might lead to loss of control.
Best Recovery Straps 2021
With a minimum breaking strength of 17,600lb, this tough recovery strap will pull a truck, jeep, or SUV out of just about any terrain. The heavy duty nylon strap, rated for both road and off-road use, will have you back on the trail with ease.
Measures 30 feet by 3 inches, with excellent stitching and fabrication for prolonged use. The 17,500 lb model is recommended for most 4WD vehicles, but if you have bigger autos, go for the 24,000 lb & 33,000 lb straps which are better suited to heavier applications.
This recovery strap is great for any weekend adrenaline junky or a seasoned off-road pro. Made from nylon webbing with double-stitched seams, the strap can be used on recovery points in the front, rear or both locations depending on your particular tow situation.
The Smittybilt does not rely on hooks for attaching to the vehicle, as hooks can break or bend if they are not attached correctly. Instead, it utilizes loops on both ends that are tied to the vehicle’s recovery points.
The All Top recovery strap makes a great addition to your recovery kit. Designed with 100% nylon material that stretches up to 22%, the strap is crafted with reinforced, heavy-duty stitching. This Amazon bestseller also happens to be one of the longest lasting recovery straps, if you take good care of it..
The 3” x 20” can be used for light applications whereas the 4” x 30” and 4” x 20” straps are optimum for heavier equipment recovery jobs.
30 feet long by 4 inches wide, this recovery strap kit is perfect for recovering small tractors or trucks of up to 10,000lb. The yellow 4″ wide recovery strap is easy to see in off-road conditions, and the stretch and recoil action makes it perfect for getting a car out of the mud and other sticky situations.
Best Tow Straps 2021
These tow straps are made from high-level polyester and heavy-duty webbing. They feature 2 hooks, one at each end, to attach the strap to any two vehicles. This durable tow rope can withstand a 15,000lb load capacity, making it ideal for towing cars to their destination in all weather.
Plus, you’ll be easy to spot with the bright orange color, so they are great for visibility.
The SunFerno tow rope is one of the top heavy-duty tow straps on the market. Made of polyester material, it is 3″ wide and 20′ long and can drag cars of up to 17500lbs. Durable and strong, this towing strap is perfect for hooking up to a stalled car or truck.
RHINO USA recovery tow straps are constructed using premium nylon and durable polyester blend webbing. Each strap measures 20′ x 3″ and has a maximum rated break strength of 18000lbs.
A heavy duty buckle and loop on one end of the strap and a carabiner on the other make it easy to connect the strap to your vehicle or another vehicle.
Included is a drawstring pouch for easy storage when not in use.
This Neiko Tow Strap features tough polyester webbing construction, making it one of the strongest tow straps for jobs under 10,000lb.
The whole system is packed with reliable features that make it a perfect addition to your roadside assistance kit: Two metal hooks with safety buckles ensure extra security and easy hook-up, while its yellow color makes it easy to spot help when you need it most.
It features 2″ x 20′ and 2″ x 30′ options for longer lengths. NOT for off-road use or more heavy duty type of situations
This off-road strap is the perfect solution when you need to pull or tow heavy objects. Made of durable, high-density polyester, this strap is strong enough to tow loads of up to 10,000 lbs. One of the longer towing straps, the 30 feet length and 3-inches width is an essential tool for off-roaders, emergency personnel or anyone needing to haul heavy objects
Use the high visibility yellow straps to alert passing drivers that help is needed right away.
Things to Consider
What makes a good strap? Here are the factors you should consider when buying a strap – whether for towing or recovery.
Load Rating Capacity
Recovery Strap: While shopping for the best recovery tow straps, look out for its break strength capacity, or how much force it can handle before breaking. The straps on the market today have a break weight capacity ranging from 10000lb- 60000lb, or 1″ -6″ in width. For every 1″ in width the strap gains 10,000 lbs of strength. 3″ wide strap will have a load rating of approximately 30,000 lbs and so on.
You should buy a recovery strap rated at 3 times the weight of your vehicle—so if you’re driving a 2,000 pound SUV, you want to get a 6,000-pound recovery strap.
Towing Strap: The pull capacity of your tow strap should be rated for 3 times the weight of your vehicle.
The more weight your strap is rated for, the more chances are that it is made with better quality material and construction.
Once you’ve identified your ideal recovery strap or tow strap, it becomes a matter of comparing features and costs. Recovery straps come in different lengths and types. Each feature directly affects the price- so choose according to your needs.
Recovery straps lengths range between 20 feet to 50 feet, but 30ft recovery straps are the most common. Widthwise, they range between 2inches to 6inches, with the most common being 2inch recovery straps and 3inch recovery straps.
The best tow strap length or the most common length of towing straps is 20ft.
When choosing material for your recovery strap or tow strap, go those made from a durable and strong material such as nylon or polyamide. These materials have the most elasticity, are resilient, and can easily withstand extreme temperatures and environments as well as repeated use.
As for towing straps, those made of Dacron, Polypropylene or Polyester are your best bet since they don’t stretch beyond 5%– which is what you want for a towing strap.
You also want your towing strap hooks to be made of high-quality material so they won’t break or snap while in use. A great tow strap will have hooks made of forged steel. This material is recognized as being among the strongest and most durable available
What makes a durable tow strap?
If you want something that will last, buy a high-quality recovery strap that is made of strong material and is weather-resistant. Good stitching is also important because the threads will not unravel, wear out, or tear as you work around obstacles.
How to Properly Use a Tow or Recovery Strap
When properly used, a tow or recovery strap can save you from sticky, dangerous situations. However, first-time users should learn how to use the tool before attempting to recover a stuck or stranded car.
Your best bet is to follow instructions that come with the straps. Knowing how to properly use your recovery devices will keep you from having an accident while trying to retrieve your vehicle.
Before you head out, inspect your recovery or towing straps. Are they damaged or frayed? If so, replace them with new, strong straps.
Caring for your tow or recovery straps will make them last longer. So, after use, clean them and store them in the included storage bags as they are susceptible to damage by exposure to sunlight, moisture, oils, or harsh chemicals.
What is the best recovery strap?
Everyone needs a tow strap or recovery strap in their vehicle, yet there are so many on the market it’s hard to know where to start. However, this shouldn’t faze you, you only need to focus on what you want them for and what your goals are.
Our best tow and recovery strap review revealed the ALL-TOP Nylon Recovery Kit Snatch Strap to be a pretty good choice for recovery straps, while for the best towing rope, we picked the JCHL Tow Strap with Hooks.
Can you use a recovery strap for towing?
The best gear for towing is a towing strap – because it is less elastic than a recovery strap. When hauling a free-driving vehicle behind you, you want the towing rope to remain taut throughout your journey. This is best achieved by polyester towing straps.
What are tow straps and recovery straps made of?
The off road recovery straps are typically made of nylon material – which can stretch for up to 22% – perfect for the snatch action needed to pull stuck autos.
Tow straps, on the other hand, require no such elasticity. Most are made of the polyester material. Dacron and polypropylenes – a mix of polyester and silk-are the other materials used to craft tow straps.
How do you attach a tow strap with loop ends?
The D-ring located at the end of the strap allows you to fasten it to a tow hook on a recovery vehicle. Loop the other end of the strap through the D-ring and secure it with the pin to attach the recovery strap. The recovery vehicle can then pull the stranded vehicle out to safety.