Unless you are a professional driver whose job involves loading and unloading your own truck, you probably don’t have a deeply rooted appreciation for buckle straps. Buckle straps are essentially tie-down straps made from a nylon webbing material that is both flexible and strong.
The difference between straps is often the buckle rather than the strap itself.
Believe it or not, buckles make a significant difference. Yet there are other properties that separate one buckle strap from another. What separates the straps tends to be key to their various applications. To illustrate the point, four types of buckle straps are described below. Which one is the right choice for the job at hand? That is up to you to decide.
Option #1: The Ratchet Strap
Among all buckle strap types, the ratchet strap is probably the one most people are familiar with. It is a nylon webbing strap with a ratchet on one end. Truckers use ratchet straps to secure cargo to flatbed trailers. The ratchet strap is a good choice because ratchets are extremely strong but still easy to use.
The ratchet is the buckle on this kind of strap. Whether you use a single strap to go around an entire load or a two-piece strap with hooks on either end, the point is to thread the open end of the strap through the ratchet and then tighten things down. Ratchets are capable of producing a lot of force, which is what you need to keep things in place.
Option #2: The Cam Buckle Strap
The cam strap is the newest member of the buckle strap family. Rather than utilizing a ratchet, it relies on a cam buckle through which the open end of the strap is threaded. It can be pulled tight by hand – no ratchet necessary.
Rollercam is a popular brand of cam buckle straps. Their patented buckle design means less friction and more tie-down force. Cam buckle straps, like ratchet straps, can be either one or two-piece straps. Rollercam says they are ideal for securing outdoor toys, sports equipment, furniture, etc.
Option #3: The E-Track Strap
E-track straps are a specialized type of buckle strap intended for commercial use. These are always two-piece straps. Both straps have an e-clip on one end, a clip that fits into an e-track. The opposite end of one strap is left open while the other has the ratchet or cam buckle attached.
E-track setups are found in box trucks. The tracks themselves are mounted to the sides of the truck’s interior. There are slots to receive the e-clips at regular intervals, giving the driver plenty of flexibility in terms of where straps are installed.
Option #4: The Chain Binder
A chain binder is not technically a buckle strap, but it does the same thing. Chain binders combine heavy-duty chains with binding locks to keep everything secure. This is the most heavy-duty option reserved for extremely heavy loads where securement cannot be compromised.
If you have ever seen a flatbed trailer hauling heavy construction equipment, you might have noticed the equipment secured with chains. This is a typical chain binder application. Chains are also used to secure things like concrete sewer lines, steel beams, and other extremely heavy items being transported by truck.
Different types of buckle straps have different applications. Ratchet straps, e-track straps, and chain binders are exclusively commercial products. For consumer purposes, cam buckle straps and consumer-grade ratchet straps are the preferred choices. The one thing they all have in common is keeping cargo secure during transport. And that, by the way, is not optional.