Top 8 Best Tow and Recovery Straps
By | Last updated: May 12, 2022
best tow and recovery straps

Heading out into the sand — or any off-road environment — is bound to bring a fun-filled day with the chance of scattered calamity. The old saw advises that if you didn’t get stuck during your sojourn to the desert or mud pit, you weren’t trying hard enough.

That’s why there are a phalanx of companies eager to sell an array of recovery tools and why the SEMA show in Vegas consumes more and more floor space every year. Today, we’ll focus simply on tow straps because they’re an item that should be flung into every cargo area of each and every off-road vehicle that hits the trail. Even if it’s not used for your own benefit, one may find themselves needing to extricate a buddy who’s eyes were bigger than his ground clearance.

And, for the love of Mickey Thompson, educate yourself before using these things. Deployed improperly, they have the capability to whisk a person off their feet faster than the sun sets at the equator. Watch what you’re doing and use your noggin.

See the best tow and recovery straps below.

1. Editor’s Choice: Rhino USA Recovery Tow Strap 3" x 30’

This green and black brute from Rhino USA is a good thirty feet long, meaning you’ll be able to put plenty of distance between you and the jamoke you’re hauling out of the muck for the fifth time today. These straps are three inches wide and are said to be lab tested to a breaking point of 31,518 pounds. Note that the working load limit of these — and most — straps is about one-third that amount.

Triple reinforced loop straps mean you can swing off these things with wild abandon — just make sure you’re using an approved towing point as the strength of these things mean there’s a good chance to inflict damage (and gain YouTube infamy) before busting the rope. Various lengths are available, as are options which include useful shackles. A full 94 percent of over 1600 reviewers gave this product five stars, providing some useful assurance for first-time buyers.

Pros/Strong like ox, natty carry bag, great reviews
Cons/Says “USA” but seemingly made in China

2. GearAmerica Premium Tow Strap 3" x 20'

Very similar to the unit above but dyed a natty orange, this recovery strap from GearAmerica likewise has reinforced eyes and a patriotic label (reinforced eyes sounds like something a Bond villain would have, by the way). Available in many different lengths but shown here in a twenty footer, it comes with a storage bag as well.

The branding is plastered onto a black sleeve, one that’s designed to move in an effort to protect the straps webbing where you need it. After all, one cannot always predict the location of a wayward rock or stubborn stump that’s doing its best to scupper your recovery. It’s a case of personal preference whether one thinks bright orange is easier to see than bright green.

Pros/Well made, great reviews, includes storage bag
Cons/Shackles sold separately

3. Mozzbi Tow Strap with Alloy Latch Hooks

Our first entrant into the Fixed Hook area is this product from the curiously named Mozzbi company. Unlike the other two straps profiled so far, this one uses alloy steel hooks and a safety latch to connect itself to a stricken vehicle. Presented in a lime green hue, there’s little chance you’ll lose this thing in the depths of your vehicle’s trunk.

It is only about 13 feet long (an even 4 meters in Roman Catholic), setting it at less than half the length of your author’s choice at the beginning of this post. Make your inappropriate jokes now, children. Also, some off-roaders don’t like the hook-and-latch type of recovery straps because, by their very nature, there are more fail points than one with simple rope loops at its two ends.

Pros/Affordable, brightly colored, lower breaking capacity than some others
Cons/Shorter than most straps

4. AJ TAIT5393 2" x 12’ Tow Strap

We’re including this option in our list simply to demonstrate that sub-$10 tow straps do exist, not that it’s ever a good idea to cheap out on safety. While it has garnered a 4+ star review based on a smallish sample size, your author is never comforted by vehicle supplies sold in blister packs as if they were a deck of playing cards.

Most customers who took the time to leave feedback reported the metal hooks are not of great quality, an assertion one can make even by looking at these flat two-dimensional pictures on your digital screen. More than one person reports that it is good for hauling out a stuck snowmobile or side-by-side. Given their lighter weight, this is not a wholly bad idea.

Pros/Good for recreational vehicles, very cheap
Cons/Likely not the best for heavy chores, very cheap

5. ABN Tow Strap Rope with Loops 1” x 20’

Not all tow straps are flatter than the Prairies and twice as wide. This rope measures about one inch on the round and is a good choice for compactly stuffing into the corner of your car’s cargo area in case of future emergency. This is the thickest of the four options from this company, ranging from half-inch to the item you see here.

Constructed from double braided nylon that has high elasticity and absorbs shock, this rope is claimed by its seller to be 2 to 3 times stronger than flat nylon straps. It naturally weighs less than steel cables or chains. Like most everything else on this list, but not your author, it is resistant to heat and abrasion.

Pros/Lightweight, compact, built to last
Cons/Oddly expensive

6. Rocket Straps - 3" x 30' Heavy Duty Tow Strap

With a name like ROCKET STRAPS you can be assured this product will come complete with appropriately aggressive colors and marketing. Right on cue, one finds a flat webbing dyed angry red and a shipping box featuring a snow-laden Land Cruiser. This strap is available in a single thirty foot size, as shown here.

The seller says this tow strap is made from high grade 100 percent polyester material, so your uncle who’s stuck in the 1970s will feel comfortable using it on the trail. It is UV and weather resistant, meaning the harsh Moab sun shouldn’t cause undue wear. Extremely flexible, it has heavy duty reinforced looped ends to take the strain off of anchor points.

Pros/Good price, positive reviews, looks good
Cons/One size doesn’t necessarily fit all

7. Driver Recovery 4" x 30' Heavy Duty Tow/Recovery Strap

The only blue tow strap on this list is also the thickest, clocking in at a generous four inches wide. Proving that size isn’t everything, the construction of this strap pegs its safe working load at just over 6600lbs, about 2/3rds the capacity of most other tow straps on this list. Break strength is also about 66 percent of nominal, measuring 20,000 pounds.

Built to withstand extreme loads and temperatures, the industrial-grade webbing is said to be abrasion and weather-resistant to effectively resist rotting or tearing. This should increase the product’s lifespan. Strap features two reinforced looped ends to withstand the high tension and wear that typically occurs at connection points.

Pros/Wide enough to eat lunch on, no one else will have a blue one
Cons/Low weight restrictions

8. RoofPax Tow Strap 3" x 20 ft. Off Road Recovery Rope

This company makes all manner of items for lashing cargo to the roof of one’s vehicle, so it will surprise no one they’ve dipped their toe into the tow strap game. The principles are similar, after all: build a lightweight but strong webbing that can keep things where you want them. Come to think of it, that’s the ethos of mist underwear companies as well.

Priced under twenty bucks, this twenty footer will help motorists and off-road gearheads tow and haul with the best of them. The straps are made of an 80/20 polyester/silk blend and at about five pounds, isn’t overly light. A fifteen ton break strength and convenient storage bag are included at no charge.

Pros/Hauls 15 tons, 80/20 material blend, carrying case that you’ll never use
Cons/Clevis sold separately

FAQs

Who makes good recovery straps?

Although the type of recovery strap that you need may vary depending on the weight of your vehicle and your preference of vendor, some that have received good reviews on Amazon are listed below:

  • GearAmerica Recovery Tow Straps (Buy here!)

With more than 3,300 positive reviews on Amazon, this product can be used for both recovery and towing purposes.

Another product with a decent number of positive reviews, even this can be used to easily tow and recover your vehicles.

This kit comprises all the required tools and extensions to recover your vehicle with ease.

Can you use a recovery strap for towing?

Although you can as it is stronger, you are strongly advised otherwise. The main reason for this is that the recovery straps are made of stretchable Nylon Web that stretches when needed. Because of this characteristic, they are suitable for bringing a stuck vehicle out, typically from mud, pit, etc.

As for towing, the strap/rope is made of Polyester that is not as stretchable as Nylon Web, and therefore, your vehicle with free movement of wheels remains protected from the possible collisions that may take place when the straps stretch and contract during acceleration and braking of the towing vehicle respectively.

How do I choose a recovery strap?

Honestly, choosing a recovery strap requires a bit of calculation to ensure that no mishaps take place while you are using it.

The first thing that you may want to check is the material and its holding capacity, sometimes also referred to as rating. Recovery straps are usually made of either Polyester or Nylon Web. While you are free to pick any of the two, it is advisable to choose the latter as it has more stretch factor.

Talking about Nylon Web rating, each inch (in width) of a good quality recovery strap can hold approximately 10,000 lbs. of weight.

Tensile Strength

Now, depending on the type of vehicle you want to recover, the first thing that you should do is, calculate the tensile strength of the recovery strap. Tensile Strength sometimes a.k.a. Break Strength is the weight at which the strap will break. A simple formula to calculate tensile strength is:

Nylon Web rating x Inches (in Width) x Plies (Layers of Nylon Web) = Tensile Strength

Towing Capacity

The towing capacity of a recovery strap is half of its tensile strength:

Tensile Strength / 2 = Towing Capacity

And

Towing Threshold

Towing threshold is the weight beyond which the towing strap will break:

Vehicle’s Weight = Vehicle’s Towing Threshold

For example:

If Vehicle’s Weight = 60,000 lbs. (for easy calculation)

It’s Tensile Strength = Towing Threshold x 2

Therefore, Recovery Strap’s Tensile Strength must be: 60,000 X 2 = 120,000 lbs.

Now, if Nylon Web rating = 10,000 lbs./inch, it must be of 120,000 / 10,000 = 12 inches

Therefore, for a vehicle weighing around 60,000 lbs., the recovery strap of around 10,000 lbs./inch ratings must be 12 inches wide. If that kind of strap isn’t available, you can go for 2 Plies x 6” of Nylon Webbing or 3 Plies x 4” of Nylon Webbing straps.

Note: Plies are the layers of Nylon Webbings

All the calculations given above are all good, alright. However, you must always get a recovery strap that is stronger than what you calculated. E.g., in the above example, rather than going for 2 Plies x 6”, you may want to get 3 Plies X 6” of Nylon Webbings

Are tow straps any good?

Yes, they are. If you get good-quality tow straps, they serve the purpose pretty well. However, you must never use tow straps for recovering a vehicle from mud or pit. This is because the recovery process requires more strength which is calculated in terms of Tensile and therefore, recovery straps must be at least twice strong as compared to towing straps.


From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Patiwit Hongsang / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

One Comment on “Best Tow and Recovery Straps: When Sand Jobs Require Tow Jobs...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The AJ TAIT strap looks like junk. You need to by the best possible equipment since a failure can be fatal. Kinetic recovery straps are a better investment.

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