There is a common misconception between tow straps and recovery straps, and in the eyes of many, they are often marketed as the same product. Though the straps are similar in their application-- attached between cars to use the force from one vehicle to help another. But this is where the similarities end!
Recovery strap, as its name suggests, is designed to be used to recover a stuck vehicle from mud, ditch or other situations. If your 4x4 gets stuck in the mud and you’re going nowhere. You can call another vehicle and recovery strap to get you unstuck.
A tow strap, in this light, is meant for what the name implies---towing a vehicle. It is attached between vehicles to tow a freewheeling vehicle from one place to the other.
Stretchability - the biggest difference!
The biggest difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap is their stretchability. Typically, a recovery strap is made of nylon or nylon fabrication, which is more durable and tensile than polyester, that is capable of approximately 20% stretch under load that allows the pulling vehicle to gain momentum to pull the stuck vehicle. The stretchiness is crucial to remove vehicles from a stuck position, and it is also what makes recovery straps not ideal for towing. Since it is not designed to be fully stretched out for extended periods of time (which happens when towing a vehicle).
While a tow strap, which is generally made of polyester, polypropylene, or Dacron, is intended for the towing of a freely-moving vehicle to a safe location on a leveled surface. A tow strap should not be used to recovery a stuck vehicle simply because towing requires very little elasticity as a result of the constant tug on the line. And it is designed for consistent tautness of the strap because towing a vehicle requires it to keep consistent strength throughout.
Another difference between tow straps and recovery straps is hook. Tow straps usually come with large metal hooks at each end, while recovery straps do not have these hooks. The reason is that a recovery strap with hooks is dangerous in that the hooks will fly about if they become loose, which will pose a grave danger to those stand in the vicinity.
The difference between tow strap and recovery strap is that the tow straps are not as effective when they’re wet. While recovery straps are designed to be used against wet.
The last difference between the tow strap and the recovery strap is storage, in that the latter does not store as pleasantly as the former. Since recovery straps are generally bulky.
Check the comparison and choose the right one for you
|Weight||10.18 pounds||7.41 pounds|
|Material||100% polyester||Nylon 66|
|Application||towing a vehicle||recover a stuck vehicle|
|Working Load||10,000 lbs||18,700 lbs|
|Break Strength||30,000 lbs||23,000 lbs|
In conclusion, a tow strap is ideal for towing a freewheeling vehicle for long distances, while a recovery strap is ideal for recovering a vehicle from a stuck position. Using the proper equipment for the job will make it easier while increasing safety and preventing damage. And regular maintenance will both keep them in great shape and extend their lifespan. If you don’t, they will lose their strength overtime.