How to Choose the Right Cable Ties

BY: Christina Hansen


Cable TiesWhen you think of cable ties, it can be easy to mentally put them all into the same category…after all, they’re pretty much the same, right? They’re just a bunch of looping, self-locking little plastic strips, so how much difference can your choice of cable ties possibly make? As it turns out, a lot! From materials and size to construction and temperature rating, cable ties can have a wide variety of features which allow them to be specialized to different situations. In order to help you choose just the right cable tie for your application, would like to suggest a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • The cable tie’s construction.
    One-piece or two-piece? Cable ties with one-piece construction are exactly as they sound: each tie, including its locking mechanism, is a single unit, molded of one material. One-piece cable ties -- like the Nylon 6/6 general-purpose type -- are typically lower in cost, and they’re good for applications around the home or office. Two-piece cable ties are higher-performance, because of the smooth stainless-steel locking mechanism that is incorporated into the head of each tie. These special locking mechanisms allow two-piece ties, like Ty-Rap® Spec Grade cable ties by Thomas and Betts, to be smoothly adjusted for exactly the right fit around a bundle of cables, with less risk of over-tightening. Although they usually cost a little more, two-piece cable ties have the added benefits of a smooth profile and breakage resistance.
  • The cable tie’s length.
    Cable ties are available in lengths ranging from 4 to 52 inches! Even though chances are pretty good that you’ll be opting for something in the one-foot-and-under range, be sure to measure the diameter of the cable bundle you’ll be tying. Since cable ties get trimmed after installation, it’s not a big deal if you buy them a little on the long side…you just don’t want find out at the last minute that they’re too short to do the job. If you think you’ll need a variety of lengths, carries both small and large Cable Tie Kits, each containing nylon ties in assorted sizes.
  • The cable tie’s material.
    stainless steel cable tiesCable ties are available in a wide range of materials, each with its own specific properties. Nylon ties are the most common, and varieties like the Pan-Ty cable ties from Panduit® can offer good resistance to weather and ultraviolet rays in lower-temperature environments. For applications in harsher environments that require extra durability in the face of heat, chemicals and other corrosive elements, consider stainless-steel cable ties, like those available from HellermannTyton.
  • The cable tie’s special features.
    Will a standard-design cable tie meet your needs, or does your cable-tying application call for a little extra “something”? Generally speaking, most ties lock permanently, but if you’re looking for a cable-tying solution that can be undone without actual cutting, offers several types of releasable cable ties. For applications that require bundled cables to be mounted onto surfaces, there are Mounted Head cable ties, the heads of which are equipped with holes to accommodate screws or other hardware. Cable ties can also come in a rainbow of colors, which is a very useful feature whether you are trying to color-code your cables, or just want to match the ties to your equipment and décor.

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