Cable, Strap or Rope Puller – Which Is Best?

Cable, strap and rope pullers all work on the same principle: they use the mechanical advantage of levers and pulleys to allow you to pull very heavy loads without using a power winch. They can be used for any number of hauling tasks, from forestry to farming and building, to helping you get your car out of a ditch. All of these types of pullers have their uses, and depending on your needs, they may even be interchangeable in a lot of cases. So what is the best way to decide which puller is right for you?

Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of puller.

Cable Pullers

These may be the pullers that you’re most familiar with. The biggest advantage of cables is their strength: if you look at the ratings on pullers, you will soon notice that the most heavy-duty models usually use cables. So if you need to pull very heavy loads of more than two tons, a cable puller will probably be your best choice.

Cables do have a couple of possible disadvantages however. The metal in the cable itself will conduct electricity, so it’s not the best choice if there is a danger of electrical shock. If you’re felling trees near power lines, for example, you may prefer not to use a cable.

Cables can also be more brittle and less flexible in extreme cold, which is something to keep in mind if you plan to use it during very cold winter weather.


  • Available rated for the heaviest loads
  • Durable


  • Cable is conductive
  • Susceptible to cold

Rope Pullers

Unlike cable or strap pullers, rope pullers don’t wind the rope onto a drum. You can keep pulling it through, meaning that there is no limit to the length of rope you can use. (Some strap pullers now offer this feature too.) With the other types of pullers, you may have to reset every 12 to 15 feet, depending on the capacity of the puller. Ropes also have the advantage of being non-conductive.

Rope pullers have one main limitation, and that is load capacity. In general, rope pullers are rated for lighter loads than either strap or cable pullers. If you buy a rope puller without a rope included, be sure to buy a suitable rope for pulling. Some types of rope can be too elastic for pulling.


  • Non-conductive
  • No limit to length of rope


  • Not rated for very heavy loads

Strap Pullers

Strap pullers are available with higher load ratings than rope pullers, though not quite as high as cable pullers. They do have a few advantages to recommend them. The woven strap is flexible, allowing it to conform to the shape of the load you are pulling. The strap material is also non-scratching, so it won’t damage the paint job on any vehicles you’re pulling out of the ditch. The non-conductive material of the strap makes it a safer choice for working around power lines, and it won’t be affected by extremely cold weather.

The shape of the strap creates one potential problem: with some models, owners complain that the strap jams when you wind it onto the drum unless you guide it with your hand.


  • Flexible strap conforms to load
  • Won’t scratch load
  • Non-conductive
  • Suitable for cold weather
  • Suitable for heavy loads


  • Not strong enough for the heaviest of loads
  • Strap can be difficult to wind onto drum

So, which type of puller you choose will depend on what you plan to use it for. If you are using it for a variety of different tasks around a farm or rural property, you may find suitable choices among all three types. However, if you have specific uses for your puller, you need to choose more carefully.

Task Recommendation

  • Heavy loads – Cable or strap (cable for the heaviest loads)
  • Extremely cold weather – Rope or strap
  • Loads prone to scratching or damage – Strap
  • Pulling loads at a distance – Rope
  • Working near live wires – Rope or strap

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