ATV winch synthetic rope vs. cable: What are the differences

Depending on your work and how you handle the rope, either synthetic rope or steel cable can be a good choice. However, if you compare the size and quantity of synthetic rope and cable, synthetic one does a better job. 

A rope is comparatively stronger than a cable, and it can pull much load as well. At the same time, it also requires a bit of extra maintenance to keep the performance level up. 

These few things make it extremely tough for anyone to choose between ATV winch synthetic rope and steel cable. Go through the article, and I hope you can make the right decision in the end. 

Comparison between ATV winch synthetic rope and cable 

It’s not an easy task to choose between a synthetic rope and steel cable. Both do the intended pulling job efficiently if you use it properly. Before talking further about these two ropes, go through the following chart quickly. 

Comparison Synthetic rope Steel cable 
Toughness 4 times stronger than an equivalent steel cable Not as strong as synthetic rope 
Weight Lightweight Comparatively heavier 
Maintenance Needs regular maintenance Doesn’t need regular maintenance 
Breaking Doesn’t easily breaks Breaks easily 
Resistance Rust-resistant Not rust-resistant 
Repairing On-field repair is possible Impossible to repair on field 
Cost Double price than cable Cheaper option 

Do synthetic rope requires more maintenance.

Yes, synthetic rope requires more maintenance compared to steel cable. The rope is highly prone to water, mud, sand, or other dirt on the trails. Without regular washing, the dirt and debris will stay on the rope’s strands. 

As a result, it can lose quality. Even after washing, you must dry out the rope perfectly. Keeping it wet for a long time can result in freezing. And a frozen rope becomes useless. 

On the other hand, regular maintenance isn’t something that steel cable requires. One should put a liquid coating on the cable to maintain efficiency.

However, one thumb rule to maintain both these ropes is to store these in a dry and well-ventilated place. 

ATV winch synthetic rope vs. cable

Which one is the safer option: Synthetic rope or steel cable 

It takes an amount of strength to pull the car through a synthetic rope or steel cable. However, the extra tension while pulling the vehicle can cause damage or break the rope. 

As a result, it can turn out disastrous for the user. Although both ropes are unsafe in that case, the cable is the riskiest one. When a cable breaks, it comes in flying towards the user. 

However, the rope falls on the ground in the meantime. Therefore, there’s a lot less danger with synthetic rope even it breaks. Meanwhile, don’t forget to wear gloves whenever using these ropes.

Gloves can save your hands from unwanted bruises, pinching, or other severe damage. 

Is synthetic rope stronger than steel cable?

If you take equivalent synthetic rope and steel cable, synthetic comes out as the strongest one. With the fine synthetic thread construction, it can take the heaviest load with ease. 

On the other hand, steel may seem stronger compared to the synthetic thread; the cable remains weaker than the rope. Experts say a synthetic rope is 2 to 4 times stronger than an equivalent steel cable.

In other words, similar weight synthetic rope is around 15 times stronger than steel cable. 

Is synthetic rope lighter than steel cable

Spooling is much easier with synthetic rope than steel cable because they are way lighter. Our team has found synthetic ropes are 4 to 6 times lighter than steel cables. 

Even it appeared to be 8 times lighter in some cases. Due to the lightweight structure, it becomes a lot safer even if there’s a breakage. Moreover, you can easily haul the rope and carry it on the vehicle’s front. 

One major specialty of synthetic rope being lightweight is floatability. Except for pulling heavy vehicles, you can use it sometimes for rescue operations. Being lightweight, it won’t sink in the water.

On the other hand, steel cables can never float in the water because of the extra weight. 

Rope or cable, which is one more durable 

The durability of both rope and cable depends a lot on how carefully you use them. Synthetic ropes require regular maintenance to keep safe from mud, dirt, or water. Without regular cleaning, it will start fading. 

The fading can result in the loss of quality and performance efficiency. On the other hand, steel cables don’t require regular maintenance. However, it’s prone to rust and needs a rust-proof coating.

Applying the rust-resistant, liquid coating after certain times can increase longevity. Meanwhile, as a synthetic rope is less prone to breaking, it can last longer without damage as well. 

Can you repair a synthetic rope or steel cable

If the synthetic rope breaks on the trail, you can repair it somehow to get the unfinished job done. But repairing steel cable on the field is an impossible task. 

When a synthetic rope breaks, the easiest way to repair it is by splicing. However, in case the breakage is severe, you have another repair option too.

Tie a knot between the broken parts, and the rope is ready to do what it is intended for. 

Which one is cheaper: Synthetic rope or steel cable 

When you are almost there to decide whether synthetic rope or steel cable fits your need, the final decision comes down to the price. And to be honest, steel cable is the cheaper option here. 

During our research sessions, we found top-quality brands’ synthetic ropes are 2 times pricier than steel cable. The cable length, capacity are similar, but still, you have to spend extra money on a synthetic rope.

But why people still go for the expensive option is because of the extra safety. Synthetic ropes are safe to use without having a lot of chances of breaking. On the contrary, the cheaper steel cable can cause severe damage if it somehow breaks.

Benefits of synthetic rope 

After a long discussion, it’s down to your decision whether to choose synthetic rope or steel cable. But don’t you want to what actually synthetic ropes offer to the users? Why these ropes are so good? 

  • It’s the safest option.
  • Doesn’t break easily like steel cable. 
  • Something that is rust-resistant. 
  • Lightweight, but a stronger rope.
  • Floats in the water for rescue operations. 
  • Easily repairable into the trails.
  • Highly durable for long-term performance. 

At the same time, you should also keep in mind that synthetic ropes require regular maintenance. Moreover, you may also have to spend extra money to get this safer pulling option. 

Benefits of steel cable 

Steel cables are definitely the cheaper option here that doesn’t need regular maintenance. However, there’re more praiseworthy sides available for these cables. 

  • A long-lasting pulling rope.
  • Needs less maintenance. 
  • Comparatively costs less than a synthetic rope. 
  • Heavy-duty rope on the trails.

Although it’s a heavy-duty option on the trails for pulling, you can never repair it if somehow it breaks. Moreover, these cables are way dangerous after breaking. Also, you must be careful about the rust.

Apply rust-resistant liquid coating to prevent rust from damaging the cable quality.

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