Synthetic rope vs steel rope: Which one is best?
Written: November 18, 2011
by Andy Lilienthal
As you may have heard, Warn Industries now offer six winches with our Spydura synthetic rope
. Those winches are the VR8000-s, VR10000-s
, and the 9.0Rc
A lot of people have asked questions about our rope and our opinion of synthetic vs. steel rope, so here is some information.
WARN Spydura synthetic rope is made from an ultra high molecular polyethylene material. It receives a coat of black urethane that helps protect the rope from the affects of ultra-violet rays and chemicals as two enemies of synthetic rope. The rope also includes a sliding sleeve to help protect it from wear and abrasion while winching. All WARN truck/SUV winches
equipped with Spydura rope should be used with our polished aluminum hawse fairlead
The synthetic vs. steel debate has heated up recently, as synthetic rope becomes more mainstream. Here's our take on it.
Spydura synthetic rope
is a great product for many vehicle recovery situations. If you winch a lot and are concerned about weight, synthetic can be a great option since it is lightweight and easy to handle. It doesn't develop sharp burrs like steel rope, and doesn't store as much potential energy when under load. On the flip side, synthetic rope is more prone to abrasion, and should be regularly inspected for frays or other damage caused by UV, chemicals, and overall use. And when using synthetic, you always want to lay down the abrasion sleeve when needed to guard against rope damage.
is extremely durable, and is good for both vehicle recovery and utility work, such as moving trees, rocks, etc., since it resists abrasion very well. Ultra-violet wear is also not a factor with steel rope, and it may be a better choice for you if you don't frequently use your winch. Steel rope is heavier than synthetic, can develop rust, and can also develop sharp burrs. This is one reason why we always recommend users always wear heavy gloves
to protect their hands while handling the rope.
Some people immediately think synthetic rope is safer than steel rope. Although steel rope will store more potential energy, since it's made out of steel, it is less prone to abrasion (and possible fraying). The bottom line is that no matter which line you choose, you need to follow safe winching techniques and take all necessary safety precautions. In fact, you can download Warn Industries' The Basic Guide to Winching Techniques
to brush up or learn more about how to use your winch and practice safe winching.