How to use chains and ratchet binders

Written by c.l. rease
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Heavy loads that exceed the capacity of nylon ratchet straps require a tie down method capable of keeping loads tight without worry about cutting or snapping the tie down material. Chains hold heavy loads and withstand abrasions from sharp loads. To tighten a tie down chain you need to use ratchet binders. Ratchet binders have a hook on either side with a handle sitting in between the hooks. Cranking the ratchet handle pulls the hooks together, tightening the chain and securing the load.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tie down chain

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  1. 1

    Hook one end of a tie down chain to the side of a trailer. Pull the chain over or through the load you need to secure. Hook the other end of the chain to the other side of the trailer.

  2. 2

    Pull the slack of the chain to an area accessible from ground level.

  3. 3

    Slide one hook of the ratchet binder to a link of the tie down chain. Pull the slack in the chain to form a U. Slide the second ratchet binder hook to the last link of the chain past the U in the chain.

  4. 4

    Flip the direction switch of the ratchet binder to "Tighten." Pull the handle towards you until you hear a click. Push the handle away from you and repeat the process. Continue pumping the handle until the tie down chain pulls the chain tight.

  5. 5

    Flip the direction switch to "Loosen." Push the handle away from you to loosen the ratchet binder.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use a cheater pipe on the handle of a ratchet binder.
  • Keep your body clear of the ratchet binder when tightening the tie down chain.

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