Releasable Zip Ties

Releasable zip ties

A releasable zip tie

Releasable zip ties are exactly what they sound like: crazy awesome technological advances that let you have a zip tie that you can actually release without having to cut it free. This lets you easily readjust your zip ties, reposition them, or open them up and add more wires to a bundle that you’re securing with zip ties.

The secret to the releasable zip ties has to do with the design of the head of the zip tie, which is the ratcheting and locking mechanism. On a releasable zip tie there is a little lever that attaches to the ratcheting mechanism within the head. By pushing down on the lever you will pull up the ratcheting mechanism, freeing the teeth from the head. You can then pull the zip tie out of the head (or just loosen it) and reuse the zip tie to your heart’s content.

The Good and the Bad

Whether a releasable zip tie is a good thing depends entirely on how you’re using your zip ties. Some applications will never want a releasable zip tie — in particular using zip ties and handcuffs! Any situation where you don’t want just anyone from the street to be able to easily release your zip tie is a bad choice for these guys. Also, the releasable zip ties are a little bit more prone to failure, particularly if you’ve used them multiple times. If you want the greatest strength and holding power, you probably want to go with a standard zip tie design.

On the other hand where releasable zip ties really shine is when used for their original function: bundling cords and cables. Just about anyone who works in computers or audio makes use of zip ties to keep their cables organized — often using different colored zip ties to indicate the source or destinations of different cable bundles.

Releasable cable ties are absolutely ideal for this situation. You can easily add additional cables to existing bundles without having to cut the cable ties free. Just push down the lever, let it open, and then pull the zip tie free. You can now add what you want and then re-tie the entire thing using the same zip tie that held it before.

Releasable cable ties aren’t really all that much more expensive than the already crazy cheap standard cable ties, so it’s probably worth having a stock of releasable cable ties on hand in the shop or the kitchen junk drawer in a variety of colors. In most situations you’ll probably prefer the releasable ones — unless you know for sure that you need standard zip ties (and you’ll still want to keep a handful of those around as well, of course).

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