There’s a ripping debate among the computer tech industry as to what the best solution is to cable management, zip ties or hook-and-loop tape, commonly referred to as VELCRO®. The answer to whether to use zip ties instead of loop tape depends on whom you are and what you plan to do.
Zip ties are usually a onetime use plastic fastener that can be used to hold many lightweight objects in place. Developed in 1958 by the Thomas & Betts electrical company, the zip tie was invented for wire harnesses on airplanes. Today, the zip tie comes in various widths, colors, and plastic grade materials.
Zip ties are used for semi-permanent and permanent wiring equipment that won’t be moving anywhere anytime soon; however, some zip ties can be reused again, but the holding strength will diminish over time and require a specified tool if you intend to reuse the tie again. These single-use plastic cinch ties tend to be a natural choice for professionals who have to deal with electrical cables and HVAC equipment and are typically plenum-rated for hot temperatures and ultraviolet exposure.
VELCRO® AKA Hook Fasteners
Invented a few years before the zip tie came on the market, hook-and-loop tape was created by Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral in 1955 and heralded as the zipperless zipper. Intended for the textile and fashion industry hook fasteners became so popular that almost every industry from the medical field to aerospace has found a use for loop tape. With no scissors necessary, loop tape cable wraps have become exceedingly popular among professionals who are continually bundling and unraveling cords, wires, cables, and large bundles.
Which Tie Is Superior?
Cable management among the tech industry has discovered that Velcro cable ties that incorporate VELCRO® into their cabling projects have a far superior usage than that of the zip tie. One reason computer tech wizards prefer VELCRO® is because the weave of the cable strap is soft and won’t harm sensitive wires in the way that a tight ring of plastic pinches cables.
For the ultimate versatility, you can buy continuous rolls of loop tape that can be cut to any length so you can wrap and unwrap any size of bundled cables.
The simple fact is that you can reuse hook fasteners again and again, while zip ties must be cut and thrown away if you need to release or adjust the wire for any reason. And even though zip ties tend to be cheaper than hook fastener cable wraps, the point remains that because VELCRO® can last a lifetime, you’ll be investing in an essential tool to help you clean up your wiring and organize your cables.
The End Result
Zip ties are significant for many wiring projects, however, because VELCRO® cable wraps can be reused for years and years, the best choice will depend on what your project is and how often you will need to move or unravel the cables you intend to organize.