Cables are important accessories for everyone participating in watersports at one time or another. From towing to anchoring or mooring, having the most suitable cable is important to prevent accidents due to material fray.
In addition to reviewing the 10 best towing cables in this article, we will be discussing the materials that make the best cables, the factors affecting the best cable selection, and the questions most asked by users all around the world.
You will find our review comprehensive enough to guide you into making the rightest choice. Enjoy.
1. Airhead 2 Section Tow Rope for 1-4 Rider Towable Tubes
The Airhead 2-section tow cable is another great option from Airhead. It is a pre-stretched, waterproof, cable with a tensile strength of 4,150 pounds and the ability to support up to 4 riders at once.
To assure you of its safety, this cable has a high reputation with the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA). The two sections of lengths 50 and 69 feet make it versatile for use.
You can choose to remove or add 10 extra feet from the cable depending on what your need is on the water. The presence of an EVA foam allows for floating and easy retrieval.
What’s more, it comes with 16-strand polypropylene fibers with a ⅝ diameter. Even during prolonged exposure to the sun, its performance is not compromised due to the UV-resistance feature.
Keeping the cable comes easy too, thanks to the cable keeper with an ergonomic velcro strap for safe access and securing.
The downside of this product is its thin diameter which affects its durability and restricts it to certain water activities.
- It comes with two sections for added versatility
- The cable keeper helps secure the cable properly
- It is UV-resistant
- The cable is a lot thinner than many other options
2. Airhead Kwik Tek AHTR-30 Tow Rope
Imagine an anchoring or mooring cable that is long and strong enough to pull tubes as well as your capsized water vessel, then imagine the Airhead AHTR-30. The cable has many qualities that draw customers to it.
For example, its 60ft length and 6-inch loop ends make it easy to attach and tug whatsoever you want. Its ability to float on water also makes it a perfect choice for various marine use. Perhaps, what makes the Airhead AHTR-30 a top choice among its pairs is its durable construction.
With a heavy tensile strength of 3,350 pounds and a diameter of 0.5 inches, the cable supports large weights and has the capacity to pull up to the weight of three people.
This high-quality, rot and mildew-resistant, polypropylene cable is pre-stretched during production to give it high elasticity that makes it fully recoverable to its original length-size after a prolonged loading, without damage to its structural integrity.
You do not have to worry about its usage in murky waters because it comes with a black and bright blue color combination that improves visibility. Many cables have low visibility but not this one.
Moreover, the manufacturer thought it right to include a cable keeper to help organize your cable after use, keeping it tangle-free and away from being a fall hazard on the floor.
The only drawback we find in this cable is that it frays easily. And to protect its structural integrity, you may need to manually cut its ends with a knife, and apply heat to them. The ends burn and fuse when cold, minimizing fraying afterward.
- It floats in the water
- The cable is durable with rot and mildew-resistant, polypropylene material
- It is easily attached thanks to its looped ends
- It has excellent visibility brought about by a great color combination
- It features a free cable keeper for storage
- It frays easily when cut
3. WOW 4K Tow Rope
Towing your water vessels and tubes is fun but it’s even more fun when your cable is strong and of quality materials.
The 60-foot, ⅝-inch diameter, and 16-strand 4K Tow Rope from World of Watersports provides you with much confidence that nothing can go wrong in pulling a tube/vessel with a 4-person capacity.
By providing an extra whip, the cable allows for a wilder ride and flex on your water adventure. Moreover, it is made of UV-resistant polypropylene fibers that keep strong even when repeatedly exposed to the sun.
The braided fiber construction provides it with an excellent tensile strength of 4,100 pounds which places it ahead of many of its counterparts in terms of durability. The anti-mold and moisture properties also prolong its usage in water.
Furthermore, we recommend this product due to its floating foam buoy that makes the cable end float for easy location and retrieval.
There’s also a padded floating sheath for effortless grabbing. Moreso, the cable’s good orange and the yellow color combination also enhance visibility in a low-light environment.
However, you may find the multiple plastic zip ties that come with the packaging quite difficult to use without damaging the cable. We advise that you carefully remove the ties to avoid causing damage to the cable.
- It has an unrivaled tensile strength of 4,100 pounds
- It is easy to attach to a vessel or tube
- The foam buoy floats in the water
- It is made with durable polypropylene fibers
- It has a padded handle for effortless grabbing
- It is difficult to remove the zip ties that come with the packaging
4. Attwood Utility Cord
The Attwood company has been one of the leading manufacturers of towing cables for over 100 years of existence.
This utility cord is endowed with a whole lot of features yet comes at a very affordable price. It is one of the cheapest you’ll find on our list.
Made of impressively durable polypropylene material with a length of 25 feet, it is a good fit for pulling heavy weights without any compromise to its structural integrity.
The cable also possesses high tensile strength with rot and mildew-resistant properties. That’s not all, there’s a bright color combination that helps provide improved visibility even in murky waters. Plus, it floats on water too!
Moreover, you have the chance to splice when attaching two cables effortlessly instead of knotting. It is important to note, however, that although this cable product is of polypropylene material, it is designed basically for boat accessories securing and not for anchoring or mooring.
Many users found it easily fraying when used for anything other than securing accessories on a boat. In addition, you do not get to choose whatever color you want, you only get any random color when you order.
Beyond these few drawbacks, and considering its economic price, this towing cable offers decent qualities and features that make it stand among the best.
- Tough polypropylene ensures prolonged usage
- It is easy to splice when attaching two cable ends
- It is a perfect option for budget-conscious customers
- You do not get a choice in color selection
- It frays easily compared to other options
5. Obcursco Wakeboard Rope
If you’re looking for a cable that is strong and efficient in carrying out watersports like kneeboarding, wakeboarding, skiing, and many more.
Built with 16 polyester strands and 30 filaments with a 15-inch double-density EVA cover, and tensile strength of 2,200 pounds, it is purposed to withstand high stress and provide super grip for maximum performance.
The TOR-Covered, 6-inch long, aluminum handle also provides you some extra leverage and pull for spins and inverted tricks.
What’s more, the PVC bridle is placed in a flexible vinyl enclosure, to provide some anti-wear and abrasion properties.
That’s not all, the PVC bridle is fully encased in flexible vinyl for protection against abrasion and wear, and the presence of a cable keeper ensures proper, tangle-free, storage.
- The cable keeper ensures proper storage
- It has a 15-inch double-density EVA cover for optimum handling
- It is available in two color options: black and red
- It comes with multiple strands and filaments made of polyester
- The PVC bridle is enclosed in flexible vinyl to offer anti-abrasion protection
- Comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of one year
6. Seachoice 86811 4-Section Water Ski Rope
The Seachoice 86811 is a uniquely designed Water Ski cable with an amazing 6,000 pounds tensile strength which implies that it can safely pull up to 6 adults combined with a combined weight of 1,020 pounds, without structural failure. What more could anyone ask for on safety?
Made of a multi-strand hollow braid polypropylene that resists rots and a 15-inch 4 EVA grip sections (10, 10, 10, & 40 feet) for optimum towing experience, allowing you to adjust to whatever length you want.
These 75 feet long cable, with its handle, floats on the water for quick retrieval. Moreso, it is coated against the damaging effect of the UV rays and has a cable keeper that keeps the cable well coiled and out of your way when not in use.
- A low weight of 2.49 pounds allows for easy transport
- It floats with the handle for easy retrieval
- It comes with a bright color for improved visibility
- It has a spliced loop for quick attachment
- Durable, with rot, mildew, and UV-resistance
- It has a great thickness that may be too much for other applications
7. Airhead AHTH-3 Tow Harness
If there’s one thing we like about this towing cable from Airhead, it’s its amazing simplicity. The Kwik-Connect attachment feature makes the attachment of the harness very quick and easy.
Whatever you’re in the water for skiing, kayaking, boating- just a simple clip on your vessel and you’re good to go, no knotting!
A floating foam of 6 inches is included in its design to ensure that it is easily retrieved and that the cable doesn’t get in the way of the propeller, thereby becoming a safety issue. Moreso, the end clips are made using coated steel for prolonged usage.
Perhaps, the biggest feature the Airhead AHTH-3 Tow Harness has is the stainless steel innovative pulley that helps to maximize pull and maintain the pressure on the cable, especially when you’re changing your direction.
Its self-centering mechanism automatically adjusts positions as you navigate sharp turns while towing. Another amazing feature to consider is its “almighty” tensile strength of 5,000 pounds which provides it with excellent towing ability.
The major drawback of this cable is that it may not be able to pull large vessels like pontoons and boats effectively without breaking. Also, constant friction due to its sticking to the pulley causes the cable to fray.
- The cable is kept away from the propeller thanks to its floating design
- The Kwik-Connect attachment allows for quick and easy connection
- Hook clips are made of coated steel for prolonged usage
- Cable easily sticks to the pulley causing breakage due to constant friction
- Hooks small for large boats
8. The SGT KNOTS Ski cable
This is a product from a renowned American SGT company with several decades of experience in making quality anchoring cables.
The company’s motto, “Always Faithful” shared with the Marines, speaks volumes about how committed they are to providing high-quality textile cables to their customers.
The SGT KNOTS Ski cable is a single-section cable that is constructed for heavy-duty watersports use, including skiing, kneeboarding, and wakeboarding. It is typically good for beginners who’re just getting to have a water adventure experience.
Designed using durable polypropylene fibers with maximum protection against moisture damage, the SGT KNOTS cable is lightweight yet sturdy with a strong aluminum grip and molded fingerprint protector for easy handling and control.
The hollow braid brings about its lightweight, and the 16 twisted strands with length and width of 75 feet and ⅜ inches respectively further contribute to its easy-gripping and strength. What’s more, it has a tensile strength of 4,150 pounds and 6-inch looped ends for easy connection.
- Made of high-quality polypropylene fibers
- Easy connection, thanks to its looped ends
- It has rot and mold-resistant
- Connection using the ends is not quick enough.
9. The Attwood Anchor Cable
This is another incredible cable from the Attwood company. While the Attwood Utility Cable is designed to handle towing tubes, the 100 feet long and ⅜ inches wide Attwood Anchor Line is made for anchoring.
One thing I find that makes this cable edge some others is its ability to resist all gasoline, oil, mildew, rot, abrasion, and UV amongst other exposures that can cause degradation to the structure.
You will also find the thimble splice that maintains a firm connection between the cable’s body and the ends, creating a firmer and neater connection than would do knots.
Another thing is that it floats, which makes retrieval easier when it falls into the water. The thimble on its own helps distributes the load on the cable evenly, therefore minimizing chafing.
Made of 100% multi-polypropylene strands and filaments with a soft hand feel. When you hold it, you won’t even have any harsh or pricking feel on your palms. The softness makes it easy to coil and store its cable keeper without kinking.
However, the Attwood Anchor Line is relatively thinner compared to other anchoring cables on the market, and therefore not for large boats or prolonged mooring of small boats.
- It is very easy to coil and store
- The multi-strands and filaments of polypropylene fibers ensure optimum durability
- The thimble splice provides a firm and permanent connection between the body of the cable and its ends as well as minimizing fraying.
- Its relative thinness makes it unsuitable for mooring of heavy boats
10. HO Sports Water Ski Mainline Tow Line Rope
Among the best cables that provide great skiing time, the HO Sports Water Ski Mainline ranks top with exceptional durability.
Its 75 feet length with a one-piece handle allows you to track well on the water with peace. The special deep-V handle construction makes you position yourself and your skis well enough for the next deep-water adventure.
That’s not all, there’s a 12-inch handle for proper grip on the cable plus the ability to float and be retrieved easily.
- Ability to float and be retrieved easily on water
- 12 inches handle for proper grip
- The price is slightly on the high-side
Choosing A Water Sport Tow Line
The construction can be either braided or twisted but the material which is arguably the most important factor to consider can be either natural or synthetic fiber.
The most common natural fibers include sisal, cotton, hemp, manila, and cotton while the synthetic ones include nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, and Dyneema.
Natural fibers are cheap but they’re not so much in use nowadays due to their weak nature. Most available cables on the market are made of synthetic fibers from any of the mentioned.
While the stretchability of nylon and the UV and abrasion resistance of polyester are incredible, polyester fibers are the most commonly used in towing, anchoring, and mooring cables.
Although not the strongest, it is flexible and can withstand stress up to a reasonable level. Meanwhile, Dyneema being the strongest of them all is also the newest with high strength and durability.
If there’s an issue with this material, its price. But it’s worth every cent.
The Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA), advises that users should have cables not less than 50 feet and not more than 65 feet.
While a shorter cable than 50 feet will cause water spray on the user’s face, a longer one than 65 feet will make controlling the direction hard to do. Whereas, to anchor, 8 feet is the minimum length needed for every one foot of anchoring depth.
Floating design is important as any cable with this feature, when fallen into the water, is easy to retrieve. Only on rare occasions will you need a rope that sinks like an anchoring line.
Colors are not only for aesthetic purposes, especially on materials used around water, but they’re also important for visibility. Bright colors in cables are useful for increased visibility in murky waters and/or environments, and rescue missions.
The chafe guard is the part of your cable that helps protect it against fraying. Cables when connected directly to anchor or moor undergo structural damage quite easily and quickly.
This, therefore, lead to the addition of a chafe guard to act as a sacrificial surface on which the rough beating from constant friction falls instead of the cable. This innovation in turn prolongs the cable life.
Every new cable on sale on the market must have undergone a tensile strength test under a strictly controlled laboratory environment.
The tensile strength of a cable is the greatest amount of longitudinal stress it can go through without tearing. The test is done with the cable enwound around two capstans.
The capstans turn the cable slowly with increased tension until there’s a failure. The process is repeated in more cables and the average is taken.
There’s always a safety factor when finding the tensile strength of a cable. The working load of that cable is determined by the division of the min tensile strength by the safety factor used.
Just as the tensile strength is important, the weight capacity of the rope is also important. Manufacturers indicate the maximum number of people and weight limit their products support so that you stay safe by not exceeding this limit.
Using the rope to pull heavier weight might mount extra stress on it, resulting in its breakage.
When on the water, you need to put both wind and wave into consideration. When these come, your vessel may shake or sway a little, shock absorption of the cable is what checks its maximum stretch as well as protect it from the stress these two phenomena bring.
The ability of your cable to last despite prolonged exposure to the sun rays is also important to know. Go for a UV-protected cable because cables without it become brittle over time and end up losing their structural integrity.
No doubt, there are lots of towing cable options out there but they offer different performances. We hope that our reviews and recommendations above provide you with a guide towards selecting the best for your next cable shopping.
Frequently Asked Questions
What difference is there between a twisted cable and a braided one?
When you hear twisted cable, it means it is constructed using multiple fiber strands twisted together. The number of strands and the fiber type determines how strong it is.
On the other hand, braided cables often feel smoother, more flexible, and make stronger cables than the twisted but are hard to splice.
Which is the most appropriate cable for towing?
The most commonly used cables are ones made with polypropylene. Polypropylene cables are durable with high tensile strength and other countless features, that is why most of the best in our review are made of polypropylene.
How do I prepare for water skiing?
Strength and balance are major requirements you need to meet before going on a ski. You will need strength if you intend to last on the water for more than a few minutes.
A simple stretch of the body to loosen up your muscles can go a lot of ways to ensure you don’t get injured in case there’s a fall.
Is water skiing a good workout?
Yes. Skiing is a good workout. That is why it is regarded as a watersport. After performing for one hour straight you can expect to shed about 400 calories.
Which is the right cable material for anchoring?
If you’re only looking at anchoring, nylon is the most suitable option. Its elastic property places it top of the list as it can sustain pressure from both waves and winds.
It is often used in combination with a chain for effective performance. You can choose any of the two constructions- braided or 3-strand.