Can a Human Break Zip Ties?

Is that a challenge? If so, you’ll find that many zip ties are more than up for it! The answer to that question depends on what type of zip tie this human is attempting to break and how.

Firstly, zip ties (or cable ties) come in a variety of strengths, thicknesses, and materials. There is a world of difference between a 4” nylon cable tie and a 14” stainless steel cable tie. This is because they’re used for vastly different purposes, from organizing tools to binding electrical cables. Needless to say, a stainless steel tie would be much harder to break, regardless of the methods used.

Secondly, each method used to break a zip tie will have varying degrees of success or failure. No matter what kind of zip tie it is, it’s made to resist a variety of forces—even natural forces like extreme weather. It is often possible to pick their locking mechanism, but if the goal is to snap one by force, many heavy duty zip ties would be quite hard to break, even for the strongest people. It is also possible to cut some types—particularly nylon—but again, metal zip ties would prove much more difficult to cut, for obvious reasons. 

But exactly how difficult can it be? How much force can a zip tie withstand? Let’s discuss specifics.

How Much Force Does It Take To Break a Zip Tie?

The force it takes to break zip ties widely varies depending on their material and thickness. Thankfully, they should tell you exactly what their weight limit is right on their packaging, regardless of their type. Manufacturers keep rigorous track of these numbers. For example, we at make sure ours are tested and rated accordingly.

Generally, there are five basic categories of strength:

  • Miniature – 18 pounds
  • Intermediate – 40-45 pounds 
  • Standard – 50-75 pounds
  • Heavy Duty – 120-175 pounds 
  • Extra Heavy Duty – 200–350 pounds

These weight limits are measured in loop tensile strength (LTS), meaning that this is how much pulling force needs to be applied before the locking mechanism breaks. To give you an idea of how strong that is, a study of isolated push-pull strengths showed the average male could pull around 90 pounds (400N), or somewhere between the Standard and Heavy Duty tensile strength of zip ties. Many adult humans might be able to snap Intermediate zip ties with some effort, but the Extra Heavy Duty cable ties wouldn’t give nearly as easily. 

It’s also worth noting that these aren’t even the strongest zip ties out there, as custom-made ones can be made even stronger! Reach out to us at to see just how strong we can make them.

How Strong Are Metal Zip Ties?

Metal zip ties, often made of stainless steel, are the toughest kind out there. Like nylon zip ties, they come in a variety of strengths. At, our standard stainless steel tie selection 

  • Ranges from 200-350 pounds in strength (and can be made even stronger)
  • Can last for five years or more
  • Are resistant to UV light & radiation damage
  • Can withstand extreme temperatures from -112 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit

These cable ties are made to survive a variety of heavy-load, high-stress situations, including construction work and automotive repair. Heavy duty zip ties for outdoor use are also quite common, which is why they’re made to resist such weather extremes, and even offshore settings.

It likely goes without saying that such powerful zip ties would be almost impossible to break by a human, unless that human was Bruce Banner. All jokes aside, if you’ve got a fastening job that requires strength, durability, and resistance to the elements, stainless steel zip ties are the way to go. offers a wide array of zip ties to fit the task at hand. Through regular testing and high quality control standards, we offer a selection that we are confident in and proud to put our name behind. We’re also proud to offer same day shipping and other expedited shipping options, so you get the strength you need, when you need it. If you’re looking to buy the best zip ties out there, explore our full line—including the strongest of the strong—or reach out to us at +1-855-947-8433 between 8:30 AM—5:30 PM ET to talk more about what you’re looking for.

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