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WLL vs MBS. Making sense of STRENGTH!

WLL vs MBS. Making sense of STRENGTH!

Chris Jurden |

What does this stuff mean?

In the rigging and recovery gear industry, a lot of work goes into determining the strength of a product.  Here at GearAmerica, it's no different, and we go the extra mile. You can see on our products that they have strengths listed so you can determine our need, and have the safest possible recoveries. You will see WLL and MBS on many of our products, and I'm here to provide a little industry knowledge, science and explanation!

How do we come up with the gear?

All products start the same way...with an idea.  The idea has different facets like size, shape, color, and ultimately strength or capacity. GearAmerica has a very strict process from concept to customer.  We start with an idea, which turns into a drawing, then heads to the engineers.  We provide what we are trying to accomplish, and the drawing is then turned into technical renderings, material selection, and eventually a sample of the potential new product. The sample is inspected, sometimes reproduced in different materials, then TORTURED! Yup, the first ones are destined for destruction.

Why break stuff?

We break samples to determine the strength.  A huge hydraulic ram is used to pull, push, stretch, twist and eventually break our products. This way we can take the results, adjust specs, and re-test until we get the desired strength. At this point, the testing is done in batches. Each sample is pushed to the breaking point point, and the results are recorded. Now, with a large sample of tests, we can determine the WLL and MBS.


MBS stands for Minimum Breaking Strength. This is the number give to the lowest break in the testing.  We conservatively rate our products to insure the safest, most consistent products to last a lifetime.  For example, the MBS of the Uber Shackle is 80,000 pounds.  That means of all the Uber Shackles we tested and broke, 80,000 pounds is the Minimum Breaking Strength provided. Some may have been stronger, but NONE have been weaker.


WLL stands for Working Load Limit.  WLL is the safe work load for regular use under normal conditions. This is where the math comes in to comply with industry standards.  The WLL is a fraction of MBS.  This ratio is called the Safety Factor. Let's look at the Uber Shackle again. The Safety Factor of the Uber Shackle is a ratio of 4:1. This means divide the MBS by 4, and you get the WLL. The Uber Shackle has a WLL of 20,000 pounds. Safety Factors in the rigging industry range from 2:1 to 6:1 depending on the product and the potential for safety risk.

Simple, right?

Don't worry...we will handle all of the math, and clearly state it on all of our product listings! It takes a lot to bring you the best products and material in the industry.  We hold ourselves to the highest standards with each step of the process. At GearAmerica, we believe if you put in the work, you get the results, and that's why every recovery gear product we sell comes with a Hassle-Free Lifetime Warranty. We stand behind it. Period.

But wait, that's not all!

Our quality control doesn't stop there.  Every batch of gear that is ready for sale has sample randomly pulled and tested again!  Every batch. Every time. Remember...we are off-roaders.  We use our gear.  We are with YOU, GearAmerica Nation. Now get out there and have fun knowing you have the best recovery gear available!

Don't Forget:

Winching and vehicle recovery uses heavy duty gear under extreme loads.  Always go slow, double and triple check your connections and surroundings and wear gloves.  Recovering a vehicle is important, but not nearly as important as the safety of the people involved. As Always, Off-Road Smart, and Tread Lightly!