The Metal of It All, Cable Ties: Metal, Metal Detectable, and Metallic

The Metal of It All, Cable Ties: Metal, Metal Detectable, and Metallic

There's a famous book by Lynne Truss about the trickery of words and grammar called “Eats Shoots and Leaves''. Does that make you picture a panda bear holding a stalk of bamboo or an Uzi? You see, words can sometimes be misleading, especially to customers, and there's nothing wrong with that.

When it comes to cable ties, some products can be confusing, namely: metal cable ties, metal detectable cable ties, and metallic cable ties.

Metal Cable Ties

First up, metal cable ties, made from 100% stainless steel. These cable ties are the real deal and they literally can’t be beat. Keep reading to find out why.

What They Are

Stainless steel cable ties are the only product in this article that is actually, entirely made out of metal.

Technically, stainless steel is a metal alloy, but 90% of commercial metals are alloys and stainless steel is one of the most popular. With iron, carbon, and a particularly high chromium content, stainless steel is an engineering marvel. It’s naturally resistant to corrosion and oxidation. It’s lightweight, lustrous, and fiercely strong.

Metal cable ties are the top of the line when it comes to protection and reliability. No other zip tie in the industry can withstand extreme temperatures, chemicals, or rigors like stainless steel cable ties. Whether you opt for 304 stainless steel zip ties or the marine-grade, salt-waterproof 316 stainless steel you can rest assured that these guys are never going to rest, rust, or retire their position at the top.

There is no stronger option when it comes to fastening and securing. Stainless steel ties can support loads up to 200lbs and they’ll do exactly. that, without fail from -112°F (-80°C) to 1000°F (538°C). They are designed to be sleek and low profile with self-locking, ball-bearing heads that are fully enclosed and in-line. Their smooth, fully adjustable tails can be locked into any position along their length. This gives them symmetrical tensioning and superior closures, safely covered from dust, grime, or interference.

Stainless steel cable ties are mighty, versatile, durable, resilient, and all around the best you can buy.

If someone says ‘metal’ cable ties, chances are they mean 100% stainless steel.

Where They Work

Stainless steel zip ties offer truly unbeatable protection, security, and safety. With their unparalleled strength and superior performance, they make the perfect accompaniment in areas where the stakes, risks, and temperatures are high.

Fire Zones

From firefighter training towers to fire-prone evacuation routes to the hottest boiler rooms and steam systems, stainless steel can handle it. Stainless steel is an exacting chemical composition designed to operate flawlessly in high temperatures bringing stability and safety to notoriously dangerous environments.

Emergency, Rescue, First Responders

Life, mother nature, and accidents are all unpredictable, but stainless steel is not. When the jaws of life, sirens, and life-saving equipment and personnel go to work, they rely on the high-quality performance of stainless steel. Stainless steel cable ties have been carefully designed and rigorously tested to provide the highest level of product durability, reliability, and security under even the most extreme conditions.

Chemical Hazards

Thanks to their natural resistance to pretty much every liquid known to man and their extremely low permeability, stainless steel cable ties do not degrade or lose their mechanical properties over time. From the saltiest sea brine to the heaviest, most caustic chemicals and all the organic acids, powerful solvents, fuels, oils, and more, nothing slows down stainless steel. Combined with true strength and dependability, the non-corrosivity of stainless steel ties makes them ideal for use in chemical plants, offshore drilling, shipbuilding, engines, assembly, and manufacturing
No matter what time, task, or temperature they endure, stainless steel cable ties are always going to be the safest choice.

When You Need Them

Stainless steel cable ties are unparalleled on all fronts, but that also plays into their overall cost-effectiveness. Stainless steel zip ties do deliver on the whole “you get what you pay for” adage though.

Going to Extremes

When you need heavy-duty, stainless steel is where you get it. Whether you’re securing state-of-the-art equipment or saving lives, only stainless steel has the strength, performance, and reliability you need. From strongholds to holding strong, if you’re expecting things to be really hot, really cold, really wet, or really important, stainless steel is the solution you'll want to hold it all together.

Water Proof

Stainless steel cable ties are also as water and weatherproof as solutions get. Thanks to their high chromium content, both 304 and 316 types of stainless steel ties are pretty much impervious to wet corrosion.

For the absolute best waterproofing possible, opt for the 316 stainless steel cable ties. With the addition of molybdenum to its chemical makeup, these cable ties were specifically designed to resist damage, weakening, and degradation possible from salty environments. No rust, patina, or oxidization can touch the shiny surface of 316 cable ties.

Strong, Stronger, Strongest

The strength of cable ties is standardized and measured as something called tensile/loop strength. How much weight can a closed cable tie hold before breaking? Both 304 and 316 stainless steel have a tensile strength of about 600 (MPa), which is equivalent to about 150 lbs.

Stainless steel also boasts a Rockwell hardness of 70B, which means they don’t break, budge, slide, slip, move, melt, shift, or lose shape no matter what they’re holding up or through. Once you install stainless steel cable ties, they stay put. They also remain reliable, sterile, secure, and strong for years and years without any decline in performance.

Although they’re not a cheap solution, stainless steel cable ties are the most foolproof and fail-proof method for affixing, fastening, holding, and securing.

Remember that even though steel is an alloy, stainless steel cable ties are considered 100% metal. That distinction matters when it comes to the next items on our list.

Metal Detectable Cable Ties

Enter the nylon-made, metal-impregnated metal detectable cable tie.

What They Are (and Aren’t)

Metal detectable cable ties aren’t actually made out of metal, but they do contain metal “shavings'' to provide magnetic properties that can be seen by metal detectable equipment. Some people call them “X-ray ties”, which makes them a lot easier to distinguish and understand.

Metal detectable cable ties are constructed from durable nylon and then blended with iron particles. That, along with their bright, highly identifiable color makes for swift, easy visibility. Nylon cable ties can hold their own when it comes to strength. Although they’re not as strong as stainless steel, they do boast loop tensile strength up to 50 lbs.

With tension tie closures and lock-loop tails, these sturdy zip ties aren’t just rugged, they’re also weather-resistant. Crafted with one-piece construction and smooth edges, they provide easy, user-friendly installations. Low thread force, round tips, strong ratcheting heads, and ratchet-locking wedges give them premium performance and reliability.

The important thing to remember about metal detectable cable ties is that they aren’t really metal, but they do contain some metal.

Where They Work

Metal detectable cable ties contain only trace amounts of evenly distributed metal (iron) so that they can be used with safety scanners. If you look closely at them with the naked eye though, you can see the slight speckling pattern caused by the iron shavings that have been mixed into them.

Safety and Sanitation Standards

Metal detectable zip ties are also known as food-grade zip ties or food-safe tie wraps. They’re the norm to find in kitchens, cafeterias, and anywhere else food is handled, processed, or packaged. They’re approved for use in high humidity and liquid environments. They’re also usable as part of the HACCP process, which handles food safety from the ground to the plate.

X-Ray Requirements

This is the part where their name means exactly what it sounds like, these cable ties are metal detectable cable ties. That means when you know your final product has to run through an x-ray machine to determine the lack of any and all potential contaminants, these are the zip ties you need. Professionally, medically, and scientifically sanctioned, metal detectable cable ties, and their trace amounts of iron, go to work where you and the x-rays need to see them.

Product Manufacturing

Preventing the contamination of consumer goods, especially in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries is a noble goal, and no zip tie has that more on lock than metal detectable cable ties. Their sturdy, durable build and reliable performance capabilities provide peace of mind that’s backed by the FDA. These cable ties aren’t just recommended; they’re often mandated to help companies stay compliant with the highest standards of safety and hygiene.

If you have food safety issues, need food error-proof cable ties, or are looking for the most hygienic zip ties, metal detectable cable ties are your solution.

When You Need Them

Metal detectable cable ties are anything but ordinary, but they may not be the right option for you. If you’re looking for a nylon cable tie with even more strength, there are heavy-duty nylon ties that can hold loads up to 250lbs!

Metal detectable cable ties are more than just strong though. They’re also clean, safe, and sanitary.


What makes metal detectable cable ties special is their specificity. They are goal-oriented and good at what they do. So good in fact, that these might be the cable ties you’re legally required to buy. Zip tying with metal detectable cables provides product integrity, liability prevention, and is compliance-approved.


Another advantage to metal detectable cable ties is that they’re more cost-effective than stainless steel. Products that are specifically made to meet one primary purpose, like being detectable in an X-ray, often come with a higher price tag. Luckily, that’s not the case with metal detectable cable ties. They’re surprisingly affordable, with 100-piece bags starting at just $15.

Let’s not forget that these cable ties also bundle, hold, secure, and organize. That’s what you expect from any cable tie, but metal detectable cable ties are so special and specialized that it’s easy to overlook all that they really can do.

Metallic Cable Ties

Okay, so this type of cable tie is last on the list for a reason. Not only are metallic cable ties the least like the first two, but they also contain absolutely no actual metal, of any kind.

What They Are (and Aren’t)

That point is worth repeating. Metallic cable ties are not made out of metal. They contain no metal at all. They are, however, quite attractive and provide a high-quality, visually appealing aesthetic.

Metallic cable ties are made from Nylon 6.6. They are a perfect combination of elasticity and toughness, resulting in a strong, reliable hold of up to 40 lbs. They’re available in shiny, glossy, vibrant blue, green, red, purple, gold, and silver. They’re also RoHS-compliant and flammability-rated UL94V-2.

When we hear the word metallic, we usually think of silver, gold, and bronze. In the case of metallic cable ties, the word “metallic” only lets you know what it looks like on the outside. These cable ties may not be made out of any metal, but they are by far the best-looking cable ties you can buy.

Where They Work When You Need Them

Metallic cable ties are the best option if you are a crafter, hobbyist, or DIY-er. These zip ties are made to be strong and durable while also looking beautiful. If you’ve ever seen metallic paint or metallic permanent markers, where their pigmentation shines and shimmers (especially in the light), that’s exactly what you can expect from metallic cable ties. They have shiny lustrous surfaces and provide finishing touches and final products that are meant to be seen.

Of course, metallic cable ties can’t be seen with a metal detector, and they’re not as strong as stainless steel or as metal detectable cable ties, but they are the only cable ties of their kind. Their bright colors and shiny exteriors are truly unmatched by any other cable management solutions. Don’t let their prettiness fool you though, remember these guys have a tested loop tensile strength of up to 40 lbs.

They also install quickly and are only .14” wide, making them space-saving and time-saving. Metallic cable ties might not be right for you if you’re working on an engine or need something for a bulkier or more heavy-duty task though.

From color coding to wire management to general storage, metallic cable ties do it all. When you need to secure, tote, hold, decorate, organize, and show off, metallic cable ties are what you need.

The Sum and Substance

That was a lot of information. So whether you read all of it or not, here are a few quick facts about each of these 3, very similar-sounding products.

Metal Cable Ties

  • Made from 100% metal
  • Available in 304 stainless steel or 316 stainless steel
  • Fireproof, waterproof, weatherproof, and whoops-proof
  • 316 Stainless Steel is also saltwater-proof
  • Safe, easy installs (made easier and faster with cable tie tensioning tool)
  • Highest heat threshold on the market to 1000°F (538°C)


Metal Detectable Cables

  • Made from Nylon and trace amounts of iron shavings
  • Visible in X-ray/safety scanners
  • FDA compliant
  • HACCP mandated
  • Conforms to industry standards: CE, REACH, RoHS, Halogen Free

Metallic Cable Ties

  • Made from Nylon, exclusively
  • Contain no metal of any kind
  • Shiny, colorful, and strong
  • Can hold up to 40lbs
  • Great for crafting and hobbyists

It’s always helpful to have a more complete picture of products and what they have to offer. Especially when they’re named so closely. If you’re still unsure which product is right for you or your particular needs and applications, you can always request a product sample.

So here’s the metal of it all: metal cable ties are 100% stainless steel, metal detectable cable ties are metal-impregnated nylon, and metallic cable ties are the best looking!

Words can sometimes be misleading, and there is definitely nothing wrong with that. (Although we can’t say the same for weaponized pandas.)

Find even more clarity and awesome products at


The Metal of It All, Cable Ties: Metal, Metal Detectable, and Metallic