A cable tie or tie-wrap, also known as a hose tie, zap-strap, or zip tie, is a type of fastner, for holding items together, primarily electric cables or wires. Because of their low cost and ease of use, tie-wraps are ubiquitous, finding use in a wide range of other applications. Stainless steel versions, either naked or coated with a rugged plastic, cater for exterior applications and hazardous environments.
The common tie-wrap, normally made of nylon, has a tape section with teeth that engage with a pawl in the head to form a ratchet so that as the free end of the tape section is pulled the tie-wrap tightens and does not come undone. Another version of the tie-wrap allows a tab to be depressed to either adjust the tension or remove the cable tie.
Cable ties are generally viewed as single-use devices; they are typically cut off rather than loosened and reused. However, if a closed loop needs to be opened again, rather than destroying the cable tie by cutting, it may be possible to release the ratchet from the rack. While some cable ties are designed for reuse with a tab that releases the ratchet, in most cases a sewing needle or similar object (for example a small screwdriver) will need to be interposed between the ratchet and the rack. Ties reused in this way will be weaker than new ones.
To open without cutting, the ratchet box can be crushed vertically using pliers.