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What Type of Rope Do I Need? [48 Common Applications]

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With such a varied selection of rope out there it can be difficult to determine how to match the right rope with the right job. 

From climbing rope to knot-tying rope, anchor rope, flagpole rope and more, there are a million different uses each requiring unique features found within the rope. 

And remember... 

Selecting the right rope can be incredibly important especially when used for climbing, pulling, holding an anchor down, etc. Always think safety first. 

There is no one size fits all rope either. However, despite the immense variety of rope applications, there are 5 main rope materials that generally work for most use cases. 

To help you decide which rope you'll need for your job, our team at Quality Nylon Rope has put together a comprehensive guide outlining different kinds of rope, their different properties and common uses. 

In addition, we have 48 common applications below with the ideal rope for that use. 


When you need a rope that can withstand a wet climate, polypropylene is a good rope to consider.


Polypropylene is a lightweight rope that does not absorb water. It is resistant to oils, mold, mildew, and most chemicals.

As such, polypropylene is an ideal rope for certain marine applications. For example, because this rope floats in water, it is often used to create swimming lanes.


Polypropylene rope is an effective, economical choice for many projects. However, it does have certain properties that put restrictions on its applications.

Because polypropylene rope melts at a low temperature, it can deteriorate quickly in the sun. It has low UV resistance and low abrasion resistance.

Also, it is important to note that polypropylene has a low resistance to stretch (i.e. it will not return to its original size after being stretched out). However, depending on the nature of your project, this can be an advantage or disadvantage.

Polypropylene rope is available at QNR in numerous sizes and more than five colors. Find the right match for your next job here.


Manila rope is often what one thinks of as a “traditional rope.” (If you imagine a classic, “tug-of-war” rope, that’s manila!)


Manila is an effective rope for many jobs because it is both durable and flexible. Unlike many types of synthetic ropes, it does not have a tendency to haphazardly snap. Manila rope is also strong in that it will not melt easily.

Consider using manila rope for projects like pulling or landscaping.

In addition to its industrial strength, manila rope is also very visually appealing. It is common to use this rope for home decoration and DIY projects.


To match the right rope with the right job, it is not recommended to use manila rope for marine applications (polypropylene is a better choice!), as this kind of rope will shrink when wet.

Also referred to as jute, you can shop for manila rope in five different sizes here at QNR.


There are many different kinds of synthetic ropes. But for many projects, polyester rope may have a leg up on its counterparts. Here’s why.


Like some other types of synthetic ropes, polyester rope is UV resistant and abrasion resistant. However, it has one strength that polypropylene rope and nylon rope lack: stretch resistance.

Also, unlike nylon rope, polyester rope retains its strength when wet. 

As such, polyester rope is often used for sailing applications, such as rigging.

Polyester is the best all-around winner for UV stability, abrasion and rot resistance along with cost. And, the largest amount of solid colors available for industrial grade fibers is polyester.


Polyester is an all-around very effective choice of rope for many different project. Keep in mind, however, that polyester rope does not float.

For your next job, find the exact polyester rope you’re looking for. At QNR, polyester rope is available in over a dozen colors and eight different diameters. Browse our selection here.


Polypropylene and manila are the desired ropes for many projects, but if you need a rope that is stronger than both of them, look to nylon.


Nylon is wear resistant, UV resistant, and rot resistant. Moreover, one of nylon’s greatest advantages is that it can maintain its superior strength while still being very flexible.

Nylon rope can be the right choice for countless different projects, but it is especially practical for making towing lines, anchor lines, or pulleys.


If you’re looking for a rope for marine applications, you’ll want to go back to looking at polypropylene. Unlike polypropylene, nylon rope sinks in water and its strength becomes compromised when wet.

Also, take caution with certain projects because nylon rope is susceptible to degradation in high temperatures.

At QNR, you can browse twisted or solid braid nylon rope in a variety of different sizes. Find which kind of nylon rope you need here.


If you’re looking for a rope that is stronger than all of the rest, Kevlar might be your preferred choice. In fact, this rope is used in bulletproof armor!


Kevlar rope is most noted for its superior strength. It is flame, freeze, rust, stretch, water, and chemical resistant. It can also withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees before it starts to weaken.

 In fact, kevlar rope is so strong that it is stronger than steel, pound-for-pound. 

Due to its immense strength and its ability to withstand extreme temperatures, kevlar is an excellent choice for applications at land or at sea.


When it comes to kevlar rope, it is important to keep one thing in mind: kevlar has great tensile strength, but poor compressive strength. This means that kevlar can withstand an intense pulling force, but it cannot well withstand an intense pressing force (i.e. it is not resistant to “being squished”).

By itself, kevlar offers poor UV resistance - so we cover it in polyester! The NASA-grade fiber is very light weight and has low stretch.

Do you have a job that requires a super strong rope like kevlar? Find your desired size and color kevlar rope here at Quality Nylon Rope.


For great success with your next project, it is important that you use a rope suited for the task. Matching the right rope with the right job will ease the process and improve the final result.

Still unsure? Here are some common applications and the rope best-suited for the job: 

Knot-tying: Nylon (purchase here)

Although any rope can be used to tie a knot, some are just too stiff, stretchy and generally unpleasant to handle. When tying knots, strength is not an important consideration, but rather the flexibility of the rope is. 

For tying knots we'd recommend you use Nylon Rope based on its synthetic fibers. It's perfect for the basic types of knots. For more intricate knots, we'd go with Manila Rope as it holds knots quite well and works best for teaching. 

Use: Nylon Rope, Manila Rope 

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope 

Outdoor Use: Polyester (purchase here)

Although this rope won't do well in an industrial environment, Polyester Rope is great for the outdoors. Not only is it UV resistant and durable, its strength won't be affected by water. 

Manila Rope is also a good choice for the outdoors, specifically hiking or campaign. It ties easily, resists damage from sunlight, and maintains its strength over time. 

Use: Polyester Rope, Manila Rope 


Dock Lines: Nylon (purchase here)

When it comes to dock lines you need a strong rope that will stretch, absorb shock and hold up over time. A synthetic fiber like Nylon will do just the trick. 

Keep in mind when selecting rope for dock lines it's important to consider how you'll be using it. Will you be using it away from your home port, or for your permanent slip? This  article from westmarine.com explains how to select rope for your dock line in much greater detail. 

Use: Nylon Rope, Polypropylene Rope 

Avoid: Sisal Rope 

Tie-downs: Nylon (purchase here)

It's ability to stretch while maintaining tremendous strength makes Nylon Rope the perfect choice for tie-downs. 

In addition, Nylon Rope is UV and chemical resistant, so its strength and elasticity will not be affected in any environment. 

Keep in mind - Nylon will lose a little bit of strength when exposed to water, but not enough to really make it noticeable.  

Use: Nylon Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope 

Towing: Nylon (purchase here)

If you’re towing something, strength will obviously be your number one consideration when shopping for quality rope. Shock absorption and rope thickness should also be accounted for. With that in mind, we’d recommend Nylon Rope.

Use: Nylon Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope, Manila Rope, Cotton Rope

Flagpoles: Polyester(purchase here)

Shopping for flagpole rope? Look no further, Polyester is the perfect option for halyards. It has low-stretch, in addition to excellent UV and abrasion resistance. 100 ft. will do just the trick for a 50 ft. pole, and 1/3 and 5/16 are the most common diameters.

Use: Polyester Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope

Macramé: Cotton (purchase here)

For macramé, you’ll want a solid braided rope that’s easy on the hands and knots easily. Cotton will work just fine.

Maggie May at themiddleasile.com suggests buying two ropes of different thicknesses, and giving each a try. Read more about buying macramé rope in her article here.

Use: Cotton Rope, Polyester Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope, Sisal Rope

UV Resistance: Polyester (purchase here)

Like your skin, rope also needs protection from the sun. Although UV resistance might not be the first thing on your mind when it comes time for your outdoor project, maintaining the integrity of the rope you use is important.

For the outdoors, we’d recommend Polyester or Nylon rope.

Use: Polyester Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope, Cotton Rope

Clothesline: Polyester (purchase here)

When searching for a rope for your clothesline, you’ll want to go with Polyester. It has excellent UV resistance and will last a long time.

Use: Polyester Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope

Strength: Nylon Rope (purchase here)

There’s a reason Nylon rope is used to pull some of the heaviest loads. Its outstanding strength paired with its stretch makes it the rope of choice for anyone looking for strength in a rope.

Nylon is wear resistant, UV resistant, and rot resistant, making it perfect for towing, pulleys, or anchor lines.

Use: Nylon Rope

Avoid: Cotton Rope, Sisal Rope, Manila Rope

Non-stretch: Kevlar Core (purchase here)

Kevlar is your best option when you need a rope that doesn’t stretch. Because Kevlar breaks down faster than polyester when used outdoors, we have jacketed the Kevlar with polyester fibers to make it last longer. This rope is virtually no stretch and is also very strong.

Use: Kevlar Core, Polyester Rope

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope, Nylon Rope

Stretch: Polypropylene Rope (purchase here)

Need a rope with some stretch? A solid or mixed fiber braid or twisted rope style will ensure some ‘give’ under pressure. Going outdoors? KnotRite Nylon has plenty of stretch and will last much longer outdoors than polypropylene.

Use: Polypropylene Rope, Nylon Rope

Avoid: Polyester Rope, Kevlar Rope

Durability: Polyester Rope (purchase here)

Polyester is a great choice for any project where durability is a requirement. Heck, polyester is a great choice for just about anything around the house. Not only will this synthetic fiber retain its strength when exposed to water, it will also hold up nicely under sunlight.

Use: Polyester Rope

Avoid: Cotton Rope, Sisal Rope, Manila Rope

General Use: Polyester Rope (purchase here)

Polyester rope is the world’s leader in affordable, outdoor utility applications. If you need a general purpose rope to have handy around the house, Polyester is your best option. 1/4” Solid Braid is the most common style.

Use: Nylon Rope

Avoid: Cotton Rope 

Cat Scratching Post: Sisal Rope (purchase here)

Need to give your feline companion something to scratch up besides your furniture? Sisal will do just the trick. It's cheap and super durable. It also has a rough texture, like tree bark, making it highly appealing to cats. And unlike fabric or carpet, you don't have to worry about a scratching post made of Sisal leaving a mess in your living room. 

Use: Sisal Rope

Avoid: Manila Rope 

Farming: Polyester Rope (purchase here)

If you're working on a farm, strength, stretch and the ability to easily tie and untie will certainly be considerations. With that in mind, we'd recommend a solid braided polyester rope, which provides a firm (but not too firm) texture and the ability to easily tie and untie. 

Use: Polyester Rope,

Avoid: Polypropylene Rope

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