Light-Duty vs. Heavy-Duty Cable Protectors: Which is Best for Cable Management?

Cable protectors line the ground in front of fencing at an event site
Cable protectors line the ground in front of fencing at an event siteCable protectors line the ground in front of fencing at an event site

Cable protectors are used to safeguard valuable cords, wires, and hoses from physical damage, and to provide a safe pathway for workers and vehicles to cross over them. They can also be used to prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace, reducing workers compensation claims. 

With a choice of light-duty and heavy-duty cable protectors, though, it can be hard to know which one is right for your needs. That depends on the scenario. From light-duty commercial venues to heavy-duty industrial sites, cable protectors are available for use in a range of environments. 

Read on to learn when each is appropriate, so your facility, warehouse, or factory can maintain a safe and secure workplace. 

What Makes a Cable Protector Light-Duty or Heavy-Duty?

In general, a light-duty cable cover is durable enough to support pedestrian and light vehicle traffic. These are commonly used in homes, garages, offices, workshops, and factories.

A heavy-duty cable protector, on the other hand, is designed for high-volume traffic in industrial, construction, mining, and military applications. These types of protectors can retain their hold when under extreme duress. 

Whether a cable protector is labeled light-duty or heavy-duty depends on its load capacity. This is how much weight the cable cover can handle without there being any damage to the cables or cords that run beneath it. 

When making a cable cover comparison to select the right product for your use, it’s important to understand the differences between various load capacities.

Multiple factors affect load capacity including:

  • The number of channels within the cable protector. Channels are the empty areas inside the cable protector, each of which houses a cord or wire.
  • The height and width of the channels inside the cable cover.
  • The thickness of the ribs that separate the individual channels. Channel ribs can be made thicker, for example, to compensate for larger overall channel space, which would otherwise decrease load capacity. Sometimes steel inserts are also used to bolster their load rating.
  • The thickness of the lid over the top of the cable protector. 

All of these factors work together as part of a total equation that determines a cable cover’s load capacity. 

When Are Light-Duty Cable Covers Most Appropriate?

The first thing to assess is the traffic where your cable protectors are going to be used. Are they being purchased for an indoor setting to cover loose internet cables, phone lines, or electrical cords? If so, light-duty cable protectors are perfect for this scenario. These covers offer basic protection and organization compared to heavy-duty counterparts.

Other places where light-duty cable covers are ideal include: 

  • Offices 
  • Trade shows and events
  • Retail stores
  • Schools and universities 
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Warehouses or manufacturing facilities where only light vehicles are used 
  • Public and government buildings where large vehicles are screened out
Light-duty cable covers guard protect cords in an officeLight-duty cable covers guard protect cords in an office

Many buildings utilize bollards and similar devices to ensure that heavy vehicle traffic remains outside specific areas. This can help you decide if light-duty cable covers will be sufficient for your unique cable management needs. 

Light-duty cable protectors are also suitable for temporary installations in various settings, like exhibitions and galleries.  

Other features to consider when selecting a cable protector include: 

Under ADA, employers are required to provide accessible facilities that allow employees with disabilities to navigate the workplace with ease and without hindrance. 

ADA/DDA cable protectors, for example, incorporate ramps with a more gradual rise than other cable protector ramps. This feature allows employees with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, canes, and walkers, to cross over cables and hoses more easily. 

When Do You Need Heavy-Duty Cable Covers?

If you’re going to be laying cables, cords, or larger diameter conduits such as hoses where they are in danger of encountering large vehicles like cars and trucks, you want to invest in heavy-duty cable protectors. They’re designed for long-term use, and can resist wear and tear in demanding environments with uncontrolled vehicle access.

Heavy-duty cable covers withstand heavy vehicle trafficHeavy-duty cable covers withstand heavy vehicle traffic

Places that typically employ heavy-duty cable covers include: 

  • Industrial facilities where heavy machinery, vehicles, and equipment are present 
  • Mining and construction sites
  • Military bases and checkpoints

You can still find many of the same features of light-duty cable protectors in their heavy-duty counterparts, like simple assembly and high-visibility hues. But they will be better able to withstand the rigors of traffic, so you don’t have to worry about compromising equipment or personal safety. 

Let Checkers Help You Find the Best Cable Protectors for Your Needs

Checkers provides a Cable Protector Selector Tool to help you make the best cable management choice for your needs. Enter the number and size of cables you intend to protect, along with the load rating to receive suggestions of which cable protectors should best meet your needs. 

Checkers also offers a range of cable protection products, including:

  • Overhead hanging cable protectors
  • Medium-duty cable protectors
  • Low profile cable protectors
  • ADA cable protectors for compliance
  • Hose bridges (such as for fire departments)
  • Parts and accessories for cable management

Should you need help selecting a cable protector, want a quote for an order, or would like a more in-depth free site assessment for potential workplace hazards, contact us today