As an electrician or network installer, you know running cables through conduits and raceways is necessary but tricky. Cable pulling rollers are essential tools. They make the job much easier and safer for your cabling.
What Are Cable Pulling Rollers?
Cable-pulling rollers are devices made up of one or more rotating wheels. We lay cables lengthwise over the wheels. This allows the cables to go through conduits. While being pulled, they protect the cable from binding and friction. The rollers distribute the pulling tension over the cable.
Other names for cable pullers include wire pulling rollers, cable guides, cable feeders, pulley wheels, and cable rollers. They come in many sizes to handle cable diameters from under 1/2 inch to over 5 inches.
Benefits of Cable Pulling Rollers
There are many advantages to using cable pullers:
- Prevent cable jacket binding, kinking, snapping, and friction damage.
- Enable long, continuous pulls in a single pass rather than increments.
- Minimal manual effort since rollers reduce pulling tension and resistance.
- Protect inner conductors from stress and distortion and maintain integrity.
- Suitable for copper wiring, fiber optic, and other data cables.
- Allow cables to be pre-assembled and rolled onto the feeder for easy installation later.
Types of Cable Pullers
There are three main types of cable-pulling rollers:
- Standard rollers – Simple fixed cylinders suitable for straight runs. Most cost-effective.
- Swivel rollers – Wheels pivot to align with cable movement around bends. Prevent snags.
- Powered rollers – Motorized to pull the cable actively. Reduce manual work.
Specialty rollers like v-groove rollers and rubber-coated rollers are also available.
Cable Puller Components
Cable pulling rollers consist of:
- Wheels – typically steel or durable composites. A larger diameter provides more cable support.
- Axle – connects wheels and may allow swivelling. Stainless steel or aluminium.
- Frame – holds axle and wheels in place during pulls. It is made of powder-coated steel.
- Mount – attaches puller to floor/ceiling/wall depending on pull direction—usually clamps.
- Guiding supports – guide cable into rollers and maintain alignment. Funnel-shaped.
How To Use Cable Pullers
- Determine the required puller size based on your cable diameter.
- Place rollers along the cable pathway at regular intervals of 8 to 15 feet.
- Attach a pulling line like a rope to the end of the cable.
- Position cable over rollers, line it up through the centre, and keep some slack.
- Attach the pulling rig to the rope and lubricate the cable and conduit as needed.
- Start the pull, allowing rollers to spin freely and guide the cable into the conduit.
- Walk along the path during the pull, resetting rollers as needed.
- Remove rollers at the end and neatly coil any excess cable.
Tips for Success
- Stagger rollers top to bottom so cable contacts half the wheel each turn.
- More frequent rollers are needed for longer cable runs.
- Keep slack in the cable to prevent binding against rollers.
- Apply lubricant to the cable and conduit interior to minimize friction.
- Larger-diameter wheels better support heavy cables with less bending.
- Swivelling rollers are ideal for routing around bends and corners.
- Stay within roller and cable capacity limits to avoid damage.
Why Cable Pullers Are Essential
Trying to manually pull cables over 50 feet without rollers risks binding, snapping, and friction damage. At best, the cable jacket will be scuffed and abraded. At worst, inner conductors will be stressed and deformed, leading to signal loss or shorts.
Investing in quality cable-pulling rollers saves hours of labour. It also avoids injuring cables during installation. For electricians and network installers, they are inexpensive but invaluable tools. Equip your workspace with the right selection of cable pullers. This will ensure smooth, fast, and safe cable runs every time.