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FAQ: Which Tensioning Hardware Should I Use?

Taylor Bailey

Which Tensioning Hardware Should I Use?As the last in a three part series of articles concerning tensioning methods, it is worth noting that corner hardware is the most important source of tension in a sail. Tenshon sells three different types of corner hardware, each with their own unique benefits and mode of achieving the desired tension. Let's dive right in.


A turnbuckle consists of two eye-bolts with opposite thread inside a center body free to spin. Due to the opposite thread directions of the two eye-bolts, rotating the body one direction brings the bolts together, thus tightening the sail, and the other direction lets the tension out. Using turnbuckles at every attachment allows for freedom to adjust the tension in the sail at each corner. Our turnbuckles are 7.5" closed and 10" open, which works great for any of our standard shade sails or custom shade sails of comparable size. Learn how to install a shade sail with turnbuckles here.


If you're looking for an easy up, easy down option, we've got just what you need! Pulleys make for super easy installs because there is no need for lubricant or tools, or additional tensioning assistance from a come-along or similar winch. With 30" of take, one can simply attach the pulley to each corner of the sail and then to each attachment point. Once the sail is in place, pull the rope tight at each corner and tie off the loose ends. A 4:1 mechanical advantage makes tensioning your sail a breeze, and the take down is just as simple! Like our turnbuckles, pulleys are great from shade sails within our standard size range. Learn how to install a shade sail with pulleys here

Commercial Brackets

These suckers are our big guns for any custom projects larger than any of our standards. When it comes to large sails, turnbuckles and pulleys just won't do the trick. You need a commercial bracket that we've designed to hold up to the added stress of large sails. Additionally, an 18" tensioning rod provides for much more take allowing for application of more stretching force at each corner. For more information on commercial brackets, check out last year's Matching Larger Sails with the Right Hardware.

Choosing the Right Hardware

Turnbuckles and pulleys are both fantastic corner hardware for standard shade sails and customs within that same range, so choosing between the two is really a matter of cost vs. convenience. If you're looking for the best price, turnbuckles will be your best option. If you want better functionality and easier install, go for pulleys. As for larger sails, you really do need to use commercial brackets for best performance and safety.

The Three Keys to Tension

If you didn't read the previous articles, or if you need a quick recap, remember that the three keys to tensioning your shade sail (and keeping it under tension) are:

1) Perimeter Wire Rope

2) Height Variation

3) Tensioning Hardware

For best results, we recommend applying all three techniques. If the parameters of your project limit one or more of these tensioning methods, discuss it with one of our project managers to see where we can help.


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