Cable rollers come in all shapes and sizes - it's important to select what's right for your applications.

Which cable roller type is best for bigger jobs? We’re after something that’s flexible enough to use in a number of different installation environments and not too expensive.

A: There are 3 different cable roller types commonly used by installation teams, the straight roller, the right-angle roller and the radius roller. The straight roller type is designed to be mounted on a standard cable tray or installed on a ladder head. You can put them in vertically or horizontally depending on the amount of space you’ve got available.

Next comes the right-angle roller that lets you use horizontal and vertical ball bearing rollers to carry very heavy cables. It gives excellent control of the pull. Right angle rollers are fantastic for convoluted short-handed cable runs. Finally, there are radius rollers that allow you to handle turns of less than 90 degrees from top or bottom-mounted sites in a similar way to straight cable rollers.

The 2 bending rollers use hydraulics to bend the cable – a hydraulic bending unit in the case of the radius roller and a hydraulic ram in the case of the right-angle unit. We’d start with a straight roller first, but you’ll need to figure-8 some corners if you’re going around by hand. This could pose some problems if there’s not a lot of space in the cable path.

Running cables is a challenge at the best of times and we’re not sure we think it’s particularly economical in terms of time and added complexity to scrimp on roller devices with the ability to handle corners. There may be multi-function rollers with replaceable heads out there we’ve not heard of but you’re still going to need a straight initial feed while you’re tackling corners.

It’s worth buying as many cable rollers as you’ll need for a particular job. Undertake design of the planned cable run and work out your roller needs from there – none are especially expensive but it’s important to buy quality, even if you have to buy custom.