What Is a Chain Hoist?

What Is a Chain Hoist?

A chain hoist, also known as a chain block or tackle, is a simple mechanical device designed to lift and lower loads. It features multiple gears and two primary chains: the hand chain and the load chain.

Whether in a lumber yard, machine shop, or at home, this versatile tool has hundreds of uses. Let’s look at how it works and its most important components.

Lifting Capacity

A chain hoist uses a lifting chain and a series of gears to provide mechanical advantage and lift heavy loads. They’re typically designed to be easy and safe to use, with features like overload protection, emergency stop buttons, and safety brakes. They can be found in a variety of sizes and capacities, and they can be attached to a wide range of equipment and rigging, including cranes, beam clamps, and plain or geared beam trolleys.

A quality chain hoist is engineered to handle the load it’s assigned for each job. Its maximum lifting capacity is determined by the gearing used in its design. The gearing is also intended to require minimal input from the operator, making it easier for employees to lift and lower loads that would otherwise be difficult to maneuver.

Another important factor in determining a chain hoist’s lifting capacity is the amount of headroom it takes up. This determines how close to the edge of a beam or structure it can reach while still being safe to operate.

Small manual chain hoists can fit into tight spaces, and they have a range of other features that make them suitable for confined work environments. These include a thrust bearing on the lower hook to chain hoist prevent a load from becoming jammed, electro-zinc plated hand and load chains, fully machined lift wheel to accept chain smoothly, and enclosed gearing that protects it against contamination and debris.

Safety Features

A chain hoist can be a dangerous piece of equipment if not used properly. It is important to follow the operator’s manual and safety instructions to ensure that it will work as intended. Daily, frequent and periodic inspections must be performed to check for damage and other conditions that can compromise the safe operation of the chain hoist.

A chain hoist works by converting mechanical energy from the hand chain into power for the load. Its internal gearing translates this power to the primary sprocket of the load chain through a pair of larger gears, multiplying the force that can be applied. It is also crucial to never exceed the rated capacity of a chain hoist and to make sure that the load is securely attached to the device using appropriate rigging hardware. Lastly, it is vital that workers do not stand underneath a suspended load, and that the workplace barricades this area.

Additionally, it is important to avoid side pulling the chain when operating a chain hoist, as this can cause dangerous load swings. It is chain hoist also important to refrain from jogging the hoist motor, as this generates heat and can cause the machine to overheat. A chain hoist can be a valuable tool on any job site, and it is important to consider the factors above when choosing one for your business.


Hand chain hoists have a simple design that is easy to maintain and operate. They don’t have complex motors or wires, so they are less expensive than electric chain hoists. They are also suitable for high vertical lifts because you can control the pulling chain without standing directly next to the mechanism.

When selecting a chain hoist, be sure to choose one with a high weight capacity that is appropriate for the load you need to lift. You should also consider the lift height because a longer drop may require more chains. Most hoists have a hook at the top for single point suspension and a bottom trolley attachment for more permanent installations. They are generally made of steel construction, which provides durability and resistance to corrosion.

A gantry chain hoist is an industrial lifting device that consists of a series of pulleys, including one large and several small ones. It is used to lift heavy loads of objects and equipment. These devices are often found in warehouses, automotive repair shops, and manufacturing plants. They are ideal for lifting and moving loads that are too heavy to move by hand or too large for traditional cranes. The lifters are operated by a handle or other manual mechanism, which turns the gears inside the body of the hoist. This in turn moves the chain over the load chain sprocket and allows you to lift or lower the load.


It’s important that people who operate a chain hoist are fully qualified in its operation and are trained on its safety features. They should also regularly inspect the equipment to look for signs of wear and tear. This can include things like rust, cracks, and other deformities on the hoist’s frame, chain, hooks, and other components. A qualified service technician should also lubricate the gears, chain, and brakes regularly using a lubricant specified by the manufacturer.

When a lift is in progress, it’s vital that everyone around the device remains clear and keeps a safe distance away from the load. This is especially true for anyone working nearby, who should not stand underneath a suspended load to avoid getting caught on the chains or hooks and being pulled down by them. It’s also a good idea to verify that the slinging arrangement is safely rigged and that the load is properly secured.

In addition to regular inspections and lubrication, the hoist should be tested on a regular basis for safety features like overload protection, limit switches, and emergency stop buttons. The hoist should also be kept clean by removing dirt and debris that could affect its performance. A preventive maintenance program should be established with a schedule and dated records that strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. This will help to ensure the hoist always operates at peak performance and is a safe piece of equipment for employees to use.