Selecting The Right Chain Hoist For Your Application


Manual and electric chain hoists are used for a variety of lifting reasons however selecting the correct chain hoist for your application can be a confusing task. The below check list will help you determine how to select the correct chain hoist for your application.

Contact Ranger on 1300 SLINGS for assistance in selecting the right chain hoist.


Depending on the manufacturer, 250kg and 500kg increments will usually stop being offered after 3 tonnes of capacity. What does this mean to you? If your load is just over 3 tonnes in weight, you may have to upgrade to a 4 tonne chain hoist to ensure a safe pick and proper functioning of your new chain hoist.


To determine lift you will need to know two critical pieces of information. First, where will your chain hoist hang from; and secondly where will the load to be picked be located in relation to the chain hoist. Finding your lift number will be nothing more than subtracting the resting location of the item to be picked from the hanging location of the hoist.

For example, if your item to be picked is located on the factory floor, and the beam the chain hoist sits on is at a height of 30m, then you will need at least 30m of chain lift with your new hoist. When in doubt, always add a couple metres of metres to be safe; chain is sold per metre and it can not be added to the existing chain.

For example, if it turns out you will need 7m of lift, you will have to order a completely new chain which can cost hundreds of dollars; if you had added 1 extra metre to your lift before ordering your chain hoist, the difference would probably be within $25 – $50 per metre. It’s a costly mistake that can easily be avoided.


Traditional speeds can range from 0.9m per minute to 9.7m per minute. Some new hoists, especially air hoists can lift around 30m per minute.

The speed in which we lift items will be dependent upon a multitude of factors; the primary factor being safety. Some of the factors that must be known to safely pick a lifting speed are the following: What will be lifted? Is it fragile? Could it break/snap if it is jolted off the ground too quickly (such as a large piece of glass/stone)? What is the surrounding environment like? Is there adequate space around the pick to safely operate the hoist at the desired speed? Again, this question is usually best answered under the direction of a professional in the field.


If you will be using single phase power, you will have to determine if the volt supply is 240 (what we find in our homes). Larger factories and industrial workplaces will usually be running on three phase power; three phase voltages range from 240 to 415.

If you do not have this information, you should reach out to your power supply company; choosing the wrong voltage can instantly fry your new hoist, costing you thousands of dollars in replacement costs before you even get to use it.


In line with the above question, you will need to determine which control voltage you prefer to send to the handheld pendant. This is usually one of two options, 115 volt or 24 volt. If possible, 24 volt is the desired option for safety.


The pendant control cable length is known as “push button drop” in the lifting industry. This is how far down from the chain hoist you would like the hand control to hang in the air. Standard push button drop is equal to 1m less than the lift. Using the example above, if you have 6m of lift, the standard hand pendant or push button drop will be 5m below the chain hoist, or 1m above the floor in this application.

There are times when the pendant drop will have to be a special length, and not the standard 1 metre less than lift. For example, some applications call for a chain hoist to lift an item from a hole in the floor that goes below floor level. In this situation you could have 10m of lift, but the factory floor may be only 6 metres below the where the hoist hangs. If we applied the standard rule, our pendant drop would be 9m below the chain hoist, but that means the operator standing at 6m below the chain hoist will have 3m of extra cable dragging on the floor, a serious safety hazard. In this instance, the pendant drop would deviate from the standard and we would specially order the drop to be 5m so the pendant hangs 1m above the factory floor, an ergonomic position for most people. Radio control options are now readily available which will elimate the pendant altogether.


There are two common options for suspending or hanging a chain hoist, Hook mount or Lug mount. With Hook mount, the chain hoist will come from the factory with a hook attached to the top of the body. This hook will rest inside an opening on the trolley, a rolling device that rests on the Beam (explained in greater detail below).

There are two common types of hooks available, rigid and swivel. The rigid hook is just as it sounds, it does not swivel and therefore the chain hoist can not rotate 360 degrees on the trolley as in the case with a “swivel” hook. The swivel hook is also just as it sounds, allowing for the chain hoist to spin clockwise or counterclockwise during operation.

Next is the Lug suspension option. A lug suspension is available on almost all chain hoists, and becomes particularly useful when there is limited headroom for mounting and operating the hoist. A lug suspension forgoes the hook we discussed above, and makes the hoist mountable to the trolley with just a couple of bolts/lugs.


There are a few different options when choosing a trolley, but first lets define what a trolley is. A trolley is a device that rests and rolls along the Beam your chain hoist will operate from. There are 3 common types of trolleys.

A plain trolley is the simplest form of trolley available. As discussed above, the hoist will hang from this trolley by either a hook or lug mount. A plain trolley will move the chain hoist along the Beam by human power via the hoist operator. The operator will grab either the hook or the item being lifted and pull or push the item to move it in the desired direc-tion along the Beam. Typically utilised for loads below 2 tonne.

A geared trolley is the next step up in ergonomics. With this option, the chain hoist operator will pull on a chain hanging from the trolley (much like a manual overhead door operator), and the trolley will use it’s gears to roll the trolley wheels along the Beam instead of human push/pull power as we discussed with the plain trolley. When ordering a geared trolley, one must specify the hand chain drop required. Standard hand chain drop is 1m less than lift height, similar to the pendant station or push button drop we discussed earlier.

The motorized trolley option is the most ergonomic of all the options we’ve covered. This option is exactly what it sounds like, instead of a plain push/pull trolley, or manual geared trolley, this trolley will have a motor attached to the side of the trolley wheels. A motorized trolley can have it’s own control pendant that will hang down from the beam in close proximity to the chain hoist pendant.


There are three common types of beams in which we can use to hang a hoist. Correctly identifying your type of beam is imperative to ensuring your chosen trolley will operate and roll properly.

An I-beam, also known as an Universal Beam (UB) or Universal Columns (UC) is a beam with an I- or H-shaped cross-section. The horizontal elements of the “I” are flanges, while the vertical element is the web. The web resists shear forces while the flanges resist most of the bending moment experienced by the beam. Beam theory shows that the I-shaped section is a very efficient form for carrying both bending and shear loads in the plane of the web.