When shopping for a new hoist, your decision should depend on the application, capacity, and the work environment. There are many hoists available on the market. However, two types that are often compared are cable and chain hoists. Which one do you choose? Before your choice is made, there needs to be a full understanding of how your hoist will be used. The wrong choice can make a tough job even more difficult.
Manual chain hoists operate with two chain loops, the hand chain and lifting chain. The hand chain wraps around a wheel that supports the lifting mechanism by pulling. The lifting chain is used to lift and lower the load by maneuvering the hand chain. This type of hoist system can be used in construction sites, auto shops, warehouses, etc.
The main benefit of chain hoists is the capacity. If your application requires lifting or pulling a load greater than three tons, a chain hoist is most likely the best tool for the job. However, when comparing a chain hoist and cable hoist head-to-head in a lighter-duty application, chain hoists have several disadvantages.
Most chain hoist are manufactured from steel and corrosion resistant materials. However, compared to cable, chain hoists are more vulnerable to wear and tear from everyday usage. They require environments that do not have extreme dust and fine air particles because of the lubricant that is required for the links. The lubricant can attract debris, which will abrade with the metal and cause more wear in the long run. Regular maintenance and inspection of the chain hoist gear system is also required to avoid the buildup of grit.
Cable hoists are the more compact and lightweight option of the two. Because chain hoists have feet of chain exposed at all times, workers operating a chain hoist need to be mindful of potential dragging of the chains. Cables on cable hoists store away neatly on the drum of the system, making it a more mobile selection. Often chosen because of its versatility, cable hoists are used in numerous types of applications. They’re used anywhere from marine worksites to the tree service industry. Cable hoist systems are best used for worksites that require flexibility and durability, and the average capacity ranges based on the cable length. The typical capacity runs between ½ and three tons.
Chain hoist systems are also not flexible in their mobility and storage compared to cable hoists because chain hoists weigh more. A three-ton capacity chain hoist can weigh 79 pounds while a three-ton cable Lug-All Come Along Ratchet Winch Hoist weighs just 34 pounds. Because cable hoists weigh significantly less, they provide a clear advantage in applications that require constant rigging adjustments.
Which Do You Choose?
In general, the benefits of cable hoists outweigh the benefits of chain hoists as long as the maximum load capacity required for the application does not exceed three tons. However, be sure to consider all factors before making a decision. Choosing the proper tool from the start will save you time and money, in addition to completing the job in the most efficient way possible.
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