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Manual Hand-Powered Chain Hoists vs. Electric Chain Hoists

January 27, 2014  |  Comments

A hoist is a piece of equipment used to lift or lower heavy loads within warehouses, factories, plants, and construction areas. Hoists can be used on loads of all sizes to make transporting items simple and safe for employees. There are three main types of hoists: manual, electrical, or air. In this article we will be discussing the difference between manual chain hoists and electric chain hoists.

Manual Hand-Powered Chain Hoists

Manual hoists are generally available in two styles: hand chain hoists that attach to a beam for vertical lifting that is operated manually by the worker, and lever tools that are used for pulling, lifting, dragging, stretching, and positioning. Manual chain hoists are available that can lift capacities up to 10,000 pounds. They're appropriate for heavy-duty construction and a wide variety of industrial applications. Manual hoists are generally easier to move around than electrical, but take more work to lift heavier loads.

Electric Chain Hoists

Electric hoists are normally sold in single, dual and three phase power levels, which should match the power supplied at your plant. Wherever possible you should pick a three phase hoist as there is much less current drawn than single phase, allowing the motor to run cooler and last longer. Single phase is available for electric hoists, but capacity is limited. Constant speed hoists as well as dual-speed hoists are also available. Some of the benefits of electrical versus manual hoists are that they offer fingertip control and can lift heavier loads.


Once you have decided on what type of hoist you need - electric or manual - your next step is deciding on the trolley. Manual hoists may be purchased with integral trolleys. Electric hoists offer trolleys that are either push type or powered. For high volume applications, powered trolleys may well be worth the few thousand dollars they add to the price of a hoist.

Gantry or Jib Cranes

A hoist needs to be mounted to something, so the next piece of equipment you may need is a gantry or jib crane. A jib crane is a fixed device that has a pillar with an I-beam that rotates around the pillar. Simply mount the trolley and hoist onto the I-beam, add an end clamp, and you are ready to lift. A gantry crane has an I-beam between two uprights on casters. With a gantry, you can move your load, or move the gantry to where the load is to pick it up.

Hook Devices

The final consideration when purchasing hoists is under-the-hook devices. The hook rarely does the picking up (if it does you may be using the hoist incorrectly). Accessories included in this category include slings - nylon and metal, spreaders, pallet lifters, coil lifters, sheet lifters, c-hooks, lifting tongs, and vacuum lifts.

Once you have chosen an electric or manual hoist, a trolley, gantry or jib crane, and a hook, you'll be ready to lift and move all the heavy items in your industrial warehouse or plant.

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A Plus Warehouse is an online business-to-business distributor of quality industrial equipment including many lockers selections, storage bins, and stainless steel cart choices. Since 1996 they have provided A-Plus customer service to consumers and businesses all across the country.

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