What Is The Difference Between A Chain Hoist And A Chain Block?

If you have a load to move, a chain block or chain hoist can handle it. It may seem like both have the same features visually looking at the operation, yet they differ in many ways. Let me satisfy that curiosity by sharing What Is The Difference Between A Chain Hoist And A Chain Block?

What differentiates chain hoists from chain blocks is their usage. Chain hoists use rotating motions of the lever to navigate heavy objects, while chain blocks operate by pulling the hand chain to lift cargo off the ground. A chain hoist operates manually, and a chain block works mechanically.

Chain hosts and chain blocks have similar functions, yet they differ in many ways. To understand their differences, you will first need to know how they work and the benefits and disadvantages of each. Join me on this discovery.

What Is A Chain Hoist?

A chain hoist operates as a pulley system to lift heavy objects. They are attached to the horizontal beam of the crane and connected to the trolley. They move the load backward and forwards on the trolley. Instead of working automatically, they operate manually.

How Do Chain Hoists Work?

It can be operated in two ways manually or with electricity. The load lifts by a rope or wire reeled around a drum. The load is attached to the hook. The chain, fiber, and wire are lifting mediums. The electric chain hoists have a motor and a brake to ensure that the load holds when raised.

The Uses Of A Chain Host

  • Chain hoist is part of rigging operations.
  • For the installation of fences.
  • To pull pipes.
  •  It is used to stretch wires.
  • To straighten poles.
  • A chain hoist pulls tree stumps off the ground.
  • A chain hoist helps in the leveling of roads.

Benefits Of Chain Hoists

Manual Chain Hoists

  • Manual chain hoists are highly durable due to their manufacture with high-grade stainless steel.
  • This equipment is the preferred choice for start-up businesses, as they are cost-effective, and there is always a market to sell these at a later stage to recover the initial capital outlay.
  • Since they are manual, there are no substantial overhead costs like electricity.
  • The operation is easy enough for any newbie controller.

Electric Chain Hoists

  • Chain hoists can be used in narrow rooms with lower headroom, allowing you to operate efficiently within these spaces.
  • Electric chain hoists have a box that collects the excess chain; this prevents damage to the load.
  • Fitted with a limit switch, you have the flexibility of setting maximum hook paths, which protects the load from human error and protects the hoist itself when having to deal with the lifting of a heavy load.

Disadvantages Of Chain Hoists

Manual Chain Hoist – One of the significant disadvantages of manual chain hoists is that they have a limited lifting capacity, usually under five tons; hence, they serve no purpose to lift large loads.

Electric Chain Hoists- Although electric change hoists have some excellent benefits, the additional outlay for electric costs and the replacement costs of hydraulics can work against them.

Types of Chain Hoists

There are two types of chain hoists;

Manual Chain Hoist

Manual chain hoists are a more cost-effective solution. A manual chain hoist is operated manually and does not require any electricity or power supply. They are easier to maintain with no complex wires or hydraulic systems to consider. Chain Hoists are also compact and quite portable for easy transportation.

Manual chain hosts can come in two styles;

Hand Chain Hoists

These hand chains require both hands in the operation process. As you pull one chain, a second chain is needed to navigate the lifting of the load.

Apart from having the lifting mechanism control most of the workload, there is also a braking system that enables you to prevent the load from slipping back. Despite the submersion of the cargo in the air, you can still operate the chain from the ground.

Lever Chain Hoists

Unlike hand chain hoists, they only require one hand in the operation process. They are ideal for horizontal, low vertical, and angle loads. Their operation process is similar; required is the cranking of a side lever attached to the lifting mechanism. Due to the lever’s location, you will need to be close to the hook to ensure smooth operation.

Electric Chain Hoist

The electric chain hoist operates by a power supply and electricity, which often means their usage can increase the cost of electricity bills. The electrical hydraulic systems can often be time-consuming and tricky to maintain, considering the price of repairs to complex motors and wires. Investing in an electric chain hoist can be costly.

What Is A Chain Block?

A chain block is a mechanical device used to lift heavy loads. By pulling the hand chain, the load moves. Chain blocks work in the agricultural, manufacturing, building, and mining industry. The cargo is attached to the hook’s end; lifting occurs when the chain block winds the chain around. Chain blocks can lift heavy loads of up to 30 000 kg with minimal effort.

How Do Chain Blocks Work?

The components of a chain block include a lifting chain, a base hook, and a hand chain. When a load needs to be lifted or dropped, it connects to the base hook via the chain block. The pulling of the hand chain causes the gears and inside loops to tighten. The tightening causes tensions, which causes the load to lift off the ground.

Before lifting the goods, it is advisable to raise them a short distance from the ground to confirm that the load is adequately balanced and that the equipment is working at its optimum. During the lifting process, ensure that the chain pulls to avoid any jolting or tangling during the process.

The Uses Of A Chain Block

  • Help in the removal of engines from cars.
  • They are used for the installation of machines and repairing goods.
  • It is used to lift heavy loads from construction sites.
  • A chain block lifts pumps, heavy equipment, and generators.
  • Chain Blocks can remove and install valves.
  • Chain Blocks assist in holding pipes in place during welding.

Benefits Of Chain Blocks

  • They are cost-effective for the lifting of large loads.
  • They are perfect for any overhead work and well suited for small spaces like garages.
  • The chain blocks are versatile and can be used to install machinery, repair goods, and a host of other applications.
  • Chain blocks are the ideal equipment used in factories, power plants, and laboratories.
  • This equipment has manual control, requiring only one controller, saving on additional workforce costs.
  • Compact and easy to carry around.

Disadvantages of Chain Blocks

  • Chain blocks can only vertically lift a load, which limits their operation.
  • They are slower than powered hoists.
  • Too much force on the chain can easily open and cause injury if too much pressure.
  • Particular installation areas are required, which limits their usage.

Differences Between A Chain Hoist And Chain Block

Chain Hoist  Chain Block  
  Can lift a load in any direction.    It can only lift a load vertically.  
  Chain Hoists has limited lifting power, making it redundant for large projects.    Chain Blocks are ideal for moving large loads, making them ideal for large factories, construction sites, and power plants.  
  Chain Hoist operates manually.  Chain Hoist operates manually.
  Due to the manual operation of chain hoists, there is a need for an extra workforce.    Do not require a large workforce; a single person can operate them.  


Although chain hoist and chain block’s primary function is lifting, one significant difference is the operation process. If you explore which would be the more suitable choice, perhaps you should consider the three most essential factors, cost, operation, and flexibility, to help guide you in making an informed decision.


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