The 7 Best Chain Hoists

Updated May 05, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you're sharpening ride-on lawnmower blades, moving landscaping boulders, delivering shingles to your roof, or taking the body off your 1969 Corvette, you're going to need a couple of strong hooks and a good mechanical advantage. Check out our selection of chain hoists to find the perfect option for your load and lift requirements. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best chain hoist on Amazon.

7. XtremepowerUS Lever Block

6. Vevor 3-ton

5. Neiko 02182A

4. Harrington LX

3. Columbus McKinnon 603 Mini

2. Black Bull CHOI1

1. Torin TR9000 Series

History Of The Chain Hoist

The chain hoist was first developed around the time of the Great Depression. In the early 1930s, Fred W. Coffing was busy creating the chain hoist in his barn workshop and, while the rest of the country was slowly sinking into financial ruin, he established the Coffing Hoist Company, which somehow managed to thrive. In the beginning it was mostly used by utility companies and equipment manufacturers, but quickly expanded into other industries. In the late 1930s, John Deere gave the chain hoist their stamp of approval for farm work, and by the time the 1940s rolled around, one could be found on nearly every farm across America.

Circus acts were also very popular in America at this time, and one of the leading hire wire acts in the 1930s and 40s was Huburt Castle. He performed in some of the most well known circuses, including Ringling Brothers and Cole Brothers. In July of 1941, Castle was featured on the cover of Life Magazine and in his interview, he stressed how vital a properly tensioned cable was for a hire wire act. He also pointed out that Coffing chain hoists were the safest and most reliable piece of equipment for tensioning a wire, which only helped to further popularize the Coffing Hoist Company and their product.

Throughout his lifetime, Coffing created more than thirty other inventions, including an automatic centering electric hoist and a continuous power eccentric dual gear speed reducer. In 1955, he sold the Coffing Hoist Company, but Coffing hoists are still manufactured today by Colombus McKinnon and the name Coffing is associated with hoists worldwide.

Understanding The Chain Hoist

Chain hoists can be used to lift nearly any type of heavy load, but are commonly be found in mechanic shops, factories, and warehouses. They are available in manual and electrical varieties. Electric chain hoists often feature some kind of controller and lifting a heavy object with one is as simple as pushing a button. Manual chain hoists require the operator to lift heavy objects by pulling on the chain, using brute force and the aid of a pulley. Some manual chain hoists have a ratchet system which makes lifting loads incredibly easy.

A manual chain hoist is the simplest type of hoist and there is very little chance of one failing or malfunctioning. Every manual chain hoist is contains a lifting chain with a hook, a hand chain, and a lifting mechanism. The lifting mechanism is made up of sprockets, an axle, a cog, a driveshaft and some gears.

When lifting a load, the operator pulls the hand chain, which rotates the driveshaft and transfers the force to a small sprocket attached to an axle. The axle then rotates a larger sprocket, which has the lifting chain attached to it. Using a systems of gears and sprockets, a small force is multiplied into a much larger force.

Manual chain hoists are convenient to use in a variety of settings, especially in areas where access to electricity is limited on non-existent. They are also relatively cheap when compared to electric and hydraulic hoists. Chain hoists also allow one to lift massive loads, upwards of 4000 pounds or more.

Tips For Using A Chain Hoist

Following a few simple safety procedures when using a chain hoist is the best way to prevent injury or damage to items being lifted. Before attaching a load to a chain hoist, inspect the equipment to make sure everything is in good working order. Check that it is safely secured to a sturdy mounting point which is capable of supporting the full weight of the object you plan on lifting. Also inspect the chain of any overly rusted links which can become break points when under load.

Start with a light load before lifting the heavier object. This will help you double check that all of the gears inside of the chain hoist are running smoothly and functioning as they should. You should lift the light load up, and then leave it suspended in the air for a moment to ensure the brake is working. Make sure you are using a chain hoist capable of lifting the weight of your object by checking the manufacturers specifications. If you are unsure of the weight of the object to be lifted, it is always best to err on the side of caution and use a chain hoist that easily exceeds the estimated weight of the object.

Some items may be lifted by simply slipping the hoist's hook through a centered hole somewhere on the frame. Other objects may require one to loop a few lengths of chain around it and then attaching the hoist's hook to the chain. However the object to be lifted is attached to the hoist, the hook should be placed directly over the load's center of gravity.

If the load will be moved horizontally after being lifted, check that the intended travel path is clear or any obstacles or obstructions before beginning to lift the object. When moving the item horizontally, one should also avoid any movement that causes undue swinging, which can make the load pull on the chain hoist from an unexpected angle and potentially cause failure.


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Last updated on May 05, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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