How does a chain hoist work & how to properly use it

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 15, 2022
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more
When we look at the current pulley system, it has developed much more than it did in the early stages. Lifting heavy things has become more manageable now due to advanced tools and machinery. And, when you want to do such a thing single-handedly, you can use a chain hoist. But, firstly, you need to know how to use a chain hoist properly. So, our topic of discussion today is how you can use your chain hoist to save energy and time.

Step-By-Step Process of Using A Chain Hoist

You already know, chain hoists use chains to lift heavy objects. This tool can be either electric or mechanical. In both cases, the chain is permanently attached to the lifting system and works like a loop. Pulling the chain lifts the objects very simply. Let’s have a look at the step-by-step process of how to use this tool.
  1. Attaching The Connection Hook
Before using the chain hoist, you must set a connection hook in a supporting system or the ceiling. This supporting system will allow you to attach the upper hook of the chain hoist. Generally, the connection hook is provided with the chain hoist. If you don’t see one with yours, contact the manufacturer. However, attach the connection hook to the supporting system or your chosen area of the ceiling.
  1. Connecting The Hoist Hook
Now you need to join the upper hook with the connection hook before starting the use of the chain hoist. Simply, bring the lifting mechanism, and the hoist hook is located on the upper side of the mechanism. Carefully attach the hook to the connection hook of the supporting system. After that, the lifting mechanism will be in a hanging position and ready for use.
  1. Placing The Load
Placement of the load is very much crucial for lifting. Because slightly misplacing the load can create twists in the chain hoist. So, you should keep the load as straight as possible and try to place it in an area where the chain hoist gets the perfect positioning. In this way, you will reduce the risk of damaging the load.
  1. Packing and Wrapping The Load
This step depends on your choice and taste. Because you can either use the chain hook or an external option for lifting. Not to mention, the chain has two distinguished parts called the hand chain and the lifting chain. Anyway, the lifting chain has a grab hook to lift the load. Using the grab hook, you can lift either a packed load or a wrapped load. For a packed load, you can use a lift bag or a chain sling and attach the bag or sling to the grab hook. On the other hand, when you want a wrapped load, tie the load two or three times around the two sides of it using the lifting chain. Then, after tightening the tied load, attach the grab hook to a suitable part of the chain to lock the load.
  1. Pulling The Chain
At this stage, your load is now ready to be moved. So, you can start pulling the hand chain towards yourself and try to use maximum force for a fast result. The more you take the load in an upper position, the more you will get free movement and efficient control. After getting the load into the upper position you need, you can stop pulling and lock it into that position using the chain stopper. Then, move the load above the place of lowering to finish the process.
  1. Lowering The Load
Now your load is ready for landing. To lower the load, slowly pull the chain in the opposite direction. When the load lands on the ground, you can stop and unwrap or unpack it from the chain hoist after disconnecting the grab hook. Finally, you’ve used the chain hoist successfully!

What Is A Chain Hoist?

Moving heavy loads from here to there requires lots of strength. For this reason, sometimes, you may not be able to carry a heavy thing on your own. At this point, you will think about getting a permanent solution to that problem. And, you will be glad to know, a chain hoist can help you move your weighty things quickly. But, how does a chain hoist work?
A chain hoist, sometimes known as a chain block, is a lifting mechanism for heavy loads. When lifting or lowering heavy loads, this mechanism uses a chain wrapped around two wheels. If you pull the chain from one side, it will start to wind around the wheels and lift the attached heavy item on the other side. Generally, there is a hook on the opposite side of the chain, and any roped package using pieces of chains or ropes can be hung into that hook for lifting. However, you can also attach the chain hoist to chain bags or lifting slings for better lifting. Because these components can take more load than other options. Actually, the chain bag is a full setup of a bag that can contain hefty items and attach to the hook. On the other hand, a chain sling increases the ability to lift more weight when attaching to the hook after setting up with the heavy loads. In any case, a chain hoist does its job very well.

Parts of A Chain Hoist & Their Jobs

You already know that a chain hoist is a tool for lifting heavy materials using a chain. As this tool is used for lifting higher tons of weights, it must be made of a durable component. In like manner, the chain hoist is made of high-grade and durable steel, which ensures its high level of safety and reliability. However, the whole setup of the tool works using three parts: the chain, the lifting mechanism, and the hook.
  1. Chain
Specifically, the chain has two loops or sides. After winding around the wheels, there will be one part of the chain on your hand, and another part will remain on the other side attached to the hook. The loop that stays on your hand is called the hand chain, and the other loop from the hook to the wheels is called the lifting chain. When you pull the hand chain, the lifting chain will start to lift the heavy loads. Leaving the hand chain slowly in your hands will lower the loads using the lifting chain.
  1. Lifting Mechanism
This is the central part of a chain hoist. Because the lifting mechanism helps to create the lever for lifting weighty loads with minimal effort. Anyway, a lifting mechanism comprises the sprockets, gears, drive shaft, axle, cog, and wheels. All of these components help to create a lever for the lifting mechanism. Sometimes, there is a brake or a chain stopper included in this part. This brake helps to control lowering or lifting the loads and reduces the possibility of sudden falls.
  1. Hook
Different types of chain hooks are available in the market. The grab hook is permanently attached to the lifting chain. Typically, it is used to hook loads weighing a couple of tons. Though various methods are available for hooking the loads, the most popular methods are chain slings, load levelers, or attaching the load itself. Another hook is located on the upper side lifting mechanism of the chain hoist. In simple terms, it is used to attach the lifting mechanism to the rooftop or housing. As a result, your chain hoist will be in a hanging position, and you are ready to lift any heavy load.

How A Whole Chain Hoist Setup Works

We have already mentioned the parts of the chain hoist and their working process. Let’s see how the whole setup works like a lifting machine.
Chain hoist setup
If you ask about an electric chain hoist, it has nothing critical to control. You just need to attach the load with the grab hook and operate the lifting process properly using the right command on the operating machine. But, when you are using a manual chain hoist, all tasks are physically in your own hand. So, you need to control the whole setup perfectly for proper lifting. Firstly, attach the grab hook with the load and make sure you lift a weight within the chain hoist’s highest limit. Then, check the lifting mechanism and wheels for any technical issues. If all is okay, pulling the hand chain will lift the load creating a lever on the lifting mechanism. Because the chain will get a tightened grip on the wheels and form a loop of a lever inside the mechanism for the pressurized tension of load.

How To Install A Chain Hoist In Your Garage

Chain hoists or chain blocks are commonly used in garages to remove the car engines easily. They are popular in garages due to their simplicity of being operated by a single person. Chain hoists help to complete such tasks which cannot be completed without the help of two or more persons. However, installing a chain hoist in your garage is not a complicated task. And, this installation can be done simply using the following steps:
  1. Firstly, have a detailed check on the user manual and the components of the chain hoist. As you need a supporting system first, look for a position on the ceiling where you can set the connection hook.
  2. After setting up the connection hook, attach the hoist hook to the connection hook and throw the chain on the lifting zone over the lifting system to divide the chain into two parts.
  3. Before threading the chain through the sling, remove the shackle bolt and thread back it after that. Then, rotating the chain will give space to the eye loops for resting.
  4. Look for the safety catch on the top of the chain block and open it. Then, you need to slide the hoist into the chain and suspend the chain hoist by releasing the safety catch. However, don’t keep the safety hatch open to avoid slipping of the load.
  5. In the end, you can test the chain hoist if it is working perfectly or not. Use low weight for checking for the first time and search for any malfunctioning. Besides, you can also lubricate the chain for a smooth experience.


In the end, chain hoists are excellent tools for lifting heavy loads when used correctly. And we have covered all relevant information about this. Follow the above steps for installing and using a chain hoist, and you can save money and time.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.