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It is the duty of an operations manager to constantly look for ways to improve production operations on the floor. One area usually tackled first in this process is the lifting equipment and zeroing in on which type is best to get the job done. However, just as it is important to go over the various instrumentation cable types regulating the facility’s critical functions, it is also vital to learn more about the types of hoists and when to use them.

Lift cables and chain hoists work great for lifting processes, but there are a few things to consider as to whether one or the other is best for your specific operations. Specifications like available budget, duty rating, capacity, lift height, operating environment, and intended application (how or what you’ll be lifting with) all dictate which type of hoist you need.

1. Application and environment

When choosing a hoist, the operating environment and what you’ll be lifting are key factors. The application warrants either hoist type simply due to how or what you lift. Certain industries like precast cement or metal processing plants demand a workhorse hoist capable of lifting heavy weights all day. Not all hoists can handle the heavy loads and high cycling demands in such facilities.

The operating environment can also dictate the type of hoist required. For instance, the right hoist for extreme environments, like a galvanising plant that works with acids and sees plenty of moisture, will have to be capable of meeting its specific challenges.

2. Duty rating and capacity

Different organisations define duty rating classifications for the many lifting products and solutions available today, such as the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI) and the European Federation of Material Handling (FEM). These entities ensure that the hoists and cranes used in lifting operations are rated to lift safely at their designed capacity and cycling.

Capacity is only one aspect of duty rating, but it is also enough to dictate the use of lift cables or chain hoists for a given operation. The other key factor of duty rating is assurance that a hoist can reliably handle its intended load capacity. Using a hoist to lift loads heavier than what it was designed for poses a safety risk to the workforce and the equipment it is carrying, potentially breaking it and incurring additional expenses from repair or replacement, breakdown, and maintenance.

3. Budget

Budget is also another essential consideration when choosing a hoist. The goal of acquiring the right lifting equipment is the guarantee that it can be operated safely and provide the required efficiency boost for your operation.

Lift cables are more expensive, complex, and larger but can easily lift even the heaviest loads. In contrast, chain hoists are smaller, simpler in design, and easier to install, but they are rated only for lower-capacity applications. The final purchase decision should never be dictated by price alone, and it is vital to go for the right equipment for the job.

When to Choose Lift Cables Over Chain Hoists and Vice Versa

As mentioned, electric lift cables can handle the heaviest loads and are thus a great option if your application involves high capacities, long lift heights, and accurate positioning. Furthermore, it is the only choice if the load needs to be supported for an extended period. For operations that demand a heavy-duty hoist, lift cables are the best choice to meet your operational needs.

In contrast, a chain hoist will suffice if the application only needs to lift lighter loads and requires ease of use by operators. Its lighter weight, compact size, and versatility make it a great option to replace manual lifting processes in material handling areas and other lifting operations.


No matter what type of hoist you need, it is essential to always go for the right equipment for the job by carefully considering the abovementioned factors. For even greater peace of mind, consider consulting with professionals like Cable Source, who can help you evaluate your options and provide quality cables tailored to your needs.

Cable Source specialises in providing robust, premium industrial and marine cables that meet international standards. Our extensive product range includes a wide variety of cables, from offshore power cables to solar cables. With unparalleled stocking capability and a vast selection of products, we are the ultimate one-stop shop for all your cable and wiring needs. Feel free to visit our website today and browse our wide selection of flame-retardant and fire-resistant cables suitable for various applications and requirements.