The Ultimate Guide: Chain Blocks

This article introduces in detail the ubiquitous chain blocks, covering their definition, characteristics, applications, and operations. Whether for household use, sales, or workshop purposes, the chain block is applicable in various settings.

Chain Block Definition 

A chain block, also known as a chain hoist, the block and tackle, is a portable and lightweight lifting tool. It operates using either an electric motor or manual power, driving the load chain to move, thereby raising or lowering heavy loads.

A manual chain block has a compact size, is lightweight, easy to maintain, and convenient portability. It is commonly used for household purposes, construction sites, and outdoor locations without power sources.

The electric chain hoist adopts a fully aluminum shell, with precise craftsmanship, a compact structure, small size, lightweight, and low noise. There are explosion-proof electric chain hoists, construction-specific electric chain hoists, wind power hoists, metallurgical hoists, and more, making them widely applicable.

Types of Chain Blocks 

Based on the driving mechanism, chain hoists can be divided into manual chain hoists and electric chain hoists. Depending on the method of traction, manual chain blocks further subdivide into hand chain blocks and lever chain blocks. 

Hand Chain Block 

The hand chain block, also known as a chain fall, requires you to manually pull the hand chain, thereby driving the chain wheel and lifting the load vertically using the lifting chain.

Lever Chain Block

The hand lever hoist utilises the principle of leverage, allowing you to operate the handle to drive the lifting chain for the horizontal movement of heavy objects. 

Electric Chain Block

 The electric chain hoist is comprised of an electric motor, transmission mechanism, and chain wheel, with the electric motor serving as the power source to drive the movement of the lifting chain.

Capacity of The Chain Block

As lightweight lifting equipment, the standard capacities of chain blocks generally do not exceed 20 tons. If you need a larger capacity, our factory customizations can be made according to requirements, with the maximum capacity reaching up to 100 tons. Manual and electric chain hoists come in capacities of 0.5T, 1T, 1.5T, 2T, 3T, 5T, 7.5T, 10T, 15T, and 20T. The specifications for hand lever hoists include 0.8T, 1T, 1.5T, 2T, 3T, 6T, and 9T.

Different specifications of chain blocks may have varying lifting chain specifications. Please refer to the specific parameters at If you need to replace or extend the chain, be sure to confirm the chain specifications in advance.

Chain Block Applications 

Have you ever seen a hand chain hoist used to secure cars on a car carrier truck? Have you witnessed a mechanic using a lever hoist to dismantle a car engine at an auto repair shop? Do you have an electric chain hoist in your workshop?

Chain blocks are widely utilized in our production and daily life, and we will provide you with a detailed introduction below.


Hand chain hoists are widely used in the agricultural field, such as for the lifting of grain, and the maintenance of farm tools, and farmers even use tripods to match with hand chain hoists for slaughtering livestock.


DHP bulding chain hoist

On construction sites, the daily transportation of large quantities of steel bars and cement from the ground to higher levels heavily relies on chain hoists. Not to mention, electric hoists designed specifically for the overall elevation of scaffolding are commonly seen in high-rise construction sites.


Chain blocks are used in workshops to hoist goods and maintain equipment, significantly improving work efficiency. Customized explosion-proof electric chain hoists, clean electric hoists, metallurgical electric hoists, and others play a crucial role in specialized workshops.


stage electric chain hoist

In stage performances, the suspension of various props, scenery, and audio-visual equipment heavily relies on chain hoists. Sometimes, a large-scale concert may involve the high-speed operation of over a hundred stage chain hoists.

How does a Chain Block Work? 

Whether it’s a manual chain block, a lever block, or an electric chain block, they all consist of a drive system, gear assembly, lifting hooks, and lifting chain. The manual chain hoist is an upgraded version of a pulley system. By pulling the hand chain clockwise, the hand chain wheel is driven to rotate. At this point, the brake disc and brake hub are pressed together and rotate as one, driving the long shaft and gear assembly to rotate, thereby operating the load sheave and raising the load chain. In reverse, the brake pad and brake bracket open, allowing the load to descend.

The lever hoist operates by manipulating the handle to drive the gears and the load sheave. When the reversing knob on the handle is adjusted to the middle, it is in neutral, allowing the chain to be freely adjusted. When the knob is turned to the left, the handle rotates forward, lifting the load; conversely, turning it to the right causes the load to descend. The direction of the handle determines the lifting or lowering of the load.

The electric chain hoist is an upgrade from the manual chain hoist, utilizing an electric motor to drive the gear mechanism, thereby controlling the ascent and descent of the lifting chain. The electric chain hoist employs an electromagnetic braking system and is equipped with limited devices, providing a safer and more effective means of controlling heavy loads.

How to Choose Your Right Chain Block? 

If you often need to lift heavy objects and are troubled by how to choose the right hoist, aside from cost considerations, the following tips may be helpful to you.


Firstly, it should be clarified where you intend to use this hoist. If it is outdoors without a power source, then you should opt for a manual chain hoist or a lever hoist. The lever hoist not only facilitates the lifting and lowering of heavy objects but can also be used for pulling. Suppose the hoist is intended for indoor use with a focus on improving work efficiency and saving manpower. In that case, you can consider an electric chain hoist with the appropriate voltage (380V or 220V can be customized). If both powered and non-powered options are viable, then you need to consider the factors below.


The weight of the lifted object is an important factor to consider. The rated capacity in our specification table indicates the maximum weight the hoist can bear. However, for safety and the longevity of the hoist, it is not recommended to use it continuously at this maximum weight. To ensure safety, we suggest selecting a hoist with a lifting capacity of 1.5 to 2 times the weight of the load. If there is a possibility of lifting heavier objects in the future, it is advisable to choose a hoist with a larger capacity to allow for additional margin.

Lifting length 

The standard chain length for the chain block is 3M or 6M. Chain lengths can be customized according to your needs. If you require a longer chain for lifting at greater heights, it is advisable to communicate this with the factory in advance.


The chain block can be used in hook type, fixed in a frame or combined with a beam clamp. It can also be used in conjunction with a manual trolley or an electric trolley, allowing for horizontal movement when mounted on an I-beam. You can choose the configuration based on your specific requirements.

How to Install A Chain Block?

 The installation of the manual chain hoist is very simple. Hang the hoist after unpacking, straighten the hand chain and lifting chain, check if it is vertical, and ensure that the chain and hooks are not reversed. If everything is in order, it can be used normally.

For the moving electric chain hoist,, the trolley and hoist are packaged separately. Please make sure to check the corresponding specifications before starting the installation.

  • 1. Please measure the dimensions at the bottom of the I-beam where the running trolley needs to operate. For the dimensions corresponding to the chain hoist trolley, please refer to
  • 2. Then, start by adjusting the distance between the two wheels on the trolley by adjusting the washers. This dimension should not be smaller than the bottom dimension of the I-beam. Determine the number of washers and try to keep the number of washers on both sides consistent during installation.
  • Begin connecting the hoist and the trolley. Secure one side of the trolley washers, thread the trolley axle through the hoist’s lifting ring, and then place it into the washers on the other side that were confirmed earlier. This connects the trolley and the hoist.
  • 3. Hang the entire assembly on the I-beam. You can use a stacker to lift the hoist onto the I-beam, place both trolley wheels inside the I-beam, and tighten them inward. At this point, the black side wheels of the trolley should be wedged against the bottom edge of the I-beam track.
  • 4. Place the remaining washers on both sides of the axle and secure them by inserting the axle pin into the hole. At this point, the entire electric chain hoist with a running trolley is installed. You can now proceed with the wiring operation.

How to Operate the Chain Block Safely?

The chain block is a relatively simple tool that does not require a professional operating certificate. However, to ensure safe operation, several precautions should be taken into account:

  • 1. It is essential to ensure that the weight of the load does not exceed the rated capacity of the hoist. For electric hoists, confirm the consistency of the voltage.
  • 2. Before the operation, carefully read the instruction manual.
  • 3. Inspect the hoist for any obvious loosening of the appearance, casing, etc. Check if the chain has any cracks, and ensure the safety latch of the hook is intact.
  • 4. Ensure that the hoist’s brake system is functioning properly.
  • 5. Electric hoists should have sufficient lubricating oil and be kept clean.
  • 6. Strictly prohibit standing under the load during lifting, and passing beneath the load is strictly prohibited.
  • 7. Do not suspend the load in mid-air when not in use to prevent deformation of components.
  • 8. Only lever blocks can be used for traction; both hand chain hoists and electric hoists should not be used for oblique pulling.
  • 9. Regularly inspect for issues during prolonged use and promptly repair any problems found.”

Why the Chain Blocks Inspections are Necessary?

Before each use of the chain block, please conduct a thorough inspection to ensure that there are no abnormalities in its appearance, the chain is free of knots and wear, and the hooks and latches are functioning properly.

This practice helps prevent accidents, minimizing the risk of damage to goods or injury to personnel. Additionally, it enhances the efficiency of the hoist and extends its overall lifespan.

Common Problems and Maintenance of The Chain Block

Encountering common issues with the chain block, you can perform a self-check first; if you can replace the components yourself, there’s no need to send it for repairs, saving both time and money.

Slipping of Heavy Loads:

Check if the brake pads are severely worn due to prolonged use, causing brake failure. Inspect for oil on the brake pads during operation, as this can lead to slipping.

Chain Jamming:

If the chain jams, avoid excessive pulling. Stop and examine whether the chain is tangled or if there are signs of rust and wear. Promptly replace the chain if issues are detected.

Unusual Sounds:

Ensure the load is not exceeding the rated capacity. Check for significant wear of components due to prolonged usage. Proper storage and cleanliness of the chain hoist are essential.

For manual chain hoists, susceptible components include the chain, brake pads, hooks, and bearings. Regularly inspect and replace these parts as needed.

In electric chain hoists, vulnerable parts include the handle and limit switch. Timely inspection and replacement of these components are necessary.

Remember to follow proper storage practices and keep the chain hoist clean to prevent issues. Regular checks and maintenance can prolong the life of your equipment.


Can Chain Blocks Be Used Horizontally? 

The hand chain block and electric chain block are designed just for vertical lifting. Horizontal lifting is forbidden. 

However, the lever chain block can be used for horizontal traction. 

How long does the manual hoist last for?

Our warranty is one year for changing the consumable parts for no human reason. 

The life of the tool depends on how you use it. 

Difference between Chain block and Lever hoist. 

The main difference of the hand chain block and lever hoist is their traction way. 

A lever hoist can be used for both lifting and traction. 

Their capacities are not the same. Please check the above capacity part. 


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