A hand hoist can be operated by pulling a chain or a handle, depending on the manufacturer and model of hoist being used. Commonly referred to as chain falls, a hand hoist can be designed with two cases, each containing various sprockets for the chain to engage in, or with a single operation box that houses a handle-driven lifting mechanism. Used to lift heavy objects, the hand hoist is commonly the lowest-priced version of hoist available and is found in many home garages and workshops around the world.
Offered as a safer and more reliable method of lifting heavy materials as compared to the common come-along or hand-operated cable hoist, the hand hoist relies on the strength of a solid-steel, linked chain to handle the stress of lifting a heavyweight load. The size of a hand hoist is twofold: first is the weight limit of the hoist with the total capacity defining the size of the hoist, and second is the reach of the hoist. The distance that the hoist is able to reach when attached to the ceiling is also taken into account when sizing the hoist. Another way to purchase a hoist is to buy the hoist components without the chain included. This method is best suited for an owner of a defunct hoist who is able to swap the chain from the broken hoist into the new model.
Unlike a rope or cable, the hand hoist chain is rarely broken or damaged, so it can often be swapped into several new hoist mechanisms if the previous model becomes broken or worn out. Some of the many uses of the hand hoist include vehicle engine removal and replacement in the home or business garage, hoisting heavy animal carcasses to aid in butchering and lifting a vehicle to work on its suspension. The only typical limiting factor for the use of this type of hoist is the strength of the object that the hoist is hung from.
When using a hand hoist in a home garage, it is best to attach the hoist to a beam laid across several roof trusses. This allows the weight being lifted by the hand hoist to be spread out over a wide area instead of being placed on a single roof truss. This can prevent not only damage to the object being lifted due to dropping, but can also prevent damage to a garage roof from breaking a roof truss or joist.