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What Is a Manual Hoist?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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A manual hoist is one of several different types of hoists that are commonly used to lift and transport heavy objects from one location to another. Hoists of this type are usually equipped with a combination of chains, ropes, pulleys, and levers that aid in securely gripping and moving objects. Typically, the rope or chain portion of the hoist is wrapped around a drum or some sort of wheel-shaped mechanism that aids in releasing and recovering the length of the rope or chain in a manner that prevents tangles and allows a snug fit around the object that is to be moved. While not recommended for moving objects considerable distances, a hoist of this type works very well on a manufacturing floor or at a construction site that is somewhat contained.

One of the more common examples of a manual hoist is the hand chain hoist. This type of device makes use of a series of chains that can be used to secure objects such as beams used at a construction site. Levers are sometimes included in the design, allowing the operator to tighten the chains around the object and minimize the amount of slippage or movement during the brief transit. Other hand chain hoists do not include levers but require that the chains be positioned by hand, using clamps to secure the object.

Another example of a manual hoist is the simple rope hoist. Often ideal for home jobs or use in small projects, this type of hoist will normally include a simple loop of rope that can be slipped around an object, then gently lifted using the pulleys or levers operated by the user. While hoists of this type do not have the weight capacity that is found with the hand chain hoist, this option is often helpful when moving smaller loads such as smaller tree trunks or even a smaller engine from one point to another.

The manual hoist may be mounted on some sort of rolling device, such as a sturdy trolley that can easily be maneuvered into position, even when there is very little in the way of overhead room. There are also manual hoist designs that can be used as attachments on forklifts, allowing the hoists to be attached to the object that requires moving, then attaching the hoist itself to the lifting mechanism on the forklift. As with any type of hoist mechanism, care should be taken to determine the capacity that the device can reasonably hold and also the ability of the hoist to efficiently lift, move, and deposit items without damage to the objects or the operator.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including About Mechanics, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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