Chain Come Alongs vs. Chain Hoists: What You Need To Know

Chain Come Alongs vs. Chain Hoists: What You Need To Know

Anthony DaSilvaJune 17, 2022

When exploring chain come alongs versus chain hoists, we’re comparing two devices made to pull and lift heavy loads. Both devices operate manually and help make handling and towing loads manageable. The benefits of manual hoists are that they’re portable and cost-efficient. Hoist devices are primarily used in the industrial and agricultural industry but are also DIY friendly for small business owners. The difference between chain come alongs versus chain hoists lies in how each tool operates to lift a load. A come along, or lever hoist, lifts a load using a lever and can move items horizontally or vertically. A chain hoist, also referred to as chain blocks, lifts a load through pulling a chain and can only move objects vertically. In short, come alongs can manage heftier loads than standard chain hoists. It’s important to examine the mechanisms of each device to understand how they differ and why they suit different lifting jobs. Explore chain come alongs versus chain hoists.

What Is a Chain Come Along?

A chain come along, or lever hoist, is a hand-operated device with similar features to a chain hoist. A come along is an advanced pulley system with chains and gears operated through a lever. A come along device functions with a friction disk attached to a ratchet wheel with a double pawl system. Pawls, the lever that connects with the teeth of a ratchet, prevents the wheel from turning in the wrong direction when pulling the lever.

How Does a Chain Come Along Work?

The main advantage of operating a come along is that it can be operated with one hand. A chain hoist requires both hands to pull on the chain, whereas a come along only requires pulling a lever. A standard come along contains two hooks at the top and bottom of the device. The hooks are swiveling or sling hooks for easy access. The bottom hook is where you attach the come along to the load, and connects to the chain located through the shaft of the tool. The top hook of a come along requires anchoring before mobilizing a load.

The two most significant features of a come along is the directional switch and the retaining pawl. The directional switch is on the body of the come along. The directional switch is how you operate the device to lift, lower, or spool a load. The directional switch features are up, down, and neutral selection for raising, lowering, or spooling loads. The retaining pawl is also on the body of the come along. The retaining pawl is above the grip ring of a come along. Pressing the retaining pawl releases the grip ring to adjust the chain or place it in a neutral position as needed.

How Is a Chain Come Along Used?

A chain come along is primarily used for pulling loads in multiple industries. The advantage of using a come along over a chain hoist is being able to manipulate the direction of pulling the load, whereas a chain hoist only permits lifting a load up or down. Below are some of the most common uses for a chain come along.

  • Moving pipes
  • Moving machinery
  • Winching cars
  • Pulling fence fabric
  • Pulling tree stumps
  • Removing barbed wire

What Is a Chain Hoist?

A chain hoist, or chain block, is a pulley system made to lift loads vertically. Chain blocks double the pulling force when lifting a load and are sold with varying lifting capacities. A chain block has multiple gears and two primary chains. These two chains are the hand chain and the load chain. The hand chain is what a user pulls on to operate a chain hoist. The load chain attaches the chain hoist to the load itself. The manual operation of a chain hoist allows minimal labor in pulling the hand chain to lift heavy loads.

How Does a Chain Hoist Work?

Inside a chain hoist device, there are multiple gears that multiply the force applied by pulling the hand chain. When the hand chain is pulled on a chain block, the energy turns the main cog through a driver shaft. After converting energy through the driver shaft, the friction plate and internal gears apply force to the primary sprocket that powers the load chain. The main cog operates on the driver shaft that’s secured between a small gear and a pair of larger gears. The pair of larger gears increase the power required to rotate the driver shaft. The larger gears have smaller gears attached to them and connect to an even larger gear that transfers power to the primary sprocket connected to the load chain.

The hand chain webs through the slots on the main cog. The internal gears activate and begin to turn when pulling the hand chain. When the main cog turns, the driveshaft presses downward until the cog pressed against the friction plate of the ratchet wheel. The internal gear, friction plate, and ratchet wheel simultaneously move to operate the lifting process. While pulling on the hand chain, a lever or catch mobilizes through the teeth of the ratchet wheel. The lever or catch prevents the main cog from moving backward when lifting a load.

How Is a Chain Hoist Used?

When you pull the hand chain on a chain hoist, multiple internal gears move in synchrony to magnify the force and vertically lift a load. Chain hoists are useful for managing a load that originally requires multiple people to lift. The chain hoist is a versatile device because if you attach an object to the hook of a chain hoist, it only requires one person to operate the hand chain for lifting the load. Below are the most common uses for a chain hoist.

  • Lifting a car engine
  • Lifting a car transmission
  • Lifting loads on a conveyor belt
  • Lifting loads on construction sites
  • Lifting I-beams in a building foundation
  • Lifting H-beams in a building foundation

Devices like chain come alongs and hoists simplify lifting loads that typically require the strength of multiple people. Before selecting a chain hoist, it’s important to evaluate the kind of task you have, and which mechanism suits it best. The best way to learn more about these chain devices is through a supply company like Manufacturer Express. Explore our chain hoist selection on our website or give our team a call for more information!

Chain Come Alongs vs. Chain Hoists: What You Need To Know