Electric Chain Hoist vs Manual Chain Hoists

A hoist is a very useful innovation which is essentially a piece of equipment used to lift and lower heavy loads, It is commonly found in a varying array of work spaces such as factories, plants, construction areas and warehouses. Hoists  can be used on loads as small as 50KG and upwards. The application ultimately dictates the equipment and components used. The primary benefit is being able to move items quickly, efficiently and safely. What we will be focussing our attention on is the functional differences between manual chain hoists and electric chain hoists.


Electric Chain Hoists

Determining supply voltage is critical, in South Africa we primarily have two supply voltages that are used in an Industrial capacity, namely 380/400c and 525v. 525v is more commonly found in Mines and bigger Industrial operations while 380v is the conventional industry norm. Another determining factor in selecting your hoist is choosing between single and dual speed operation. Single speed operation is most common and utilised under normal lifting and lowering applications such as offloading of goods. Dual speed hoists are ideal when more precise movements are required. Electric chain hoists have very obvious benefits over using manual chain hoists (chain blocks), they are safer, quicker and far more convenient.

Manual Hand-Powered Chain Hoists

Chain blocks have a very particular function and its advantage lies in its mobility. They are commonly used for installations and less permanent applications. When used in permanent applications, the required frequency of use is normally very low and are considered when  budget and application are factors.


The Hoist being electrical or manual is the first step in the process, the second would be defining the right and most appropriate trolley. . Electric hoists offer trolleys that are either powered or push type.  Powered Trolleys add an additional cost but if your requirement is that of a high volume, the return on investment from this is exceptional. Manual hoists on the simpler end of the spectrum, are purchased with geared trolleys.

Monorail, overhead crane or jib crane

Chain hoists are primarily installed in lower capacity applications such as jib or workstation cranes, monorails and (less frequently) on overhead gantry cranes.

  • Jib cranes or workstation cranes can be either free standing or wall/pillar mounted. The can rotate up to 360 degrees and are ideal where work is concentrated in very specific work area.
  • Monorails are a single beam with various mounting options, the length is not limited and can even incorporate bends with many different applications such as process automation and production lines.
  • An overhead gantry crane is a I-beam or fabricated box girder that runs on rails in a defined space in a factory or warehouse to assist in the moving of heavy loads.

Once you have chosen an electric or manual hoist, a trolley, gantry or jib crane you’ll be ready to lift and move all the heavy items in your industrial warehouse or plant. Correct lifting machinery selection will offer a return on your investment and solve your material handling issues. It should therefore be done with careful scrutiny as the wrong equipment will exaggerate these issues instead of solve them.

RGM Cranes is a market leader in the crane industry with over 30 years’ experience. If there are any question or if you’d like more information, please get in touch with us.

Office Hours

7:30 am – 4:30 pm (CAT)

7:30 am – 2:00 pm (CAT)