Difference Between Chain and Wire Rope Hoists

Hoists are devices used to lift loads and their mechanism may be simpler or more complex, but the objective is the same: to lift loads safely for the operator.

At Vinca we have a wide range of hoists, from the most basic manually operated, to electric and pneumatic, cable or chain versions. In addition, we have all these versions for ATEX zones.

Each product has characteristics focused on performing one type of work or another, both lift loads, but which one should I choose? What differentiates them?


Wire rope hoist features:

  • Compact format and reduced approach dimensions thanks to a drum with a diameter greater than the standard.
  • Modular design that allows various configurations, with the possibility of multiple options:
    • Weighing onboarding
    • Encoder in elevation for automation
    • Paints for corrosive environments
    • Swivel hooks, or with lock
    • Additional brakes in drum or reducer.
    • Maintenance walkways
  • Reduced maintenance costs: Solid and robust industrial design, standardized components, with immediate delivery of your spare parts.
  • Minimal time to repair thanks to easy access to wear parts.
  • Greater resistance and load capacity, we have models that support up to 250t.
  • Translation and electric elevation, but we also have a fixed trolley.

Chain hoist features:

  • Different options for lifting and moving: manual or electric.
  • Ergonomic hook design thanks to its reduced dimensions that make it more manageable and comfortable.
    Ideal for low and medium loads from 63 kg to 2000 kg.
  • Option Model suspended from hook and with manual chain trolley.
  • Precise operation: No displacement of the hook and low oscillation of the load, thanks to the trolley with a variable frequency drive as standard equipment.
  • Easier Maintenance: No special tools are required to swap components and install replacement parts.
  • Improved Safety: The new chain is designed to handle 1 million cycles or up to a lifetime. Gear oil cools the slipping clutch even better. Thanks to the new suspension bracket, a push or motor cart can be easily installed.
  • Its price is very economical in the range up to 2000 kg
  • Increased Durability: Redesigned hoist motor and cooling fins provide better cooling for longer life. The ATHLO chain offers a new design to activate the limit switch that works perfectly both in daily use and in extreme conditions.
  • Higher performance and better handling: The new chain bag ensures an ideal balance. Compact design and new top eye suspension produce increased lift height at the same suspension height.


Although a priori both hoists may seem the same or very similar to us since both their main function is to lift a load, the reality is that behind each there are some characteristics that differentiate it.

What is the difference between a wire rope hoist and a chain hoist? Do they serve the same purpose? Which one do I choose for the job I want to do?

We started by talking about the load capacity they can lift, due to their design and engineering, wire rope hoists lift higher loads than chain hoists. We have cable models that lift up to 80t in standard and 250t in special models. On the other hand, chain hoists have a maximum capacity of 5t as standard, and up to 40t in special.

Another of the differences between hoists is found in the lifting speed, if we need to perform many cycles and its use is going to be intensive, the wire rope hoist has a greater capacity against fatigue, with a faster lifting speed and its components are more resistant. to wear.

Before we have mentioned that chain hoists are cheaper but their price potentially increases as they exceed 3000kg, unlike cable hoists. In other words, chain hoists are economical if we seek to lift small loads, but once they exceed 3000 kg, the chain hoist becomes more economical. Next, we leave you a graph that explains how the price increases in relation to the load in both the wire rope hoist and the chain hoist.

One of the differences that often makes us decide between one or the other is the type of car and translation. Wire rope hoists only have the option of an electric or fixed trolley, while chain hoists offer us more options: suspended hook hoist, fixed hoist, manual trolley, motorized trolley… This feature offers us more possibilities when working with it.

Among all the differences that we can mention, these are the most remarkable. If you still have doubts, then we will tell you what you should take into account when choosing the hoist that best suits the work to be carried out.


There are some aspects that must be taken into account when choosing the type of hoist, in this case when we doubt whether a chain or cable hoist would be a better option. To ensure that we are choosing the correct option, we must take into account the following:

  • Environment of the space where you are going to work, if it includes corrosive aspects or not, if ATEX classification is necessary.
  • Available physical space: minimum height required, and type of existing beam and width available.
  • Type of load to be handled, number of cycles and maximum load to be lifted, we can opt for one option or another. See article on FEM calculation for choosing the correct hoist for our duty cycle. Depending on the load handling that you want to carry out with the appropriate lifting speed, we will choose the type of hoist based on the number of cycles per hour and days every 24 hours.

This allows us a brief analysis and introduction to the different hoists, what differentiates them and what aspects we must take into account when choosing one or the other.

At Vinca we have a wide range of manual and electric hoists to cover all the needs that our customers request. Remember that we are experts in cargo handling, lifting and moving.

If you are interested in this product and want more information about its characteristics and prices, contact Vinca here.