Have A Load To Lift? Then You NEED These Best Lever Chain Hoists for the Job
If you frequently need to raise and lower heavy loads around your garage or job site, then most likely you need some kind of hoist. If your loads are not too heavy, and if hoist portability and simplicity is important to you, then a lever chain hoist may be just what you need.
How Does A Lever Chain Hoist Work?
Lever hoists are ingenious mechanical devices that allow you to raise, lower, and move heavy payloads with a relatively small application of force. The gear mechanism inside a ratchet lever hoist transfers hand force you apply to a lever, concentrating and focusing it into a force strong enough to lift an attached load.
The chain lever hoist mechanism is relatively simple – it is made up of a ratcheting lever attached to a large wheel, a gear set on a drive shaft, and a lifting hook attached to a load chain threaded on a sprocket wheel. The ratchet spins the drive shaft, which in turn engages the gears. The connected gear sets interact to turn the sprocket wheel. The teeth on the wheel move the load chain, pulling the hook to lift the load. Many also employ a Weston-style brake system, to hold suspended loads and keep them from slipping.
Best Lever Hoists By Lifting Capacity
Quarter-ton lever hoists are the light duty items in our round-up. While lifting 500 pounds of payload is no mean feat, these lever hoists are best suited for jobs that need portability more than brute strength.
Most of the online reviews for the Roughneck are positive, with users praising the portability and ease of use. People mentioned lifting everything from trailer hitches to pumps and motors with this rugged little hoist. However, a few users warned against overloading it, which is sound advice no matter which chain lever hoist you choose.
Given the compact yet rugged design, the Roughneck Manual Lever Chain Hoist is a terrific addition to any shop or garage. And given the low price there is no reason not to buy several to keep under the seat or in the trunk of your vehicle.
Online reviews of the CM 602 are overwhelmingly positive, with owners frequently commenting on the lever hoist’s portability and suitability for work in tight spaces. More than a few also commented on the construction quality of this great little hoist.
The CM 602 Lever Chain Hoist does cost a little more than the Roughneck, which is why it ended up at our #2 pick. However, it does deliver 10% more lifting capacity for that extra price, and also seems to be built a little stronger. So if a mini-hoist is on your shortlist of tools, the CM 602 is worth a look.
The ML003-10 weighs in a little heavier than the Roughneck, but also delivers the same 550 pound capacity as the CM 602. And a survey of online reviews shows owners have an overwhelmingly positive experience with this hoist. Given the quality design, extra lifting length, and competitive price, the All Material Handling ML003-10 is a great choice if you are looking for compact lever chain hoist.
When you your lifting needs run heavier than 500 pounds (the average 8-cylinder engine weighs in at 575 pounds, for example) it is time to look at half-ton lever hoists. The top competitors in this category are still relatively compact, but definitely larger – and heavier – than the mini hoists in the previous group.
A survey of reviews of the LX005-10 reveal a lot of happy users. People are using this lever hoist in a variety of applications, including automotive, marine, and even light construction. The consensus is pleasant surprise at how well-made and useful the Harrington LX is.
The wealth of features and number of positive reviews made the Harrington LX005-10 our top pick in this category. It is a great little hoist at a good price.
The ML005-10 is built to be durable, with a tough chrome exterior finish that resists corrosion. And that durability extends to the load chain, which is constructed using grade 80 zinc-plated alloy. The interior of this lever hoist is tough too, using sleeve bearings to maximize lift serviceability while providing good efficiency of operation. It is these quality touches, in conjunction with competitive pricing, that make the ML005-10 our #2 pick.
At less than 10″ x 10″ in size and just over 7 pounds in weight this Ingersoll Rand lift is compact enough to operate well in tight spaces. But don’t let the smaller size fool you – its steel side plates are heat treated for durability, and the load chain is either zinc or electro-plated to resist corrosion, so this is one tough hoist. And like many other competitors in this lever chain hoist review roundup, the KX050-10 comes with a heavy duty carrying bag, making it easy to store and transport. So if you need a compact hoist that is a step above the lighter duty entry-level options, the Ingersoll Rand KX050-10 might be just what you are looking for.
Once your lifting needs cross the thousand pound mark it is time to review three-quarter ton lever hoists. To deliver 1500 pounds of lift these hoists need to utilize components that are heavier and stronger than their lighter cousins. But even in this weight class the top 3/4 ton lever hoists are surprisingly compact. Here are our top picks:
The other amenities of the CM Series 653 also impressed us – the 360 degree rotation of the lever, the stamped steel frame that is both impact resistant and light weight, and the roller chain guide that helps prevent jamming. The Weston braking system is also a nice feature. Taken as a whole these features convey quality and attention to detail by the manufacturer.
The online reviews for the 653 echo those sentiments, with reviewer after reviewer mentioning the high quality of the unit, and describing it as a great little hoist at a decent price. We concur, which is why we made the CM Series 653 our top pick.
This powerful lever hoist can pull 1500 pounds of load a full 15 feet, and only requires 11 inches of headroom and less than 10″ of lever to do it. It is built with tough all-steel construction that somehow weighs less than lifts from other brands that are made from aluminum. Pro-level components include heat-treated and machined split load double reduction gears, a Weston-style brake with two moisture-resistant brake pads, and LB’s patented freewheel mechanism. It is spring-loaded to give the user easy load chain adjustment while preventing accidental freewheeling while under load. All these elements add up to a professional grade lever hoist in the Harrington LB.
Online reviews of this hoist come from both laymen and commercial users, and they attest to the unit’s quality and usefulness. So if you are looking for a reasonably priced, high-quality 3/4 ton lever hoist that will last, the Harrington LB Series should be on your short list.
The Vestil PLH features an enclosed friction disk brake that makes for increased wear resistance. It comes with a grade-100 alloy steel load chain that offers strength while at the same time minimizing weight. The mounting hook is drop forged for strength, and the load hook will swivel through a full 360 degrees, making it easier to handle whatever load you choose to lift. Another nice touch on the PLH is a free wheel chain that allows the operator to easily reduce chain clack when it is positioned in neutral. These features demonstrate the Vestil designers were thinking of the people who would be using this lever hoist when they created the PLH.
Online reviews of the Vestil PLH mention things like good quality, ease of use, reasonable price, and suitability to task – basically everything you want in a lever hoist. One reviewer even commented on the quality of the carrying case, which is a step up from other manufacturers that throw in a cheap bag as almost an afterthought.
All of these aspects of the Vestil PLH Lever Hoist add up to a quality hoist at a great price.
When you need to lift 2000 pounds or more, you step up to professional grade lever hoists. Features like all steel construction, hoist overload protection, and ratchet lever length come into play as load capacities increase. There are a number of different options from a variety of manufacturers in the 1 ton capacity and greater category, and we are still reviewing the different models and product details before we make our picks. But check back soon to see the best lever chain hoists for 1-ton and greater loads.
Here is a quick video showing a lever chain hoist in operation: