Discover our selection of lifting gear online today. At Cromwell, we stock a comprehensive choice of hoists in a wide range of weight capacities and load chain sizes. Choose from well-known brands, like TTC Lifting Gear®, Yale® and our own brand, Matlock®.

What is a chain block?

Also called a hand chain hoist, a chain block is a safety lifting mechanism that allows for either the manual or mechanical lifting and lowering of heavy items without strain on the operator.

Why buy a chain block?

Chain blocks allow for a single operator to work on a two-person job without safety concerns. This makes for effective distribution of labour and increased productivity.

When are chain blocks used?

Ideal for lifting and moving extremely heavy objects, chain blocks are widely used in engineering and automotive settings, as well as construction sites and factories.

Chain block types

Electric chain blocks   -   This type of chain block will lift industrial-sized objects quickly and can be pulled horizontally and vertically.

Hydraulic chain blocks   -   This type of chain block utilises hooks and gears to lift heavy objects. It's much slower than the electric variant which is ideal for precision applications.

Manual chain blocks   -   Similar in design to the hydraulic chain block, the closed chain is pulled to secure movement. Again, this is a slow process, but very secure.

Considerations when choosing a chain block

Weight capacity - this must cover the heaviest load you intend to lift.

Suspension - this depends on your movement requirements. A fixed suspension involves mounting the block to a secure overhead frame, while a trolley-mounted chain block requires top hook suspension or will require an additional mounting lug.

Space - record the lifting height required and factor in the type of suspension you want and, if you choose a fixed suspension, the height of the mounting point, as this will affect the lifting space you'll end up with.

Chain block jargon buster

We want to help you to make the best purchasing decision. So, we've outlined a safety standard to look for on chain block products, so you can ensure a reliable and high-performing choice.

What does BS EN 13157:2004+A1:2009 mean?

This safety standard is entitled Hand powered cranes and includes chain blocks in clause 3 where it outlines the safety requirements to be followed by the designers and manufacturers of chain blocks and their individual components.

Let's break it down...

• BS - The British Standards Institute maintains the standard in British law.

• EN - This standard has been adopted into European law.

• 13157 - This is the standard's legislation number.

• 2004 - This standard was written in 2004 for publication in 2005.

• A1 - This highlights an amendment made to the standard to keep it relevant.

• 2009 - This amendment was made at the five-year review of this standard in 2009.


How many chains does a chain hoist have?

Chain blocks or chain hoists, as they're sometimes known, are available in different types (as discussed above). Manual chain blocks feature two chains, one to lift and one to hoist. While pneumatic and electrically powered chain blocks only have a single chain.

How much can a typical chain block lift?

Depending on their use, chain blocks are designed to lift anything from 500kg and upwards. Chain blocks powered manually or by pneumatics tend to lift heavier loads since they include a series of gears to lift safely and in increments, which fortifies their design and makes them stronger.

Regulation Information

LOLER applies to ALL lifting equipment used for work purposes, even if it was manufactured and put into use before LOLER came into force in 1998. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 applies to all work equipment, including lifting equipment, and requires workplaces to provide suitable and safe equipment for the task, along with proper training. Work equipment must be maintained and inspected and related risks prevented or controlled.

Pre-use checks must be carried out on lifting equipment. The purpose of these pre-use checks is to identify faulty equipment; this is not the same as routine thorough examination and inspections but in addition to them at each use. All lifting equipment requires to be thoroughly examined by a qualified competent person at various points, as required by PUWER, to maintain efficient working order.

Regulation Jargon Buster

LOLER - Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
PUWER - Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
HASWA - Health and Safety at Work Act
WAH - Work / Working at Height

Please note that the products in this category are not suitable for lifting people; please consult the manufacturer's data sheet for more information.

For the further information and full details of your legal responsibilities:
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Regulations 1998 - AcoP - L113