What is a Lever Hoist and How It Works? A Short Guide on Lever Hoists

A lever hoist, also known as a puller and rachet hoist, is a versatile lifting equipment with several uses in heavy industries as well as personal applications. It is used widely owing to the fact that it is suitable for heavy-duty use, while being lightweight and portable.

In fact, a lever hoist may refer to any “small, portable lifting device which relies on the manual operation to lift or lower heavy loads.” It can be attached to a number of different surfaces, which makes it extremely handy to use.

Various industries, such as construction, manufacturing, farming, tree care services, and so on, use lever hoists to move loads.

So, without further ado, let’s delve deeper into what a lever hoist is, how it works, and how you can use it safely.

What Is a Lever Hoist?

To put it simply, a lever hoist is used to lift and lower heavy loads. This lifting equipment can move loads in almost any position by cranking the lever vertically as well as horizontally.

Lever hoists are often used in applications related to:

  • Rigging operations
  • Construction work
  • Level load when lifting (used with slings)
  • Pulling pipes
  • Straightening poles
  • Stretching wires

How Does a Lever Hoist Work?

The way a lever hoist operates is simple.

It is typically fitted with a sturdy safety cap to enable it to hold heavy loads securely. A top swivel connection allows it to lift loads from all positions. The hand wheel is used to release or withdraw the required length of the chain.

Further, a ratchet lever is attached to the side of the lever hoist to allow the chain to be pulled in the neutral position. A lever hoist placed in the upward position tightens the chain, enabling the load to be lifted with the tension.

The lever hoist’s handle is connected to a block, which has its own internal ratchet and gear mechanism. They work by cranking the lever vertically to power the ratchets. The direction of the internal gear can be easily changed to enable easy horizontal lifting or vertical lifting of the load, as necessary.

The hook at the end of the lever block is used to connect it to the heavy loads while providing the necessary support. The good thing about lever blocks is that they can be tailored to customer requirements.

It should be noted that lever blocks or hoists can handle only a specific working load limit. Care should be taken that the working load limit is never exceeded.

Lever blocks can be made from single or double fall chain configurations. The configurations should be in accordance with the weight of the load to be lifted.

When it comes to lifting heavy loads, it is necessary to crank the lever until the load reaches the desired height. To lower the load, however, the ratchet lever should be moved to the downward position, and the lever hoist should be cranked to lower the chain.

Safety Measures When Using a Lever Hoist

Whether you use a steel or an alloy lever hoist, merely knowing how it works will not be of much help if you’re unaware of the safety measures associated with its usage. Here are a few precautions to take when using lever hoists, especially in the heavy industry environment.

A. Dos

When using a lever hoist, make sure to always:

  • Use and store it correctly
  • Examine the lever hoists and related accessories before using and storing
  • Check that any support used fits securely into the seat of the hook without exerting side thrust on the point
  • Examine the condition of the brake
  • Check if the bottom hook can reach its lowest point without the chain interfering with the stop
  • Practice safe slinging methods and follow manufacturer’s safety instructions

B. Don’ts

Apart from following the above, ensure that you never:

  • Expose lever hoists to harmful temperatures or chemicals and acids
  • Replace the load chain with an unsuitable one
  • Apply unwarranted pressure or extend the lever to make the lever hoist work
  • Drop, throw or drag lever hoists on the floor
  • Bring the brake in contact with grease or oil
  • Expose the lever hoist to the elements, water hose or spray, and so on

C. Handling and Storing Lever Hoists

The correct handling and storing of lever hoists are key to their safe usage. Here’s what you need to bear in mind.

  • Always discard damaged lever hoists. Ensure that none of the damaged equipment goes to storage. Moreover, the lever hoists should be clean, dry, and safeguarded against corrosion.
  • It is crucial that lever hoists are hung from the suspension hook when stored. The chains should not touch the ground.
  • None of the load bearing parts of the lever hoist, including the chain, should be galvanized or put through any other plating process, unless approved by the supplier.
  • Avoid using the lifting equipment if you don’t understand the slinging procedures or how the equipment works.
  • Never use defective lever hoists or accessories.
  • Inspect the slinging arrangement to ensure that the lever hoist is properly rigged, and that the chains are not twisted. Also, the load chain should never be used as a sling.
  • Before starting the lifting process, ascertain that the landing area has been prepared and that load can move freely. Ensure that the load does not swing out of control.

To verify the integrity of the lever hoist and the slinging method, start by lifting the heavy load slightly and then pause. If that works, proceed ahead.

D. Maintaining Lever Hoists

Proper upkeep of lever hoists will ensure that they’re always safe to use, work well, and last long.

  • Lever hoists typically come with manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. These should be followed stringently.
  • It is important that the load chains are regularly lubricated and kept clean.
  • The brakes should be clean and free of grease or oil.
  • It is also important to conduct regular inspections of the lever hoists. If any defect is discovered, you should consult a “Competent Person” about it. Have them thoroughly examined for wear, damage to hooks and fitting, and any kind of distortion.
  • Immediately replace chains that are worn, bent, stretched, serrated, corroded, cracked, or twisted. If any chain does not hang freely, causes the load to slip, does not lift the load, has a cracked operating lever or comes with illegible markings, discard it immediately.

Of course, the above lists aren’t exhaustive, but they will give you a broad idea of how to use lever hoists safely. Further, it is always advised to refer the manufacturer’s instructions before putting your equipment to use. You can also consult a qualified individual to have your queries addressed.


As you can see, a lever hoist is a useful device that makes pulling and lifting heavy loads easier. It can be used to lift loads in different positions. The biggest advantage of using a lever hoist compared to other lifting equipment is that it allows horizontal lifting. Of course, you need to adhere to the applicable safety standards at all times when using a lever hoist. It is crucial to never exceed the load rating of the hoist to avoid the risk of overloading failures.

All in all, a lever hoist is the preferred tool that transforms complex lifting jobs into manageable ones and simplifies heavy-duty lifting.

If you need to buy high-performance lever hoists or any other lifting and rigging equipment, think of Holloway Houston Inc. Our team of experts will readily walk you through our products and help you buy the most suitable ones for your needs. To know more, check out our online store or contact us today.