Shackles are critical for different types of industrial lifting and rigging applications. They provide you with safety and efficiency when handling heavy loads. It is, however, necessary to choose shackles well suited to your application because not all of them are made equal. If not, you would end up with serious injuries or damages.

Knowing about different types of shackles and their uses will help you chose a suitable one. But before getting into that, let’s first see what shackles are.

What Are Shackles?

Usually, it is a U-shaped metal link, which comes with an opening secured by a clevis or a bolt pin. It can also be a hinged metal loop with a locking pin mechanism.

A typical shackle consists of the following four parts.

  • Bow:It is the curved-shaped body of a shackle.
  • Ears:Ears are the threaded parts where the pin is attached/inserted.
  • Pin:Pin is probably the only detachable part of a shackle. It’s a steel bolt that runs across the two ears. It secures shackles to a load perfectly.
  • Shoulder:It is a part of the pin. It comes in contact with the ear when the pin is fully threaded.

Apart from rigging and lifting operations, shackles play a critical role in various towing, tie-down, hoisting, and pulling applications. You can use a suitable shackle depending on your load size, working load limit, and a few other factors.

Different Types Of ShacklesBased On Body Shape

The body of a shackle is one of the critical factors that determine its use. The most popular body shapes included D-shaped and bow-shaped. But, there are also a few less commonly known types of shackles. Let’s check them out one by one.


  1. D or Chain Shackles

Also called D Shackles, they have a d-shaped body. It is narrower than the anchor or bow shackles. They usually come with a threaded pin or a clevis-type pin.  They are made from steel alloys, such as stainless steel, zinc-plated steel, or galvanized steel.

You can use these shackles to lift moderate to heavy loads in the manufacturing, construction, and shipping industries. But they are designed only for bi-directional pull, also known as in-line tension. They are not suitable for sideloading. If sideloaded, the load can put significant stress on the bolt-side, twisting the shackles.


  1. Anchor Shackles

People often use the terms anchor shackles and bow shackles interchangeably. But, they are not the same. Anchor shackles have a large O-shaped body. They are suitable for various industrial applications, including automotive, manufacturing, warehousing, and steel mills.

Usually made from galvanized steel, you can use these shackles for side pulling. They allow you to fasten chains and straps to the loads safely and efficiently. When using these shackles for multiple-leg industrial lifting, you have to factor in a relevant reduction in their working load limit.


  1. Bow Shackles

Although they look similar to anchor shackles, the O-shaped body of bow shackles is much larger. Stainless steel and titanium are the most popular materials for manufacturing these bad boys.

Bow shackles are more suitable for shackling as they can handle multiple loads from different angles. Various industries like manufacturing, construction, shipping, oil and gas, and heavy engineering use these shackles for lifting heavy loads.


  1. Twist Shackles

Twist Shackles are one of the special types of lifting devices. They are very similar to D-shaped Shackles, but their body has a 90-degree twist. They are made from stainless steel to ensure higher strength.

Thanks to their shape, the attachment points remain perpendicular to each other. As there is no torque, twist Shackles make rotating loads safer and more efficient. They are ideal for reducing kinks when lifting or rigging heavy loads. You can find them on assembly lines or in shipping yards, where rotating the load is necessary.


  1. Wide Body Shackles

One of the most popular Crosby shackles, the wide-body shackles are specifically designed to attach synthetic slings like wire ropes, web slings, and round slings. The wide-body shape helps improve the service life of synthetic slings and prevents kinking. Usually made from galvanized steel, they are suitable for industrial applications involving tie-downs and rigging.

Types Of ShacklesBased On Pins

All types of shackles come with either a screw pin or a bolt-type pin. Pins provide a secure connection between the load and the shackle body. Based on the type of pins, you can find two types of shackles.


  1. Bolt Type Shackles

Made from steel alloys, bolt-pin shackles come with a split pin that holds a nut and bolt together. They are not easy to set up as the bold type pin comes with three-four components. That’s why they are not suitable for temporary connections.

However, they offer highly secure connections, making these shackles more suitable for lifting applications involving permanent attachments. It is also better to use these for industrial lifting requiring load movement. Using screw pin shackles for such applications is risky as the pin might come unscrewed, resulting in damages or injuries.


  1. Pin Type Shackles

Pin type shackles also called screw pin shackles, usually consist of a bolt or cotter pin. They are also made from different types of steel alloys, including galvanized steel and stainless steel.

You can easily screw this pin into the ears of the body of a shackle. As there are only two components involved, setting up screw pin shackles is easy. So, they are often more suited for industrial applications requiring quick assembly and disassembly.

Choose Your Shackles Carefully

As you can see, choosing a suitable version from different types of shackles can be tricky. You will need to weigh in your lifting and rigging applications carefully before selecting the shackles. Keeping the following factors in mind can help.

  • Always factor in the working load limit of a shackle before using it.
  • Consider the angle of attachment as well. The working load limitwill change depending on this angle.
  • Make sure to inspect the shacklesalong with all your rigging gear before each use.
  • Discard shackleswith kinking, corrosion, bending, warping, stretching, or any other physical damage.
  • You will also need to replace distorted or fractured pins immediately.
  • Carry out an expert inspection at least once a year or as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Never hammer or force pins into the shackles, even if it’s a permanent attachment. If the pins are getting lose for some reason, replace them right away.

In Conclusion

As shackles are necessary to connect heavy loads to the lifting devices, choose them carefully. Even the slightest miscalculation can land you in hot waters. Hopefully, after reading this post, you will be able to select the shackles you need with ease.

If you are looking for industrial rigging and lifting material, be it shackles or hoists, we can help. HHI sells different types of rigging and lifting hardware, both online and offline. For more details or queries, check out our online store or reach out to our experts.