When it comes to lifting heavy loads, manual hoists are popular and have been used across manufacturing factories, construction sites, and warehouses. Also known as chain blocks or chain pulley blocks, chain hoists are used extensively to move heavy loads through chain pulling.

 chain pulley block

While most chain hoists are operated by hand, lever blocks (or ratchet lever hoists) are operated by pulling a manual lever either forward or backward. These hoists have been used extensively as small and portable lifting devices that operate manually.

lever block

What are the main differences between chain and lever hoists? Here are 6 of the main differences between the two:

Mode of operation

Chain hoists are normally suspended with hooks, or integrated with a running trolley that enables it to lift objects and transport it across a facility. Hence, a chain block is more suited for operations like lifting motorcycles or any object in a storage garage.
Based on market study, lever hoists are mostly used for pulling/lifting, positioning and securing heavy objects rather than just heavy lifting. Example, to pull the overhead power line during installation to the tower or positioning of piping in refineries during construction.

Mode of working

How do they differ in terms of working? In simple language, chain hoists are operated by pulling down a chain loop on one side of the hoisting unit – that initiates a pulley mechanism comprising a few pulley gears at the other side of the block.
Thus by applying minimum force to the hand chain, you can operate the wheel over a longer distance. Lever hoists mostly use a ratchet lever system that rotates an attached gear or pulley to lift the load over a pre-decided distance. By manually pulling the lever either forward or backward, you can bring in or advance the attached chain to move the load.
Thus, unlike hand-operated chain hoists, lever hoists can be easily operated with one hand to raise or lower the load – or to adjust the length of the chain and to pull the chain in either direction.


Both chain and lever hoists can lift heavy loads. However, on an average, chain hoists have greater load lifting capacity than lever hoists. Example, the KITO Lever Block has a capacity of up to 9 tons, whereas KITO Manual Chain Hoist has a capacity of 50 tons as standard.

Check pendant cable

Visually check the pendant cable and the safety wire. Make sure there is no damage or twist to the cable. If any damages are found, consider repairing or replacing it.

Distance from the hoist

Lever hoists are typically operated with one or two hands – where the operator must be located next to the hoisting system. On the other hand, chain hoists allow its operators to handle it from a certain distance.


Both lever and chain hoists can be operated manually without any power supply and are also compact and portable. For the same load, lever hoists are generally more compact, but chain blocks are more efficient when it comes to moving the load for a greater distance.


The chain pulley block was the first to be used. Lever blocks evolved from chain pulley blocks by changing the hand wheel to a handle. From there, the design difference quickly increased to the point where the hoists are very different now.

For KITO chain pulley block (CB) and KITO lever block (LB), the designs have been influenced by differing design priorities. The top priority for KITO CB is mechanical efficiency, while the top priority for KITO LB is strength in order to resist overloading

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