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Material Lifting Equipment: Electric Vs. Pneumatic Hoists

If you’re looking to add a hoist to your workshop, then there are a few determining factors you need to consider before making a purchase. Nowadays, there are three basic types available – manual, electric and pneumatic. While manual hoists are generally avoided, because they can be taxing to use, electric and pneumatic ones are very popular options.

A hoist can be a very handy addition to any workshop, garage, and even warehouse. You can use it to lift and move materials in a safe and efficient manner. There aren’t many pieces of material lifting equipment that can move heavy objects as efficiently and effortlessly as a hoist can. They feature a wire rope or a chain that’s spooled around a drum, which is connected to gears that are driven either by a pneumatic or an electric motor.

Electric and pneumatic hoists utilise pendant controls that activate the motor, and as the load chain unravels or winds around the drum, the load is moved down or up. You can connect the loads directly onto the hoist’s hook, or have a sling in between the load and the hook. Simply put, when it comes to material lifting equipment, it doesn’t get better than the hoist.


Electric Hoists

These are the most popular types, and you’ll find them in a wide range of load capacities, starting from about 1/8T all the way up to 100T. As their name implies, electric hoists feature an electric motor which turns the internal gearing and as a result – it either lifts or lowers the load. More often than not, the electric motors utilise either 110V, 220V or 440V motors that require a hard wire connection. These hoists are quite economical but have a limited duty cycle, which means you shouldn’t use them for extended time periods. If you disregard their duty cycle, you may end up with costly repairs, or worse – premature motor failure.

Pneumatic Hoists

These are usually used in heavy-duty industrial production environments. They either feature a pistol driven or rotary air motor that’s powered by compressed air. Unlike electric hoists, pneumatic ones have a 100% duty cycle rating, which means you can use them for as much as you want. However, they are only as good as the flow rate, pressure, and quality of the air that powers them. Worth knowing is that these hoists require a lot of compressed air, which means that you’ll likely need a quality compressor that’s capable of producing high air flow to meet the CFM (cubic feet per minute) demands of the hoist.