How to Use an Electric Hoist

What You'll Need
Electric Hoist
Heavy Object

One of the great additions to any workspace is an electric hoist. This tool comes in many different styles, so it can be useful in the garage, workshop, on a truck, or as a mobile apparatus. With the use of an electric hoist, you can lift up heavy objects like engines, transmissions, axles, customized cabinets, motorcycles, air conditioning units, and anything else that you need to transport, assemble, or repair. The DIY homeowner will be well equipped with an electric hoist in their garage or basement. Using one is a simple task that can be mastered very quickly.

Step 1: Clean Obstacles

Before you lift anything with your electric hoist, you need to make sure that safety precautions are carefully observed. If in the attempt to lift a heavy object, it falls for some reason, you want to be able to get out of the way quickly and without tripping. Give yourself at least 5 feet around the hoist and the object that is being lifted. 

Step 2: Use Strong Cables

An electric hoist is only as good as the cables that you use with it. Some of the hoists will come with their own stock cables. You can use them, but will be better off by working with stronger chains and cables. Make sure that they are rated for the weight that you are going to be stressing them with. 

Step 3: Use Redundant Straps

The biggest mistake that people make when using an electric hoist is that they do not use a backup strapping system. If the chain gives way, for whatever reason, then the strap is there to ensure that you have time to either position the item back on the ground or get out of the way. A strap is something that must be added, but can be installed onto the actual cable system.

Step 4: Keep Item Level

When using the electric hoist you should always keep the object that you are lifting as level as you can. Try to even out the weight distribution so that it is in the center of the hoist rather than to one side. This evens out the force that is needed and prevents the hoist from tilting to one side. 

Step 5: Help Hoist as Much as Possible

The electric hoist is a great way to lift heavy objects off the floor, out of a car, away from a lawn tractor, or onto a pickup truck. However, there are times when helping the hoist will not only prolong the life of the hoist, but make the lift safer. Use a jack under items where there is some clearance, or leave items where they are if they are on a truck. This will give the hoist much less distance to lift the item.

Step 6: Do Not Swing

Some electric hoists are on a track system where they can move to one location from another. This is a great way to move things to a work bench or other type of workstation. When there is a heavy object, like an engine, hanging from the electric hoist, make sure that you do not begin to swing the hoist. This will put a lot of pressure on the attaching point in the rafters and the cables themselves.