Differences Between a Crane and a Hoist

Differences Between a Crane and a Hoist

Cranes and hoists are two essential pieces of equipment when it comes to lifting and moving heavy loads in industrial settings. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, cranes and hoists—such as electric crane hoists and A-frame crane hoists—have differences in terms of their capabilities, motion, and applications. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for selecting the right equipment for your specific needs. This guide serves to clearly separate the two by walking you through their main differences.


1. Motion

Crane Motion Illustration

Source: Eotcranekit

One of the primary differences between a crane and a hoist lies in their motion capabilities. Let’s compare their horizontal and vertical motions.

Cranes: Horizontal, Vertical, and Longitudinal Motion

Cranes offer three different kinds of motion: horizontal, vertical, and longitudinal. This provides greater flexibility and reach. This triple-motion capability allows cranes to lift loads vertically and then move them horizontally and longitudinally to different locations. This is particularly useful in environments where materials need to be transported over long distances or around obstacles. For example, an electric hoist, monorail hoist, or motorised trolley hoist (crab unit) mounted on a gantry crane can lift heavy machinery and move it across a factory floor with ease.

Hoists: Vertical Lifting Motion

In contrast, hoists primarily provide vertical lifting motion along a straight path. Hoists are designed to lift and lower loads and can also be moved horizontally. They are ideal for applications that require simple, up-and-down lifting, such as lifting heavy objects onto workbenches or loading them onto trucks. An A-frame chain hoist is a typical example, where the hoist lifts loads vertically and horizontally along the fixed frame. The main difference is that the longitudinal motion for this hoist can only be done manually.


2. Coverage

Cranes Lifting A Load

Coverage refers to the area over which the equipment can move and operate. Cranes and hoists also have differing load coverage capabilities.

Cranes: Extensive Load Coverage

Cranes are capable of moving loads over long distances and in multiple directions, offering a wider load coverage. This is due to their ability to traverse along rails or tracks and rotate around their base. Cranes such as bridge, gantry, and jib cranes can cover large workspaces, making them ideal for manufacturing plants, warehouses, and construction sites. Their ability to move in both horizontal and vertical planes significantly enhances their operational flexibility.

Hoists: Limited Vertical Range

Hoists can also cover vertical and horizontal lifting movements. This makes hoists suitable for tasks that only require lifting within a specific area or height range but not for transporting loads over long distances. Despite their limitations, hoists are ideal for applications like lifting heavy equipment in small workshops or maintenance tasks within confined spaces.

3. Mounting

Shin Guan Mounted Hoist

The mounting options for cranes and hoists also differ significantly, which helps determine their application and mobility.

Cranes: Versatile Mounting Options

Cranes can be mounted via footing/reinforced concrete plinth/crane rail or runway beam. This versatility allows them to be customised for different environments and applications. For instance, gantry cranes can be mounted on rails to move across large areas, while mobile cranes can be transported to different locations on a worksite. This adaptability makes cranes a versatile tool for many industries. Many crane suppliers in Singapore, like Shin Guan, offer a wide range of mounting options to cater to diverse operational needs.

Hoists: Fixed Mounting Structures

Hoists are often mounted on monorail structures such as overhead beams, or integrated directly into the building. This fixed mounting provides stability and support for vertical lifting tasks. The monorail hoist is also able to lift goods vertically and horizontally. 

The variations in applications between cranes and hoists boil down to their respective strengths and limitations. Although cranes are often seen as the better of the two, namely in terms of motion and load coverage, hoists are still favoured in specific situations and continue to be an integral part of logistics.

Whether you are looking for a crane or a hoist for your business, find them all here at Shin Guan, your trusted crane supplier in Singapore with over 25 years of experience serving multiple industries. 

To learn more about our products and services, please contact us today.


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