Difference Between Hoist and Crane (With Table)

The machine is a man-made device that makes life easier for humans by applying power and force to act. Machines can be run by humans as well as by animals or by natural forces such as water, wind, thermal, electrical power. Modern machines are very complex, which includes various types of components and interface for convenient use. Machines are used in our daily lives. Man is surrounded by machines today. Hoist and Crane is also a type of machine.

Hoist vs Crane

The difference between Hoist and Crane is that Hoist is a simple type of machine which is used for lifting loads vertically. Whereas Crane is a complex machine that is used to move the loads in any direction, and it can move them both vertically as well as horizontally. The hoist is used to define various types of equipment which can lift the load. Crane is something that is equipped with a hoist to lift heavier loads, and its capacity to carry load is beyond human capability.

A hoist is a machine that consists of a drum or a wheel around which a rope or chain wraps. The hoist can be operated electrically, manually or pneumatically. The most common example of a hoist that we see in our day to day life is an elevator in which the car is hoisted and lowered with the help of a hoist mechanism. The hoist contains a hook so that it can lift many loads at one time. It can be used in construction sites, mining, overhead etc.

Crane is used for lifting heavy loads, and it transports things from one place to another. It consists of more than one machine, i.e. it is capable of lifting loads that are beyond human capability. Cranes are commonly used in the manufacturing industry, construction industry and transportation industry. It is equipped with wires, hoist, ropes, sheaves so that it can move the loads horizontally as well as vertically. They are in various forms, each catering to a specific use.

Comparison Table Between Hoist and Crane

Parameters of ComparisonHoistCrane
OriginIt came to use in the 1800s.It was invented in 3000 BC.
DesignIt is a simple machine.It is a complex machine.
Movement It can move in the vertical direction.It can move in both directions, horizontally and vertically.
UsesIt is only used to raise the loads.It is used for demolishing, picking waste materials etc.
TypesWire rope, Man-Lift or Buck hoist etc.Truck-mounted crane, All-terrain Crane, Crawler crane etc.

What is Hoist?

The hoist was most commonly used as an overhead hoist, and it came into use in the 1800s. Earlier, the hoist was used manually with chains and ropes to lift loads. But in the 1900s, electrically powered hoist production was started by Germany. It can be a custom unit or serial production unit. Earlier Custom hoists were very expensive, and it was designed for heavy loads whereas, serial production hoist was cheaper and meant for light or medium hoist. But after the 1960s, the demand for custom hoists has decreased significantly, and now serial production hoists are preferred more.

While buying an overhead hoist, certain parameters must be considered like load spectrum, starts per hour, operating period, average operating time per day and equipment life. The hoist is used in mining as well as in construction. In Construction Industry, the hoist is known by different names like Buck hoist, temporary elevator, Man-Lift, builder hoist, passenger hoist or construction elevator. All these types of hoists are commonly used in major hospitals, high-rise buildings etc.

A mining hoist is also known as a winder, and it is used to raise and lower conveyances within the mining shaft. Mine Hoist are very similar to lifts and elevators, which is used for carrying humans, loads and equipment. In the 19th and 20th-century steam engines were used to power mine hoist. But now, in the modern era, it is powered by electric motors driving direct current. Its only purpose is to lift the heavy materials.

What is Crane?

Crane, for the first time, was used as a shadouf which was a water-lifting device in Mesopotamia, i.e. Modern day Iraq. Crane is believed to be used in ancient Egyptian technology. Construction Crane first appeared in Greece, which was used for constructing buildings, and it was powered by animals like donkeys or elephants or men. Larger types of Crane first appeared in Roman Empire, which was used for lifting heavy weights and loads. Harbour cranes were also used in the middle ages for loading and unloading ships.

Cranes were earlier made up of wood, but with the coming of the industrial revolution, wood was replaced by cast iron and steel. Crane contains more than one simple machine so that it can create a mechanical advantage to lift the loads which any human being cannot. Mechanical cranes were powered by steam engines in the 19th and 20th centuries. Modern Cranes uses hydraulic systems, electric motors, internal combustion machines for lifting greater loads. Although still manual cranes are used when there is a shortage of power.

Cranes exist in many forms, and each is meant for specific use. From smallest jib cranes to tallest tower cranes used for construction of high buildings, cranes are used. There are four types of mobile cranes: crawler, floating, truck-mounted and rough terrain. Tower cranes consist of the following parts such as operating cabin, Jib, hook, slewing units, mast, hoist winch etc.

Main Differences Between Hoist and Crane

  1. The hoist was invented around the 18th century, and mass production started in the 19th century in Germany. Crane was invented around 3000 BC in Mesopotamia(modern Iraq)
  2. A hoist is a simple machine that consists of a wheel around which chain or rope is tied. Crane is a very complicated machine consisting of more than a simple machine.
  3. The hoist can be moved in a vertical direction. Crane can be moved from horizontally and vertically in all directions.
  4. The hoist is only used to raise the loads and weights. Cranes are used for many purposes like loading-unloading ships, demolishing buildings, picking waste materials etc.
  5. The hoist has many types like Man-Lift, buck Hoist, Wire rope, Mining Shafts etc. Crane have many types like Crawler, All-terrain, Railroad, Side-lifter, Aerial etc.


Both Hoist and Crane are part of machines. Crane is a very complex machine in which the hoist is also a part. The hoist is a very simple machine that is very easy to use. Both hoists and Cranes were used manually earlier. But with the booming of Industries and the advent of the Industrial revolution, everything became electrically powered. Both hoists and Crane can carry heavy weights and lift loads, but there is a difference in the movements. Both are very efficient and have flexible mechanisms, and uses mechanical energy to power up.


  1. https://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/55035
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1008333417693
2D vs 3D