Hoist vs Crane: Difference and Comparison

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, and electrical power.

Modern machines are very complex which includes various types of components and interfaces for convenient use. Machines are used in our daily lives. Man is surrounded by machines today. A hoist and Crane is also a type of machine.

Key Takeaways

  1. A hoist is a device used to lift and lower heavy loads vertically, and it consists of a pulley system and a motor or manual mechanism.
  2. A crane is a larger and more complex machine used to lift and move heavy loads horizontally and vertically, and it consists of a hoist, a boom, and a cab or control room.
  3. Hoists are commonly used in construction, manufacturing, and warehousing, while cranes are used in construction, shipping, and other heavy-duty applications.

Hoist vs Crane

The hoist is a device used to lift and lower loads vertically, while a crane is a machine used for lifting and lowering heavy loads horizontally. A hoist is smaller and simpler and is often used in industrial or construction. A crane can be used in a variety of settings and can be larger and more complex.

Hoist vs Crane

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.


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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, hoists, ropes, and 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

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 designed for heavy loads, whereas serial production hoists were cheaper and meant for light or medium hoists.

But after the 1960s, the demand for custom hoists decreased significantly, and now serial production hoists are preferred more.

While buying an overhead hoist, certain parameters, like load spectrum, starts per hour, operating period, average operating time per day and equipment life, must be considered. 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 are used for carrying humans, loads and equipment.

In the 19th and 20th-century steam engines were used to power mine hoists. But now, in the modern era, it is powered by electric motors driving direct currents. Its only purpose is to lift heavy materials.


What is Crane?

For the first time, Crane was used as a shadoof, 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 and was used to construct buildings, and animals like donkeys, elephants, or men powered them. Larger types of cranes 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 made of wood earlier, but with 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 use hydraulic systems, electric motors, and internal combustion machines for lifting greater loads. However, 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 the smallest jib cranes to the tallest tower cranes used for the 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 a 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 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. Cranes have many types like Crawler, All-terrain, Railroad, Side-lifter, Aerial etc.
Difference Between Hoist and Crane
  1. https://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/55035
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1008333417693

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