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Choosing the Best Electric Chain Hoist: Our Top 5

Short Answer

Our pick for the top 5 best electric chain hoists on the market are the Coffing JLC, CM Lodestar, Coffing EC, Harrington NER, and CM Shopstar. The Coffing JLC is our number one choice because of its quality, durability, and popularity among our customers.

best electric chain hoists

Initial Thoughts

If you’re on the hunt for the best electric chain hoist then look no further. We compiled a list of the top five best electric chain hoists on the market to help you find the right equipment for your operation. Making our top-5 list are the CM Lodestar, Coffing EC, Coffing JLC, Harrington NER, and Budgit Manguard. Read on to find out what makes each choice great, and how they might be the perfect fit for your overhead lifting application.

Also a quick note; we carry all of these products. So when you decide which one best suits your needs, you can customize it and order it in just minutes. Or reach out to us and we would be happy to assist you through the buying process.

Top 5 Best Electric Chain Hoists

These electric chain hoists are the best in the industry. Among these models are hoists that can lift anywhere from 1/8-ton loads to 20-ton loads. Additionally, there are a number of variations and upgrades you can make to them.

You can customize the lift height, the lifting speed, the type of suspension, and more. Of course, this all depends on your particular use case. With that said, let’s look at the best electric chain hoists on the market!

1. Coffing JLC

Fred R. Coffing, the founder of the Coffing Hoist Company, developed and patented the chain hoist. Needless to say, Coffing hoists have been around for a very long time. Thus, they remain industry leaders in the manufacture and sale of electric chain hoists. However, the Coffing JLC is on this list because it’s one of the best electric chain hoists even in today’s market.

Features of Coffing JLC

Coffing hoists are durable and don’t break the bank. However, even though these are priced very reasonably, they offer a ton of value. Let’s take a look at some of the key features of the Coffing JLC.

  • Voltages – 115/230 (single-phase); 230/460, 208, 380, 415, 575 three phase; 60 hertz standard, 50 hertz available.
  • Panel Plate – Provides easy access to controls and motor leads for changing voltages on dual-voltage motors or servicing the hoist.
  • Heavy-duty multiple disc motor brake – Direct acting design for positive load spotting and holding.
  • 5-pocket load sheave – Increases chain and sheave engagement 25% over hoists with conventional 4-pocket sheaves. This provides smoother lifting and reduces chain wear.
  • Adjustable limit switches – Regulate upper and lower load travel.
  • Mechanical overload protection device – Protects against damaging overloads.
  • Two-speed hoist model option – 3:1 speed ratio, 3-phase, single voltage only.
  • Oil bath transmission – Precision-machined alloy steel gears for longer, quieter operation.
  • NEMA 3R push button stations – Has an ergonomic design that fits the operator’s hand for thumb or two-handed operation standard.
  • Compact aluminum frame – Designed for portability and ease of installation.

Special Applications

  • Durable chain container is standard on lifts to 20 ft. single chain and 10 ft. double chain.
  • Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) option available in the U.S.A. only.
  • Lifetime warranty

Coffing JLC: Best Electric Chain Hoist For Sale

View All Coffing JLC Models

2. CM Lodestar

Second on our list is the CM Lodestar from Columbus McKinnon, the leader in the electric chain hoist market. For over a half-century, the CM Lodestar has been an industry favorite across many industries. The Lodestar has been in production since 1955 and has only become better with the improvements made over the years.

Features of CM Lodestar

The CM Lodestar has certain features in common with other similar products. Yet, it also has features that make it unique. Additionally, there are optional features for special applications. Let’s take a look at what makes a CM Lodestar the #1 hoist on this list.

  • H4 Duty – Ideal for heavy-duty applications.
  • Gearing designed for very long product life and quiet operation – Gear train lifetime lubricated with non-oxidizing grease.
  • Hoist duty motor – Standard overload protection device, and standard screw-type limit switches.
  • Hardened, forged-steel, latch-type hooks – And Hoist load chain for long, dependable service.
  • Precision machined and hardened lift wheel – With hardened chain guides to ensure the chain fits tightly and securely in the lift wheel.
  • Rugged control station – (NEMA 4X).
  • Voltage board – This allows you to quickly change from low voltage to high voltage by simply repositioning the receptacle.
  • Easy to install and maintain – No special tools are required for disassembly.
  • Made in the USA – And comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Each hoist is thoroughly inspected – Tested to over 125% of the rated load prior to shipment.
  • Meets ASME B30.16

Special Applications

  • Harsh environment hoists are available for rugged applications, including plating, galvanizing, and washdown applications.
  • Hoists with climbing capability available for temporary rigging or lifting applications must be used in inverted positions only.
  • Hoists with creep control allow precise positioning through field adjustment within the time delay range of .05 sec. to 3 sec.
  • Articulating suspension available for 3-ton only

CM Lodestar: Best Electric Chain Hoist For Sale

We carry every model of the CM Lodestar and can configure your hoist to your exact requirements. This can include food-grade modifications as well as other special applications.

View All CM Lodestar Models

3. Coffing EC

The Coffing EC electric chain hoist is the Cadillac of overhead lifting. This high-performance hoists is engineered for heavy duty industrial service. While it is priced higher than other hoists on the market, its smooth operation, durability, and handling are second to none and make it a great long-term investment.

Coffing’s EC is a higher-end offering from Coffing than the JLC units also on this list. The Coffing EC lifting capacity ranges from 1/2 ton to 5 tons, whereas the Coffing JLC lifts capacity ranges from 1/8 ton to 2 tons. Let’s take a look at some of the other features:

Features of Coffing EC

  • Voltage options – Range from 115/230, 208 single-phase; 230/460, 208, 220/380, 575 three-phase. 60 hertz standard with 50 hertz available.
  • Suspension options – Range from rigid or swivel top hook, to lug, plain, geared, or motorized trolleys.
  • Small frame design – Features housings of cast aluminum alloy construction for minimum weight.
  • Large frame design – Features load-bearing housings of ductile iron construction for maximum strength.
  • Durable design – Built in compliance with ASME/ANSI B30.16 and CSA standards.
  • Standard push button drop – 4 feet less than lift. CSA approved.
  • Gearing & Transmission – Transmission gears are precision machined of alloy steel and run in an oil bath for longer, quieter operation.
  • Solid State Starting Switch – Standard on single phase units offers excellent reliability and starting consistency and are built with fewer components that could eventually be damaged.
  • Ergonomic Designed Push Button Station: Fits operator’s hand for thumb or two-handed operation. 24 Volt Control available upon request. NEMA 3R (weather resistant). Constructed of glass-filled nylon for severe impact and chemical/corrosive atmosphere resistance.

Special Applications of Coffing EC

  • Lifting capacity – For EC models ranges from 1/4 ton to 5 tons.
  • Two-speed motors available – (3 to 1 speed ratio).
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA

Coffing EC: Best Electric Chain Hoist For Sale

View All Coffing EC Models

4. Harrington ER/NER

Harrington Hoists Inc. is over 150 years old and is another leader in the industry. Thus, they’re known for their quality products and range of features and lifting capacity. Interestingly, the Harrington NER model is capable of lifting up to 20 tons.

The Harrington NER is the same unit as the ER model, without the additional load brake – something most users find unnecessary due to the excellence of Harrington’s patented “Guardian” smart brake technology. The Harrington NER is a great choice for smaller budgets, and offers excellent lead times.

Features of Harrington ER/NER

  • “The Guardian” Smart brake technology – With electrical failsafe design (10-year warranty).
  • Totally enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC) motor – To cool the motor and brake.
  • Extreme duty motor – Increases performance through 60-minute duty rating, class B insulation, cooling fins, and standard thermal motor protection.
  • Durable push-button pendant – Easy to use for one-handed operation.
  • Low-profile upper and lower limit switches – Provide excellent headroom.
  • Forged carbon steel hooks – Will open gradually under excessive loads instead of fracturing.
  • Unique chain guide – Provides quiet and smooth guidance of the chain.
  • Load sheave – Has 5 or 6 deep-groove pockets to fully support the load chain during operation.
  • Heat-treated helical and spur gears – Are precision machined for long life.
  • Long-life friction clutch – Protects the hoist from damage and prevents overwinding.
  • Compact die-cast aluminum body – Harrington NER is an amazingly compact, lightweight, and offers low-headroom.
  • Completely sealed body – Suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, including harsh environments.
  • Mechanically interlocked heavy-duty contactors
  • VFD Dual speed controls – Via “under-the-cover” variable frequency drive standard.
  • Count hour meter – Tracks motor starts, running time, and usage history by instant digital display.
  • Easy maintenance control panel – the Harrington NER components are easily-accessible via single swing-down panel.
  • Plug-in connections – Save valuable time on setup and maintenance.
  • Corrosion-resistant load chain – Plated with Nickel, grade 80, DIN chain for superb durability and strength.

Harrington ER/NER: Best Electric Chain Hoist For Sale

We carry every model of the Harrington NER and ER and we can configure your hoist to meet your exact needs. Additionally, this can include food-grade modifications as well as other special applications.

View All Harrington ER Models

5. CM Shopstar

The CM Shopstar electric chain hoist is built for rugged industrial and commercial use. This durable hoist features high H4 duty cycles and a compact design ideal for use at workstations and production lines. Standard overload device protects the hoist, operator and surrounding structure from damaging overloads.

CM Shopstar Features and Benefits:

  • H4 Duty makes this hoist ideal for heavy-duty industrial applications.
  • Gearing designed for exceptionally long life and quiet operation. Gear train lifetime lubricated with non-oxidizing grease.
  • Hoist duty motor, standard overload protection device, and standard screw-type limit switches
  • Hardened, forged-steel, latch-type hooks, and Hoist load chain for long, dependable service
  • Precision machined and hardened lift wheel with hardened chain guides to ensure the chain fits tightly and securely in the lift wheel.
  • Rugged control station (NEMA 4X)
  • Voltage board allows you to quickly change from low voltage to high voltage by simply repositioning the receptacle
  • Easy to install and maintain with no special tools required for disassembly.
  • Made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Each hoist is thoroughly inspected and tested to over 125% of the rated load prior to shipment
  • Meets ASME B30.16

Special Applications:

  • Harsh environment hoists available for rugged applications, including plating, galvanizing, and washdown applications
  • Hoists with climbing capability available for temporary rigging or lifting applications must be used in inverted position only
  • Hoists with creep control allow precise positioning through field adjustment within the time delay range of .05 sec. to 3 sec.
  • Articulating suspension available for 3-ton only

CM Shopstar: Best Electric Chain Hoist For Sale

The Shopstar is a great option for most lightweight applications. We carry every variation of the Shopstar and are happy to help with any custom ordering options you need. For a complete list of our Shopstar models, check out our dedicated CM Hoists page:

View All CM Shopstar Models

How We Determine The Best Electric Chain Hoists

We have over 100 years of experience selling, engineering, and repairing hoists and cranes. As one of the top distributors in the country, we’ve had our hands on nearly every hoist on the market.

With all that said, here are the factors we consider when determining which electric chain hoists are best:

  • Quality of the hoist and its components
  • Quantity of units sold (popularity)
  • Reviews from our customers

Which Electric Chain Hoist Is Best For You?

Even with this list, it can be difficult to determine which hoist (and features) are best suited to meet your needs. Feel free to message us via our live chat, or give us a call or email with any questions you have.

Here’s a list of features to keep in mind when choosing the best hoist:

  • Lift capacity (tons)
  • Lift height
  • Pendant cable length
  • Lift speed
  • Voltage
  • Suspension
  • Trolley
  • I-Beam width

Final Thoughts

With over 100 years of experience in the hoist and crane industry and after reviewing the current options on the market, we’ve determined the top five best electric chain hoists. Also, these hoists can be modified to fit most applications including food-grade, pharmaceutical, and more.

We encourage you to do your own research to determine which electric chain hoist is best for you or contact a professional for help.