Category Icon Hoists

What Are Load Brakes In Hoists? (Examples & Tips)

Short Answer

The load brake serves two purposes: holding the brake and controlled braking. Essentially, the purpose of a load brake in an electric chain hoist is to keep the load suspended and prevent it from falling uncontrolled.

what are load brakes on hoists?

Initial Thoughts

Safety is cheap, but accidents are expensive. Something to consider when choosing an electric chain hoist system.

Electric chain hoists are an easy and efficient method for lifting and lowering heavy and oversized items. They are an essential tool in most workshops, warehouses, and construction projects.

But what about hoist safety? What can you do to ensure maximum safety when operating this kind of machinery? Ensure the electric hoist you purchase has a load brake.

Don’t be the guy who skipped on the load brake system and regrets it later. Read on to find out why it’s important to choose an electric chain hoist with a load brake.

Electric Chain Hoists

Electric chain hoists are becoming more and more popular around the world. The most common application is in the construction industry and shipyards.

They have all the benefits of a traditional manual chain hoist pulley system for lifting and moving heavy items. With the addition of the electric motor and handheld control, operating becomes easier, safer, and more controlled.

Maintaining control is essential when operating an electric chain hoist. As well as the built-in braking system, many people opt for hoists that have load brakes to serve as a backup braking system. These offer great peace of mind in the event that the standard braking system fails.

What Is a Load Brake?

The purpose of a load brake in an electric chain hoist is to keep the load suspended and prevent it from falling uncontrolled. While the brake is active, there is no power to the motor, and it works independently to the motor. Load brakes offer two functions when using your electric chain hoist.

Holding Braking

The first is the holding brake, which keeps the load in a chosen stationary position when lifting or lowering. During holding, there is no power supply to the electric motor. This way, the load can be moved into the desired position for work.

Controlled Braking

The second function is to control the lowering of the load. This is otherwise known as the control brake. The brake slows and controls the speed of lowering to make sure it doesn’t overload the motor during lowering.

The design and styles of brakes have changed over the years. These days, most modern systems use friction brakes for both the holding and controlled lowering functions alike. These friction brakes are often capable of 150% of the full load torque.

The electric motor powers the lifting of the load, and when the motor stops, the friction brake kicks in and the load is secure.

Importance of Load Brakes

It’s pretty simple – load brakes are important when lifting a load, because of gravity. If there is no brake system in place when using a hoist to lift heavy loads, gravity will take over and the load will fall.

It doesn’t matter how ‘on the ball’ you are when using chain hoists, mechanical faults and accidents can happen. Of course, the worst-case scenario would be for someone to get injured which would be a nightmare.

You also wouldn’t want the load you are working with to get damaged. Whether it’s a sturdy steel engine component on your engine hoist or someone’s beloved speedboat, the thought of the load crashing the floor sends shudders down the spines of business owners for sure.

If the motor brake fails and your hoist doesn’t have a load brake as a backup, as you see the load falling, you’d be seriously regretting not purchasing an electric chain hoist with a load brake. Load brakes are important for safety, hoist longevity, and peace of mind.

Load Brake Top Tips

You’ve chosen an electric chain hoist with a load brake system for optimum hoist safety. But how do you make sure that it will always function properly? Here are some top tips to get the most out of your electric chain hoist with load brakes.

Regular Maintenance

As with any machinery, regular maintenance is key for optimum functionality and prolonging the life of the hoist. The assigned plant maintenance person should follow the original equipment specification.

Regular Inspections

Inspecting the brakes on your electric chain hoist is essential. The holding brake does the majority of the work, so this one is especially important. If the holding brake isn’t working optimally, the load brake will be doing all the work, which will make it wear faster.

Regular Testing

Testing to the hoist’s load capacity prior to lifting a load overhead is required by OSHA federal regulations. This test can be conducted by lifting the near-rated capacity load a few inches off the floor, manually releasing the holding brake, and seeing if the load brake holds the load or lowers it at a controlled rate.

If the load falls, the brakes need taking apart, servicing and rebuilding.

Staff Training

Ensuring the operator of the electric chain hoist is properly trained is fundamental to hoist safety. Misuse of the hoist could potentially cause problems with the load brake’s efficiency or cause damage. Include some training when purchasing your new electric chain hoist to look after your new machine and your staff.

Safety Procedures

Would you and your team know what to do in the case of a fault or accident involving the electric chain hoist? In the unlikely event of the misuse of the hoist or a fault with the mechanism, it’s important to have a plan in your site’s safety procedures and protocols.

Electric Chain Hoists With Load Brakes

So it’s pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to choosing electric chain hoists – go for one with a load brake. Hoist safety is absolutely essential for you and your team for a safe workplace.

Here at, we have a vast selection of electric chain hoists from the leading brands at competitive prices. We offer a variety of models from CM Lodestar, Coffing, or Budgit, so you can find the load capacity and lift speed that’s right for the job.

Get in touch if you’re not sure which electric chain hoist to choose or have questions about load brakes. Happy hoisting.