What Is an a-Frame Hoist?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2020
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An A-frame hoist is gantry hoist built into a movable frame that can be positioned in a variety of locations in a facility or on a job site. Such hoists are portable, and can be extremely strong and durable. Common mounting positions include on boat decks, factory floors, and at automotive repair facilities. It is possible to custom build a frame or to order a standardized version from a company that may also sell supplies such as lifting chains.

This hoist design has two stable legs with braces that support an overhead gantry. It may be possible to raise and lower the gantry or the legs for different kinds of jobs. Some A-frame hoist designs also allow the operator to adjust the length of the gantry for specific projects. Highly portable versions break down into easily stacked and transported components for ease of transportation and use. The components may be treated to resist rust and corrosion, and can be made from extremely durable materials.

A hoist runs horizontally along the gantry to raise and lower items. The A-frame hoist should have a maximum weight rating based on the tolerances of the frame, gantry, and rigging. Fixed versions bolted to a floor or deck may be capable of taking more weight because they are more stable. Mobile versions on stands or temporary clips may be less capable of handling extremely heavy loads. Usually weight limits are posted in a prominent location for the benefit of the operator.


This hoist design can allow for moving a variety of items. An A-frame hoist may be very flexible on the job site and will help replace manual labor for tasks like removing an engine block, lifting bags of materials, and moving products to the second story of a construction site. Some models are very small, while others may span multiple stories. In addition to moving products for various projects, the hoist can also be used to position and anchor items in place while people work on them.

Manufacturers of A-frame hoists often have a lineup of products of different sizes with different weight ratings. If customers do not see a needed size or weight rating, they should ask. The company may be able to custom-fabricate an A-frame hoist. Engineers or contractors can also build their own and insert a standard gantry for use with different hoists, which can be a better option for some special needs or work sites.


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