Lifting beams and spreader bars are designed to lift heavy loads with a crane safely and efficiently. Both are considered a below-the-hook lifting device since the attachment to the load (or loads) takes place below the crane’s hook.
While both a lifting beam and a spreader bar is similar in that they create a connection point between the load and crane, there are differences that make one better than the other in specific instances.
The main difference between a lifting beam and a spreader bar is the design which dictates the way the force is transmitted during the lift. A lifting beam is under pressure at the single lifting point and therefore subject to shear and bending, while a spreader beam is designed to work under compression and spread the load out evenly over a longer area.
Additionally, because there is just one lift point on a lifting beam and bending will occur during lifts, they are required to be larger and heavier than a spreader bar. However, the one point connection design of a lifting beam means it works better than a spreader bar in applications where there is little headroom.
Because both types of beams and bars are primarily used with cranes, and they feature an underhung crane beam design, they are also known as crane beams, a runway beam, or crane lifting beam.
All of our lifting beams and spreader bars are made in the USA and manufactured to exceed all ASME B30.20 and OSHA regulations and are shipped with certification paperwork. All are also proof loaded per OSHA requirements and RFID Tracking Chip equipped for logistics management.
A lifting beam is a simple design of a long I-beam with a link or eye on the top to allow for connection to the crane or other lifting machine’s hook. It also has two or more connection points on the under where the load is connected.
Lifting beams are excellent for general purpose lifting, as well as for lifting weak or flexible loads that require the additional support of other equipment like lifting magnets or a lifting vacuum.
An additional benefit of a lift beam is the ability to lift more than one load at a time, since it is typically designed with two or more connection points. The design and construction of lifting beams make them an ideal choice if there is little headroom available in the lifting area.
Types of Lifting BeamsLow Headroom
Manufactured with two alloy swivel latch hooks standard; multiple latch hooks, eye latch hooks, and shackle plates also available. Excellent for lifting applications where limited headroom is an issue. Available in both standard and heavy duty fabrications. Standard is designed to safely lift one-half ton to five ton; heavy duty is approved for lifting 7.5 to 20 ton. Ultra Low Headroom
A hoist hook nested within the beam provides added space in situations where minimal headroom is available during a lift. This lifting beam design features spacers to ensure hook remains centered. Standard model features standard alloy swivel latch hooks; additional hardware options available by request. Economy Adjustable with Shackles
Adjustable design makes adjusting unbalanced loads fast and simple. Manufactured with shackle connections on the bottom. A low profile top connects to loads even in lower profile situations. Custom connection hardware including swivel hooks, eye hooks, and other are available per special order. Economy Fixed with Shackles
Standard fixed style beam combines shackles on the bottom of each end and an oversized lifting eye on top for quick and easy attachments. Excellent for general warehouse and jobsite use. Adjustable Lifting Beam with Shackles
Shackles on the bottom provide strong and stable connection points, while the adjustable design lets you quickly and easily adjust a load that’s unbalanced. Also available with swivel hooks standard, or with other hardware options by special order. Adjustable Lifting Beam with Swivel Hooks
Swivel hooks on the bottom provide fast and easy connection points, while the adjustable design lets you adjust loads out of balance. Also available with shackles hooks standard; other hardware options by special order. Non Conductive
Non conductive construction is engineered with natural spark proof insulation, making it excellent for handling large batteries and other similar cargo. Lift lug is painted in safety yellow for increased visibility. Fitted with two shackles on the bottom that adjust to accommodate different widths. Hooks, handles, and other lug connections also available by special order for battery lifting beams. Basket Lifting Beams
Intended for use with a lifting sling in a basket hitch configuration. Features two sets of low profile, bull-horn style lifting hooks, each designed for a sling with a 2" eye width. Custom options are available by special order. Twin Hoist Lifting Beams
Two hoist design creates a stable lift for a variety of cargo when lift is with 5 degrees of vertical. Alloy swivel hook on the bottom is standard equipment, but load-bearing swivel hook, eye hook, or other custom configurations also available for this type of hoist beam. Plate Lifting Beams
Connects to sling with openings on the top of each end; bottom of beam lift is designed with large J-shaped hooks to hold and lift plates. Container Lifting Beams
Designed for lifting soft-side bulk container or other types of flexible containers with lifting loops/webbing. The H-shaped beam configuration features a oversized lifting eye for fast connections. Built-in lugs on each beam keep the loops or webbing of the container from sliding off or inward and unbalancing the container. Lug spaces accommodate up to 3" wide webbing/loops. Container lifting beams are also known simply as bulk container beams by others in the industry such as Caldwell lifting beams and Grainger. Small Length with Bale Top
Shorter length, triangle beam with a bale-style top is ideal for balancing and lifting smaller loads. Manufactured with shackles on the bottom for secure and stable connection points. Small Length with Shackle Top
A solid triangle design offers stability to loads during lifting, while the shackle points on the bottom and top create secure connections. Shackles are standard; also available with a bale-style top. Custom configurations also available by special order.
A spreader bar, also known in the industry as a spreader beam, is designed for use with a sling that connects the lifting machine hook to the ends of the beam. The beam typically has connection points on the underside that hook to the cargo for lifting.
Spreader beams distribute the load across more than just one point, resulting in increased stability. They are excellent for applications where the cargo is too large or heavy to be lifted from one singular connection point.
A spreader beam is also ideal for use in situations where load control is important and/or the lift points are far apart. A spreader beam or bar can also accommodate a sling on each of the bar to lift long, narrow cargo held horizontally.
Because the sling legs lengthen the distance from the hook to the cargo, spreader beams as lifting devices are generally a limited option when there is little headroom clearance.
Types of Spreader BarsFixed Spreader Beams
Swivel latch hooks on the bottom combine versatility, quick connections, and a secure lock. Other hardware options are available, as well as custom configurations. Adjustable Spreader Beams
LIke a fixed spreader beam, adjustable spreader beams are excellent for supporting long loads during lifts. An adjustable spread model offers additional versatility due to its telescoping design that lengths the device in 1" increments. Lifting Slings and Rigging Supplies
We offer a full line of Lifting Slings
in addition to our selection of Rigging Supplies and Hardware
. Also be sure to check our special section How to Choose a Lifting Sling
for more information on the different types of lifting slings. Questions?
Not sure what equipment you need for your job? Wondering which product is comparable to a specific Caldwell lifting beam, Peerless, or others in the industry? Give our Product Specialists a call at 888-794-1029
. They’ll be happy to go over our lifting beams for sale and help determine which would work best for your application.