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shoulder eye bolt on top of motor for rigging application

Eye Bolts vs. Hoist Rings: What's the Difference?

Eye bolts and hoist rings are two very common pieces of hardware used in a variety of lifting and rigging applications. Each device offers unique advantages over the other in terms of design, materials, and other capabilities. Knowing which one to use for your lifting or rigging setup can be as much a critical factor as any other component.

In this article, we explain both eye bolts and hoist rings and compare the two devices to help you make a decision on which one to use for your applications.

What Are Eye Bolts?

shoulder eye bolt

Eye bolts are common rigging devices used as secure anchor points for a variety of different setups. The design consists of a circular-shaped head known as the "eye" of the device, and a threaded rod on the other end also known as the "shank." Some eye bolts are designed with shoulders to help reinforce the bolt and enhance its strength when under stress.

These devices are incredibly versatile and indispensable, creating secure connections and allowing for hooks, wire rope, cable, and other rigging components to attach or pass through these items with ease. Typically, eye bolts work as fixed attachment points on items like steel plates, motors, containers, and other industrial objects. 

Types of Eye Bolts

Eye bolts come in many different varieties and makes. US Cargo Control provides a large selection of high-quality steel eye bolts across many designs and materials. Shouldered eye bolts are a great option for those looking to use these devices for angular lifts. Non-shouldered eye bolts should never be used outside of vertical or in-line lifting and rigging applications.

Below you will find eye bolts categorized by different steel materials and shoulder types:

Eye bolts can also be categorized based on fastener type:

What Are Hoist Rings?

lifting point swivel hoist ring

Hoist rings, also known as lifting points or even swivel eye bolts, are another popular type of rigging device used as secure anchor points. With a more complex design compared to a standard eye bolt, the hoist ring boasts additional components beyond the normal shank and body, including the bail, shoulder pin, washer, and bushing that allow for a more dynamic motion for angular applications. 

The biggest advantage for lifting points is their ability to rotate with the motion of the load. Most hoist rings are able to pivot in a 180° motion as well as swivel in a 360° rotation. This provides them with the ability to lift in any direction, keeping aligned with the direction of force for maximum load capacity and safety.

Types of Hoist Rings

There are three types of hoist rings available from US Cargo Control:

    • HR-125 Swivel Hoist Rings: These are standard hoist ring options with many different sizes and widths available. All HR-125 hoist rings contain the working load limit and recommended torque stamped on the top washer of these devices for easy identification.

    • HR-1000 Heavy Lift Swivel Hoist Rings: For heavy-duty lifts in harsh or rugged environments, HR-1000 swivel hoist rings stand up well against the elements. These devices feature larger openings than the previous option, allowing for easier attachment.

    • Crosby® SL-150 Slide Loc® Hoist Rings: Lastly, Slide-Loc® hoist rings feature a locking mechanism that makes installing these devices easy to do and without the need for any tools. The red QUIC-CHECK® mark lets users know when the hoist ring is secured and ready for use.


Eye Bolts vs. Hoist Rings: Which One is Right for Me?

Both eye bolts and hoist rings work for many similar applications. However, it's important that you choose the right one for your specific needs for maximum efficiency and reduced chances of device failure or work-related accidents. We explain a couple of different factors you should consider before choosing between an eye bolt and a hoist ring:

1. Mobility & Angular Lifting

When it comes to lifting and rigging setups, certain load types veer off from the typical in-line pull, even in the midst of a lifting task. With hoist rings, their 360° swivel design allows them to move with the pull of the load without compromising its strength or falling under undue stress from angular pulls. While eye bolts work as great stationary anchor points, they aren't designed to handle rigorous load movement that compromise its strength.

sivel hoist ring vs shoulder eye bolt angular lifting from lift-itGraphic from Lift-It®.

Additionally, with angular lifts, hoist rings tend to be the better option. Compared to eye bolts, they have the ability to maintain their working load limits at varying angles. While certain eye bolts (shoulder eye bolts) work for angular lifts, the increase in angular pulling actually decreases the rated load capacities. 

2. Rated Load Capacities

Secondly, the weight of the load in your lifting or rigging setup dictates the type of device you plan on using. Hoist rings have a range of rated load capacities between 800-10,000 lbs. However, contradictory to common conceptions of hoist rings, our eye bolt offerings from US Cargo Control actually contain higher rated load capacities than their lifting point counterparts, with working load limits stemming anywhere from 800-24,000 lbs.

Part of this overall strength stems from the length of the shank. With hoist rings, their shank lengths are generally shorter than eye bolts (those extend anywhere from 2-1/4" long up to 15" long).

3. Operation

Both eye bolts and hoist rings are fairly easy to operate and install. However, because hoist rings contain additional components, this requires further knowledge of how it functions in order to clean and inspect them properly. If a part on the hoist ring breaks, it's important to know what it is to ensure that the device is removed from operation and can be replaced.

Eye bolts, on the other hand, are simple by design and can be inspected and cleaned more easily. This also makes it simple to identify when one is broken or in need of replacement.

4. Price

Lastly, price always plays an important role in the type of hardware you choose. Users want an economical option without compromising quality, integrity, and the intention of the device itself. With that in mind, users looking for a cheaper option will want to choose eye bolts over hoist rings.

contractor with clipboard at construction site with crane in background hoisting load

Rigging Hardware from US Cargo Control

No matter what you choose, you can rest assured that US Cargo Control's line of rigging hardware will provide you with the high-quality eye bolts and hoist rings you need. Whether you need these devices for construction, logging, excavating, marine, dredging, fall protection, or other professional and personal applications, our durable hardware items hold up against heavy loads and harsh environmental conditions.

Besides eye bolts and hoist rings, we carry a wide selection of hardware products for your lifting and rigging applications, including:

Reach out to our team of product experts for any help on finding the right rigging hardware for your needs. 

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Email or call us today at (866) 444-9990 for any questions you have on our lifting and rigging products.

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