Chain vs. Wire Rope for Overhead Lifting

October 3, 2023

When confronted with the decision between choosing chain or wire rope for overhead lifting applications, making the right product choice is important to ensure safety and efficiency. At Laclede Chain, we understand the importance of providing our customers with the best tools for the job.

In this article, we dive into the critical decision of choosing between chain and wire rope for your overhead lifting needs. Our goal is to provide rigging professionals like you with a comprehensive guide to help you make informed choices that prioritize safety and performance.

Benefits of Chain vs. Wire Rope 

Choosing between chain and wire rope involves evaluating several factors that impact the safety and efficiency of overhead lifting and rigging applications. 

Strength and Durability

Chain is known for its exceptional strength and durability to handle heavier loads without compromising its integrity, while also resisting wear, abrasion, and corrosion. This longevity is especially superior when properly maintained. 

In contrast, wire rope tends to be less robust. It is more susceptible to kinks, bends, and deformation under heavy loads, along with corrosion. Consequently, in applications where durability matters, chain is the preferred choice.


Chain comes in various sizes, configurations, and materials, making it adaptable to a wide range of tasks, including heavy lifting, load securement, towing, or anchoring heavy objects. This adaptability makes chain the material of choice for a diverse range of industries, from construction and manufacturing to agriculture and transportation. 


Safety is critically important in rigging and lifting operations, as well as understanding the factors that contribute to the safety of chain. Chain offers a distinct safety advantage for several reasons. First, they are typically made from high-strength steel, known for its durability and ability to withstand heavy loads and challenging conditions. Additionally, the welding techniques used in chain manufacturing create strong and reliable connections between individual links, enhancing the overall strength and safety of the chain.

One of the most significant safety attributes of chain is its tendency to exhibit a gradual wear pattern. This means that with regular inspections, operators can detect early signs of wear and tear, allowing them to address issues before they become critical. This significantly reduces the risk of accidents and injuries, making chain a dependable choice for safety-conscious lifting operations.

In contrast, wire rope has a higher likelihood of failing abruptly, and they are inherently more challenging to inspect thoroughly due to their complex construction. Meticulous maintenance and inspections when using wire rope is critically important.


Chain is generally low-maintenance as long as you inspect for signs of wear, deformation, or damage before every use. Storage and cleaning are essential as well. Wire ropes, on the other hand, demand more maintenance effort, including more frequent lubrication to prevent corrosion and reduce friction. Continuous inspections are necessary to identify potential weaknesses or damage.


While chain may have a higher initial cost compared to wire rope, their extended lifespan and lower maintenance requirements result in cost savings over time. Wire ropes, with their lower upfront cost, might appear more budget-friendly, but the need for more frequent replacements and maintenance can lead to higher long-term costs.

Importance of Safe Product Selection

Selecting the right product isn’t just essential for keeping your rigging operations reliably moving forward, it’s a matter of safety. Using incorrect products in lifting operations can lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. 

The importance of safe product selection cannot be overstated. It’s not just about getting the job done; it’s about getting it done safely and reliably every time. Rigging professionals must prioritize safety above all else when choosing their lifting equipment.

Our Chain Products for Overhead Lifting

At Laclede Chain, we provide a range of chain options for overhead lifting.

Grade 80 Chain: 

  • Grade 80 chain is known for their exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.
  • They are versatile and suitable for a wide range of lifting applications.
  • Commonly used in construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries.

Grade 100 Chain:

  • Grade 100 chain takes strength to the next level.
  • Designed for heavy-duty lifting operations in demanding environments.
  • Widely used in offshore drilling, mining, and other high-stress industries.
  • Offers superior strength and durability.

Grade 120 Chain:

  • Grade 120 is our strongest chain available
  • Our Grade 120 (round link) is 20% stronger and lighter than any other US Made Chain
  • Available in Hi-Viz green for Safety you Can See

Laclede Chain prioritizes delivering top-tier solutions to customers by manufacturing the strongest, and safest US-made chain available today. Whether you require the versatility of Grade 80 or the unmatched strength of Grade 120, you can trust Laclede Chain to provide the right product for your specific lifting applications. Our commitment to quality and safety ensures that your lifting operations are carried out with the utmost precision and reliability.

Comparing Chain and Wire Rope


Wire Rope





Very High






Robust and reliable

Less rugged, may fail unexpectedly

Ease of Inspection 

Visually inspectable

More detailed inspection required




Hi-Viz Powder Coating


Not Available


Take Safety to New Heights with Hi-Viz Chain 

Hi-Viz chain has emerged as an essential tool for safety and visibility enhancement for overhead lifting operations. Hi-Viz Chains are coated with a special powder with neon coloring that significantly improves its visibility in low-light environments. An electrostatic process is used to apply this powder coating for a uniform and durable finish.

Visibility Differences Between Chain and Wire Rope

When visibility is a concern, the size of the product is also important to consider. Because chain has a wider, more complex profile, it’s easier to see from a distance when it has a Hi-Viz coating. Choosing Hi-Viz chain over wire rope could ultimately mean less risk of accidents and collisions.

Choosing Quality Hi-Viz Chains

When selecting a Hi-Viz chain, opting for a domestic manufacturer is crucial to ensure consistent quality and timely delivery. Imported chains may exhibit inconsistent or subpar coating quality, compromising durability and visibility. Laclede Chain stands as a trusted domestic manufacturer of high-quality powder coated chains. Our state-of-the-art powder coat facility maintains strict control over color and quality, ensuring that our customers receive the strongest Hi-Viz chain available. 

Unlock Safety and Performance with Laclede Chain

The decision to use chain or wire rope for overhead lifting is a critical choice that should prioritize safety and performance. We provide top-quality Grade 80, Grade 100, and G120 chain to help everyone live and work safely.

Our expert team is ready to assist you in making the right choice for your overhead lifting needs. Connect with a Laclede Chain expert today and experience safer, more efficient lifting.