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The Common Types Of Slings And What You Need To Know About Them

December 22, 2023

Lifting equipment can be tailored with an array of accessories to ensure safety and efficiency, including reducing the chances of accidents or damage to the load. 

One such accessory is slings, which are an essential part of any lifting or rigging setup. However, with so many sling types and materials to choose from (i.e. synthetic or steel), it can be confusing to know which offers the safest and overall most suitable sling for your lifting needs. 

If your business requires any tailored information about slings or other lifting accessories or equipment, please get in touch with the Metreel team.

In the meantime, here are some of the most common types of slings, along with a brief overview of what makes each sling different from other slings. 

Webbing Slings

Webbing slings are also known as synthetic web slings, as they are commonly made from materials such as nylon, polyester or polypropylene. These materials are known as webbing material, hence the name webbing slings. 

Some distinctive features of webbing slings are the flat or twisted eyelets which can be found on each end. Inexpensive, lightweight and durable, webbing slings also have the benefit of being colour-coded, so that the lifting capacity can easily be identified by users. 

As one of the most affordable options when it comes to lifting cargo, goods or materials, webbing slings are also highly adaptable. They can be used in various lifting configurations such as a choker, basket or vertical hitches. In addition, webbing slings can adjust to irregular loads while maintaining a secure grip.

Resistant to rot or mould, webbing slings can also be used around oil or grease. However, nylon webbing slings specifically are not suitable when used in acidic environments and should also not come into contact with bleach. Wear pads can be used to improve the durability of webbing slings and can protect against damage due to cuts or abrasions. 

Round Slings

Round slings (also known as synthetic round slings) are typically made from polyester which has been looped and then encapsulated within a polyester jacket. As with webbing slings, round slings are also colour-coded for ease of identification. 

Apt at lifting items such as tubes or pipes, round slings are the sling to opt for when other types of slings (i.e. with rougher materials) could damage the load. They can be used in chokers, baskets or vertical hitches. 

Lightweight and foldable, round slings are also flexible, allowing for endless configurations to be achieved. However, one consideration is that round slings offer less stretch than webbing slings.

Steel Based Slings (Alloy Chain Slings, Wire Rope Slings, Chain Or Wire Mesh Slings)

Alongside slings made from synthetic materials, there are three types of steel-based slings including chain slings, wire rope slings and chain or wire mesh slings.

Alloy chain slings are the most durable of all sling types and are most commonly used for heavy-duty applications, including lifting heavy machinery or automotive parts. In addition, chain slings are highly suited to lifting rugged loads, or lifting environments that are exposed to high temperatures. 

As with wire rope slings, alloy chain slings can have between one and four sling legs. In addition, alloy chain slings are easy to inspect and repair by replacing individual segments. 

The next steel-based sling is wire rope slings, which are cost-effective and also boast ease of use. Wire rope slings excel in protecting fragile loads, and as the name suggests consist of individual wires braided into strands, with a steel core to provide superior strength. The eye of a wire rope sling can be attached to hooks, carabiners and even other ropes or slings. With so many strands and core types available, wire rope slings can be selected based on the exact load types they need to lift. In addition, they are better at withstanding abrasive wear.

Chain slings (also known as wire mesh slings) are made from stainless steel mesh. Chain slings excel in lifting loads that are abrasive, have a high temperature or have sharp edges. Resistant to corrosion or abrasion, chain slings are certified and tested, with the load limit and other key safety information printed on the sling to guide users. Suitable for basket or choker hitches, chain slings can also effectively grip irregular loads. 

Metreel – Lifting Solutions For Safer & More Productive Businesses 

Metreel is a leading UK supplier of material handling equipment and accessories. Head over to our hoists page to see our products in action. 

You can also download our free brochure to discover more about our wider product specifications by visiting our product brochure page

Alternatively, if you’re ready to place an order or have any questions about safe material handling for your business, please give us a call on 0115 932 7010 or email us at [email protected].