Eye Bolts Vs. Hoist Rings: What is the difference?

While often conflated due to their ring-like appearance, eye bolts and hoist rings serve distinct functions. Both may be ring-shaped fasteners used for connecting equipment or objects, but their similarities end there.

What are Eye Bolts

Eye bolts are characterized by their circular, ring-shaped head, diverging from traditional bolt heads which are either circular or hexagonal. They possess a threaded shank and are typically installed in surfaces like walls, where the ring-shaped head protrudes outward.

What are Hoist Rings

Hoist rings, on the other hand, are robust rings specifically designed to support loads, particularly in commercial lifting scenarios. Hoists, devices that lift and lower objects, may be manual, pneumatic, or electric, and require a point of connection for their chains, which is where hoist rings come into play.

Differences Between Eye Bolts and Hoist Rings

The fundamental difference lies in their structure and intended use. Eye bolts, with their threaded shanks, are suitable for supporting lighter loads and are often used in non-lifting applications like hanging decorations. Hoist rings, conversely, do not feature a threaded shank but consist of a base and a ring, tailored for heavier commercial lifting tasks.

For lifting applications, hoist rings are the go-to choice, being engineered for such purposes, unlike eye bolts which are not designed for heavy lifting.

Type of Hoist Rings

Hoist rings come in different styles to accommodate various lifting needs. Side-pull hoist rings are crafted for exerting pulling forces, while swivel hoist rings feature a base that can rotate in all directions, adding versatility to lifting operations.

Role of Rope Rings

Rope rings, often mistaken for hoist rings, are actually intended for tie-down applications. Ideal for securing loads or objects, rope rings provide a straightforward and efficient means for tying down with rope. They are mounted on flat surfaces, allowing ropes to be threaded through them for securing purposes.

Eye Bolts vs. Swivel Hoist Rings: What is the difference?

In the realm of lifting and securement points, eye bolts and hoist rings reign supreme as prevalent rigging hardware.

Have you ever observed the riggers in your facility swapping an eye bolt for a hoist ring, or vice versa, in a manner that leaves you scratching your head? While both eye bolts and hoist rings find their purpose in similar applications, their dissimilarities run deep, spanning design, capabilities, and features. Witnessing an eye bolt succumb to bending or cracking during a lift, when a hoist ring could have been the more fitting choice, is not an uncommon sight.

The question that often arises is, “What sets apart an eye bolt from a hoist ring, and how should they be employed?” This article aims to unravel this puzzle and furnish you with insights into:

The essence of an eye bolt and its common utility.

  • Varieties of eye bolts at your disposal.
  • The advantages and drawbacks of employing eye bolts.
  • A glimpse into hoist rings and their typical applications.
  • Different types of hoist rings.
  • The pros and cons associated with hoist rings.

Eye Bolts

As a steadfast lifting and securement point, eye bolts hold a coveted position among rigging hardware. Not unlike their counterparts such as slings, sling hooks, and shackles, eye bolts manifest in diverse designs and configurations. They serve as pivotal connection points for rigging, anchoring, pulling, or hoisting tasks.

Eye bolts remain stationary lifting fixtures, with select types capable of accommodating angular lifts by considering a substantial reduction in the Working Load Limit (WLL).

The rated load capacity of an eye bolt spans a spectrum, ranging from a modest 200 lbs. to a hefty 65,000 lbs. Depending on the load’s size and form, a single or multiple eye bolts may be enlisted to facilitate the lift across the load’s surface.

Applications of Eye Bolts

The versatile nature of eye bolts renders them fitting for an array of applications encompassing rigging, anchoring, pulling, or hoisting tasks. They commonly find themselves in the service of elevating items such as:

  • Steel plates
  • Motors
  • Dies
  • Containers

In many scenarios, the eye bolt cements its status as a permanent engineered lifting point for motors, containers, or other industrial paraphernalia. The optimal application of eye bolts typically involves straight, in-line pulls.

Type of Eye Bolts

When contemplating the use of an eye bolt, a critical choice lies in determining whether a shouldered or non-shouldered eye bolt is requisite.

  • Shouldered Eye Bolts:

Shouldered eye bolts feature a shoulder at the juncture of the eye and shank, a design aimed at mitigating bending stresses on the shank. They earn their stripes as candidates for angular lifting, provided the shoulder seats securely in the load.

In scenarios where slings are enlisted at ANY angle, a shouldered eye bolt is the prescribed choice.

  • Non-Shouldered Eye Bolts:

Conversely, non-shouldered eye bolts lack a shoulder and are limited to true vertical or in-line lifts.

The Merits and Demerits of Eye Bolts


Price: Eye bolts shine in the affordability department, often procured in substantial quantities. Nevertheless, they tend to undergo wear and tear and are generally considered non-repairable.

Ease of Use: Eye bolts, with their simplicity and absence of moving components, rank high on user-friendliness and visual inspection.


WLL Reduction in Angular Lifts: Angular lifts spell a significant dip in the Working Load Limit (WLL) of eye bolts, a scenario best averted whenever feasible. In cases necessitating angular lifts, a correctly seated shouldered eye bolt is the go-to choice.

(Note: Not all shouldered eye bolts bear the green light for angular lifting; it’s prudent to consult the manufacturer before embarking on an angular lift.)

Stationary Lifting Point: Unlike hoist rings that exhibit swiveling and pivoting capabilities to accommodate load movement, eye bolts remain immobile within the load throughout the lift. Consequently, eye bolts excel in straight, in-line pulls.

Rated Load: While the most capacious eye bolt offers a maximum WLL of approximately 65,000 lbs., the largest hoist ring boasts a lifting prowess of up to a quarter million pounds.

Swivel Hoist Ring

A swivel hoist ring, sometimes also referred to as a swivel eye bolt, serves as a piece of rigging hardware. Its purpose lies in securely fastening into a designated lifting point on a load. This particular lifting point allows the rigging connected to the hoist to establish a solid link with the load.

The role of a hoist ring bears a resemblance to that of an eye bolt. However, the distinction arises in the swivel hoist ring’s remarkable capacity to pivot and swivel, accommodating lifts at various angles without any harm to the equipment. On the other hand, eye bolts remain stationary and can only handle angular lifts by significantly reducing their Working Load Limit (WLL).

The WLL of a hoist ring varies, ranging from 800 lbs. to a substantial 250,000 lbs. Depending on the load’s size and shape, lifts may involve the utilization of one or multiple hoist rings strategically positioned across the load’s surface.

Swivel hoist rings exhibit the impressive ability to pivot up to 180° and swivel a full 360° from the screw’s axis, allowing for versatile load maneuvering while maintaining the entire WLL.

Applications of Hoist Rings

Much like eye bolts, hoist rings serve as pivotal connection points for various rigging, anchoring, pulling, or hoisting tasks. They find common use in lifting objects such as:

  • Steel plates
  • Motors
  • Dies
  • Containers

While hoist rings can handle similar loads as eye bolts, they excel in scenarios demanding angular lifting.

Hoist rings prove indispensable when lifting operations involve flipping, turning, or manipulating items in any direction other than a straightforward, linear lift.

Side-load and side-pull hoist rings come into play when a load necessitates side-mounting. This is especially prevalent in stamping plants and molding operations, where lifts often require intricate movements beyond a simple up-and-down motion.

Type of Hoist Rings

Hoist rings come in various types, with the most prevalent ones being:

  • Swivel Hoist Rings
  • Side-pull and Side-load Hoist Rings
  • Swivel Hoist Rings

A swivel hoist ring, also known as a center-pull hoist ring, represents the most encountered type on job sites. Typically, a U-bar bail connects through the body’s center via a pin in a clevis-like configuration.

Swivel hoist rings possess the remarkable ability to pivot 180° and swivel 360° while maintaining their full WLL. However, they aren’t suitable for side mounting due to potential obstructions caused by the load.

Side-Pull and Side-Load Hoist Rings

Designed exclusively for side mounting, side-pull and side-load hoist rings feature a bail attached adjacent to the screw, rather than directly above it. These hoist rings pivot and swivel to align with the load but do not maintain their full WLL as the bail pivots.

The Merits and Demerits of Hoist Rings


Mobile Lifting Point: Unlike stationary eye bolts, hoist rings can pivot 180° and swivel 360°, adapting to load movement.

WLL Maintained During Angular Lifts: Swivel hoist rings maintain their full WLL regardless of the lift angle, in contrast to eye bolts.

Side Mounting: Side-pull and side-load hoist rings are explicitly designed and rated for side mounting, a capability eye bolts lack.

Rated Load: The largest hoist rings can handle a remarkable WLL of around 250,000 lbs., surpassing the capacities of eye bolts, which are typically rated for about 65,000 lbs.


Price: Hoist rings come at a higher cost compared to eye bolts due to their additional moving parts. Nevertheless, they often provide greater durability and repairability if damaged.

Ease of Use: Hoist rings involve more complex usage and inspection processes due to their increased complexity. Additionally, they require the use of a torque wrench for proper installation into the load.

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