How to choose the right sling

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Choosing the right lifting equipment is crucial to ensure safety when conducting a lift, and with the wide range of options available in the market, it can sometimes be challenging to know if you are using the best sling for your lift. From wire rope slings to chain slings, each has their benefits but it is crucial you use the right sling for your lift as not all benefits associated with each sling are applicable for all lifts. To help you choose the right sling, we have devised a list of factors that you should consider when making your selection.

If you are ever unsure or have any questions regarding your slings or lifting equipment, never guess, always ask a trained professional. It is never worth compromising safety, always give Nobles a call and speak to one of our lifting and rigging specialists to ensure the safety of your workers, yourself, your load and your workplace.

When choosing a chain sling, the following factors should be considered:

1. Load

2. Headroom

3. Frequency of use

4. Type of load

5. Method of slinging

6. Environment

1. Load

The load you are going to lift is an obvious consideration when choosing a sling. You must ensure a sling is chosen that has the appropriate Working Load Limit (WLL) in the intended configuration to lift the load. Always refer to the appropriate WLL charts, we have attached these to the right (under Quicklinks) or refer to the relevant Australian Standard. If ever in doubt, please contact a lifting and rigging specialists at Nobles for assistance.

2. Headroom

Headroom is the distance between the crane hook and the load. Where minimum headroom is available, you should consider:

- Using shorter slings

- Using double part grommets

- Keeping chain slings to very short lengths

- Using a lifting beam.

- Increasing the included angle of multiple slings

- If using wire rope slings, there is a minimum length allowance in AS 1666 for slings using mechanically swaged eyes.

3. Frequency of Use

The life of a sling will depend on two factors, how many times it is used and in what manner it is being used. Chain slings usually provide a longer life than wire rope slings, but this is only the case if they are used the right way and are regularly maintained. Considering how often you will be using your sling can be a factor in determining whether you want to a sling that is long wearing or more cost effective. Either way, you need to make sure the sling has the correct WLL for your lift regardless of durability or cost.

4. Type of Load

This is an important factor to consider as protecting your lifting equipment is just as valuable as protecting the load you are lifting. Chain and conventional wire rope slings are the most appropriate for abrasive surfaces. Where a positive choking grip is required synthetic, round webbing slings are the best choice. To protect a vulnerable or valuable load from damage during lifting, Green Pin’s Tycan synthetic chain slings are a good option as the synthetic chain has all the strength of steel without the weight or rigidness.

5. Method of Slinging

Where slings are shackled to lifting points in a multi leg application, wire rope and chain slings are the most suitable. Where choking of the load is required Nobleflex or Superflex wire rope slings or synthetic round and webbing slings are generally the most efficient, though in special applications where abrasive surfaces are prevalent or in hauling logs, grade T chain slings are much more suitable. If shortening of sling legs is required in multi leg applications, grade T chain slings with grab or shortening hooks are the best option. If in doubt, always consult the appropriate WLL chart, Australian Standards or a qualified and trained individual.

6. Environment

Whilst chain slings may be more durable and long wearing, synthetic slings have special value in some chemically hazardous applications. If you will be using a wire rope sling performing in a corrosive environment, ferrule secured flemish eyes should be considered, aluminium ferrules are not appropriate in some mining areas or alumina refineries. Where acids and alkalis are prevalent webbing slings are beneficial. Grade T chain slings will be affected by temperatures above 200°c and wire rope slings used near heat should have a steel core in the wire rope. For further information or advice on the appropriate sling for your lifting environment, give our lifting specialists a call.


Slings should always be used in line with good rigging practice and as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Incorrect sling use could result in a dangerous situation that could cause property damage, serious injury or death.

Increasing the included angle of multiple leg sling assemblies derates the sling. Therefore, higher capacity slings will be required. Never use a sling with an included angle in excess of 120 degrees.

All slings are best stored vertically so their length and condition can be readily inspected. There is also less chance of water, corrosion or mechanical damage, plus the WLL of each sling can be readily ascertained.

Always consult a working load limit chart for your chain sling to ensure you are using it correctly and to its recommended limit. If you have any questions are your lifting requirements or chain slings, please contact Nobles qualified and high trained professionals on 1300 711 559 or For more information on the range of chain slings available from Nobles, including their new NOBLE10 chain solution, use the Quicklinks to the right.