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Home > How to Pick Your Lifting Sling
Choosing the right lift sling for the job you need can be a daunting task to say the least. What material do I need? Nylon or Polyester? How many plies of thickness do I need? What width? What is a hitch? Well, Primo Slings is going to give you some information to help you decide and get you going on the right path.

Step 1: HOW are you going to lift your item?
The first thing we need to figure is how you are going to lift your object with the sling. There are often many ways to lift the same object but it is often broken down into 1 of 3 ways (except specialized applications). These 3 ways are called sling hitches. The strength of the sling will depend on the sling hitch you use.
  • Vertical Hitch - The vertical hitch is your most basic hitch. You hook one end of the sling on your lifting mechanism and the other end is hooked to the object at the top. You simply lift the object by lifting straight up pulling the sling in a straight line end to end. The sling's strength rating using this hitch is 1/5th of the break strength (or 20%).
  • Choker Hitch - The choker hitch gets it's name from the way it is applied. The sling is wrapped around the object completely and one eye is threaded through the other. The sling eye that was threaded is then pulled up to the lifting mechanism and attached to the hook. This hitch allows the sling to grab an object that does not have a fastening point required for a vertical hitch. However, the sling's rating is now 80% of the vertical hitch rating, not the break strength.
  • Basket Hitch - The basket hitch is the strongest of all the hitches. The sling goes underneath the object and both eyes are lifted straight up from the sides of the object for a 90° basket hitch. This rating is 2x the vertical hitch, or 2/5th the break strength (40%). If the sling's eyes are brought together at the top and fastened to the same hook, the sling's strength will diminish depending on the angle at which they are used.
vertical hitch, choker hitch, basket hitch

Step 2: How strong of a sling do I need?
Once you know the hitch you are losing to lift, you now know which rating column to look at for the right strength of lifting sling. If you are lifting a 10,000 Lb pipe with a choker hitch, you need to find a sling with a choker rating of 10,000# or more. There may be many different webbing widths/plies that will suit your purpose. This choice will be a matter of preference for you as you can choose a thinner sling with more plies (2" 3-ply for example) or a wider sling with less plies (6" 1-ply). Either would suit your purpose but they both have pros and cons. The 3-ply lifting sling will be stiff and not very flexible due to 3 plies sewn together. But the thinner web being 2" wide may be easier to store.

Step 3: What material sling will be better for my use?
There are four basic sling materials that are the most common. Primo Slings sells nylon and polyester at the current time. The other 2 sling materials would be wire rope and chain which we plan to add further down the road. So let's go over the nylon webbing slings and polyester web slings.

  • Nylon Webbing - Nylon web is a very strong woven webbing that generally comes in 2 different strengths commonly (6000 Lbs/inch or 9800 Lbs/inch). Here at Primo Slings, we concentrate on strength and quality so we sell the 9800# heavy duty web. Nylon webbing has a higher stretch value of roughly 10-15% at rated capacity so it is commonly used for lifting slings, recovery straps, and tree saver straps. Nylon web features red alert yarns on the interior of the web. When the outer jacket of the webbing is damaged that you see the red yarns, the actual lifting threads are damaged and the sling must be taken out of service and replaced immediately.
  • Polyester Webbing - Polyester web is also a very strong webbing but lacks the traditional stretch value that nylon slings offer. The stretch value for polyester tends to be 5-8% at the web's rated capacity. The advantage of using polyester is it tends to be softer and more pliable which prevents a sling from "locking on the load" after it has been lifted using a choker hitch. Polyester also has different resistances to chemicals than nylon web. We have provided a table below as a guideline of which chemicals are ok to use with nylon or polyester.

Step 4: What style of sling do I need?
This part of the process is actually pretty easy. You simply decide what type of lift sling you need. For this next section we will go over each sling type individually to help you decide which one will work the best for you.
  • Eye and eye slings are typically constructed with flat or twisted eyes. Either style can be used in all three types of hitches. However, the twisted eye of the type 4 sling turns the sling eye 90º so these lift straps work much better in a choker hitch. Great all purpose slings.
  • Endless Slings are the most versatile of the nylon slings. They can be used in all 3 hitches like the eye & eye slings but when used in a basket or choker hitch, the base of the sling can be spread out for greater stability when picking up objects.
  • Basket slings, or cargo slings, are used in special applications requiring an extra wide body for stability. These basket slings can be made up to 24" wide and can only be used in a basket hitch.
Of course there are several slings and many different specialty slings that is simply too long to address each style. If you have any questions regarding the style of sling, please feel free to contact us at 319-535-2130 or