For hoisting heavy loads of any kind, a quality chain block can be a lifesaver. Choices today span a wide array of products from beefy, chain-centric models that you suspend from the shop ceiling to lightweight portable setups that are perfect for hanging a deer in camp. There are also some medium-range, portable models that are an excellent choice for off-road enthusiasts who might need to get a bogged-down truck out of a jam. Here are three questions to ask before you make your purchase.

Great Value

This simple rope hoist has a 2-ton capacity and a zinc-plated housing so it won’t rust—the perfect tool for deer camp. Amazon

The first thing you need to determine is what purpose you’re going to use your chain block for and how heavy your average load will be. If you’re looking for a lightweight block to hoist a deer or elk in camp, a simple rope-and-pulley system will probably work fine, but you’re going to need something much heavier for lifting a heavy engine block out of your truck for repairs.

Easy to Use

This model can lift or pull megaweight, and it has a line speed retrieval rate of 13.8 feet per minute. Amazon

Portable electric rigs are a clever replacement for old-fashioned come-a-longs. They do require a power source, but most units can run off the power source in your truck. These setups not only lift, but they can also be used to pull should you need to use your block as a winch. And the speed at which electric models retrieve line is faster than manual models.

Multiple Weight Options

This model has a lift height of 2.5 to 3 meters. Amazon

When choosing a chain block it’s important to determine how much “lift” (chain length) you’ll need. This depends on how high you plan on mounting your hoist and where your load will be positioned when you lift it up. If you hang your hoist from a beam in the garage that is 20-feet high and your load will be on the floor, you’ll need at least 20 feet of chain or “lift.”