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Rigging Sling Selection Guide

Warning: Only trained and competent personnel should be operating any kind of lifting device.

Notice: Different jurisdictions may have legislation regarding slings that must be followed. Consult these prior to use of any overhead lifting device.


There are many different types of sling that can be used for many different applications. Determining the most suitable sling for a job is a skill that requires training and experience. Different types and configurations of slings are used for different purposes. Web Slings, Round Slings, Wire Rope Slings , and Chain Slings each have benefits and drawbacks which suit them to specific jobs. The type and configuration of sling you use is dependent on the material or items to be lifted. Regardless of which type of sling to be used, they must have a tag with a safe rated working load limit. Be aware of what type of hitch is to be used, and the angle of lift, as this will affect the working load limit. Never exceed the working load limit of any sling!

Web Slings

Flat web slings, such as the Type 1 Web Sling, Type 2 Web Sling & Type 3 Web Sling are good for general use and have many different applications and configurations. These slings are lightweight, inexpensive and flexible. Polyester Web Slings are soft to prevent any damage to materials being lifted however this also makes them susceptible to being cut on sharp edges. Corner and edge protection should be used with a web sling to prevent cuts or tears. We recommend always using Web Sling Wear Pads on a web sling. However, even with corner & edge protection on a sling it is still possible for sharp edges to cut through both the protector and the sling. Web Slings should not be used in temperatures exceeding 200 degrees fahrenheit. If a web sling is exposed to this level of heat it should no longer be used.

An ideal usage scenario for the web sling would be lifting a smooth plastic container or smooth material. You should avoid lifting things such as a steel block with a sharp edge. The edge can potentially cut through the strap which will result in a dropped load.

Round Slings

Polyester Round Slings have similar uses to a flat web sling in that they are also soft, lightweight, inexpensive, and flexible. However they have several advantages over a flat web sling; firstly, they are great for lifting cylindrical objects in a choker hitch, as they cinch up very tightly on a cylinder. They also can be continually rotated so that the wear point on the material and the crane hook changes. Performing this rotation can extend the lifespan of the sling. Round Slings are just as susceptible to cuts and tears as web slings and should never be used to lift any objects with sharp edges.

We encourage the use of wear pads with all polyester round slings. Similar to web slings, round slings are also not compatible with high heat applications and should never be exposed to temperatures exceeding 200 degrees fahrenheit. Remove from service immediately if exposed to such temperatures.

An ideal usage scenario for the round sling would be lifting a smooth plastic pipe or otherwise smooth cylindrical loads in a choker hitch. You should avoid lifting a roll of steel sheet close to welding operations. The sharp edge may cut the sling and welding spatter can overheat or damage a synthetic sling.

Wire rope slings

All of RiggingCanada's Wire Rope Slings are abrasion and cut-resistant, while still retaining flexibility. They are the most cost-effective steel sling. All of our wire rope slings are made using the flemish eye method. Wire rope slings were the sling of choice for most industrial applications for many decades. The usage of wire rope slings has tapered off as synthetic slings such as the polyester round and web slings have taken their place. However, there are still many applications where wire rope slings are better suited. There are many different configurations of wire rope sling available, with hooks, rings, and other attachments.

Wire Rope Slings are more heat-resistant than polyester web or round sling and have a maximum operating temperature of 400 degrees fahrenheit. Remove your wire rope sling from service if it has been exposed to this level of heat. If the wire rope has a fibre core instead of steel, this value is reduced to 180 degrees fahrenheit. While they are flexible, there is still a chance that a wire rope sling can damage the item that is being lifted. They are also prone to kinking and should be removed from service if kinked. Wire rope slings are frequently used in conjunction with shackles.

An ideal usage scenario for a wire rope sling would be lifting a section of concrete. The wire rope sling is less likely to be damaged from abrasion than a synthetic sling, and less likely to damage the concrete than a chain or other type of steel sling. You should avoid lifting a polished section of stone such as marble/etc, as the steel wire rope can damage the finish of the stone.

Chain Sling

The Grade 100 alloy chain slings available at RiggingCanada.ca have a large variety of different configurations and applications. They are recommended for lifting in harsh conditions, and are very abrasion and damage resistant. They can be used safely in temperatures of up to 400 degrees fahrenheit, but should not be exposed to any higher temperatures without being degraded. Consult the Grade 100 Chain Sling Information Page to see rates of degradation for chain slings.

The main disadvantages of alloy chain slings are expense and weight. They are significantly more expensive than other types of slings and can be heavy and bulky. Despite these disadvantages, Chain Slings are often the best option for many applications. When used and stored properly, chain slings offer a much higher life span than other types of slings. They are often used in conjunction with shackles or swivel hoist rings.

In Summary, an ideal usage scenario for a chain sling would be having a chain sling hoisted from a crane in a metal fabrication shop; a 4-leg adjustable chain sling with a capacity equal to that of the crane. This configuration allows for the lifting and movement of many different materials around the shop. You should avoid using chain slings for heavy towing applications such as towing heavy vehicles in a remote site; the weight of the chain sling will be too heavy for a person to carry from one place to another. A synthetic sling will have a higher capacity at a much lower weight.


This has been a basic discussion of the different types of slings that are available from Rigging Canada.ca. Use this document as a guideline for selecting the right sling. A competently trained and experienced rigger will have the necessary knowledge to pick the right sling for the right job. Please feel free to contact our support staff if you need assistance in determining the right product!

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