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A Guide to Weight Limits of Overhead Hoists

How do you work out overhead hoist system weight limits?

Hoists are used on such a wide range of people, so we need to be sure from the moment we specify a hoisting system that it can ensure a safe, secure transfer for any possible user.

Of course, there are various components in a hoisting system that need to be taken into account when we’re looking at weight limits.

Our blog provides an overview of what we calculate for each part for an overhead hoist weight limit and why they are so important.

Hoist Units

Conveniently, our Innova AirRise hoist units are all named with the amount they are capable of lifting. For example, our AirRise200 has a safe working load of 200kg.

This is probably our most popular hoist unit, although we do offer a range of weight capacities up to an impressive 500kg!

  Safe working load (kg) Safe working load (Stone)
AirRise200 200 31
AirRise260 260 41
AirRise350 350 55
AirRise500 500 79

You might have the preconception that a hoist unit with such a large weight limit would be much larger and clunkier than a typical unit – that simply isn’t the case with our AirRise units. We’ve designed and adapted our units to be as compact and robust as possible, so they can blend into the environment whilst providing excellent transfers.

Overhead Hoist System Weight Limits
The AirRise200 has a safe working load of 200kg.

Hoist Track

The safe working load of the track must also be considered when specifying a hoisting system. When we install our AirGlide360 tracking, we use a small calculation to make sure that the maximum weight limit can be accommodated at any point along the track.

For load bearing calculations, we allow 1.5 times the safe working load of the hoist unit. For instance, an AirRise260 would need 260 x 1.5 = 390kg allowance for loading at any point on the track.

Therefore, the track should be able to support 390kg. For loads above 260kg, we would need to give a more tailored solution.

However we always recommend installing the track to take the weight of the hoist unit the next level up to allow for future proofing, should you ever need to add a hoist unit with a larger weight capacity.

When it comes to X-Y traverse rails, we also need to take extra precautions to ensure that they can facilitate the safe working load of the hoist unit. When the load is above 150kg (23½ stone), we would use a high profile traverse rail with a heavy duty traverse trolley, as anything weaker than this could bend the rail causing malfunction.

But this isn’t always the easiest solution – particularly if you’re a bit tight for space or if you have a transit coupling. Our solution to this is to install a U-profile to the top of the traverse rail that gives it extra rigidity, and it can still be used with a transit coupling.

Track Fixings

As we mentioned above, any hoist unit that is capable of lifting over 260kg would require a more tailored tracking solution. By changing the distance between the track fixings, we can make sure that the track is capable of facilitating a higher safe working load.

For working out the distance between fixings, we work with these calculations:

Weight limit of hoist / Track profile size 65mm profile 120mm profile
200kg 2 metres 5 metres
260kg 1.5 metres 4 metres
350kg 1 metre 3 metres
500kg 1 metre 3 metres

On all our ceiling track systems, we put at least 3 fixing points on the track, no matter how small it is. This then increases depending on how long the track is overall, using the spacings we’ve listed above. This will help to ensure that the safe working load of the hoist is supported.


Overhead hoist system weight limits depends entirely on the setup. There are a few different components that need to be considered when specifying a ceiling track system to make sure that the user’s weight can be safely sustained no matter where they are on the track.

Making sure that you have the correct calculations and the best safe working load for your client or environment is key, so we always recommend consulting a hoisting specialist for matters like this. They can work alongside architects and other designers to make sure that the hoist delivers exactly what it needs to without clashing with other elements of the environment.

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