Numerous pieces of industrial hardware are used to create a safe and sturdy rigging setup. One such piece is the shackle, a load-bearing connecting piece that helps to attach items such as slings, chains, ropes, or other hardware pieces together. Numerous types of shackles can be used, depending on the configuration and application.

Shackles are used across various industries, but they are primarily used in construction, manufacturing, and shipping for:

  • Rigging
  • Towing
  • Pulling
  • Lifting
  • Hoisting
  • Tie-downs

Just like other common pieces of rigging equipment, shackles are designed to fulfill a variety of purposes. So, industrial hardware suppliers have different types and sizes available.

Rigging and overhead lifting systems must be set up properly to ensure safety. Unfortunately, around 90% of overhead lifting and rigging site accidents are a result of human error – such as using the wrong pieces of industrial equipment.

Therefore, understanding what each variation of design, shape, and size is used for is crucial when purchasing rigging hardware. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Breaking Down the Parts of a Shackle

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The design of a shackle is fairly simple and only contains 4 main parts: the bow, ears, pin, and shoulder. It is good to know where each part of the shackle is and how to identify them, especially when inspecting a rigging setup for any signs of wear or damage.

  • The Bow: this is the curved shaped part of the shackle, often resembling the shape of a horseshoe. This can also be called the bail, body, dee, or bowl. This is designed in a rounded shape so it can be connected to a hook or loop easily and allow for some movement.
  • The Ears: These are the two sections on either end of the bow that create an opening for the pin to slid through.
  • The Pin: The pin is a steel bolt that extends the length of the bow and rests through both ears. The pin can be removed to detach the shackle and reinserted for a more permanent attachment.
  • The Shoulder: This is a raised part of the pin that will prevent the pin from sliding too far through the ears of the shackle when it is fully threaded.

Shackles can be made of a variety of materials, but most commonly they are made of stainless steel or galvanized steel. Stainless shackles are naturally more corrosion-resistant and durable, but stainless steel is more expensive. Hot dipped galvanized or heat-treated carbon shackles are a practical alternative.

2. Anchor and Chain Shackles

One of the key differentiators for shackles is the shape of the bow. The majority of shackles are available in either a chain or D-shackle or an anchor shackle design.

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As the name implies, a D-shackle is shaped like the letter “D” and has two straight edges with a rounded top. Also called a chain shackle, these have a narrower bow and are used to create in-line tension. These are sideloading loading, as this can create an uneven weight that twists or bends the bow.

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Anchor shackles (also called bow shackles) have a wider opening at the top and are more rounded on the entire bow. This larger opening makes the shackle ideal for sideloading or multiple sling-leg connections.

3. Shackle Pin Types

Another differentiation within types of shackles is the type of pin used for securement. Only certain types of pins are certified for overhead lifting applications, whereas others are best for frequent connection and disconnection.

  • Screw Pin Shackles


A screw pin shackle is one of the easiest designs to connect and disconnect, so they are not recommended for permanent attachments. Pin shackles are made to fit into the ears of the shackle by threading the pin through and screwing it into place. These can be unscrewed and removed fairly quickly, so it is very important to tighten the pins before each lift to make sure they are fully torqued.

  • Bolt Type Shackles


Bolt-type shackles have a more permanent pin attachment as it is held in place with a bolt and a screw pin. The pin is threaded through the ears and secured with a bolt that is tightened to hold the shackle firmly in place. A screw pin can be added through a small hole on one side of the pin to help keep it in place.

Bolt-type shackles are used primarily in rigging applications where rotation may occur. Since these types of shackles are more permanently secured, the rotation will not compromise the securement.

You may find an industrial hardware supplier that offers additional types of shackles, such as:

  • Synthetic sling shackle
  • Widebody shackle
  • Long reach shackle
  • Sheet pile shackle

These are used for very specific types of rigging configurations. But the traditional bolt type or screw pin is the most common type of shackle used in rigging, overhead lifting, and other industrial applications.


4. How to Determine Which Type of Shackle to Use

Before purchasing and installing any type of shackles, there are some important considerations to take into account. Although shackles are fairly small in size, this piece of equipment plays an important role in securing a rigging setup.

To determine the right type of shackle to use in any application, you must calculate and note the:

  1. Total weight of the load
  2. The types of slings used
  3. Type of hitches used on the sling
  4. The angle of the load

Some types of shackles are not created for specific types of applications. For instance, chain shackles should not be used for sideloading. Further, the greater the angle of the loading, the added stress it places on the shackle. If the load is at a more horizontal angle nearing 90°, then a shackle with a higher weight load limit should be used.

Looking for Industrial Hardware Shackles?

Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you have durable shackles that can withstand any load is to purchase them through a reliable industrial hardware supplier. You want to make sure that your hardware is forged from top-quality steel and is rated for your intended weight load.

Elite Sales is proud to offer only the highest quality shackles, along with other industrial hardware supplies. To learn more or to place an order, connect with Elite Sales online today.