A pile of new steel chain

A buyer’s guide to steel chains

Which steel chain do I need? It’s a question we get asked a lot, here at Ropes Direct – particularly when a customer is buying steel chain for the first time. There are a variety of different types and sizes to choose from and it can be difficult to know which is right for you. But the good news is, we’re here to help…

Our team know a thing or two about the properties and uses of steel chain and have created a handy ‘buyer’s guide’ to make your decision easier.

What do I need to consider when buying steel chain?


  1. Its protective finish

Steel chains are available in a number of protective finishes and, dependent on the nature of this finish, the chain will be more (or less) suitable for certain applications.

For example, hot dip galvanised chains are resistant to corrosion. They don’t rust and, thanks to their strength, they’re an ideal choice for prolonged outdoor use – particularly within an industrial or marine setting. Zinc-plated and black-plated chains can also be used outdoors. They’re not quite as strong and are often used for decorative purposes, such as fencing and gardening.

Think about exactly how and where your new steel chain will be used. It might not seem important, but selecting the correct finish for your needs will improve the chain’s efficacy and maximise its lifespan. If you’re in any doubt about which is best for you, it’s worth giving our experts a call.


  1. Size

Next, you need to consider size. Steel chain measurements typically include a wire diameter, an inside width and an inside length. At first glance, they can be a little tricky to understand. So be sure to familiarise yourself with these terms and get to know what the numbers actually mean.

Here at Ropes Direct, our steel chains range from 2.5mm to 7mm – dependent on their protective finish. This number refers to the wire diameter. It isn’t the size of the full link and, when choosing a suitable product, it’s important to bear this in mind. You should also note the full length of the chain and calculate how many reels you will require to successfully complete the job.

A diagram to explain steel chain measurements


  1. Maximum load

All of the steel chains, available at Ropes Direct, have a guideline maximum load and are not certified for heavy load-bearing purposes. They should not be used for hoisting or towing.

As a general rule-of-thumb, the bigger its wire diameter, the more weight a steel chain should be able to hold – but don’t take any risks. This is something you should consider carefully when choosing your new product. Again, it’s important to think about how you intend to use the chain and check the product’s specification for information on its maximum load – before you add it to your basket!


Get in touch with Ropes Direct today

3 reels of different steel chain

Ropes Direct is one of the UK’s leading steel chain suppliers. We currently stock a diverse range of steel chains – including hot dip galvanised, zinc-plated, and black-plated steel chain – all of which are side-welded for extra strength, manufactured to the best possible standard and available at a competitive price.

The team are always happy to answer your questions. They have an excellent understanding of the main properties and uses of steel chain and can help to identify the best product for you and your needs. So why not get in touch today? Either give us a call on 01692 671721 or send an email to [email protected] and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.