Calculating Sling Angles

Always consider the sling angles when making a lift. The angle of the sling can reduce the capacity of all the rigging due to sling tension.

As an example, a horizontal sling angle of 30º will increase the tension factor by 2 times therefore doubling the weight felt by the sling and all related rigging. You can use the chart below to calculate tension factors. If appropriate overhead clearance is available, most riggers use a 60º equilateral triangle as a benchmark angle. A 60º equilateral triangle has three equal sides making it a quick and easy reference point for estimating your sling angle. If a more critical assessment of the sling angle is necessary, the information below can assist in more precise angle calculations. Calculations should always be verified by a qualified person. 

Reduction Factor

Vertical Choker (VC) rating of each sling = 8,000lbs
Measured Height (H) = 84″
Measured Length (L) = 96″
Reduction Factor = 84″(H) ÷ 96″(L) = .875
Sling rating is reduced by = .875
8,000 lbs (VC) x .875 = 7,000lbs of lifting capacity per sling

Increasing tension

Load Weight = 2,400lbs
Rigging – 2 slings in vertical hitch
Lifting weight (LW) per sling – 1,200lbs
Measured Length (L) = 120′
Measured Height (H) = 96″
Tension Factor (TF) = 120″ (L) ÷ 96″ (H) = 1.25
Minimum Vertical Rated Capacity required for this lift = 1,200 (LW) x 1.25 (TF) = 1,500lbs per sling.

Reduction Capacity Drawing
Reduction Factor
Increasing Tension Drawing
Increasing Tension


Reduction FactorAngle From HorizontalTension Factor

Steps to Consider When Calculating Sling Angles:

1. Calculate Reduction Factor (RF).
Use the angle from the horizontal, read across the Angle Chart to the corresponding number of the Reduction Factor columns – OR – Divide sling height* (H) by sling Length* (L)

2. Calculate Slings Reduced Rating.
Reduction Factor (RF) x the sling’s rated capacity for the type of hitch that will be used = Sling’s Reduced Rating

Steps to Determine necessary Sling Capacity:

1. Determine the weight that the sling will be lifting (LW).

2. Calculate the Tension Factor (TF)
Using the angle from the horizontal, read across the Angle Chart to the corresponding number of the Reduction Factor column.
Divide sling length* (L) by sling height* (H).

3. Minimum Sling Rating 
Lifting Weight (LW) x the Tension Factor (TF) = Minimum Sling Rating for the type of hitch that will be used.

*Measured from a common horizontal plane to the hoisting hook.

Basic Hitches:

Basic Hitches
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