Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Jan. 31, 2019

If you are working on your vehicle and you need to remove the engine, then an engine hoist is quickly going to become your best friend. These awesome tools put an incredible amount of lifting power into a form that is small and easy to use in the confined space of a home garage.

In this guide we will help you to find the best engine hoist to suit your needs. We’ll go through the very best tools on the market. Then we’ll highlight the features of the best engine hoist designs before finishing up with a guide on how to use your cool new tool.

The Best Engine Hoist

We kick off the list with this beauty of a tool from Dragway Tools. It is a folding, hydraulic model, sometimes also referred to as an engine cherry picker. As a style of engine lift tool of this nature, there are a few things we look for when assessing these kinds of tools.

First off all, this model folds. That means it can be folded down to total dimension of 58 x 32 x 22 inches. That makes it nice and easy to store in a shed or garage. This tool brings a lifting capacity of two tons. That makes it more than capable of handling just about any engine block on any normal car, truck or SUV.

Key Features
  • Two Ton Lifting Capacity
  • 6x Steel Castor Wheels (Fully Rotating)
  • Forged Steel Construction
  • 102 Inch Lifting Range
Specification
  • Brand Dragway
  • Model B00294B0LS
  • Weight 149 Lbs

This two-ton engine hoist comes form Torin, a company with a great reputation for producing quality tools.

We like when products do what they say on the label. This product is red and it is big, at least in terms of lifting capacity. A two-ton lifting capacity will, as we already said, provide the ability to handle just about any job a home mechanic could wish to take on.

Key Features
  • Very Easy To Use
  • Forged Steel Hooks
  • Very Compact
  • 2 Ton Weight Limit
Specification
  • Brand Torin
  • Model TR9020
  • Weight 27.4 Lbs

Next we have this product from Five Oceans. It is clearly an electric-powered engine hoist, the first tool of this kind to make our list. Just as with the other two styles of engine hoists we looked at already, there are certain features to look for in an electric hoist.

The biggest feature is of course the electric motor that powers the tool. In this model we find a very impressive 1450-watt motor. When this is combined with the high-quality wire cable you have an electric engine hoist with a lifting capacity of up to 2,200 pounds. For an electric hoist that is a very decent lifting ability, especially given the tool’s small size and low price.

Key Features
  • 2200Lbs Lift Capacity
  • 1450 Watt Motor
  • 39.4 Feet of Cable
  • Wired Remote Control
Specification
  • Brand Five Oceans
  • Model 3820-1
  • Weight 67.2 Lbs

Next we take a look at one of the simpler styles of hoists. This chain style engine lift from Black Bull may not quite have the lifting capacity of some other hoists on our list, but it is still brings a lot to the table.

First and foremost is size – or in this instance the lack of it. This hoist weighs only 18 pounds and measures less than 10 inches across. That easily makes it one of the smallest hoists on our list. Despite this it is still able to generate up to a ton of lifting power. That is very impressive in such a space saving, easy to store product.

Key Features
  • 1 Ton Lift Capacity
  • Heavy Duty Construction
  • ¼ Inch Hardened Steel Chain
  • Lightweight and Easy To Hang
Specification
  • Brand Black Bull
  • Model CHOI1
  • Weight 17 pounds

Dragway tools is back with another engine cherry picker/hydraulic style of engine hoist. While this model may bear a few similarities to the model from Dragway Tools we already looked at, there are a number of subtle but key differences.

Chief among them of course is the lifting capacity of this engine hoist. It has an upper weight limit of three tons (6000 pounds), making this easily one of the most powerful styles of hoist to be found on our list. That is going to give you the lift power to tackle just about any at-home engine block removal project.

Key Features
  • 3 Ton Lift Capacity
  • 2x 4 Inch, 2x 6 Inch Steel Castor/Rollers
  • High Grade Premium Steel Construction
Specification
  • Brand Dragway Tools
  • Weight 316 pounds

Torin is back with its second appearance on the list. Once again, it has the “Big Red” branding, although in this instance that is actually a little unfair. Yes, this product is very, very red. But it’s not very big.

It’s actually a great option for anyone looking for a smaller shop crane style engine hoist. That’s great if, for example, you have limited space in your shop or home garage. This is a 165-pound hydraulic hoist with a working size of 64 x 13 inches – it folds up even smaller for easy storage.

Key Features
  • 1 Ton Lift Capacity
  • 4 Wheels for Mobility
  • Folds for Easy Storage
Specification
  • Brand Torin
  • Model T31002
  • Weight 165 Lbs

The next engine hoist is this monster from Strongways. It is absolutely bursting with a huge range of very impressive features. It could in fact be the most feature-packed tool on this list.

First is that very impressive engine leveler. It works at the end of the lifting chain to level out the engine weight by adjusting the angle the engine is held at. That in turn makes lifting easier and safer.

Key Features
  • 2 Ton Lift Capacity
  • High Grade Steel Construction
  • Included Engine Leveler Tool
  • Extendable Boom & Long Legs 
Specification
  • Brand Strongways
  • Model NT32002
  • Weight 184 Lbs

Goplus is the manufacturer of the next engine cherry picker style hoist that made our list. All in all this is a very simple design. It is also very inexpensive. That easily makes it one of the cheapest hydraulic engine hoists we’ve seen.

But what are you getting for your money? Don’t worry, it’s not made of plywood to keep that price down! Instead you have high-grade steel used for the construction. It is also mounted on six wheels that can all swivel 360 degrees, making it easy to move the tool and any hoisted engines.

Key Features
  • 2 Ton Lift Capacity
  • Heavy Gauge Steel Construction
  • 4 Adjustable Positions
  • 360 Degree Swiveling Wheels
  • Good Value for Money
Specification
  • Brand Goplus
  • Model AY3638BK
  • Weight 160 Lbs

Torin is back with its third Big and Red product, but this one is a little different. This is an engine leveler, a very useful little device that is very much worth picking up to go with whatever hoist you choose.

Basically, as we described earlier, it attaches between the crane and the engine block to allow you to alter the engine center of gravity. That in turn makes hoisting easier and safer.

Key Features
  • ¾ Ton Capacity (1,500 Lbs)
  • Easy Attach Support Brackets
  • Compatible With Any Crane or Hoist
Specification
  • Brand Torin
  • Model T32100
  • Weight 2.5 Lbs

We finish with this extremely basic engine hoist from Ironton. Again, as a hoist with a lower price tag there are a few missing features that you would expect on a more expensive, premium model.

It does not fold for example, something to bear in mind if you have limited space to work in and store the tool. It is also packed with four wheels/castors, not the six you may expect with a unit of this length.

Key Features
  • 1 Ton Capacity
  • High Grade Steel Construction
  • Lead-Free Paint Finish
Specification
  • Brand Ironton

Best Engine Hoist Buying Guide & FAQ

In our buying guide, we’ll take you through the features that you should keep an eye out for when picking out the best engine hoist for you. After that, we’ll take a look at how best to use your new tool and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely useful product.

Things to Consider When Buying An Engine Hoist

  • Weight

Capacity The biggest consideration simply has to be the weight capacity of the hoist, compared to the weight of your engine. Our advice here would be to go as big as you possibly can and work in plenty of spare capacity. So if your engine is weighing in at around a ton or so, we recommend picking up an engine hoist with a 2-ton lift capacity. That extra power allows you to lift safely.

  • Movement

Do you need to move the hoist around? Look for a hoist that has some wheels or castors built in. Of course this does not apply to a chain or electric hoist, which will probably stay in the same place all the time.

  • Storage

Space It sure would be great if we all had a home mechanic shop with unlimited space, huh? Well it would also be great if we were married to Katy Perry too, but we have to work with what we’ve got! If you don’t have a huge amount of space to store your hoist, then a chain hoist could be the best option for you. They are normally pretty small and can be taken down and stored in a cupboard or locker somewhere. If you do want a hydraulic model that takes up less space, just look for one that can fold.

  • Price

Chain style engine hoists are generally cheaper, electric are in the middle and a good hydraulic model will set you back the most bucks. Set your budget, know what it will get you and stick to it!

Benefits of Using an Engine Hoist

There are really only two major benefits of using an engine hoist:

  • Lift Engines

Engine blocks are heavy. Really, really heavy. They also need to be lifted vertically out of the engine bay. That combination of weight and awkward placement within the vehicle makes taking the engine out really tough. Unless you have a quality engine hoist, in which case it is much, much easier.

  • Lift Other Stuff

There’s a reason that these tools are often referred to as shop cranes, because they is what they essentially are. They are small, mobile but very powerful little cranes. That means they can be used to lift and move a wide range of heavy and bulky loads. That is always something useful to have on hand.

Different Engine Hoist Types

Engine hoists come in 3 distinct flavors that are Hydraulic, Electric and Chain.

  • Hydraulic

A hydraulic style of engine hoist uses the power of compressed liquid under force. They are one of the more popular styles of engine hoist as they combine incredible lifting power with a very simple ease of use.

You will for example often find them mounted in gurneys or wheeled frames for quick and movement into position.

  • Electric

An electric hoist is typically not going to be as powerful as a hydraulic or a chain style of hoist. For that reason they are best deployed on smaller engines, with an upper weight range of around 300 to 500KG.

The one thing they do have going for them is they are the easiest type of hoist to operate. They often come with a simple control pad that is attached to the hoist. This means they can be operated with the simple flick of a switch. That makes them ideal for anyone who works on their car on their own.

  • Chain

Finally, chain style, the classic style of engine hoists. You will often find this style of hoist in a professional mechanics garage. A big reason for that is these bad boys are near enough indestructible, and require very little in the way of maintenance.

Another reason that they are popular with the pros is the amount of lifting power that they can generate. Even a pretty standard, mid-range style of chain hoist will be capable of lifting several tons, making them ideal for use in a range of situations and capable of hoisting even the heaviest of engine blocks.

How to Remove an Engine From a Car

Every engine removal is an individual case, as every engine is installed and hooked up slight differently. We would therefore suggest that you investigate the removal process for your specific engine.

There are a few tips and tricks to bear in mind no matter what engine you are removing however. We are talking:

  • Drain it

Oh my goodness, if you take anything away from this, please ensure you have drained all the fluid from the engine before you start to remove it.

  • Disconnect All Lines & Wiring

Always check that all coolant lines and all wiring are removed before you start to hoist the engine.

  • Disconnect The Exhaust and Intake

Ditto for these connections too.

  • Remove the Transmission

Always place a jack under the transmission before you start undoing the bolts. Once it is disconnected, it will fall to the floor and it is heavy – so make sure a jack supports it before starting to remove it.

  • Use an Engine Hoist to Raise and Remove the Engine

Duh.

Best Engine Hoist FAQ:

Q: What is an engine hoist?

An engine hoist is a tool that puts incredible lifting power into a small and easy to manage tool. This is true whether the hoist is chain, hydraulic or electric powered – though of course each variation will deliver that lifting power in a different way. At the end of the day, the best way to look at an engine hoist is to see it as a small and highly mobile crane. It’s specialized function is to help you to raise and lift a whole engine block out of a car, SUV or truck – though of course it can also be used for a whole host of other heavy lifting needs too!

Q: How do I lift the engine using the engine hoist?

We would certainly recommend looking at our how to use an engine hoist section above for a general idea of the process of removing an engine. Aside from that, there is a range of guides online, and we would recommend searching out one that is bespoke to your particular vehicle and engine for the most accurate advice.

Q: What size engine hoist do I need?

Always go for a hoist that can handle more than the weight of your engine block. So if it weighs ¾ of a ton, buy a 1-ton hoist. A big, meaty 1-ton engine? Buy a 2-ton hoist. You need that spare lifting capacity so you can hoist the engine safely.

Q: Can I build my own hoist?

Well yes you can, but you could also build your own car if you were so inclined. The real question of course should not be can you build your own engine hoist – but rather if you should do it. Look, if you have access to high grade steel, if you can cut and weld that material safely, if you can build or install a winch or chain mechanism, then go for it. Just bear in mind that all the devices on our list have been designed, built and most importantly tested so you know they can safely hold the weights they are advertised for. The other factor is that with so many models of engine hoist on the market these days, competition has certainly driven down price. Even if you build your own hoist from scratch, you likely won’t save much, or maybe even any, money.

Our Top Pick

We called it early, but in the end there was no product that quite lived up to the Dragway Tools Two Ton Hydraulic Folding engine hoist. For us this tool simply ticked every box required for a top quality engine hoist of this style.

It is constructed from tough steel and has the lifting capacity to handle any normal sized engine block. It folds for convenient storage, has a huge lifting range of over 100 inches and is mounted on tough steel castor wheels for easy movement.

The fact it brings all of those advantages and is also one of the cheaper hydraulic engine lifts out there on the market tipped this tool into first place, just ahead of some of the other excellent models on the list.

Sources:

  1. How to Change a Car Engine – WikiHow
  2. How to Rebuild a Car Engine – YourMechanic

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