What Is a Ceiling Pulley?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
A simple rope pulley that is designed to be attached to a ceiling.
A simple rope pulley that is designed to be attached to a ceiling.

A ceiling pulley is a device that mounts to a ceiling or wall. The device is made of three parts: a round pulley wheel through which a rope, chain, or cable can be strung, an axle on which the wheel spins, and a frame to which the axle is mounted. The frame is mounted to the ceiling or wall, allowing a user to pull the rope or cable through the fixed pulley. In many cases, a ceiling pulley is used to lift objects off the ground for storage, though it can be used for other purposes as well.

The garage is a common place to see a ceiling pulley or pulleys mounted for use. Homeowners can take advantage of otherwise wasted space above cars parked in the garage, or in high ceiling lofts unreachable without a very high ladder. The ceiling pulley can be mounted to any solid surface that can support the weight of the items being lifted, and once a rope or cable is strung through the pulley, the user will not have to access the pulley itself again. Instead, the ends of the rope will extend downward to an accessible level, and items can be secured to one side of the rope. The other side of the rope will be pulled by the user. Once the object is far enough off the ground, that end of the rope can be tied off to secure the item in place.

Heavier objects will require more than one ceiling pulley, as this will ensure the weight of the object is adequately supported. It will also make lifting the object far easier, since the load will be distributed more evenly throughout the pulley system. Heavier objects will also require pulleys made from more durable materials, such as certain metals, rather than nylon or plastic. Lighter objects such as bicycles can usually be supported adequately with plastic or nylon pulleys.

The pulley frame will need to be secured properly to a supporting stud or other object to ensure safety. Larger systems designed to haul heavy loads should be secured with larger nuts and bolts, while smaller pulleys can usually be secured with screws. It may be important to periodically inspect the pulleys for damage and to ensure they are still secured tightly to the fastening point. Otherwise, a ceiling pulley is generally a low-maintenance system that provides convenience and efficiency to the user.

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    • A simple rope pulley that is designed to be attached to a ceiling.
      By: Zerbor
      A simple rope pulley that is designed to be attached to a ceiling.