Ceiling Track Hoist vs Mobile Hoist

Published On: 3rd December 2020

Hoists provide a way to transfer somebody with limited mobility but what are the advantages and disadvantages of ceiling track hoists vs mobile hoists?

Both ceiling track hoists and mobile hoists are composed of a lifting mechanism, powered by a battery which reduces the unnecessary strain on the carer or the person being moved. The requirement to hoist someone arises when the person needing assistance can offer little or no help in the transfer.

Hoists have developed over years from when the first patient mobile hoist was developed in 1955. With so many options out there on the market today, how do you choose which one is suitable?

Considering a new ceiling hoist installation for your care home?


When choosing the right hoist, you need to consider what manoeuvres (transfers) are being performed, who is performing the task, how heavy the person is (who is being lifted), what physical abilities they have and how much space there is to work with (both floor space and height needed to perform the lift). Always consult a specialist, such as Medaco, to understand which option is best for your needs. You can also consult an occupational health therapist who will be able to help assess the needs of the user and perform the necessary risk assessment.

Mobile hoists are usually offered to the user in the first instance because they are easy to source, don’t require installation, and are able to be put into use quickly. However, Ceiling hoists are becoming more popular due to their ability to give back floor space and enable easier transfers in some situations.

Below we explore the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of ceiling track hoist vs mobile hoists.

Ceiling Track Hoists

A ceiling track hoist or overhead hoist is a motorised hoist unit that is fitted to a track, which is usually fitted to the ceiling. Ceiling track hoists can lift service users to and from chairs, beds, shower trolleys, baths, and the floor.

Types of ceiling hoist

  • Straight track ceiling hoist
  • H System or X/Y track ceiling hoist (room covering system)
  • Room to room ceiling hoist
  • Gantry or portable ceiling hoist

View our range of ceiling hoists here

Advantages of Ceiling Track Hoists

  • Minimal to no floor space required
  • Full room and multi room coverage in single transfer
  • Greater lifting range
  • Powered traverse options ease friction and mitigate against the weight of the person being transferred, making it easier to position the service user
  • Soft start features reduce jerking and allows the user to be transferred more smoothly
  • Many users can use a ceiling hoist with one carer, whereas mobile hoists often require two carers

Disadvantages of Ceiling Track Hoists

  • Takes longer to install compared to a mobile hoist
  • Remedial works may be required prior to installation e.g. electricity supply
  • Fixed into position once installed, although can be adapted in the future

Learn more about the key benefits of using ceiling track hoists


Mobile Hoists

Mobile hoists are the most common types of hoist on the market. They are designed for everyday use and can be used in a variety of care settings. Mobile hoists can lift service users from and to chairs, beds, shower trolleys and in some cases the floor.

Types of mobile hoist

  • Electric Hoist
  • Hydraulic hoist
  • Compact or foldable hoist

Advantages of Mobile Hoists

  • Easy to access / source and delivered quickly
  • No or minimal installation required
  • Can be stored away when not in use
  • Can be transported between rooms (without the service user) and used where no ceiling hoist is available
  • Foldable and compact hoists can be transported with the service user for example, in the car on a day trip
  • Can provide transfers for a variety of situations

Disadvantages of Mobile Hoists

  • Takes up valuable floor space and not as flexible for getting around furniture such as armchairs, baths, and standard beds
  • Can be difficult to move over uneven floors and thick carpets
  • Not recommended for use to transfer the user from room to room
  • Lifting height can be limited in certain situations
  • Can be difficult to use in narrow hallways, tight turns, and small rooms

Ceiling track hoists and mobile hoists are designed to meet different needs and fit into specific spaces. No matter which hoist you need, always remember these points:

Medaco works with care homes, SEN schools, Hospitals, Hospices, and facilities looking to install changing places. Because we work with a variety of manufacturers, we ensure you get the best possible outcome based on your needs and requirements.

If you have been recommended to use a hoist for your service users, Medaco can help talk you through your options.