Different Types of Shackles: Proper Use of Shackles [With Photos]

Do you wanna lift something heavier?

Use a shackle!

Do you have something to do with connecting something like chains or ropes?

Use another shackle!

Yes, whenever you have to do some rigging, lifting, or linking something heavier, shackles are your solution. This industrial equipment will not only ease your heavy-duty tasks but also save a lot of time.

But, the problem is there are different types of shackles for different tasks. And, each of those is good for specific tasks. That’s why you have to do some research and choose the best one.

Well, we already did some digging to introduce you to different types of shackles. Have a look.

Types of Shackles

You know, shackles look like a U-shaped device. It is used for different types of load-bearing tasks such as pulling, towing, rigging, lifting, tie-down, hoisting etc.

You will need different types of shackles to perform various applications. I will introduce you to every shackle along with some special-purpose shackles in this section.

At first, let’s have a look at the shackles at a glance –

  • Bow/anchor shackles
  • D ring shackle or Chain shackle
  • Headboard shackle
  • Snap shackle
  • Twist shackle
  • Carabiner

Now, let’s explain those one-by-ones. I will start with the Bow shackle.

1. Bow/Anchor Shackles

Bow/Anchor Shackles

The bow or anchor shackles are a durable shackle with a huge, O-shaped shackle. These shackles have comparatively more defined, larger, and rounded bow areas than other shackles.

Well, you might think that a huge looped alike shape and rounded design pattern like this might reduce the overall strength of this shackle. But, it’s not true. It has lots of advantages too. One of the key advantages of this rounded shape design is that these shackles can bear loads from every direction without developing any kind of side-load.

These shackles have the same pin diameter and body diameter. This diameter of the anchor shackles body allows them to accommodate wider lifting straps. That’s why it is mostly used to hold larger appliances like ships and boats in the coastal areas.

2. D Ring Shackle

D Ring Shackle

The D ring shackles are also known as Dee shackles or Chain shackles. These are comparatively narrower than the anchor shackles. It contains a D-shaped body rather than the O-shaped one of bow shackles.

This is the most commonly used shackle for everyday use. These are usually closed with a clevis-type pin or a threaded pin. Thus it’s a suitable choice to lifting the moderate to heavy loads in line.

But, the D ring shackles aren’t a great choice for side lifting. Side loads might bend or make the body twisted.

3. Headboard Shackle

Headboard Shackle

The headboard shackles are nothing but a long version of the D shackles. It is specially designed to be used on halyards.

Its unique design pattern allows the users to thread the halyard through the shackle. Then you can put a “Figure Eight” knot or other stopper knots without splicing the halyard.

4. Snap Shackle

Snap Shackle

The snap shackles are highly effective where speed is the primary concern. A spring activated mechanism is used to design the snap shackles. Thus it can be connected or disconnected quickly using only one hand.

However, it is recommended only for small to semi-medium applications. It’s working load limits are comparatively lower than the anchor or D shackles. So, it’s not a good choice for performing heavy tasks.

5. Twist Shackle

Twist Shackle

As the name suggests, it is a twisted shackle and somewhat longer than other shackles. The upper portion is 90-degree twisted. Thus, the top section stays in a perpendicular position to the shackle pin.

6. Carabiner


You might get surprised to notice a carabiner (also known as karabiner) in this list. But, it is also a specialized type of shackle. It is built with a metal loop with a spring-system gate.

Just like the snap shackles, speed is the main concern for the carabiners. The carabiners are mainly made from both aluminum and steel to keep them lightweight.

And, it is widely used for rope-intensive activities. So, if you are into climbing, sailing, caving, arboriculture, acrobatics, industrial rope work, whitewater rescue, window cleaning, or construction-related activities, this is the perfect choice for you.

However, you can also use a soft shackle instead of carabiner. Though soft shackles look like a knot, it can be used as a perfect replacement for a carabiner.

Last Words

That pretty much covers it as a simple overview of different types of shackles and their proper uses.

Now it’s your turn. Choose the best one and jump on your duty! But, if you further need information about shackles, feel free to leave your speech in the comment box below.

Have a good day, mate!

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