What Are the Different Types of Pulleys?

September 15th, 2015

set-of-pulleysPulleys are wheels on an axle with a grooved rim around the outer edge where a belt, rope or chain passes. The wheel supports the movement of the belt or cable along the perimeter of the wheel. It is a simple device designed to lift loads, transmit power or apply force.

Although there are numerous types of pulleys, there are three main types; single fixed pulleys, movable pulleys and compound pulleys.

Single Fixed Pulleys

The simplest types of pulleys are single fixed pulleys. It is the only type of pulley that requires equal amount of force to the load in order to lift it off the ground. The wheel is immobile and secured at a fixed place. And in order to finish a task, the force changes direction. The advantage of single fixed pulleys is that the load does not have to be pulled or pushed in order to move it. It allows stress-free shifting of the load. There is also a huge advantage when single fixed pulleys are combined with movable pulleys or another fixed pulleys that has a different diameter. The disadvantage of single fixed pulleys when compared to other types of pulleys is that additional effort is needed to move a load.

Movable Pulleys

The wheel used in movable pulleys moves with the load that is being displaced. The single movable pulley is reinforced by two parts of the same rope. And compared to a single fixed pulley, there is much less effort involved in moving the load. Movable pulleys are able to increase the force that is applied, making the task easier. Actually, it has the mechanical advantage of two. Movable pulleys can also be used as a class lever by placing the load between the effort and the fulcrum or the support on which a lever moves. The key advantage of movable pulleys is that it requires less effort to move a load. The disadvantage of this type of pulley is that it needs to be pushed or pulled in order to displace the load.

Compound Pulleys

Compound pulleys are an amalgamation of a movable and fixed pulley. The combination forms a block and tackle. It has the advantages of both types of pulleys. So there is no need for pushing or pulling in order to move a load. As well, minimal force is used. Furthermore, when more pulleys are used, lesser force is needed to move the load. On the other hand, compound pulleys take up a lot of room. Plus, items need to be moved over a longer distance.


At Conveyor Pulleys Rubberfix we carry a wide range of high quality pulleys such as drive pulleys, slatted pulleys, winged pulleys, spiral pulleys and snub, tail and take-up pulleys. Our pulleys are also supplied crowned or flat.


6A Kempson Court, Keysborough,
VIC Australia, 3173

6A Kempson Court, Keysborough,
VIC Australia, 3173
Phone: + 61 3 9769 0777
Fax: + 61 3 9706 3834
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Email: rubberfix@iinet.net.au

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