Freestanding Workstation Cranes

Will an Overhead Crane Fit in My Garage?

Author Headshot - Thomas Feldman
Thomas Feldman
Jun 16, 2021

Small Garage Problems

Do you have a small garage? There’s no shame in admitting it. Many men face this problem, and it can leave you with many questions and doubts.

Is my garage ever going to feel spacious?

Is the size of my garage causing me to slow down?

Am I putting myself at risk by working in such a small space without the right equipment?

Small Garage Compromise?

Small garages have a difficult time housing a lot of useful equipment. Hydraulic jacks, Engine cranes, heavy duty stands for work pieces; all of this equipment takes up a lot of space, but they really come in handy when you need them.

Maybe you just want to bite the bullet and put all of these things in your garage. They’ll come in handy someday, sure, but when they’re not in use where are they?

In your way, that’s where they are!

Filling your garage with tools sounds great until you have to do any work in your garage. Then it’s a pain having to either move everything out and in again, or having to work around everything.

More tools may make work easier, but working around them in a small cramped garage makes work much harder.

It’s not hopeless though. You don’t have to choose between having the heavy lifting tools that make some work easier and some work possible, or having an easy-to-work in garage.

The solution to a small garage is an overhead crane.

A Short Intro to Overhead Cranes

If you don’t know what an overhead crane is, this is an overhead crane:

Overhead Bridge Crane Lifting Steel
Overhead Crane

Overhead cranes can move a lot of weight around very easily and more importantly very safely.

Overhead cranes come in several different types depending on what is needed. Some of these include jib cranes, bridge cranes, gantry cranes and several others. While most overhead cranes are used in an industrial setting, certain types of overhead cranes can also be used in a non-industrial setting.

The types of overhead cranes that can be used in a non-industrial setting, like your garage, will more than likely be a workstation crane.

Freestanding Workstation Cranes
Workstation Crane

Workstation cranes are still a type of overhead crane, but they are more compact so they will be able to fit in your garage. A workstation crane will work great as a garage overhead crane because it is still able to lift and move heavy loads.

Some other options that may work in your garage could be a jib crane or a gantry crane.

Is an Overhead Crane Worth It?

While most people would benefit from having something as versatile as an overhead crane in their garage, for some it might not be worth the upfront cost.

If you just want to do a sick LS swap on your project car and not mess with engine swaps or transmission work from that point on, then you probably don’t need a dedicated overhead crane in your garage.

You could get by with renting an engine crane for the short amount of time you’ll need it for.

However, if you’re a home garage mechanic or heavy motor enthusiast and plan on doing a lot of car work, then an overhead crane will definitely make your life a lot easier.

Even if you don’t work on cars, overhead cranes can still work for you.

I do a lot of wood working, and I can tell you from experience, moving a large 8x8 oak beam by yourself is not as fun as you might think.

Those heavy beams become a lot more manageable when you have the support of a nice chain hoist. It also comes in handy for the more common 2x12’s when you need to move a lot of them from your workbench to your table saw.

If you’re still not sure if an overhead crane in your garage would be worth the cost, feel free to reach out to us at PWI. While most of our customers are large manufacturers, we’ve worked with lots of hobbyists and small scale professionals and could help you determine what works best for your unique situation.

How Am I Going to Fit an Overhead Crane in My Small Garage?

Space saving is the name of the game when it comes to working in a small garage. Overhead cranes are very powerful, but they take up surprisingly little space!

You can lift heavy objects like car engines all day, and move them around pretty easily compared to some bulky engine crane. The best part is you’re not trying to straddle a big steel frame, you just move the engine along the hoist track via the chain and work piece.

The space that the overhead crane will take up is just the standing supports which will likely stick out a couple inches from the wall, and the I-Beam which can be right in-line with your rafters.

If you go with an overhead crane that can move not only side to side, but also forward and backwards then you’ll have to put that below the rafters. Chances are even in a small garage you won’t be anywhere close to hitting your head on it, and you’ll have an amazingly versatile piece of equipment.

Most people won’t need a complex overhead crane though so most likely yours would be in between the ceiling rafters.

Can I Just Mount an Overhead Crane To My Ceiling?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: Heck no!

You might say “Well, it’d be nice to not have some support beams in my garage. They don’t take up that much space, but it might look cleaner if they were gone. I’ll just mount a chain hoist to my rafters.”

Rafters are strong, I’ve been pretty high above the ground standing on just a couple of rafters, and felt very secure.

However, I would not want to be underneath a rafter that is supporting the full weight of a car engine. I especially wouldn’t want to be under that engine!

Putting heavy weight loads onto wood is a recipe for disaster. There’s a reason why bridges are made out of steel and concrete now.

Wood will deteriorate over time and you do not want to be the poor sap under a load-bearing piece of rotted wood.

Steel, on the other hand, will last for a very very long time. When relying on something to hold heavy weight that you might be under, go with steel. Go with the support beams.

The Many Pros to Overhead Cranes

I’ve mentioned some of the main benefits of overhead cranes above, but here are the most important benefits.

They make your work safer

By having a strong reliable crane in your garage, you won’t have to risk relying on shaky jack stands, engine mounts, or saw horses. In the words of ErictheCarGuy “Don’t let this happen to you”.

They make your work faster

They make collapsible engine hoists sure, but it takes a lot longer to set those hoists up than it does to pull a chain to your work piece. Having the overhead crane always set up and ready to go in your garage is going to make your work not only safer but much quicker as well. No more wasting time with set up.

They make your garage more efficient

By not having to store bulky hoists which will get in your way when not in use, you will have more space in your garage. This matters in a big garage but it matters that much more in a smaller garage. The less stuff you have to work around, the more efficient your work will be.

I Need an Overhead Crane in My Garage! How Do I Get One?

You know that an overhead crane would make your work safer, faster, and more efficient. So how do you get one? Easy, just contact us at PWI and we will take care of the rest.

After calling us here is what will happen:

  1. We will work with you to determine what size crane you need.
  2. We will get you that crane and install it in your garage.
  3. You will rest easy knowing that your garage is one step closer to being the perfect workspace.
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