Selecting the Right Shackle

Selecting the right type of shackle for the job can be a real challenge, one we and our experts here at Ronstan understand all too well. In this article, we will look at the advantages of a Snap Shackle over a D-Shackle, and talk you through the key differences to enable you to make a fully informed choice.

Now shackles are manufactured in a very broad number of types, styles, sizes, and materials which makes the processing of choosing all that more complicated. The two most common are the D-Shackle (also known as a Chain Shackle– just to complicate things a little more!), and the Snap Shackle. Other types include the Anchor Shackle also known as a Bow Shackle. First of all we will take a look at the D-Shackle.

The D-Shackle gets its name, unsurprisingly from its D-shaped design which makes it easier to identify somewhat helpfully. The main thing about the D-Shackle is that it is narrower than other types of Shackle such as the Anchor, and it also more often than not has a threaded pin closing mechanism. Its main function due to its smaller nature therefore, is to take high loads on the primary line. If used on a side, or raising line for loads, it may buckle. As with other Shackles, a D-Shackle tends to come in a galvanised metal or stainless steel, and with a variety of pin options to suit your needs.

It is important to note here that for use in a marine setting, that stainless steel is best, as galvanised shackles are not too fond of moisture. If, however, you can find a galvanised steel option which therefore has a zinc oxide coating, it will be fit for purpose and a little bit cheaper than a stainless steel one. If you are going for stainless steel marine grade (type 316) is best. D-Shackles are most often used in bi-directional load contexts, as their design is optimal for two directional pulls. This means they are great for linking two pieces of equipment together.

Next up – Snap Shackles. Now this type of shackle is designed with a spring activating mechanism, thus giving it the snap name. The main advantage of this type of shackle is that it can be used swiftly with one hand. So, if speed is the aim of the game, then the Snap Shackle is the shackle for you. It is also the one for jobs where you need to disconnect, reconnect, and repeat manoeuvres. Because of this nature, it means they are however not so great for heavy duty work as they have lower working load limits compared to their family members. Within the snap genre, there is the swivel eye, the swivel jaw, the fixed snap and the rope snap. As the Snap Shackle comes in several different compositions it is more flexible, one of the main drawbacks of the D-Shackle is the fact it doesn’t move or flow, the Snap Shackle with the swivel element means you can do a lot more with it.

So to sum up; the Snap Shackle is faster with its pull cord to open and it satisfactory snap sound upon closure. It gives you the option for single handed operation saving you time (which can never be a bad thing). It can be utilised in a number of settings due to its design from safety harnesses to dog collars! It can also be opened whilst under the bearing of a load. Ronstan’s Snap Shackles are rated by load which makes it really easy to make sure you are getting the one for the job in hand.  The Fixed Bale Snap Shackle comes in a range of sizes depending on the application, and it is perfect for jobs where twisting the attachment is needed. The Swivel Bale Snap Shackle allows for the twisting that is sometimes necessary during the application. The different sizes all allow for easy opening and closing for permanence or flexibility. They also have lower friction levels under large loads.

Ok now we have looked into the D-Shackle and the Snap Shackle, we need to consider the different types of pins that will work alongside your shackle. This is the part that locks in your shackle, and is actually the bit that will work for you. You can get round, screw, bolt, loose, or captive pins, Screw pins are the easiest to fit and therefore one of the most popular. The captive however is particularly useful in marine settings as it can be removed from the bow of the shackle with ease, whilst not risking being dropped in the water as they are attached at all times. Bolt styles are best for really heavy duty work.

So take into considering the pros and cons of the D-Shackle versus the Snap Shackle when making your selection, and don’t forget to look into the type of pin that will work best for your operation too. If in doubt, give the team at Ronstan a call!


Contact us

Volume Quote Form

Talk to us

About Us

Ronstan’s end-to-end design, manufacture and distribution operation delivers high specification products for all serious hardware applications.

Our state-of-the-art design facilities and manufacturing plant handles more than 4.9 million units each year.

As one of the top three sailboat hardware brands globally we know what it is like to deliver great equipment that can handle challenging conditions.