One of the types of lifting accessory that we stock at Lifting Gear Direct are shackles, where we stock both bow shackles and dee shackles. Below we have laid out for you the difference between bow shackles and dee shackles, and also some advice on how to use them safely and securely.

What’s the difference between bow shackles and dee shackles?

While bow shackles and dee shackles are similar in nature, there are some key differences between the two types of lifting equipment. Firstly, you may also see bow shackles referred to as anchor shackles, and dee shackles referred to as D shackles or chain shackles.

The easiest way to tell the difference between the two types of shackles is by examining their shape. Bow shackles will look larger than a dee shackle, thanks to the rounded nature of the metal shackles itself, resembling an “O” shape.

Dee shackles, on the other hand, are smaller and narrower than a bow shackle, and resemble a “D” shape, hence the name given to it.

Important things to consider when using bow and dee shackles

The differences in bow and dee shackles also mean that they perform different functions too. A bow shackle, thanks to its rounded nature, will be able to handle loads from several directions without it developing a heavy side load. It can handle a larger lifting strap, and its design also means that it has a lower lifting strength than dee shackles.

dee shackles

Here you can see a dee shackle and eyebolt linked together

Dee shackles, as you may expect, perform in the exact opposite way to bow shackles. It can’t handle side loads very well, which can cause twisting of the dee shackle. It can also only handle smaller lifting straps than bow shackles, but its design means it is able to handle a heavier weight load.

Stick to lifting strengths

Always stick to the lifting strengths and guidelines that you have been provided for your bow or dee shackle. The shackles that we stock at Lifting Gear Direct are able to lift between 0.33 tonnes up to a huge 55 tonnes, so there is a vast range in weightage between our stock.

Lifting a greater load than that which has been recommended to you could result in the breaking of the shackle, and damage and harm to those operating in the area.

Securely fasten your shackle

Both bow and dee shackles come with pins attached that allow you to screw and fasten the shackle into place. Make sure that your shackle is securely fastened before commencing any lifting operation.


As with any equipment, bow and shackles need to be regularly inspected and tested overtime. Make sure that you carry out these inspections at least every six months, but given the small nature of the shackles, they can be easily inspected on a much more regular basis.

Find out more about Lifting Gear Direct’s shackles

In total we stock 12 different types of shackle at Lifting Gear Direct. For more information on our range, please get in touch with us here.



Image credit: PIRO4D