17 Uses of pulley: Exhaustive Detailed Insights

Pulleys help us to perform the task efficiently. These simple systems are used everywhere around us. Some uses of pulley are listed below.

Uses of pulley to lift water from the well

uses of pulley
Uses of pulley in various field

The oldest uses of the pulley system is lifting water from the well. It uses the moveable pulley to draw the water from the well. The rope is tied with a bucket at one end, and another end is in the hand of the user, who pulls the water. The rope and the bucket are thrown into the well, and when the bucket is full of water, the user exerts a force on the other end of the rope. The pulley axel helps the user reduce the applied force to pull the bucket filled with water. Hence makes the complete drawing of water from the well easier.


One of the best uses of pulleys in the engineering domain is an elevator. To lift the heavyweight, high tensile ropes are used. The elevator carries heavyweights that can move up and down quickly by the pulleys. The elevator consists of several motor systems that lift the object with the mechanism of the pulley system—in the absence of a pulley, lifting the object and moving becomes a bit complicated.

Image credits: Image by Elsemargriet from Pixabay 

Lifting cargos

In order to transfer the objects from one floor to another floor of multi-story buildings, the lifting cargos are very helpful. It is difficult to lift the massive object manually is very difficult. The uses of a pulley equipped in lifting cargos completes the task quickly.

Image credits: Image by 2427999 from Pixabay 

Window curtains

The window curtains move smoothly up and down due to the simple pulley mechanism. A cord is attached to the wheel of the pulley, and when the cord is pulled, the curtain rises up. It is the very simplest form of use of pulley in everyday life.

Fans with chain

Fans with chains use the pulley system for their operation. The fan is fitted with two chains or cables hanging at the bottom of the fan. If you pull one chain, it makes the fan turn on, and the other one makes the fan turn off when it is pulled.


In the construction of tall building or to lift the heavy object to greater height or to lift the vehicles the cranes are widely used. The cranes use a pulley mechanism to lift the thing. It consists of raising rope, chains, and sheaves. When the force is applied to these cables and chains, the crane lifts the object. Modern cranes are designed in such a way that they can lift complex materials beyond human capacity.

Image credits: Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay 

 Extended ladders

The most conventional uses of pulley is the extended ladders that you can see everywhere. The painters and the carpenters widely use this ladder. The rung lock system of the ladders uses the pulley mechanism.  The lower end of the rung lock is fitted with the cord. This cord is extended to the top of the ladder by crossing over the pulley. The ladder can extend to a certain height by these pulley systems. Since the cord is extensible, we can easily adjust the height of the ladder accordingly.

 Gym equipment

Certain gym and exercise tools make uses of pulleys in their mechanism. This equipment uses moveable pulleys for their operation. The one end of the string in the equipment is attached to the weights, and another end is given to the user through a pulley. When the user pulls the string, the string exerts the tension force, which is transferred to the body. It helps in strengthening the muscle. Not only gym equipment but some athletic training tools are also involved in the use of pulley systems.

Image credits: Image by Total Shape from Pixabay 

In construction sites

Uses of pulley mechanism is very common in the construction. Since the pulleys are made to lift the massive object, pulleys are widely used in construction sites. The pulleys help to lift and dumping of the materials used for the construction. Most commonly, block and tackle pulleys are used in construction sites. The gun tackle and yard and stay tackle pulleys are widely used.

Flag poles

Another widespread uses of a pulley is a flag pole. We can not hoist the flag without a pulley. Since the flag pole is tall, a rope is tied to the flag pole along with the pulley. To unfold the flag at the top of the pole, pulleys play a vital role. When the rope is pulled, the flag moves upwards with the pulley’s help, and when the rope is dragged, the flag opens. Hoisting the flag becomes effortless because of the use of pulleys in the process.

Rock climbing

The effective uses of the pulley system is rock climbing. It isn’t easy to climb the rock because the climber has to move against gravity. It needs to exert greater force to climb the rocks. Pulleys help to do this task with ease. The climbers have attached themselves to the climbing cord, which passes over the pulley. When the climber pulls the cord downwards, the climber moves upwards with the help of the pulley. This reduces to exerting more force to climb.

Image credits: Image by Pexels from Pixabay 


The uses of pulleys are extended in the birdfeeders also. These birdfeeders are fitted with pulleys to keep the feeders at the top of the trees or poles.

It can be pulled down when it needs to be refilled. This significantly helps to feed the birds in the high trees.    

Fishing rod

The fishing rods are used to catch the fishes is fitted with the pulley at the axel of the rod. The pulleys help to move the cable fitted with the hook to elongate as the axel rotates. This is the simplest form of pulley system. The modern fishing rods are formed by the gear system also.

 Pulleys in a sailing boat

A simple pulley is used in the sailboats to lift the heavy sails and the cargos. Sailboat may use multiple pulleys for the lifting process. It consists of both fixed and moveable pulleys. One of the sailboats is fitted with a simple pulley and rope. When the rope is pulled downward direction, the other end of the boat is lifted. The use of pulleys also helps to ensure smooth sailing. It is because the bearing system uses the pulley mechanism in sailing boats and ships.


The moveable steps or escalators you have seen in the shopping mall, railway station, and airports are make uses of pulley system and the gear system for their motion. The escalator’s handrail moves with the steps of the escalator when the passenger puts their hand on the handrail.  At the back of the escalators, the pulleys are attached with the gears to move the escalator and the handrail to move together.

These pulleys provide tension to the escalator’s belt to rotate and move in the direction opposite to the applied force.

Garage doors or shutter

Garage doors are bulky to lift. It is a complex lift manually. The uses of a pulley system helps to move the shutter up and down. At the top of the doors, four pulleys are fitted connected to the weightless string. These pulleys help to make the process easier. When the shutter door pulls up, the exerted force applied to the pulley makes the string rotate, and the door moves up and down easily.

Theatre system

A simple curtain can be pulled manually, but raising the theatre curtain manually is highly impossible.  In order to raise the curtain, several sets of pulleys are required, which are attached to the single cord. The uses of pulley helps to move the curtain upward when the cable is pulled down.

Timing belts in Automobiles

Certain parts of automobiles make uses of pulley systems for their better performance. A type of pulley called idler pulleys is widely used in vehicles. These pulleys are employed to provide tension to the drive belt. These pulleys operated against the belt direction so that the tension on the belt get reduced.

Oil derricks

Image credits: Image by Viola ‘ from Pixabay

In oil and petroleum industries, the uses of pulley systems can be found regularly. Usually, the pulleys are mounted at the top of the rig, or it can be seen in the running wire lines. To gain mechanical energy, the pulleys are arranged in blocks and tackle between the crown blocks and the traveling blocks. The block and tackle pulley provide sufficient mechanical energy to lift the heavy load. For the wireline operation, two pulleys are hung in the derrick, and the wireline runs smoothly.

Keerthi Murthi

I am Keerthi K Murthy, I have completed post graduation in Physics, with the specialization in the field of solid state physics. I have always consider physics as a fundamental subject which is connected to our daily life. Being a science student I enjoy exploring new things in physics. As a writer my goal is to reach the readers with the simplified manner through my articles. Reach me – keerthikmurthy24@gmail.com

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