Leaf chains are designed to handle heavy loads.  Compared to precision roller chains, leaf chains have higher strength ratings suitable for high load and high impact environments.  Widely used for lifting and hoisting purposes, leaf chains are often seen on equipment such as lift trucks, boom trucks, forklifts, automobile parking towers, inter-model container lifts and freight elevators.

Leaf chains are composed of stacks of link plates and pins.  The outer links are press fit to the pins.  Pins are then riveted to secure the press fit and lock the parts in position to prevent the pins from rotating.  Center links are slip fit to the pins.  The number of link plates varies based on the chain lacing.

Leaf chains can be categorized into two types.  One type follows the American B29.8 standard.  The other follows European ISO 4347 and DIN 8152 standards.