The Difference Between HT Chain and BBB/Proof Coil Chain
One of the questions we get asked all the time: What is the difference between HT/G43 chain and BBB chain/Proof Coil Chain/etc. Does it matter which one I use in my windlass? In this article we'll explain the difference between these chains and how to pick the right one for your windlass
The the difference between HT/G43 and BBB Chain (and other chains) is simple: these chains have different dimensions. While it may not sound right that 1/4" HT chain and 1/4" BBB Chain have different measurements as they’re both called quarter inch, but in reality these chains' width, length, and pitch and vary greatly. See the diagram below. It should be pointed out that different types of chain often have different breaking strengths as well, but for most boating applications, the main concern is the dimensional difference.
We've exaggerated the diagram above - in reality the difference between chain types is often a fraction of an inch but regardless, that tiny difference makes all of the difference in the world to your Windlass Gypsy.
When you purchase 1/4" chain, 5/16" chain, etc. this measurement is referring to the chain link diameter. It has no relation to the length, width, or pitch (angle) of the chain. Your windlass gypsy can only accept certain dimensions of chain. Therefore it might support 1/4" HT/G43 Chain but not 1/4" BBB Chain or 1/4" Proof Coil Chain, or any other chain.
If you refer to your windlass manual, it will tell you exactly what type and size of chain you need (we also have a handy Windlass Rode Selection Guide here). Do not deviate from this. Almost all windlasses accept either HT/G43 Chain (note, HT Chain is sometimes referred to as G40, G43, or G4 chain which all work interchangeably) or BBB chain, with nearly all new windlasses requiring HT/G43 Chain. If you go to purchase chain and it does not clearly say that it is HT/G43 or BBB, it likely is not.
Hopefully this clears up any confusion regarding different chain types. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.