Three Types of Levers - Simple Machines answers questions

Types of Levers


May 2016 - All levers fall into one of three types of lever.

A first-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is between the weight and the energy moving the weight (your hands, for example). Some common first-class levers are see-saws, crowbars, pliers, scissors (which use two first-class levers together), and a hammer pulling a nail.


A second-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick, you push on the other end, and the weight is in the middle of the stick. Some common second-class levers are doors, staplers, wheelbarrows, and can openers.

Baseball bat

A third-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick, you push on the middle, and the weight is at the other end of the stick. With a third-class lever, you have to put in more energy than you would just lifting the weight, but you get the weight to move a longer distance in return. Some common examples are a broom, a hoe, a fishing rod, a baseball bat, and our own human arms.

Learn by doing: Find examples of each kind of lever that aren't mentioned here
More about simple machines

Bibliography and further reading about simple machines:

Physics home

Levers in kits - build your own levers

Advanced lever kit lets you build many different kinds of levers.

A less complicated lever kit - only eight different kinds of levers: balance scale, wheelbarrow, etc.

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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