Types of lever – Simple machines – Physics

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A man and a girl on a seesaw

Types of lever: What kind of lever is a see-saw?

Three types of lever

All levers fall into one of three types of lever. How can we tell which lever is in which class? The main difference is what order the different parts come in. Every lever has three parts: the force, the fulcrum, and the weight.

More about simple machines
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What is a first-class lever?

Well, a first-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is in between the weight and the energy or force moving the weight (your hands, for example). There’s something pushing or pulling on one side, something pushing or pulling on the other side, and a fixed point in the middle. So the order of a first-class lever is force-fulcrum-weight.

What’s an example of a first-class lever?

Some common first-class levers are see-saws, crowbars, and pliers. A pair of scissors (which use two first-class levers together), and a hammer pulling a nail out of a board are also first class levers. A wheel is also a kind of first-class lever.

More about wheels
When were see-saws invented?

A man pushing some kids in a wheelbarrow

What kind of lever is a wheelbarrow?

And then a second-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick and you push on the other end. The weight is in the middle of the stick. So the order of a second-class lever is fulcrum-weight-force.

What’s an example of a second-class lever?

Some common second-class levers are doors, staplers, wheelbarrows, and can openers.

More about wheelbarrows

A woman playing softball

What kind of lever is a baseball bat?

So then what is a third-class lever?

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. The order of a third-class lever is fulcrum-force-weight.

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.

What’s an example of a third-class lever?

Some common examples of third class levers are a broom, a hoe, a fishing rod, a baseball bat (or a cricket bat), and our own human arms. Your jaw is a third-class lever. A bow and arrow is also a third-class lever.

More about bows and arrows
The evolution of jaws

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:


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By |2019-01-15T06:26:04+00:00August 17th, 2017|Physics|21 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Types of lever – Simple machines – Physics. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 17, 2017. Web. January 21, 2019.

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.


  1. Eric May 17, 2018 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Please can I get more examples on each

    • Karen Carr May 17, 2018 at 10:42 am

      If you understand what the three classes are, you can come up with your own examples! If you don’t understand the difference, keep working on that until you do – that will be much more useful to you.

  2. steve stephanson May 6, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    im confusion

    • Karen Carr May 6, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      What’s the problem, Steve?

  3. Nzisabira samson April 24, 2018 at 5:50 am - Reply

    well explained!!

    • Karen Carr April 24, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Thank you! I’m glad we could help!

  4. Nwachukwu Michael April 10, 2018 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Thanks. Very excellently explained in very simple terms

  5. Mrunmayee March 23, 2018 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Very much helpful

  6. Riya Das February 3, 2018 at 2:10 am - Reply

    very fine

    • Karen Carr February 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm


  7. Maria January 9, 2018 at 3:46 pm - Reply


  8. Maria January 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    I love it

    • Karen Carr January 9, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      Great! Thanks for visiting!

  9. Clarisse A. Corcuera December 12, 2017 at 3:22 am - Reply

    It was so very good . And its so helpful in my assignment. And in my life too😃😄😃😄😃

    • Karen Carr December 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Glad to hear it! Always happy to improve somebody’s life!

  10. Kakoola Suzan November 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I have found this very helpful.

    Thanks Karen Carr

    • Karen Carr November 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Wow, that’s great! Thanks for letting us know. I’d be happy to answer any more questions you have if I can.

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