A manhole cover is a removable plate forming the lid over the opening of a manhole, to prevent someone from falling in and to keep unauthorized persons out.
Manhole covers usually weigh more than 100 pounds (roughly 50 kg), partly because the weight keeps them in place when traffic passes over them, and partly because they are often made out of cast iron, sometimes with infills of concrete. This makes them inexpensive and strong but heavy. They usually feature "pick holes", in which a hook handle is inserted to lift them. Specialized manhole hooks are manufactured for this purpose.
India has become the world leader in manufacturing manhole covers, driving many manufacturers in other countries out of business. Its extremely low labor costs have overcome even the cost of shipping such heavy objects.
Although the covers are too large to be collectible, their ubiquity and the many patterns and descriptions printed on them has led some people to collect pictures of covers from around the world.
Despite their weight and cumbersome nature, manhole covers are sometimes stolen, usually for resale as scrap, particularly when metal prices rise.