The Ultimate Winch Buying Guide


If you plan to purchase a winch, you must already be overwhelmed by the variety out there. 

A winch is typically a device that lifts and pulls. Since nobody is a real-life Hulk, winches are essential to lifting heavy loads. Before buying a winch, you must be aware of your specific requirements. 

Here is a guide to help you select the best winch per your requirement. 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Winch

Following is the list of considerations to make the process of selecting a winch easy.


The first step is determining your budget and evaluating which model fits it. Typically, winches range from a few hundred dollars to a few over a thousand dollars. 

The price difference can be attributed to various aspects such as features and construction of the winch. 

If your budget allows, add a few items, such as a synthetic cable or thimbles, to upgrade your winch. Else, put off buying these add-ons for later as and when funds allow. 

Electric Winch or Hand Winch

When buying a winch, one of the most common confusions is deciding between a hand or an electric winch. While both of these are brilliant options, consider the following aspects:

  • A hand winch is usually less expensive than an electric winch.
  • An electric winch is more efficient than a hand winch.
  • An electric winch can handle heavier loads and will not tire as quickly as a hand winch.
  • An electric winch will obviously need a power source to run, unlike a hand winch.


Winches come with a rating and a manual that mentions the weight they can pull safely. Although not always accurate, it gives a fair understanding of the weight handling capacity under ideal conditions. 

Multiple variables have an impact on the performance. Some variables include the angle of the cable and the size of the engine. 

Synthetic Rope or Steel Cables

The 2 options you get with a winch are synthetic ropes or steel cables.

Steel cables are the traditional option for winching. They are strong and durable, making them best for uneven and rough terrain. Steel cables may fray, so it is best to use protective gear like gloves while working with them.

On the other hand, synthetic ropes have gained popularity lately and for all the right reasons. As of 2018, the global synthetic ropes market was valued at $1548 million. For starters, their lightweight composition makes them extremely easy to handle. While they are easier to bend than steel cables, they are also stronger than steel cables. 

Synthetic ropes are slightly cheaper than steel cables but most suited for recovery situations. However, steel cables stand the test of time when it comes to durability.


An electric winch has 2 DC motor options:

  • Series Wound – This motor makes use of field coils to create a magnetic field and is robust and costly. 
  • Permanent Magnet – This less expensive motor is appropriate for medium and light work.

For cold weather, a series-wound motor is a great choice. On the other hand, permanent magnet motors are a better option for use in warmer weather.

Wrapping Up

After all the following considerations, you can narrow down your choice for winches.

Remember, invest in a winch that comes with good quality accessories. Since the risk of handling heavy loads is high, make your choice carefully. 


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