Winches are an ideal tool for both vehicle rescue work and when large loads need to be moved from one place to another.
If you are thinking of buying a winch, this complete winch buying guide will tell you everything you need to know to choose the best model for you.
What is a winch
A winch is a device designed to move very heavy rolling loads, either horizontally or vertically.
They have a mechanism made up of very resistant cables, hooks and levers that work together to drag the load while the cable is wound around a cylinder or drum.
There are various types of models, such as mechanical, manual, electrical, and hydraulic, and they are commonly used for towing cars or getting them out of a traffic jam. Although they have many more utilities. Keep reading to know everything.
What is it for
A winch is a reliable tool to be used in cliffhanging situations such as sloping driveways. Apart from that, the winch also provides great benefits to hardworking drivers and professional haulers.
It significantly reduces the risk of injury to people by helping to transport or pull loads quickly and efficiently without exerting too much effort on your part.
The Best Winches for this year
In the next section, we leave you the most relevant details of the featured models in each price range. In this way, you can get one of them even if you have a tight budget for it.
The best value for money
It is a manual model with a maximum pull of 500 kg. The dimensions of the cable are 4.5 mm x 10 m, and it works with a hook with an anti-slip device. It has a galvanized steel structure, which guarantees its maximum durability.
The best high-end model
This is also a manual model, but it has a load capacity of 900 kg. Its cable has a length of 10 meters. It is made of hardened steel with a strong sheet metal chassis. In addition, it includes a manual brake.
The best cheap model
It is a manual model with a capacity of 907 kg and a 10-meter cable with a diameter of 5mm. The gear ratio is 4: 1/8: 1 and the hook length is 103mm. It is made of iron.
Comparison of The Best Winches
If you want to buy the best winch for your car, here you will find a comparison table made by our team with the five models highlighted for their high quality and their most important characteristics:
Why buy a winch
A winch or winch is the ideal element to lift or drag heavy objects easily using the weight and power of a vehicle, to which it is attached.
These devices are widely used in the construction industry, in cranes for towing cars, in off-road vehicles and in the timber industry. They are devices with a large capacity that allow you to save time and work when you want to move loads without applying too much force.
There are models of different types and functions, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and your pocket.
In general, they are made of very resistant materials such as stainless steel, so if they are given proper use and maintenance they can last almost a lifetime.
It is important to note that the simplest devices can drag or lift loads of more than one ton and the largest and most powerful can move loads of more than 10 tons. So, if you are one of those who like to venture with an SUV, having a winch can easily get you out of a lot of trouble.
How to choose a winch
You can find many types of winches on the market. Therefore, it is necessary to know some of the most important characteristics that you should consider to choose a model that suits your needs. Here are the factors that you should pay attention to before making your purchase.
Loading capacity of a winch
The load capacity of these devices is the most important factor to consider before deciding to choose one winch or another.
This characteristic will determine the maximum weight that can be dragged or lifted by the mechanism without the cable failing or breaking, and it is generally expressed in kilograms or tons.
The simplest and most compact models, whether manual or electric, have a maximum load capacity of around 2 tons. On the other hand, there are very powerful options that can even move trucks and have maximum capacities that usually exceed 10 tons.
Each manufacturer specifies what is the maximum capacity of their product. It is recommended that you have an estimate of what could be the load that you need to move according to your daily activities and opt for a winch with a load capacity that is at least 1.5 times greater than that estimated.
The Cable of a Winch
A winch cable has to withstand the tension, each 9 and a half millimeter cable is tested several times in its manufacture, the limit resistance of the winch cable is checked. The cable is made of more than one hundred wires wound together, to break all the wires would have to break, to give the go-ahead to the winch it has to withstand more than three times the weight of an off-road vehicle. After checking, the cable is wound on the steel drum, and you need to make sure that it is wound evenly.
A winch cable length
It is important to consider the total length of the cable that is equipped with the winch in question. The size of the cable directly influences the force or power applied to drag the objects.
If the cable is too long, it is possible that it will lose a percentage of its capacity, since with each turn of the cable around the drum where it is wound, the winch gradually loses strength.
Additionally, a cable that is too long could also get tangled in the drum and jam, which will eventually damage the equipment. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for a cable with a length between 8 and 15 meters. However, everything will depend on your needs.
Control ability of winch
Each winch model has a different control capacity. Some automatic equipment has a button to operate the device and that loosens the cable or winds it to drag the load. These have the disadvantage that the button is located near the motor of the device, so you must remain there while the equipment is in motion.
On the other hand, you can also find winches with remote control systems connected to a cable of a specific length. This has the advantage that you can operate the mechanism at a safe distance and thus avoid being injured in the event that the cable breaks. This system is highly recommended when the dragged load is very heavy.
For safety, all devices must have a brake system that immobilizes the drum when the winch is not working. In this way, the cable will not develop on its own without first unlocking the mechanism.
Another factor worth considering before buying is the way it fits into the car.
If you are looking for an off-road winch, it is important that you make sure you have all the tools and parts to install the device correctly and precisely.
Generally, car winches are usually mounted to the bumper of the vehicle, either in the front or in the rear. It is advisable to make sure that the assembly is well reinforced and all the elements are of good quality so as not to run the risk of it coming off while it is being used.
Parts and Components of a Winch
A winch to get you out of any jam has more than 250 pieces working in unison with a steel cable strong enough to tow a jumbo jet.
- A 12-volt motor designed to withstand extreme loads without burning out, The vehicle’s battery-powered winch motor will power the mechanical transmission device and then rotate the winch-driven cable from the drum.
- Cable The carrying capacity of the cable that was originally designed determines its diameter and length (the cable is usually the cable). Cable wound on the winch drum and through the cable glands. Labeled end of the cable to connect anchor ring.
- A heat-dissipating iron drum that prevents the cable from heating up. The winch cable winding drum is a cylindrical device. It consists of a motor-driven winch drum that can be under the control of the remote control to change the direction of rotation.
- Fairleads c hen uses the winch at an angle, guide the cable around the winch drum. Winch cable recycling bumper support is likely to reduce, or hazard, often permanently installed outside of winch or bumper frame.
- Transmission t res groups are a mechanism of the planetary gear, it is converted to the electrical energy generated by the strong traction. The design makes the winch drive system portable and compact.
- Brake system When the engine stops running and the cables are loaded, the system will automatically lock the brake drum. This prevents the cable from coming loose and pulling the car into place.
- Internal gears that multiply the drag force by 200,
- A remote-controlled clutch that allows for easy cable unwinding and automatically locking roller when rewinding, these components allow the winch to tow tons on any terrain. The clutch
- It can be operated by hand, change from the drum and transmission system or lock the state, thus changing the lock state of the transfer or transmission drum.
- Control box c aha controls the battery power of a motor in kinetic energy through the electromagnetic coils for the operator to change the direction of rotation of the winch drum. Some winches are cured in the control box within the frame, and some may be freestanding, depending on the need to install them in place. Electric winch operation at high load, so the control box uses the high load control system to cope with the strong current.
- Controller a controller plugged into the electric winch control box, the freedom of the winch drum rotation control direction. Allows users to operate away from the cable when winching to avoid danger.
Automatic winch brake: How does it work?
The automatic brake of a winch is the system that prevents the vehicle from rolling back down the slope when the motor current is interrupted, for example.
The weight of the vehicle pulls on the cable trying to unwind it, this causes the gears to rotate backward and the brake mechanism also to rotate, when rotating it compresses a set of brake pads that stops the winch in thousandths of a second, the intense friction that occurs.
It will heat the brake pads, if it were not for the fact that they are inside a housing, with heat dissipative grooves, in this way the winch does not overheat and manages to support the weight of the load without moving a millimeter, thanks to the automatic brake you don’t have to worry about the vehicle rolling down.
How does a winch work?
Winches work mainly through a winch or drum that rotates by the action of different mechanisms and gears that can be manual, electric or hydraulic. When turning the winch, a tension force is applied while winding a cable that can be made of steel or synthetic material and that is hooked to the load to be able to drag or lift it.
Usually, this tool also has rollers that serve as a guide so that the cable does not get tangled. In addition, they are equipped with an automatic brake system that is activated once the drum stops rotating.
Electric models use the force of a motor that is powered by a battery to turn the drum. While hydraulic models use the force of pressurized fluid to move objects. In the case of manual winches, a crank or lever must be turned by applying some manual force.
How to install a winch?
The first thing you should do before installing a winch is to make sure you have each of the parts and tools to be able to attach it to the chassis or bumper of the car. Typically a couple of holes will be needed to mount the winch base to the vehicle.
It is important to drill holes to the ideal size so that the bolts will fit in the opening without any problems. The base or stem must fit the front or rear bumper of the car. You will need an adjustable wrench to properly tighten the nuts after installing the washers and bolts.
The installation of these devices must be done properly and precisely, otherwise, there are unnecessary risks and the device will not function optimally. For this reason, it is advisable to rely on the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer where the correct way to install will appear step by step. On the other hand, you can also turn to a professional to install your winch.
The different models of winch
Winches can be classified according to the system or mechanism used to wind the cable. Knowing this, four different models can be highlighted: manual, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic. The most outstanding characteristics for each are mentioned below.
It is the cheapest and simplest model on the market. A manual winch is actuated through a crank or lever, and its power source is provided through the hands and arms.
They are used for small loads that generally do not exceed 2 tons. You can find manual towing winches, 4 × 4 manual winches for off-road cars or even manual forestry winches for fieldwork or the construction industry.
An electric winch works directly with the batteries of the car or truck (2V or 24V). You can also find 220V electric winches that connect to the electrical network.
The largest has a towing capacity that can reach 35 tons, but they heat up easily, so some have thermal fuses to prevent risks.
These models can consume more than 400 amps in 12V, so the car battery must be well charged and in good condition. In addition, they should be used intermittently so as not to overload them. Some models have remote controls to operate them.
It is one of the most varied models on the market and works through a hydraulic circuit by which the drum is driven.
These devices need the flow to have enough pressure to carry the loads without much effort. In general, hydraulic winches reach pressures between 120 and 160 bar and have a higher performance than electrical and mechanical models. They are widely used in rustic cars.
This type of winch is a gasoline or diesel heat engine. Mechanical winches are stronger and heavier than electric winches and allow continuous work without overheating.
You should know that some mechanical models can be hydraulic and even manual. Their installation in vehicles requires a certain skill and they tend to be a little more expensive than electric ones and have a higher power.
How much does a winch cost
The cost of a winch can vary according to its materials, size and mechanisms used to lift or drag objects. The cheapest devices are the manual models, which can be found in price ranges between $30 and $50.
On the other hand, high-power electric models or even hydraulic models reach costs ranging from $100 to even exceeding $300 for the models of greater capacity and size.
A cheap winch with a manual crank mechanism such as trailer winches with 1.5-ton capacities can be found on Amazon at a cost of approximately $40. On the other hand, an electric Warn winch of the smallest and most economical can reach a cost of $170.
Electric portable winches with capacities greater than 4 tons can reach prices ranging from $100 to $150 euros.
Whereas timber hauling tractor winches designed to operate in open spaces and which are also widely used in the construction industry to move heavy loads can cost more than $500.
High-end 4 x 4 models with capacities between 4 and 6 tons that include mounting plates and remote controls such as those of the X-bull brand can reach costs ranging from $250 to $400 depending on the size of the vehicle. cable and its manufacturing materials.
Where to buy a halter?
This accessory for the car or other vehicles can be found in some automotive supply stores. On the other hand, you can also get one of them in online stores, such as Amazon, where there is much more variety of models and brands and affordable prices for all budgets.
Tips before buying a winch
You must take into account the kilos of drag to which the winch will be subjected, since the higher it is, the easier it will be to lift your car or boat to the trailer.
Here’s a practical example: for a boat weighing around 400 kg we always recommend a winch that has a minimum drag of 900kg. The multiplier crowns are another important element in any winch. The crowns generate a pulley effect. Therefore, the more crowns, the easier and less effort to raise the boat.