Before selecting the best hand winch or the best boat trailer winch (same thing, different name), you must know the boat weight to winch capacity calculation.
Here is the golden rule:
- Typically, the boat weight (combined weight of the boat, fuel, motor, and gear) to winch capacity is 2 to 1.
- With good rollers and winching from a short distance, you can increase the ratio up to 3 to 1.
- If you winch from a longer distance with wooden bunks, the ratio should be 1 to 1.
Now, you know the calculation, it’s time to get our butts off to select the perfect hand winch depending on the boat size (particularly the weight).
Without any further ado, let me deliver you the 5 top-notch hand winches reviews in detail.
Best Smittybilt Winch Comparison Table
Pro Tip: Always pick a winch having at least 1.5 times more load capacity than your vehicle weight. If your vehicle weight is 600 lbs then your winch must have minimum 900 lbs load capacity. It will help prevent winch overload failure accidents.
Top 5 Best Hand Winches Review
If you are planning to get your boat on the trailer, this is perhaps one of the best hand winch available in the market that is worth buying.
The rated weight capacity of this unit is 3200 lbs. So, typically you can use it to winch a boat weighing about 6400 lbs without any trouble.
For short winching distance, the boat weight can be even more like 9600 lbs. If the winching distance is long and you use a wooden bunk, then keep the weight very close to 3200 lbs.
It offers so many user-friendly features including a 4-position adjustable handle from 6 to 9”, a pull-turn knob for engaging or disengaging ratchet plunger pin.
It’s got the standard three-bolt pattern.
This winch has a fully enclosed design with a cast aluminum frame that makes it corrosion-free.
The planetary two-speed gear system lets you shift the speed in a quick time.
As a whole, Fulton F2 is a good hand winch that you should look for if the quality and durability of the unit are your first considerations. It’s worth the price.
- The installation process and cranking this heavy duty hand winch is a plain sailing job.
- The build looks solid, and it should last longer.
- I like the comfortable soft-grip handle.
- You can adjust the length of the handle too.
- It’s virtually a maintenance-free hand winch.
- You can transport the hand winch effortlessly because of its size and weight.
- The necessary mounting hardware is included in the kit.
- You can wind it slower or faster (2 speed), and it has a reverse mechanism implemented.
- Sifting between low gear and high gear is a cakewalk.
- The strap (20’ long, 2” wide) and strap bar are bang on in terms of quality and thickness.
- I must cherish the customer support of the company.
- The price is a bit on the higher side compared to other hand winches I’ve listed here. However, the quality and performance of this unit beat those cheaper units any day.
This USA made hand winch from Goldenrod is not flimsy like some other China made hand winches. Again, it’s a good option to pull up your boat.
However, don’t bother to use this hand winch for some other pulling jobs.
Remember, the rated weight capacity of this particular hand winch is 2500 lbs.
Generally, you can pull a 5000-7500 lbs boat without any trouble whatsoever. But if the winching distance is long, you will want to restrict the boat weight to 2500-2600 lbs.
You can mount this unit right off the bat.
The two-speed operation, in conjunction with the perfect gear ratio, genuinely helps to operate the unit smoothly. The two-speed operation feature also helps it to perform well in heavy-duty jobs.
- Installing this heavy duty hand winch is hassle-free, and cranking is an effortless task too.
- It’s super lightweight and compact.
- Switching the gear and locking into place are easy-peasy.
- The handle is easy to attach and remove. It features a comfortable molded grip too.
- The length of the handle (9.5”) gives enough leverage.
- It’s a heavy-duty and reliable hand winch to serve the purpose well.
- A perfect fit for larger boats.
- It stands against rust and other elements because of the TUFFPLATE zinc finish.
- This hand winch is reasonably priced.
- Unfortunately, this hand winch doesn’t come with a strap. You have to buy one separately.
- As it doesn’t have a self-locking mechanism, you may not want to use this winch for lifting items.
- Some lubrication is required before using this unit.
You’ll need some accessories while winching. Check my suggested winch accessories list, these will surely make winching much safer, faster & easier.
Camco is a well-known brand in offering quality boat winches at an unbeatable price. This very hand winch is also a high-quality tool for a boat trailer that costs a few bucks.
This one is a 2000 lb rated hand winch. So, for short-distance winching, the boat weight, including everything in it, can be something around 4000-6000 lb. For long winching distance, the weight shouldn’t be more than 2000-2200 lb.
You can comfortably grip the handle with sweaty hands because of the rubber grip, which I believe makes it more user-friendly in different conditions.
- This unit comes with a 20’ strap with a hook.
- The size of the grip and the amount of control it provides are fabulous.
- You can crank both in and out, and cranking is pretty straightforward too.
- The double gear system makes it a heavy-duty hand winch.
- It’s solidly built and has a corrosion resistance zinc plated body.
- Easy to install in a quick time.
- The handle is long enough to offer ample leverage.
- It’s super inexpensive.
- You have to buy the washers and nuts separately.
- The strap quality could have been better.
This is another cost-effective heavy duty boat trailer winch from Camco.
As this hand winch is rated as 1200 lb, you can winch a boat weighing about 2400-3600 if you do it from a short distance. For winching from a long distance, you should limit the weight to 1200-1300 lb.
It features a 4:1 gear ratio, and the mounting bolt size is ⅜”.
Warning: Several users thought this one is a 12000 lb unit, which is false. As I said, it’s a 1200 lb weight capacity maual hand winch.
- This model also includes a strap (20’) with a hook in the kit.
- The hook is quite sturdy.
- It’s super compact and easy to transport.
- The handle features an anti-slip grip. It’s easy to grab and operate.
- Again, the handle is straightforward to attach and remove.
- Easy and quick installation and mounting process.
- It’s a sturdy unit that features smooth cranking.
- A powder coating is implemented on the steel body with zinc plating.
- It costs a derisory amount of money.
- Not all the required bolts are included in the package.
- The company should focus on improving the reverse mechanism and the quality of the strap.
Reese Towpower 600 lb winch is one of the best units for DIYers. Nonetheless, you can use it for lifting several objects with the weight limit.
You can use it for raising lower hinged porch windows, hoisting and lowering a heavy bag, and such similar types of jobs.
Of course, like the other units on my list, this one also can be a good option for a boat trailer. However, remember the weight capacity is only 600 lb.
The gear works well, and it can resist wearing; hence it lasts long.
All in all, this quality hand winch from Reese is an excellent light-duty option for all sorts of users.
Obviously, you won’t want to spend a lot of money for day to day tasks. That’s why you would like the price of this unit most.
- Despite being a steel body, it’s still easy to mount and use.
- Straightforward crank and lock system.
- A very well built hand winch.
- It’s equipped with high-quality commercial-grade gears.
- The ergonomically designed handle is quite comfortable and sturdy.
- It’s another corrosion-free winch body. Kudos to the zinc plated finish.
- Assembling everything, including attaching the handle, is as easy as pie.
- It features satisfactorily smooth cranking.
- You have to spend very little money to afford it.
- No strap is included in the kit.
- It’s only perfect for home and light industrial use.
- This unit doesn’t have a reverse mechanism.
Best Hand Winch Buying Guide
What Is Hand Winch?
A hand winch is a light tool that makes it easier to move or lift any heavy objects. This tool is portable and doesn’t require electricity or other external power.
Why You Should Choose A Hand Winch?
The main reasons for choosing a hand winch are described below:
If you are involved with a job that requires regular pulling and lifting, then you can make your job easier by picking a hand winch. With hand winch, you can easily pull or lift any heavy objects.
- Hand winches are portable. You can easily carry hand winches anywhere you want.
- It is inexpensive than any other winch type and has almost no maintenance cost.
- It doesn’t require any external power supply.
- It is designed to use with cable or strap.
- Some hand winch offers extra features such as brakes and covering cases.
- It is very user-friendly.
- It is not only powerful and versatile but also durable too.
Hand Winch Buying Guide
Here are some features that you should consider to get the best out of hand winches. First, have a quick look at these features. After that, I will be explaining some of the important features.
- Construction material
- Finish style
- Weight and dimension of the manual hand winch
- Pulling capacity
- Gear system
- Gear ratio
- Drum design & diameter
- Wire anchoring plate
- Rope types
- Handle design
- Safety features
Heavy duty hand winches should be made of high-grade steel for good performance. But even steel can corrode and rust. On the contrary, Winches coated with zinc or enamel materials are ideal to resist rust or corrosion. So, zinc or enamel-coated hand winches are more strong and dependable.
Hand Winch Important Features
Automatic Brake System
This is a highly wanted feature. The automatic braking system provides maximum possible control of the loading and unloading processes. So, pick one that comes with an automatic brake system.
Enclosed Gear System
Most high-quality hand winches come with the covered and enclosed gear system. This will increase the durability.
You will need a hand winch with a higher gear ratio for pulling or lifting heavier loads, and a smaller gear ratio for lighter loads. Before buying a hand winch, find out what kind of gear ratio will be perfect for your job.
Wire Anchoring Plate
You should pick a manual hand winch with a wire anchoring plate to prevent the slipping out of wire and rope.
When choosing the top hand winch, grab the winch handle and make sure if it feels comfortable. Also, make sure if the crank turns easily. You will find some handles too large or too small. So, check the handle thoroughly before buying it.
Some hand winches are compatible with specific ropes types such as nylon straps or braided cables. Some winches product can use either. If your selected top hand winch doesn’t come with rope, then make sure to confirm which types of ropes are compatible with your winch.
Ease of Use
You should pick one that is easy to install and operate. Because you won’t want to pay someone for operating your hand crank gear winch. So, pick a hand crank winch that can be operated by anyone and doesn’t require any special skills.
If you pick a hand crank winch from top-rated brands, then you don’t have to think about durability and reliability. But if you go with cheap low rated brands, you won’t get such level of experience. In this article, I have reviewed winches from top-rated brands. You can pick one from these hand crank gear winch.
The price range of hand winches depends on some factors. These factors are construction material, pulling capacity, gear construction, braking system, additional accessories and safety features such as braking. You have to spend between $20 and $220 to get a quality hand crank winch.
How To Use Hand Winches
Step 1: Firstly, Wrap an anchor strap or steel chain around a solid immobile object. Connect the winch to the strap or chain. Pull out the winch cable and then attach the cable’s hook to the items you would like to move.
Step 2: Just before you start operating the winch, check the attachments from both ends. Ensure that the attachments are secured properly and won’t come apart when you set the winch under strain.
Step 3: Push and pull the winch lever to tighten the cable for a better pull. Keep on working using the winch lever or crank to pull the item you want to move. Quiet working when the item has been transferred to the preferred position.
Tip: It will best if you put the winch, load and the anchor in a straight line. When pulling a load at an angle, you won’t get proper pulling power.
Warning: Never exceed the maximum load pulling capacity of your winch.
Final Words On The Best Hand Winch Review
I hope this best hand winch review and buying guide helped you to pick the right one for you. If it is up to me, I would get the Fulton FW32000101 F2 Two-Speed Trailer Winch with Strap.
Some manual hand winches are designed for pulling object and some are for lifting. Few winches can do both pulling and lifting properly. If you’re finding a winch for pulling and lifting, then you can consider buying electric winches.