Best Hand Winch – Heavy Duty, Small and Mini Hand Winches and Manual Ratchet Winches

When you have heavy loads to transport, you’re going to need a convenient way to load and unload them on and off the transporting vessel. One of the best pieces of equipment you can use for such tasks is a hand winch. Most manual winches operate either through a ratcheting pully system or a hand crank gear. If you are not sure exactly what type of lifting or pulling equipment you need, we also have reviews for electric winches and hoists, as well as chain hoists.

To help you pick the best hand winch in the market today, we’ve done some thorough research and listed five hand winches from top 5 manufacturers which we think will be worth your consideration. We also want to give honorable mention to TR Industrial manual winches and OPENROAD hand crank winches. Both brands have a variety of highly rated winch options, we simply didn’t have enough room.

For our featured products, we reviewed heavy duty hand winches that can handle 1200 to 8000 pounds. If you need something that can handle even more, consider the Erickson 10000 Pound Load Capacity Winch with Spring Loaded Locking Bar. Or, if you need something smaller, most of these brands also offer small and mini hand winches too. We’ve included information and links within the review to make it easy for you. However, for those of you who are sure that’s what you need, we wanted to showcase a few of our favorites from other brands.


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Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size/Weight
Material
Finish
Capacity
Cable
Our Top Choice
Tekton Dual Gear Power Puller Ratchet Winch
Tekton specializes in the production of hand tools that are ingeniously crafted to exceed consumer expectations.
Ratcheting gear pulley system. It has a cushioned handle with nonslip grip. It’s also safe to use. 2 sizes available. All-steel construction.
The metal flap on the spool comes undone sometimes.
29.3” x 10.8” x 4.1”; 13.4 lbs.
Hardened steel
Galvanized finish
4,000 or 8,000 lbs
Aircraft-grade steel cable
Best Value
XtremepowerUS Heavy Duty Hand Crank Winch
XtremepowerUS prides itself in using technology to build products that help consumers achieve their work and play projects safely and efficiently.
It comes in a strong, heavy duty design. Zinc plated steel frame. 2500 lbs towing capacity.
It may feel heavy for lighter tasks.
9” x 7”; 15 lbs.
Heavy gauge steel
Zinc plated finish
2500 lbs
33 feet cable
Dutton-Lainson Single Speed Hand Winch
Dutton-Lainson Company has a legacy of manufacturing top-notch consumer products spanning over 130 years. Its products are used the world over by millions of clients.
It’s compact, durable and corrosion resistant. Ideal for vertical lifting. 2500 lbs towing capacity.
It doesn’t come with a cable or a strap.
10.3” x 8.4” x 6.7”; 15.8 lbs.
Steel
Bronze powder-coated finish
2500 lbs
Not included
Red Hound Auto Hand Crank Gear Winch
Red Hound Auto boasts a wealth of experience in manufacturing dependable automotive products that exceed customer expectations.
It’s portable, easy and comfortable to use. Heavy-duty steel construction. 1200 lbs towing capacity.
It doesn’t come with a cable.
18” x 7” x 2"
Heavy duty steel
Galvanized steel
1200 lbs
Not included
Reese Towpower Hand Trailer Winch
Reese Towpower has distinguished itself as a top-notch manufacturer of automotive towing equipment that is designed to operate efficiently and last long.
It’s easy to mount, durable and rust resistant. It features zinc-plated, steel construction.
Its strap hook is small.
7.2” x 8.1” x 6”; 7 lbs.
Steel
Zinc plated
1500 lbs
Durable strap included

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What Is the Best Manual Winch for Pulling Heavy Objects? Read Our Hand Winch Reviews!

Armed with priceless tips on how to choose the right hand winch, let’s examine the key features of the selected hand winches from top 5 brands in the market. Keep in mind what you want to use the hand winch for and the appropriate load capacity for your project. These factors will guide you in choosing a hand winch that best works for you.

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Our Top Choice
The Dual Gear Power Puller from Tekton can be operated on a single or double line, to carry a maximum load capacity of 4,000 or 8,000 pounds respectively. It’s made of galvanized hardened steel to keep corrosion at bay. If your budget is less flexible and you don’t need a dual gear winch, the Tekton 5541 2 Ton Power Puller is just what you need. It’s highly affordable and comes with a laminated steel gear.

Tekton Dual Gear Power Puller Hand Winch – Ratcheting Gear Pulley System, Available in 4-Ton or 2-Ton Winch, All-Steel Construction


Features

TEKTON stands out as a brand that’s passionate and determined to produce tools that are versatile and highly efficient. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for professional-grade hand tools or are a passionate DIYer, the TEKTON boys have got you covered. Their products range from gardening tools to workshop cutting tools.

The Tekton 5547 Hand Winch is highly versatile and can be used for various projects ranging from construction to landscaping. Its ratchet handle is 21” long and offers high-leverage. It’s operated with simple and safe pumping action which allows you to control the pulling process. This model is available in 2 sizes – 2 tons or 4 tons.

Here are some other features of this hand winch:

  • Has a braided steel cable that’s 0.25” thick and 12’ 7” long
  • It has two gears and locking pawl that ensure even distribution of pulling force
  • Comes with self-closing latch hooks to ensure that connections are secure
  • It uses a geared pulley system for effortless single hand operation
  • Specially built for horizontal pulling projects
  • It’s cost efficient
Best Value
The XtremepowerUS Heavy Duty Boat Hand Winch is highly versatile and has two speeds. It comes with a zinc-plated steel frame for a shiny, rust free look and a cushioned handle for added comfort. This winch can handle a 2500 pound load. However, if you don't need to haul that much, XtremepowerUS has a 2000 pound capacity Hand Crank Winch. Both are manually operated with with a 2-way ratchet.

XtremepowerUS Heavy Hand Winch Crank Gear Winch - Heavy Duty Cable Winch, Pull Up to 2500 Pounds, Good for Trailer, Boat or ATV/UTV


Features

XtremepowerUS is renowned for manufacturing quality consumer products with a wide range of domestic and commercial applications. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for an electric space heater for your office or a washing machine for your family, XtremepowerUS is sure to meet your needs. The company also strives to make its products affordable to the delight of consumers everywhere.

The XtremepowerUS Boat Hand Winch is your ideal choice for projects that require pulling heavy loads such as cars and boats over long distances. Its dual speed construction allows you the flexibility of using the most efficient mode of operation depending on the nature of the task at hand. Moreover, this hand winch comes with a 33-foot long cable that’s braided for added strength. This cable is attached to a heavy duty steel hook that ensures a firm and secure grip on the load.

The highly versatile Dutton-Lainson Company Brake Hand Winch comes in a compact steel design and has a self-locking mechanism that makes it an ideal choice for hoisting projects. Looking for a smaller, mini hand winch? The Dutton-Lainson DLB800A Brake Winch can handle up to 800 pounds. It does require a minimum of 50 pounds to operate though.

Dutton-Lainson Single Speed Hand Crank Winch with Automatic Brake - 2500 Pound Capacity, Self-Locking Winch


Features

Dutton-Lainson Company has remained in the market since 1886 because of its future-focused product designs. This has allowed it to overcome growth hurdles to keep the company vibrant. Its highly skilled and creative workforce embraces innovation to create unique products that are relevant to prevailing market needs. Some of the company’s products include automotive fuel tank filters, marine anchors, and fencing tools.

The Dutton-Lainson Company Brake Hand Winch is specially designed for use on various projects such as lowering and raising sailboat keels or machinery hoisting. Its brake system is designed to hold the load automatically when you release the handle. This gives you the needed safety precaution when handling delicate or heavy loads. Moreover, this hand winch has a drum that can house a 34 feet wire rope with a 0.31” diameter or a 29-foot long strap rope.

Below are some more features that make this product a great pick:

  • Its minimum load capacity is 175 pounds
  • Features a single speed design
  • Has a geared cranking mechanism
  • Has comfort grip handle
  • It offers a 17.3:1 gear ratio
The Red Hound Auto Empty Hand Crank Winch For Cable is designed to be used on a wide range of road and marine transport activities. It comes with a comfort grip handle. Looking for cargo tie down ratchet winches? Have a look at the US Cargo Control Lashing Winches. They’re made of industrial grade steel and have a maximum load capacity of 5 tons!

Red Hound Auto Hand Crank Gear Winch for ATV and Boat Trailers – 1200 lb. Trailer Winch with Pre-Installed 20 ft. Strap and Hook


Features

For more than 30 years Red Hound Auto has been providing consumers in the automotive industry with products that are highly functional and built to last. These range from battery extension cables to towing safety chains. Its reputation as a leading manufacturer has seen many consumers prefer this brand as their first choice whenever they need to buy any automotive tools. One of the key things that have contributed to the growth of this company is its quality control process that makes sure that all products are thoroughly tested before they’re released to the market. This increases the level of consumer satisfaction as the percentage of defective products entering the market is significantly reduced.

The Red Hound Auto Hand Winch is weather resistant and can operate optimally in extremely cold and hot regions. Its gears have smoothly cut teeth for easy and effortless manual operation. This hand winch is compatible with cable ropes and is built to withstand heavy tasks. It’s simply designed to allow you quick and effortless mounting and you don’t have worry about its cost as it’s pocket-friendly. It also comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty to guarantee its quality.

The Reese Towpower Hand Winch has carbon steel gears and lubricated bearings for smooth cranking. It comes with a nylon strap and a cushioned handle. If you need a small hand winch for lighter tasks, get the Reese Towpower 74337 Winch. It has a load capacity of 600 pounds and a comfortable grip handle.

Reese Towpower Hand Crank Winch with 1500 Pound Capacity - Easy to Install and Use, Comfort Grip Handle, Zinc Plated


Features

Reese Towpower brand is wholly owned by Horizon Global Corporation. It specializes in providing cutting edge towing and security lighting solutions. Other sister brands to Reese Towpower include Reese Powersports, Reese Explore, and Reese Secure. Together, they make a one-stop shop for your automotive and marine transport accessories. On the other hand, Horizon Global Corporation owns other brands such as Pro-Series, Parkside, and Laitner that are renowned for providing a wide range of products with both domestic and commercial applications.

The Reese Towpower Hand Winch is specially designed to unreel easily and its nylon strap comes with a steel hook. The design of this hand winch allows you easy and hassle-free installation. This ensures that you don’t waste precious time on other things besides your moving project. Its heavy-duty construction allows you to use it for a wide range of lifting tasks ranging from trailer loading to sailboat applications. The good news is that you get to enjoy all these benefits at a very pocket-friendly price.

Best Heavy-Duty Hand Winch Guide: Hand Crank Winch vs Manual Ratchet Winch

If you frequently use trucks to transport cargo, you know all too well how important tools like loading ramps and floor jacks are. Similarly, if you’re a sailor, you can’t set sail if your vessel doesn’t have a reliable anchor. In both situations, you’ll need the right tools to enable you to complete your objectives. Some of the most commonly used tools in both automotive and marine industries are hand winches. They can be used for lifting or pulling functions depending on their design and the task at hand.

Hand winches offer you unmatched flexibility and convenience when working with heavy loads. The best hand winch brands in the market build their products with the end user in mind. Their hand winches are both cost efficient and built to last to give you value for money. They’re also easy to use and don’t necessarily require special skills to operate. Safety is also very important when operating hand winches, obviously because accidents can cause serious damage to valuable items or harm the user.

Hand winches come in a wide range of designs and can be classified according to their load capacity, gear speed, gear design, braking system or crank design. Of importance is to know what exactly you want to use the hand winch for to enable you to pick the right model for you. Below are some more tips to help you pick your best fit hand winch.

Video: How to Install a Hand Crank Winch

Installing a Hand Crank Winch. | Courtesy of Carz Plus
Price

The price of a hand winch depends on a number of factors such as construction material, load capacity, gear design, safety features and added accessories such as ropes. Hand winches that are made of heavy duty steel, that’s rust resistant, will cost more compared to lightweight models that are susceptible to corrosion. Cheap hand winches on the market often compromise the much needed strength for cost and could end up costing you much more further down the road. It is better to simply avoid them and prevent expensive damage to your cargo or vehicles.

If you want to get a quality hand winch in the market, be ready to spend between at least $25 for a small hand winch, and about $200 for a heavy duty hand winch. Large capacity winches could cost even more. The price will depend on your preferred features including the nature of your project.

Features

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working at your farm, logging in the forest or rescuing a broken truck, a hand winch will help you reduce an otherwise tough task to child’s play. However, to make sure that you get the best out of a hand winch, it’s wise to scrutinize its features before you buy it.

Here are the important features to look for in a hand winch:

  • Construction material
  • Dimensions and weight of the hand winch
  • Finish style such as zinc plated
  • Load capacity
  • Gear design
  • Handle design
  • Drum design
  • Compatible rope types
  • Safety features such as braking and self-locking mechanisms
  • Primary use of the winch such pulling or lifting

These features will help you pick a hand winch that won’t only meet your needs but also fit your budget.

Construction and Design

The best brands in the market use heavy gauge galvanized or zinc plated steel for the construction of hand winch frames. Carbon steel is commonly used on gears which are skillfully designed to produce smooth teeth. Some of the common gear systems used on hand winches are planetary and worm gear types. It’s also common for trusted manufacturers to use permanently lubricated bearings on the gear systems.

Hand winches are operated using a manual cranking system which can either be a rotating hand crank, ratchet hand crank or a loop drive crank. These offer diverse operational strengths that are differently applied in specified situations. It’s also worth mentioning that hand winches with ratchet hand cranking mechanisms often use pulley systems for an added mechanical advantage.

The handle design of a hand winch is very critical in determining its ease of use. Leading brands in the market incorporate comfort grip features such ribbed plastic in their crank handle designs. While some hand winches are specially built to use specific ropes types such as braided cables or nylon straps, other designs can use either. However, not all hand winches come with ropes. Just make sure you confirm the compatible rope type for your preferred hand winch if it doesn’t come with one.

Video: Operation of a Winch

Safety Tips When Using a Manual Trailer Winch. | Courtesy of U-Haul Australia
Performance and Ease of Use

Before buying a hand winch, make sure that it’s easy to install and operate. We’re sure you don’t want to pay for someone to operate a hand winch for you! So, pick a model that anyone can operate without the need for special skills. The structure of the hand winch should withstand its indicated maximum load capacity and operate without a glitch. However, make sure you get a hand winch that can comfortably handle your project demands. Don’t risk overloading as this will damage your winch, necessitating its replacement.

A braking mechanism in a hand winch is very important when lifting and lowering loads. It ensures maximum control of the loading and unloading processes. It also safeguards the operator against falling loads. It’s common for a ratchet hand cranked winch to have a freewheel feature since it’s used for horizontal pulling tasks. This allows for faster operation. As you buy a hand winch, make sure it’s corrosion resistant for added durability. If your hand winch comes with a rope, make sure it’s long enough to meet your project requirements.


Get the Best Hand Winch of 2021!

Having gone through our list of terrific hand winches from the top 5 brands in the market, we hope that you’ve found one that works for you. Follow the links on this review page to find more exciting options of hand winches from these trusted brands and pick one that tickles your fancy.

Our Top Choice
Tekton Dual Gear Power Puller Ratchet Winch
Best Value
XtremepowerUS Heavy Duty Hand Crank Winch
Dutton-Lainson Single Speed Hand Winch
Red Hound Auto Hand Crank Gear Winch
Reese Towpower Hand Trailer Winch

Hand Winch FAQs

How to use a hand winch?
To use a hand winch, wrap the steel chain or anchor strap along with an immobile anchoring object like a tree or steel post. After hooking the portable hand winch to the belt or the chain, unlock the cable spool ratchet. Then pull out the cable and attach the hook to the object you intend to move, ensuring the line is at the same level as the object.
Go ahead and relock the ratchet, inspecting the winch attachments to the load as well as the anchor end. Once you have ensured you have secure attachments, turn the winch’s crank handle. Keep cranking as you pull the object to the desired position. You can now release the cable and unhook the winch, rewinding the cable. Lastly, remove the strap or chain from the tree or anchor post. Check out our buying guide for more information.
How to put the cable on the hand winch?
If you want to put a cable on a hand winch, you should start by getting rid of the old one. Locate the fairlead on the winch and insert the new line through it. The proper way to attach the cable is to feed it from the base of the drum. Use the loop or eyelet on one end of the winch cable to insert the retaining bolt. In that case, the cable should be compatible with your winch.
After applying some drops of the thread-locking compound on the bolt, tighten it using a ratchet and socket. It’s now time to wind the cable onto the drum in close, tight loops so that the cable can overlap itself. Keep spooling and building new layers until most of the cable is on the line.
How to release a hand winch?
To release a hand winch, start by disengaging the main ratchet drive. The drive pawl spring is on the lever handle. You can disengage the ratchet drive by pulling the drive pawl spring upwards. After attaching the load hook, release the cable. You can also release the stop pawl trigger and attach the anchor hook.