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In order to get your boat on and off the water from your trailer, you will require a boat trailer winch. They are available as manual (hand driven) or 12 volt electric winches that are compact and easy to install to your trailer.
The best manual boat trailer winch is the Fulton F2 Two Speed, which has a pulling capacity of 3,200 LBS via a dual-operated drum. The best electric boat trailer winch is the Megaflint 12V, which has an impressive 6,000 LBS pulling capacity.
When searching for a boat winch, you will want to ensure that the pulling capacity exceeds the weight of your boat. Failing to do this can put strain upon the mechanism or strap, which is not safe and can result in the boat falling off the trailer.
Table of Contents
Best Manual and Electric Boat Winches
|Boat Trailer Winch||Preview||Cranking|
|Fulton F2 Two-Speed||Manual|
|Reese Towpower 74329||Manual|
|I_S Import Dual Gear||Manual|
|Powerwinch RC 30||Electric|
|Megaflint 12 Volt||Electric|
Choosing between a manual or electric boat winch is dependent upon your budget and whether its worth spending the extra. The manual winch is simple and uses a drum with a line and a vertical spinner to activate the pulling. An electric boat trailer winch is ideal for large boats as they can be pull over 10,000 LBS.
Whether you choose a manual or electric boat trailer winch, it is vital that it exceeds the weight of your boat. However, factors such as the cable lengths, smoothness of cranking and other features will make a big difference to the ease of use.
Heavy duty trailer winches are essential and buying a top rated winch makes loading the boat that much easier. Below is a list of the best boat trailer winches with a choice of manual and electric depending upon your budget and requirements.
Fulton F2 Two-Speed Manual Boat Winch
The Fulton F2 is a highly rated boat trailer winch due to its two speed operation, which allows you to pull 3,200 LBS with ease. It does come with an expensive price tag but compared to cheap alternatives, the Fulton F2 provides smooth pulling.
Other features of the Fulton F2 boat trailer winch includes:
- 3,200 LBS pulling power via a strap
- One handed system switches from high to low speed
- Corrosion resistant aluminum frame
- 4 position ergonomic handle
- Includes a 20 foot heavy duty strap and all mounting hardware
- Dual operating drum for smooth pulling
The enclosed stylish design of the Fulton winch looks great and means there is no extra lubrication/maintenance required to avoid corrosion. Overall it is the best boat winch for your trailer and offers supreme quality over the alternatives.
Reese Towpower 74329 Manual Boat Winch
Reese Towpower is by far the most popular boat trailer winch and this is due to its affordable price and excellent performance. It has a 1,500 LBS pulling capacity and includes a 20 feet strap and hook so that you can get setup straight away.
Other features of the Reese Towpower 74329 trailer winch includes:
- 1,500 LBS pulling capacity
- Zinc plated finish that is resistant to corrosion
- Ergonomic grip handle for comfortable cranking
- High carbon steel gear construction
- Meets SAE 1050 specification
- 4:1 gear ratio
- Full length drum bushing
Overall, the Reese Towpower 74329 is the best boat winch for the money and is built to last unlike most cheap alternatives. However, it is worth nothing that although it comes with a strap, it does not come with the additional hardware required to mount the winch to your boat trailer.
I_S Import Dual Gear Hand Trailer Winch
If you are looking for a heavy duty boat trailer winch, then this 3,500 LBS rated winch is the one for you. Compared to other manual winches available, the I_S Import winch has excellent cranking power and uses high quality materials within the construction.
Features of the I_S Import Dual Gear boat winch includes:
- 3,500 LBS pulling power
- Heavy gauge zinc plated steel frame
- 33 foot steel cable
- Includes a 3 3/8 inch hook
- Hardened steel dual gears
For dealing with heavier boats on the trailer, the dual gear hand winch has gear ratios of 5:1: and 12:1 to improve the ease of loading. Compared to other manual winches, this is something that will make a huge difference.
The excellent pulling power make this winch one of the most powerful in its class and great value for money. It is the best heavy duty boat winch with the addition of two gear ratios to make pulling even easier.
Powerwinch RC 30 12v Boat Winch
The Powerwinch RC 30 is a powerful electric boat winch for owners of large boats that require maximum pulling capacity. It is a premium winch and not recommended for those on a budget but more aimed at those wanted to upgrade their trailer.
Features of the Powerwinch RC 30 electric boat trailer winch include:
- 12 volt electric boat trailer winch
- 11,500 LBS pulling capacity
- Aircraft quality cable that is 40 feet long
- Includes a wireless remote control
- Corrosion resistant zinc plated frame
- Includes a 1 year warranty
An excellent additional feature is the LED light, which is great for pulling the boat onto the trailer at night. There is also an emergency crank located in the winch cover in case the winch has no power.
Overall, the Powerwinch RC 30 is an excellent electric boat trailer winch but it does come with an expensive price tag. However, for those with heavy boats and require a wireless remote control, it is by far the best option.
Megaflint Electric Boat Trailer Winch
For winching larger boats, you will require additional cranking power and using an electric boat trailer winch is the best option. The Megaflint boat winch is ideal for boats weighing up to 6,000 LBS and uses a new and improved design.
Features of the Megaflint Electric Boat Trailer Winch includes:
- 6,000 LBS pulling capacity
- Dual mode operation
- Dynamic and mechanical friction brakes
- Cable length of 30 feet
- Includes a 16 feet long corded remote control
- 1 year warranty
- Made in the USA
Whether you have a heavy boat or finding the manual winch too much hard work, upgrading to an electronic winch is highly recommended. The Megaflint is the best electric boat trailer winch and is more affordable than many of the alternatives that are available.
Boat Trailer Winch Buying Guide
In order to safely launch or load a boat onto a trailer, you will require a boat trailer winch. They are available as a manual hand driven winch or a more desirable electric winch that will run from a 12 volt electrical power supply.
When it comes to choosing the correct trailer winch for your boat, its important that you consider the weight. You will want to ensure that the pulling capacity exceeds the weight of your boat otherwise you will be causing stress upon the mechanics and strap. It would also be unsafe to use at the winch may possibly break at any point.
To help you make an informed buying decision regarding boat winches, we have produced the below buying guide.
Manual Boat Trailer Winches
Manual boat winches are by far the most common winch on a boat trailer. This due to the fact that they are the cheapest and can pull most small boats with ease. They are a simple design, which make maintaining them easier.
The construction is a combination of a drum with the line (often a strap), a vertical spinner to activate the pulling and a ratchet lock to connect to the front of the boat. The larger the manual boat trailer winch, the lower the gear ratio is, which increases the pull of the boat. Some of the premium manual boat winches will even come with two speed (such as the Fulton F2), which allows you to increase the pulling speed.
Electric Boat Trailer Winches
Unlike a manual alternative that requires effort, the electric boat winch is by far the easiest. With a click of a button, you can pull boats that weigh over 10,000 LBS with ease. Most electric boat trailer winches connect to a 12V power supply and often come with wireless remote controls too.
When searching for an electric winch for your boat, you will want to ensure the motor is completely covered. If water was to get into the motor, there would be a high possibility of corrosion occurring and an expensive repair.
Launching and Loading a Boat from a Trailer
Launching the boat is less important than retrieving the boat due to safety risks. As you are retrieving the boat, its important that it is aligned correctly on the trailer.
Once loaded onto your trailer, you are more than likely going to hit the road. Therefore, if not aligned correctly, there is a risk it could slip on the trailer whilst driving on the road.
Below are some tips for launching and loading your boat onto a trailer using a boat trailer winch.
Launching a Boat to a Trailer
- Do not let the trailer go into the water when the hubs are hot
- Don’t block other users from using the slipway
- Ensure all safety straps have been removed beforehand
- Reverse into the water until the stern of the boat begins to float. Have a second person checking this before getting out the vehicle. Once complete, turn off the car, put the car in gear and engage the handbrake
- Remove the bow and strap chain
- Let the boat slowly glide of the trailer with someone holding a rope so it doesn’t stroll away in the water
- Tie the boat up and park your car up
Loading a Boat to a Trailer
- Tilt the engine up so it does not scrape against the floor
- Tie the bow to the strap
- Start winching the boat up the trailer
- Ensure the boat is dead center of the trailer
- Attach the chain once winched up tight
- Drive the boat/trailer up the slipway
- Attach all safety straps
- Perform necessary checks before embarking on your journey
Construction of the Winch
As with the trailer itself, the materials used within the winch must be resistant to corrosion. Most will be coated in zinc or be made from an aluminum frame but the mechanics of the winch must also be protected too.
When it comes to an electric boat winch, you will want to ensure that the motor is enclosed from the elements. The salty water could cause total disaster for the mechanics of the winch, which will result in an expensive repair.
Deciding between an electric or manual hand driven boat trailer winch is dependent upon the weight of your boat. You will want to ensure the pulling capacity exceeds the boats weight and includes gear ratios that will help with the winching.
All of our recommendations cover a wide range of budgets and options for both manual or electric boat trailer winches. Investing slightly more for one that is built to last with a heavy duty construction is highly recommended.