My arm is already starting to hurt as we dive into this topic. I remember the first time I went out shopping for a boat trailer winch. The only thought on my mind was the price. I looked for a cheap winch. I ended up buying a simple 800 pound hand crank winch. I hooked it onto my boat trailer, loaded the boat, and headed out for a day of fishing. At the end of the day I had to crank that boat back onto the trailer. The next day my arm was sore.
What does that have to do with what matters most for buying a boat trailer winch? Everything.
I chose a winch that was too small for application. It was not the fact I chose a hand crank winch, it was I bought one that was not up to the task. A heavier duty winch would have provided a larger drum and longer winch handle. Those two factors would have made loading the boat much easier. https://www.ellsenwinchfactory.com/boat-trailer-winch/
What should you look for when buying your winch?
First, I would recommend going with an electric winch if you can afford it and have the hookups on your vehicle. It makes loading your boat simple. You hook up the boat, get everything lined up, and push a button to load your boat.
If you want to make it even easier, get a winch with a remote control. Then you can operate the winch while you are still in the boat.
Second, make sure you size your winch properly. I thought I only needed a winch to match the approximate weight of my boat. I did not think about my fishing gear, life vests, the trolling motor and water that would get into the boat. My boat weighed about 600 pounds empty and dry but was probably well over a thousand pounds fully loaded. It is always better to go with a winch that is over-rated than one that is too small.
Third, make sure you look at the length of the handle and drum if you are buying a hand crank winch. These two components do not increase the strength of the winch’s pulling ability, but they do increase the ease of you getting your boat loaded. Leverage of a longer handle makes cranking much easier.
My last piece of advice is very simple. Take time to check out reviews for the winch you are considering. See how durable other owners say the winch is. Look for what they say about ease of use. Most importantly, you should read some of the bad reviews to see what has gone wrong. I could have left a bad review on my first winch, but the company did everything right. I was the one who made the mistake.
Make sure you do not just look locally for your winch. You can tap into the entire world market for boat trailer winches on the internet and save yourself money. What matters most in buying a great boat trailer winch is choosing one that is the right size and is easy to use.