Best Chainsaw Winches of 2019 – Complete Review

Loggers and hunters alike often go deep into the forest to accomplish their objectives. But when the job is done, carrying their logs or kills back to base camp can be a daunting prospect. But you can turn your chainsaw into a load lifting machine to bring wood, debris, or animals into your vehicle by hijacking its mechanical energy. Chainsaw winches are the machines through which this is possible.

Comparison Chart of the Best Chainsaw Winches

Product

Rating

Price

Lewis Chainsaw Winch Model 400

Lewis Chainsaw Winch Model 400

Best Overall

Streamline Industrial 4000 LB Chainsaw Winch

Streamline Industrial WINCH - Chainsaw Mounted - 4000 Lb Cap - Includes 150 Ft of 3/16' Cable

Runner-up

Powerhouse Lewis Chainsaw Winch

Powerhouse Lewis Chainsaw Winch (8,000 lb capacity) Kit

Best for the Money

How Does a Chainsaw Winch Work?

A chainsaw winch harnesses the revolutions per minute of a chainsaw engine and turns that energy into low-speed torque. The most common type of winch is the “Lewis” winch, which is usually made of cast aluminum alloy that is both strong and lightweight.

Chainsaw winches are attached to the external or internal clutch of a chainsaw depending on the exact model. Most loggers and chainsaw operators use winches to move small logs or perform other heavy manual labor, such as dragging a heavy animal.

How to Choose a Chainsaw Winch

There are a few major attributes to pay attention to when browsing chainsaw winches, so you choose the correct winch for your needs.

Type

The Lewis Winch is the most common by far, and it’s perfect for dragging heavier loads across uneven terrain. These winches are heavy-duty but usually don’t way too much.

However, there are also “rope” winches. These are perfect if you are using the winch to drag hunting game back to your cabin or lodge. They’re easier to wrap around an animal and still provide plenty of torque for your needs.

Weight

You need to purchase a winch that works well with your chainsaw and one that you can transport your site. Some winches might be too heavy and put too much pressure on the chainsaw you’re using, while others may be too light or weak for your needs.

Capacity

Many of the best chainsaw winches will be able to tug on thousands of pounds before reaching their breaking point. This can be exceptionally useful if you mostly plan to use your winch to move heavy logs that your chainsaw has just cut down.

Length

Be sure to pick up a chainsaw winch that has enough length for your purposes. Chainsaw winches that aren’t long enough will put too much pressure on your chainsaw or might not reach the load that you are trying to carry.

Quick Take - Best Chainsaw Winches

Skip the review - here are the best chainsaw winches:

  1. Lewis Chainsaw Winch Model 400
  2. Streamline Industrial 4000 LB Chainsaw Winch
  3. Powerhouse Lewis Chainsaw Winch

Review of the Best Chainsaw Winches

Let’s begin by taking a look at the first winch on our list -- our “best overall” choice:

Lewis Chainsaw Winch Model 400

PROS

  • 150’ of cable included
  • Not too heavy to transport
  • Fast line speed (60 ft/minute)
  • Comes with one year warranty
  • Cable is reasonably thick at 3/16 of an inch

CONS

  • Works best with an internal clutch
  • Rope develops some coils after use
  • Has trouble connecting to some chainsaws

What Recent Buyers Report

The most recent users of this chainsaw winch report that it is reasonably powerful and useful but also note that it is a little finicky at times. Hooking the winch up to certain chainsaws comes with a few issues and it definitely is built for internal clutches rather than external ones. This limits the number of chainsaws that it can be successfully paired with.

Why it Stands Out to Us

All in all, we really like this chainsaw winch due to its excellent thickness and decent speed. It’s not the highest power winch you can find but it does a decent job without becoming too expensive in the process. The cable thickness is also good enough for a variety of uses.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great cross between buying the most expensive winch you can find and buying one with tons of usability. As such, this winch will be the best choice for most users since it balances both price and versatility. It’s perfect for hauling small to medium-sized logs or some kinds of game. It’ll also reward you if you figure out the best way to utilize its assembly, as it takes some practice to work perfectly.

Bottom Line

All in all, this is the top chainsaw winch because it works in most situations and doesn’t cost too much cash right off the bat. It’s ideal for loggers who use winches relatively frequently or for hunters who only occasionally use these tools.

Streamline Industrial WINCH - Chainsaw Mounted - 4000 Lb Cap - Includes 150 Ft of 3/16' Cable

PROS

  • Durable housing
  • Comes with warranty
  • Thick grip for easy control
  • Durable hook for securing a load
  • Cable is decently thick at 3/16 of an inch

CONS

  • Not very well balanced
  • A little expensive for some
  • Works on only exterior clutches

What Recent Buyers Report

The most recent users of this chainsaw winch comment that it works very well provided that you have a chainsaw with an external clutch. It doesn’t work with internal clutches, but it is very consistent and easy to maneuver once you get a good grip on the winch handle. But be careful lifting the winch into the air as it isn’t super well-balanced

Why it Stands Out to Us

This chainsaw winch stands out to us due to its excellent grip and sturdy construction. It’s one of the heaviest duty and high-capacity winches you can find and includes plenty of thick wire rope for pulling loads of all kinds. With a 4000-pound capacity, you’ll be able to tackle larger logs or big animals alike with no difficulty.

Who Will Use This Most

Frequent loggers will likely get the most use out of this winch. This is especially because of its very thick hook and its thick wire rope. These go well together when wrapping up did logs to put in the back of your truck or another vehicle, but they aren't the best when it comes to dragging an animal back to a lodge or into a vehicle.

Bottom Line

This heavy-duty chainsaw winch is very much worth every dollar if you have the cash to spare. While there’s free shipping, this expensive winch will be more worthwhile if you plan to use it frequently. Occasional chainsaw winch users might want something more affordable in the long run. 

Powerhouse Lewis Chainsaw Winch (8,000 lb capacity) Kit

PROS

  • Made of a tough cast aluminum alloy
  • Very affordable compared to other winches
  • Very high capacity compared to other winches
  • Has a universal adapter kit to fit any chainsaw
  • Becomes very lightweight (22 pounds) without the cable

CONS

  • Not very durable when used frequently
  • Included cable barely fits when fully loaded
  • Adapter doesn’t always align straight with chainsaw clutch

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent users of this chainsaw winch report that it is a capable tool, but it requires some modifications on your part in order to get the most bang for your buck. While it is quite affordable, the universal adapter kit only sometimes matches up perfectly with a chainsaw in question. In addition, the cable is relatively thick but does not always fit perfectly inside the drum. Keep these aspects in mind and be prepared to tinker with the winch to get it working perfectly.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch stands out due to its versatility and affordability. Its universal adapter kit allows it to work with any kind of chainsaw, and its light weight makes it easy to transport to your worksite or take from truck to truck. Because it’s so affordable, even loggers and hunters on a budget will be able to make use of this winch and carry loads that would otherwise be too heavy. It also features an extremely high carrying capacity of 8000 pounds, which is double that of most other chainsaw winches.

Who Will Use This Most

Loggers or hunters on a budget will get the most use out of this chainsaw winch. We also think that those who need to switch chainsaws or go-between multiple worksites in a single day will find a lot of value here since it'll be easy to transport and switch from chainsaw clutch to clutch.

Bottom Line

This affordable chainsaw winch is a perfect choice if you’re always on the move and aren’t interested in a particularly heavy-duty winch. Its high carrying capacity ensures that it’ll be fine for dragging any kind of load, whether it’s log or animal.

What Are The Best Uses For a Chainsaw Winch?

Chainsaw winches are typically used for a few different tasks.

Transporting Logs

The most common use of a chainsaw winch is for dragging sawed logs to a truck or another vehicle for transportation away from the worksite. You can easily wrap the cable around logs of any size and let your chainsaw’s motor do most of the heavy lifting.

Transporting Animals

Hunters will often use chainsaw winches to move their kills to their vehicles or drag them to a nearby lodge or outpost. Some animals, like moose, can easily weigh thousands of pounds and are impossible to move without machine assistance. Chainsaw winches provide a solution.

Moving Debris

You can also use a chainsaw winch to move big piles of debris if they are contained inside a bag or box. The ground has to be relatively level for this to work, but it’s a lot easier than pushing or pulling the load with your own hands.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

Here are a few important things to know before you buy a chainsaw winch. 

Chainsaw Winches Need to Be Maintained

Even though they aren’t as complex as full chainsaws, winches still need to be cleaned and maintained every time you use them. Like every power tool, their performances directly related to how often and well you maintain them. Be sure to clean your chainsaw winch and tighten up the parts if you see it starting to fail. 

Winches Need Oil

Winches need oil just like a regular chainsaw. Don’t be afraid to lubricate things to make the cable or winch mechanisms run more smoothly.

Winches Are Breakable

Finally, even the most durable chainsaw winches can be broken by exceeding their carrying capacity or dropping them. Take care when using your chainsaw winch to ensure that it lasts for a long time to come.

Conclusion

Any of these chainsaw winches will be a great choice. But the perfect winch for your needs will depend on your profession and your average daily use of your chainsaw. Thanks for reading!