Best Hand Winches – 2020 Complete Round-up

Are you looking for the best hand winch? If so, you’re not alone. Finding the best hand-operated winch for all your heavy lifting needs is the smartest decision you can make. Especially if you don’t want to risk any injuries that may lead to long-term mobility or health problems down the road.

These hand winches will come in handy when you need to lift something that might seem impossible for one or even a few people to lift. While there are many hand winches being sold on the market, only five have stood out to us as the best, which is why they made our list. 

Before we get to the list itself, we’re going to talk about what  hand winches are and what they are best used for. We’ll also talk about how you can choose one for your own personal use. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Hand Winches

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Fulton FW32000101 F2

  • Best overall hand winch
  • 3,200-pound weight capacity
  • Made from high-quality, corrosion-resistant materials.
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Maasdam Pow'R Pull 144SB-6

  • Two-ton weight capacity
  • Runner-up for best hand winch
  • OSHA Compliant for commercial and industrial use
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3 Ton Ratchet Puller

  • Handles up to 3 tons
  • Weighs up to 24 pounds
  • Best hand winch for the money
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Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson DL2500A

  • 2,500-pound weight capacity
  • Zinc finish for maximum rust resistance
  • Quick attach handle for easy adjustment
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Goldenrod 14932

  • 1,200-pound capacity
  • 7-inch handle included
  • Automatic brake included
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What Are Hand Winches?

Hand winches are only powered by one thing: you. This includes using a handle to crank and lift boats and other heavy objects that may seem impossible. For the most part, you can use this to load heavy objects onto trucks or other vehicles made for storing things (i.e.--pickup trucks). 

What Are The Best Uses for a Hand Winch?

There are a few good uses for a hand winch. And they make it much easier to do, rather than using your own body strength (and possibly failing in the process). Here are some uses that will likely require the use of a hand winch:

Heavy Lifting

There are some things that just cannot be lifted by human hands. And it’s not just because they are heavy. Sometimes, it could be equipment that you need to stay away from because of some sharp, moving parts or whatever else. The safest thing to do in these cases is use a hand winch.

Loading/Unloading

If you need something to load things onto large trucks or even your own truck, a good hand winch will, in all likelihood, serve you well in the long run. You can lift and release heavy objects into a truck bed and transport them where they need to go. Likewise, a hand winch will be needed again when it comes time to unload your truck.

Transportation (Boats/Vehicles)

What if you just need something for transporting small boats and other vehicles? If that's the case, then a hand winch will probably be beneficial. Yes, some hand winches will even be tough and reliable enough to handle all kinds of towing and transportation. It’s important to find one that will handle such loads rather than having to spend more money on an expensive winch that might be hard to operate.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Hand Winch?

With so many hand winches on the market, finding one that fits your personal needs and preferences can be a bit of a challenge. But rest assured, you’ll be able to figure out which one is best for you using this list of characteristics and features to be on the lookout for. They are as follows:

Price

If you are in search of a hand winch but don’t have a lot of money to work with, you can still find one that is of excellent quality and performance. Particularly one that will be the best available for your desired budget. Mind you, this doesn’t give you the green light to “go for cheap”. 

Goldenrod 14932

Weight Capacity

This is a huge thing to look into. Not every hand winch is created equal. Some will be better than others in so many ways. One of those is weight capacity. Some will handle heavier weights, while others may not be able to do so. If you have a good idea of how often you’ll be lifting heavy materials and how much they actually weigh, you can easily make a determination right there.

Materials

Keep in mind that high-quality materials will always play a role in the integrity of a hand winch. For example, steel and aluminum are two things you’ll need to make sure it’s sturdy and solid, in terms of performance. Anything made from high-quality materials will be durable and strong for consistent use is bound to be a good investment for anyone in search of a hand winch.

Quick Take - Best Hand Winches

Skip the review - here are the best hand winches:

  1. Fulton FW32000101 F2
  2. Maasdam Pow'R Pull 144SB-6
  3. 3 Ton Ratchet Puller

Review of the Best Hand Winches

The following is a list of the five best hand winches you can find on the market. As you go through each one, be sure to note each of the features and characteristics that make it stand out to potential buyers. If you have a good idea of how hand winches work, you can find one that matches the description of your ideal hand winch. Now, let’s begin by taking a look at the best overall choice on our list:

Best Overall:
Fulton FW32000101 F2

Fulton FW32000101 F2 Two-Speed Trailer Winch with Strap - 3200 lb. Load Capacity - Silver And Black - one size

PROS

  • Super-sturdy and durable
  • Easy to install on heavier loads
  • Winch strap extends out pretty far
  • The handle is easy to adjust for different positions
  • Ergonomically friendly and won’t cause any strain or pain for operators

CONS

  • May not be a good fit for large trailers
  • The strap may easily fray after short-term use
  • Some have had complaints about the free spool

What Recent Buyers Report

This winch was easy to use for most buyers. Most were using this for the sake of loading and transporting heavy materials like boats, cases or crates of materials, and items used for a business or even transporting motors or engines. The installation was perfect and the strap was pretty durable right from the start. One user said he was able to load a large engine onto his truck so he could get it repaired. Needless to say, he was quite happy with the overall performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This hand winch has adjustable positions that make it more user-friendly. And it has an ergonomic design that allows you to prevent yourself from getting hurt or strained when trying to lift up heavy objects. This winch is perhaps a textbook example of how a hand winch should operate. Easy to hook up and easy to operate, this winch has definitely made a strong case as to why it deserves the best overall nod.

Who Will Use This Most

This will certainly be one of the more popular winches on the market if you need something for your own personal or commercial use. It will come in handy when you need to transport something by way of your truck bed (or using the winch itself to tow something). It’s strong, not very heavy in weight, and can fit in most vehicles. If you simply want the best of the best, this hand winch might be the best possible option for you.

Bottom Line

The Fulton Two-Speed Trailer Winch might just be one of the best in the business when it comes to hand winches. And it can definitely come in handy for just about any heavy lifting or transporting purposes. If you want something reliable and strong enough to take on those tasks, the Fulton Two-Speed Trailer Winch might just be what you need.

Maasdam Pow'R Pull 144SB-6 2 Ton Capacity Pow'R Pull USA Made

PROS

  • Excellent quality and really durable
  • Super-reliable, doesn’t fail most of the time
  • Really tough and can handle the heavy-duty lifting
  • Can last longer with regular maintenance and lubrication
  • Can be used for transportation, jacking up vehicles, and lifting heavy objects

CONS

  • Hard to unwind
  • Instructions may be missing
  • Some say the warranty may not be honored for some issues

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were happy with the hand winch for a few good reasons. One, they were quite happy with the two-ton weight capacity. While they had their reservations at first, they were happy that it lived up to the promise. Most of the users were mostly auto mechanics that used this to tow vehicles. One user said he was quite impressed with how much weight it could handle in towing and lifting applications.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This hand winch has a better weight capacity compared to other hand winches. So it can easily handle two tons (or 4,000 pounds) easily. No task will be a challenge for a winch like this (well, except for the tasks that require a more powerful winch). It can certainly work hard as one of the best for any residential or commercial use. If you have a boat to move or some heavy crates to load into your truck, this is the winch that can get the job done.

Who Will Use This Most

This will, in all likelihood, be used for the purpose of residential and commercial use. It will be great for you if you need something with a higher weight capacity. Heavy objects may need to be lifted, but sometimes it can be too much for a few people to do by themselves or to do it alone. So, get the winch that saves time and frustration. This might be the lifesaver you’ll need.

Bottom Line

The Maasdam Pow’R Pull is a great hand winch that will certainly might creep up and take over the best overall spot in the future. The weight capacity gives it the edge and might just make it one of the better models considering its durability and likelihood of working perfectly every time you need it. If that isn’t a good example of reliability, then we can’t tell you what is.

Best For The Money:
3-Ton Ratchet Puller

3 Ton Ratchet Puller With 35' Of 5/16' Amsteel Blue

PROS

  • Super-durable quality
  • Easy to crank 
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Not as heavy as other winches
  • Handles many towing and lifting tasks without any problem

CONS

  • Rope may not wind properly
  • The cable may get easily pinched
  • Might not be suitable for some larger trailers

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users were quite pleased with this hand winch. Most used it for the purpose of heavy lifting and loading purposes (i.e.--heavy crates and other items). And best of all, it’s perfect for towing boats and even some smaller vehicles. One user said he even used this to take his boat out for a weekend on the lake. He had no hitching issues nor had any reliability issues as far as the rope was concerned.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Though considered to be budget winch, it’s anything but cheap and flimsy. It has a rope that is seriously durable and can handle the heavy lifting whenever you need to use it. Simply put, it’s designed to last you quite a while and through many uses. So if you use it regularly to tow or lift things, don’t be shocked if you keep using this a few years down the road. On top of that, this puppy can handle up to 6,000 pounds. Talk about some heavy lifting!

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great starter winch for those looking for one that will likely last them a long time before they need to make an upgrade. And since it’s affordable for most budget shoppers, you’ll probably grab hold of one for yourself. You might keep it around for a long time and never have to make an upgrade to a better model. If you want reliable and super-durable heavy lifting, this hand winch will certainly get the job done.

Bottom Line

If you want a hand winch that is tough, reliable, and super-affordable (not cheap in price), this puppy might be the go-to choice. You surely won’t be disappointed with the amount of use you'll get out of this. Whether it’s a starter model or for the long-term, it’s the kind of hand winch that won’t give you a hard time nor give you any strain or pain from extended use.

Goldenrod Hand Winch 2-Speed 2500-LB

PROS

  • Doesn’t rust at all
  • Easy to install and load items and heavy objects
  • Detachable handles make it perfect to prevent theft
  • Easy to load on most vehicles for the purpose of towing
  • Super-solid construction, the finish even makes it more durable

CONS

  • Teeth may snap off after awhile
  • Some say the handle may fall off easily
  • A few have complained about possible missing parts

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new buyers were quick to point out the durability of this winch altogether. They said it was able to handle all the scuffs and bangs of heavy-duty applications. The lifting ability was pretty good for most users since they were using this for towing or lifting. One user said he was able to make easy adjustments of the handle since it felt uncomfortable at first. But after a quick adjustment, he was using it more often without feeling any strain.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch is small in size and will definitely be great for the sake of towing and lifting the things that need to be transported from one place to the next. Maybe you’re heading out into the woods for the weekend and taking a camper? Or perhaps you want to use it to lift heavy stuff out of the garage. Whatever it is, this winch can certainly handle it. And since it won’t rust at all, it’s bound to last you quite a long time. You can easily wind and unwind the rope with the heavy load and not worry about breaking the rope in half. So if durability is what you want, you’ll get it out of this winch.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used for the light-duty (but heavy lifting). So if it’s boats or campers you are towing (for example), you’re going to benefit from this. Sure, it may not be the kind that handles 4,000 to 6,000 pounds, but it can certainly prove itself as one of the toughest on the block. Don’t let the weight limit turn you away. It still has its uses, one way or another.

Bottom Line

The Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson winch will be worth the investment for the long-term if you are looking to tow your camper, RV, or small vehicle for some good ol’ fashioned outdoor fun. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hand winch quite like this. It can do some serious lifting without having to break or warp. So if you want a good winch that can work hard and make your camping experience an enjoyable one, you’ll love this hand winch and never get tired of using it to your advantage.

Goldenrod 14932 Dutton-Lainson DLB1200A Brake Winch Bronze 1200 lb

PROS

  • Easy to crank
  • Simple to ravel and unravel
  • Super-durable construction
  • Easy to attach on most loads
  • The rope is almost indestructible

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users loved this winch for a few good reasons. One, the rope was easy to deploy and put away without any snagging. On top of that, they were able to install the winch rope with ease. And it’s super-strong to handle some of the heavy loads like concrete and other construction materials. One user said this was best-used for heavy materials like bricks and other hard materials that were too heavy for people to lift on their own.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This has a weight capacity of 1,200 pounds. So it can heavy the light, but not heavy-duty jobs. It’s mostly designed for towing boats but also great for lifting heavier materials as well (like crates and concrete blocks bunched together). This will be a great go-to winch for the light-duty applications, so if you need something like that, this will be a good investment for you.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be excellent for construction workers and contractors who are looking for a winch to do all the heavy lifting rather than be done by multiple people. Your building projects will be easy to do with a durable, reliable winch like this.

Bottom Line

The Goldenrod will be one of the most reliable winches for all your heavy lifting needs. And if you are looking to tow some equipment for the job sight, this puppy might just be the best friend you’re looking for (assuming you are a contractor or building something yourself). This winch will not disappoint you if you are looking at something for light-duty purposes.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Aside from the features and characteristics, you’ll need to know some of the other aspects that should be considered. It’s important to know what these are to help you make the best decision possible. Here are the aspects you’ll need to know:

What Weight Capacity Do I Need?

Weight capacity should be one of the major focuses of your final decision. Depending on how often you’re using it or whether you are using it for a certain purpose, you’ll need to consider the weight capacity it can handle. If you are dealing with heavy materials or towing a vehicle, find a winch that will have a high capacity (2,000 pounds or more). 

Make Sure It’s Ergonomic

Ergonomics should matter most if you are using a winch to prevent strain and any pain due to consistent operation. Most of the handles allow for the most comfortable use possible. The better the design, the better it will be for you in terms of extended use.

What Will it Be Able to Handle?

Will it handle heavy crates? What about campers or trailers? It’s important to know what the winch should be able to handle on a regular basis. If you have a good idea of what the weight capacity is, you can be certain of what it can handle. If it has a heavy capacity, it might handle campers or even smaller vehicles. If the weight limit is low, it might only lift crates, tow small boats, and move heavy materials like bricks or concrete (among others).

How to Use a Hand Winch

Using a hand winch will be simple if you know what you’re doing. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow in order to use one properly:

  1. Anchor the winch using an immovable object like a tree or a metal post. Once attached, hook up winch to a strap or a metal chain, unlock the winch spool, and pull out the cable. Next, attach it to the object you intend to lift or tow.

  2. Be sure to inspect the winch and the object you are transporting. Ensure that it stays secure and doesn’t wiggle around much.

  3. Turn the handle in order to tighten the cable. Continue to crank the handle until you’ve reached a position where you can transport the object in question.

  4. Release the tension from the cable and unhitch the object that you are transporting.

Conclusion

A hand winch will definitely give you the best possible user experience for all your heavy lifting and towing needs. Find one that is durable in construction and able to handle the loads you want to move around. Choose your winch wisely, as it might be something you’ll end up using for the long term.