Types of Winches & How Does A Winch Work – 2024 Guide

There are moments when we need something more powerful than our own strength to move items or haul something heavy. A winch is the type of mechanism that comes to our aid in such situations.

Although the types of winches available these days look rather modern, it is worth mentioning that the winch has been around helping people since ancient times.

More precisely, it was used even by the Greeks, in their impressive and ambitious architectural projects of those days. So, since then, winches continue performing the hard work so we can achieve everything we are set out to do.

Types of Winches

As you can tell, winches come in various types, depending on the job they are created to perform. Before choosing a winch, you should make sure it is capable of unrolling the desired task without a problem.

But for this, you need to be aware of your options. For of all, you need to know that winches split into two main categories, based on their operating principle. So, there are:

01. Hand Winches

Source: avtooverview.ru

The hand winches will require manual operation, but they are made to be used with ease, as long as you use them according to the product’s specifications.

This type of winch is extremely useful where power outlets are not available, such as somewhere out in the open.

Also, they are a good choice in high humidity conditions, like on rainy weather when using electrical tools is not such a good idea.

This is why hand winches are usually utilized by people working out in the woodlands, where electrical power is not an option and where the weather can be unpredictable.


02. Electric Winches

When you need more hauling power and you have an electrical outlet around, an electric winch is definitely a better option.

It requires no effort from your side, as all you have to do is to make sure it gets enough power, press a button, and operate it correctly.

This type is great when you’re dealing with heavier objects because it requires less effort from your side and is steadier when it comes to moving a particular item.

The rotations of this which are done in a more uniform manner than in comparison with a hand winch, so the chances for the item you are hauling to go off track are very slim.

Just make sure to check the maximum weight a winch can pull, before getting one. If these are the main two categories of winches, it is time to narrow down our list and take a look at the types of winches you can find on the market.

Each type has its particularities, so you should know very well how you plan on using a winch.

03. Wakeskate Winch

Source: northpullwinch.com

Winches are usually used in performing a variety of jobs, but this particular type is quite popular among those that practice watersports.

This is due to the fact that the transmission of this winch is made out of a simple mechanism, which allows anyone to handle and operate the winch without too much training or effort.

So, besides the engine and spool, this winch also features a frame, handles for easy operation, and a rope, in most cases. This is the kind of winch used for water skiing, for example.

The person practicing the sport will have to swim away from the winch while being tied with the rope or cable.

As the boat on which the winch is mounted starts to move, the winch will begin pulling that person. It can do so at speeds ranging between 24 and 40 kilometers per hour.

But, of course, this winch can be used for a wide range of purposes, like mounted on the back of a vehicle or tied to a tree, depending on how you plan to use it.


04. Air Winch

This is a winch powered by air, also known as air hoist or air tugger. It can be used to suspend or lift a variety of materials.

Because they are highly versatile, more secure, and more resistant than winches with engines fuel by diesel or electric winches, a high number of companies prefer working with these winches instead.

05. Lever Winch

Source: placide.com

This type of winch is great for handling ropes or cables, due to the fact that they are equipped with a jaw, instead of a spool.

The jaws of the winch, which are self-gripping, can withstand tons of weight, so you should not underestimate this particular type.

If you consider that a gripping jaw is better than the regular spool, you should definitely have this type in mind for the tasks you need to get done.

06. Glider Winch

As the name suggests, this is a winch specially used for launching planes or gliders.

In other to help the plan or glider lift into the air, the winch must be mounted on a vehicle that is strong enough to allow the plane or glider to catch speed while it’s being pulled.

This tool is highly used for aerotowing, so the majority of the gliding clubs use it.

A particularity of this winch is that its engine is fueled by LPG, diesel, or petrol in most cases. But, it is also possible to find winches with hydraulic or electric engines.


07. Snubbing Winch

Source: classic-sailing-winch.com

The snubbing winch utilizes a regular mechanism for this type of tool, the only difference is that its spool is a vertical one.

However, even if you’ll find a ratchet mechanism, the kind you will find in the case of every winch, you won’t see the traditional crank of this winch or any other type of drive.

You will have to pull on a tail line in order to tighten or reel the winch. You will have to pull on it until it stops, allowing the winch to take in the weight of the load.

It is worth mentioning that this type of winch gives you the chance to release the pressure gradually, for safe maneuvering each time.

This can be done with the help of an operator, wrapped around the spool. This kind of winch can be used for small boats, dinghies, control sheets, and others.

08. Mooring Winch

This winch is a simple type, operated in a mechanical manner. The mooring winch is usually seen around docks, as it helps bring a boat to a berth in a safe manner.

The device is constructed in a very simple manner as well, featuring a barrel on which cables or ropes are wrapped.

The barrel will turn in order to release the cable or rope or wrap it tightly, allowing the ship to get closer to the berth.

This way, the ship doesn’t have to use its engines and does this operation at a safer and easier to maneuver speed.


09. Capstan Winch

Source: wikipedia.org

You will find this particular type of winch on boats, as it is used for sailing. The winch is constructed on a vertical axle and has a rotating device used for its operation. With its help, sailors manage to put more pressure and force on the ropes and cables utilized on the ship.

So, winches come in various shapes and designed to serve various purposes. If you are looking for a winch, you should first determine the purpose that will be served by the winch.

As you were able to see, not all winches are the same and choosing an adequate winch can be the difference between getting a job done effectively and with ease and not doing so.

They can help you move or lift logs onto a truck, maneuver materials on a construction site, and simply deal with large and heavy items very easy and fast.

This is why winches are used and can be seen in a wide range of industries, which is just as useful and effective in our modern times as they were in ancient times.