Do you find it challenging to load and unload your boat? With the best boat trailer winch, these tasks become more comfortable than ever before. You have several options when you want to find a capable winch. We look through the top brands to find the model that will suit your needs.


Preview

Product

Rated Line Pull

Gear Train

Check Price

Fulton FW32000101 F2 Two-Speed Trailer Winch...

Fulton

FW32000101 F2

3,200 pounds

2-speed planetary gear system

Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson DL2500A 2500 lb...

Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson DL2500A

2,500 pounds

2-speed planetary gear system

Reese Towpower 74329 Trailer Winch

Reese Towpower

74329

1,500 pounds

1-speed

Bravex Electric Winch, Reversible Portable...

Bravex BT

2,000 pounds

1-speed

Megaflint Trailer Winch,Reversible Electric...

Megaflint

6,000 pounds

1-speed

Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson TW9000 12 Volt...

Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson TW9000

3,000 pounds

1-speed


Why Boat Winches Are Worth Investing In

With the best winch for boat trailer, you can load and unload your vessel with ease. Without a winch, loading bulky boats can be nearly impossible. Plus, the winch protects the boat from damage. Any time that a vessel is dropped or mishandled, damage is inevitable. Using a trailer winch reduces the maintenance expenses of the boat since it is well cared for.


Features to Look for in a Boat Trailer Winch

Suitable for Boat/Boat Environment

How do you typically use your boat? You want to ensure that the materials are made to handle the stress you put your boat under. Look at whether the winch is zinc-plated, galvanized, aluminum, or powder-coated. If it will be exposed to saltwater, it must also be protected from corrosion.

Winch Type

You can choose between a manual or an electric boat winch. The hand-cranked winch allows you to multiply strength, to pull the boat on your trailer. A regular person can easily pull over a ton with this setup. However, the best electric boat winch uses a motor to magnify the pulling power. You can find models ranging from 1,500- to 10,000-pound capacities. 

Cable Controller

Do you want a wired controller or wireless remote? The electric boat trailer winch will come with one of those options. While the wireless remote allows you to load and unload from a distance, you could easily lose the device if you aren’t careful. However, a wired controller means you have to deal with more wires that could trip you up.

Winch Weight Capacity

All winches are rated by weight capacity. It doesn't matter how long your boat is. Choose the winch that will pull your boat, equipment, and motor. Boat size to winch capacity is generally two-to-one. So, if you have a 2,200-pound boat, you want a winch that’s at least rated for 1,100 pounds, but this can vary based on winching distance and trailer capability.

Strap vs. Cable vs. Rope

The majority of electric winches come with a steel cable. These handle the most substantial loads and can include a level-wind mechanism to avoid snarls. If you use the steel cable with a pulley block, you can double the capacity. The smaller boat winches come with nylon straps or polypropylene rope.

Durability & Safety

You want the boat winch to stand the test of time. Read through the customer reviews to see how other users are making out. Plus, you want to consider the safety features included with the winch. After all, you don’t want to find yourself in a jam while in the middle of loading or unloading your boat.

Price & Warranty

While everyone wants to find the best boat winch for the lowest price, you will often get what you pay for. Some brands offer budget models, but you must read the reviews to ensure the quality is in line. A good place to start is by looking at the warranty that’s offered to see if the company stands by its products.


6 Best Boat Trailer Winches Reviewed

1. Fulton FW32000101 F2

Our Top Pick

Rated Line Pull

3,200 pounds

Weight

16.4 pounds

Rope or Cable

Strap

Gear Train

2-speed planetary gear system

Warranty

Yes, 5-year

If you want a two-speed manual boat trailer winch, you can’t go wrong with our top pick from Fulton. It has a total capacity of 3,200 pounds, so more than enough to handle most vessels. Plus, the construction is durable with the aluminum frame and handle. What we love is the adjustable handle from six to nine inches for more versatility. Plus, the grip is soft and comfortable to use.

This boat trailer winch features a 20-foot long strap and all of the mounting hardware you will need to get started. You can also switch the handle from the right or left, depending on what is more comfortable for you. The F2 winch is completely enclosed, which eliminates the need for maintenance or lubrication. With this enclosed design combined with the corrosion-resistant coatings, you won’t have to worry about using it in harsh environments.

You might notice that the price is extremely reasonable, considering how many positive reviews are given. You won’t have to break the bank to use this winch. Even though the price is low, you also won’t have to sacrifice a guarantee. Fulton is gracious enough to put a five-year warranty on this winch, which proves it is built to last.

Pros

  • Lengthy five-year warranty
  • Adjustable handle
  • Completely enclosed
  • Maintenance-free

Cons

  • Confusing installation instructions

2. Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson DL2500A

Best Trailer Winch for Bigger Boats

Rated Line Pull

2,500 pounds

Weight

6 pounds

Rope or Cable

N/A

Gear Train

2-speed planetary gear system

Warranty

Yes, 3-year

This exceptional boat winch is produced in the United States, and its quality shines through. It features a 2,500-pound capacity and has a two-speed operation. The first gear features a 17.3:1 ratio, and the second is 5.4:1. It's also simple to detach the 9.5-inch handle. With the zinc coating on the winch, you receive superior corrosion protection, so using this tool around the saltwater won't be an issue.

Despite the capability, this winch is quite lightweight. While that might concern you regarding durability, you don’t need to worry. Just look at the rave reviews other customers have left. This boat winch is perfect for bigger boats and can be used for a variety of other applications. It features multi-purpose pulling and hauling operations but isn’t meant for lifting.

While this winch comes with a clamp kit, you will need to provide your own cable. While some people prefer this, beginners might find this to be cumbersome. For the price, it’s hard to complain. Plus, the company provides a full three-year warranty for peace of mind. The only question that’s left is to ask where are you going to use it first? You have numerous options available with this versatile winch on your trailer.

Pros

  • Complete three-year warranty
  • Two gears capability
  • Corrosion-resistant construction
  • Easy to detach handle

Cons

  • Doesn’t include cable

3. Reese Towpower 74329

Best Value for Money

Rated Line Pull

1,500 pounds

Weight

3.9 pounds

Rope or Cable

strap

Gear Train

1-speed

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

You will be hard-pressed to find another boat winch for such a low price. This highly-rated marine winch features a 1,500-pound capacity, which is enough for most small vessels. It also comes complete with a strap and hook, plus a single-speed with a 4:1 gear ratio. Because it features a zinc-plated finish, you can also expect exceptional corrosion resistance.

Furthermore, the carbon steel gears add to the durability. Use the comfort grip handle to make cranking easier than ever. With the full-length drum combined with oil-impregnated shaft bushings, maintenance is minimized so that you can spend more time on the water. At just 3.9-pounds, it’s also one of the lightest winches on the market.

What we aren't thrilled about is the short one-year warranty. That isn't nearly enough time when compared to other boat winches. However, the customer reviews suggest that this winch is built to last, so there might not be anything to worry about. With the price, it would be difficult to complain. If you are on a budget but want to make loading and unloading your boat easier, this Reese Towpower might be the best option for you. Save some money so you can spend it on a new fishing rod and gear.

Pros

  • Highly rated
  • Zinc-plated finish
  • Comfort grip handle
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Short warranty term

4. Bravex BT

Best Electric Boat Trailer Winch

Rated Line Pull

2,000 pounds

Weight

27 pounds

Rope or Cable

Galvanized steel cable

Gear Train

1-speed

Warranty

Yes, 2-year

Do you want to sit back and relax while your boat is winched? You might prefer this electric winch over the manual options. Sure, you will pay a little more for the capability, but you don’t have to exert any energy after a long day out on the lake. Not only is this an electric winch, but it also features an enhanced motor. You can expect 2,000-pounds of pulling capacity, and up to 6,000-pounds while rolling.

The dual-direction operation allows you complete control over the spooling and pulling. It also has an automatic brake for safety measures. If you are concerned about the noise, you’ll be happy to know that this model is rated at less than 75 decibels. It also comes with a galvanized steel cable. To give it power, simply connect it to your 12V DC battery.

The warranty provides you with two years of protection, for everything except the cable as it is a consumable. Because it is electric-powered, you should know that the weight is a little more than some of the other models we reviewed. If you are concerned about adding extra weight to your vessel, this might not be the best option for you. We recommend this winch for anyone that wants to save their back while boating.

Pros

  • Durable steel cable
  • Easy operation
  • Quiet
  • Dual-direction for pulling and spooling

Cons

  • Heavier

5. Megaflint Trailer Winch

Best 6,000-lb Boat Trailer Winch

Rated Line Pull

6,000 pounds

Weight

27.4 pounds

Rope or Cable

Steel cable

Gear Train

1-speed

Warranty

Yes, 2-year

If you have a larger boat, you need a heavy-duty winch, but you don’t want to pay more. The Megaflint provides all of your needs with this electric trailer winch. Simply connect it to your 12V battery to get started. It is rated for up to 6,000 pounds of capability. It is also quiet during operation. Go ahead and control it with the corded remote for more versatility.

Because the included steel cable reaches thirty feet, you should have everything you need for the majority of applications. We also couldn’t be happier to see the mechanical brake for maximum safety. If you prefer, you can switch it to the manual mode for a hands-on operation instead. This is helpful just in case your battery was to die.

One of the major complaints is that this electric winch doesn’t operate quickly. However, you will get a steady and reliable pulling operation with this Megaflint model. It’s also on the heavier side, as are most electric boat winches. However, the company stands by this product with a two-year warranty. Between that and the customer reviews, you have nothing to worry about. All that’s left is to get out there and enjoy the open water.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet
  • Includes corded remote

Cons

  • Slow operation

6. Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson TW9000

Top of the Range

Rated Line Pull

3,000 pounds

Weight

30.1 pounds

Rope or Cable

Polyester straps

Gear Train

1-speed

Warranty

Yes, 2-year

If money is no object, you want the best of the best. That means you should look at this Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson electric boat winch, our top of the range choice. It effectively removes all stress and labor out of the unloading or loading process. With the 3,000-pound pulling capacity, you can handle larger boats with ease.  We can’t say enough about the three operation modes. Choose from power-out, power-in, and freewheel for maximum versatility.

This model also comes with a dynamic friction brake, so safety will never be a concern. With the winch, you will also receive an emergency crank handle, positive and ground wiring harness plus polyester straps. In addition, this company is based in the United States and has been in business since the 1800s. That’s a company you know you can trust.

While the reviews have a lot of good to say about this electric boat winch, we can’t overlook the fact that any model with this price tag should have a remote, yet it doesn’t. Instead, you will need to operate the winch from the top of the unit. Still, the company does provide a two-year warranty, which should make it easier to part with your money. If you want a leisurely boating experience without a lot of hassle, it’s worth spending more to get the best.

Pros

  • High-quality
  • Simple operation
  • Includes dynamic friction brake
  • Has an emergency crank handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No remote

Installing a Boat Trailer Winch

The majority of marine winches come with the hardware needed to complete the installation. To perform the boat trailer winch post setup, you will need everything to line up properly. Otherwise, you will need a special boat trailer winch mount. Install the winch along the center of the trailer, or you could draw the boat unevenly.

You also want to tighten all the nuts completely. If you plan to install an electric winch, you will want to follow the wiring instructions provided by the manufacturer. Before the job is complete, test everything to make sure it works. If you want more help mounting a trailer winch, this video should help.


Loading/Unloading a Boat with a Winch

If you are using an electric trailer to load your boat, follow these steps.

  1. 1
    Connect your trailer to its power source and connect your remote.
  2. 2
    Line up the boat with the trailer.
  3. 3
    Release the electric winch clutch to free spool the cable.
  4. 4
    Release enough cable to reach your boat.
  5. 5
    Attach the hook to the bow eye.
  6. 6
    Engage the winch clutch and set the brake.
  7. 7
    Stay clear of the winch while in use, and supply power to the cable until the boat is loaded.
  8. 8
    Disconnect the remote and secure your boat.

If you are unloading with the electric winch, follow these steps.

  1. 1
    Attach the hook to the bow eye.
  2. 2
    Connect your winch to a power source and plug in the remote.
  3. 3
    Remove all of the tie-downs or chains that are securing the boat.
  4. 4
    Disengage the clutch to allow free spooling of the cable.
  5. 5
    Allow the boat to slide into the water. If it goes too fast, simply tighten the clutch.
  6. 6
    Once the boat is in the water, remove the hook from the boat’s bow eye.
  7. 7
    Engage the clutch and set the brake.
  8. 8
    Pull in the winch cable without touching it.
  9. 9
    Secure the hook and unplug your remote.

If you are using a manual boat trailer hitch instead, you will have to provide the power for operation through your efforts.


Winching Techniques & Tips

As you get better as using the 12v boat anchor winch, you will find that safety is of the utmost importance. Follow these steps while operating the winch.

  • When using a manual winch, secure your footing to avoid falling.
  • Do not use the trailer winch as a tie-down.
  • Don’t allow the line to rub against sharp edges. You can extend cable life with some wire rope lubricant.
  • Make sure your battery has enough power when using an electric winch.
  • It’s best to operate the winch with the help of a friend.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I determine which size trailer winch I need for my boat?

For most applications, you want the boat size to winch capacity to equal two to one. If the winching distance is longer than average or you have resistance in the trailer, you might require going with a higher capacity model. 

How do you power a winch on a boat trailer?

An electric winch draws current from the vehicle’s battery. You will need to add a dedicated winch circuit to provide the power. Most electric winches come with a wiring harness and installation instructions.

Do I need a single-speed or a two-speed winch?

It depends on what boat type you have. Lighter boats only need a single speed with a 3:1 or 5:1 gear ratio. If you have a heavy vessel, you will prefer the two-speed winch instead. The first speed operates faster for pulling up to the ramp, while the second speed handles all of the heavy lifting.

Do winches need maintenance and repairs?

Yes. As part of the boat winch maintenance, you want to keep the equipment clean. Don’t forget to lubricate the winch and order replacement parts from Amazon when something breaks.

What other accessories do I need to use together with a boat trailer winch?

Some boat trailer winches come with all the accessories you could want. Other times, you find that your needs change, or the winch doesn't include the accessories you need. Consider purchasing an additional rope or boat trailer winch post. You might also buy a boat trailer winch strap for security. Don’t neglect to look at the selection of boat trailer winch stand options as well.

What are the best anchor winches for my boat?

The boat anchor winch helps you to lower or raise your heavy anchor. The best boat anchor winch varies depending on the capacity you need. We think that the best anchor winch for small boats with a manual operation is the Anchormate Worth. If you prefer the best electric boat anchor winch, consider the MinnKota Deckhand 40 Electric Anchor Winch instead.


Conclusion

With a 3,200-pound capacity, we can’t help but think that the Fulton FW32000101 F2 is the best manual boat trailer winch for an exceptional price. If you want to get your boat on and off the trailer easier, you owe it to yourself to find a winch. Just imagine how much more time you can spend on the water with the help of a heavy-duty boat winch.

Last Updated on