8 Best Marine Electric 12V Boat Trailer Winches Review

Posted by Author David Lee


Last Updated September 1, 2021
Marine Electric Boat Trailer Winches
These very durable dual-direction electric winching (pulling and spooling - power in and power out) are easy to unwind and use. Some of them are dual operation models - both electric and manual (hand crank winching model in an emergency) winching. Their enhanced power motors are serviceable and good to make sure smooth winching operations. They have electric automatic braking system and low noise design for boat winch. Convenient built-in carrying cable or galvanized steel cable and hook for additional safety, withstand up the huge weight of pulling capacity. Warranty included, but please pay attention that steel cables are a consumable they are not in the scope of the warranty.

TOP Boat Winches Comparison Table

NameWarranty​Max Boat Weight
❑1. Light Portable Electric Boat Winch [Keeper]+6,000 lbs
❑2. Portable Electric Boat Winch [Warn]+1,000 lbs
❑3. Electric Trailer Winch with Built-In Remote [Goldenrod]+5,000 lbs
❑4. Boat Trailer Winch (12-Volt) [Goldenrod]+​6,000 lbs
❑5. Electric 12v Boat/Sailboat Winch [Goldenrod]+3,000 lbs
❑6. Small 12v Electric Boat Trailer Winch [Warn]+2,000 lbs
❑7. Electric Boat Winch [Warn]+1,500 lbs
❑8. Wireless Electric Boat Winch [Powerwinch]+4,000 lbs

1. The Best Light Portable Electric Boat Winch [Keeper]

Light <span>Portable Electric Boat Winch</span> [Keeper] Picture
Power Lead Fitted with Water Sealed Plug and Circuit Breaker, Ideal for marine use. Rapid Mount Bracket for Trailer Hitch Ball. Handheld remote control on a 10 feet lead. Light and portable, includes a built-in carry handle for easy transportation.

2. The Best Portable Electric Boat Winch [Warn]

Portable <span>Electric Boat Winch</span> [Warn] Picture

3. The Best Electric Trailer Winch with Built-In Remote [Goldenrod]

<span>Electric Trailer Winch</span> with Built-In Remote [Goldenrod] Picture

4. The Best Boat Trailer Winch (12-Volt) [Goldenrod]

<span>Boat Trailer Winch (12-Volt)</span> [Goldenrod] Picture

5. The Best Electric 12v Boat/Sailboat Winch [Goldenrod]

<span>Electric 12v Boat/Sailboat Winch</span> [Goldenrod] Picture

6. The Best Small 12v Electric Boat Trailer Winch [Warn]

Small <span>12v Electric Boat Trailer Winch</span> [Warn] Picture

7. The Best Electric Boat Winch [Warn]

<span>Electric Boat Winch</span> [Warn] Picture

8. The Best Wireless Electric Boat Winch [Powerwinch]

Wireless <span>Electric Boat Winch</span> [Powerwinch] Picture

What is a boat winch on a boat?

A boat winch is a device that is used to pull up boat ropes, anchor chains during boat anchoring, boat mooring, pulling the boat out of the water, etc., or other objects that are heavy (loading and unloading weights on the boat).

Boat winches usually come in a variety of types but the most common boat winch type has four spools on the handlebar with metal hooks at either end - one facing outwards for pulling an object towards you and one facing inwards for pushing it away from you.

A boat winch actually consists of two parts: A drum or spool where a line or cable wraps around; and a ratchet mechanism that tightens when pulled upon by means of a winding lever (or series of levers) attached to the outside edge of the drum. 

How do boat winches work?

Pulling the boat winch handle towards you will tighten the cable around a spool. When pulling on it, make sure to keep your footing so that you're not pulled off balance when tightening and don't tense up too much, or else you may have trouble loosening if needed.  It's also best to make sure that you have a firm hold on the boat winch handle before pulling it away from yourself. Boat winches come in two varieties: those with one spool for wrapping line or cable around and those with two, towards you and one facing inwards for pushing it away from you.

How to use boat winch

A boat winch is a handy tool for boaters. It can be used in various ways, such as:

  • boat anchoring,
  • boat mooring,
  • pulling the boat out of water,
  • loading and unloading weights.

Boat winches types

Manual Boat Winches

They're good for boat owners who boat infrequently.

A person can use a manual boat winch to pull their boat out of water, load and unload weight on the boat or anchor it in shallow water by themselves.  This type of winch is not self-reeling (it does not automatically feed out more lines when used), so you'll need someone else with you if you're using this tool for anchoring.

Manual boat winches are also good options for small boats that don't require much pulling power such as kayaks because they have shorter handles and smaller drums than standard models.

You want your boat to be anchored well before using a manual boat winch since they do not provide any mechanical advantage like an electric model

Electric Boat Winches

They're good for boat anchoring at a distance where manually pulling a boat is difficult.

Electric boat winches are excellent for boat anchoring, especially in cases when you need to be anchored from a long distance away and there's not another person around to help.

An electric boat winch also has many advantages over manual models because they automatically feed out more lines as the motor continues turning.

An electric boat winch will typically have an automatic brake that prevents the drum from spinning too quickly with increased load (this can lead to damage or injury) and it'll have multiple speed settings so you can adjust how much force the motor exerts on your anchor rope based on what type of environment or surface you're tying off onto.

What is the best type of boat winch?

It depends on the boat and environment.

  • If you have a small boat and use it not often, a manual boat winch will be easier to install.
  • If you have a big boat and use it often, an electric boat winch is better when you need to be anchored from a long-distance away.

What size of boat winch do I need for my boat?

We recommend boat winches with a pull capacity of at least 2000 lbs.

If you have a boat that weighs less than 200lbs, then it's probably not necessary to get one with this type of strength.

However, if your boat is more heavy-duty and has the potential to weigh over 500kgs or 1000lbs, we highly recommend using a 3000lb boat winch for safety purposes.

Tip: When choosing what size boat winch you need make sure that in addition to thinking about how much weight your boat will carry on average (and consider heavier loads) also think about where and how often you'll tie onto something secure like an anchor point.

How do I benefit from a boat winch?

  • they're useful for moving heavy loads of weight; 

  • they allow you to control the amount of tension, so that it does not get too tight and cause damage or injury; 

  • they help with docking your boat in a safe way by preventing accidental injuries from happening when pulling on ropes attached to shorelines (or other objects).

What are the drawbacks of boat winch?

  1. boat winches are not designed for heavy-duty usage, so they can easily wear out if you do not take care of them; 
  2. boat winches require installation.

What materials does the boat winch come in?

Different models can be made out of different material depending on their use case and desired purpose:

  • steel cable is usually used for light-duty jobs such as anchoring boats;
  • stainless steel cables are most often found around larger ships because they have the strength necessary to hold up these vessels;
  • synthetic polyester has less friction.

Is boat winch worth it?

For boat winches, this is a matter of personal preference. If you want to tighten the line quickly and are in need of an anchor that can handle more weight than what steel cable provides, the boat winch might be worth it for you.

However, if you only plan on using your boat once or twice per year and do not have any particular needs related to strength or speed when tightening lines then boat winches may not make sense financially speaking as they could wear out faster than normal due to their usage being limited. On top of that installation costs will also apply depending on where boat winches are located (i.e., deck vs cockpit) - something which should always be taken into consideration before purchasing.

What is important when choosing a boat winch?

Consider how much power is needed and what type of boat will be using it.

Power

Bulkier and longer vessels need more powerful winches with lengthier and hardy cables. The boat’s weight should be considered as well because if the boat is too heavy it may require a winch with more power.

Do you need a winch that comes with the power out capability? If so, it's better to pick the most pricy model.

Installing

If boat winches are installed on the boat, they need to be very sturdy.

Use a mounting bracket that is secured by bolts or welds and not just glued. Consider buying an aluminum mounting frame if it's going to have extra weight applied often because this material can handle more load than galvanized steel frames.

Do you want motor-driven boat winches? Motorizing boat winching system makes installation easier but also costlier as well (expect $300-$1000 for motors). It also adds another component of maintenance that may become costly in the long run: with corrosion and heat being two main factors that shorten lifespan; frequent checks will thus be necessary - making sure there isn't any dust buildup inside, for example.

Do you plan on installing the boat winch yourself? If not, do you know where to find an installer near your area? A qualified professional can install the boat winch properly once all necessary parts are purchased.

Material

The boat winch is made of strong metal and can be found in different shapes too. There are some materials that boat winch can be made of aluminum, zinc-plated, galvanized, or powder-coated steel.

There are boat winches that have aluminum alloy bodies, which means they resist corrosion well. They also have a high level of tensile strength and durability, so the boat can be pulled with little effort from shore.

Zinc plating is another option for boat winch body materials: this offers excellent protection against oxidation but not rust. Steel boat winches are less expensive than other types and will need to be painted regularly to avoid oxidizing; though galvanized steel has some extra resistance compared to regular paint coatings in terms of preventing corrosion.

Galvanized bodies of boat winches are also a good option, as they provide corrosion resistance.

Models of powder-coated steel boat winches are a good choice for boat owners who want their boat to look good and avoid corrosion, as they can be finished in any color you wish.

Size

Manual winches usually come in small sizes and are made for less bulky vessels. Electric winches are bigger for bigger vessels (over 500kgs/1000lbs) and they're more heavy-duty.

Line types and thicknesses

Lines are crucial for boat winch.

Steel cables are the strongest, but nylon and synthetic also have their benefits. Nylon is lighter weight so it's a popular choice as an anchor line or for mooring boats offshore. 

Synthetic rope can be stronger than steel when they're made from Kevlar fibers (although not always), which makes them a good option if you need to pull in heavy objects like jet skis or barges with your boat winch. 

Nylon straps work great not small models of winches.

Line thicknesses depend on how much pulling power will be needed:

  • less-powerful boat winches usually use 0.75mm rope;
  • more powerful boat winches use thicker ropes of up to 12mm.

Speed

There are single-speed or dual-speed winches. 

A single-speed boat winch has only one gear ratio and can be a good choice if you know the weight of your load. 

Dual-speed boat winch provides two different speeds for light or heavy loads:

  • rotate the handle in a clockwise direction to increase speed;
  • rotate handle counterclockwise to decrease speed.

Control

A boat winch should have a handle with an ergonomic grip and a trigger to release rope.

  • Handle: this will enable you to continue pulling even when your arm tires from using it;
  • Trigger: easier pivoting of boat, or releasing tension on line without having to pull all the way back against the pressure on the drum.

Controlling can be done through built-in buttons. There are usually two buttons to reel in and out. Meanwhile, some have a remote, which allows to control the main unit without being next to it. The length of the cord is an important consideration.

Remote Control

Remote boat winches are useful if you have a lot of weight to pull.

A remote boat winch can be attached anywhere on the boat because it has an extendible wire, and they're great for directing your boat from dry land;

It's also good as an alternative when there is no one else aboard with you who could help with pulling the rope. You can put in all that effort by yourself without any assistance or risk of injury - no need to lift heavy objects off the ground.

Tip: extendable wire allows greater range than just using a hand-held unit. You'll still get up close and personal while retaining control over much more distance than before.

Gear Ratio

Gear Ratio is how many rotations one turn of the handle will make with regards to pulling up an object from water - for example if there are five turns on the handles and it has a 25% Gear Ratio then three feet worth of rope would be pulled out of the water before going back down.

As higher numbers mean more pull strength so you'll want to choose between 20:11 gears which gives 45lbs per foot or 20% Gear Ratio versus 16:13 gears which provides 75lbs but only 15% Gear Ratio. 

Handle

The handle is typically the one you'll use to control boat rope in a manual model of winch. This type of winch will need a hand-powered crank and has no gear ratio, so it can't be used for heavy lifting jobs - however, they're much more suited for smaller boats due to their lower profile.

Ergonomic grips are usually made of rubber. It's good also if it is textured, which will prevent your hand from slipping when cranking.

The're little circular grooves cut into each side of the handle where your fingers should go if using gloves.

Motor

It’s the part that you power to get your winch moving. 

An electric boat winch has a free-spool clutch, which means that once the button is activated, there should not be any additional pressure applied to increase traction on the rope as it winds up automatically until an object such as another person attaches itself at the end of the line.

Weight capacity

It depends on winch size. Small manual models are great for boats up to 1000lbs and big electric models work well with boats over 1000lbs.

Saltwater Environment

Observe the number of hours of saltwater exposure the winch is estimated to withstand. Most boat winches are made to withstand saltwater, but you should always consult your owner's manual for full information.

Waterproofing

Most boat winches are waterproof or can be sealed.

How to care about boat winch?

As with any boating equipment, boat winches need regular maintenance in order to perform at their best - they should be greased regularly; inspected for wear, and repaired as necessary. Working boat winches are essential to use safely aboard vessels of all types because, without them, sailors can find themselves stranded in difficult situations where they would otherwise be able to effortlessly maneuver heavy loads using boat winches (such as during loading/unloading cargo).

Tips to care about boat witches

  1. regularly check it for wear, corrosion, or damage due to exposure from saltwater and humidity;
  2. grease it frequently;
  3. clean and inspect it every week
  4. repair worn or broken parts as required.⁠

Best branded boat winches

The market is dominated by some manufacturers such as: Keeper, Warn, Goldenrod, Powerwinch, SuperWinch, Smittybilt, Champion Power Equipment, Ruggel.

Portable Electric Winch with Steel Cable [Warn]

This electric winch is highly durable and has a no-load line speed of 13.8 fpm. It can lift or pull up to 1,000 pounds and replaces old-fashioned come-a-longs and chain falls. This product makes it easy to change from forward to reverse the motion by pushing a button for easy positioning with an included brake to hold the position. The limit switch can also be useful for stopping the motor at 1,000 pounds of stress to prevent damage to the motor if the cable happens to bind. The clip for the non-movable hook can get bent easily, which can put it at risk of breaking.

Electric 12V Boat Trailer Winche [SuperWinch]

The model has a weather-sealed design. This electric winch has a low amp draw and is sealed with a 1.6 hp permanent magnet motor featuring mechanical load holding and a dynamic brake. It’s made with steel wire rope and ergonomic cam action. This product makes it easy to wire the switch after finding a power source. The synthetic rope is high-quality and comes with four feet of the sheath to protect the end of the rope that is closest to the hook. A few of the bolts that hold the spool housing can break easily.

Universal Electric Boat Trailer Winch [Smittybilt]

The model includes a corded remote. This kit comes with all of the wiring needed for installation and has a 9,500-pound load capacity. It’s updated with heavy-duty features for enhanced performance and has a complete recovery system. This product is less geared down, allowing it to wind faster, and includes a magnet in the control handle. It includes a roller fairlead, which has a solid build and is easy to use. The handle to the switch from free spooling in can be difficult to move at times and requires a bit of strength.

Universal Boat Trailer Winch [Champion Power Equipment]

The model includes bonus accessories. Built with a 49-foot super-duty aircraft cable with a rugged, latched clevis hook, this electric winch has the efficient planetary gear and dynamic braking systems. It comes with a roller fairlead and mounting channel. This Winch Kit is easy to install and comes with clear and detailed instructions. The four wires for the handlebar-mounted control are included and clearly marked with positive or negative. At times, the switch can be difficult to mount and is not always sensitive enough to the adjustments made.

Marine Electric Boat Trailer Winch [Ruggel]

This winch is made of stainless steel. With a pull-and-turn free spooling clutch, this electric winch is powerful and has a 2,000-pound rated line pull powered by a one-horsepower DC motor. The roller fairlead creates a smooth and safe pull. This Electric Winch works efficiently and easily pulls the steep ramps and into trailers without any delays or interruptions. It operates at a faster speed than similar winches and includes a convenient remote. It can be loud on grinds and can leave behind a few metal shavings after it’s used.

Don’t buy cheap electric boat trailer winch

If you buy cheap, you will end up buying twice. There are some very cheap boat winches on the market, but these are the ones made from poor quality material and components, and they can break down after a few months. Buy more quality model as it will be worth price that you pay.

FAQ

Let's go over some frequently asked questions about boat winches.

Why is electric boat winch the best?

The electric model will give you a lot of benefits. First, they're less expensive than manual models because they require no human power to work. Second, electric boat winches can be used near water without fear of corrosion or damage due to exposure from saltwater and humidity (although it is still recommended that users inspect the boat winch regularly). 

How do you attach a winch to a boat trailer?

Attach boat winch to boat trailer using bolts and nuts that you can find in the set.

How to release boat winch?

Release boat winch by using the release lever.

What is the best place for winch on a boat?

A boat winch can either be mounted to your boat's deck or cockpit, depending on its use and where you want to locate it. If you're installing them near the bow of your vessel make sure they are made from stainless steel for maximum corrosion resistance and a longer lifespan! Also consider how much space in between each consecutive drum will need to install - some models allow up to six drums while others only have two and do not take up as much room, which could come in handy when trying to minimize storage size aboard smaller vessels such as boats that run at lower speeds due to portation restrictions.

What marine electric boat trailer winches are good?

Where to Buy Cheap Marine Electric 12V Boat Trailer Winches?

Take a look at this TOP boat winches reviewed of 2021 and then press the «Check Price» button to check their price and availability.

What is the budget electric boat trailer winch for sale?

The Light Portable Electric Boat Winch [Keeper] is our Editor's Choice as the best model of boat winches with its combination of performance, features, quality and price.

Thesandshore.com is a source where the post Boat Winches appeared first.

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Comments to Review

  1. Warn Electric Boat Trailer Winch if a great choice for marine purposes.

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