Hand winches are great tools that are used to raise, lower, or pull heavy objects. Anything from pop-up camper tops to boats to cars to industrial equipment can be lifted up, lowered, or pulled using a hand winch. Picking the right tool for the job is important. It is important to know the options that are available before purchasing a winch for a project or job.
First, hand winches are designed to lift heavy objects, yet not all are designed to lift the heaviest items. Some are suitable to lift objects weighing approximately 500 pounds (226.8 kg). Others can lift much heavier items, such as those weighing around 5000 pounds (2268 kg). Consequently, it is important to determine what weight capacity will work best for long-term use.
Next, some hand winches are best equipped to pull an object, such as a car. Conversely, others are designed to lift an object, such as a camper top. Few hand winches can do both well. If a user wants a winch to pull and lift, an electric winch may be the best option.
Many hand winches come with brakes, which are often automated. The purpose of the brake on the hand winch is to prevent the object attached to the cable from falling, especially if the load is heavy. The brakes can be designed to hold the item in any position. They should also be covered with a case to prevent dust from collecting or to stop them from becoming weakened due to extreme rust or corrosion.
Most winches should be made of heavy gauge steel, particularly if they will be lifting or pulling heavy loads. Unfortunately, even steel can rust, corrode, or become weak. Consequently, many winches are plated or coated with materials such as zinc or enamel. Such zinc plating or enamel coatings are ideal to resist corrosion or rust, keeping the winches strong and dependable.
It is also important to consider the gear ration when choosing a hand winch. This can come with a small gear ration, for lighter loads, or a large gear ration, for heavier loads. Again, it is important to research what kind of gear ration will be best for a particular project before purchasing a winch.
Lastly, it is important to grab the handle of the winch to see if it feels comfortable and if the crank turns easily. Some handles may be too small for the user, others too large. Some may feel too flimsy or inadequate for larger loads.