Best Manual Boat Trailer Winches: Types, Choosing Facts & Recommendations

Published on: February 24, 2022
Written by Liam Jaxon / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Surfing around the water is a refreshing activity, but unloading the boat into the water and placing it back onto the trailer is a struggle. Having an excellent manual trailer winch makes this task quicker, more comfortable, and safer for boat users.

If I describe a winch shortly, that is-the trailer’s ring ball uses an adapter plate where the winch is positioned on a dedicated winch stand on the trailer neap. A reel carries 20–50 feet of cable or rope and has a snap at the end. The winch operator can either crank or back the boat into the water with the snap clip onto the boat’s front eye.

manual boat trailer winches types, choosing facts & recommendations

There are two kinds of winch available for your convenience; manual and electric. Manual winches need manual labor to reel and load in the boat, and an electric winch needs a connection to a car’s battery to perform.

Here we will discuss different hand-cranked manual winches, which multiply your strength and allow you to pull a relatively heavy boat. The ratchet on the manual winch can hold the boat at any point on the trailer, so it doesn’t slide back into the water.

Additionally, an average person can retrieve a boat weighing over a ton by using a manual crank. So, here we try to review some excellent boat trailer winches to help you find the right one for your necessities. But before jumping off, you need to learn how to choose the accurate manual boat trailer winch for your boat.

Types of Boat Trailer Winches

Before utilizing a trailer winch, it is essential to know the various kinds accessible, including their specific ups and downs.

Manual Boat Trailer Winch

This is the most well-known and reasonable type of trailer winch. It is known for its effortlessness, in spite of the fact that it requires all in all work to work. It lifts a weighty burden, however, you actually need to apply muscle strength to bend the handle. You will pivot the wrench clockwise to drive a boat over the trailer. In the interim, you will turn the bolt counterclockwise to deliver it.

Electric Boat Trailer Winch

Assuming that you are searching for a more present-day and easy-to-understand elective, electric winches are incredible. Rather than a wrench, it is snared to a 12-volt vehicle battery. It is more costly yet strong. It has a higher weight limit and requires insignificant exertion. There are some winches with buttons in the lodging, while some have a corded remote to control even a good way off. It can likewise bring a few settings to the table for flexible usefulness.

The Points That You Should Look for While Choosing a Manual Boat Trailer Winch-

A manual winch for a boat trailer affects your time and labor. So we suggest choosing the winch very carefully. Here are some of the points that you should look for while choosing a manual boat trailer winch.

Read more: Select the Best Car Trailer Winches


Winches need to handle a lot of weight, so ensure that the manufacturing material can efficiently hold the boat still. It should be sturdy enough to fight off both the water current and the boat’s load. It needs to be made with corrosion-resistant materials like a zinc coating or an aluminum frame, as those are most likely to last longer. 


The weight-pulling capacity is one of the crucial things that you need to consider. The manual winch should have a weight capacity higher than the boat’s weight capacity when maximum loaded. 

The standard rule is to select a winch with a capacity of at least 3/4th the joint weight of your boat, fuel, motor, and gear. This rule differs depending on several factors about your boat and where you drive it. But make sure the winch has enough pulling capacity for your needs. 


The ease of control is also an essential factor that you have to think about. Choose that wrench, which can be fixed without any extra tools in less time. Ease of usage also includes the smoothness of the surface to keep your hands uninjured. Manual wired control has a fixed length, so you’ll have to be somewhat near the winch. 


Manual winches are by far the most frequent winch on a boat trailer. Because they are simple to operate, manageable in size, and can pull most small boats easily.

The larger the manual boat trailer winch, the lower the gear ratio, which increases the boat’s pull. Some of the premium manual boat winches even come with two speeds, which allows you to increase the pulling speed. So go with the more extensive manual winch.

Cable or Strap?

You can select either steel cables or nylon straps for winches. Both of them have pros and cons. Nylon straps are more suitable for lighter loads, while steel cables are more suited for heavier loads. You can handle nylon straps with your hands, but you wouldn’t do it with steel cables because of possible injuries.

Polyester or nylon straps are much softer for your hands compared to cables. Whatever type you choose always make sure it’s durable and has a special corrosion-resistant coating.

Way of Operation

Depending on the different operations, the winch can either come in a gearbox with a multiple-speed model or a single-speed option. If you choose a multiple-gear winch, you may multiply the pulling power strength that allows you to efficiently deal with heavier boats.

The gear ratio usually varies from 1:1 to 16:1:1. These numbers will practically offer you the ratio for the number of cranks necessary for you to perform a full drum turn. For example, 5:1 means you need five cranks for one drum turn, and if the gear ratio is at 3:1, you will require to crank the winch three times. It is easier to load your boat with a manual one because it requires a smaller strength.

All these factors should determine the quality of the winch and whether your purchase would be worth the money.

Resolution of the Supplementary Question

Who Makes the Best Boat Trailer Winch?

Probably the best brands are Reese Towpower, Camco, Seamander, Fulton, Megaflint, and Goldenrod, among others. These suppliers of first-class boat trailer winch items offer an assorted determination that suits various spending plans.

How Much Weight Would a 2500-lb be Able to Winch Pull?

A 2,500-pound winch can pull a boat with a most extreme load of 1,875 pounds. Nonetheless, this is certifiably not a flat-out figure as it relies upon a few circumstances, for example, regardless of whether you are pulling a boat from a grade or in the water. The material of the lash and the general quality will likewise direct the general limit. I suggest that you talk with the producer no doubt.

How do you Size a Boat Trailer Winch?

Pick a trailer winch to fit the heaviness of your boat, engine, and hardware. Heavier and longer boats require all the more remarkable winches with longer links. The basic principle is to choose a winch with a limit rating of somewhere around 3/fourth the consolidated load of your boat, engine, fuel, and stuff.

Editor’s Speech

It is essential to keep yourself informed to buy versatile features. So after reading all the buying factors and our best-selected winches, now you are ready to choose a high-quality product that you may use.

But keep in mind your boat weight is the primary point you should calculate before choosing a quality winch. We hope all your struggles to pull on or off the boat onto the trailer will diminish in your next boat trips after picking a quality winch.

View Top 7 Manual Boat Trailer Winches-

1. Reese Towpower 74329 Manual Boat Trailer Winch

  • Weight: 3.9 pounds;
  • Capacity: 1500 lbs;
  • Strap: 20 ft.

Those who don’t want an expensive winch but want all the facilities might go for this Reese model. The manual design with a 4:1 gear ratio has up to the 1500-pound capacity to work well with any small boat. Additionally, the easy-grip design makes it a comfortable winch to crank.

It has a 20-foot-long nylon strap, making it easier to use. Because of this, it also needs less maintenance compared to other similar products. It features a full-length drum bushing that has been further enhanced by the oil-impregnated shaft bushing.

It is quite durable with a zinc-plated finish and high carbon steel SAE 1050 gear. It is also completely resistant to rust and lasts longer, even with continuous water exposure. 


  • Zinc-plated corrosion-resistant material;
  • Easy-grip ergonomic design for comfortable cranking;
  • The nylon strap is water-resistant and lasts longer;
  • High carbon steel gear system;
  • 4:1 gear ratio;
  • Full-length drum bushing.


  • Smaller hook opening;
  • The clip is smaller for practical use.

2. Goldenrod 14825 Hand Boat Trailer Winch

  • Weight: 6 pounds;
  • Capacity: 2500 lbs;
  • Strap: 20 ft;
  • Two-speed operation.

Those searching for a good quality winch at a budget price might buy a Goldenrod manual boat trailer winch. It has a two-speed setting, both low 17.3:1 and normal 5.4:1 gear ratios, which is an attractive choice for possible users.

Since it’s highly corrosion resistant with a very qualitative zinc finish, it is ideal for dealing with water for a long time. Plus, its ergonomic 9-1/2 inch quick-attach molded grip handle ensures that you can have the middle of the winch, even in a humid environment.

It is perfect for an average-sized boat to a slightly bigger boat. Overall it can pull a maximum weight of 2500 pounds, which is enough to carry an average-size boat. So within a range, it’s a good investment. You can rarely get so many features in a single piece at this price.


  • Zinc finish efficiently protects against rust;
  • Enough sturdy to handle medium-sized boats;
  • Two variable speeds ratio of 17.3:1 and 5.4:1;
  • The ergonomic molded grip makes it non-slip;
  • 9-1/2 inch handle for use in all situations.


  • Don’t have any bolts included for attaching the strap; 
  • The teeth might break off earlier than in other models.

3. Fulton FW16000101 F2 Manual Boat Trailer Winch

  • Weight: 8 pounds;
  • Capacity: 1600 pounds;
  • Strap: 20 ft;
  • 2-position handle adjusts.

Fulton two-speed winch is very popular among users because it’s easy to use and has a versatile two-speed option. So after reading about other useful features, you might want to consider spending on this winch. One of the crucial features is, it does not require the use of any extra tools.

The quality construction and easy usage ensure stand-out service. The one-piece handle features a durable design to use for a long time. This manual winch can pull the boat in or out up to 3200 pounds capacity, which means slightly heavier boats can be controlled by it.

It is strong enough to keep the balance of the boat, even in hostile weather. The corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and handle quality will not allow rust to form quickly. The dual-gear drum works evenly. Whether you are left or right-handed, you can attach the handle based on your need, and the two-position handle can be adjusted from 6 to 7 inches.

The strap can cover a max 20 feet distance, which is enough for a medium-sized boat. It is overall a good investment featuring its privileges.


  • Easy to operate for beginners;
  • Corrosion-defiant aluminum frame and handle;
  • Smooth dual-gear drum;
  • Left or right-handed handle attachment; 
  • All mounting 20-foot winch straps.


  • Installation is quite hard than other manual winches;
  • Inner strap bands are easily bendable.

4. Seamander Manual Boat Trailer Winch Strap

  • Weight: 1.3 pounds ;
  • Capacity: 5000 lbs;
  • Strap: 20 ft;
  • Safety snap-hook at the end.

Seamander premium is a hard winch strap with a nice hook that has been designed tough and made from the highest quality materials. Other steel belt material takes concern on the amount of space on the winch drum, but this 20 feet strap is flexible enough to correctly roll onto the trailer winch. 

The superior quality strap material webbing made from ultra-strong polyester is solid, with a minimal stretch, to keep weights secure. The technical stitching increases durability with nylon thread. Additionally, the metal hook has a zinc-plated finish for rust and weather resistance. Also, the hook is wider than most standard hooks.

It’s a professional product of Marine Accessories companies that can take loads up to 5000 lbs securely. 


  • Reliable 5000 lbs capacity;
  • Zinc-plated rust-proof hook;
  • Hook with safety latch;
  • Professional product;
  • Extremely strong strap.


  • Sometimes dislodge the boat from the trailer;
  • The hook has a sharp edge.

5. Camco 50000 Manual Boat Winch

  • Weight: 8 pounds;
  • Capacity: 2000 lbs;
  • Strap: 20 ft.

If you are searching for a heavy-duty but inexpensive winch with high-quality material, Camco is one of them. This wench can take a load of an average size boat, which weighs up to 2000-pound. Since it needs less energy as it uses hand-operated power.

The lightweight 8 pounds body and reliable quality construction are comfortable for any average size person. Also, a rust-free surface resists corrosion to serve a more prolonged period.

Camco’s winch ensures the boat can land smoothly, accurately, and safely. The heavy-duty gears are zinc plated, which is durable enough. Also, the 2-inch polyester webbing strap has a unique UV resistance capability. Overall, it is an excellent option if you are looking for something simple but durable.


  • Heavy-duty gears;
  • Corrosion-resistant zinc-plated steel; 
  • Polyester webbing 2-inch strap;
  • UV resistance;
  • Lightweight material.


  • Gears easily slacken;
  • Unpolished surface.

6. Trailer Winch EDC Coated Dual Drive Manual Boat Trailer Winch

  • Weight: 8.8 pounds;
  • Capacity: 2000 lbs;
  • Strap: 20 ft.

A trailer winch is one of the most affordable as well as durable winches on the market. It has a comfortable grip cranking handle and considering that it also has a solid gear construction, including a 20-foot long nylon strap that can quickly hook to raise and lower the boat.

This heavy-duty metal power handle can control the boat, and it’s ideal to use trucks, pickups, and other mobile applications. The extra-long hook measures 3-3/8 inches and opens 3/4 inches, which adapts for ratchet or free spool. The most troublesome rolling can be accessible by a full-length drum bushing.  

Further, the dual drive gears are built of high carbon steel for long-lasting strength. This winch features a 4:1 gear ratio that makes it popular among users. This one can easily carry the max capacity of 2000 lbs to bring an average size boat onto a trailer without having to waste a lot of time with the process.


  • High carbon steel dual gears;
  • Zinc-plated finish to protect against corrosion;
  • Comfortable grip for smooth cranking;
  • Heavy-duty metal-powered handle;
  • One-way wheel with a free reel;
  • Gear ratio 4:1.


  • The handle is a little longer than similar models;
  • The inner strap bar tends to bend easily.

7. Goldenrod DL3200A Manual Trailer Winch

  • Weight: 15.5 pounds;
  • Capacity:3200 lbs;
  • Strap: 25 ft;
  • 9.1/2 inch quick attach an ergonomic handle.

Famous manufacturer Dutton-Lainson built this multi-purpose winch for various hauling and pulling operations. The DL3200A comes with a long 25 ft strap with a heavy-duty hook. The most attractive feature is that it has a permanently lubricated bearings system, which makes cranking the winch as easy as possible.

Moreover, the Tuffplate zinc finish makes it three times more durable than other zinc-plated standard winches. It can last long in both freshwater and saltwater environments for its Tuffplate finish. Also, the hook gets easily installed without any struggle.

Further features of high carbon steel heat-treated gears can reduce the chances of hard cranking. Permanently lubricating makes cranking smoother so that your hand will not get fatigued by loading and unloading. It can bear a load of 3200 lbs without any struggle.


  • Strap and hook installation is so easy;
  • Tuffplate zinc finish;
  • Optimal winch;
  • High carbon steel heat-treated gears;
  • Forever lubricated bearings;
  • Two-speed operation;
  • Reversible ratchet;
  • Ergonomic handle grip.


  • Need more resistance power in saltwater;
  • The handle is a little longer.

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About This Writer

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Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

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