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What is An Electric Winch? (4 Things You Need to Know)

Views: 190     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-07-14      Origin: Site

Introduction to Electric Winch

The electric winch is a motor-powered pulling machine used for moving or pulling heavy items or vehicles. Compared to manual electric winches, electric winches can save time and energy.

The electric winch is also a very common winch that is specifically created for car trailing. You may see the strange device on the front bumper of a jeep and that is the winch. The electric winch works by the vehicle's own electrical system and then helps you to pull your vehicle.

Electric Winches can be divided into different voltages: high voltage (including 110V, 220V, and 360V) and low voltage (including 12V, 24V, and 36V). Electric winches can be used in different vehicles such as ATVs, UTVs, Jeeps, and trucks, which need different winch capacities. Take the ATV as an example, there are 1500 lb ATV winch, 2000 lb ATV winch, 2500 lb ATV winch, 3500 lb ATV winch, and so on.

electric winch

What are the parts of an electric winch?


The motor is the main part of an electric winch and the electric winch motor can be classified into two types: Permanent Magnet Motors and Series Wound Motors.

The battery drain of permanent magnet motors can be less than the series wound motors, which is more suitable for light and medium electric winches.

The series wound motors are more suitable for heavy-duty electric winches as they are more powerful. And they are a bit more expensive than the permanent magnet motors.

Gear Train

The gear train can also be called a drivetrain, which can help transform the power of the electric winch motor into pulling power. The three main types of gear train are planetary gears, worm gear, and spur gear. The difference between these three types is the efficiency transfer.

Planetary gears are the most common gear train that is very steady. Planetary gears are well-known for their durability, and efficiency, and they can effectively handle high torque loads. The efficiency transfer of planetary gears is 60%.

Worm gears have a brake system and they can be more powerful and simpler than planetary gears. But worm gears have a significant slowing down of line speed.

Similar to planetary gears, spur gears also need brake equipment as they may cause spool when loaded.


The winch drum is where the cable or wire is wrapped around. The winch drum varies in size according to the different sizes of cables.


A fairlead is designed to protect the winch line from being frayed. Without the fairlead, the winch line can be damaged, which may lead to a big safety problem. Fairlead can be categorized as roller fairlead and hawse fairlead.

Freespool Clutch

The drum may be connected to or disconnected from the gear train using a freespool clutch.


Many electric winches have a built-in brake mechanism to hold the load.

Wire Rope

Wire rope is wrapped around the electric winch drum and it will go through the fairlead. The minimum length of wire rope should be 100 feet.


The solenoid is designed to manage the direction of the drum's rotation. It can be divided into two types: integrated solenoid and remote solenoid.

How does an electric winch work?

To be brief, the electric power of the vehicle firstly drives the winch motor, and then the motor drives the drum, which in turn triggers planetary gears. It can create a strong torque and then the torque will be transmitted back to the drum to drive the electric winch. There is a clutch between the motor and the reducer, which can be switched on and off by a handle. The brake is built in the winch drum and once the wire rope becomes tight, the drum will lock.

Pros and Cons of an electric winch

Pros of an electric winch

  • An electric winch can provide a large pulling power, which can last for a long time. It also offers pulling force in different directions.

  • It can be used when the vehicle cannot start

  • Easy to install and it is also suitable for areas full of water

Cons of an electric winch

  • The vehicle's own electrical system has limitations and the electric winch may be easy to become heat

  • An electric winch cannot be used if the vehicle engine cannot work

  • Most electric winches have limited pulling force and can only apply force in one direction

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