Commonly available in both manual and electric models, a boat trailer winch is renowned for its long-term reliability, testing and highest quality standards of excellence.
Manual trailer winches always test your physical strength to pull and crank the weight of the boat and also fight gravity. With an electric boat trailer winch, your boat glides onto your trailer with just one click of a remote control. It is fast, convenient and also safe & secure. A pulley or block can be used at the bow eye to double your pulling power.
Trailer winches come with cables or nylon straps, cable is a good source of great strength and is also very secure. Doubling of line cable is an option when you need the strongest method available, and is suggested for larger vessels. Straps are gentler on the hands but still provide good strength and power for small and medium sized boats.
With a variety of electric winch makes and models on the market, each with their own unique features and pros and cons, it can be hard to find the perfect winch for your boat trailer. With this in mind, I have created this article having reviewed the three top electric boat winches, so you can find the best winch at the right price.
So what makes these superb electric boat trailer winches? Keep reading to find out.
Electric Boat Winch Quick Reference Table
The number one choice in our best 12-Volt electric boat trailer winch review is the Dutton-Lanson TW9000, which is an awesome winch.
Dutton-Lainson are based in Nebraska, USA and have a long tradition of providing quality winches, having been doing so for over 130 years when they were established in 1886.
With 3000 pounds pulling power, the TW9000 can pull most boats out of the water and onto a boat trailer. In fact, the TW9000 is capable of handling a boat weighing up to 9000 pounds, which covers most of us!
It is no slouch either, with a speed of 10 foot per minute, the TW9000 will soon have your boat home and dry in no time.
More DetailsThe 20 foot strap has a hook attached at the end, to connect to your boat and you have a choice of either free spooling the strap or powering out the strap to extend it. The TW9000 comes complete with a wiring harness, so you are all ready to hook it up to the electrics and put it to work without needing to buy anything else. As a bonus, for added peace of mind, there is a hand crank if you need it in an emergency or somehow drain the battery!
How easy is it to install the TW900 boat trailer winch from Dutton-Lainson?
So, how has the Dutton-Lainson TW9000 been received online? Well, lets just say that the vast majority (over 90%) of people who have bought one on Amazon have been more than happy, giving it either 4 or 5 stars. Comments like “well worth the cost”, “quality build”, “best boat trailer winch I have ever used” and “works 1st time, every time” are just some of the comments received for this little beauty of a 12-volt electric winch.
If there is any negative, it is that although the controls are easy to use, all being on the top of the winch, there is no remote control. Shame really, otherwise the TW9000 would be pretty much perfect. So if a remote control is a must for you, take a look at one of he other winches in our review, or you can find this 12-volt electric boat trailer winch at a really good price here.
The Powerwinch 912 trailer winch makes loading your boat a breeze. It’s as easy as pressing a button and relaxing while the Powerwinch 912 does all the work.
The 912 features a smooth power-in/freewheel out action, and the manufacturer claims it has the ability to pull a boat as heavy as 11,500 pounds. Our research suggests that, however, that this model is most suitable for boats up to 26 ft and weighing up to 9,500 lbs.
The Powerwinch 912 also offers a vertical lift capacity of 4,000 pounds, with an option for doubling the pull/line capacity with the use of the included pulley block at the bow eye. This doubles your cable and halves the retrieval speed, giving you more strength (7,500 pounds) out of your trailer winch.
- Automatic trailer winch for loading your boat into a trailer
- Saves muscle and hassle by loading boat with the press of a button
- Patented Trimatic Control for smoother pulling action
- Pulls boats up to 11,500 pounds; line speed of 8 feet per minute
- 12-volt cable offers smooth power-in/freewheel-out action
- Wiring harness for easy hook up to car battery
- Exclusive level wind system that won’t snarl
- Attractively styled housing is a striking grey Super Tuf ABS plastic that’s weather resistant
- 40-foot cable with safety hook and a remote control lanyard
- Measures 10″ W by 8″ H by 10″ D inches
- 1 year warranty
More DetailsA lot of reviews online talk about the power of this winch and also its durability, with the vast majority of buyers rating it 4 or 5 star. Comments from buyers like “makes unloading and loading my boat on to the bunk trailer a breeze, especially as a one person operation” and “Had mine 25 years and still going STRONG” give you the confidence that this is a quality product.
If there is a downside to the Powerwinch 912, it is that it has no remote control, like the Dutton-Lanson TW9000, so if this is a must have feature, you will want to look elsewhere. However, saying that, this is a great trailer winch that is worth a serious look at.
The Five Oceans Electric Marine Trailer Recovery Winch sits at number three in our 12-volt electric boat trailer winches review. Although this winch might not have the pulling power of our other choices, it still has some great features to make your life easier and when you consider the price, if you have a lighter boat, this is a great option that should be considered.
So what exactly does 2000 pounds of pulling power get you? Well it is enough to handle an 18 foot boat weighing up to 5000 pounds. Yes that might be less than others in our review but remember the price, it is outstanding value if you have a smaller boat. It is pretty quick at doing it as well, being able to pull your vessel out of the water at 6 ft per minute.
More DetailsWe mentioned the features earlier and you might be surprised to hear that this cheap little winch also comes with a corded remote control, which is something that some of its more expensive brothers cannot boast. Other features like an emergency crank handle and the ability to free spool its cable out for quick hook ups, make it a great option which needs careful consideration.
So what do others think? Again, like the Dutton-Lainson TW9000, this winch is much loved on line by its users with over 80% of reviewers giving it a 4 or 5 star rating. And did we mention the low price of this Five Oceans boat trailer winch? Great option for anyone with a smaller boat.
Forth up in our review is another Powerwinch, but this time the Powerwinch RC30. This is another solid choice for anyone looking for a new 12-volt electric boat trailer winch, and it has some rave reviews by users on Amazon.
As with all winches, different load conditions will affect the Powerwinch RC30 wireless winches performance. The line pull required for a specific application depends on the weight of the load, the condition of the trailer rollers and the degree of incline of the loading ramp. So a bit of common sense needs to be applied and you always need to think before each use, to make sure you do not go beyond its capabilities.
- Wireless remote operated
- Added convenience of a light enclosed in the trailer winch casing to help you load your boat at night
- Emergency crank conveniently stored in winch cover
- Can use a pulley block for double line applications
- Redesigned, stronger housing
- Remote power in/freewheel out operation
- 60 amp standard wiring harness
- Two year limited warranty
- Max. boat weight: 11,500 lbs
- Vertical lift capacity (single line) 4000 lbs, or double pull/line capacity 7500 lbs (Must not be considered or used as a hoist)
- Can use a pulley block for double line applications
- Max. Boat Weight: 11500 lbs
- Line Speed: 8 FPM
- Vertical Lift Capacity: 4000 lbs
- Remote Control: Yes
- Light: Yes
- Double Line Capacity: 7500 lbs
- Power Source: 12V
- Circuit Breaker: 60 amp
- Unit Weight: 36 lbs
- Depth: 9.5″
- Width: 11.5″
- Height: 9″
- Cable Length: 40′
- Cable Diameter: 7/32″
More Details“This unit will meet your needs. I have a 28 foot Grady White and even when fully loaded the Powerwinch RC30 wireless winch has more than enough power to move my boat the last 2 feet onto my bunk trailer.”
“The winch attached to the trailer with minimum effort. The instructions are clear, and when I misplaced my manual, I was able to download instructions online. The wire from the car to the winch is of good quality although it would be a good option to be able to buy an extra long cable. I use the winch in double mode for my 24 ft, 4300 lb boat. No stress. Easy on my back. The Powerwinch RC30 wireless winch is a good product!!”
How to Load a Boat With an Electric Winch
Five Things Not To Do When Launching Your Boat
A few years ago, I racked up about 3,000 miles hauling a rig around North America for BOATING. The first day found me on a shimmering two-way, two-lane blacktop pass high in the Colorado Rockies. I’m behind the wheel of a shiny SUV pulling a brand-new 26′ sportboat while a steady stream of Peterbilts blasts down the oncoming lane, the slipstream wake rocking my rig. Every time I glance at the sideview mirror, I see my trailer’s starboard wheels inch closer and closer to the No Return side of the solid white line. I’m dangerously nervous, to put it mildly.
So I tell myself it’s time for an experiment: Don’t worry about the $50,000 boat careening over the side of the 11,000′ mountain with the 18-wheelers blowing your doors off — just drive at a safe speed, in the middle of your lane. The fact that I’m writing this and not mountain flower fertilizer is proof that hooking a boat onto an automobile can elicit some odd behavior. It was my constant glancing in the sideview mirror, light braking, and creeping toward the right that was nudging me toward disaster. As you move down the road, you should check your mirrors for anything amiss — a blowout, a shift of the boat — but keep your main focus in front of your vehicle, not behind it, whether or not you’re trailering a boat. I picked up a few more tips along the way, particularly at the launch ramp.
1. Don’t be afraid to use lines. For an hour, a guy at a ramp in Dubuque, Iowa, tried to angle his trailer every way imaginable to catch the bow of his friend’s boat, which was being swept by a mighty wind and the mighty current of the Mississippi. Finally, I stood on an upwind pier and had the guy cleat a long line to his stern and bow; using the pier as a fulcrum, we got the boat broadside to the wind, then onto the trailer. No problem.
2. Don’t assume there’s only one way to do things. I heard a guy screaming at his son at a campside ramp in Wichita, Kansas. I was afraid the old man would have a stroke. “Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, use your mirrors and steer the direction you want the trailer to go!” he yelled again and again. Now, I don’t use this steering technique, and I have parallel parked a trailer in New York City rush hour traffic. Instead, I twist my upper body so I’m facing over my right shoulder. Looking out the back window at the centerline of the rig, I inch back, briefly rotating my head to glance at the mirrors to make certain I’m going in the right direction.
3. Don’t go whole hog down an unfamiliar launch ramp. Cairo, Illinois, was where an underpowered little Honda slid halfway down a steep ramp, only coming to a stop as the outdrive pranged the bottom. Seeing that the ramp was covered in slime, the driver should have backed down only halfway and then pulled forward, testing the ramp to make sure he could climb up it unaided. For all I know, he may still be there trying to haul out.
Don’t take my word for it, checkout a few howlers caught on video!
4. Don’t forget the engine. Lake Powell, Arizona, was the scene of a perfect one-try load of an outboard fishboat. The woman onboard raised the drive and then hurried to the bow to secure her boat to the trailer. She quickly climbed in her Dodge pickup’s air-conditioned cab and pulled the boat to the top of the mile-long ramp. Of course, while she was driving up the ramp, a strange sound was coming from her boat’s engine, which was still running…but not for long. At least she remembered to raise the motor.
5. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. I imagine what was said in the Ford pickup in Annapolis, Maryland, was “Unhook the boat.” What I saw was the passenger get out, go to the back of a truck, unhook the trailer from the hitch ball, and give the thumbs up to the driver. What ensued was a nightmare of crushed metal, wood (the dock), and fiberglass. The driver of the Ford was also the unfortunate owner of the boat. His mistake? He didn’t get out and check that his orders were being followed properly. What I took from the scene was a picture from my trip that I won’t soon forget.
Benefits Of The Electric Boat Winch
New technology has brought in change to the boating industry. Nowadays, it has become a lot easier to crank your boat onto your trailer using the Electric Boat Winch. These modern devices offer you the opportunity to load and also unload your vessel easily using minimal energy.
Types of Boat Trailer Winches
There are two types of winches; the standard and the electric boat winch. Many users prefer the automatic type since it is easy to use and therefore one can load their vessel onto the trailer without needing a helping hand.
What Size Winch Do You Need?
To determine the correct size of trailer winch you can use, it is always important to know the gross weight of your vessel. You can know this by checking in the owner’s manual or even seek the manufacturer’s advice. Gross weight is derived by adding the weight of the motor, fuel, plus any other equipment found on-board while loading. By so doing, you will be in a position to acquire a good winch which can comfortably handle loading and unloading.
Optional Hand Crank
When purchasing an electric winch, always look out for one that comes with the option of a hand-crank. This will act as a backup or fail-safe, and ensure that should the battery or motor fail, loading can still be done manually.
Ease of Use
The electric winch has better features making it easy to use though it is slightly expensive than the manual one. Working with this machine reduces the work load which could normally take two or three men to do into a one man affair.
Size of Boat
Choosing to use the electric or manual device mostly depends on the size of your vessel. A marine vessel that is 23 feet or less makes it small in size and weight thus making it difficult to easily dock the boat onto the trailer. With this in mind using the electric device is advisable when moving a vessel that exceeds 23 feet from the water. In addition, a wireless remote or tether can be used to give you ample distance from the cable when it is heavily loaded.
If you carefully maintain the winch it will serve you longer. In the event that you notice damaged or frayed wires on the cable, make a point of replacing them immediately since they may cause bodily harm to you or other users. Before you begin operation, it is advisable to clear the area off any bystanders.
For safety purposes, always read the manual provided by the manufacturer and carefully adhere to the safety precautions. Never use the device as a lift since the machine’s work is to pull its load either horizontally or slightly inclined. Wearing jewelry and loose fitting clothes could be very dangerous since they could get entangled in the device. Finally, ensure that your fingers and hands are away from the shaft and make use of the strap for double protection when unwinding the cable.