What Is A Winch? And What Are The Type Of Winches?

The people who go off-roading in their car knows the feeling of getting their car tires stuck in the mud. Just imagine for a second, your car is held in a similar situation and you have no one to help you, disastrous.

It is one of many cases where a winch can be all the help you need.

Now, you may ask, what is a winch. To put it in simple words; a rope is winded or un-winded using this mechanical tool.

The winch can be used to hold an object in place or lift the object above ground if needed. Making this the perfect device to have if you want to raise, pull or suspend heavy items now and then.

How Does A Winch Work?

A pulley mechanism is used to pull or rotate a winch. To lift something heavy or to use as a crank, the rotating elements are turned internally by ropes.

A winch can be used to lift heavy objects, but mostly they are used to adjust tension levels in cables. The winch operates using the spool and a hand crank system.

Winch Features

Features of a winch will vary with the way it is being used. Winches includes a winch drum followed by a hand crank. There are multiple kinds of the winch which you can find in the market.

Each winch has their very own unique features. Herein, many have gears, and they get their power from hydraulics, electricity or an internal combustion engine.

Usually, to make sure that the winches don’t unwind, ratchets or solenoid brakes are used.


Winches can be used in a lot of ways. They can be fit on trucks to help them load cargo, or help them toe other vehicles or even drag or lift heavy objects using the vehicle’s strength.

They are often used to supply petrol, which is needed to refuel our cars. In such cases, winches are used to re-position equipment’s associated with oil or gas from one side to the other.

The theater also has their use of a winch; they usually use it on the backstage, placing background images or objects into place or even people for some individual performances which require a person to act as if they were flying.

You sure have seen such acts in shows or television, right?

Boats use winches to pull their anchor up once they are ready to take sails. Some sailors use winches to tie their boats to the dock as it can grip hard to the anchor point and can be removed easily by realizing the stress on the steel rope to untie it.

Snow sports also have started their way of using winches. Instead of wasting money on cars to move people around, they are now planning to attach winches to Slade and slide them on the snow from one point to the other.

Water sport is no different; winches are attached to the back of a speedboat and players are given one end of the rope. As the speedboat slices through the water, the player holding the rope rides the waves created by the speedboat on a surfboard.

Construction is another major field where winches are being used. All the lifting is usually done by a winch which made the life of a construction worker much easier.

The fishing industry is next in the line. Ships are equipped with a winch that can retract fast after the net attached to the line has reached a certain depth.

Fishermen use Sonar to detect the depth at which they can get the fish, and after doing so, the winch is released with a net attached. This dives down to the bottom, then other mechanism deploys net like structure and brings the fish fast onto the surface.

Types of Winches

Each winch kind is different from the other. In total seven different types of winches are available, they are:

1. Lever Winch

Lever Winch

In this winch, the spool is replaced by a self-gripping jaw. This self-gripping jaw is used to move ropes using the winch. They can be sued to move several tones of weight if the leaver is being pulled front and back by someone.

2. Snubbing Winch

This kind of winch uses a spool which is positioned at a 90 degree angle. Although this has a retractable configuration like a normal winch, it doesn’t have any crank handle.

Tail lines are used to reel line or tighten it. Little tension is formed after the apply of force stops and the winch is carrying all the weight. Controlled release of pleasure is possible with the snubbing winch.

Pressure is controlled using operators set circling the ratcheted spool. Even friction produced by the movement of the lines comes in handy while controlling pressure.

This device controls some ropes and the sail on small sailing boats or dinghies.

3. Wake-Skate Winch

Wake-skate winch is widely used on watersports. The wake-skate winch consists of a spool, engine and some other mechanisms.

It can pull a person at a speed of 24 - 40 km/h on an open waterbody while the person is standing or laying on a surfboard.

4. Glide Winch

Airship carriers use this Individual kind of winch to launch planes or glider. The glide winch can retract at mind-blowing speeds which with the help of some compressed air can make any flight airborne in seconds.

5. Air Winch

This particular winch is known by many names, some call it air hoist while other calls it air-tugger. The winch is tougher, can do a lot of things, safe and environmentally friendly compared to other winches.

This is because the mechanism is powered by compressed air.

6. Capstan Winch

This is another winch used on sailing boats, and this is a vertical-axle one. Force is applied to cables and ropes using this.

7. Mooring Winch

Ships are secured to berth using this device.


The winch can be an essential tool for a daily basis use given the fact that it is so versatile. There are lots of other applications for this device; some known and the others unknown.

Innovative people use this possible device in their ways.

This tool contributes a lot to the society as they lessen the burden of carrying or pulling or lifting heavy weights by people.

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