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The Complete Guide to Towbar Winches

The Complete Guide to Towbar Winches


Tow bar winches are a brilliant tool that are used to raise, lower or pull objects. Cars, boats, vans and even some industrial products can be moved around with winches. But, knowing which winch you need is very important, and knowing which winches are available for purchase is your next step to finding the right winch.

Fulton manufactures all types of winches from electric, hand and dual-speed trailer winches, brake winches, all the way to boat winches.

If you're unsure on which winch you need, or how winches work, this article will cover the following:

  • What is a tow bar winch?
  • Types of Towbar Winches
  • What can winches be used for?
  • Reasons to buy a towbar winch
  • What are the benefits of our winches?

What is a tow bar winch?

Winches are used to wind in or out or adjust the tension of rope, wire or cable. There are two main types of winches - manual and electrical. In its simplest form, a winch consists of a spool attached to a hand crank and are mostly seen on tow trucks, boats and construction sites.

Types of Towbar Winches

Manual Winch

Manual winches, also called hand winches, are human-operated. Manual winches are a great option for light to moderate loads, or where electrical power is not easy to access. Manual winches work by an operator turning a ratcheting crank, or lever, to lift or pull a load. Most manual winches are specially designed to have brake mechanisms which are often automatic, to make them easier to operate. When the brake mechanism is working, the load will remain in place when the handle is released. So you can be sure whatever you're winching won't crash back down to Earth!

Electric Winch

Electric winches, or powered winches, are operated by a controller. Electric tow bar winches are the preferred option for heavy loads because they are safer, enabling the operator to stand back and control the winch away from the machinery. Turning a switch on and off can pull out the load at the end of the rope, cable or chain.

What can tow bar winches be used for?

Historically, winches have had many important uses, dating all the way back to 480 B.C.E, when wooden winches were used to tighten cables used in bridges. More recently, winches have been a staple point of engineering with winch operations being more varied in design and implementation.

Winches can do it all, from pulling and lifting, to lowering and even towing. They can also be used for vehicle recovery, off-roading, moving scenery for theatre, and even aircraft and helicopter rescue. Since winches are made from strong metals, like steel and aluminium, they provide consistent performance and have a long working life. Different winches can be used for different jobs, some being stronger than others, and some being designed for specific applications.

Hand Winches

Hand winches are designed to lift heavy items, but not all hand winches are designed to lift the heaviest of objects. Winch capacity varies, from the type of metal to how much stress the winch can deal with. Some winches are capable of lifting up to 500lbs whilst some can lift much heavier items, up to even 5000 lbs. We have winches that have a maximum capacity of 1000 lbs to an impressive 3700 lbs, so you can decide which will do the job for you.

Trailer Winches

Trailer winches have cables that are specially designed to make the loading and unloading of products and vehicles easier. Trailer winches for boats are extremely important because, without a winch, loading and unloading boats from trailers would be almost impossible without one. As well as this, trailer winches prevent boats from becoming damaged from being dropped or mishandled, greatly reducing any maintenance and extending the boat's life.

Brake Winches

Brake winches are high-quality multi-purpose winches that are used for a variety of lifting and hoisting applications. Brake winches are designed with an automatic brake, which means when the crank is released, the load stays suspended in the air. This type of winch is perfect for hoisting a heavy load from the ground up to a high point on a building. The brake ensures that once the crank is left alone, there is no freewheeling, making this type of winch absolutely safe.

Reasons to buy a towbar winch

If you drive an off-road vehicle, understanding how to use a tow bar winch can provide value in many situations. A towbar winch is an efficient device as far as pulling, towing and lifting processes are concerned.

Towbar winches are generally placed on the front of off-road vehicles. When it retracts, a towbar winch is strong enough to pull a car out of a tough position or up onto the flatbed of a truck. What you can tow with a towbar winch has everything to do with the vehicle's weight, the strength of the wire, and the point of connection for your winch hook.

But what are some of the reasons why you might buy a towbar winch?

1. You're stuck

Having a towbar winch on hand when stuck in the mud is ideal. Instead of rocking, pushing, and trying to toss sticks under the tire to grab traction, just hook up the winch. The ability to quickly pull yourself or your friend out of trouble means you'll have more time to spend enjoying yourself, and less time spent up to the shins in mud!

2. You can safely adventure on your own

If you find yourself out and about adventuring on your own, a towbar winch can make you feel safer. Getting stuck by yourself can be a tricky experience, but a winch gives you a way out of a tough spot.

3. You can conquer all types of roads

A tough tow winch can also help your vehicle go places it may not be able to go on its own. Some treacherous terrains are only driveable when you are pulling yourself along on a winch. So many roads, so many possibilities!

4. You can taking bigger risks

There are certain accessories and tools available in life that help you level up in your adventures. A towbar winch is most definitely one of those tools. You can take your vehicle to higher heights when you know that you can just pull yourself through to safer ground. Taking risks is a foundational element of exploration, and a strong tow bar winch mount can certainly improve your experience.

What are the benefits of our winches?

Winches can come in all different shapes and sizes and can be used for a variety of applications. You can buy a tow bar mounted winch that comes with a tow bar winch bracket. They have lots of benefits which can make your life much easier.


Our winches have an impressive amount of strength as they are made from metals such as steel and aluminium. These metals can take a considerable amount of strain with no issue. Some of our outside winches are completely waterproof so you can be sure that they won't corrode or rust, promoting healthy longevity that will see them last for a long time.

Different Speeds

We have some winches that are available to purchase in either a Single or a Dual speed. Depending on your application, you may find that a dual-speed winch suits your purpose better. On a dual-speed winch, the fast speed can be used to quickly pull in a load, whilst the other lower speed can allow you to carefully control the load and benefits from precision. Browse our winches now and see what type of winch suits your application!


As hand winches will be controlled by the operator, it's essential that these are completely safe. That's why many Fulton hand winches come with an automatic brake mechanism. When an amount of force is applied to the winch, the system knows to hold it in place, making sure that whatever you're pulling will be pulled up safely and securely. This gives you confidence that you can get the job done safely, every time.

Now that you know all about winches, you're ready to continue your journey! Take a look at our winches to find the best one for you and take the strain out of heavy lifting.

Be sure to check out our range of winches and find out even more information and details of each individual winch.

Towing safely is much more than having your towbar fitted correctly. You also need to know how to use it correctly and follow some strict guidelines on towing in order to stay safe on the road.

Have you got a 2018 Renault Clio?

Have you got a 2018 Renault Clio?

We're looking to develop a towbar for the new 2018 Renault Clio! If you are one of the lucky people to have this new vehicle and are looking to have a towbar fitted then why not get in contact with us. We are looking for someone who is happy to have their car used to develop a towbar at our Engin...