There are probably about as many different boat trailer winches as there are boats or trailers, so narrowing down your choices isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However, considering a few factors, finding the right boat trailer winch doesn’t have to be so complicated.
Weight capacity is the first thing you will need to consider when choosing a winch. The capacity of the winch you buy should be at least three-fourths the combined weight of your boat and motor, fully loaded with gear and fuel.
In addition, there are other things you will need to factor in that can increase the capacity requirements for a winch. These include, steeper launch ramps, a trailer that uses wood bunks instead of rollers, as well as how far into the water you can go to launch the boat.
A single-speed winch is suitable for lighter boats like dinghies, catamarans, and inflatables. A two-speed winch, on the other hand, can be used for boats that are any heavier than that. For truly big boats, an electric winch with higher gear ratios may be required.
While most boats can be launched safely by letting them slide freely off the trailer and into the water, bigger boats will require a boat trailer winch with some form of braking system. This should allow you to launch the boat into the water at a safe speed.