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Unless you’re a contestant on World’s Strongest Man, you’d probably struggle to move a car in your own – but with a come along winch, you can do exactly that, with no gas or electricity required. A come along winch (or the similar rope come along or cable puller) uses mechanical advantage to allow you to move weights that would otherwise be impossible for you to shift. In fact, with this genius piece of apparatus, you can move several tons – albeit slowly – using just one hand!
Sounds too good to be true? Check out this buying guide to the best come along winches, and you’ll soon see that these winches are not only possible, but actually highly affordable and easy to use. You’ll be pulling tractors with your pinky in no time (ok, maybe not quite…).
The Best Come Along Winch
Our top pick of the best come along winches on the market has to be this TEKTON 5547 Power Puller. This heavy duty ratcheting gear pulley system features a super-strong steel construction with a corrosion-resistant galvanized finish, and a ¼ inch aircraft-grade steel cable with a pull length of 7 feet 3 inches (or 12 feet 7 inches when used as a single line).
The locking pawls and dual gears distribute pulling force evenly, and the self-closing safety latch hooks ensure secure connections, and allow you to use this come along cable puller as either a single or double line. All this enables you to safely move an impressive 4 tons of weight, by using the non-slip ratchet handle to release the cable one notch at a time. Negative reviews question the composition of the metal, but there are also numerous happy customers who have successfully used this winch to move heavy loads, including trailers stuck in the mud.
4-ton maximum weight capacity, 2-ton safe working load limit
Locking pawls and dual gears distribute force evenly
1/4-inch aircraft-grade steel cable
- Weight 13.23 pounds
The 144S-6 Pow’R Pull by Maasdam can pull a comparatively low weight of 1 ton. However, that’s still a considerable weight, and what it lacks in capacity, it makes up for in quality of construction and ease of use – Massdam are the original creators of the come along winch, and it shows. Featuring a high-strength aluminum alloy ratchet, electro-plated steel pawls and a 3/16” diameter aircraft-grade cable, this cable come along is durable, wear resistant and billed as virtually indestructible.
The design boasts notch-at-a-time let down, which enables you to safely move heavy equipment and debris. Safety is clearly of the utmost importance with this winch, as it also includes OSHA approved safety latches to ensure hooks stay connected, and a non-slip plastic grip to ensure a comfortable operation and reduce fatigue. There are some reviews which question the quality of the pawls on the unit, but there are many more who are pleased with it, and have used it successfully to move heavy objects such as trees and rocks.
Pull up to 1 ton of weight
Cable length: 12ft, Cable lift: 12ft
OSHA approved safety latches
- Model 144S-6
- Weight 7.5 pounds
The next piece of kit on our list is this ABN Heavy-Duty Hand Puller with Cable Rope, which has a 2-ton maximum capacity (and 1-ton safe working load limit). This single gear come along tool features a galvanized 3/16” diameter braided steel cable, as well as a high-strength 3-plate ratchet and pawl system which the manufacturer states makes it suitable for farming, machine shop, boating and landscaping use – and there are also 2 x 3/8-inch hooks to help with a variety of applications.
This come along cable puller is operated by a 17-inch steel ratchet handle which has a cushioned, non-slip rubber grip, allowing easier and more productive operation. As far as safety features go, each hook includes safety spring latches to prevent injury and damage to your cargo. There are several reviewers who say this winch feels cheaply made, and question the flimsiness of certain parts. However, there are also plenty who say it served its purpose, and that it’s a good buy for such an affordable price.
2-ton maximum weight capacity, 1-ton safe working load limit
3-plate steel ratchet and pawl
Single gear design
- Weight 2.56 pounds
Next up is the second model from Maasdam on our list, the 144SB-6. This come along winch has a 2-ton capacity, so double the maximum weight limit of the previous model – although as you would expect, the price reflects this. Other than the differing weight limit, the features are very similar to that of the 1-ton model. The galvanized cable is 3/16” in diameter, the pawls are made from high-strength steel alloy and there’s a 1-piece ratchet wheel made from aluminum alloy.
There’s also notch-at-a-time let down, OSHA safety latches, and the plastic, non-slip handle for comfortable and easy operation. The cable length is 12ft, but it can only lift a weight 6ft at a time, so half that of the 1-ton capacity model. It also weighs in at a slightly heavier 8.75lbs, although this isn’t much considering it can pull double the weight. Some reviews mention that it is hard to unreel the cable, although others seem to think this is an instructional or user issue, as they are happy with the quality of the product and have successfully used it to move heavy weights such as car haulers.
2-ton pulling capacity
Cable length: 12ft, Cable lift: 6ft
1-piece aluminum alloy ratchet wheel
- Model 144SB-6
- Weight 7.63 pounds
This Neiko 02256A Power Cable Puller has the most impressive pulling capacity yet at 5 tons. This heavy duty come along tool has a high-strength steel construction, and zinc-plated gears and hooks to prevent rust. It’s a double gear design, which allows for an even distribution of force and notched pulling action, and there are 3 hooks, not 2, which allows for even greater versatility.
There’s a long ratchet handle with a plastic grip, although some reviews mention that this doesn’t make for a comfortable ratcheting experience, and hand fatigue sets in quickly. Other users also seem to have had problems with the device coming apart under heavy use. However, as always, there are plenty of positive reviews to counteract the negatives, with many saying they’ve used this successfully for pulling weights of around 2 tons – so it might perhaps be that it is more suited to lower weights.
5-ton pulling capacity
3 latching hooks
- Weight 13.38 pounds
With a galvanized steel construction and 1/4-inch aircraft-grade cable, this TR Portable Power Puller can pull a maximum of 4 tons of weight, with a 2-ton safe working load limit. It includes a 1/4-inch aircraft-grade braided steel cable and a heavy duty steel frame to withstand the elements. It has a dual locking pawl system and dual gears to ensure an even distribution of force and a consistent movement.
The 2 x 3/8-inch hooks have safety latches and can accommodate chains of up to 1/2 inch. The 18-inch handle has a comfortable, 10.5-inch grip, making it easy to apply the necessary force without hand fatigue. This model also comes with a convenient carry case for storing and transporting your come along winch, making it the most portable design yet on our list. Reviews praise the quality, durability and solid construction of this heavy duty come along.
4-ton maximum pulling capacity, 2-ton safe working load limit
Dual gear design
Includes carry storage case
- BrandTR Industrial
- Weight 12.4 pounds
Onto another option from Maasdam now – who really are leaders in the field of come along winches – and it’s this A-20 Rope Come Along. This model is less heavy duty than the previous ones, with a maximum weight capacity of ‘only’ 3/4 ton. Unlike the others so far on this list, this come along winch features a rope rather than a cable. The rope is a 1/2-inch diameter Dacron polyester rope, which is both wear resistant and highway approved. It comes with 20ft of rope included, but the tool is also able to accommodate an unlimited length of rope, which makes it a highly flexible option and increases the number of potential uses.
As with the other Maasdam pullers, there’s notch-at-a-time let down, OSHA approved safety latches to ensure the hooks remain connected, and a non-slip grip on the handle to reduce user fatigue. There are numerous positive reviews of this winch, especially from people who have used it to move moderately sized trees, and those that praise the versatility provided by the increased length of the rope. If you don’t need to move weights of more than 3/4-tons, this rope come along tool is a solid choice.
3/4-ton maximum weight capacity
1/2-inch diameter rope of 20ft length
Can accommodate rope of unlimited length
- Model A-20
- Weight 7.9 pounds
This Wyeth Ratchet Puller is a much bulkier design, made from steel and iron and weighing in at 24lbs. It features 5/16” Amsteel Blue synthetic braided rope with an impressive length of 35ft, making it suitable for a variety of uses. Amsteel Blue is said to be stronger than cable, but significantly lighter. It’s constructed from a single, 12-strand braid of Dyneema SK-75 fiber with a Samthane coating. All this makes it easier for the user to operate, and eliminates the risk of whiplash associated with cables. The ratchet tool can move weights of up to 3tons dead lift, and 6tons drag-and-pull.
Reviews of this heavy duty rope come along are resoundingly positive. Many praise its solid construction and longevity, and one even compares the unit to a ‘rhinoceros’. There is also much appreciation of the fact that, unlike cable come along tools, if the rope on this were to snap, the backlash would not cause serious injury. Overall this seems to be a very high quality option, with a high weight capacity, and is perhaps one of the safer models on the market.
3-ton weight capacity
5/16” diameter Amsteel Blue rope
35ft rope length
- Brand Wyeth
- Model 3-35-A-SLT
- Weight 24 pounds
Our last offering from Maasdam on this list is the Pow’R Pull A-100. This is another rope come along, with the 1/2” diameter Dacron polyester rope measuring an impressive 100ft (hence the name). The longer reach means it can conform and accommodate a variety of loads, and it can also be used with an unlimited length of appropriate rope, if you need it. The other features of this ratchet remain largely the same as the previous Massdam models, with an aluminum alloy ratchet wheel, OSHA approved safety latches and notch-at-a-time let down.
Feedback for this rope come along is very encouraging. There are almost no negative comments, and dozens of positive reviews from people who have had great success using it, particularly to fell and move trees. These rope pullers are more expensive than the cable versions, but if you’re looking for a piece of equipment that will last a lifetime, it may well be worth the extra investment.
3/4-ton maximum capacity
1/2” diameter Dacron polyester rope
100ft rope length
- Model A-100
- Weight 13.85 pounds
The final entrant on our list of the best come along winches is this ABN 1200lbs Single Gear Boat Come Along Winch. Made from high carbon steel with a zinc finish, this ratchet device features 23 feet of reinforced nylon strap and a single 3/8-inch drop-forged hook. It has a single-speed gear design and a 10-inch high leverage steel handle, as well as a 3-inch non-slip plastic grip for easy operation.
All of this is capable of maneuvering weights of up to 0.6 tons. This is comparatively low compared to similar tools, but it is also the lightest of the come along winches on this list, and might be a more convenient option for some. It’s designed primarily for loading boats onto trailers, and if the reviews are to be believed, it works well for this purpose.
Pull up to 0.6 tons
23ft reinforced nylon strap
- Weight 3.33 pounds
Best Come Along Winch Buying Guide
Still not sure which come along winch is right for your requirements? Wondering how you actually use it, and whether it’s safe to operate? Read on for our full buying guide and FAQ, for answers to all these questions, and more.
Features to Look for in a Come Along Winch
When choosing a come along winch, there are certain things you should look out for. Below are some of the most important factors to consider:
- Weight capacity
One of the most important things to think about when purchasing a come along winch is the maximum weight capacity. This needs to be higher – ideally significantly higher – than any weight you intend to pull, in order to avoid the risk of the winch breaking under strain.
Take into account the metal your come along winch is made from. A high grade steel is preferable, as it’s strong enough to withstand a heavy load. Avoid cheaper models with gears made from inferior metals. Ideally the winch should also be a single piece construction, as this limits the amount of potential break points.
- Cable type
You’ll also need to decide whether you want a metal cable – usually braided steel – or a reinforced rope or strap. Metal cables are generally more affordable, but if a rope come along breaks, you are less likely to suffer a serious whiplash injury.
- Positive reviews
When you’re choosing a come along winch, make sure to read the reviews left by verified purchasers. These are invaluable in terms of understanding how the winch performs in real life circumstances, and whether it stands up to use over time.
Benefits of Come Along Winches
Come along winches have a variety of benefits, as they allow you to pull weights that you would never normally be able to move. Here are some of the most useful applications of come along winches:
- Recover vehicles
One useful application of a come along winch is to move a vehicle that cannot be driven, for example if it’s been in an accident, or got stuck in the mud. This can save you the expensive fees of a recovery vehicle!
- Move heavy equipment
Come along winches can also be used to move and install heavy equipment, for example in a factory or office environment.
Another common use for come along winches is for landscaping, particular in felling and moving trees and tree stumps, which the gardener would otherwise be incapable of moving on their own.
- Clearing debris
Similarly, come along winches can also be used to clear large debris, for example after a storm or flood.
- Load onto a trailer
These types of winches can also be used to load vehicles or cargo onto a trailer, and secure them for transportation. In fact, some come along winches are specifically designed for the purpose of loading boats onto trailers.
Come along winches are particularly useful during the construction of buildings, where heavy furniture and materials, supporting walls or windows may need to be carefully lifted into place.
- Tighten belts
You can also use a come along winch to tighten a belt, for example a conveyor belt, more tautly than you would be able to manage by hand.
How to Use a Come Along Winch
To use a come along winch, you not only need the object you want to move, but also a strong, stationary object to which you can attach the other end of the winch for tension. Decide on your stationary object before commencing your winching operation. To use the come along winch, you should use a chain to secure the hook at the end of the cable to the heavy load you want to move. Depress the free spool lever and let the cable out until you reach your stationary object. Use another chain to attach the fixed hook at the opposite end of the winch to this object, and use the hand wheel to remove any slack.
To winch, stand on the side of the lever, then move the handle back and forth to leverage the cable and slowly move the heavy load. Due to the mechanical advantage, you will be able to pull much heavier weights than you would usually be able to. This applies to a single rigging set-up - some come along winches allow you to double up the cable to increase the force applied to the weight, giving you an even greater mechanical advantage (bear in mind this will halve the cable length).
Come Along Winch Safety Tips
Using a come along tool to move heavy weights can be dangerous, and requires care and caution. Here are some tips for safe operation:
- Observe maximum weight limits
Never try to use a come along winch to move a weight heavier than its recommended maximum allowance. Doing so could cause the handle to bend, parts to fly off, or even the cable to snap, all of which could result in serious injury.
- Check the cable
Do a visual check of your come along tool and the cable or rope before you start to move any load. If there are any signs of wear-and-tear or fraying in the cable, do not use it, as the cable will be more likely to snap under pressure.
- Use chains
Use chains to attach the hooks to your moveable and stationary objects. If either object moves unexpectedly, the extra tension will transfer to the chains, not the cable in the come along tool. It is also a good idea to lay a chain, or other weighty object, over the cable whilst it is in operation. If the cable snaps, it will be forced safely into the ground by the chain, rather than rebounding back into you and causing injury.
- Use only manufacturer-approved parts
If something on your come along tool breaks, make sure to only get replacement parts from the manufacturer. Using non-recommended parts will reduce the safety factor of the come along tool.
- Be aware of your hands
There are lots of moving metal parts around the drum of the come along winch that could mangle your fingers. Make sure to keep your hands well clear of the gears, especially when removing the tension from the cable after operation, to avoid getting them caught.
Best Come Along Winch FAQ:
Q: What is a come along winch?
A: A come along winch is a piece of equipment that allows you to pull heavy weights, using a ratcheting gear pulley system. Come along winches are made from metal and feature a strong, coiled cable or rope which is coiled gradually using a handle, enabling you to slowly move heavy objects. They have a variety of applications, including installing equipment, loading trailers, clearing debris and construction.
Q: How does a come along winch work?
A: A come along winch is made up of the body piece and lever arm. In the center of the body is a drum, around which is coiled a cable or rope. This is attached at one end to a hook, which is in turn attached to the object you intend to move, whilst the hook at the opposite end of the device is attached to a fixed point (both should be done using chains). The lever arm is connected to the drum, and when moved by the user, coils the cable, thus moving the weight attached to the hook. Due to the mechanical advantage of the gears involved, the user is able to pull much heavier weights than he would usually be able to with the applied force.
Q: How much weight can a come along winch pull?
A: The amount of weight a come along winch can pull varies depending on the winch, but is usually between 0.5 – 5 tons. You should check the manufacturer’s guidelines prior to purchasing, to make sure your come along winch has the capacity to pull the weight you need it to, and ideally choose a winch that has a significantly higher capacity than you need.
Our Top Pick
We’ve featured some top-notch come along winches in this buying guide, but our pick of the best has to be the TEKTON 5547 4-Ton Power Puller. This affordable, heavy duty come along features a super-strong steel construction, a corrosion-resistant galvanized finish, and a 1/4-inch aircraft-grade steel cable, all of which enables you to shift an impressive 4 tons – using just one hand. Feel like Superman yet?
- All You Need To Know About The Come Along Winch Tool - Constructive