Cable Puller Winches Reviewed

cable puller winchA cable puller winch, also know as a come-a-long, power puller or hand winch, is a manually operated mechanical tool used to pull objects such as trees, vehicles, boats, pretty much anything which is too heavy to push or pull manually.

Cable pullers are categorised according to the maximum working load (measured in metric tonnes) they are able to pull, which ranges between 2 tonnes (4000 pounds) and 4 tonnes (8000 pounds).

When considering which cable puller to buy, the first thing you should look for is its build quality.  You need to find a winch which has been constructed with quality materials that you can trust, as not only do you want this tool to last for years, but you are also putting your self at risk, should it fail or worse, shatter because of inferior materials.

Warning – Every other review on Google is recommending the Tekton 5547, however, there are serious concerns raised in user reports on Amazon where the gear system has allegedly shattered and caused physical injury due to poor quality materials.  Some are even saying that the materials which are claimed to be used are in fact not steel and it is a “total scam“.

For this reason, and as we actually test products as part of our review process, not simply copy what others write, we will not be recommending this tool.  But there are plenty of others which are great, safe and you should consider.

So to help you find a quality tool, we have short listed 5 cable puller winches which have great build quality, are from reputed manufacturers and are judged on their capability, price and build.

Best Cable Puller Comparison Chart

Click the ‘More Details’ buttons above for detailed specifications of each product, or read each of our reviews of the top 5 cable pullers available in 2019.

1. Torin Big Red Come-Along Double Gear Hand Cable Puller

Torin Big Red Come-Along Double Gear Hand Cable Puller Review

The Torin Big Red Come-Along Double Gear Hand Cable Puller

From well-known manufacturers Torin comes this handy little winch that punches well above its weight. The first thing that attracts most buyers is the attractively low price.  However, although it might not be as expensive as some of its competitors, the Torin come along is more than capable of tackling any task you might want to use it for.

The Torin come along only weighs 11 pounds, which is on the light side for one of these tools.  It measures approximately 28 inches long by 12 inches by 9 inches.  Most importantly it has a maximum pulling capacity of 4 tons!

Intelligently designed to make it easy to use, the Torin come along has a double wheel design.  It also has three hooks, one on the front end and two on the cable.  This gives you the choice of using the cable doubled up with the second hook attached to the body of the winch, or with the whole cable fully extended.  At its full extension the cable is about 10 foot long and so doubled up it is around 5 foot.

More DetailsThe hooks all have safety catches on them so you don’t have to worry about them becoming detached.  The hooks are also separately rated at 5000 pounds so you can be sure they can take the weight.  The handle is nice and long with a rubber grip at the top to make it comfortable to use.

To help you prolong the working life of your winch, all the nuts, washers and spacers can be lubricated and adjusted.

Pros

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Capacity of 4 tons
  • 3 hooks

Cons

Cons
  • Not solidly made from steel
  • Some customers report problems with the e-clips coming off and the ratchets not aligning

Customer Reviews

Buyers on Amazon do like this 4 ton come-along winch and have left feedback like ‘This worked perfect, I would recommend it to anyone!’, ‘This tough come along made my job easy.’, ‘An excellent tool. Works great!’, ‘Good leverage. Sturdy manufacture. I love this little unit.’ and ‘It works as expected. Nice unit, solid construction.

Verdict

The Torin Big Red come-along winch is a good, solid option for most people.  Do I need a 4 ton capacity winch? No, personally, the majority of tasks I will need a power puller for are smaller, so a 2 ton would do the job, but I like the fact I feel safe using this on any job. A 2 ton winch gives me a safe working capacity of 1 ton, which is probably OK, but it is on the edge at times, and any objects over that weight and I start to worry about potential failure.  However, not with a 4 ton Torin, I can simply get the job done and move on.  If you need a 4 ton cable puller, this is a good choice, if you are thinking of getting a 2 ton cable puller, it really is not much more for peace of mind.

2. Maasdam Pow’R Pull 144SB-6

Maasdam 144SB-6 review

The Maasdam Pow’R Pull 144SB-6

The Maasdam 144SB-6 is a great mid range winch which is easy to use, well built and very durable.  It’s parts might be made in China and shipped to the US, but the unit is built and tested in the USA. We are normally cautious of products manufactured in China, as quality can be a bit hit and miss, but having the assembly and testing of the product completed in the US does give us more confidence, especially with a tool that is put under severe stress like a power puller!  So all good so far.

Let’s start with the specifications!

The Maasdam cable puller winch measures 29″ x 5″ x 3.8″ and weighs in at 7.63 pounds.  The handle has a maximum lift of 6 inches and delivers a leverage of 30:1; the cable is 3/16 inches thick and 12 foot long and for added confidence and assurance, the cable is an aircraft quality braided galvanised steel.

There is a lot of attention to detail in the manufacturing and assembly of this winch. The frame is made from cold rolled, high strength, tempered steel and even small things like the bolts are aircraft-type and heat treated so they wear less and last longer. You also get a fully rotating swivel made from high tensile strength steel which is pretty impressive.

The ratchet wheel is made in one piece from aluminium alloy which makes it more wear resistant and is a far better material and stronger than laminated wheels found in other winches.

More DetailsSafety is not forgotten and there is also a reinforced ratchet guard made from heavy gauge steel which protects your fingers. Maasdam have made sure their winch is as safe as they can manufacture.  It’s important to have strong reliable hooks and these are made from handle drop-forged steel for ultimate strength.  More importantly, the slip hooks are fitted with OSHA recommended safety latches so you can be sure the hooks stay connected.

The handle is 18 inches long and has a non-slip plastic grip.  As well as being almost indestructible, it also makes it comfortable to use and reduces hand fatigue.  This power puller features ‘Notch-At-A-Time’ let down, which provides you with great positive control and stress free release or let down.

The pawls are designed for precision fit so they will securely interlock with the ratchet wheel and are made from steel alloy, and the safety spacer sleeve makes sure there is the correct alignment between the ratchet wheel and the pawl at all times.

Having a maximum pull capacity of 2 Tons, the Maasdam 144SB-6 winch is a great choice for pretty much most tasks you throw at it, be it farming, gardening, construction, boating or vehicle recovery.  This winch has the ability to deal with all but the heaviest of tasks, with ease and efficiency.

Pros

Pros
  • Everything is solidly made from high quality steel from the bolts to the frame
  • High standard safety features
  • Generous 12 foot length of cable

Cons

Cons
  • The instructions are not easy to understand
  • A number of customers have had issues with the cable fraying
  • Although it has been assembled in the USA the parts are actually made in China

Customer Reviews

89% of buyers on Amazon rated this winch as 4 or 5 stars which tells you all you need to know about this superb power puller, leaving comments like ‘This is an irreplaceable tool, you must have one of these! Does the jobs that it was intended for without breaking a sweat.’, ‘Very strong, easy to use and I can unwind it even under the heaviest of loads.’ and ‘every man should have this‘.

Verdict

The Maasdam 144SB-6 has been given the “Amazon Choice” award for a very good reason, it is an extremely good mid weight capacity cable pulling winch.  This winch can safely move anything up to 1 ton which gives it plenty of scope for work at home or even on the road with your truck.  Nice to have the peace of mind that if you need to move something, you have a great winch to get the job done quickly and easily.

3. TR INDUSTRIAL PORTABLE 4-TON DUAL GEAR POWER PULLER

TR Industrial Portable 4-Ton review

The TR Industrial Portable 4-Ton Come-A-Long Winch

The TR portable power puller is a high quality, heavy duty tool.  Not designed for lifting, it is excellent for pulling heavy loads around, whether it’s cars, fences, rocks or trees.  The quality of this winch and the care the manufacturer has taken in making it is evident right from the start.

Thought has been put into how to make this come along easy to use.  For a start, it comes with a sturdy storage case.  Bright blue so it’s easy to spot on your shelves or in your trunk, the case is custom designed so the TR power puller sits snugly and safely inside instead of getting tangled up with your other tools.  They have even provided a handle on top to make it convenient to grab and carry.

At under 10 pounds this come along is significantly lighter than similar models, roughly a 1/3 lighter, making it easier to use.  This doesn’t mean you are short changed when it comes to quality materials and specification.

More DetailsThe TR power puller is 26.5 inches long, 4 inches high and 8 inches wide.  The safe working load is 2 tons but the maximum pulling power is 4 tons.  This winch uses a ¼ inch cable and the hooks are 3/8 of an inch and capable of fitting up to ½ inch chains.   The hook to hook distance starts at 1 foot 11 inches when fully contracted and it extends to 4 foot 8 inches.  This is a little on the short side but it is easy to attach extra chains, cable or a strap to extend the cable.

The whole machine is solidly built from steel, including the frame and gears.  For added protection against wear, tear and the weather, it has a high quality galvanized finish.  The cable is made from aircraft-grade braided steel cable and the hooks are drop forged.

To make the TR power puller easier to use, it comes with a dual gear and dual locking pawl system.  The gears and teeth are made of steel and chrome plated.  This helps to distribute the power evenly so you get an easy and consistent pull.  The handle is 18 inches long giving you more space to apply force comfortably and so pull a load more easily.  In addition, the majority of the handle – 10.5 inches of it in fact – is covered with an ergonomic comfort grip.

Pros

Pros
  • Heavy duty winch with up to 4 tons pulling power
  • Built from high quality steel
  • Comes with a convenient durable carry case
  • Thoughtful design makes it easy to use

Cons

Cons
  • Only extends to 4 foot 8 inches which is a bit on the short side

Customer Reviews

84% of buyers on Amazon who rated this winch scored it as 4 or 5 stars, leaving comments like ‘The best cable pull I’ve ever owned!’, ‘Well-constructed, nice case, easy to use.’, and ‘Took less than 5 minutes to figure out how use! Everything worked perfectly for me and the handle was very comfortable.’  There is a lot of great feedback over on Amazon, and I would encourage you to check out more, to help you make a decision.

Verdict

All in all, the TR power puller is a well-designed, high-quality, easy to use winch that makes light work of heavy tasks. If you are going to move any heavy object, this is the best option as its 4 ton capacity should be more than enough for pretty much every task you can throw at it.  Yes, you could go for a 2 or 1 ton winch but we would personally rather have peace of mind that we are not going to put the winch under too much stress and cause a potential injury.

4. Maasdam Pow’R Pull 144S-6

Maasdam Pow'R Pull 144S-6 Review

The Maasdam Pow’R Pull 144S-6

This understandably popular come-along is strongly made, easy to use and very durable.  Although the parts are manufactured in China, the Maasdam winch has been constructed in the USA.

Let’s start with the specifications!

The Maasdam cable puller winch measures 29 x 5 x 3.75 inches and weighs 7.5 pounds.  The handle has a maximum lift of 12 inches and the leverage is 15:1, the cable is 12 foot long and is 3/16 inches thick. To give you confidence, the cable is aircraft quality, galvanised braided steel.

The rest of the winch is equally well constructed.  The frame is made from cold rolled, high strength, tempered steel.  Even small things like the bolts are aircraft-type and heat treated so they wear less and last longer.

You get a fully rotating swivel made from high tensile strength steel.  The ratchet wheel is made in one piece from aluminium alloy which makes it more wear resistant and it’s stronger than laminated wheels.  There’s also a reinforced ratchet guard made from heavy gauge steel.

Maasdam have made sure their winch is as safe as they can manufacture.  It’s important to have strong reliable hooks and these are made from handle drop-forged steel for greatest strength.  The slip hooks are fitted with OSHA recommended safety latches so you can be sure the hooks stay connected.

More DetailsThe pawls are made from steel alloy and they are designed with precision fit so they will securely interlock with the ratchet wheel.  The safety spacer sleeve makes sure there is a true and consistent alignment between the ratchet wheel and the pawl.  Although every safety precaution has been taken it is still essential to make sure you keep your clothes and fingers clear of the ratchet.

The handle is 18 inches long and has a non-slip plastic grip.  As well as being almost indestructible, it also makes it comfortable to use and reduces hand fatigue.  This come along features ‘Notch-At-A-Time’ let down.  This gives you that essential positive control leading to trouble free let down.

Whether you are using the Maasdam winch for construction, fencing, farming, landscaping, boating, camping, gardening or vehicle recovery you can be confident it is an excellent tool for the job.

Pros

Pros
  • Everything is solidly made from high quality steel from the bolts to the frame
  • High standard safety features
  • Generous length of cable with a lift of 12 inches

Cons

Cons
  • The instructions are not easy to understand
  • A number of customers have had issues with the cable fraying
  • Although it has been assembled in the USA the parts are actually made in China

Customer Reviews

This is a much loved winch on Amazon, with plenty of praise like ‘Couldn’t be Happier!  It made the job almost effortless. I can see that this is built to last, and I plan to use it for many other projects.’, ‘Well worth the extra money. Works smoothly and flawlessly.’ and ‘Strong pulling power and I have total confidence in the tool.

Verdict

If you do not require the pulling capacity, this 1 ton hand winch from Maasdam is an excellent choice and because of its build quality and attention to detail, it will last you a long time.  Excellent little winch to keep in the truck.

5. ABN 2 Ton Dual Gear Hand Puller

ABN 2 Ton Single Gear Hand Puller Review

The ABN 2 Ton Single Gear Hand Puller

This come along cable puller tool is a great multipurpose work tool.  It has dual gears to help make light work of heavy weights, and there is a 4.8mm diameter cable made from braided steel with a galvanized finish.

The ABN has a safe working load limit of 2000 lbs and a maximum rated capacity of 4000 lbs. Thanks to its impressive specifications you can use this cable puller to stretch, pull and move whatever you might desire.  Ideal for boating, camping, landscaping, farming and moving heavy loads, customers have used it for everything from removing tree stumps and loading boats onto trailers to tightening fences and loads.

For your peace of mind, the ratchet and pawl on this puller are made from three separate plates of steel not aluminium.  The heavy duty steel construction gives extra strength, durability and longevity.

More DetailsThe cable has a 2.2m pull length and the whole winch weighs 2.73 lbs and it measures 23.5 inches x 4 inches x 3 inches.

Attached to the cable are two hooks that can be used for a number of different applications.  The hooks are 9.5mm long and drop forged for strength. The hooks have spring loaded safety latches to reduce accidents and injuries.

The ratchet handle is 17 inches long and made from high-leverage steel, and there is a non-slip cushioned rubber grip to make it safe and comfortable to use.

Pros

Pros
  • Solidly constructed from heavy duty steel
  • Safety features including spring safety latches and a rubber grip

Cons

Cons
  • The instructions are not very clear
  • To release the load you need to reverse the cable which can take a bit of practice

Customer Reviews

78% of customers who bought this winch on Amazon have rated it as 4 or 5 stars and left comments like ‘It worked well. This tool saved me several hundred dollars.’, ‘It’s very reliable and easy to use.’ and ‘You can’t do better for the price. It works very well and seems built to last.

Verdict

This winch might be at the bottom of our comparison table, but that does not mean it is the worst winch in this guide, as it is an extremely good cable puller winch and one that will not disappoint you.

Cable Puller Winch Tips

Winches are essential tools for many different hobbies or jobs, unlike a 2 post car lift which is designed to simply lift a car or vehicle. They’re simple in their construction and fairly easy to use, but they still need to be used correctly to prevent any injuries to yourself or others. A cord snap or improperly securing a winch not only can be disastrous for whatever you’re towing or lifting, it could injure you and other bystanders as well. Luckily, with the right training and use, you these risks are almost non-existent.

Get trained to use your winch

Before you use your winch, make sure that you know how to use it properly. If you’re planning on using it with your 4×4, many off-roading clubs offer winch training as part of their membership. Read all the directions carefully and make sure you know what weight it can handle, how to properly secure the winch, and what to look for to make sure that it’s in good working order before you use it. Read your owner’s manual and know all the risks involved.

Below is an excellent tutorial from a fireman, walking you through the various parts that make up the winch and how to use it safely.  Please at the very least, watch this and stay safe.

Come Along Tool Basic

Before you use your winch

Before you use your winch, perform a couple of checks first. Assess the entire situation and make sure that whatever you are about to tow is safe and secure. Keep any onlookers away. Finally, always inspect your winch before you use it. Check the cable for any fraying and make sure the entire tool is clear of any dirt, muck, or other obstructions.

Don’t try to lift a heavy load

Never, ever try to lift a load that is too heavy for your winch. You risk breaking your winch cable, which if it’s a steel or wire cable, can recoil and injure your and anyone else around you. You also risk the catastrophic failure of your winch, which could send springs and other objects flying into you.

Luckily, you can avoid these problems by buying a winch that has a shear pin. These pins will break when the load is too heavy for your winch, locking the winch in place and making sure that you don’t pull the object any further. Once you’ve lightened up the load, you can replace the shear pin with a spare and continue pulling or lifting.

If your load is too heavy, use two winches or snatch blocks

snatch blocks help with heavy loadsIf your load is too heavy, there are two tactics that you can either use snatch blocks or two winches to lighten the load. Both of these methods will reduce the amount of strain that is being put on your winch.

Using a second winch will cut the amount of strain put on your winch in half, but will require a second person to operate it. Using snatch blocks will also cut the load you’re required to pull in half, but you will also have to pull in twice as much cable, making any attempt to use your winch last twice as long. Because of this, the best option is usually to try to find a Tirfor hand winch that can support the weight that you need and use snatch blocks or another winch only if your need to in a pinch.

Have an extension cable ready

If you think you might have any possibility of needing to pull further than the amount of cable that your winch holds, always bring an extension cable with you, especially if you’re in your 4×4. Depending on where your vehicle gets stuck, you might not be able to find a tree or other object to anchor your winch to. If this happens, but you can find one further away, all that you’ll have to do is attach some extension cable. If you don’t have extension cables, you may be stuck without many options.

Keep wire rope in good condition

One of the quickest parts of any hand powered winch to wear out is the cable. Steel cable can kink, bird’s nest, and otherwise fray, leaving it weak and unable to pull a heavy load. Make sure that you always check your cable before you go out and before you attach it to anything. Make sure there’s no frays or bends that could threaten to beak the cable and always store the cable carefully.

Have Bystanders Stand Clear

Finally, when you’re using your winch have anyone standing around stay clear. Even if you use your winch correctly, inspect it, and take all the safety precautions that you can, the cable could still snap. If this happens, the recoil could seriously injure anyone standing nearby. Don’t let this happen and have them stand a safe distance away.

Winches are incredibly powerful tools, but they need to be used correctly. Use these tips to make sure that you use your winch safely, and you’ll be able to pull bigger loads quicker and easier than you ever thought possible.

Conclusion

Whatever winch you choose from our list above, you are not going to go wrong.  Each and every one of them is well built and capable of managing a number of pulling tasks safely and with ease.  The only thing you really have to think about when deciding which one is best for you, is the maximum and working capacity.  Remember, you roughly want to be aiming for a maximum capacity twice the weight of the objects you are going to be using the winch to move around.  Our personal recommendation is to go for a 4 ton winch like the TR Industrial Cable Puller Winch as you can move more objects with it safely, but just have a bit of a think before you make your purchase.

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