PTO Winch Vs Electric Winch: Which one to Choose in 2024

If you’re an off-roader, then you must be aware of what a winch is. And if your Jeep, SUV, or utility truck gets stuck while driving in rough terrain, one of the recovery tools you can use is a winch to haul or lift your vehicle.

Winches are now available in various configurations, allowing them to be used in a wide range of industries. 

Winches can be hydraulic, electric, or Power Take Off. They all perform the same function of recovering a stuck vehicle; the mechanism used by each winch is vastly different. 

This article will assist you to know the difference between PTO Winch Vs Electric Winch. 

Both types of winches are of high quality, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

PTO Winch Vs Electric Winch

Electric Winch

An electric winch is a common Winch type. And they are effortless to come by. 

Electric winches are powered by electricity stored in your vehicle’s battery. There are various electric winches available for various weight capacities.

According to most statistics, electric winches are less powerful than their PTO counterparts. 

Furthermore, the electric winches can drain a car’s battery much faster, making them very risky to use when recovering a car in the wilderness.

It is pretty easy to use an electric winch. The electric winch only requires a power source, which in our case is the vehicle’s battery. 

The electrical current flows to the motor after connecting the battery, providing it with enough power to turn the spool. 

On the other hand, the spool is connected to a steel cable or synthetic rope that pulls your vehicle.

But, the issue with vehicle batteries is that they were built to start a car, not to run a winch. As a result, to avoid totally exhausting your engine, you may wish to keep it running while pulling. 

Even so, you should keep an eye on your battery to make sure it doesn’t overheat. So, between each run, there should be some time.

However, it is also advantageous in some ways. Even if your engine dies, which can happen, you can still winch. 

If you don’t want to drain your battery, you can either buy a more powerful one or bring an extra one with you.

Also check: Best Electric winches


These winches are very simple to install.

They’re also simple to move from one vehicle to another. 

They are powered by a battery rather than an engine.

An electric winch is the most durable and efficient winch.


They are less powerful, which makes them unreliable when pulling heavy loads.

They cannot be used for long pulls. 

For providing a continuous duty or a near-continuous duty, the motors of an electric winch will need to be upsized.

PTO Winch

A PTO winch, a Power Take-Off winch, is not your typical vehicle recovery winch. Its operation differs significantly from a modern winch that is more popular nowadays.

PTO winches were among the first vehicle-recovery tools used to recover heavy-duty vehicles. 

These winches differ significantly from their electric counterparts, particularly power source and operating mechanism. 

Even though these winches are difficult to find nowadays, they are regarded as the safest and quickest recovering stuck vehicles.

The majority of PTO winches that we see nowadays are usually in trucks, tractors, and off-road vehicles. These vehicles usually have one or more areas where a PTO winch can be mounted. 

Purchasing a PTO winch can turn out to be pretty difficult. Manufacturers of PTO winches require you to first submit your vehicle’s specifications. 

They need to first know if any PTO winches in their inventory will fit in your vehicle, and that is only the beginning. 

Installing the PTO winch is a completely different and more difficult process, especially since connecting the winch to the gearbox. The gearbox does power a PTO winch, but it is not directly connected. 

Instead, a hydraulic system connects the winch to the gearbox. Hydraulic systems are tubes that contain hydraulic fluids. Consider it similar to a wire, but hydraulics run through it instead of wires.

Also check: Best Hydraulic Winch


The PTO winch stores a great amount of power. Because it is powered by your vehicle’s engine, a powerful engine means that your winch will be able to pull your vehicle.

It is powered by your vehicle’s engine rather than a battery. 


They are pretty difficult to install.

These winches are powered by an engine. As a result, if your engine won’t start, pulling your vehicle will be nearly impossible.

PTO Winch Vs Electric Winch(Summary)

Even though the PTO winch has plenty of power, the electric winch has received massive upgrades from the day it was first introduced that have greatly improved its performance. 

Furthermore, the electric winch can be found almost anywhere. They’re also simple to set up and operate. 

This contrasts to PTO winches, which are expensive, difficult to find, and difficult to install.

So, based on this, the clear winner is electric winches. They are easily accessible, user-friendly, and can outperform PTO winches at any point in time. 

However, if you can find a new or used PTO winch in good condition, this can be good news for you because these winches are very powerful. You can choose whichever winch is suitable for you.

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As an avid off-road enthusiast, I know firsthand the importance of having a reliable winch. That's why I created WinchAdvice – to help fellow off-roaders like myself make informed decisions when selecting their next winch. So whether you're an experienced pro or a beginner just starting out, my website offers valuable advice and guidance on all things winching.

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