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Home / Blog / Electric Vs Hydraulic Dragon Winches

Dragon Winches can be powered in a variety of ways, including hydraulic and electric power.

Choosing which option is best for you will be based on a number of factors and in order to make an informed decision, you will need to consider the following questions:
1. What will power your Dragon Winch?
2. How will the winch be used?
3. How tough is the job your winch is required to do?
4. How long will the winch need to perform for?


Electric winches use an electric motor to wind up the winch cable. They generally have one of two different motors. Permanent magnet motors use permanent magnets to generate torque. They are small, light, and efficient winches but Series wound electric motors are comparatively more durable.
An electric winch will typically use a vehicle’s battery to power its motor. That means your winch’s ability to work is dependent on the battery’s charge and it’s worth remembering that electric winches can drain a battery’s power relatively quickly. That said, electric winches are the right choice for rapid, occasional and light use – such as ATV recovery – because they do not require as much in the way of power.
A hydraulic winch is powered in the way you’d expect, by a hydraulic system. The efficiency of this power, provided by a hydraulic pump, is unparalleled and hydraulic winches are a lot more durable than electric winches due to this constant source of power. Hydraulic winches are designed to handle big jobs with sufficient power to handle them effectively.


An important advantage of electric winches is that they are often easier to install. For example, if you need to move the winch from one vehicle to another, you will only have to reinstall the winch. Whereas, with a hydraulic winch, you would also need to install the hydraulic pump to power it.
ATV enthusiasts will appreciate electric winches because they are fast and efficient, and our electric Dragon Winches are sure to have enough power to get an ATV out of a rut. However, most bigger jobs require hydraulic winches, which combine heavy duty capability with raw durability.
The installation of a hydraulic winch will require more components to power it but it’s usually worth it for the strength and power gained. For instance, a recovery vehicle would require one of our hydraulic winches but would also utilise a built-in hydraulic pump system to power the winch.


Electric winches have some compelling benefits. Firstly, our Dragon Winch range is widely available and relatively inexpensive. Secondly, they do not require the engine to be running to use them. This is important as there are many situations in where vehicles can get stuck and not have an engine ticking over.
Electric winches do have some drawbacks. If overused they can, at times, overheat. If you’re only using the winch to occasional pull vehicles you won’t have a problem but if you’re using the winch throughout the day, then it’s more likely you’re going to experience limitations.
That said, hydraulic winches are not perfect either. They are less common, more expensive and usually operate off a vehicle’s steering pump, which means the engine must be running and is not always ideal.
However, hydraulic winches are heavy duty, resistant to fatigue, overheating and weak electrical systems. If you’re going to be using your winch regularly, we suggest you consider hydraulic. For example, recovery vehicle winches are nearly always hydraulic.


In short, hydraulic winches are better for consistent, hard use. If you’re planning to use your winch regularly for longer periods then the continuous operation of a hydraulic winch is likely your best choice.
If you’re an off-roader though, you cannot always guarantee your engine will be running. If you’re bogged down in the mud, then hydraulic will be fine, but if you’re engine dies it’s not such a plane-sailing affair. That’s why an electric winch is the preferred choice for many off-roaders, as it’s ready to go regardless of what your engine’s doing.

1st Nov 2017


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