PTO Winch Vs. Electric Winch: Which one is Better

You won’t see a lot of people talking or arguing about PTO winch vs electric winch. After the electric winch was introduced to the market, it took over it as a storm. Electric winches can be found anywhere and everywhere. It’s hard to find a place where you won’t find it. But for a PTO winch, things are totally opposite.

It’s not that you won’t find a PTO winch, you will but not as easily as you can find an electric winch. They’re a little less available and usually requires that the user spends some time researching and finding it. Both of them have good and bad sides of each of their own. In this guide, we’ll talk about those differences.

Differences Between a PTO Winch and an Electric Winch

Let’s talk about a few differentiating factors between these two winches. Remember, they both are suitable for different goals. You can’t really compare one with the other unless you know about your specific winch requirements.

Basic Principle

Power Take Off or PTO is a type of winch seen less these days. There are actually solid reasons behind the issue. One of the major issues why PTO winches are a big mess to deal with is the installation. Let me explain how it works by comparing the process to the process of installing an electric or hydraulic winch.

When you want to connect a winch to your vehicle, you can basically choose any suitable winch from the market. You just have to make sure that the winch is suitable with the vehicle’s capacity and that’s about it. But when it’s about a PTO winch, things aren’t the same.

To get a PTO winch, you first have to let a PTO winch manufacturer know about your vehicle. The manufacturer will then check his inventory to see if there’s a suitable winch he can prepare for your car. Let’s suppose he manages to get you a winch, what do you do now? Do you set it up on your own? Nope. It’s a bit complicated.

Since the winch generates its energy through the vehicle’s engine, it has to use some hydraulic connections here and there. Setting this whole thing up on your own can be extremely complicated. Unless you’re an expert, you need to hire someone who knows how to do this work.

It’s hard to find a winch let alone set it up. It works well and there are no confusions around that. But finding it and getting overall setup done is where most people lose the interest of getting a PTO winch. This is a reason why you don’t see these winches so much.

Electric winches are easy to find and work very well. There is basically no reason not to choose it. That’s a reason why they’re more common than PTO winches.


A PTO winch doesn’t have a power source of its own. It takes in power from the engine of the vehicle it’s connected to. If you’re worrying about whether your PTO winch has enough power to move the vehicle or not then rest assured. Since the power of a PTO engine comes from the vehicle engine, there’re no power lackings.

The engine has enough capacity to move the vehicle and since the winch is working at the same force as the engine, there should be enough winch power.

On the other hand, an electric winch doesn’t have such benefits as a PTO winch. It takes its power from the vehicle’s battery. It’s a good thing in the sense that even if your engine dies at some point, you can still use the winch. But there’s a bad side of it too. And the bad thing is that if the vehicle’s battery isn’t good, it might die.

Also, since an electric winch can’t get power from the vehicle’s engine, it comes with its specific power range. There are winches of varying power limits and you should choose something suitable with your vehicle's capacity.

So, Which One to Choose?

Both are reliable and easy to use. But don’t choose a PTO winch unless there’s someone who you can get help from as your winch fails to work properly. For most people, it’s best to choose an electric winch. They’re popular, safe to use and easy to maintain.

You can even fix your electric winch on your own since there are lots of resources available on the internet. Considering overall ease of use and maintenance, choosing an electric winch is the better option.

Final Words

So which one’s better in the PTO winch vs electric winch battle? For the most part, it’s the electric winch and you already know why.

If you can manage the maintenance hassles then maybe the PTO winch can be a good option too. Unless you feel safe choosing a PTO winch, it’s best to stick to the electric winch.


I am Samantha, an automobile engineer and POD business owner. I am also a wife of Jason and a mother of three children, two of whom are twins. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and strive to be a role model for my children. I believe that hard work and dedication can lead to success, no matter what your circumstances may be. I have a passion for cars and enjoy working on them in my spare time. I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you. Stay connected !

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