Some folks use the words ‘winch’ and ‘hoist’ interchangeably, however there’s a distinction between each type, and it’s vital to grasp that distinction before you choose a product to use for an exact job.

The basic distinction is as follows:

Hoists carry things while winches pull objects.
Winches are designed to tug masses across a comparatively level surface, whereas hoists will be accustomed to carrying loads vertically and suspend them in mid-air.
Can a winch be used as a hoist?
Generally speaking, no. it’s not safe to use a typical winch to carry masses up off the bottom, because it wasn’t designed for this purpose and there’s a risk that the load will be unsteady and dropped.

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One of the key variations between winches and hoists lies in their braking systems.

Winches commonly use dynamic brakes that are specifically designed to support rolling masses, not carry dead weights. The gears of a dynamic braking system mechanically lock on pulling a load, however lifting a weight vertically will overwhelm the strength of this technique, forcing the load to slide and probably damaging the gears. For your own Hoist Winch, visit

Hoists use mechanical brakes that are specifically designed to lock and support the load you’re lifting. This technique is much more suited to vertical lifting, and in contrast to winches, most hoists are fitted with load limiters to stop you from trying to carry a weight that exceeds the hoist’s WLL (Working Load Limit).
However, there’s some overlap: some winching machines are designed to double up as hoists. 

So, to wrap it up…

A hoist is for lifting and a winch is for pull action.

A Winch is double-geared for pulling a load on a comparatively level surface. A winch utilises a dynamic brake that has to slide.

A Hoist is double-geared to elevate a dead weight and encompasses a lockup brake which will support a load which is hung.

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If a Hoist will elevate (dead weight) 250 lbs., then it should be capable of pull a thousand lbs rolling weight across a tough packed surface. If a Winch will pull a thousand lbs. across a tough packed surface, it should solely have the capability to support one hundred lbs. (dead weight) as a result of the winch employs a special braking system than that of a hoist.

A Hoist is employed for lifting and supporting “dead weight”.

A Winch is employed for pull (moving rolling weight).