Most helpful critical review
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Great winch, but many shortcomings...
on April 17, 2012
First and foremost, let's be honest: this thing costs $60-something (April 2012). This thing has pulled up 3500 lbs up 30 degrees, so it's plenty powerful, that's for sure. The removable feature is great and it's light enough where you can put it on and off as you please. Simple to use, so good marks there.
There are a couple of bad features, however.
1. Short battery cables - I don't know what vehicle they're comparing the length to, but most pickup type trucks or full sized trucks would not reach with these cables. I had to add an extra 6 or 7 feet to reach the engine bay. Not a problem for those using battery booster type devices and running it closer to the winch, but an annoying problem for everyone else.
2. Short controller cables - Again, it would be great to be able to walk all the way to the back of a trailer, for example, and use the winch at the same time, but not so. Either you have to leave the controller in the front, go to the back, then return to operate it again, or you need someone else to help you. Not a big deal for smaller trailers, annoying on anything over 14 feet.
3. Difficult-to-insert connectors - It's very difficult to put in the rubberized connectors for power and controller. They are marked with a rib to make it idiot proof which is nice, but the rubber - obviously in place to make it waterproof - makes it a bit of a chore to put it in and out. On a winch designed to be removable, this is silly.
4. No back up (power out) control - This is the big one for me. I should have probably been careful and read and re-read the description, but this feature is oh so important and not having it makes using it a drag, so much so that I now have to buy a second winch and dispose of this one (at least for main duties). Try unloading a 4000 pound car without such a feature and you'll see what I mean. You certainly don't want to be mucking about with its clutch and releasing a bit at a time lest you enjoy tempting fate.
HOWEVER, as a portable load pulling type thing, especially with the hitch mount, it's pretty awesome.
Also, there are a billion brands selling the exact same part. My experience with it in terms of power was good, but it was this (Master Lock) one. You will likely have the same results with the others: same basic kit, different branding.