The electric or hydraulic are the power factor of a winch. When you have to choose among these two winches. Electric winches are powered by your vehicle’s electrical system. Hydraulic winches are powered by the steering pump. As long as the vehicle is running, a hydraulic winch will work indefinitely. Electric winches only work as long as your battery is strong enough to power it. There are some comparisons that can help you to take a better decision.
Electric winches as stated above use two motors; series wound & permanent magnet. The former type of motor is more reliable and has a high electrical power draw off. While the latter is relatively cheap, easy-to-install, and has a low electrical draw.
Hydraulic winches use hydraulic pressure generated by the steering pump of your truck. The fluid in the system is used to power on the winch which leads to zero electric power draw off. This system is somewhat tricky to install though.
The electric winch is easier to install. If you want to move it from one vehicle to another vehicle, then you will need to reinstall the winch part. It provides faster and efficient performance. Due to the battery usage of the car which is required to operate the electric winch, there is no need to install an additional hydraulic system for it.
The hydraulic winch is explicitly designed to finish big jobs. You will need to install some additional equipment to use the hydraulic winch. It is more efficient than the electric winch and has more strength.
Work and Durability:
You will need to minimal maintenance work while operating electrical winches, while the hydraulic winches require more maintenance care. Depending on the size of the electric winch, it will provide different ranges for pulling capacity. If your vehicle doesn’t have enough battery power, then such type of winch will stop working. One advantage is that, even if your vehicle engine is dead, an electric winch can work for a few minutes until it gets enough power from the battery. The hydraulic winch does not use the battery power and thus can provide a full and constant performance throughout the job. When you are on a rescue mission, then it is recommended to use this type of winch because it is tougher and reliable compared to an electric winch. It works slower than the electric winch though and needs a running engine to stay in working condition.
As the hydraulic winch machine needs additional equipment like hydraulic motor, pipe, fittings, and other components, it is costlier than the electric winch, almost 5 to 10 times more. But this can differ with the installation of fully-electric, hydro-electric, and pure-hydraulic winches.
Electric Winches vs Hydraulic Winches: How to choice?
If you need a consistent, long-term, and hard-use winch, then you should go for the hydraulic type of winch. And if you are an off-roader, then an electric winch will be a good choice as it is not guaranteed that your vehicle will be on all the time while you stuck down in the mud! The biggest drawback to the hydraulic winch, IMO, is that the engine needs to be running for it to work. So if you do something where you can't run the engine (sink the Jeep in deep water or flop it on its side, for example), you won't be able to use your hydraulic winch.