Winch fairleads are the kinds of hooks to guide winch rope out of the front of the winch system. During hauling, fairleads prevent the winch rope from sliding the straight line. It helms the cable so that the winch cable can’t move from the forthright or stop while rewinding.
Fairlead also prevents the straight line from being vibrated. It is smooth and sometimes comes with rollers to stop scratching the surface.
Basically, winch fairleads are two types – roller system and fixed. In a roller winch fairlead, four rollers are set up vertically and horizontally so that the winch line can pass through without jostling. On the other hand, the fixed fairlead is made of metal with a chrome finish without any chamfer.
Why Winch Fairleads?
Winch fairlead is an essential feature you should not miss in your winch when carrying in the vehicle. It is a protective feature of a winch system that enhances your winch life span.
Mainly the fairleads help to prevent the winch line from being frayed. If a winch comes empty of fairleads, the winch line gets scratched with sharp edges and frayed. Not only does it, but it also sometimes becomes the reason for breaking the winch plate. So, you can keep it as a great safety measure as well.
Who Does Need That?
In fact, nobody should avoid having fairleads when they carry a winch in their vehicle. It is because the fairleads are part and parcel of winches.
Off-roaders acknowledge that capable fairleads are worthy prerequisites while guiding for angle pulls. And they also reduce the sidewards pressure of the winch.
If you’ve ever been an off-roader, you know better how critical a situation arises when you are in a remote wilderness. In such stuck circumstances, well mount fairleads can make you fully confident that the winch will work the way it should perform.
However, you’re lucky, and thanks to the manufacturers. 90% of renowned brands now a day enclose fairleads with the winch package.
Types of Fairleads
Typically, fairleads have two types – roller fairleads & fixed. The roller fairleads come with four rollers, two of them are mounted vertically, and the other two are horizontal. The fixed fairleads are plain metal pieces with no sharp edges.
These are the primary fairleads types. But their usage, the purposes they serve, and their compatibility with winch rope or cables classify them with a few more names. We will now discuss different fairleads types and their functions below.
Winch Roller Fairlead
Roller fairleads come with 4 rollers mounted vertically and horizontally. The ultimate purpose is to spin the rollers when the winch line enlarges, meaning that the rope comes out without scratching surfaces.
These fairleads are configured vertically by two rollers and horizontally by the other two, keeping inside vacant. Through this empty space, the winch line pulls things right away.
It is usually seen that the winches with steel cables come with roller fairleads. Roller fairleads are mostly compatible with steel winch lines, and users find them comfortable. Now a day, it is hard to find any sellers selling steel hawse winch.
Roller winches are standard, and they last for years to come. They never fail to allow constant spinning of the winch rope, and there is hardly any friction.
However, the cons are – they are heavy and can jostle for excessive side pulls. But still, it has its appeal to winch users.
Hawse fairleads are incredibly plain, and there are no moving parts installed. Ideally, they are fixed fairleads made of a simple metal sheet with no sharp edges. Technically, the sharp chamfers they come with get removed to ensure they are smooth for the winch line.
As they avoid additional moving parts, they are lightweight and still durable.
When a single metal sheet has been flattened, it usually comes with sharp edges. These sharp edges are insecure for the winch line. The chamfers may damage the winch rope or break. However, renowned manufacturers carefully make it smooth and plain.
Yet, synthetic rope or steel cable may slide on hawse fairleads. Moreover, it is lightweight and good to carry small loads. But it’s questionable when heavy loads come on it.
Best Alternative: Roller Fairlead vs Hawse
It may be complicated when a question arises like this. It becomes tricky because both the fairleads have tons of pros. In spite, people find one from both the alternatives. Let’s see why you should choose roller system or hawse fairleads.
The straightforward opinion is that there is no secret to these fairleads. Typically, people choose them for their needs. However, both of them have some specifications. Anyone can make a wise purchasing decision when s/he learns about its benefits, drawback, and everything the item includes.
To this point, hawse fairleads come with a narrow opening and can guide the cable for sliding over. On the contrary, rollers roll out when the winch cables pass through. The sliding of the winch cable may cause the winch cables to rip out. Roller fairleads roll out, so there is less possibility of friction. But excessive pressure may cause a rattle during pulling.
Moreover, the roller system comes with a lot of fairleads parts. More parts mean more complex things are. Hawse fairleads are simple, sturdy, and lightweight, meaning that they are perfect for winch rope and steel cables.
Again, roller fairleads can tackle more loads and stress.
Now a day, synthetic rope is the best alternative to steel cables, and people are likely to have them for hawse fairleads.
So, it’s now time to decide which one will be the best option to suit your needs.
Style and Budget
Numerous styles and quality of winch fairleads are available on the market today. The winches have multi-purpose usage. You can use them from ocean to sky when required. That’s why it has multiple designs and pulling capacity.
Whatever the styles and functions it has, the perfect finish is a must for each winch fairlead. Otherwise, the winch rope or cable may get stuck with fairleads’ edges. It may be the reason to get it broken down.
Winch fairleads have a black powder coat finish or chrome finish. A few brands like Warn introduce metal fairleads with chrome finish. The application of sandpapers gives you an excellent finish for a smooth pulling experience.
Winch fairleads are not so expensive, and a modest investment is enough to pick a standard item. No less than $50 to $100 is fine for small-size lightweight hawse fairlead. But you have to increase your investment in heavy-duty roller fairleads. No more than $250 to $350 is a standard budget for such a winch fairlead from renowned brands.
Where to Buy
Winch fairleads are available almost everywhere online. Etsy, 4wheelparts, eBay, and Amazon are well-known places to buy online.
If you don’t know, keep in mind that steel cables are better to perform with roller or steel hawse fairleads when the winch pulling capacity is more than 10,000 lbs. Synthetic winch rope is perfect for lightweight winch lines where aluminum hawse fairleads are best suited.
Again, the anodized coating is better for long-lasting durability, while galvanized powder coat may rust after a certain time.
If you carefully look at it, you’ll see that most winch fairleads have only a 10″ standard mounting distance though a few exceptions are found with variable distance.
Finally, we suggest keeping a winch on your Jeep, truck, or SUV when you are on the drive. It will save your time and vehicle. And when you go for picking a winch kit, carefully look into whether you’re missing those features you really need.