Skip to Content

Chainsaw Winch. Tips From A Professional

If you are a logger or a more casual chainsaw user, lifting or pulling heavy items is something where your machine can be a great help. Not all users know that you can use a chainsaw as a winch. The perfect chainsaw and winch combination makes your work easier and more efficient, helping you perform your lifting efficiently without needing an additional winch.

A chainsaw winch is a winch that can be connected with your gas, electric, or battery-powered chainsaw. The winch will be mounted to the chainsaw instead of the bar and chain. The winch consists of a cable drum with a steel or synthetic cable. The high rpm from the chainsaw is converted to a high torque low rpm that drives the winch.

Lewis Chainsaw Winch

In this blog post, I will further explain how a chainsaw winch works, how many pounds it can haul, and what type of chainsaw you need. I will also show what factors to consider when shopping for a chainsaw winch.

How Does A Chainsaw Winch Work?

A chainsaw winch is a powered winch that uses a chainsaw as the power-head. You remove the chain and bar and add the winch. The high rotation speed of the chainsaw is converted into a high torque but low RPM rotation that powers the winch. Most chainsaw winches have a break and clutch and can be used to winch both ways.

The chainsaw winch is usually connected to the sprocket of the chainsaw powerhead whose chain and bar have been removed. The connection allows the chainsaw output shaft to power the winch’s input shaft. The oil-filled gearbox on the winch transforms the high revolutions per minute to low revolutions per minute to make the cable spool rotate, rolling up the cable around a drum and hauling the object in.

Chainsaw winches generally have a study and lightweight design and are fully portable. In addition, their ability to be used with the chainsaw powerhead makes them valuable and versatile, allowing loggers and chainsaw users to utilize winches to transport logs or perform other heavy manual labor, such as carrying a hefty animal or pulling a vehicle.

How Many Pounds Can A Chainsaw Winch Pull?

Generally, a chainsaw winch can pull 4000 lbs or more. However, this varies depending on the chainsaw and winch extension’s type, size, and power. The more horsepower a chainsaw head produces, the higher the torque. Bigger chainsaw winches generally have a higher pulling capacity.

Additionally, you can double up your chainsaw winch’s pulling capacity by adding one or more snatch blocks and a doubling back.

Ensure that all the winch accessories are strong enough and in good condition to handle the needed weight with an additional safety margin. If some of the winch accessories are not in good condition, the chainsaw winch might reach a breaking point, snap and expose you to danger.

Does Stihl Make A Chainsaw Winch?

Stihl does not manufacture a chainsaw winch. But their chainsaws are well qualified to be used with a chainsaw winch. The Stihl company is one of the most successful chainsaw manufacturers in the market.

Some of the chainsaw winches that can be used with the Stihl chainsaw are:

● The Lewis chainsaw winch

Lewis chainsaw winches are maybe the best-known chainsaw winch brand, and they have manufactured their primary model since the 70s. Their 400 MK2 is heavy-duty and powerful, and lightweight due to the use of aluminum alloy, and it only weighs around 35lbs.

The winch comes with a long steel cable of about 159 feet and can be mounted on most chainsaws, including most STIHL chainsaw models. It is highly versatile and can be used for many types of work in forestry and industrial jobs and vehicle recovery.

● Powerhouse chainsaw winch

The Powerhouse Chainsaw Winch is another chainsaw winch with similar characteristics as the Lewis winch. It can pull 4000lbs in a straight line, and 8000lbs using a snatch block. It can be used with most gas and electric chainsaws and works well with Stihl chainsaws. It weighs around 22 pounds, excluding the winch cable.

What Size Saw For Lewis Winch?

Generally, a chainsaw winch will work with most chainsaws, with gas, electric, and battery-powered models. I recommend using a 5-6 horsepower chainsaw as this will give enough power for most situations

If you use a less powerful chainsaw, the winch can pull less weight. The following gives a better idea of what a certain chainsaw can pull:

  • Lighter tasks: Use a light-duty chainsaw with a 3 horsepower engine if you expect to pull a load of less than 2600 lbs. With such a chainsaw, you can pull a weight of up to 5000 lbs when using a suitable winch a snatch block.
  • Medium tasks: Use a general-duty chainsaw with a 5-6 horsepower motor if you expect to pull around 3,000 to 3,500 lbs or less in a straight line. With the same chainsaw, you can pull up to 6000 lbs if you use a suitable Winch Snatch Block.
  • Heavy tasks: Use a heavy-duty chainsaw with an engine size of around seven horsepower if you expect to pull approximately 4,000 lbs in a straight line. With a suitable Winch Snatch Block, you generally can pull up to 8000lbs.

● Caveats

  • You acknowledge that when you are utilizing an engine with more than 100 ccs or seven horsepower, you assume all risks, as the chances of you damaging your Lewis Winch or breaking the cable are very high, and you could get injured as well.
  • You carefully manage and service it regularly so that the throttle and clutch are in good operating order, as this directly impacts Lewis Winch’s safety.
  • Lastly, let your choice of the winch be determined by the purpose, prospective workload, and working environment you will be operating in

How Do You Use A Lewis Chainsaw Winch?

Use the following steps how to use a Lewis chainsaw winch:

● Step 1. Connect Lewis Winch To The Chainsaw

To use a Lewis chainsaw winch, you must attach a Lewis winch to a chainsaw. To do this, remove the bar and chain. Check your chainsaw manual if you do not know how to do this.

If the bar is removed, you can attach the chainsaw winch that needs to be connected to the chainsaw sprocket. The sprocket is the part that rotates the chain. Depending on the chainsaw winch model, it needs to be connected using a short guide bar and cutter-less miniature chain which builds onto the bar pad.

Other chainsaw winch models are connected directly to the sprocket. This is the preferred way, as there is no need for a chain, bar, or oiling. Additionally, there is a direct transmission between the chainsaw engine and the winch.

● Step 2. How To Connect Your Lewis Chainsaw Winch To The Object

Once you have attached the lewis winch to a chainsaw and it works well, the next step is to secure it to the object to pull it. Before the cable can be connected, connect the winch to any mounting point that will hold it steady as it hauls in the object.

There are many different objects where you can connect the winch to, some examples:

  • Tree: Anchor it to a tree using a winch tree saver belt, which you will wrap around the tree till you are satisfied that it is secure enough.
  • Stump: Anchor it onto a street stump using a winch peavey hook.
  • Vehicle: Anchor it onto a vehicle using a winch trailer hitch mount. Do not connect it to the bumper of a car, and it is not that strong and will probably be ripped off.
  • Ground: Anchor your lewis chainsaw winch on the ground using a lewis winch ground anchor if you do not have any anchor.

The next step would be to unroll the cable and hook it up to the object you want to haul. When you do this, you control the hauling’s speed and direction. Take care that the things you are pulling do not hit trees and stones on their path.

Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Chainsaw Winch

The chainsaw winch is a very useful tool that can help with your heavy lifting and hauling tasks. It is a versatile winching device that uses a chainsaw as a powerhead. When purchasing one, there are several factors that you should consider:

● Winch capacity

This winch capacity is the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing your winch. First, ensure that the line pull rating is high enough to do your intended job. If you are unsure of the weight of your target, I recommend going for one that can pull 4000lbs in a straight line. That should be sufficient for most jobs.

● Winch rope

If you intend to use it on highly abrasive terrain, getting a durable and low-maintenance steel cable is advisable. Otherwise, use a synthetic one, which is lighter and suitable for recovery, and most lighter chainsaw winch jobs.

● Waterproofing

While working or storing the winch, you are likely to expose the chainsaw winch to moisture or water. Ensure your chainsaw winch comes with a waterproof housing that will protect it from most weather elements.