Hawse Fairlead vs. Roller Fairlead for Winch: What is the difference?

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Last Updated on June 22, 2022

If you have a four-wheeler such as a truck, ATV, jeep, or trailer and are an off-roader enthusiast, it is vital to have a winch to get out of a situation such as being stuck in rocky, muddy, snowy, or sandy terrain.

Winches are important on all four-wheeler vehicles, but are often neglected or taken for granted. They are strong, but they need to be maintained and kept in working order. Without one, you can be easily stranded and stuck in harsh terrain.

A winch is made up of several different parts and components, including a snatch block, a winch fairlead, a mounting plate, a winch cable, solenoid, remote controls, etc.

To ensure a safe and secure journey, you must be familiar with those parts and particles. It will also help you to make the best judgment about your four-wheeler. In this article, we will have a brief about winch fairlead.

What is Winch Fairlead?

A winch fairlead is a ring or hook that assists or guides a line, rope, or cable so that it does not move sideways or out of the way. Off-roaders need to direct their winch rope during angled pulls. It also serves to reduce lateral strain on the winch.

Four-Wheel Parts sells the top brands of winch fairleads, including Warn, Smittybilt, and Superwinch to maintain your pulling power at its peak. Fairleads come in a variety of fitments, sizes, coatings, and constructions, including billet aluminum and cast iron.

Types of Winch Fairlead

Fairlead comes in two varieties: Hawse fairlead and Roller fairlead. 

Hawse Fairlead vs. Roller Fairlead for Winch

Roller Fairlead

Roller Fairlead

Roller fairleads, also known as four-way roller fairleads, are commonly seen in winches that use wire or steel cables. Roller fairleads are made with two perpendicular and two parallel placed rollers.

It creates a border with the four rollers, which assist the steel winch line travels through. Because the majority of roller fairleads are constructed of steel, this conceder is the ideal option for use with a steel winch cable. Because this sort of fairlead is made up of several parts, it will be quite hefty. Steel roller fairleads typically weigh 11.5 pounds.

However, if you use the combination of synthetic line and steel roller fairlead, you must be cautious if the roller fairlead has any sort of keen border or pit.

Roller fairleads have been observed to stick out 3.5 to 4 inches from the installing aspect material, which does not result in a greater perspective gradient.

Hawse Fairlead

Hawse winch Fairlead

Hawse fairleads are mostly made from one piece of cast iron or machined aluminum and are used in winches with synthetic rope to assist synthetic rope out the front of the winch.

They are lighter and have more skid than steel roller fairleads since they are composed of a single piece of plate which can not move. As a result, there is no chance of it splitting apart.

Aluminum hawse fairleads are utilized with synthetic winch line which reduces the total mass of the winch by 30 to 40 lbs (approximately). Hawse fairleads made of a steel cable are available too.

Hawse fairleads typically intrude about 1 inch from the mounting surface, and in some cases, steel hawse fairleads can be used with steel line. Hawse fairleads have a better detain angle than roller fairleads and are available in a variety of finishes such as galvanized, polished, and coated with powder, among others.

Most Effective Winch Fairlead

If you ask me, “Which one is better for your winch?” or “Which Winch Fairlead is the most effective?” The answer will be, both hawse and roller fairleads have advantages and disadvantages. However, based on the winch line and winch components you choose, one may be superior to the other for you.

It depends on your requirements and tastes. In my opinion, if you want a cheaper fairlead, purchase a winch with a steel hawse fairlead. Hawse fairlead winches are less expensive than a winch with a roller fairlead.

If you want a massive winch operation, you should get a winch with a steel roller fairlead and a steel cable. Do not use a steel cable with aluminum hawse fairleads.

If money is not a problem, you can go with Hawse Fairlead. It is lighter than roller fairleads and has a longer life expectancy.

The table below might help determine which fairleads are appropriate for your winch.

 Roller FairleadsAluminum Hawse FairleadsSteel Hawse Fairleads
MaterialSteel  AluminumSteel
Typical Weight10-13 lbs2-3 lbs4-5 lbs
Winch line typesSteel cable or SyntheticSyntheticSteel cable or Synthetic
Typical winch line typesSteel cableSyntheticSteel cable
Bolt mounting distance  10”  10”  10”
  FinishesGalvanizedPolished or AnodizedPowder coat
  Typical Stickout3.5”0.75”-1.5”1.25”


Frequently Asked Question

Is It Possible To Use A Roller’s Fairlead On A Synthetic Cable?

Yes, synthetic ropes can be utilized with roller fairleads. The rollers on the roller fairlead must be clear of any intense side or buzzes since these keen points might harm your synthetic winch rope.

Before using the “roller fairleads and synthetic line” combination, make sure there is no intense side, but we prefer using aluminum hawse fairleads with a synthetic winch cable.

Can Steel Cable Be Used With Hawse Fairleads?

We do not recommend using hawse fairleads with steel lines since the majority of hawse fairleads are composed of aluminum. Since steel is a tougher substance than aluminum, a steel wire can easily destroy the aluminum hawse fairleads.

However, steel fairleads are a possibility. Steel winch cable can be used with certain specific steel hawse fairleads. However, if it is formed of aluminum, you should not operate with a steel wire.

Is It Possible Using A Winch Without A Fairlead?

It is technically feasible to utilize winches without a fairlead. However, we do not suggest it because there are several disadvantages to not having a winch fairlead. 

For example, the winch line will scrape down surpassing its gestation period. Furthermore, if there is no winch fairlead, the cables don’t always wind up properly. As a result, a fairlead might be the most useful winch addition for your equipment.

What Is A Fairlead Mount?

A fairlead mount is a metal mounting bracket used to place winch fairleads.

Other Winch Guides:

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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