Good customer service is hard to find, so I'm tipping my hat here to the best. About 14 years ago I bought a Tirfor hand winch from Howard Material Handling of Seaview, Lower Hutt. The transaction was over the phone and I never met Errol Howard, who sold me the iconic French winch. The Tirfor made some great "saves", but became largely relegated to the shed after the arrival of a Superwinch electric winch. I'm not fitting a winch to my new Wrangler Rubicon, so I dusted off the Tirfor. It was stiff and didn't want to work. I called Howard Material Handling, got hold of Errol and without introducing myself sought his advice – which turned out to be spot-on – and I soon had the Tirfor going like new without having to spend a cent. But here's the thing: during the phone call he asked, "Did you buy this winch from me years ago; it's Phil in Auckland isn't it?" Amazing. He remembered me after having had only a couple of conversations more than a decade ago! I hear Errol and his wife are looking at hanging up their snig chains and retiring – any new owner will have a hard act to follow.
Good things about a hand winch
• Can be used to pull from the front, back or side.
• Relatively light and easy to store.
• No need for even one battery!
Bad things about a hand winch
• Can be really hard work.
• Not particularly quick.
• Not rated for really heavy pulls – usually between 1250kg and 2500kg.