Roller Fairleads vs. Hawse Fairleads: The Differences
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You have three choices when choosing a new fairlead for your winch: roller, aluminum hawse, or steel hawse. Here's a quick rundown of the differences.
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- Roller and steel hawse fairleads are usually used with steel winch cable and result in a heavier total winch weight.
- Aluminum hawse fairleads are ONLY used with synthetic winch line and result in a lighter total winch weight.
- Nearly every fairlead manufacturer makes fairleads with a mounting distance of 10", except Smittybilt's slim steel roller (11", not recommended) and Warn industrial fairleads (variable distance).
- Roller fairleads can be used with synthetic winch line if the rollers are clean and free of burrs/sharp edges. Running steel cable can often "scar" a roller, so you should clean it up if you want to use it with synthetic line.
- Hawse fairleads give you a slightly better approach angle since they stick out a little less from your bumper.
- Type III anodized coatings on aluminum fairleads are the only coating that will last "forever". Powdercoat, galvanized, and polished finishes will eventually wear through and will rust/oxidize.
|Roller Fairleads||Aluminum Hawse Fairleads||Steel Hawse Fairleads|
|Typical Weight||10-13 lbs||2-3 lbs||4-5 lbs|
|Winch line types||Steel cable or Synthetic||Synthetic||Synthetic or Steel cable|
|Typical winch line types||Steel cable||Synthetic||Steel cable|
|Bolt mounting distance||10”||10”||10”|
|Finishes||Galvanized||Polished or Anodized||Powdercoat|
A Few Things You Should Know
Our chart has some basic generalizations about fairleads. If you want some more in-depth info and some product recommendations, check out our longer article on winch fairleads.
Here are a few tidbits you should know:
Last updated: September 5, 2019