What is an Air Winch? | Benefits and Applications

What is an Air Winch

An air winch is a pulling or lifting device that is powered by a pneumatic motor. There are several types of pneumatic motors, the most popular of which being vane or radial piston. Some examples of vane motors in Thern products are our Durahoist and Atlas winches. In the MTA and TA series, radial piston motors are used.

Both motors use compressed air that is directed to a set of two ports. The direction of the air on these ports causes the drums to rotate, which makes the winch move. A directional control valve commands the winch to operate in one of three positions: forward, neutral, or reverse. 

How is an Air Winch Different from an Electric Winch? 

Since the question of “what is an air winch?” was answered, you may be wondering what the differences are between an air winch vs. an electric winch. Although air and electric winches may appear to be comparable in appearance, with a similar frame or drum type, there are practical and operational distinctions between the two. The fundamental distinction between these types of winches is the amount of electricity required to operate them. The power of an air winch is supplied by compressed air channeled into the motor. Electric winches are distinguished by the fact that their principal power source is electricity.

Benefits of an Air Winch

Air winches, with their own features and characteristics, provide distinct advantages over other types of winches.

Key Benefits

  • Air winches offer a lot of lifting force without consuming a lot of electricity.
  • It can be utilized in many remote regions where three-phase electricity is not available.
  • Move heavy goods efficiently and rapidly from one area to another.
  • With no electricity in use, the pneumatic motor is inherently spark-resistant. As a result, they are an excellent choice for lifting, lowering, or placing items in classified, explosion-proof, or harsh environments.


Air winches, with their rugged construction, can be the solution to a wide range of applications, including:

No matter the application or the type of winch needed, the experts at Thern are here to help! With a wide range of winches, the answer to your lifting, pulling, and positioning needs is just a click, email, or phone call away.

Contact Thern today!

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