Differences Between Winch Bars: Standard, Combination, & Ergo 360

This post will help you understand the options you have when it comes to buying winch bars and help you decide which type you should add to your collection of flatbed gear.

Which type of flatbed winch bar is best for you?

If your truck has winch straps, a winch bar is an invaluable tool you can’t go without. With a bit of muscle, winch bars give you the necessary leverage needed to securely tie your loads down and easily release them when it’s time to unload. Some winch bars can even release lever binders.

With all the different winch bar options available today, how do you know which type is the smartest choice for you? This post will help you understand the options you have when it comes to buying winch bars and help you decide which type you should add to your collection of flatbed gear.

Standard Winch Bars

Standard winch bars are the obvious choice for someone who only uses synthetic web winches. These straightforward bars have a standard mushroom tip that slides right into all standard web winches. They also have a knurled handle for non-slip grip.

US Cargo Control sells standard winch bars with a black paint finish or a chrome finish. Chrome provides a bit of rust resistance and many prefer the look of chrome over the black.

Combination Winch Bars

Combination winch bars, or combo bars, take it a step further with their ability to not only tighten and release synthetic winch straps but also release lever chain binders.

There are two styles of combination winch bars: standard combination bars and square head combination bars. The square head provides an added safety factor, as the tension on lever binders can create some serious kickback. Unlike standard combination winch bars with a hollow end that slides over the lever, square head winch bars have a slight pivot point that reduces the potential force if your bar were to recoil back at you.

No matter what type of bar you have, always try to stand to one side of the winch bar when you are releasing tension on a lever binder.

Ergo Winch Bars

If you’re looking for a winch bar that’s easy on your back and neck, the Ergo 360 winch bar is a perfect choice. It’s available in the same three styles (standard, combo, and combo with square head) but its unique bent shape means the bar handle and tip stay parallel to each other for maximum leverage. And unlike any other winch bar, Ergo bars can rotate 360-degrees so you won’t have to use low (and uncomfortable) angles when tightening the winch straps.

If that’s not enough for you, the Ergo bar is also heat treated for added strength and durability.

More Flatbed Winch Accessories

Ratcheting Winch Cap

Want even more convenience? Ratcheting winch bars are a popular way to tighten winch straps because they allow you to continuously tighten without removing the bar from the winch cap. This saves you both time and energy.

Now, with our universal ratcheting winch cap, you can easily turn any winch bar into a ratcheting winch bar.

ratcheting winch cap for fast securement

This weather-tight cap fits on weld-on winches, bolt-on winches, and slide-on winches, so you can’t go wrong with it. Simply slide the ratcheting winch cap onto the standard winch cap, spin it in place, and secure with the provided bolt.

Strap Winder

Tired of wasting time winding up straps only to make a mess of it? Attach a strap winder to the side rails on your flatbed so you can keep your excess winch strap neat and secure. Adam shows how it works in the video below.

US Cargo Control Employees Experience Hands-On Training

Flatbed training on products from uscargocontrol.com
Instructor Freddie Jones (left) leads an interactive hands-on training session with employees of US Cargo Control.

Sixty employees of US Cargo Control were recently treated to a Continuing Education opportunity at their offices in Urbana, IA. Instructors from nearby Kirkwood Community College’s Professional Truck Driving program led four separate two-hour training sessions featuring hands-on experience with a variety of tools and equipment drivers use to secure cargo on a flatbed trailer.

Freddie Jones, operations manager for Kirkwood’s Truck Driving program, and Dennis Carson, instructor for Kirkwood’s Truck Driving program, were the presenters for Friday’s training sessions. Both men have many years of real-life experience driving trucks.

The training began with a short video detailing some of the cargo securement laws that drivers must abide by, what a driver’s CSA (compliance, safety, accountability) score is and different ways it can be affected, as well as how to calculate Working Load Limit weights and the number of tie-downs necessary for a particular load.

The group then headed outside where a flatbed trailer was waiting with a skid loader and stack of pallets, both ready to be properly secured.

Hands-on items

Some of the equipment US Cargo Control employees learned to use included ratchet straps, tie down straps, winches, winch bars, chain, chain binders, corner protectors, tarps and tarp straps. Best-practices stories were also shared with the group.

Jones and Carson learned a few things from the US Cargo Control employees, as well. They were excited to discover tools offered by uscargocontrol.com like the Peerless QuikBinder™ Plus Ratchet Loadbinder that is easier to use than a more traditional ratchet chain binder; and the VeeBoards® Extension Handle that helps position corner protectors atop tall loads while the driver remains standing on the ground.

Ongoing Education

David Urlaub, US Cargo Control’s training coordinator, says the benefits of this type of training to the company’s employees are immeasurable. “Giving USCC employees the chance to use the products so they can take that back to their jobs and pass along correct information to the drivers who use our products is extremely important,” Urlaub said. He added, “We can better understand what a truck driver goes through on a daily basis to tie down their loads, and see how physical this job is for the drivers. Any products that make their life easier could be good additions to our site.”

While employees of US Cargo Control have ongoing product training throughout the year, this is the first hands-on training session. This training was funded by 260E dollars. The goal, according to Urlaub, is to have this type of training on an annual basis going forward.

Winches for Flatbed Trailers

67006-double-l-sliding-truck-tie-down-winch-black_1_375While a winch is a common term in the trucking industry, truck winches are still most often thought of as equipment designed for hoisting or hauling 4×4 trucks and sport utility vehicles while off-roading. Winches for flatbed trailers are different as they are designed for securing cargo straps to a flat bed trailer.

We’ve outlined the most common types of flatbed trailer winches. Generally, tractor trailer winches are right hand styles; left hand models are less common but are often available by request. Trucking winches are also classified as either side mount or bottom mount.

The different types of winches for tractor trailers include:

Weld-on Winches
Designed for permanent placement, excellent for strength and security and quick use.

Sliding Winches
Intended for use with winch track. Allows the operator to slide the winch to any spot along the track, then locks in place when tension is applied. Great for more precise strap placement that’s faster than removing and reattaching portable winches.

Portable Winches
Designed with two screws attached so you can place the winch just where you need it along the trailer side channel to offer exact strap placement where you want it.

Combination Winches
Can be used with either webbing winch straps or wire cable. Available in a sliding or weld on style.image

Low Profile Winches
Available as a sliding, portable or weld-on style, the low profile design reduces the risk of winch bar rollover, for an added measure of safety. It can also reduce tensioning time.

Lashing Winches
Can be either welded or bolted in place, or with a winch track, and offers the easy operation and fast release of a ratchet. A lashing winch is a smaller style than winches that accept 4″ webbing; this style is generally for use 2″ webbing.

Stake Pocket Winches
Turns standard stake pockets into instant anchor points for winch straps. Install easily without tools and can be removed when not in use. The popular Porta Winch is also a popular choice, as it’s available in both a standard outward off-set option and an inward off-set option to allow for track-mounted tarp clearance.

Ratcheting Cap
A simple cap that can be placed over any traditional winch to convert it to a ratcheting winch so it’s faster, easier, and safer to tension a strap. Our SilverCap® OverDrive™ ratcheting cap includes all parts.

Shop our full selection of winches and related equipment:

flatbed trailer winches from US Cargo Controlwinch track from US Cargo Controlwinch bars from US Cargo Control