Let’s talk fairleads...the most common you see today is the hawse, but is that the right choice over the roller fairlead? I'm going to explain the pros and cons from an educational standpoint that is not biased between the two.
The hawse fairlead originally came about from rock racing and buggy style off-roading. Its slimline construction increases approach angle and you may even hear it’s the only fairlead option for synthetic line. However, the hawse fairlead has some drawbacks; limited visibility to the winch drum, cracking under load or impact, only compatible to synthetic line, and the most crucial, heat generated on the line when not performing a straight line pull. In championship rock racing, the winch is used in short pulls, maybe even 5’. Whereas, on the recreational side, we may be winching 50’ and more. The heat generated from this friction will begin to compromise and fuse the synthetic fibers at temperatures as low as 150* degrees and anything over this temperature can be up to a 50% reduction in line strength.
The other option, a roller fairlead. It has a decreased approach angle, some maintenance may be required to keep the rollers rolling, and some inferior roller fairleads have a gap between the top and side rollers where the line could get pinched. It’s advantages are smoother line operation, better visibility to the drum, synthetic and wire compatible, and a reduction in friction on the line. Also, if you’ve made the transition from wire to synthetic and plan to use the same roller fairlead, you may need to clean the rollers and make sure they are smooth. Whether you choose a hawse or roller fairlead, just keep these considerations in mind and be aware of the pros and cons of each fairlead. Also, make sure you are purchasing quality gear that is field proven and properly load tested.