How to Pick a Windlass
Choosing a windlass: Motor Power vs Pulling Power
Very often customers choose a windlass based on motor power thinking that with a larger size motor in Watts they get a stronger windlass. In actual fact the important factor in choosing a windlass is the pulling capacity which means the strength a windlass has to retrieve an anchor that may be stuck in the sea bottom. Lower quality windlasses often emphasis their higher motor power as it is cheaper to use a larger motor than it is to produce a good quality gearbox. It is actually the combination of the gearbox with a motor that determines the pulling power.
Better quality windlasses and thus more expensive ones use a higher quality gearbox with a smaller size motor while maintaining or exceeding the pulling power of a cheaper windlass. You can imagine that in case of an emergency, for instance in oncoming inclement weather, one would wish to have a windlass on board with the highest pulling power available.
In addition it is actually preferred to use a smaller size motor as this reduces the electrical load on the battery and thus extends the time you can be on the water using your batteries for other uses such as your audio system or GPS not to mention extending the life of the battery.
Look for windlasses with a higher pulling capacity while having a smaller motor, thus saving your battery and possibly yourself.