A winch, by definition, is a hauling or lifting device consisting of a chain, rope, or cable that’s wrapped around a horizontal rotating drum that is operated by a crank, motor, or another source of power. The kind of winch you will typically find for off-road use on your Tacoma will be motor powered or hydraulically powered, using a synthetic rope or a cable. These devices will also typically be mounted to the front or rear of the truck using either a bumper mount or a hitch mount. In the case of a custom build, it may be mounted in a variety of places.
Electronic Winch: Electronic winches are the most common type of off-road winches. With the use of a handheld remote for operation, the drum can be controlled to pull the rope or cable in or out. The remotes on these units can either be wired or wireless. These units work by tapping into the vehicle’s electrical system, making for a clean and easy installation.
Hydraulic Winch: Hydraulic winches have a lot in common with electronic winches but vary in terms of operation. Rather than relying on the vehicle’s battery to operate, they tap into an existing hydraulic pump operated system on the vehicle, which is typically the power steering system. This makes for a complicated installation, but the power and durability of this type of winch makes up for it. You must note that some electronics are required for operation of the winch via remote control.