A winch is a tool that every off-roader should have. It is a heavy-duty tool that helps to tow large vehicles. A good which will help you get out of a sticky spot when going to work or when having your adventure off the road. Getting stuck without a solution is one situation that no driver would want to find them in. The best winches will get you out when you get stuck in a loose sand patch, snowbank, or mud puddle.
Winches are not a tool for off-roaders alone. Any car irrespective of its type can die or get stuck in the middle of nowhere. There are several winches in the market from different suppliers. Each winch is different, and they serve differently in different situations. Getting the best might be a confusing task. That is why I have compiled a list of the best winches you can invest in this year.
1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch
Smittybilt is one of the most reputable companies with experience of over 50 years. Smittybilt 97495 XRC winch is a modification of the XRC series. This is the best winch for jeeps in the market. This winch comes along with its wiring, which helps the process of installation to be convenient and perfect.
This machine is durable and hardcore due to its three-stage planetary gear system and amphibious motor. One thing that makes this winch outstanding is its waterproof nature. This enables it to work anywhere despite the weather condition. It is hefty and robust and can pull a load with as much weight as 9500lbs.
Smittybilt 97495 Gen 2 winch comes with a remote for increased convenience. You are, therefore, able to run the cord of the winch by just pressing a button. The rope of this winch is made with lead for maximum strength and durability. The rope goes up to 12 feet. It also comes with an automatic brake, which ensures the right use of the winch and maximum safety.
This winch by Smittybilt comes with some wires for installation. The company recommends that you use these wires when installing the winch.
2. Smittybilt 98510 X2O Waterproof Winch
Smittybilt 98510 X2O is the best winch for trucks. Trucks are more onerous than common vehicles, and therefore, they may not use the same winches. Smittybilt 98510 winch offers you sufficient load carriage, thus ideal for trucks. This winch also works perfectly for other types of vehicles. You can find this winch in 7 different sizes, which means that every vehicle user is catered for.
Smittybilt 98510 X2O winch is equipped with a 3 stage planetary gearbox. The gearbox increases its functionality. Its 6.6 horsepower motor, 1000 pound pulling capacity, and robust and resilient synthetic rope makes this winch very powerful. The winch is powerful enough to pull the heaviest 4X4 vehicles out from rocks or thick mud.
The most outstanding feature about this winch is that it is entirely waterproof. The drums’ body can resist corrosion, and its amphibious motor enables it to endure submersion. It is, therefore, an ideal choice doe anyone who goes off reading in snowy and rainy areas.
On top of all this, Smittybilt 98510 winch comes along with a wireless digital remote controller for the users’ convenience and safety. It also has a synthetic lead attached to it, which you can use in case the wireless fails. With its great power and outstanding performance, the winch is sold at a pocket-friendly price.
3. Smittybilt 98512 X2O Waterproof Winch
98512 is another Gen 2 winch by Smittybilt. It is an upgrade winch, and thus you expect it to have better features than its predecessors. The gear system is 3-stage planetary, and the motor is 6.6 amphibious. The two features increase the winches’ line speed and pulling power.
Smittybilt 98512 heavy-duty winch has an integrated wireless remote. The major difference between this winch and its predecessors is its state of the art synthetic rope. It also features a dynamic braking system that minimizes the temperatures of the drum by 66%, making its operations more efficient.
The control pack has multiple mounting options, and the matte is UV resistant. This is an ideal winch for off-road enthusiasts since it is designed to withstand the most harsh and roughest treatment. More to that, Smittybilt 98512 Winch is water-resistant. It has an IP68 that makes it ideal for water-based and damp off-road usage.
4. WARN 96810 VR 10 Winch
WARN 96810 VR 10 is a high-quality winch from a company long known for its reliability, durability, and quality. The whole construction of this Warn winch is reliable and durable. This model is suitable for jeeps, SUVs, and light-duty trucks. This winch comes with a steel rope that is easy to clean, durable, reliable, and more affordable. It is quite easy to clean dirt and mud out of this rope. You can also use machine oil to grease the steel rope for prolonged usage.
WARN VR 10 winch has a lot of other features that enable it to be handy in unexpected situations. This winch is staffed with an Albright contractor who is waterproof, giving it maximum control durability and reliability. It also has a remote plug and a control pack. This control pack is quite convenient since the user can remove it as they desire to fit their bumper.
The clutch level of this winch lies perfectly on your hand even when wearing special gloves. It is easy to turn, and thus you don’t have to use so much force to turn around. The winch is made with a structural iron base that holds the control pack. This makes the winch more durable, rigid, looks lovely, and minimizes noise.
5. WARN 95960 ZEON 12-S Platinum Winch
Warn Zeon 12-S is among the best heavy-duty electrical winch you will find. In fact, it is the best truck winch for the money. This winch is powerful enough to get even the heftiest truck unstuck from dangerous or muddy routes. It is among the most robust and most powerful winches you will find.
This winch is built with high-quality materials, and durability is out of the question. WARN 95960 ZEON 12-S Platinum winch has a 12,000lbs load capacity and spydura synthetic rope, which is tough and resilient. This is the best synthetic rope winch for the jeep. The drum’s body is resistant to corrosion. Its engine is well protected from the water, making it waterproof.
The surprising thing about this winch is that with all these features, it is still lightweight. It weighs 80 pounds, which is not a usual weight for a winch of its strength. It is a wireless digital remote that makes this powerful Warn winch cooler. The remote can be charged through the usual USB cable.
This remote control makes it easy and safe to operate the winch. You, therefore, do not have to stand anywhere near the track during recovery. The digital remote will also tell you the motor of the temperature. You will, therefore, be able to know when the winch is overheating and risky to use. WARN ZEON Platinum winch outstands in durability, strength, and safety.
6. WARN 103252 VR EVO 10, Standard Duty Winch
WARN 103252, a VR EVO 10 winch, offers a perfect blend of power and speed. This winch is made with a high weight capacity of 10,000lbs and steel cable. It is an ideal winch for 1.2 tom large SUVs, Jeeps, and pickup trucks. It is also made with a high-performance Albright contactor that enables it to deliver maximum reliability.
The contactor is located in a control pack, which you can relocate when doing low- profile installations. WARN 103252 VR EVO winch has state of the art 2 in 1 remote with both wireless and wired options for versatility and ease of use. Therefore you can use the lead wire when the wireless feature fails. Its waterproof construction has an IP68 rating.
Its tie plate is made with one-piece cast aluminum for durability and extra strength. This VR EVO winch by Warn has a planetary gear train and powerful series-wound motor giving it fast under load line speed and low amp draw. The fast line speed with low amp draw makes this model of winches the toughest standard duty winches Warn company has ever made.
WARN 103252 VR EVO is made with a tactical style that gives it a great upfront look. This winch is made engineered and tested by warn engineers in the USA.
7. Bravex Electric 12V 3500lb/1591kg Single Line Winch
When looking for a portable winch, Bravex Electric 12V is the best option. The winch is also dependable and durable due to its all-metal gearing make. Its three-stage planetary gear increases the reliability and efficiency of the unit. Its 12V motor can put a load of up to 3500 pounds. The motor is not only strong but also fast.
The braking system of this winch is made to have full control over the recovery. It allows both spooling and pulling. The winch is both manual and electric. The braking system is automatic, which provides safety for the user. It also reduces the noise made by the winch during the action.
Bravex Electric 12V electric winch has a wireless remote control, which is waterproof. It also features a remote switch with a single wire. The remotes cannot work simultaneously, and thus you have to use one at a time. All these features make the winch not only easy to install but also easy to use.
The winches rope made of steel is similar to the one used in the aviation industry. The rope is, therefore, sturdy, strong, and powerful. This winch is the ideal choice for professionals dealing with heavy-duty works.
8. Dutton-Lainson Company SA12015AC Electric Winch
Dutton-Lainson SA12015AC is one of the best electric winches for fixed and indoor applications. This winch can be used at closing and opening large horizontal sliding doors, dump waiters, light towers, boat davits, ventilation systems, boat lifts, and shop cranes. The winch has a load capacity of 2700 pounds in a single line. You can also use the second hook and pulley block for double line operations. This increases the winches load capacity to 4000 pounds.
Dutton-Lainson SA12015AC Electric winch comes with remote control, which is factory installed. This remote has a cord of 10 foot which allows you to operate the winch standing at a distance for safety. It also comes with an already installed hook and aircraft cable of 7/32inch and 50 feet ready for use. The hook and pulley block is also installed. The motor runs for three minutes and needs a cool-down period of 15 minutes.
9. Champion ATV/UTV Winch Kit
A winch is a useful tool, but not everyone is willing to invest a fortune in a unit. If you are one of these people, then Champion ATV/UTV Winch Kit is the best budget winch you can get. This winch is a lot cheaper, but this does not mean that its functionality or features are compromised. It works just as efficiently as some of the high-quality winches.
One thing that makes this winch outstanding is the convenience it offers. It comes with an antenna and wireless remote control, which you can use to operate the unit. For the wireless remote to work, you have to be anywhere within a radius of 50 feet. It also comes with a mounting channel and roller fairlead for smooth, safe, and hassles free pull. Its efficiency is further added by the dynamic braking systems and planetary gear.
This Champion winch is also quite easy to use and install since it comes with a comprehensive wiring kit. The kit comes as a package with everything you require in the winching process. The winch uses a 1.0 HP permanent magnet motor with a weight capacity of 3,000lbs. The motor is powerful to pull 4.3 feet in a minute. It is an ideal winch for SUVs and off-road trucks of medium size.
10. KFI Products A3000 ATV Winch Kit
One of the most crucial accessories that you should have in your UTV or ATV is a reliable winch. This kit by KFI will eliminate any kind of stress when an emergency situation hits. KFI Products A3000 ATV is one of the best portable winches in the market. The compact winch is well made with high-quality steel elements and long-lasting cast aluminum.
KFI Products A3000 ATV is covered with water-resistant seats, which prevents it from getting damaged by water. Though this winch has water-resistant seals, it is not advisable to keep it away from water. The winch has a heavy-duty clutch made of metal that sustains its performance. It also has a standard four-hole design, which makes mounting easy.
You also have straight forward control on the winch thanks to the mini rocket switch. The bracket mountable located on the handlebar of the ATV is quite easy to adjust. This winch features a strong electric contactor which protects the ATV’s electrical system. The contractor is responsible for switching power distribution in the KFI A3000 ATV winch.
With its capacity of 3,000lbs, KFI A3000 winch will retrieve your vehicle even from plowing snow, winding trail, or deep mud. The winch has a strong and durable steel cable. It also offers a free spooling clutch, dynamic brake, and planetary gear for smooth operations.
11. Superwinch 1510200 LP10000 Winch
Just like its name suggests, Superwinch is a brand dedicated to the manufacture of winches. Superwinch 1510200 is among the best model of winches that this brand offers. The winch comes into distinctive styles. Each of them has its level of functionality, and the user is free to choose the one to fit their needs.
Superwinch 1510200 has a highly powerful motor of 5.1 HP designed to provide you with great functionality. This motor is also waterproof, thus ensuring better durability. The four-way roller featured in this winch also provides it greater durability. The powder-coated roller Fairlead is not only long-lasting but also has a free spooling action better than what other winches offer. The free spooling clutch enables you to disconnect the motor faster.
This great winch by Superwinch has a pull capacity of 10,000lbs enough to pull 4X4 vehicles, trucks, and most jeeps. Superwinch LP10000 Winch is easy to use and mount. It comes with a remote control made of rubber with a 12-foot lead. This enables you to operate the unit from a distance for safety purposes. For additional safety, the winch has a mechanical system for brakes and auto holding of loads.
Superwinch 1510200 LP10000 Winch is weather-resistant, but it is not waterproof. This means that it can withstand most weather conditions but not ideal for pulling the vehicle from the water. It has a little noise, but this is beaten by its effectiveness, affordability, and durability. It is an ideal product for a person on a budget who wants a winch for lighter use.
12. LD12-ELITE Electric Heavy Duty Recovery Winch
If you are looking for a winch that is capable of recovering heavy trucks and SUVs from mud, rocks, or snow, then LD12-ELITE Electric from Driver recovery is the way to go. The winch comes with a durable rope that is resistant to abrasion. It comes with a 12-volt DC direct current motor, which enables it to deliver maximum torque.
This series-wound motor allows power to flow through the duty cycle consistently, unlike a magnet motor that falters when they overheat. This motor is reversible, and thus you can wound the cable in or out. LD12-ELITE Electric winch features a 3-stage planetary system made for smooth and efficient operation to eliminate wear and slippage.
It also has a lever located on the top, which makes it easy to disengage and engage the drum. When you disengage the drum, it will free spool, and thus you can pull the rope without the motor. When the drum is engaged, it is attached to the motor with a sliding ring gear clutch.
This winch by Driver Recovery Products has an automatic braking system. This system will lock the rope, thus enabling it to continue holding the load when power has not been applied. This prevents slacking and free spooling. The rope in this winch is abrasion-resistant and durable. The roller fairleads are secure and provide smooth operation.
The winch comes with a handheld remote control with a cord of 12 feet. The remote enables the user to operate line-in and line-out controls from a safe distance. LD12-ELITE winch is easy to mount and use. When installing, just connect the power and ground the winch. The winch can also be used to move logs and large trees.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Winches
Just like any other criteria, there are qualities and features to check before you by a winch. Since there are several brands of winches with different functionalities, you should be careful to get a winch that meets your needs. Follow this best winches guide will help you get the ideal one.
This is one of the most important features to consider when buying a winch. The main purpose of a winch is to pull heavy objects from one place to another. The pulling capacity of a winch will determine the maximum weight that you are going to pull.
The capacity varies from one machine to another, and it can range from 2000lbs to 10,000lbs. Consider the average amount of weight you are likely to pull and get a winch of the appropriate power.
Length of Cable or Rope
The other thing you will need when winching is a cable or a rope. Therefore the length of the rope is very important. The length of the rope depends on the type of winch you buy. Most of the bigger winches have long cables. Apart from the length of the cable, also consider its material.
Ensure that the cable is of good quality such that it is sturdy and strong enough to pull heavy and large objects. Some winches have synthetic ropes while others come with steel cables. Synthetic cables are robust, crush resilient, easy to repair, and light. Steel ropes, on the other hand, are less expensive and resistant to chemicals, UV, and heat.
Winch motors come in two types. There are electric and series-wound motors. Electric motors are also known as permanent motors. These motors are cheaper and have a lower current draw. These motors lose power when it is cold and are likely to overheat. Series wound motors are more reliable. They have a high current draw, more powerful but more expensive.
The mounting system dictates the process of installation. Make sure that the mounting base of your winch has holes so that you can bolt in the truck firmly. On top of that, the mounting base should be made with a tough material that will not crack or break easily when mounting. In many cases, manufacturers prefer mounting base made of steel due to their durability.
Type of the Winch
There are two major types of winches, namely hydraulic and electric winches. Each of these winches has its pros and cons. Electric winches are the most common in the market. They are mainly designed to handle low to medium weight. You will get them in varieties and are also easy to install. Electric winches are most likely to overheat, which may cause the battery to blow up.
The other types are hydraulic winches. These winches feature more pull capacity than the electric ones. These winches will not overheat irrespective of the speed and length of time they are used. They, therefore, tend to be much safer. On the downside, these winches are hard to install and more expensive.
In many cases, cars will get stuck in the mud while it is raining. It is, therefore, most likely that you will need to use the winch when there is rain. Some winches are waterproof while others are not. It would be prudent for you to consider a waterproof winch.
The winch will, therefore, not corrode or fail in performance due to water damage. You can also use then comfortably in any weather condition. Waterproof winches are long-lasting, durable, and versatile.
We cannot ignore the fact we have a budget for an item we want to buy. This is not any different when it comes to winches. However, the price should come after you are assured that the winch will serve the purpose. Always remember that the performance and quality of an item mostly increase with increased price.
Always look for the characteristics of a winch first and then narrow down to the one you can afford. It would be advisable to spend a little more money and invest in a winch that will serve you for a long time.
Another thing to consider when looking for a winch is how easily you can operate and control the unit. Most of the winches these days come with remote control. Some have gone a step higher to make wireless remotes.
The remote control makes it easy for the user to operate a winch. You can get a winch with both wireless and wired remote controls. This way, you can make use of the wired one when the wireless feature fails. The remote control not only makes it simple to operate a winch but also safe.
There are various brands in the market of winches. Some have been in the market for a long time while some are just new to the market. Most of the reputable brands are known due to their high quality. These are the most popular winch brands in the market:
Warn is one of the reputable brands that make high quality and performance winches. This brand provides almost all types of winches from the small ones to the most powerful. Warn makes sure that all their winches meet stringent quality standards like NFPA, J706, and SAE.
This company started in the 1930s, and they have managed to maintain their high quality and standard to date. Their customer service is top-notch. You can call their customer service to order a winch or to ask any questions regarding the winch models.
Braden Company has been in the industry for more than 70 years. Since then, they have tried to make up to date and quality winches to meet customer satisfaction. The standards of this company are not certified. However, it has passed all odds to create some of the heaviest loading and high powered winches in the world. Their winches are ideal for trucks, cranes, and other heavy vehicles.
DP winch started in the 1970s. When it started, the owner did not have much, but only this understanding of winches and talent. Currently, this brand has become quite popular. DP winches are among the best planetary winches in the world. The winches are mainly used in the defense industries. Most of the government agencies rely on this brand of winches for bumper winches and OEMs.
Tulsa has been to the market for more than a century. It started in 1929, and their winches grew over time. The ownership changed after some years, but the quality of the winches remained. This company is best known for worm gear winches and planetary winches. These winches are mainly used on heavy and cumbersome machinery. The company also has hydraulic winches, which are not very common.
Superwinch has been around the market since the 1970s. Just like its name suggests, this company concentrates on making winches. Superwinch has continued to improve the standards and quality of their winches as it grows. Currently, they are well known for their solid constructions, high quality, top designs, and safe winches across the world.
This company was founded in 1956 by Basil Smith at Compton, California. This company manufactures gear built and powerful winches to enhance your experience in off-road activities. Smittybilt started as a garage, and today it offers 2000 and more jeep products.
Different Types of Winches
There are several types of winches based on their functionality, motors, and also features. Here we shall look at the two most common types of winches today:
An electric winch is a winch powered by electric motors. This is one of the most common winch types today. It is an ideal choice when you don’t plan to work for a long period or when not pulling heavy objects.
The main advantages of this winch are that it is easy to use, lightweight and affordable. Some of the electric winches will come with remote controls, which makes operations much easier. The winch is also advantageous since you can still use it even when the winch is dead.
Some of the electric winches motors can get damaged when immersed in water. However, you can avoid this by choosing waterproof electric winches. On the downside, they overheat when used for a long period.
Hydraulic winches are known for their powerful nature. These winches get their power from the power steering pump of the vehicle. These winches can work even underwater and thus ideal if you want a winch for all-weather purposes. Hydraulic winches are also a good choice for people pulling heavy projects.
They are more efficient and have a longer lifespan compared to the others. These winches, unlike the electric ones, do not overheat even when used for a long period. On the downside, these types of winches cannot work without an engine. They are also more expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. What Winch Should I Buy For My Jeep?
There are several good quality winches you can use for your jeep, depending on its type and weight. The rule is a winch should have a minimum of 1.5 times the weight of your jeep. Always check the maximum capacity of the winch to see if it fits your jeep weight. Also, look at the king of rope that the winch comes with.
Remember that a jeep will need the winch to have sturdy and strong ropes or cables. After that, you can look at other features such as ease of operation and safety. These are some of the things that will determine the type of winch to use on your jeep. One of the best winches you can consider buying for your jeep is Smittybilt 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch
Q. How Do I Choose a Winch Size?
The size of the winch you choose depends on your type of vehicle truck or jeep. You should check the measurement of the trailer or truck bend to which you plan to attach it to. These measurements are essential in getting a well-fitting winch. It is good to know that winches come in different sizes.
Some winches are large, and others are smaller. Larger sized winches are only ideal for large-sized vehicles like diesel-powered trucks while the small-sized winches work better with small cars. Also, make sure that the winch has 1.5 more load capacity than your car.
Q. How Strong of a Winch Do I Need?
The strength of the winch will depend on the heaviness of your vehicle. The heavier the car or truck, the more powerful the winch should be. A winch should have the ability to pull 1.5 times the heaviness of your vehicle.
So if you want to know how the strength of the winch to buy, you should take the weight of your vehicle and multiply it by 1.5. 1.5 is the minimum rating, but some other factors that can result in needing a heavier winch.
Q. Can a Winch Be Used for Lifting?
No. A winch is not made for lifting and should not be used for the purpose. If you want to lift an item, it will be prudent to use a hoist. A winch is used to pull things that roll and not lifting them from the ground.
The reason is mainly for safety purposes. Lifting loads with a winch could end up falling due to their braking systems. Hoists and winches have different braking systems, and that is their difference. Winches move or pull rolling weight, but hoists lift and support the dead weight.
Q. Do I Need a Winch on My ATV?
Yes. A winch is one of the things you should never moss in your ATV. People think they don’t need a winch until they need one. It does not matter whether you get stuck or not, but you need to have the winch. It is better not to get stuck when you have the winch than to get stuck and curse why you do not have the winch.
In case you get stuck in snow or mud, a winch will help you to pull and tow the vehicle. You can also use the winch to pull other heavy objects on your way when going through your off-road adventures.
Learn More by Watching the YouTube Video: How to Repair a Winch – Part 1
A winch is one tool that should never lack in your vehicle. However, a winch is not just a winch. You need to have the ideal winch for your vehicle. Investing in the right winch will save you also of stress and headache when you get stuck when. This review guides you on the best winches in the market and other things you need to check when buying a winch. I believe that with this information, you will no longer get confused when buying a winch. The best winch will depend on your needs. Ensure that it has the right capacity and power to pull your vehicle. It is also important to check on how strong the rope or cable of the winch is before purchase.