Best Jeep and Truck Winch Review & Buying Guide

Whether your truck has died mid-road or your jeep has fallen upside down on a ditch, winches are always a good friend in times of need. If you have the best winch, you can rescue yourself easily.

But finding a “good” winch isn’t that easy. So, we thought we should really do something.

We ended up spending 50+ hours researching on various winch and then we created this top 10 best winch for jeeps and trucks review.

Product Image
The Best
WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S
X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Electric Winch 13000 lb.Load Capacity
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb. Load Capacity
Editor's Rating
4.9 / 5
4.8 / 5
4.5/5
Capacity
12000 lbs
13,000 lbs
9,500 lbs
Rope Length
80 feet Spydura Pro Synthetic Rope
85.3 feet Dyneema Synthetic Rope.
93.5 feet wire rope
Best For
Jeep, Truck
Jeep, Truck
Jeep, Car
Price Range
High
Mid
Mid
The Best
Product Image
WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S
Editor's Rating
4.9 / 5
Capacity
12000 lbs
Rope Length
80 feet Spydura Pro Synthetic Rope
Best For
Jeep, Truck
Price Range
High
Price on Amazon
Product Image
X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Electric Winch 13000 lb.Load Capacity
Editor's Rating
4.8 / 5
Capacity
13,000 lbs
Rope Length
85.3 feet Dyneema Synthetic Rope.
Best For
Jeep, Truck
Price Range
Mid
Price on Amazon
Product Image
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb. Load Capacity
Editor's Rating
4.5/5
Capacity
9,500 lbs
Rope Length
93.5 feet wire rope
Best For
Jeep, Car
Price Range
Mid
Price on Amazon

Best Winch Review

1. WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S [The Best]

No list of top 10 winch can be completed without Warn, they make some of the best ones.

Our first  pick is the Warn 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S. If you want something with considerably more power, then the Warn ZEON 12-S is a top notch above it.

Key Features:

  • 12000 lbs capacity.
  • 80ft of Spydura Pro Synthetic Rope.
  • Advanced Wireless Remote.
  • IP68 Waterproof Rating.

The WARN ZEON 12-S offers a rate line pulling of a 12,000 pounds. This winch is perfect for pulling large, heavy and massive vehicles like RVs, Jeeps, trucks and other giant automobiles.

It has a remote switch with a 12 ft lead. The rope is made out of high-quality Spydura Pro synthetic material. It furthermore has an aluminum hawse with a powder-coat finish that is made to last.

As for the motor, it has a 12V DC motor and it’s waterproof to an IP68. We can’t stress how important this feature is.

When it comes to the size and weight of the WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S, we must say that it isn’t the most compact winch. It weighs 83 pounds and measures 20 x 26.1 x 8.2 inches in dimensions, which isn’t considered as ligthweight. But it’s considered as a lightweight winch for heavy-duty and industrial work.

The WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S’s remote controller can read motor temperature, can read up to 2 additional accessories. It also has a USB charging cable and car charger adapter. To be honest, we’re thoroughly impressed!

This winch is a spectacular beast. We can say without any doubt that if the price isn’t a factor then this winch can be the perfect winch for you. If you have enough budget & you want to go for the best of the best, then this is surely the right one.

Pros

  • High pulling load.
  • Lightweight.
  • Remote controlled; easier to use.
  • Controller can control 2 extra accessories.
  • Waterproof motor, Advanced control.

Cons

  • None so far!

2. X-BULL 13,000 lbs 12V Synthetic Rope Winch

Our next pick is the CE Approved X-BULL 12V Synthetic rope winch. This is one of the best winch in the market right now, considering its loading capacity, affordable price and other features.

  • 13000 lbs load capacity.
  • Three (2 wireless + 1 handheld) remote controller.
  • 4.6KW 12V motor.
  • 85.3 ft(26m) DYNEEMA Synthetic Rope.
  • Waterproof and corrosion resistant.
  • Automatic load holding brake.

13,000 lbs Capacity: With a pulling capacity of 13,000 lbs, the X-BULL winch is definitely more than capable of tackling medium to heavy vehicles like jeep, truck and other big giants.

Dyneema Synthetic Cable: This winch offers Dyneema synthetic cable and you’ll get about 85.3 ft(26 m) of it. Dyneema is one of the strongest & lightest fiber in the world. It is 10 times stronger than steel yet 10 times lighter than steel. This cable is even capable of stoping bullets(insane!).

This Dyneema cable floats on water and it’s water resistant. It’s chemically inert, means almost any chemical can’t do any harm to it. It’s bending fatigue resistant, abrasion resistant & UV resistant.

Apart from these, this winch offers a three-stage planetary gear system that means it can transfer three times more the torque for a very similar sized fixed axis gear system.  Its automatic load-holding feature ensures max safety.

It has a free-spooling clutch for fast wire rope payout. Its alloy hawse fairlead allows smooth rope operation while protecting synthetic ropes against damage. This winch has a sealed motor for weather protection(that’s very important).

What’s unique about the X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Winch is that this winch comes with 2 wireless remote controllers. An extra remote will give you some extra facilities to control the winch.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Great pulling load.
  • Remote control(3 remotes).
  • Fairlead and a free spooling lever action clutch.
  • 3-stage planetary gear, Sealed Motor.

Cons

  • It doesn’t look premium.

3. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch

The third electric winch of our list is the 97495 XRC Winch from Smittybilt. One of the best off road winch for car and related safari type vehicles.

Key Features:

  • 9500 lbs capacity.
  • 6.6 HP Amphibious motor.
  • Completely Waterproof.
  • Corded Remote.
  • 93.5 feet 5/16 inch wire rope.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.

The Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch offers a single line pull rate or loading capacity of 9500 pounds. Its weight is 83 pounds and 25 x 13 x 10 inches in dimensions.

The Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch comes with a remote, but it’s corded. It would be better if the remote was wireless. It has about 94 ft of the cable being run by a 6.6 HP motor. Speaking of which, the motor used in the Smittybilt 97495 XRC is very powerful and it is waterproof(IP67 rated).

It also has a 3-stage planetary gear train for extra power and control, and a 4-way roller to make sure that the cables come back home more neatly. This makes using winch easy.

Apart from these, the feature we liked most about this winch is its after-sales security. They offers a lifetime mechanical warranty and  also a 3-years electrical warranty. That proves Smittybilt’s confident in their winch.

Pros

  • Good pulling load.
  • Compact and lightweight, comparative.
  • Remote controlled; easier to use.
  • 4-Way Roller Fairlead.
  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Waterproof 6.6 HP motor.
  • Great after-sale security deals.

Cons

  • Motor overheats.
  • Controller tends to snap.

4. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000 ATV [Best Cheap Winch]

If you are on a tight budget and looking for a basic winch then the Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV is for you! It’s one of the best off road winch for the money. Since the weight of atv & utv isn’t that much , this is the best winch for atv and utv. You don’t need to spend much money buying a winch with 10k+ lbs capacity for atv or utv, it’s 3000 lbs is more than enough for you.

Key Features:

  • 3000 lbs capacity.
  • 50-ft 3/16 inch wire rope.
  • 1.2 Horsepower motor.
  • Automatic load holding brake.
  • 2 years limited warranty.

The Superwinch 1130220 LT3000 ATV offers a load pulling capacity of 3000 pounds. Thus, it is perfect for small vehicles like ATVs, UTVs, boats, etc.

It has a roller fairlead and mounting plate for no-fuss installation. Apart from that, it has a 50 feet cable rope and a handheld remote. Next, it has a 1.2 HP motor which is sealed for protection against the elements.

Additionally, it has a full metal 3-stage planetary gear train. So, you’ll be able to transfer 3 times more the torque for a very similar sized fixed axis gear system.

Small, affordable and portable, perfect for light-duty winching!

Pros

  • Low price.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • 3-stare planetary gear.
  • Remote control.
  • 3-way fairlead roller.
  • Sealed; weather-resistant.

Cons

  • Poor grade wiring.
  • Low capacity.

5. Yescom 12000 lb 12V Wireless Recovery Winch

Our next pick is the 12,000 lb 12V 6.6 Recovery Winch from Yescom. Perfect for trailer trucks, SUV, RV and small ATV.

Key Features:

  • 12000 lb capacity.
  • Wireless Remote Control.
  • Automatic load holding brake.
  • Motor 6.6hp/4.8kw (12V).
  • 92ft Cable.

The Yescom 12000 lb 12V 6.6 Recovery Winch is an electric winch. It is 83 pounds on weight and  26.3 x 15.2 x 12 inches in dimensions. This winch offers a single line rate pull of 12000 pounds. The winch has a 12V motor.

The best part about this machine is that it is remote controlled and therefore wireless with wire pull in and pull out! It has a 3-stage planetary gear which furthermore helps increase the intensity and performance.

Not bad for the price, right? It also has a 4-way roller fairlead to guide the rope onto the drum more precisely as opposed to tangling up.

The free spooling clutch will allow you to pull out the rope, by hand, without using an electric power. However, make sure to wear gloves.

You’ll get battery leads, a pair of safety gloves, safety pull strap, roller fairlead, box assembly, 1 remote switch, remote control and a few other fixing accessories with it.

Pros

  • High pulling load.
  • More or less compact and lightweight.
  • Remote controlled; easier to use.
  • 4-Way Roller Fairlead.
  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Comes with heaps of accessories; complete kit.

Cons

  • Cables tend to tangle and ratchet up too frequently.

6. Warn 89040 Vantage 4000 Winch

Premium brand WARN makes high quality & extremely durable winch. And the one now we have on our list is a minimal & very popular Warn 89040 Vantage 4000 lbs Winch. Perfect premium winch for atv, utv & small to medium cars.

Key Features:

  • 4000 lbs capacity.
  • Dash-mounted control switch.
  • Corded remote.
  • 12V DC, 1.4 hp motor.
  • Spring break.
  • 5-year mechanical warranty.

Warn 89040 Vantage 4000 Winch offers you a load taking the capacity of 4000 pounds which probably isn’t over the top, but is still more than enough for pulling vehicles like ATVs and other similar automobiles.

It has a three-stage planetary gear train for smooth, efficient and powerful winching. It furthermore features a mechanical spring brake for so that you can operate with maximum control while winching.

Much like our previous 2 winches, the Warn 89040 Vantage 4000 Winch also comes with a corded remote which make using this thing heaps easier.

Speaking of which, the Warn 89040 Vantage 4000 Winch is one of the most lightweight winches on our list.

It measures 15.5 x 13 x 6.5 inches and weighs a ridiculous 8 pounds only! The motor and drive used on this winch come entirely sealed, therefore protecting it from the external elements. With the Warn 89040, you will also get a mounted mini rocker switch beside the remote.

One very important detail that you don’t want to miss out on is that you can choose the rope for your Warn winch from aircraft grade wire or lightweight synthetic.

Lastly, you’ll get a 5-year mechanical warranty and furthermore a 1-year electrical warranty. Not bad, not bad at all!

Pros

  • Sealed motor and gear train; weather resistant.
  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Remote controlled; easier to use.
  • Compact and lightweight, comparatively.
  • Good pulling load.

Cons

  • Tends to freeze.

7. Warn 90360 ZEON 10-S Multi-Mount Winch Kit

Another fancier and high-end mode is the Warn 90360 ZEON 10-S Multi-Mount Winch Kit.

Key Features:

  • 10,000 lbs capacity.
  • 12V DC motor.
  • 100m Spydura synthetic rope.
  • Automatic mechanical cone brake.

The Warn ZEON 10-S winch is a well-known kit. Let’s start with the main features first.

First of all, this winch offers a single line pull rate of 10,000 pounds. This is therefore perfect enough for small to medium size vehicles like private cars, ATVs, and UTVs.

It has a 12V DC motor with a 100 m long Spydura synthetic rope. And it furthermore has an Aluminum hawse with powder-coat finish fairlead. Much like all the rest of our previous winches, the Warn 90360 ZEON 10-S a remote switch with 12 m leads.

When it comes to size, the thing weighs just a pinch over 100 pounds and measures 28 x 18.3 x 16 inches.

One thing we want to particularly highlight, however, is the sheer construction genius. The Warn 90360 ZEON 10-S is made to distribute loads throughout vehicle’s frame and therefore minimizing the possibility of swaying of manipulating your direction.

The winch is furthermore laser-cut for precise dimensions; shaped on computer controlled press machines, and robotically welded for the most consistent results.

However, what we admire most about the Warn 90360 ZEON 10-S is that comes with the mounting kit, with all the necessary hardware included, which furthermore bolt-on, meaning you won’t need cut-outs whatsoever.

Pros

  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Good pulling load.
  • Remote controlled; easier to use.
  • Mounting hardware included.
  • Bolt-on mounting.
  • Consist performance.

Cons

  • Small hitch.
  • Tends to freeze sometimes.

8. Superwinch 1585202 LP8500 Winch Gen II

Our next pick is the LP8500 Gen II Winch from Superwinch.

Key Features:

  • 8500 lb capacity.
  • Automatic mechanical load holding brake.
  • 2-year limited warranty.
  • 4.5 hp (3.3kW) 12V motor.
  • 5/16″ x 94′ steel wire rope.

The Gen II Superwinch offers a carrying load of about 8,500 pounds. This would make the winch ideal for small to medium vehicles like ATVs and UTVs, and small cars.

It has a 94 feet of steel wire rope with a heavy-duty latched hook and rope thimble and automatic, mechanical load holding the brake. Much like the rest of our winches, the Gen II Superwinch is also a remote-controlled machine. It has a 15m rubber handheld remote.

Apart from that, it also has powder-coated hawse fairlead and a free spooling lever action clutch. As for your outdoor concerns, the Superwinch has a weather-sealed solenoid and circuit breaker to stand against the element.

See this winch in action:

Pros

  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Fairlead and a free spooling lever action clutch.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Good pulling load.
  • Remote control, Sealed motor.

Cons

  • Rusts early.
  • Short lifespan.

9. WARN 26502 M8000 Winch

Warn produces some of the best winches, and they understand that not everyone is looking for a herculean winch. For that type of people, a good choice would be the  WARN 26502 M8000 Winch.

Key Features:

  • 8000 lbs capacity.
  • 100 ft of 5/16 wire rope.
  • 12V 4.8 hp motor.
  • Automatic Direct Drive Cone brake.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.

The WARN 26502 M8000 offers a pulling capacity of 8000 pounds, therefore making it perfect for small to medium vehicles like cars, speed boats, ATVs, and UTVs.

It has 100 ft of 5/16 inch wire rope and 4.8 HP motor. Apart from that, it offers a 3-stage planetary gearbox and automatic direct drive cone brake system and a sliding ring gear free spooling clutch.

Like all other the winches, the 26502 M8000 Winch is remotely controllable, and you’ll receive a handheld remote with 12 ft lead.

What I like most about it, however, is its simple design which makes it perfect for versatile and hassle-free mounting.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Good load pulling capacity.
  • Remote control, Sealed motor.
  • Easy to install.

Cons

  • Poor quality rope.

10. Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch

Want something a little more powerful than the WARN 26502 M8000 Winch? Then the Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch is the perfect one to get!

Key Features:

  • 12000 lbs capacity.
  • Automatic mechanical cone brake.
  • 3/8 inch x 80 feet steel rope.
  • 12V DC motor

This winch offers a rate line pulling of 12,000 pounds, therefore making it perfect for pulling large, heavy and massive vehicles. It’s one of the best winch for Jeep tj, RV, speed boat etc.

It is remote controllable and it has a remote switch with a 12 feet lead. Apart from that, it has a roller fairlead, a newly designed planetary gear train and a sealed system for protection against the elements.

One thing you will really appreciate about the Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch is its mounting capability. It has a  durable satin-black cast-aluminum housing, muck-busting sealing and a convertible control pack that offers maximum freedom and adjustability while installing the winch.

Pros

  • Roller fairlead, Sealed motor.
  • 3-stage planetary gear.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Good pulling capacity.
  • Easy to install.
  • Remote Control.

Cons

  • Mounting plate feels loose.
  • Tends to freeze.

Verdict

Each winch is a little different from the rest. So, you have plenty of them to choose from according to your priorities.

Among all the winches, we liked the Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch most. High pulling rate, great quality but yet affordable in price, that’s really cool. If you need a winch that has a way more load capacity then check out this Warn winch having 16,500 lbs load capacity.

We have listed everything from affordable to high-end, basic to fancy. If you are in need of a proper winch, you will surely find it right here. Good luck with your purchase!

 

Essential Winch Accessories

When you buy a new winch, you’re just getting started. You still need to buy some accessories to make a functional winch useful and safe to use. These accessories will allow you to do more with your winch.

We’re going talk about some of these winch accessories in short, like we mentioned some winch info in the winch comparison chart.

Vault 3/4″ 4.75 Ton D-Ring Shackle

Shackles are one of the most important winch accessories. You can’t do recovery work without them. You should always have a few Shackles so that you can attach tow straps, winch lines, tree savers, snatch block and other shackles together.

Shackles are essential like a tree strap. They offer a secure way to attach recovery components together securely and safely. A very common use of this accessory is in connecting the 2 ends of a tree saver strap with the shackle and then connecting the winch hook to the shackle.

Another use of this accessory is with a snatch block. To winch at an angle or double your pulling power, you need to use a snatch block. The snatch block will be mounted on a tree with a tree saver strap. You will need a shackle to connect the tree saver and snatch block. Even if you don’t have a winch, Shackles are useful for hooking straps to your rig.

  • 75 ton capacity( 9,500 lb).
  • 3/4″ overall diameter.
  • Drop Forged Steel.
  • Durable powder coated finish.

ARB 26,500 lb Tree Saver Strap

After shackles, the winch accessory that everyone needs is a tree saver strap. This accessory protects the trees that you use as winch anchors to keep your backcountry areas nice!

Unlike many other trees straps, the ARB tree saver straps have eye and seam protective sleeves. They keep the main strap clean and provide general abrasion protection.

They also protect the winch cable. It’s good for both the tree and the winch cable. ARB’s tree trunk protectors ensure safe vehicle recovery.

  • 100% Polyester.
  • Reinforced eyes.
  • Designed to hold firm; no stretching.
  • Eye and seam protector sleeve.

ARB Snatch Block

A snatch block is not one of the most important winch accessories. But it lets you easily change the pull direction and increase the winch’s pulling power. It is a big pulley rated to take a lot of weight and makes your winching setup more flexible.

A snatch block doubles your winch’s pulling power. It redirects your winch line to recover buddies on the trail.

Smittybilt 2744 Universal Snatch Block

This is our second choice for snatch block. It is less expensive but has fewer features. It’s also rated at 17,600 lbs.

  • Greasable fittings.
  • Works with 7/32 – 3/8” cables (Universal Fit).
  • 17,600lbs capacity.
  • Black powder coated.

ARB220 Orange Recovery Damper

Recover damper is an important accessory for a winch. Everyone should always have a recovery damper on their winch line whether it’s steel or synthetic. This accessory is all about safety.

  • Manufactured from heavy duty vinyl.
  • Features storage pockets.
  • Exceeds minimum competition weight requirements.

But if you’re on a lower budget, you can wrap a blanket or heavy towel around the winch line or strap. Ensure that it is secure enough that won’t fall off. If cable straps or shackle mount breaks, it could save your life.

Shackle Hitch Receiver by vault

uThis accessory is a  cheap and easy to add another recovery point to your 4×4.

  • 10,000 lbs Capacity.
  • Drop Forged Steel.
  • Dual hitch pin holes.

Warn 91414 Neoprene Winch Cover

This item keeps your winch clean and corrosion free. It protects your synthetic winch line from the sun and steel cover from the water. You should cover your winch if you really want to take care of it.

  • Comes with a bottle UV protectant spray.
  • Made from durable, form-fitting Neoprene.
  • Protects from road debris, flying stones and the elements.
  • Elastic cover stretches over winch

Warn 90287 Wireless Remote

This remote can control your winch from anywhere within 50 feet range of your vehicle without the need for splicing or hard-wiring. That’s why it’s a great winch accessory.

  • Durable key fob for convenient storage.
  • Equipped with a shock-resistant transmitter.
  • Sealed for protection against the elements.

ARB Large Orange Recovery Bag

This bag store your accessories neatly and safely so that you can find them easily when you need them. The pack designed to fit exactly the recovery gear you need.

The bright orange color and reflective stripes have make it easy to find. It will fit 4 shackles, snatch block, tree saver strap, recovery strap and winch extension strap.

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Winch Buying Guide & Tips

What to Check Before Buying a Winch?

  • Load Taking Capacity

The first and foremost feature to look for when going shopping for a winch is checking on the single line rate pull or load taking the power of that machine.

This point is so important that you could regret not considering this. Load taking power basically decides the amount of weight the winch will be able to pull for you.

As you can guess now, the point should depend on the type of vehicle or automobile you are buying the winch for. Bigger, heavier automobile equals higher the load taking number. A winch that can hardly pull a car may not be suitable as a jeep winch.

Tip: If you’re buying on Amazon, you can use their one cool feature. They will let you check the year and make of your automobile prior to choosing a winch to see if it’s compatible. You can furthermore find a list of automobiles on the back of the winch packaging. You should therefore always check the model to load capability before making a purchase.

  • Battery Selection

Winches come in 2 forms: Hydraulic and Electric. And since we’re looking into electric winches here, we will need a battery to go with that. You may ask, why?

It’s because electric winches run and operate by using your automobile’s battery. Kind of like a parasite, if you will.

And just about any battery won’t so, since the battery that works for your car may not be able to supply power to your car’s winch. It is therefore very important that you get a battery that caters to both your automobile and your winch.

Tip: Look into marine or spiral cell batteries (dual-cell batteries) for your match.

  • Warranty

We’re not big believer of warranties. Why? First, dead cheap stuff hardly ever come with one. Second, and most of the times, the ones that do don’t come from the reliable manufacturer and they end up dishonoring the warranty.

However, this rule does not apply to high-end and expensive products. Many winches, which come from quality brands, have a lot of claims and they end up charging fortunes on those claims alone.

So, when you get a winch that is expensive or come from a brandy company, try and get yourself a warranty.

  • Cable Material

Burlap, jute ropes won’t cut it for winches. Winches use very specific and sophisticated ropes that are made to pull even the most monsters of automobiles and like a kid.

These ropes are made of different diameters, thicknesses, and braiding. Most electric 4 wheeler winches use synthetic ones, but manufacturers produce a wide range of other types of ropes. Each varies in strength, pulling force, durability, and precision. Consult with your seller to find the best cable or rope for your vehicle.

  • Cable Length

You should also look into the length of the cable you are getting with your winch.

On average, most winches should get you 80 to 100 ft of cable. But then again, we personally suggest that you get the size you need, not what you think you’ll need. Don’t go too long, nor too short. This, of course, depends on the type of vehicle you have, so check the packaging or ask the seller to help you out with deciding the cable size you should get.

  • Waterproofing

Your winch is obviously going spend the majority of its life out in the open. Needless to say, it is going to be facing a lot of the harsh elements.

And to make sure that your winch lasts the years, it is therefore very important that you get a winch that comes with a sealed or rated waterproof motor housing. If you can look for the same on gear trains, then even better.

  • Cable Retrieving

Cables, on their way back into their cylinder, have a notorious tendency to get stuck or tangle into a hellish mess.

I, therefore, advise you to look for winches that go back into their housing just as easily as it comes out. You will probably need to do a little testing for this since there’s no saying how a particular winch does in this department. So, trail and error, boys. Trail and error.

How To Choose the Right Winch Size

The size that you require for your winch, depends on the purpose for which you will use the winch. This guide will help you to pick the right winch size.

It is essential to buy a winch that has a sufficiently powerful motor. If the winches have a little power, it won’t be able to pull the vehicle. Winches with enough power will have more tendency to overheating, although it will be able to pull the vehicle for short durations. Winch capacity is already rated in pounds. So, they need not compare torque figures.

Get a winch that has a capacity of at least 150% of your gross vehicle weight rating. Never choose a winch-based off a vehicle’s curb weight!

You should choose a winch with higher capacities. Most of the off-roaders don’t go into the mud or sand with empty vehicles. Equipment, passengers and different material can drive the weight of a vehicle well above its unloaded curb weight.

There are comparatively few benefits of choosing a smaller winch. Although trucks and sports-utility vehicles winches are not identical, they are similar in weight and size. It will not be more difficult to mount a large winch than a smaller winch.

The cost will be the primary difference. The financial difference between an 8,000 and a 12,000-pound winch is relatively minor, though the heaviest duty winches can be very expensive. peoples who have doubts regarding the capabilities of a lesser winch for their applications should choose the more powerful one.

Always keep in mind to use a minimum of 150% of the gross vehicle weight rating when you buy a winch.

What is a Winch

A winch is a device used to move heavy items. They work by either pulling or letting out rope or cable or adjusting the tension of the rope. Winches are highly used for towing vehicles, lifting elevators, snowboarding and raising sails.

How is Winch Made?

A winch could be a mechanism that winds the wire around a drum while always keeping a gradual tension on the cable wire. Towing winches are a kind of towing instrument that is powerful enough to drag cars and trucks.

On tow trucks, a towing winch will pull cars onto the towing platform. If it is a platform motortruck, or up into the towing sling if it is a drag-style motortruck. Professional off-roaders use winches to drag themselves out of deep mud.

So, how a winch is made? A winch is made up of a number of different components, each with one purpose to help in a broader goal.

The main components are:

A CABLE: Probably a steel wire or synthetic cable, which will be covered around a drum to avoid entanglement. The wire/cable can be from 40 to 100 ft in length.

A DRUM: A drum is round shaped and allows the cable to be nicely twisted around it. A spool within the winch allows the drum to turn in a round motion, winding the wire/cable in or out.

A Motor: The motor powers the drum to turn such that it can pull in and cover the cable around itself. While all winches don’t have a motor, most vehicle winches are electric and have a motor unit to accelerate things up significantly.

A GEAR TRAIN: This part takes the energy from the motor and then converts it into pulling power, That provides the winch the capability to pull in any kind of heavy material.
These pieces come together to help make the winch work perfectly. The cable wire is pulled out and mounted on the object you want to pull.

You should note that there are different kinds of winches. And depending on the weight of the vehicle, you will have to find your winch as you need.

Some winches can only manage up to 500 pounds, but others can handle a lot more than that. Basic winches can be purchased from online for only about $100. Obviously, it all depends on how much durable the winch is, how much weight it has and what you would be using it for.

How Does Winch Work?

Mechanics of the Winch

A winch can be used in various ways, but they are mainly used on the front side bumper of off-road vehicles such as four-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs. They could also be found on trailers to help pulling the boats or ATVs. It really a motor-driven product which has a spool of cable wire or rope.

Some winches use a 12-volt motor to power them, while some use hydraulic fluid from power steering unit. Most of the time the latter is found in military applications. Their biggest con is that the vehicle has to actually be running for the winch to work, while an electric winch will work as long as its battery has power. Once the winch is turning, it rotates the spool. Which either sends the winch wire cable in or out, with regards to the direction chosen.

Recovery

The main reason you should have a winch on a vehicle is to aid in recovering it when the vehicle becomes stuck such as in mud or sand. The winch wire cable is spooled out of the winch then connected to another vehicle or something stable via a large clevis hook on the end of the cable.

The winch is then placed into gear using a switch on its body. Once the power is applied, the wire cable is pulled towards the vehicle and spooled onto the winch, effectively getting the vehicle unstuck.

Different Types of Winch

Winches come in handy in many different ways, when you’re operating a sports utility vehicle or truck in an outdoor setting. They have been assisting humans in many kinds of works for millennia. They’re so old, ancient Greeks used those to lift heavy things, hoist bridges and in major architectural tasks. This old-school technology continues to be more than useful, especially when your automobile is stuck.

Winches have some major types. They are electrical winches, hydraulic winches, mechanical drum-style winches, mechanical hand-operated winches, mechanical capstan-style winches, mechanical portable winches, hybrid winches, mechanical portable winches etc.

Electric Winch

Electric winch uses an electric motor instead of a normal one and this motor is powered by electricity, just like a drill motor. This winch requires a power supply.

The power supply types depend on the kind of winch you are dealing with. They can be powered by either Ac or DC. Atv winches usually work on a DC power source and they use an ATV battery. Other trailer and truck winches run on simple 12 V DC source. Winches don’t use a big amount of electricity as their gear system is doing all of the work.

Some gears have gears that can be very simple like bike gears. A smaller gear can turn a much larger gear. Advanced winches can also have elliptical gears or planetary gear trains. When you’re using an electric winch, you should probably use some gloves to be safe. The wires poking through can cause damage.

Hydraulic Winch

Hydraulic winches work by power conversion, the electrical power required is increased by 20 to 30%. They work on a fluid power source with the help of a hydraulic mechanism along with a motor pump positioned in between the hydraulic winch and the generator.

When you’re going to buy a winch for a ship, then the winch type will be based on the size of the ship itself. In that cases, a hydraulic winch is preferred even over an electrical winch.

Hydraulic winches generally have a longer lifespan. But you need to replace the damaged parts of the wunch as soon as you notice.

Hybrid Winch

Hybrid winches are very cheap, strong and efficient and they are built from spare parts. The owner of the vehicle finds an old winch and connects the winch to the vehicle, and then uses a motor and hydraulic pump as a drive for the winch.

Hand winch

A hand winch is used for pulling or lifting large or heavy items. Hand winch makes it easier to move an item by mechanical advantage. They can be used for loading boats onto trailers, multipurpose hauling or lifting of light loads.

Hand winches are designed for use with cable or strap. They are available in all cranking types-loop, hand crank, ratchet styles.

Though a hand winch minimizes the labor, a lot of manual labor is still required. They use a double clamping mechanism through which a steel rope is moved. It is equipped with a clutch through which the cable is protected.

Winches should never be used to lift, hoist, transport or support people. They should not be used when people are passing below them. This may cause serious accidents.

Car Winch

Car winches are supposed to connect the car to another vehicle or any object. It comprises of a very powerful cable that connects the car with another vehicle or object. Car winch may depend on the power supply from the car or it may operate with the help of a motor.

A car winch can be used to help pull out a car which is struck. Or it can be used to attach a smaller object to your vehicle to drag it along.

The car winch is built with a rod in the center that is attached to a crank. This crank can be used along with a motor or may require a manual force to be operated.

Mechanical Portable Winch

Mechanical portable winch is consisting of a drum winch hooked up to a chainsaw motor to provide motive force and they are handmade. This type of winch runs independently of the vehicle to which it is attached.

Mechanical Drum Winch

Mechanical drum winches receive power from running the engine. This type of winch can work whenever the engine is running or whether the gear is engaged or not. They are more powerful than electrical winches.

Mechanical capstan Winch

Mechanical capstan winches draw power from the engine through the crankshaft. Dog clutch device connects to the crankshaft’s pulley and draws power. It works when the engine is running.

However, there are several kinds of winches available and all of them function in a similar way.

Why You Should Use Winch?

You may have faced the situation where your vehicle got stuck in a muddy path or a snow trail during a trip. It is an embarrassing moment for you.

Imagine you are stuck with your vehicle, you called an emergency number and a tow truck with a winch came to your rescue. They saved you that time.

Did it ever come across your mind what would have happened if your mobile’s battery was dead? or, You were in a very remote area, there was no mobile network and you couldn’t call the emergency number?

It is quite simple, your vehicle would have been stuck for a long time. If such a situation ever occurred to you again, don’t you think that you should bring your own winch next time you go on such a trip? We’re sure that you will agree with us here.

Using a Winch [Step by Step]

If you look at the internet then you will come across thousands of ebooks, tutorials and blogs which talk about how to use a winch properly. What most of them fail to mention is that most of the winching accidents occur due to ignorance of the user. They may know the basics but fail to implement them at the right time.

This is where our guide can help beginners like you. A graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering does not mean that he knows how to repair electrical devices. Every fresh graduate needs some guidelines or training before they can start practical work.

Similarly, owning a winch does not mean that you can use it without any training. Winching can be very dangerous if the proper instructions and precautions are not followed. It can damage the winching equipment as well.

We have compiled all our tips and hints below on the proper methods of using a winch. So, let’s go there and have a look!

Primary Steps
  • First, put on your gloves. It can save your hands!
  • Fasten the remote of the winch to the pole.
  • Loosen the clutch to bring out the wire to your preferred angle.
  • For long poles, 90-degree angle with the vehicle is recommended.
  • To free your vehicle, it is very important to choose the correct anchor point. If there is a tree nearby, you can use it as an anchor.
  • Other vehicles can also be used as well as tires or logs buried underneath the surface.
  • Now disengage the clutch and bring the winch line as close as possible to the anchor point. Be wary of any natural obstacles like rocks or other parts of Mother Nature which can get stuck with the rope.
  • Use a chain to wrap around the anchor at the lower part. Do not tighten it too much because you will never get your job done this way.
  • Now, re-engage the clutch to the winch and slowly wind it back until you experience some tension.
  • Tell everyone around you to go back as far as possible to avoid any untoward incidents.
The Final Steps

If you have come across this far, your work is 90% done. Have patience for a few minutes and your vehicle will be out in no time!
We recommend that you tell one of your friends to enter the vehicle and start the engine. If it is not possible then skip this step.

  • Turn on the remote control and start to pull the cable back towards the winch.
  • Continue until the vehicle is above a smooth surface.
  • If you see by now that the vehicle can move on its own, turn off the remote.
  • Apply the emergency brake of the vehicle (if there is a driver in the vehicle) and bring the cable back by using a bit of tension.
  • Make sure that the cable line does not get entangled with anything.

Congratulations, you are ready to continue your journey! Before going on your next adventure, make sure that you follow the steps mentioned in the guide to stay safe.

16 Winching Tips and Techniques

An off-roader most commonly uses a winch when his vehicle loses traction and isn’t going to move without help. When you need to use the winch, you will pull out the cable, then attach it to an anchor point and engage the winching functions by your hand or motor. Then the winch will pull the vehicle out of the terrain.

Whether you’re going for an off-road competition or going out for the weekend, you will need these helpful tips to use the winch properly. If you’re a new off-roader, Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your winch.

  1. The first thing is to purchase a winch that has enough power to tow your vehicle. So, choose the winch very wisely.
  2. Your anchor point should be a large stationary object such as big as a tree. Be very careful, when you select your anchor point.
  3. When you use another vehicle as an anchor point, Put the vehicle into parking gear, secure the stationary vehicle and set the emergency brake.
  4. Keep the cable rolled a number of times around the drum. You can use a snatch block to increase the winch’s pulling capacity.
  5. Winching draws a lot of power from your battery. You should check your battery regularly to make sure that it is in good condition. A lot of off-roaders carry an extra battery with them to have a backup in an emergency.
  6. Take regular care of your rope. You should check it for any weak spots ahead of time. After using the winch, be thorough and re-spool the rope properly. Hap-Hazard spooling results in kinks and weak spots in your rope.
  7. Test your alternator. The job of an alternator is to charge your battery and you need the battery to operate at top efficiency. It’s a very good idea to test the alternator, especially if your vehicle has a few miles on it. You should consider upgrading your alternator when your alternator needs replaced or rewound.
  8. Before each and every time you use the winch, check your cable carefully for tear and wear. Because a cable can snap easily under load.
  9. The longer the pulls, the better it will be. Putting most distance between the vehicle and the hook will increase the pulling power of winch.
  10. Long pulls results in damaging the motor and reduce performance. You should avoid pulling for more than 1-2 minutes at a time.
  11. You should never use a cable that is frayed, even it is fairly new, don’t use it.
  12. If the cable snaps, then it could whip you and cause serious injury. So, stand away from it.
  13. Electric winches use a lot of power. So, for electric winches, consider dual batteries and a high output alternator.
  14. Never use your winches hook as an attaching point for a yank trap
  15. You should never trust on a winch to hold a load from rolling backward. Your winches lifespan will increase if you allow it to cool during long, hard pulls.
  16. Wear gloves when handling the cable.

Winch Gearing Types Explained

Winch comes in three different types of gear systems. We will list the type of gear and the various features that will affect your choices. At this point is a brief overview of the gearing types used un winches.

Winch gears convert a high speed, low force electric motor output into a low speed, high torque pulling machine.

Planetary Gear: Planetary gear is actually a set of gears on or inside a larger gear. The best features of planetary gear are their compact size, low cost, and low weight. They have a power transfer efficiency of 65 percent. They are in the middle position of spur and worm gear types for amp draw and drivetrain friction.  They are used to turn the input in the same direction as the output and make drastic gear ratios possible.

Planetary gears look a little like the sun with some revolving planets.That’s why they are called “planetary gear”. Sun gears turn on a fixed center and planetary gears turn on a movable center.

Nowadays, Most winches on the market are planetary types. They are the most commonly used gear train and they have some clear advantages. They are most popular for automatic transmissions. They are used in bicycles for controlling pedaling power and also used for powertrain between an electric motor and a combustion engine.

Worm Gear: They are not as strong or efficient as planetary gears. These gears run at about 35 to 40 percent efficiency.

The worm gear is made of two parts: The worm gear and the pinion. The worm gear winch is good at lowering a load under power, and is very good at load holding, with a minimal brake needed.

Because of lots of gear reduction of Worm gears, they are far slower than the spur or planetary types, especially unloaded.

Spun Gear: This type of gears consist of two wheel-shaped gears, a smaller one and a large one. This gear system has a power transfer efficiency of 75 percent. They are inexpensive to manufacture and perform very well which make them one of the most cost-effective types of gearing.

Spun gear type winches are fast but have fairly low amperage draw for their line speed. They need a strong brake to hold the load. Warn 8274-50 is the only spur winch still on the market.

Winch Motor Type

Winches use two types of DC motors. They are permanent magnet motors(PM) and series wound motors(SW). All winch motors have a set of coils inside them, called an armature. Inside this armature is either another set of coils or a set of permanent magnets, called the stator. Permanent magnet motors use magnets to rotate the rotor or armature and run the engine.

Applying a voltage to the coils produces a torque in the armature and result in motion. The higher the horsepower rating the motor has, the more power and torque it will have. The horsepower of the motor has a direct effect on pulling power and line speed.

Permanent Magnet Motors

Permanent magnetic motors stator uses permanent magnets and there are no field coils. Permanent magnet motors overheat easily which causes the motor to slow down. But they cause very little strain on the battery. They are better suited for light to medium duty winching jobs because this kind of motors tends to generate more heat and overheat. They can’t be used for very heavy winching.

As permanent magnet motors have the tendency to overheat, winching time and load should be carefully monitored. The magnets used in permanent magnet motors can lose their field strength over time and repeated use. They also have the tendency to lose power in extremely cold weather.

Series Wound Motors

Series wounded motors have another set of field coils inside the armature. A series wounded motor use field coils to generate a magnetic field. Because of this extra effort, they use more current than permanent magnet motors. But they don’t heat up easily like permanent magnet motors.

Series wounded are heavier duty winches and they tend to be more expensive. Permanent magnet seen on the lower priced winches. They draw some 10-15 percent fewer amps than the heavier duty series wound motors. Permanent motors are perfectly fine for the occasional wincher or careful wincher. Series wounds are the best choice for heavy duty or cold weather use.

Winch Mounting options: Which is Best?

Winch MountingYou made a great choice when you decided to purchase a winch for your vehicle, but now the question is: where you should mount your winch.

There are some really good and stylish options out there. Each mounting option comes with its own set of separate options. There are four popular mounting types:

  • Hidden Mount
  • Bumper mount
  • Multi-Mount
  • Winch Bumper

Hidden Mount: This option is ideal for truck owners have limited space behind the bumper and don’t want to change the look of their truck. The hidden mount uses a short-drum winch and it is designed to bolt directly to the frame so it’s only minimally visible. The integrated roller fairlead and the bumper are the only visible feature.

When you select this hidden mounting option, it looks like you’re pulling your cable directly out of the bumper. The smaller opening is a big disadvantage of this option, which can trap or catch debris mud. But still, most people don’t have a huge problem with that. It could be a good option if you’re not pulling out of a mud hole.

Bumper Mount: This mounting type offers the most versatility. It can be configured in about a dozen different ways, depending on how you work or play. Most brands winch brands carry the mounting gear for all the major auto manufacturers. They usually come in powder black, stainless steel, and chrome or combination of these finishes.

Many bumper mount styles have grille guards which is an extra bonus. They’re also very easier to install since they go right there on your front bumper. They typically use a bolt-on system configuration with the factory bumpers, which makes them super easy to install. Bumper mounts are popular because they’re very easy to install, rugged and look great.

Multi-Mount: If you’re one of those off-roaders who want the security a winch provides without permanently mounting it to your vehicle, the multi-mount is ideal for you. This winching method consists of using a front receiver and carrier-probably sold separately.

When you have the receiver mounted on the vehicle’s front and a standard Class III towing receiver on the rear, the winch and carrier assembly can be inserted and operated anywhere and anytime when you need it.  Multi-method option is awesome for added maneuverability from the front of the vehicle. You can check this option if you’re not good at backing up a trailer.

Winch Bumper: This mounting option is becoming the favorite amongst real off-roadies. These bumpers look like they’re really part of your vehicle…not just an add-on. They are mounted to the frame with 1/4” steel sub-frames and come in many popular finishes. They have a tendency to come in the famous semi-gloss powder black finish. That’s why they look awesome with just about any color. Another bonus point is that they also add some protection to the front of your vehicle.

Winch bumpers are made to be strong without adding a ton of extra weight. This helps maintain your vehicle’s handling characteristics. Be sure to look for the extra clearance and increased suspension travel when choosing your bumper.

Winch Solenoid

Solenoids are electromagnetic switches. The winch solenoid is used to activate the winch motor on a vehicle-mounted winch. It is designed to supply the required current without damaging the winch motor or the winch switch.

It is activated when current from the battery is directed to the solenoid by pressing the switch of activation. The activation of the winch solenoid sends current to the motor. Then the winch motor begins to run the winch drum. The typical winch uses separate winch solenoids for reverse and forward, with the strongest winches using four winch solenoids.

A common winch uses a separate solenoid to move the winch drum. But series wound winches have a four winch solenoid arrangement. It is used with 2 solenoids working in unison for both winch directions.

Solenoid Mounting

Solenoid mounting can be one of the major consideration. The winches can either have a remote solenoid pack or an integrated pack. Both types of solenoid mounting options have some benefits.

When a solenoid is mounted on the winch, the solenoid is commonly mounted above the winch motor. This eliminates extra wiring, reduces the opportunities for chaffing a wire and create a short in the electrical systems of the winch. Remotely mounted solenoids protect the solenoid from excessive heat created by the motor of the winch.

A plus point of having remotely mounted solenoid switches on any winch is space savings. The winch becomes a smaller package and requires less room to mount when the winch solenoid is removed from the top of the winch motor. A smaller winch is more easily protected from damage. It’s easier to hide behind a brush guard or bumper.

2 or 4 Solenoids?

Some winches have two solenoids and some have four solenoids. Two solenoids configurations are typically found in permanent magnet winches. They are less powerful, less reliable and cheaper. Four solenoid configurations are stronger, reliable and lighter. It’s usually found in series wound winches.

How to Test a Winch Solenoid

It’s not a complicated job to remove the solenoids for a thorough check. This gives you an opportunity to clean and ensure all electrical connections are tight when reassembling.

  • Check the connection of cable from the winch solenoid to the battery. Clean the cable terminal with a wire brush, if they look corroded. But if the cable look frayed, replace them.
  • Disconnect the positive cable from the battery and after that, unscrew the solenoid cover. Ensure that all the connections in the solenoid are secure. If a clicking noise is heard when you turn the winch, a wire might be loose.
  • Touch a voltmeter to the big studs on the solenoid with the winch turned off. The two big studs are on the winch side of the solenoid. The voltmeter will read Twelve volts if the solenoid is functioning properly.
  • Now, test the two little studs on the management side of the solenoid that’s opposite of the winch side with the winch off. Look at the meter reading, If the meter reads 12 volts, then the solenoid is not functioning properly.
  • Conduct another voltmeter test on the big studs with the winch turned on. There ought to be no OHM reading.
  • Measure the OHM reading of the two little studs with the voltmeter once the winch is on. If there’s no reading on the meter, then the solenoid isn’t operating properly. The two little studs are energized with the winch activated.

We recommend that you just replace solenoids in pairs as it is likely that as one is faulty, the opposite is not that far away from failing.  You can keep the previous still functioning solenoid as a spare.

Don’t ever just begin replacing components on a vehicle. Take the time to research the cause of a bad connection. Disconnect the battery before you remove the solenoid covering. The battery has enough power to give you a big electric shock.

Best Rope for Winches- Synthetic or Steel Cable?

Winch rope
Winch Rope

When it comes to synthetic rope vs steel cable, there seems to be a sharp divide amongst off-road enthusiasts. A big number of enthusiast are divided when it comes to choosing between steel cable or synthetic rope. You often hear the pros of both types, making it difficult to choose the right one for you.

While we are fans of synthetic rope, but we think a comparison between the synthetic rope and steel cable will help you decide if this is the right cable for your winch.

Synthetic Over the past few years, the synthetic rope has got a high portion of popularity and it’s now widely available. But will it be the right choice for you?

Whichever you choose for you, we hope the information we stated there, gives you the details needed to make the right buying decision.

Steel Cable

Since the beginning time of winching, aircraft grade steel cable has been the standard for the winch industry. It is more durable than synthetic rope but comes at the expense of weight and strength. They are good for both utility work and winch recovery. Steel cable is less prone to abrading and fraying. That’s why, they are perfect to use in highly abrasive terrains such as sand, rocks, and muds. We always recommend users to wear heavy gloves to protect their hands while handling the rope.

Some users keep the line coated with chain oil or WD-40 to protect the steel and disperse moisture, preventing rust. Steel cable also has the tendency to kinks that can make drum spooling difficult.

Synthetic Rope

The popularity of the synthetic rope has become greater and it much more available. Synthetic rope is comparatively safer than the steel cable. They are originally designed for use in commercial fishing.  It was introduced as an alternative to steel cable in the mid-’90s. They are great for trail and recovery winches. They are made from hi-tech Polyethylene and proven to be 15 times stronger than the steel cable.

Synthetic cable is safer and 4 times lighter than the steel cable. They don’t kink like the steel cable. It retains its shape. It’s flexibility and light weight makes it safer and easier to handle. But careless use could potentially cause knots in the rope. This kind of rope doesn’t conduct electricity or heat. So, your hands will not burn in the heat or freeze in the cold. It also doesn’t fray or develops burrs like the steel cable.

Synthetic cable is much easier to splice than steel cable. This rope is also rust resistant which keeps the rope nice and new for a longer time. It also has the benefits of floating making convenient for winching near mud holes, creeks etc.

So, the synthetic rope has a big number of advantages. But, are there disadvantages? The answer is yes. You have to keep in mind that all synthetic rope are not made equal. They can be weakened by heat, UV exposure, chemicals, and abrasion but a good quality rope come with a special protective coating to prevent these damages.

A Hawse fairlead is recommended because synthetic rope can get snagged on the corners of a roller fairlead. This kind of ropes can also hold waters and the waters would add extra weight and possibly freeze in cold temperatures and this will make the winch hard to use.

Synthetic rope requires proper care and maintenance. It’s very important to wash your rope after using it in sand or muddy conditions.

How To Spool A Winch

It is very important to know proper winching techniques. If you know how to spool a winch, then you are ready for the next time you need it.

It is very important to always begin with a precisely loaded spool on a winch. Correct tightening and pulling are hindered if there’s a layer of wire rope kinked up in places on the spool. This habit of letting the wire kink will cause damage to the wire rope, eventually weaken it to the point it can snap.

You will need some tools for spooling. They are Nylon Anchor Strap, An anchor point, Winching Gloves, D shackle and hook and energy absorbing heavy blanket or coat. Gentle tension on the wire rope is very important because a slacken wire rope can twist back on itself. If you keep a light tension on the rope during the spooling process, you will notice a better result. Look for an anchor point and a clear path to this point. A natural anchor is suggested.

when you’re wrapping the nylon strap around the anchor point, then double fold the strap for added strength if possible. Thread the clevis/D shackle through each hook straps. Attach the shackle to the two ends of the strap and thread the hook loops, Don’t over tighten the ends and always back off a ½ turn.

Locate an anchor point. Now, hook the cable low as possible. Use a hand over hand technique and set hook inside the Clevis or D shackle upside down.

Place the energy absorbing object strategically on the wire rope between the vehicle and also the base of the anchor point. This is to off-set injuries if the wire snaps under tension. slowly wind out all slack on the wire rope by Using the remote control or winch switch.

If the spooling method is being accomplished from inside the vehicle, the remote control should pass through the window to avoid being pinched by the door of the vehicle. When you connect the remote control, make completely sure that the remote control cord cannot get tangled into the wire rope as the spooling process begins.

Always make sure that all clothing is cleared. Retract the wire rope evenly around the fairlead and double check for a clear path.

How To Install a Winch Cable

Installing a winch cable is not a hard job to do. This guide explains how to properly install a winch cable. Proper installation ensures that your winch cable will perform at its best.

  • After you have removed the old cable from your winch, place the clutch in the freewheel setting and pull the cable off the drum. After that, Remove the retaining bolt by using a socket and ratchet. And now discard the old cable.
  • Insert the new cable through the fairlead on the front of your winch. The cable should be attached in order that it feeds off the bottom of the drum when being spooled out.
  • Now Insert the cable retaining bolt through the eyelet or loop on the end of the winch cable. But Some winch cables may not have the eyelet, make sure to get a winch cable that is designed to work with your winch.
  • Apply some drops of thread locking compound on the threads of the bolt. After that, thread it into the hole on the drum. Tighten it with a ratchet and socket. When you’re tightening it, make sure that it is secure. However, it does not need to be torqued.
  • String the cable out in a long, straight line. Attach it to a solid object. Now, slowly winch in on the line with your truck in neutral. Maintain just enough weight on the line.
  • Now, Wind the line onto the drum in tight and shut loops. Keep them close together without allowing the winch cable to overlap itself until the first layer of the drum is fully covered.
  • Resume spooling in on the winch, building new layers on top of the previous layer till most of the line is on the drum. Detach the cable from the spool and tree in the remaining cable.

Tips For Winch Safety

Vehicle recovery is a high-risk job. When you use a winch, it creates a dangerous working situation just by the nature of the job.

It’s very important to treat your winch with respects. Become familiar with the owner’s manual of the winch. Learn how to use a winch properly and be sure to choose the right winch for your job.

Your winch needs some additional recovery equipment to do recovery activity properly. Some of the equipment should include some “D” shackles, snatch blocks, a tree trunk protector, a shovel and a short length of 3/8 inch chain.

Here are some safety tips that will allow you to take the best advantage of your winch and stay in the process safe.

  1. Learn To Use your Winch

This is the first and most important basic safety tips that will keep you safe while you’re using your winch. Proper operation of the winch is the key to avoid accidents and injuries. Thoroughly read the owner’s manual for your winch model to learn how to operate it properly. Every winch will come with a different set of instructions.

  1. Choosing the Right Equipment

When choosing your tools, make sure that your tool is rated for the job you’re doing. If a winch is rated at 1 ton, then don’t use to move a 2-ton object.

When purchasing a winch it is good to know the weight of the vehicle it will be installed on. Because different winches are rated for different weight load limits. For instance, it is not a smart idea to put a winch with a 5,000-lb maximum pull rating on a 5,000-lb vehicle.

Because if the vehicle is stuck in mud or sand, it will effectively weigh much more than it’s original weight. The best idea is to aim for 1½ the vehicle weight for the pull rating of the winch.  A vehicle weight’s 5,000-lb should be fine with an 8,000-lb winch.

  1. Check Before Use

Before every use, ensure that all of the parts of your winch are present and they are in good condition. The springs should be intact and the cable shouldn’t be frayed or tangled. Pull the cable out and rewind it under a bit of pressure, if the cable isn’t smoothly wound around the spool. This will allow the cable to move smoothly while you are using it.

  1. Operator Rating

If you don’t use winch correctly, then it is a significant safety risk. Regular practice and training will ensure competent and safer use during an emergency situation.

  1. General Safety Precautions

The operator of the winch must be trained to know and understand the proper use of the winch and how to do safe winching operations. Sturdy gloves must be worn to protect hands from any kinds of injury. Winches should never be drowned in water. If a winch is drowned in water, it must be checked and serviced by a skilled technician immediately.

  1. Keep The Area Clear

While winching, don’t let people stand in the area. Don’t step over the rope or cable. Always work at a safe distance and keep people and animal away from the area. Don’t let anyone step over the rope or cable. Because cable failure can happen anytime. It could cause serious injury if it snaps while under load. So, always stay away from the cable under load to avoid injury.

Placing a heavy jacket or other soft weight in the middle of the winch line when pulling the vehicle is a good idea. Because if the wire cable snaps, it can release a whole lot of energy at once and snap violently. A weight can transfer that huge energy to the ground and make it safer for everyone around the winch.

  1. Use Safety Gear

While using a winch, you should always wear gloves when you grab steel winch wire cable because it may fray and can easily cut a hand.. You should dress appropriately for the job, don’t wear loose clothing that could get caught in the gears.

  1. Check Cable Frequently

The operator should check cable, rope, and straps very frequently to ensure safety and reliability. If fraying or any kind of damage is found, replace it before the next use. Don’t work with a damaged rope.

Also, it is a smart idea to pull for only 30 seconds at a time with an electric model winch. So that the motor does not get too hot and burn up. A hydraulic winch will not experience this. They have a 100 percent pull cycle. With an electric winch model, you should pull for 30 seconds and then wait for a minute. Then repeat the process until the vehicle is free.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Winch Workable

Regular Off-road enthusiasts change the oil in their rigs, check fluid levels, grease u-joints and when they notice anything that is not normal, they figure out what it is and fix it as soon as possible. This is doing regular maintenance and repair of a winch. Here are some tips that will allow your winch works every time and ensure safety and increase the life of your new winch.

Winches need Maintenance Too

It is very easy to forget about that winch on your vehicle’s bumper since it isn’t used very often. It is good if you don’t need to use a winch very often, this could mean that you forget to take care of your winch.

If you want to keep the winch on your steel bumper in top shape, then you should closely inspect the winch before you go out on the trails.

Maintenance Tips

  • The battery is the heart of your winch. The batteries performance is suffering or dead if the power from the battery is having trouble getting to the winch. Check the battery terminal for corrosion. Make sure that they are clean and tight. If you notice corrosion, remove the battery terminal and clean everything. This gets rid of hidden corrosion too.
  • Ensure that the winch motor cable connections are tight and clean. But don’t let the motor terminal turn when tightening. Remember that, Winches made by warn brand have the battery ground connection on its bottom of the motor.
  • Check for frays, kinks and broken strands or any other damage that could affect the cabless strength. A monthly check of all cable connections should be sufficient in most cases. Replace wire rope every six months if it is used regularly- even if it looks intact. Because internal damage might not be visible. But it can be caused by uneven stressing. Replace damaged cable.
  • Check your winch remote cable for damage or kinks. You should also look at the socket and plug, and look for damaged terminals or corrosion. Replace or clean parts as required.
  • Anytime, you can stretch the rope onto the drum. It requires you to spool the rope onto the drum under tension, evenly. This gives you a chance to check the rope and also stow it correctly so it’s prepared for the next pull. Every few months, It’s a very good idea to run your winch for few minutes, this lubricates the geartrain and warms the motor to dry out any moisture that may have built up over time from condensation. The gear train doesn’t need maintenance unless it is submerged because they are lubricated for the life of winch

Safety Counts

You should inspect your winch line, safety hooks and straps before using it. Put on a pair of thick leather gloves to protect your hands to prevent injuries that are common during winching. You should always pay attention and respect jacks and straps. Because they can be dangerous.

Winches are mostly used for self-recovery. But when you are towing another vehicle communication is key. Use hand commands or remote radios to stay on the same page with others. Remember that, the more line you have out, the more winching strength you have. If your jeep weighs 4,500 lbs, then ensure that your winch line pull is at least 9,000 lbs. Synthetic rope is stronger, lighter and safer than the steel. If synthetic cable should break it will drop because it doesn’t have the same mass as steel cable.

Who Makes The Best Winch

In this point, you will get an overview of some of the top winch manufacturers and I hope, it will help you to decide the right winch for you.

Warn Winches

The warn industry is founded by Arthur Warn, in 1984. They have been delivering top of the line winches and accessories for over 67 years. Warn Industries developed the very first recreational winch in 1959. they are very well known for their durability and innovative designs. They have also won a lot of awards for their best quality products.

Whether you need a winch for your trucks, jeeps, cars or even a commercial application, warn industries has you covered. With pioneering features such as a rugged drive train, Winches of warn industries quickly become the leading brand for off-roaders.

Featured Product: The M8000 WARN winch is probably the most popular product because of its right size for the right price. M800 has enough pulling power for most common Jeep, trucks, and SUVs. You will be able to rely on this winch model for years.

Mile Marker Winches

Mile marker industries provide high quality, highly durable, electric and hydraulic winches, shackles, recovery kits, vehicle accessories, mounting systems and more to off-roaders. They have been in business for over thirty years. You can count on Mile Marker industry when you need a reliable, well tested and high-quality winch for your 4×4 or ATV.

Mile marker introduced hydraulic winch kits that get their power source from a vehicle’s power steering pump. In 1997, they came out with a two-speed version of this type winch. Hydraulic winch kits of Mile Markers have some performance capabilities not found in most electric winches.

Most important point is that they make winches for the US military. That’s why they are highly reliable. The hydraulic Mile Marker winch is approved for Humvees in the US Military. Though they are most known for their patented hydraulic winch, they also offer a full line of ATV, electric, utility and industrial winches.

Featured Product: Mile Marker Hl12000 Winch is one of their best products.

Smittybilt Winches

Smittybilt has manufactured quality parts and accessories for 4 wheel drive vehicles for more than five decades. The company ensures every part and accessory is of the highest quality prior to distribution. Smith was one of the original 4WD enthusiasts. His dream was to create a business that would make truck and jeep parts.

Featured Product: The Smittybilt XRC Winch has all the best features you could want in a standard winch. It has the 6.6Hp series motor, 9500lbs of line pull, reliable roller fairlead and it is waterproof.

Superwinch Winches

Superwinch building winches for the next generation off-roaders, tactical vehicles, trailers etc. Superwinch is the largest privately held winch manufacturers in the world. They set out to make an amazingly powerful winch that was focused on strength, flexibility, and performance.

Featured Product: Superwinch 1585202 LP8500 8500 lbs winch have the speed to get the job done very quickly. They have a compact design so they stay out of the way when not in use. These two things have made the EP9.0 winch an excellent product.

Ramsey Winch

Ramsey winch is a leading manufacturer of Electric, Hydraulic, Planetary and Worm Gear winches and Planetary Hoists. Their products are manufactured by highly skilled and trained engineers. They are very well known for dependability, endurance and quality.

In 1944, two brothers named  Rayburn Ramsey and Claude Ramsey founded Ramsey Brothers Tool and Die in Tulsa. At that time, they manufacture tools, parts and dies for Douglas Aircraft Company. The demand for aircraft parts was extremely high at that time because of second World War.

With the end of the war in 1945, the demand for aircraft parts suddenly declined. Claude moved on to design a front-mounted winch, called the model 101. This was specially designed to be used in passenger cars and pickup trucks.It was a crankshaft operated winch.

It became the mainstay of the recovery and towing industry. The model 101 got a great success and in 1947, they renamed their company to Ramsey Brothers Winch Manufacturing Company.

In 1978, Claude’s son became sole owner. Ramsey Winch Company started to produce a wide array of 4WD products. Gridiron Capitol acquired Ramsey Industries Inc in 2007. Nowadays, this industry offers its products through authorized dealers.

Used Winch Buying Guide

Most people do not go around brooding about towing winches, or winches in any respect. However, if you ever need one, you will be glad if one is around. If you know what to look for in a used winch, then it can be a great way to save your money and get a good winch at a cheap price.

In this guide, we have explained the factors that you should consider while buying a used winch. Follow our guide anytime you want to buy a used winch to get the best one at a cheaper price.

Inspect The Winch A To Z

Inspect the overall condition of the winch. Don’t hurry! Take time to inspect everything very carefully.

What’s the condition of the winch cable? If it’s a painted winch? Does the paint look good? Is it rusty? Figure out if the cable is original and how old it is. If it’s a steel cable or synthetic rope? If it’s synthetic, then look for tears or fraying. Then look for a fairlead and inspect if there is too much wear.

Don’t forget to examine all control mechanisms for any indications of damage or excessive wear. Inspecting these indicators will give you a better idea about how well the previous user took care of the winch.

The next step is testing the winch. Use at least a jumper cable to verify the winch works. Check all limiting devices or limit switches each shift to make sure they are working properly.

It doesn’t matter if the winch looks awesome if it won’t pull. So, check out the housing, wiring and solenoid packs. If there is any crimps in the wiring, then it could be a potential break. Inspect for “hot spots” on the studs because it can lead to serious motor problems.

So, you’ve checked everything that we’ve listed and the winch seems to be in a good or great condition. But there are still some things that you need to know before opening your checkbook. All of these things won’t matter everyone but you will get a good idea after knowing these things.

  • What gear types? Worm, planetary, spur.. which one do you want?
  • Does the winch have a rebuilt motor? Is it set up with a remote switch?
  • Does it have a reverse? This is very important if you don’t like to free-spool.
  • Inspect the cooling fans.
  • How about a clutch or manual break?

Now you know what to look for in a used winch, right?

You can surely get the best one at a cheap price by following these guidelines. Use your hands, eyes and our guide to choose the best one!

Wrapping Up

We hope that this best winch for trucks and jeeps review and buying guide helped you a lot. If you still need anything else to know about winch then please let us know in the comment section below.

Please do share the article, so that your friends can also see & check out this review. This may help them if they are planning to buy a winch. Apart from that, your sharing will motivate us to do more review.

6 thoughts on “Best Jeep and Truck Winch Review & Buying Guide

    1. It’s always a good idea to buy a winch having at least 1000/2000 more load capacity than your vehicles weight. For you, it will be better if you buy a winch with at least 9000+ lbs capacity.
      If you’re planning to drive at a area where you may get stuck in very deep mud then you should consider a winch with much more load capacity. You can go for a 12000+ lbs one then. 12000+ lbs winch will be enough even if the condition if very critical.

  1. Bought the X-Bull 13000 lbs winch. For the money, no one can beat this one. Maybe this one won’t last mode than decades like a 2000$+ Warn winch but still this one delivers more than I expected.
    Load holding capacity is impressive. It really does what it says. Already rescued me several times. I highly recommend this one.

    By the way, thanks for this cool winch guide, really helpful.

    1. We’re glad that our guide helped.

      Agree with you. The X-Bull 13000 lbs winch is a real beast, available at an affordable price range.

  2. Thanks for this awesome review. The Warn ZEON 12-S is a real beast. I’m glad that I bought this one.

    I wanted the best and this one impressed me. Quality is all that matters to me, money isn’t a fact. It’s more fun with its wireless remote. This beast easily pulled my jeep from deep mud where other would surely fail. If money isn’t a problem then I’d tell anyone to go for this one.

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