10 Best Winches of 2021
The winch is a heavy-duty tool for towing a vehicle like a truck or an SUV. One of the best things about this tool is due to the design of its gear train system, it is able to output a powerful torque that allows it to pull heavy vehicles that weigh several tons with ease.
Moreover, you need a winch in your truck or RV as you never know when it can come in handy.
Especially when driving in the wilderness where your tires can easily get stuck and help may not be readily available.
Thankfully, if you are fresh on the market for the best winch for the money, we have exactly what you need. Keep reading!
10 Best Winches – Review
1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC (Wide Range of Pull Capacities)
2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000 (Excellent Price to Performance Ratio)
3. Reese Towpower 74329 (Easy to Use by Beginners)
4. X-Bull 80012000A (High-pull Capacity & Heavy-duty)
5. Champion Power Equipment 12003 (Small & Compact)
6. X-Bull AM0003(S)-FBA (Durable & Long-lasting)
7. Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch (Different Sizes)
8. Smittybilt 97517 (Excellent Size to Performance Ratio)
9. Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope (Heavy-duty & Powerful)
10. Warn 90451 ProVantage (Premium & Durable Construction)
1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC
(Wide Range of Pull Capacities)
2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000
(Excellent Price to Performance Ratio)
3. Reese Towpower 74329
(Easy to Use by Beginners)
4. X-Bull 80012000A
(High-pull Capacity &Heavy-duty)
5. Champion Power Equipment 12003
(Small & Compact)
6. X-Bull AM0003(S)-FBA
(Durable & Long-lasting)
7. Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch
8. Smittybilt 97517
(Excellent Size to Performance Ratio)
9. Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope
(Heavy-duty & Powerful)
10. Warn 90451 ProVantage
(Premium & Durable Construction)
1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC – Wide Range of Pull Capacities
- Capacity: 9,500 lbs to 17,500 lbs
- Motor: 6.6 HP
- Cable: Stainless steel
The Smittybilt 97495 XRC is a high-quality winch that comes in a wide range of pull capacities based on your need and purpose. This model has a long stainless steel cable that is very heavy-duty and will not break easily, even if you go with a long length cable.
Furthermore, the lowest winch capacity offered is 9,500 lbs and the highest is 17,500 lbs. With such a flexible range of pull capacities, you would have no problem finding a wider range of activities for this Winch regardless of your purpose. In addition, this model is completely waterproof so you can safely use it outside as it will not corrode or degrade when left in the rain.
Best of all, due to the mounting based of this winch, installation is extremely easy. Even if you have never used a winch before, you will have absolutely no problem installing this model on your truck or RV. This product is also covered by a 100,000-mile or 5-year warranty for peace of mind.
Just note that the mounting piece of this winch is not very heavy-duty or durable when compared to other models. Additionally, the outer shell is mostly made of plastic so it is quite fragile as well.
2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV – Excellent Price to Performance Ratio
- Capacity: 3, 000 lbs
- Motor: 1.2 HP
- Cable: Stainless steel
The Superwinch 1130220 is a little more modest in terms of specs when compared to the winch reviewed above. It is also a more affordable model with a superior price to performance ratio. The Superwinch is still a high-quality and dependable winch with a decent pull capacity of 3,000 lbs.
Evidently, this model is more geared towards the light to casual use rather than heavy duty usage due to the lower pull capacity. However, it still contains a heavy-duty stainless-steel cable that offers a decent length of 50 feet. The 1.2 hp motor would have no difficulty towing anything up to 3,000 lbs.
With this purchase, you get 12 inches wired remote. We would have preferred it to be a little bit longer, but for the price, it is still very good. Additionally, installation is also quite easy with the mounting base at the bottom of this winch.
All in all, this unit is a reasonably priced winch for the money. You get a quality product that is able to pull up to 3,000 lbs that makes it an excellent candidate for ATV applications. Best of all, this model also comes with a dynamic brake system that is very easy and comfortable to winch with.
If you are a beginner to winching and have a small budget, this model is one of the best electric winches based on the price to performance ratio. It is limited to capacity of 3,000 lbs only which is not much but still more than decent for beginners and casual use.
3. Reese Towpower 74329 – Easy to Use by Beginners
- Capacity: 1,500 lbs
- Motor: Manual
- Cable: Strap
The Reese Towpower is a simple and yet effective manual winch that is extremely affordable and yet possesses a decent pull capacity of 1,500 lbs. For a manual winch, this product definitely has an excellent gear system that allows it to generate a lot of torque in a small form factor. It is also extremely beginner-friendly due to its simplicity.
In fact, the single gear system is made from high carbon steel that resists degradation very well and should make this winch last longer.
Moreover, the base has multiple mounting holes that would allow you to quickly and easily install it on your truck. The handle is long making it easier to operate with. Additionally, it also has a soft rubber coating that makes it more comfortable to hold.
You do not get stainless steel cables with this winch. Rather, it comes with a flat strap with a hook at the end. The strap is still quite durable and should not break easily with its respectable pull capacity of 1,500 lbs.
Furthermore, this winch has a zinc coating that makes it corrosion free. Therefore, you can easily install this outside of your truck and not worry about it getting damaged in the rain.
All in all, despite being a manual winch, this model from Reese is still one of the best winches for the money. It is very easy to operate and extremely affordable.
Best of all, its capacity of 1,500 lbs should be more than enough to winch a small to the medium-size truck. Just don't expect to use this winch for more heavy-duty purposes because the strap is not very durable and will break if you exceed its rated capacity.
4. X-Bull 80012000A – High-pull Capacity and Heavy-duty
- Capacity: 12,000 lbs
- Motor: 6 HP
- Cable: Stainless steel
This X-Bull is an electric winch used by both beginners and experts for various ATV applications. One of the best things about this model is its high pull capacity of 12,000 lbs which makes it a heavy-duty winch that can pull very heavy vehicles.
In addition, the length of the stainless-steel cable of this unit can reach 26 m. This is definitely not the longest we have seen, but still quite impressive especially considering that this winch is a small and compact model.
Moreover, you get 2 remote controls with this purchase which will allow you to control this winch at a distance. Furthermore, the 12 V electric motor of this winch is very efficient as well as extremely durable due to a series of improvements made to the motor by the manufacturer. As long as you use the recommended 650 CCA battery, you would have absolutely no problem.
This winch also has a breaker system that is the very heavy duty and make it safer to use by beginners.
Furthermore, the gear ratio of 265:1 allows this winch to not only produce a lot of torque but also reel in the cable much faster when compared to other models.
You get all accessories including a set of wire cables with this purchase. If you have never owned an electric winch before, then this model is definitely one of the best winches for jeep out there because of its high pull capacity, small form factor and interesting price.
The only issue we have with this winch is that the cable is limited to a distance of 26 m only so this unit is meant for small distances only.
5. Champion Power Equipment 12003 – Small and Compact
- Capacity: 2,000 lbs
- Motor: 1 HP
- Cable: Stainless steel
The Champion Power winch is another small and compact electric winch with a capacity of 2,000 lbs. This model is definitely not the most powerful when compared to others in this winch review.
One of the main advantages of this winch is a small form factor. It will not consume a lot of space when installed. Additionally, its capacity of 2,000 lbs is more than enough, especially for those winching a medium-size 4 x 4 truck.
Moreover, this model has a pull speed of 3.3 feet per minute on load which shows that it is quite fast. When there is a new load attached to the hook, it has an impressive boost speed of 10.5 feet per minute. This does not sound much but for a winch, it is plenty fast.
Also, one big advantage of this winch is that it is one of the cheapest winches on the market and does not sacrifice quality. The only disadvantage we can point out with this winch is that it is noisier when compared to other models.
6. X-Bull AM0003(S)-FBA – Durable and Long-lasting
- Capacity: 4,500 lbs
- Motor: 1.7 HP
- Cable: Stainless steel
This X-Bull Recovery winch kit remains one of the most impressive models in this review. It has an excellent build construction and comes with a stainless-steel cable that is very durable and will not break easily. Moreover, the cable length of 15 m is definitely not the longest we have seen but still more than usable.
This model has a capacity of 4,500 lbs which is more than adequate for casual winching. It can definitely pull a 4 x 4 or midsize truck with ease. Additionally, it’s a gear ratio of 185:1 compensates its 1.7 HP DC motor quite well. It is not a very fast winch but the pull speed is more than adequate.
Furthermore, you get no less than 2 wireless remote controls with this unit that will allow you to control the winch at a distance.
But one feature that makes this model stand out is definitely its free spooling clutch that will disengage the brake of the winch and allow you to spool the cable very quickly.
This model is one of the best value winch you can get. The only caveat we note is that the size is small. It may not be compatible with all vehicles when it comes to the installation.
7. Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch – Comes in Different Sizes
- Capacity: 8,000 lbs, 10,000 lbs
- Motor: 4.8 HP
- Cable: Warn Spydura synthetic rope
This winch comes in 2 types. A model with a Warn Spydura synthetic rope and another with a stainless-steel cable. You need to choose a size depending on your application and need.
Moreover, one of the best things about this model is definitely its long cable length of 100 feet which is definitely one of the best in this review. Further, this winch has a sleeve system that will protect your rope against damage. Bottom line, your rope will last longer.
If you want to operate this winch at a distance, no problem. Out of the box, it comes with a 12 feet remote control. It is not wireless but wired, which is a big downer. But it still gets the job done with ease.
8. Smittybilt 97517 – Excellent Size to Performance Ratio
- Capacity: 17,500 lbs
- Motor: 6.6 HP
- Cable: Stainless steel
The Smittybilt 97517 is one of the most compact and yet powerful winches in this review. In fact, many experts rate this model as one of the best electric winches on the market as it has an excellent size to performance ratio.
You can purchase this winch in different sizes and styles, and you even have the ability to choose whether you want a synthetic rope or a stainless-steel cable with your winch.
In addition, with its powerful motor of 6.6 HP and pull capacity of 17,500 lbs, this model is definitely a beast at winching. The motor is also completely waterproof and so is the whole winch. It will not corrode and can safely be installed on your truck outside.
If you’re looking for a small and yet heavy-duty winch for a wide range of ATV applications, then you should add the Smittybilt 97517 to your purchase this. However, make sure that this model is compatible with your jeep as its small form factor is not for every jeep out there.
9. Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope – Heavy-duty and Powerful
- Capacity: 13,000 lbs
- Motor: 6.1 HP
- Cable: Synthetic rope
The Offroad Boar winch is a heavy-duty winch with a capacity of 13,000 lbs and equipped with a powerful motor of 6.1 HP. Despite being so powerful, this model is equipped with a synthetic rope and not a stainless-steel cable as expected.
However, it still gets the job done and the synthetic rope is able to withstand the powerful torque.
Moreover, this winch is IP67 which means that it is waterproof. However, it should not be submerged in water and this model is definitely not the best winch for those who usually use their truck to cross rivers.
One of the best things about this model is definitely its 3 planetary gear system that will allow you to adjust the amount of torque on the rope. This provides you with a high level of control, especially when compared to other models that have a single gear system.
All in all, this model is one of the best off-road winches because of its efficient gear system, superior pull capacity and heavy-duty 6.1 HP motor. The only disadvantages are its fairly steep price point and you get a synthetic rope and not steel cables with this winch. Other than this, it is a true performer.
10. Warn 90451 ProVantage – Premium and Durable Build Construction
- Capacity: 4,500 lbs
- Motor: 1.9 HP
- Cable: Synthetic rope
One of the things that separate the Warn 90451 from the rest of the competition is its solid and premium build construction. Indeed, there is a deep attention to detail in this winch.
It comes with a synthetic rope that performs on par to a steel cable both in terms of durability and performance. This has mostly to do with the sleeve system used in this winch.
Additionally, the 3 planetary gear system as well as the brake system provides you with more control over your winching as well as make the whole process much smoother.
Moreover, you get a wide remote control switch to operate the winch with ease and at a distance. All in all, the Warn 90451 is definitely one of the best winches for jeeps and trucks on the market.
The only caveat is its expensive price but that is expected for a premium grade winch. We also expected the rope to be longer for the price but it is what it is.
How to Buy the Best Winch
1. Electric vs. Hydraulic Winch
There are basically 2 types of winches on the market. The electric winch and the hydraulic winch. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Electric winch: The electric winch uses an electric motor to drive the cable. One of the main advantages of the electric range is that it is very versatile. Indeed, you can connect it with either your car 12 V battery, another battery or the dual cell battery for heavy-duty applications.
Even if the electric winch is not as powerful or as heavy duty as a hydraulic winch, its versatility and efficiency make it quite popular. Also, remember that most winch models on the market will need a 650CCA battery as a minimum for winching.
Hydraulic winch: The hydraulic winch is one of the best truck winches on the market. This is because the hydraulic winch has a high load taking capacity which allows it to pull a lot of weight.
Evidently, this type of winch is powered by a hydraulic system that allows it to be used for heavy duty applications. In addition, the hydraulic winch is more durable and long-lasting than an electric winch.
2. Synthetic Rope vs. Steel Cable
The cable material is an extremely important aspect when purchasing a winch online. It basically comes as either a synthetic rope or a steel cable. This will allow you to pull a vehicle in all safety, regardless of the load taking capacity. But which one is the best?
The synthetic rope is usually a more budget-friendly type of cable used in winching. It usually comes with the electric winch so as to save cost and it has a fairly decent load taking capacity. Most of the time, you will find that the synthetic rope is braided so as to increase its durability and load taking capacity.
On the other hand, the steel cable is more heavy-duty and has a higher pull capacity. You will often find the hydraulic winch accompanied by a steel cable because of this fact.
Additionally, a steel cable with not corrode is very durable and extremely long-lasting. You can use a steel cable for many years without it breaking, unlike the synthetic rope.
Eventually, it will all boil down to cost and usage. If you are on a short budget and only need a winch for casual purposes, then the synthetic rope will do just fine. On the other hand, for professional use or if you have a towing business, you must go with a steel cable even if it will cost you a little bit more than a synthetic rope model.
3. Line Speed vs. Motor Power vs. Gear Ratio
The line speed is basically how fast the winch is able to retrieve the cable or rope. In general, a good winch should be able to retrieve a line at a rate of 2 to 5 feet per minute. If you want to tow fast then you need to pay attention to the line speed but bear in mind that even at 5 feet per minute, it will still be quite slow and will require some patience.
The motor power in a winch is measured in horsepower and is responsible for providing the torque necessary for winching. You will need to choose the motor power based on your need and purpose as in most cases, a high motor power will also translate into a more expensive winch. However, a more powerful motor will directly result in a higher pull capacity.
Lastly, the winch has a drivetrain system similar to a car that contains gears. If your winch model has an adjustable speed control, then it will contain multiple gears. On the other hand, for winch models that have only one speed, then there is only one gear present.
A high gear ratio will produce a high line speed because the torque multiplication is higher. The reverse is true as a low gear ratio will result in a lower pull speed.
The capacity or load taking the capacity of the winch is the maximum weight that the winch can pull. A good quality winch should be able to pull at least 1500 lbs, no problem.
However, some of the best winches for trucks on the market have a load taking the capacity of 10,000 lbs or more. This will allow them to pull very heavy vehicles without the risk of either breaking the synthetic rope or the steel cable.
5. Cable Length
The cable length is another important aspect that you need to consider. It will also depend on how you plan to use the winch. If you will be pulling a vehicle at great distances, then you need to choose a winch that has a long cable length as well as being reinforced for durability.
Most of the time, casual users can go with a winch that has a cable length of at least 10 m. This is more than enough for casual use. However, bear in mind that if you plan to use a long cable length in your winch, then you need to go with a model that is heavy-duty and has a powerful motor as a longer cable will require more power for winching.
Since you will often be winching in the rain as well, it is important that your winch is also waterproof. This will ensure that you have a durable and long-lasting winch that will not corrode or suffer from performance issues because of water damage.
7. Mounting System
Basically, the mounting system will dictate the installation process. You need to ensure that your winch has a mounting base with holes so that you can firmly bolt it to your truck.
In addition, the mounting base must also be made from a tough material so as it does not break easily or crack during winching.
In most cases, manufacturers choose to go with a steel metal for the mounting base due to its durability.
Most manufacturers of winches will offer a form of warranty, one way or the other. In our experience, some of the best winch brands on the market will provide you with an at least one year warranty on their product. Moreover, since spare parts for the winch can be difficult to find, is generally best to go with a winch that has a warranty.
The winch is a powerful and heavy-duty tool for winching a vehicle. Best of all, the winch can also be used for any type of ATV applications.
Keep in mind that you do not have to spend a fortune to get a good quality winch.
This is a reasonably priced truck tool that anyone can buy and you should be able to find a quality model in our winch review above without going over your budget.
- 10 Best Winches – Review
- 1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC – Wide Range of Pull Capacities
- 2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV – Excellent Price to Performance Ratio
- 3. Reese Towpower 74329 – Easy to Use by Beginners
- 4. X-Bull 80012000A – High-pull Capacity and Heavy-duty
- 5. Champion Power Equipment 12003 – Small and Compact
- 6. X-Bull AM0003(S)-FBA – Durable and Long-lasting
- 7. Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch – Comes in Different Sizes
- 8. Smittybilt 97517 – Excellent Size to Performance Ratio
- 9. Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope – Heavy-duty and Powerful
- 10. Warn 90451 ProVantage – Premium and Durable Build Construction
- How to Buy the Best Winch