10 Best Winches – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Winch

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 Winch Reviews

Image

Product Name

Capacity

Motor

Cable

Rating

Current Price

Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch

1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch

9,500 to 17,500 lbs

6.6 HP

Stainless steel

4.2

Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV Winch

2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000 ATV Winch

3,000 lbs

1.2 HP

Stainless steel

4.3

Reese Towpower 74329 Winch

3. Reese Towpower 74329 Winch

1,500 lbs

Manual

Strap

4.2

X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch

4. X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch 

12,000 lbs

6.0 HP

Stainless steel

4.3

Champion Power Equipment ATV/UTV Winch Kit

5. Champion Power Equipment ATV/UTV Winch

2,000 lbs

1.0 HP

Stainless steel

4.0

X-Bull Recovery ATV/UTV Winch Kit

6. X-Bull Recovery ATV/UTV Winch Kit

4,500 lbs

1.7 HP

Stainless steel

4.0

Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch

7. Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch

8,000 lbs

4.8 HP

Warn Spydura synthetic rope

4.5

Smittybilt 97517 X 2O Waterproof Winch

8. Smittybilt 97517 X 2O Waterproof Winch

17,500 lbs

6.6 HP

Stainless steel

4.3

Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope Waterproof Winch

9. Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope Waterproof Winch

13,000 lbs

6.1 HP

Synthetic rope

4.5

Warn 90451 ProVantage 4500-S Winch

10. Warn 90451 ProVantage 4500-S Winch

4,500 lbs

1.9 HP

Synthetic rope

4.0

#1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch  

Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch
  • 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.

Pros:

  • Flexible. Comes in a wide range of pull capacities to fit your need and purpose
  • Comes with a corded remote control for ease-of-use at a distance
  • Fully weatherproof. Can be used outside in the rain
  • The warranty period for this product is very good

Cons:

  • The outer shell is mostly made out of plastic. Not the most durable

#2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV Winch

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV Winch
  • 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. However, this 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.

Pros:

  • Excellent price to performance ratio
  • Simple and easy to operate by even beginners
  • Stainless steel cable will not break easily. Can also be extended up to 50 feet
  • 12 inches wired remote control

Cons:

  • Not the most powerful pull capacity at 3,000 lbs

#3. Reese Towpower 74329 Winch  

Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Reese Towpower 74329 Winch
  • 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.

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 on the market. 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.

Pros:

  • The base contains multiple mounting holes for easy installation on any type of truck
  • Decent pull capacity of 1500 lbs for a manual winch
  • Large and ergonomic handle

Cons:

  • Manual winch. Requires muscle power to operate
  • The strap is not the most durable. Can easily break if you’re not careful

#4. X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch 

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch
  • 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.

Best of all, 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 4 x 4 winches out there because of its high pull capacity, small form factor and interesting price.

Pros:

  • Small and compact. Does not require a lot of space on your truck
  • Comes with 2 wireless remote controls
  • The motor is 100% waterproof
  • Brake system makes it even safer to operate

Cons:

  • The cable length of 26 m could have been a little bit longer for the price

#5. Champion Power Equipment ATV/UTV Winch Kit

Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)

Champion Power Equipment ATV/UTV Winch Kit
  • 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.

Pros:

  • Affordable. Value for money
  • Powered by 12 V DC
  • Fast pull speed of 3.3 feet on load and 10.5 feet on no load

Cons:

  • None

#6. X-Bull Recovery ATV/UTV Winch Kit    

Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)

X-Bull Recovery ATV/UTV Winch Kit
  • 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.

Pros:

  • The steel cable is very durable and can be used for heavy-duty winching
  • 2 wireless remote controls allow you to control the winch at a distance
  • Decent pull capacity of 4,500 lbs for its small and compact size

Cons:

  • The size. It is a small winch that may not mount well on all vehicles

#7. Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch  

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Warn 86245 VR8000 Winch
  • Capacity: 8,000 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 one 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 and wired, but it still gets the job done with ease.

Pros:

  • Ability to choose between a synthetic rope and stainless-steel cable
  • Superior brake system. Provides you with a lot of control
  • Sleeve system will protect your rope from damage

Cons:

  • The provided remote control is not wireless

#8. Smittybilt 97517 X 2O Waterproof Winch      

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

Smittybilt 97517 X 2O Waterproof Winch
  • 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.

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.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty build construction. Very durable and long-lasting
  • Excellent price to performance ratio
  • You get a wireless remote with this winch

Cons:

  • None

#9. Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope Waterproof Winch       

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Offroad Boar Synthetic Rope Waterproof Winch
  • 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.

Pros:

  • High pull capacity of 13,000 lbs
  • An excellent winch with a well-rounded set of features
  • IP67. Waterproof and can be installed outside of your truck
  • 3 planetary gear system provides you with more control over your winching

Cons:

  • The price could have been a little bit more competitive
  • Comes with a synthetic rope and not a stainless-steel cable

#10. Warn 90451 ProVantage 4500-S Winch      

Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)

Warn 90451 ProVantage 4500-S Winch
  • 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 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 trucks on the market. The only caveat is its expensive price but that is expected for a premium grade winch.

Pros:

  • Premium winch. Very well-built with quality materials
  • Synthetic rope is coated with a double powder hawse fairlead for durability
  • A brake system, as well as the 3 planetary gear system, is very smooth and accurate

Cons:

  • The price. This winch is on the expensive side for its performance
  • The rope could have been longer

How to Buy a Winch

How to Buy a 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 winches for the truck 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.

#4. Capacity

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.

#6. Waterproof

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.

#8. Warranty

Most manufacturers of winches will offer a form of warranty, one way or the other. In our experience, some of the top 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.

Conclusion

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.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: