Historically, winches were used to lift heavyweights. But after cars, trucks, and industrial machines came along, it quickly became apparent that they could be adapted to allow one vehicle to pull another and from this rose the contemporary use. For those looking for one, the ideal winch involves analyzing whether one will do comparatively better than the other, and quality should be the number one thing to look for. Other factors to be considered are how much weight the winch can pull, and whether it can be installed on your particular vehicle. Below is our list of the best winch, whether for trucks, SUVs, UTVs, or ATVs.
The Best Winch
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1. Northern Industrial Tools 12 Volt Utility Winch – 2,000-Lb. Capacity
For those looking for a simple solution that can fit a wide range of vehicles, this particular winch proves to be one of the most economical and easy-to-handle solutions. The winch is pretty compact and light in weight, as far as winches go, and is ideal for smaller vehicles looking to pull weights of up to 2,000 pounds. It comes fitted with a single 50’ long cable made out of steel and connects with a steel hook at the end of it all. At 5/32” in diameter, the cable is thick enough to pull a number of machines, ranging from small items such as jet skis to entire boats.
Away from the cable and drum is the winch’s motor, a 12V DC permanent magnet motor, allowing it to operate automatically at the command of the handheld remote from as far away as 6’. This 0.85 HP engine allows it to draw 6 amps with no weight and up to 118 amps on full load.
- Mounting hardware included
- Tough and durable material
- Easy to mount on a number of vehicles and other machines
- Not very powerful
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Sometimes having something powerful may not be the most practical solution, especially if it is bulky and heavy, where something more compact will do. If you are familiar with the sort of weight you intend to pull, and it isn’t more than the 2,000 pounds that the Northern Industrial is fully capable of pulling, then there is really no need to look further. By purchasing something of this quality, you are assured that not only you can rely on it for a while, but it proves to be the least cumbersome of options and one of the most economically friendly too.
2. Superwinch 1595200 Tiger Shark Winch
Power, durability, versatility—the Superwinch’s Tiger Shark has it all. It may seem like a bit of a con to describe it with such elevated terms, but after a careful look at all it has to offer, it is clear that this winch has a way of lifting itself up to such impressive heights. The first thing anyone wants to look at is its pulling power, and able to pull up to 9,500 pounds, it proves to be competitive on that front. The 5.2 HP motor is able to pull in this weight with the 29-meter rope, all operable with a handheld remote from distances as far away as 12’. It features a 3-stage gearbox which makes this winch one of the easiest free-spooling winches available.
What really makes this product stand out, however, is the extensive protection that is provided to its essential parts, ensuring its durability. This includes a weather-sealed motor that protects the winch’s most vital part from rain, snow, and dust. The contractor is also weather-sealed in much the same way in order to protect it from damaging environmental factors. Add this to the stainless-steel roller fairleads, not only resistant to rust, but also potential damage from constant use with rope, and you realize the Tiger Winch specializes in doing all it can to endure abuse.
- Heavy-duty hook
- Ergonomic free spool
- 3-stage planetary box
- Easy to use
- Electrical connections are loose
It is clear to see that the Tiger Winch does all that it needs to do, and then a little bit more, judging by its features and the praise attributed to it by satisfied users. It seems to be conscious of the needs of users and takes all necessary measures to solve potential problems that may not even come to mind when first putting the winch to use. It is not perfect, and no one ever promised that, but with all it has to offer, such imperfections will be hard to notice.
3. Warn (92000) 2000 DC Utility Winch
For an ultra-compact solution to pulling lighter loads, such as anything below 2,000 pounds, then the Warn Utility Winch is one such inexpensive solution. With a 1.6 HP permanent DC motor, it actually proves to be more powerful than its small dimensions would have you believe, guaranteeing safe use for anything within the aforementioned weight range. The 12V machine features a differential planetary gear train and a great duty cycle; these are all attributes that speak volumes of its core.
The wire rope is 35’ long, 3/16” in diameter, and has a hook and clasp fitted at the end of it all. It is ideal for mounting on trailers of any kind, or hitch mounts. This is made possible by the simple design the winch is made with, and given its compact design, it is easy to see how you can squeeze it into tight spaces, whatever the vehicle may be.
- Durable motor
- Compact and easy to use
- The cable may be inadequate in length
The Warn Utility Winch is not the most powerful of winches available, but where it seemingly fails on one end, it makes up for by providing something special on a different front. This does not mean that the pros and cons balance out, however, as it all comes down to what you intend to use the winch for. If you know that you will not need to pull particularly heavy loads, and a bigger, bulkier, and heavier winch will only make things worse, then this will prove to be a great product through and through. The idea is to make life easier, and this winch does just that.
4. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch
If you are looking for a winch that has it all, then it would be hard not to point out the Smittybilt Winch, a device with as many features as you will ever need. This is first evidenced by the winch’s capacity to pull weights of up to 9,500 pounds, an impressive amount that includes hauling anything from a light jet ski, a small truck, or a decent-sized boat that hasn’t yet found its way to shore. Such weights require much from the attached cord, and wrapped around the 2.5” diameter drum is one such resistant cable, measuring a total 94’ in length.
That impressive length could prove to be something of a downside since the longer the cable, the less power it has to pull greater weights, but being an equally impressive 5/16 inches in diameter, you can rest assured it won’t abruptly snap at an inconvenient time. Making all these operations possible is the 6.6 HP motor functioning as the powerful heart of the machine. Sealed in such a way that no water or dust can penetrate the exterior and damage the interior, the motor has been attributed to the name “amphibious,” and rightly so.
Complementing this motor is the winch’s 500AMP solenoid (contractor) and the 3-stage planetary gear system. Finally, adding simplicity to the winch’s sophisticated utility, a handheld remote control allows you to put the entire machine to work with the simple press of a button, suitable for use from distances of up to 12’ away.
- 4-way roller fairlead
- Powerful and long-lasting battery capability
- Strong and durable
- Tricky to mount
The 83-pound winch is not the smallest and lightest of winches, but considering all it can do, and how easy it is to operate, there really can be nothing to complain about. Smittybilt is an upcoming manufacturing company that is looking to quickly make its name with a product that many will look at very carefully. It will not be an easy task, but if they keep on making winches like this, the future of the company looks very promising.
5. D-Rhino Vehicle Recover Electric Winch Kit
For those in search of a winch that borders on utility for trucks to utility as a light industrial tool, one simple feature is needed, and that is sheer pulling power. Able to haul up to 12,000 pounds, the D-Rhino Winch is exactly one such powerful tool. It has a 5.5 horsepower, 12V motor that makes this hauling capacity possible without straining a winch more than it needs to. This makes it capable of handling standard vehicle sizes to heavy-duty trucks, thus its use as a potential industrial tool.
It also has a three-stage planetary gear train, a sliding ring gear that functions as the clutch, and a 4-way roller fairlead. There is a wide range of features that you can control using the handheld remote that is included in the kit, such as the automatic braking action, as well as all the other standard features you would expect. Without forgetting what connects the motor and all its fancy supplements with the actual weight to be hauled, the winch has a 94’ long steel cable, measuring 3/8” in diameter, fitted with a tough hook that completes the entire structure and its ability to function in the extraordinary way that it does.
- Includes 650CCA recommended battery
- Tough steel make
- Tough rubber remote
- Complete piece to get started right away
- Not waterproof like all others
The entire winch is not light, weighing a total 95 pounds; nor are the dimensions very compact, but you shouldn’t expect anything lighter or smaller given all that it can do. The overall quality and capacity of the winch mean that it isn’t suitable for inexperienced users, but for those who are fully aware of the arduous tasks they have to perform. They will be more than thankful for having purchased such a valuable winch.
Conclusion for The Best Winch
Winches are some of the most interesting tools you can operate. There seems to be a lot of grit and general toughness with operations surrounding this tool, but in practice, they can make life simpler to allow for a wide range of people to operate them and get tough jobs done.
That doesn’t mean that you need not be meticulous when looking for the right winch for an operation, and to make this search easier in much the same way winches relieve the workload, the list of five winches above indicates the best options available. More importantly, each of them works to serve a particular purpose, so whatever your needs are, you are sure to find what you want.