Off-roading is a fun yet hazardous activity. While many off-road enthusiasts feel quite invincible during their adventures, some still fall off on mud pits or ditches. During these occasional fall-outs, the best winch for trucks and 4WDs can help.
Winches are lifesavers when heavy vehicles get stuck in muddy pits. Ideal winches must have adequate mechanical capacity to pull a vehicle effectively, strong and efficient motor, and compact enough for a convenient installation process.
Winch (for Trucks, SUV’s, UTV’s and ATV’s) Reviews
WARN 26502 M8000
WARN 26502 M8000 offers a wide range of mounting options. It also features a low profile design. It may be a good option for veteran off roaders.
WARN 86245 VR8000
WARN 86245 VR8000 fits most SUVs and trucks. Like the other winches in their product line, this one also has a low profile design. This might be a good option for first time winch buyers.
The Driver Recovery Products LD12-ELITE comes with a wireless remote. It is also equipped with automatic breaking locks. It may be a good option for heavy duty everyday use.
LD12-PRO by Driver Recovery Products is outfitted with a true rated 6 HP reversible motor. It also has automatic braking locks. Its capacity is 12,000 pounds. It’s for people who need a larger capacity winch.
Vortex 9500RECWB may be a good option for professional and business use. This is a heavy duty winch. It also has a true rated capacity of 9,000pounds.
Rugged Ridge 15100.01
Rugged Ridge 15100.01 features tough stainless hardware. This winch features a8,500 pound capacity and brake system. It may be a good option for DIY folks.
NEW Vortex 8000 LB Pound Recovery Winch
NEW Vortex Recovery Winch is easy to mount and install. It comes with a powerful motor – doesn’t flinch or groan under heavy load. Nice option for regular jeep owners and non-professionals
Tangkula Classic Electric Recovery Winch
Tangkula Classic Electric Recovery Winch has a 9,500 lb. capacity. It features heavy internal components. It may be good option for off roaders who prefer compact designs.
Smittybilt 97215 XRC-15
Smittybilt 97215 XRC-15 is another good option for professionals. It has a15,000 pound capacity. It’s a durable piece of equipment that is designed for heavy lifting.
Smittybilt 98281 XRC-8
Smittybilt 98281 XRC-8is easy to install, perfect for newbies. It carries an 8,000 pound capacity. It may be a good option for off roaders who need to travel in mud and ice regularly.
Why a winch
When they need to pull something with a car, most people will simply use a strong piece of rope that they will tie around their bumper.
This is good for a vast majority of people who will find the rare instances when some unexpected pulling needs to be done, and what needs to be pulled isn’t all that heavy.
In some cases however, a winch needs to be used, especially for those who live in rural areas, or have some regular hauling or pulling to do.
A winch is a lifting or hauling device that consists of rope, chain, or cable that is wound around a horizontal rotating drum, and turned by a motor or crank.
There are some areas where rain regularly creates pools of mud, and a winch attached to another vehicle maybe the only way out of trouble.
A winch can also be used to pull, or extract objects that could otherwise not be done manually, or with a normal rope, such as tree stumps, or heavy building materials.
How to Select a Winch
It is important to know what you will be using the winch for, where it will be used, and of course, knowing what the vehicle’s pulling capacity is.
Winches are sold using pound weights; for example, some are rated 12,000 pounds, some 9,000 pounds, etc. The bigger the vehicle, the higher is the required rating.
For most off-road vehicles and trucks, the formula is quite simple. Multiply the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) by 1.5, and you get your rating.
This calculated rating is only the MINIMUM capacity, but it may probably be a good idea to increase the calculated value by about 20% to maximize the weight of the vehicle.
For all-terrain vehicles, or ATV’S, choosing a winch will depend on the engine size. Rated winches should be between 1,500 and 3,000 lbs. for the common ranges of ATV’s engines (from under 300 cc and up.)
For commercial applications, it is best to consult with a dealer more closely, due to the wider ranges of use, frequency of use, and bigger capacities.
Using a Winch Properly and Safely
Do not use the first time in using a winch as practice time. Get used to the winch’s features and capabilities before actually using it in a live situation.
Use strong, quality materials, to make sure that the belts and ropes do not snap, and that the users are well protected, for example, by using thick gloves.
If there are two or more people working with the winch,ensure that their roles and timing are well defined, and explained, to avoid confusion or hesitation.
Check the cable and make sure it is neatly and evenly wound around the spooling drum. Improper winding can cause damage to the cable and other parts of the winch.
Route the remote line properly to ensure that the cord will not be at risk of getting pinched or twisted, which may cause damage or injury.
Be aware of the other accessories that may be used with a winch that improves its versatility, such as snatch lock, D-shackles, and choker trains.
Proper Care of a Winch
Inspect the rope before and after each winching operation. If the rope has become kinked or frayed, make sure that the rope is replaced immediately.
When not being used, the winch should be left with the clutch in the engaged position before storage. This will keep the winch in ready position for future use.
Keep the winch in good running condition by cleaning it. Remove dirt, dead leaves, debris, and dirt from the winch’s moving parts, housing, and cable.
Check and maintain the battery and battery cables according to manufacturer guidelines, to help lengthen the battery life, and usability. Electrical connections, and loose mounting bolts should be checked regularly.
Make sure that the cable is rewound properly into the drum. The cable should spool onto the drum evenly, in neat rows. Do not let it bunch up messily.
If the winch has a remote, make sure that the remote socket is capped securely. This will prevent dirt and debris from entering the connections.