Electric winches are versatile tools to add to a work vehicle whether you own an outdoor business or a farm.
A winch can help load an ATV onto a flatbed, or they can rescue a stuck vehicle on wintry roads or muddy trails.
Given how useful they can be, it’s essential to buy the best model that fits your vehicle and needs.
The best winch is the Smittybilt 97495 XRC with a pull rating of 9,500 LB and a 6.6 HP motor.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll review the five best electric winches on the market and then give you an overview of how to go about choosing the right one.
Top 5 Electric Winches For Jeeps, Trucks, 4x4s
1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC
2. WARN M8000
3. Superwinch Tiger Shark 9.5
4. Offroad Boar
5. Smittybilt 98510Y X2O Gen2
- Top 5 Electric Winches For Jeeps, Trucks, 4x4s
- 1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC – Best Value Electric Winch
- 2. WARN M8000 – Best Winch For Jeep
- 3. Superwinch Tiger Shark 9.5 – Best Winch For The Money
- 4. Offroad Boar – Best Winch For Trucks
- 5. Smittybilt 98510Y X2O Gen2 – Best Winch For 4x4s
- How To Choose The Best Electric Winch
Below is a list of the best electric winches that are available in a range of different pull ratings and sizes.
1. Smittybilt 97495 XRC – Best Value Electric Winch
With comprehensive waterproofing, it won’t be affected by wet conditions like fording rivers or torrential downpours.
With a maximum load capacity of 9,500 pounds, its 6.6hp motor will dislodge most off-road vehicles from mud and rocky terrain.
The only drawback we could see with this winch was its corded remote control, which limited our distance from the winch to 12 feet and made operating it a little awkward.
Overall, though, this winch is the best value we could find on the market in terms of capability and price.
2. WARN M8000 – Best Winch For Jeep
Its 4.8hp motor can pull up to 8,000 pounds with a sturdy 100-foot wire rope cord.
The main selling point for us was the compact design of the winch. Its smaller size gave us more mounting options on different vehicles.
The disadvantages of the M8000 are that its remote is tethered with a 12-foot cord, and the winch isn’t completely waterproof. These aren’t deal-breakers, but they do take the shine from an otherwise excellent off-road winch.
3. Superwinch Tiger Shark 9.5 – Best Winch For The Money
You can drive in inclement weather and pull yourself out of a muddy patch without worrying about the winch being damaged.
We liked the Tiger Shark’s load capacity and sturdy steel cable. It’s another utility winch with a corded remote. You get plenty of room to operate but not full freedom of movement.
4. Offroad Boar – Best Winch For Trucks
Offroad Boar’s 13,000-pound model is one of the most powerful on the market at an affordable price. It’s specifically designed for off-roading, too, so the remote control and weatherproofing are top-notch.
The only downside we could find for this model was its size. It might not fit where you’d like to mount it on some vehicles.
5. Smittybilt 98510Y X2O Gen2 – Best Winch For 4x4s
Its 6.6hp motor can handle pulling larger jeeps and trucks out of difficult spots or loading equipment onto flatbeds.
We liked that it comes with a wireless remote given that many high-power winches opt for wired controls.
The waterproofing makes it possible to ford water without worrying about splashing an externally-mounted winch.
How To Choose The Best Electric Winch
Electric winches are designed for different applications. Some are meant to be mounted on a vehicle’s front bumper, and others are portable units that can be strapped to a roll bar for loading a truck’s flatbed. They also vary in the power they provide, which is measured in terms of load capacity. To select the right electric winch for the purposes you have in mind, consider the features outlined below when weighing the pros and cons of each model.
The purpose of a winch is to pull a load with a cable, so the pulling power is the primary feature to look for when you begin shopping. Determine the heaviest load you can imagine pulling and add a little extra to that weight. If you want a winch to pull your truck out of a mud hole, then research the weight of your truck and use that as your target pulling power. If you only need a winch for loading ATVs, then you won’t need nearly as much power.
Fixed and portable winches offer a couple of options, but the decision is largely made by the pulling power of a winch. Heavy loads like trucks or tree logs require a winch that’s attached to a solid surface like a vehicle’s frame. Smaller winches designed for loading ATVs are often portable to give you better flexibility. Portable winches can be attached temporarily to a roll bar or bumper.
Winches today have one of two kinds of cable: Synthetic polymer and steel wire cable. Each has its advantages. Synthetic cables won’t corrode when exposed to wet environments like muddy off-road trails and heavy rain. Steel cables are a better choice if the cable needs to resist abrasive surfaces rocks or roll bars. In either case, the cable will be rated to support the maximum load that the winch can pull.
Winches usually are controlled with handheld remotes, but its features and design do make a difference sometimes when choosing between equal winch models. A wireless remote gives you to best freedom of movement when operating a winch, which can be important for safety. A corded remote lets you stand aside, but only as far as the cord allows. Others are designed with handles or grips to help you hold them in slippery conditions.
These five electric winches are the best designed for off-road vehicles in terms of both load capacity and durability. We’ve narrowed down the list winches that would work well for getting your all-terrain vehicle unstuck, moving debris like large trees, or loading equipment. Each of the five that we reviewed has features that serve different needs, whether you want a wireless remote or synthetic rope. Check back with us in the future for more reviews as new models become available.
- The Car Winch: A Multi-Purpose Tool for Rural Areas – MOTHER EARTH NEWS
- How Winches Work – HowStuffWorks
- Types of Winches – It Still Runs