The Buyer’s Guide To The Best Winch

The Buyer’s Guide To The Best Winch

If you ask anyone who lives rurally, likes to get offroad, or takes care of their business at home, in on the farm, or at the workplace, it’s likely they’ll have a quality winch in their possession. These versatile and powerful devices are capable of giving you so much more strength than you’d have alone, and they can make a breeze out of most jobs.

Looking for the best winch on the market can be a longwinded task though, with so many different factors to consider which is best for you. Where will you be using your winch? What types of jobs will you be using it for?

How much strength and power do you need for your trusted device? These are all relevant questions that can lead you closer to finding the best winch for whatever your needs might be.

By the way, this post may contain Amazon affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission, (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase through the links provided.

Winching ATV

Rather than spending hours looking through the descriptions and online reviews to find the best winch, we’ve helped to make the search a little easier. Not only can we show you the important features you need to be mindful of when shopping for a winch, but we will also choose a few top picks that tick all of the boxes for us.

A winch is one of those magical accessories that you might not realize how much you needed until you finally had one, so choosing the best one is crucial. There are so many different types out there and all with unique features that make them right for the job, so this handy buying guide is here to make the whole process a little easier.

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.

The Importance Of A Quality Winch

To understand why it’s so important you get yourself a quality winch, give a thought to how much work these wondrous devices do. Standard domestic use winches for off-road enthusiasts and the like usually go up to around 10,000lbs of pulling capacity which is phenomenal when you really think about it.

We are trusting these devices to rescue some of our most prized possessions or do jobs that just aren’t humanly possible, and so we need absolute faith that they’re going to be reliable and dependable.

Electric Winch

For that reason, selecting any old winch and trying to find the cheapest one around isn’t going to be much help nor is it going to give you peace of mind that it can handle what you throw at it.

With the right winch in your collection, you’ll be capable of doing so many jobs you never realized before. Many people assume that a winch is only useful or pulling someone out of mud or helping to tow a vehicle, but here are some other ways you can put yours to use around the home, farm or workplace.

  • Pulling heavy loads of firewood
  • Lifting and tightening a broken fence or building a new one
  • Getting stuck vehicles out of tough situations
  • Working with ATVs, automobiles, and ships
  • Removing stubborn trees and stumps
  • Pulling and lifting heavy items over short distances

Once you have the right winch in your possession you’ll find countless more uses for it, and thanks to the heavy-duty cable that makes up a winch you don’t need to worry about it snapping or breaking. With so many features and specifications to consider, it’s best to have an idea in mind about how you want to use your winch so you can shop around accordingly.

What To Look For When Buying A Winch

Winches aren’t all that complex as they all operate basically the same way. However, you should have an understanding of the different parts and features that each model offers so you can be certain you’re buying the perfect fit for you. Here are some things to think about when choosing a winch and what it means for the operation and pulling power of the device.


There are a few different types of winches with the most common today being a motorized winch. These use a motorized wheel that allows the heavy duty cable to be pulled in without any effort from the operator. If you prefer to use something manually, there are one-handed winches available that have just as much load capacity but need a bit more work to operate

Weight Rating

The weight rating on a winch is the recommended maximum capacity for how much of a load it can pull. These are only to be used as general guidelines and you should use your judgment to feel whether or not it’s capable of pulling a load.

Most motorized winches for off-road enthusiasts can carry around 10,000lbs but this varies depending on the style and brand. Those who are looking for the best winch for truck would obviously have greater needs than an ATV rider, so it depends on your personal situation.


The heavy-duty cable responsible for pulling the item to the winch can be made from a few different materials. Some are made from synthetic rope and others are made from steel. Depending on the weight capacity and what you intend on pulling, either may be more suitable for you.

Heavy Duty Winch Cable


If you do choose a motorized winch, you can find out how powerful it is by looking at the horsepower (HP) rating. This will indicate how much torque it offers and usually the more HP the higher weight capacity your winch will have.

There are a few other things you might like to consider when purchasing a winch, like weatherproofing and the winch remote. Some use a wireless remote and others are cordless, so it depends on how important this is for you.

Although minor details like this don’t affect the quality of your winch, they may be a deal breaker for some, particularly if you plan on using your winch in both water and on land.

Our Choices For The Best Winch

Now that we have an understanding of the key features of a winch and how they can help make your workload even easier, it’s simpler to see the products that stand out. We’ve scoured the web to find you some options for the most valuable winch in terms of price and choose the best hand winch for those who prefer to work without a motor.

These represent some of the best out there in terms of quality, price, and ease of use, so any of them would make a great choice.

Best Winch For The Money

These motorized winches represent the best value for money, without choosing anything that is cheap and flimsy. Most quality winches begin to retail at around $200, and they can range up to the thousands of dollars depending on what they offer and which brand they are.

Here are our top picks for best-motorized winches to use at home and for play, and well within the budgets of the average off-road enthusiast.

Winner: Smittybilt X20 Synthetic Rope Winch

If you’ve ever owned or researched winches before, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the trusted Smittybilt winch name. This company specializes in making the best winch for Jeep and other small SUV vehicles, so if that sounds like it’s suited to you then you won’t want to look anywhere else.

The Smittybilt comes with a powerful 6.6 HP amphibious motor that works just as well on the water as it does on land and off-road. If you’re someone who likes a bit of versatility with your winch, this one will give you a lot of variety for where and how you use it.

The solenoid itself is completely waterproof also and because it’s made from durable rope winch there’s no fear of rust or damage.

Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch



Some people have found issues with the wireless remote being a little touchy, but this is covered by the lengthy warranty offered in this Smittybilt winch so you can simply return it for a new one if you come across this problem.

Considering the wireless remote comes with the winch it just adds to its value, as some brands sell these as separate items which usually cost a couple of hundred dollars on their own.

Most of Smittybilt’s products have been designed for use with Jeep vehicles so if this isn’t you then you might want to reconsider. The bolt plate is measuring in at 10.0” x 4.5” so it’s suitable for smaller SUVs and could even be considered one of the best winch for ATV, but be sure to measure up your vehicle before you go ahead.

This winch proves why Smittybilt is such a trusted and reliable brand, offering users a tough but smooth pulling motion no matter how they decide to use it.

Runner-Up: SuperWinch Tiger Shark Winch

If you’re looking for a winch that’s backed by a quality name but doesn’t cost a fortune just to get a quality device, you’ll want to check out the Tiger Shark by SuperWinch. SuperWinch is a well-known name among those who love their winches, and they have over 40 years of experience designing, testing, and making winches for all kinds of applications including the military and off-road enthusiasts.

In terms of price, this one falls around midrange but it doesn’t sacrifice anything on quality, design, or dependability. The Tiger Shark has been made of stainless steel hardware and fairlead rollers which means there’ll be no damage from the elements.

The motor and solenoid have also been sealed to keep them weatherproof so you’ll have absolute peace of mind that it can stand tough against anything you throw at it.

Superwinch 1595200 Tiger Shark 9.5



Although the SuperWinch winch is covered by warranty, there have been a few complaints from customers about lack of service from the company. Hopefully, there’ll be no issues with most of the winches that they make so there’s no need to deal with a stressful customer service experience, and you can be fairly sure of this when you feel just how quality the Tiger Shark is in your hands.

This is definitely one of the easiest winches to operate and would suit those who know what they’re doing to an amateur who’s had no experience with these systems before.

With an ergonomically designed free spool control, it’s easy to grip and operate so you’ll be able to get it right the first time, every time. This winch proves why SuperWinch is known as one of the best brands in off-road accessories, and you won’t be disappointed in everything it brings to the table.

Alternative: Warn 90450 ProVantage Winch

Ask anyone who knows a thing or two about winches and they’ll tell you that Warn is considered the best of the best. This company has been making some of the greatest winches this country has ever seen for almost 60 years so you know that you’re getting some of the greatest off-road accessories when you put your trust in them.

The Warn 90450 ProVantage Winch is a powerful device capable of pulling up to 4,500lbs and it does so without breaking a sweat.

This Warn winch comes with 55 feet of wire rope which is the longest that they offer and it’s been specially designed for those who deal with ATVs or side x sides in their off-road adventures.

Warn ProVantage Winch



Everything about this winch is built solid including the corrosion resistant black finish, plow roller fairlead, and a fully sealed motor and drive train. There’s no need to fear the weather or elements with your Warn as it will handle anything that Mother Nature throws at it.

One slight problem that could do with an upgrade is the corded remote, where many winches these days come with wireless varieties. You are able to upgrade to a wireless one but at quite a lot more, so in the end, it’s probably not worth the value.

This small design flaw aside, you’ll be hard pressed finding anything wrong with how the Warn operates and it couldn’t be smoother as it pulls.

The Warn ProVantage Winch operates with a three-stage planetary gear train which means it’s super smooth to use. The clutch handles have been designed with ergonomics in mind so there’ll be no strain or fatigue from the user.

All of these small but significant features prove to us just why Warn is one of the most trusted names in the world of winches, and their 90450 ProVantage is by far one of their best.

2nd Alternative: Extreme Max Winch And Quick Release Kit

For a winch with something a little different, why not consider the Extreme Winch and Quick Release Kit. Not only does this come with a 3100lbs capacity winch but also with a hitch winch mount that you can use with many other winch brands and models, to give you even more pulling power than before.

Extreme Max is responsible for making a great range of off-road accessories and this Winch and Quick Release Kit can certainly do that. The winch itself is strong and powerful and a Bear Claw model that this brand is famous for, and you can trust it to pull up just about anything.

Extreme Max Winch And Quick Release Kit



When you need even more pulling power, you can mount your other winch into the predrilled holes of this quick release kit and get the job done in even shorter time.

The Extreme Max Winch and Quick Release Kit also come with a quick connect battery plug in case you need a top up in an emergency. This would make the ideal winch kit to have stored in the boot of your car for when you need it, and it retails at far less than other standalone winches.

Some online reviews feel that it’s a little flimsy when compared to other more expensive brands, but with 3,100lbs of pulling capacity, you shouldn’t be expecting anything top of the line.

If you’re someone who has struggled in the past to get your winch mounted or regularly find yourselves in off-road situations where time is of the essence, the Winch and Quick Release Kit from Extreme Max will be right up your alley. This takes the hard work out of the setup and pulling stages so you can get on with whatever you were doing, while barely breaking a sweat.

Best Hand Winch

Let's take a look on our top pick for the best hand winch:

TEKTON 5547 4-Ton Dual Gear Power Puller

For those who prefer to operate their winch by hand, we’ve found the number one choice that you just can’t be without. The Tekton Power Puller is a hand operated device with a maximum capacity rating of 8,000lbs which is phenomenal when you see the size and cost of it, and there’s no need for bulky parts or a motor just to get it to work.

This makes the ideal winch for those who like to keep a backup handy or just prefer to operate their off-road accessories manually.

The cable in the Tekton Power Puller is serious business and gives it its strength with a ¼ inch aircraft grade braided steel construction.

TEKTON 5547 4-Ton Dual Gear Power Puller



By using dual gears and locking pawls you can distribute the pulling force evenly, however, some reviews have claimed that even though this was intended to make it pull smoothly you might find it a little rigid when compared to motor operated winches.

With a 21-inch high leverage ratchet that’s been ergonomically designed, there’s no need to worry about fatigue or strain even when you’re pulling the heaviest of loads. You can operate the Tekton Power Puller with just one hand so it truly requires minimal effort to do.

Some reviews mentioned for those people who prefer extra leverage you might want to invest in an extension pole of some sort, but for the most part, there were only happy customers.

This couldn’t be easier to set up and use, so for those who are complete amateurs at using a winch or pulling system you’ll have no problems with it. Because this is one of the cheaper pulley systems available, it makes sense to invest in at least one and put it to use around your home, farm, or keep in the car as a backup for when things go wrong.


The winch has long been one of our most prized possessions and capable of helping out with so much that we do at work and at home. With countless uses including off-road biking and four-wheel driving to helping rebuild a fence at the farm, the winch will give you power that you never thought possible and make it an absolute breeze to get the tough jobs done.

From looking at these top choices of the best winch and narrowing down the ones with the greatest features, our choice for the best winch for the money undoubtedly has to be the Warn ProVantage Winch.

Winch Mounted On Jeep

This brand is famous for making top quality winches that are well worth the money, so if you had to choose just one to take home then this would be it. The best thing about this is no matter if you’re looking for the best winch for UTV, ATV or car, it will tick all of your boxes.

As the obvious leader in terms of handheld winches, our number one choice has to be the Tekton Power Puller. This has all the strength and ease of use you look for in a pulling system, and at such a low price which makes it the perfect backup accessory. There’s no need to use a motorized winch if you don’t want to, and this Power Puller proves exactly why.

No matter whether you prefer a hand winch or a motorized one, you’ll always be able to rely on their strength. Winches are a one of a kind accessory that can be used by all types of people, and when you have one as quality as these you’ll get even more use out of it than you imagined.

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