What Size Winch for Truck Will Be Perfect?

If you have experienced being stuck, you must probably know that investing and having a winch is a necessity especially when you often drive your truck outside the city. You will definitely encounter dirt or large rocks, mud or sand or even snow.

Though you could be a high-class driver, rough terrains and off-road could still be something unusual. In this situations, being safe is the top priority and one of the tools that could help you recover your truck is a winch. Hence, it is very convenient to have a winch installed on your truck. This way, you could ensure that even when you get stuck in a difficult situation, your winch could aid you in getting your truck out of being stuck.

Installing a Winch

When choosing a winch, the first thing you must do is to study the market and all the winch products. This way, you will have a lot of possible options. In fact, there are numerous varieties of winches which come with different abilities and capabilities according to complexity. This means, you will be able to find winches for small ATV to full size truck. Here are some examples:

  • Chevy 2500 HD
  • Ram 2500 Power Wagon
  • Ford F150 Super Crew

Though there are trucks that are designed with frontal winch built into its factory front bumper, it is still recommended and important for you to check and consider to use a new bumper or push bar with a winch mount whenever you are installing a winch to your truck. Moreover, you could also try as an alternative to use a hidden winch mount. This way, you will be able to install and detach your winch in front or behind your truck.

Which Engine to Choose

Winches come in different types as mentioned earlier and they are categorized into different types based on the type of engines that they use.

Here are some 4 basic types of engines:

  • Manual
  • Electric
  • Hydraulic
  • Thermal

This type of winch is specifically made for smaller type of work. They are easy to use and also easy and simple to handle. In fact, they do not need power supply to work. Its power comes from external force usually from its operator. This means, you would need to apply force on your winch for you to be able to amplify and provide the winch the ability to pull heavy loads. This type of winch, keep in mind, could only handle up to 1000 lbs.

This type of winch is recommended to be used as a backup winch for recovering vehicles. It is not really for regular use to pull trucks from difficult situations. Keep in mind that if you need to use this type of winch, you would need to exert a lot of effort which could in the long run damage your body. Hence, this winch is only perfect in case your electric or thermic or hydraulic winch has failed.


Electric type of winch are classified into two classes and they are engines which are connected to network and engines which are running on a battery power. These types of winch are usually designed for occasional use as it has the possibility of overheating when used regularly. Since, this type of winch is prone to overheating, it is advised not to use it in one long haul but rather should be used in short bursts.

Keep in mind that when you select a winch on a batter, ensure that the charge is sufficient enough. Power of 12 volts could reach a peak consumption of more than 400 amperes. Battery operated electric winches would, in fact, need a power source which could produce 24 volts.


Hydraulic winches would need a vehicle running for it to be able to operate. It could be used on heavy duty type of work. It is very powerful and could be used in an indefinite period of time as you would not need to be concerned of this tool overheating. The only downside of this type of winch is that it is very expensive.


This type of winch could work without a break. They are highly reliable and could perform heavy duty tasks. Just like Hydraulic type of winch, thermal winches could also be very expensive. It is also difficult to find one in the market.

Understanding Winch Capacity

Aside from types, winches also are categorized according to size and capabilities. Hence, to learn what size of winch you would need to know for your truck, you would first need to correctly match the traction force of the device with your truck. The general rule is to double the weight of your vehicle.

  • Medium-sized pickups like Nissan Navara or Jeep Gladiator would be able to use a winch with a payload of 9100 to 9450 pounds.
  • Full-size trucks like Chevrolet Silverado or Toyota Tundra could use a winch with payload of at least 12,100 or 12,450 lbs.
  • For huge or large trucks, you would need a winch that could handle 16,450 to 18,100 lbs.

If you are not too sure, we suggest that you consider a larger winch. This means, the higher the indicator the better. Keep in mind that the larger the winch the larger their engine and linear coils would be. This would make it easier for you to compare the information which are often provided by different manufacturers.

As a rule of thumb, get a winch that has a weight capacity which is 1.5 times of your vehicle’s gross weight. This would definitely provide you extra allowance for extra baggage such as equipment.

Which Cable to Choose

There has been a lot of debates when it comes to which is better to be used- synthetic or steel cable. Steel cables are very common for winches. They are strong, durable and also has the ability to resist abrasion on stones material. Though that is the case, overtime, it could corrode, collapse and even break. What is something you will have to be cautious when you are using steel cable is that when it breaks, there is a huge risk of serious injury as it could accumulate energy in it wherein it could have a huge kinetic energy when it is under load. Hence, if it in any event would snap during operation, it could tear your flesh and if the cable is thin, it could even cut through bones.

Synthetic cables on the other hand come with lesser energy potential which means you would not have to worry much when it breaks. It is lighter, safer, more flexible and easier to handle compared to steel cables. Moreover, you could even handle synthetic cables without any gloves.

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