Winch Buying Guide

Purchasing a winch is a difficult task as you will have to ensure that the one that you have chosen is the right one for you and your activities. Hence, before choosing one, you will have to research and consider important factors. In this article, we shall list down the factors that we recommend that you consider whenever you are choosing a winch.

Factors to Consider in Buying a Winch

Winch Capacity

One of the most important factors that you should consider when choosing a winch is the winch’s capacity. Check the line pull rating plus its drum line’s tensile strength and mechanical capacity of the winch.

We highly recommend to compute for the minimum line pull rating by getting the gross vehicle weight and multiply it by 1.5. Hence if your vehicle is about 4000 lbs, then, we recommend that you get 6000 lbs capacity. If you are not sure about how to compute for the winch capacity, just keep in mind that the higher the winch capacity, the better it is.

Types of Winch

There different types of winches. They are also powered differently. One way is powered electrically (which are the common ones) and the other one is powered through hydraulics. Electric winches usually are powered through the vehicle’s battery and electrical system while the Hydraulic winches on the other hand are powered by the vehicle’s power steering pump.

Electrical winches are, as mentioned earlier are widely used. It is easy to install and they have larger winding speed. They also have remote control which provides additional safety measures as through a remote control you could distance yourself while your winch works. Furthermore, electrical winches operate with the use of huge power which comes from your vehicle’s electrical system which means, it is highly recommended for you to ensure that your vehicle has enough power to operate it. Keep in mind as well that your winch has the possibility to overheat especially when you use it for long periods of time. Hence, if your work involves using winches all day long, we then, recommend for you to go for hydraulic winches.

Hydraulic winches on the other hand are considered as more reliable as they do not depend on battery power nor water. This means, if you would need to use a winch for the whole day, this type of winch is more recommendable. Though that is the case, keep in mind that this type of winch requires extra hydraulic lines and plumbing. Moreover, remember that not all hydraulic winches could fit every vehicle or mounting application.

Other types of winches which you could check are hand winches, chainsaw winches, portable winches, capstan winches, boat trailer winches and many more.

Winch Rope

There are two types of winch rope which you could choose from – synthetic rope and steel cable.

Steel cable usually would last longer compared to synthetic rope. They are highly recommended for abrasive terrains. This is also perfect for off-roading activities especially when you often go through mud, sand and rocks. Though that is the case, keep in mind that steel cables could fray, corrode and break. When dealing with this type of rope, it is important that you wear hand gloves for protection and safety.

Synthetic ropes on the other hand are more flexible, lighter and stronger. It is easy to handle as well. This type of rope is recommended for recovery and trail winches. The only downside of this type of rope is that they are difficult to maintain and they are prone to UV exposure, heat, abrasion. chemicals and the like. Moreover, they are more expensive compared to steel cables.

Winch Motors

When it comes to motors of winches, there are two types of DC motors and they are permanent magnet motors and series wound motors.

Series Wound Motors use field coils for it to be able to generate magnetic field. Keep in mind that though they are very powerful, they are expensive as well. This is recommended for heavy duty work and for cold weather use.

Permanent Magnet Motors on the other hand are perfect for light to medium type of work. They are more affordable compared to the series wound motors. However, they could not handle excessive heat and they could also lose power when the weather is extremely cold.

Winch Drivetrains

There are three gear options and they are spun gear, worm gear and planetary gear.

Planetary gear is the most common gear train that is used my most winches. They are light, compact and affordable. They are in the middle position between worm gear and spun gear. They have a brake inside the drum center.

Worm gear is not as strong as planetary gear. It is slower compared to spun gear and planetary gear.

Spun gear on the other hand is considered as the most cost effective gear type. They have 75 percent power transfer efficiency. Warn 8274-50 is the only winch that has a spun gear which is still in the market.

Winch Remote Control

Remote control provides additional safety measures. It allows you to control the winch at a safe distance. There are two types of remote – corded and cordless. When choosing a winch, we recommend that you go for one that comes with wireless remote control.

Winch Mounting options

This is another important factor that you will need to consider. You will have to check how you will mount your winch. Here are three popular systems which allows you to mount your winch.

Bumper Mount – this is the simplest option. It is easy to install and it has excellent versatility.

Multi- mount – this one is a little complex. They are less durable as well

Winch bumper – this one is very popular especially to those who go on off-roading adventures.

Cable Length

When purchasing a winch, we recommend that you choose one that comes with about 80 to 100 ft cable. Do not get one that comes with too short nor one with too long cable.


When you travel or go on an adventure, we would not know the harsh elements that we could experience which is why it is important and it is highly suggested that you get a winch that comes with a sealed waterproof motor housing or IP67 rating.

What Brand Should You Choose?

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