2019 Guide to Winches
From regular and heavy-duty to innovative features and designs, there’s a winch to fit your needs
There are many winches available from the aftermarket, each with unique power, pull, and performance features. And that variety makes it easier to narrow down your choice to the one that will best match how you intend to get stuck (or such). The winches you see here are available directly from their manufacturer or the company's distributor, and you might be surprised to learn where else you can buy many of these winches: Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, and Kmart.
What: 17,000-pound winch
Tech: This heavy-duty, waterproof winch has a 3.5-6.6hp 12V motor and three-stage planetary gear, and you can get a synthetic rope with billet-aluminum fairlead. You're looking at a gear ratio of 364:1.
Quote: "The included wireless remote control is a huge help when pulling a truck or any heavy vehicle on an equipment trailer. "
Buy: Anvil, holley.com
What: Seal Slim 9.5rs and 12.5rs
Tech: Those numbers stand for availability of both 9,500-pound and 12,500-pound pulling capacities. These two are about half an inch shorter than their Seal Gen2 Series relatives. The Seal part of the name refers to its IP68 submersion capability.
Quote: "One important feature is the patented Cone Brake Structure (CBS)—'brake outside the drum' brake system. The CBS system is also an adjustable true friction brake, which utilizes a large friction material surface area to provide superior braking. "
Buy: ComeUp USA, comeupusa.com
Mean Mother 4x4
What: EDGE Series
Tech: There's a three-stage planetary gearbox with sintered steel bushings, sliding ring gear clutch for strength, and automatic load-holding in-drum brake system. A wireless remote is available. And the waterproof solenoid uses silver-cadmium alloy to resist arching.
Quote: "The 9,500-pound and 12,000-pound series winches use an efficient 12V 4.8hp series-wound motor, while the 6,000-pound runs a 3.6hp. Also available is a 24V 12,000-pound winch, using a 24V 4.8hp series-wound motor. "
Buy: Mean Mother 4x4, meanmother.com.au
Tech: It's available in 10,000-pound and 12,000-pound line pull and has heat-dissipating fins for preventing overheating and an IP67 waterproof rating. There's also a wireless remote.
Quote: "Removable clutch handle is an industry-first feature, where the clutch handle doubles as a key that can be removed to deter winch line theft or other vandalism. The LED winch spool light strip activates when the winch is in use, making it easier to see cable spool, especially in darkness or inclement weather. "
Buy: Quadratec, quadratec.com
Tech: The UK-based company produces the electric series with various pull capacities; take a close look at the Titan offering, which offers an approximate 16,500-pound rating. There's also an air-brake system, a 7hp Ox motor, and different gear ratios: Standard, 185:1, Advanced 284:1, and Titan 352:1.
Quote: "The Explorer-2 gearbox has been purposely designed to be modular. By swapping the gear cassettes around into a different order and/or replacing one cassette with another, you can change the same Explorer-2 winch. A Standard-geared Explorer2 can be changed to a Titan in less than an hour. "
Buy: RED Winches, red-winches.com
What: 9,500-pound PRO Series
Tech: The electric winch uses synthetic rope and has an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating, 5.5hp motor, and hawse fairlead.
Quote: "Each unit features series-wound motors, which are extremely efficient at higher speeds and less prone to overheating compared to permanent magnet motors. Better still, Rough Country Recovery Systems utilize a three-stage planetary geartrain boasting a 265:1 gear ratio, allowing enormous torque in such a small housing. "
Buy: Rough Country, roughcountry.com
What: Trekker Series
Tech: Features of the electric winch include an IP68 waterproof rating and available wireless remote (otherwise, it's wired remote). Both 10,000-pound and 12,500-pound winches are available, with either a steel cable or synthetic rope.
Quote: "The brawn behind the Trekker Series lineup is the heavy-duty 5.6/6.6 series-wound motor that delivers consistent pull strength through a bulletproof three-stage planetary drive gear. A 212:1 gear ratio means you see quicker line speeds, getting you back to wheeling in record time. "
Buy: Rugged Ridge, ruggedridge.com
What: XRC Gen3
Tech: The completely redesigned 9,500-pound winch utilizes new forged gears rather than stamped gears and increases in both line speed and spooling speed compared to the Gen2. Unique items include a 12V power outlet on the control box, daytime running light on the control box, and tie-bar light and controller flashlight for winching in the dark.
Quote: "It has a powerful new motor; at 7.0 horsepower, it's the highest rated in the industry. It's also extremely efficient to use, requiring less electricity to produce more torque at a higher rpm. We also added a new Load Indicator System to know how much power you're using. It will make you aware of whether you're pulling in a safe zone or pushing the limits of the winch. "
Buy: Smittybilt, winch.smittybilt.com
What: Tiger Shark 9500SR
Tech: Behind the scenes of this 9,500-pound winch is a 5.2hp motor and 218:1 gear ratio, plus three-stage planetary gearing, weather-sealed solenoid, hawse fairlead, and handheld remote.
Quote: "One of Superwinch's most popular winches, the Tiger Shark 9500 winch synthetic models come standard with an automatic load holding brake, better drums (thicker, fabricated steel), and stainless steel hardware and tie-bars. "
Buy: Superwinch, superwinch.com
Tuff Stuff 4x4
Tech: This winch features 13,000-pound pulling power, 216:1 gear ratio, roller fairlead, three-stage planetary gearing, and 6.6hp series-wound motor.
Quote: "With all the electronics built into its sealed waterproof case, the Trailhead winch is designed to handle the most demanding conditions—giving you 100 percent confidence this winch is ready for any job, any time, any condition. "
Buy: Tuff Stuff 4x4, tuffstuff4x4.com
What: VR EVO Series
Tech: You know the VR? This is the next level. Three capacities are available for the standard-duty winch series: 8,000, 10,000, and 12,000 pounds. The EVO 8, 10, and 12 have a roller fairlead and steel rope; 8-S, 10-S, and 12-S use a black aluminum hawse fairlead and synthetic rope.
Quote: "This includes IP68 waterproof construction for reliability in all conditions. There's also a new two-in-one remote allowing for either wireless or corded operation, giving users increased options for winch operation. "
Buy: Warn Ind., warn.com
Harbor Freight Tools
Tech: This 12,000-pound electric winch features an automatic load-holding brake, plus a roller fairlead and cable tensioner. The remote is ergonomic.
Quote: "Recover a stuck vehicle, haul timber, or load a boat with this powerful auto winch. The series-wound motor stays cool while the three-stage planetary gear system provides fast line speed. "
Buy: Harbor Freight Tools, harborfreight.com
Tech: This 20,000-pound, 12V-powered winch has a four-way steel wire guide wheel for multidirectional rope input. Gear reduction ratio? 420:1. And the motor's worth 6.8 horses.
Quote: "Features a heavy-duty motor with high ampere resistance and output strength, zinc alloy gearbox, three-stage planetary gear speed reduction system, super torque strength, and mechanical safety brake system for large loading. "
Buy: Pierce Arrow, piercearrowinc.com
Tractor Supply Company
Tech: This 12,000-pound electric winch has a 12V motor with 3 horses, automatic braking, and rubberized remote.
Quote: "Roller fairlead minimizes damage to wire when pulling from different angles, and it comes with 13/32 inch x 83.7 feet of steel cable. "
Buy: Tractor Supply Co., tractorsupply.com
Runva Performance Winches
Tech: This has a series-wound 12V or 24V motor. There's a free-spooling clutch, synthetic rope or steel cable, patented three-stage planetary setup, and 430:1 gear ratio.
Quote: "Specifically designed shape for convenience of installation and good looking. "
Buy: Runva Performance Winches, runvawinch.com.au or runvausa.com
What: QM 9000
Tech: As the name implies, you're getting a 9,000-pound capacity. It also has a 138:1 gear reduction ratio, 4.4hp 12V, series-wound motor, and hawse fairlead.
Quote: "Proven three-stage planetary gear system design for fast line speed. Cam action clutch disengages planetary gear system for free spooling. "
Buy: Ramsey Winch, ramseywinchstore.com
What: SEC15 (es)
Tech: This 15,000-pound-capable winch is compact and has a 6.8hp 12V series-wound motor. A roller fairlead, waterproofness, handheld remote, and 296:1 gear ratio are among its traits.
Quote: "Fully sealed, submersible, water, mud, and snowproof, the all-metal, three-stage planetary geartrain provides the durability and reliability you can depend on in the most extreme situations and elements. "
Buy: Mile Marker, milemarker.com
What: Bull-9.5 SR
Tech: Series-wound 12V and 24V motors, three-stage planetary gearset, and 156:1 gear ratio highlight this 9,500-pound winch.
Quote: "Patented, powerful double-cone brake with zero sliding distance. Patented clutch is easy to operate when rolling in and out. Amazing appearance; legend updated to be faster and IP68 waterproof. "
Buy: KingOne Winch, kingonewinch.com
What: Extreme Series KX9500E
Tech: Pull capacity is 9,500 pounds, and there's a 5.5hp 12V motor as well as 218:1 gear ratio, "lift and turn" free spool, automatic full-hold brake, wireless remote and handheld remote, and synthetic or wire rope.
Quote: "Extreme Series features new design and styling for high-end applications and looks. Industry-leading design incorporates a front-facing LED work light with cover when you need three hands but only have two. "
Buy: Keeper, keeperproducts.com
Tech: Among the features for this 10,000-pound winch are a 5.6hp series-wound motor, three-stage planetary gearing, 265:1 gear reduction ratio, automatic load-holding brake, hawse fairlead, synthetic rope, and IP68 waterproof rating.
Quote: "The XR Series offers the perfect balance of speed and power, giving you the performance you need for your recovery applications. "
Buy: Engo USA, engoindustries.com
Dobinsons Springs and Suspension
What: 12,000-pound winch
Tech: This includes a 6.5hp series-wound motor, three-stage planetary gears, 216:1 gear reduction, automatic braking action, sealed solenoid box, synthetic rope, hawse fairlead, and handheld control and wireless remote.
Quote: "More powerful, easy quick flop clutch, improved casings, and motor housing breather. "
Buy: Dobinsons Springs and Suspension, dobinsonsdirect.com
Champion Power Equipment
What: 12,000-pound winch
Tech: This winch has a synthetic rope; 6hp series-wound motor; gear reduction ratio of 216:1; three-position, adjustable handles that act as side guards for the winch; free-spooling clutch; and handheld quick-connect remote.
Quote: "This winch installs quickly with our Speed Mount 2-inch hitch adapter, which is designed for quick-and-easy mounting, transportation, and storage. "
Buy: Champion Power Equipment, championpowerequipment.com
Tech: 12,500- and 15,000-pound versions are available with three-stage planetary gearing, 262:1 gear ratio, 6.8hp series-wound motor, freespooling clutch, automatic brake hold, and optional wireless setup.
Quote: "Thermal limiter motor-overheat protection with LED feedback light and auto reconnect. "
Buy: Bulldog Winch, bulldogwinch.com
What: Samurai 9500
Tech: There's a high-speed synthetic model, a narrow drum version, and one with wire rope. The 9,500-pound series has 4.6hp, 5hp, or 6.5hp 12V motors, 110:1 or 230:1 gearing depending on which you get, integrated wireless remote, and more.
Quote: "Includes high-quality series-wound double-sealed motor with brass fittings, heavy-duty waterproof contactor, double-sealed drum on maintenance-free bearings, quiet, efficient full-steel planetary gearing. "
Buy: Warrior Winches, warriorwinches.com
What: X-Power EW12500
Tech: The 12,500-pound-capacity winch gets its strength from a 6.6hp 12V or 6hp 24V series-wound motor, plus from the 265:1 gear ratio. There's also an included remote and wire or synthetic rope.
Quote: "Has low-amp waterproof motor and gearbox. "
Buy: T-Max, t-maxwinches.com.au
Tech: The 10,000-pound winch has three-stage planetary gearing, 265:1 gearing, automatic load-holding brake, IP68 waterproof/dustproof rating, and 6.5hp series-wound motor.
Quote: "Seriously heavy-duty winch system for your off-road rig. Designed to go anywhere that your rig can go, and is built to outlast your rig. "
Buy: Trail-Gear, trail-gear.com
What: 8,000-pound winch
Tech: The 12V motor makes 5.5 horses and has a three-stage planetary situation plus 218:1 gearing. There's steel cable and roller fairlead.
Quote: "JEGS winches use a machined gear to handle the toughest conditions, and low gear-reduction ratios prolong solenoid and motor life. "
Buy: JEGS, jegs.com
Tech: This 9,500-pound winch has synthetic rope, 210:1 reduction ratio, three-stage planetary gearing, 4.9hp 12V motor, wireless remote, and hawse fairlead.
Quote: "Tested to meet Australian standards, a TJM winch will provide the right amount of 'grunt' in any situation, thanks to the carefully engineered balance of power and speed. "
Buy: TJM USA, tjmusa.com