A truck winch is a must-have for anyone that is going to be spending time in the backcountry with their truck.
Backcountry adventures and 4-wheeling excursions are rarely free from tough situations.
When you’re in the middle of nowhere, and your truck gets stuck, the last thing you want to think about is how you’re going to get back to civilization.
Experienced backcountry drivers always have a winch installed on their truck.
A winch can be a lifesaving tool in a variety of occasions. They aren’t just helpful for the weekend warrior.
Winches are useful on the job site, on your farm or even around town.
They can be helpful if you tow other vehicles, have a boat or just want to make the most of your truck’s work capabilities.
In this review, we will take a closer look at some of the best winches on the internet.
These winches are designed to make the most of your truck and give you a useful tool for getting out of those tough spots, or using your truck for work or play.
We’ve done the hard work of researching each winch, and providing you with the most helpful information to help you make the best purchase.
Then, we’ve researched your questions.
We’ve found the most frequently asked questions about winches on the internet, and compiled them all in one place, along with helpful answers that will guide you toward the best product for your needs.
Best Truck Winches Reviews & Recommendations for 2023
1. X-BULL 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch
The X-BULL ATV is the best 12000 lb winch, it’s made to be a high performance and reliable product.
It provides strong power to recover your vehicle when it is stuck under various circumstances in the off-road adventure world.
26 meters stainless steel cable, power in and power out motor for positive load control, free spooling clutch for fast wire rope payout.
Quiet and efficient, waterproof and corrosion resistant.
Does not come completely assembled, remotes are sketchy.
Two wireless remote controllers plus one hand controller.
Buy a spare recommended battery : 650 CCA minimum.
- No Load Line Speed: 5.8 fpm
- Pull Up Weight: 12000LBS/5443KGS
- Motor Power: 12 volts 4.5KW, series wound
- Gear Ratio: 265:1
- Net Weight: 88 pounds
- Dimensions: 23.6 x 9.4 x 13.8 inches
2. The VIPER Winch
VIPER 12,000lb Recovery 4×4 Truck Winch is perfect when you need a durable winch for Jeeps, Tow Trucks or other Recovery vehicles.
Constructed with permanent magnet motors and steel gears, the 12,000lb winch delivers a reliable performance that users recognize and trust.
Fully sealed with a planetary metal gear train, it is heavy duty and includes all the features and extras that users desire.
Integrated Contactor/Solenoid, wireless and cabled remotes, mount pattern: 10″ x 4.5″.
IP67 waterproof rating, integrated solenoid, easy to install, powerful but quiet.
Remote range is limited, poor instruction manual.
Manufactured in an ISO-TS16949 certified factory using military-grade materials.
Limited lifetime warranty.
- No Load Line Speed: 31 Amps motor draw / 21.3 FPM (6.49 MPM)
- Pull Up Weight: 12,000lb
- Motor Power: 12V DC, 5.5HP / 4.0 KW, sealed permanent magnet
- Gear Ratio: 265:1
- Net Weight: 86lbs
- Dimensions: 8.6 x 8.6 x 11.8 inches
3. WARN 885000 Corded PullzAll
The Red PullzAll is a powerful lifting and pulling tool and is available in both corded and cordless models.
Maximize the amount of work one person can do, you think up the task and the WARN PullzAll can help you get more done in less time with less effort.
Great for construction, pipe fitting, iron work, equipment/plant maintenance, auto shops, garages, and machine shops.
Also ideal for farm and ranch use, home improvement, hunting, camping and more.
Variable speed control trigger, electronic load limiter with LED indicator.
Easy to use, portable, highly durable.
Wire rope measures only 15′, manufactured in China.
Includes a swiveling anchor hook for a secure hold.
Pick up a couple of extension cords or check out the cordless version.
- No Load Line Speed: 13.8 fpm
- Pull Up Weight: 1,000 lbs
- Motor Power: 24 volt DC
- Gear Ratio: 265:1
- Net Weight: 15 lbs
- Dimensions: 19 x 12 x 12 inches
4. Bravex Electric 12V 3500lb Single Line Waterproof Winch
This heavy duty winch goes great on UTVs or ATVS. Get yourself and your friends out of the mud, snow or ditch easily.
The winch can be mounted on front or the rear of the UTV or ATV and with an easy install, you will look and feel ready for whatever comes your way.
4-Way roller fairlead, forged steel tow hook.
Durable, smooth, and reliable, high power motor drive, the power is strong and steady, waterproof.
2 remotes CANNOT work at the same time, bolts that come with are weak.
Wireless remote control, 5 year warranty.
Confirm the mounting plate fit before buying! Mounting bolt pattern: 3.13” .
- No Load Line Speed: 3.3 fpm
- Pull Up Weight: 3500lb
- Motor Power: 12V
- Gear Ratio: 153:01:00
- Net Weight: 18.74 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.2 x 12.2 x 6.1 inches
5. WARN 910500 Drill Winch
How do you turn a mere handheld power drill into a portable, versatile pulling tool?
With the rugged, easy-to-use WARN Drill Winch. From moving heavy stock to pulling a rolling load up onto a trailer.
The 500 lb. capacity Drill Winch does the hard-to-handle pulling jobs which makes it the best winch for the money.
Free-spool clutch makes rigging fast and easy.
Lightweight and portable, ergonomic handle.
Not for vertical lifting, powered by a standard portable drill (not included).
Includes 30 feet of wire rope, integrated hawse fairlead, and rigging hooks (front and rear).
Limited 1 Year Warranty.
- No Load Line Speed: 5.8 fpm
- Pull Up Weight: 500 lbs
- Motor Power: Depends on the power of the drill
- Gear Ratio: N/A
- Net Weight: 12.63 pounds
- Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 10 inches
Truck Winch FAQ
Now that we’ve given you our list of great winches, it’s time to break-down those questions you might have.
Here, we’ve search the depths of the internet to find the most frequently asked questions about truck winches.
We’ve compiled these questions, along with some helpful answers in sections that follows.
What is a winch on a truck?
A winch is a handy tool that is used for pulling or maneuvering heavy objects. Winches have been used for thousands of years to make moving heavy stuff, easier.
Basic winches are simply rope wrapped around a drum that is turned using a hand lever or even an animal like a horse or ox.
Simple winches like these were used to construct things like the pyramids and many of the gothic churches that are common throughout Europe.
They were also fairly large. The simple winch of days gone by, wouldn’t be terribly useful on your truck.
Truck winches are a modern and much smaller version of these simple winches. They are a spool of rope, or wire that is attached to the bumper of your truck.
These winches are generally powered by your vehicle’s engine, however smaller versions can be battery powered or run using an electric or battery powered drill.
Truck winches are made of four basic components. These may have some slight alterations depending on the size of the winch and whether it is a hydraulic or electric winch.
- Cable or Wire – generally this is a steel cable or some type of synthetic wire. It is wrapped around a small drum to keep the cable from getting tangled or knotted when not in use. The length of the cables varies, but usually range between 40 and 100 feet.
- Drum – The purpose of the drum is to hold the cable. The drum is set on a spool that allows it to turn when winding the cable in or out.
- Motor – The motor is what provides the power to turn the drum. Power isn’t necessary to pull wire from the drum, but it is necessary when winding the cable back in.
- Gear Train – The gear train is used to convert the power created by the motor and turning it into pulling power. The gear train is necessary for moving heavy objects.
Truck winches come in electric or hydraulic. The difference between these two winches has to do with how they are powered by your vehicle.
If you are using your truck’s engine to power your winch, the electric winch will be tied to the truck’s battery.
This makes the winch capable of running without the engine running. The hydraulic winch is connected to the power steering pump of your truck.
These winches are very powerful, and can run for a long time without overheating, however the power steering pump requires that the truck is running to be operational.
Hydraulic pumps only operate if your truck is running.
How big of a winch do I need?
Sizing your truck winch depends on the work you are planning on using it for. If you are using your winch for light duty jobs, you can get away with a small winch.
Smaller winches are handy for moving loads that you might not be able to lift by hand, but that aren’t exceptionally heavy.
Small winches are often battery powered, and may not have a ton of speed.
If you are using your winch as a way to help you move your truck or to move large objects like other vehicles, boats or very heavy loads, you will want a larger, more powerful winch.
In these cases you will want to properly size your winch for the work you are planning on doing.
Many truck owner will size the winch on their truck to be capable of moving their truck, plus some. Properly sizing your winch is a matter of basic math.
The best rule of thumb for sizing your truck winch is one and a half times the gross vehicle weight of your truck. For instance if your truck weighs 4,000 pounds, the calculation would be:
4,000 lbs x 1.5 = 6,000 lbs
In this case, the minimum capacity of your winch should be 6,000 pounds.
If you think you need more, you can move up from here, but at least you will know that you have enough to move your own truck.
One more thing to keep in mind when you are buying a winch – just because it is rated for 6,000 pounds doesn’t mean that it will pull 6,000 pounds consistently.
Depending on the length of the cable and the number of layers on the drum, you may get more or less power.
This is why it is better to oversize your winch if you plan on using it to move your truck.
How does an electric winch work?
An electric winch is the most reliable option for most jobs. It can run even if your truck engine is off or had suffered a mechanical issue, so long as the battery has a charge.
Unless your winch is small, and is operated using it’s one battery source, you will need to tie your winch to the engine battery for your truck.
This is a simple matter of following basic wiring instructions that come with your winch.
The power cable for the winch will pass through the grill of your truck and tie in with the electrical system of the engine.
In this configuration, the electric motor will be able to run independently of the truck’s engine, thus allowing it to operate even if the truck is not running.
Keep in mind however, running your winch when your truck is off will deplete the charge of the battery.
If you need to run the winch for longer than just a few minutes, it is a wise idea to keep your engine running.
The alternator of your truck will help charge the battery while it is being used to run the winch.
If this isn’t possible, however, due to mechanical issues with your truck, it is worth knowing that if planned correctly, you can get your truck unstuck from most situations with what power is available in your truck battery.
While electric winches are handy for many applications, they aren’t great for every job.
Hydraulic winches do have benefits over the electric winch, make sure that before you install and electric winch on your truck that it is the right tool for the job.
What are some situations where a truck winch is useful?
We’ve mentioned this a few times now, a truck winch is a very handy tool. It can turn your everyday truck into a workhorse that you can’t live without.
Not sure if a truck winch is something that you need? Here are some thoughts on how a truck winch can be helpful.
If you live in a part of the world where snowy weather happens every winter, a truck winch can be a handy tool.
There is nothing more frustrating than being alone and getting your truck stuck in the snow. If your truck has a winch, this never has to be a problem again.
Use the truck winch and a solid structure like a post or tree to pull your truck from the snow. You don’t need to wait for a tow truck or spend hours shoveling.
This is especially helpful if your snow weather travels take you away from the conveniences of the city.
4X4 Recreational Driving
If you love to do backcountry 4X4 driving, a winch is a necessary tool, not just a fun add-on. Avid 4X4 enthusiasts know that a winch can be a literal lifesaver.
Use your winch to get your truck unstuck. Your winch can be used to upright a truck that has rolled. Or, use your winch to slowly move your truck up a steep incline.
Farm or Construction Work
Winches are great tools to have if you’re working a farm or construction site.
They can be used to pull or move heavy objects into position or to help get tractors or other machinery out of mud, snow or other stuck positions.
Trailering Vehicles or Boats
If your winch is installed on your flatbed trailer, boat trailer or even back bumper, you can use it to load vehicles, boats or even other heavy objects.
Winches are exceptionally handy for pulling your boat from the water onto its trailer.
They move slowly enough that you can easily maneuver your boat, without having to worry about damaging it.
The same is true for a winch attached to your flatbed trailer. Move vehicles or heavy objects slowly and in control for safe and efficient trailering.
Winches are amazingly handy tools.
Not only are they helpful when you’re stuck or in a tight situation, but they also turn your standard truck into a tool that you might not be able to live without.
In this review we’ve given you our favorite winches and provided you with helpful information about how handy a winch can be.
Now, you’re ready to find that perfect winch for all of your work and recreational needs.
Recommend another winch? Did we miss a burning question?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and happy shopping!