Best Winch for Jeep | Ultimate Buyer’s Guide & Jeep Winch Reviews
If you’re looking for the best winch for Jeep vehicles, you’ve come to the right place. Jeeps are dependable, tough and sturdy pieces of machinery, built to get the job done. And by adding a winch, you can expand the power of your Jeep for the better. With an attached winch, you’ll be able to do everything from pull yourself out of tight spots to pull others out yourself.
That said, there’s a huge difference between a winch and a good winch, and the difference matters. Finding the right winch for your Jeep and your unique needs is critical. That’s where we come in. In this article, we’ll offer you a comprehensive guide to winches for Jeeps of all kinds and sizes. We’ll also help you understand how a winch works, what goes into making and using one, and more. Finally, we’ll highlight the best winches currently available on the market. By the end, you’ll have found the best winch for Jeep that money can buy. Then you can get right back to doing what matters—getting out into the muddy wild with your Jeep.
But first—let’s start with the basics to make sure we all end up on the same page.
The Best Winch For Jeep (Full Winch For Jeep Reviews Below)
What is a winch?
A winch is basically a device that’s used to haul or lift items of various weights. At its most basic, a winch consists of a few basic components. First there’s the drum, a rotating cylinder powered by a crank, motor, or other power source. Then a rope or cable is wound around that drum. This is what’s used to attach the winch to whatever is being hauled or lifted. That rope or cable usually ends in a hook of some kind.
And that’s about it. That said, the best winch for Jeep may be a little more complex. But it serves the same general purpose. How it works will depend specifically on which kind you choose and how you use it for your own applications.
Overall, finding the right winch for your will come down to learning more about their uses and designs.
How does a winch work?
You might be wondering how a tiny little device can pull or move something over 100 times its weight. The answer lies in a concept known as gear reduction. Basically, by combining a small rotating system with something larger, the energy and tension is dispersed. This allows a tiny little winch to pull the weight of a massive truck out of the mud. It’s truly a feat of engineering and physics. But let’s be honest, you probably care a little bit less about that then you do about finding the best winch for Jeep that money can buy. So let’s keep moving.
What is a winch used for?
If you’re considering whether to buy the best winch for Jeep now that you have a Jeep of your own, you might have some questions. Namely—what can I use a winch for in the first place? While there are some obvious answers, like pulling other cars out of a tight spot. But it also comes with additional applications as well.
Most people fail to realize that a winch on your vehicle can also save you from tight spots. Imagine you get stuck in a muddy patch. You’ve got no traction, but there’s a big oak tree a few yards away. Just attach the hook of our winch to the tree’s base, then use your winch’s motor to pull yourself free.
Winches can be used in all kinds of hauling situations, too. They’re often used for moving firewood up sharp inclines. They can even help you remove natural features when landscaping. Think of that one thick, ugly tree trunk that’s right in the middle of an otherwise pleasant field.
There are also some other, more creative ways to use your winch. It can be used to stretch cabling or fencing tightly into place. It can also be used to help lift poles in construction, or simply to drag heavy items around a work site.
It’s important to consider a winch’s uses and how they apply to you. That way you’ll be able to choose one that’s not only the best winch for Jeep, but the best one for you.
What is a winch weight and how does it work?
Winch weight is the rating that determines how much load your winch can handle. It’s an important figure that lets you know how much weight you can safely pull with your winch. We’ll talk more about this below, but there’s on detail to keep in mind that’s very important.
As a winch cable or rope moves further from the drum, its strength lessens significantly. That means that the cable closest to the drum will be stronger than the cable that’s wrapped further from the drum’s surface. A winch rated at 6,000 pounds of pull strength might be less depending on how extended the cable might be at any given moment. Keep this in mind when identifying winch weight. It might make the difference between a successful pull and a broken winch.
How strong does my winch need to be?
As with most considerations we’ll discuss, this question depends largely upon your needs. The best winch for Jeep should be strong enough to handle whatever you might need it for, and then some. The key to selecting winch strength is giving yourself breathing room. You don’t want a winch with exactly the pulling strength you need, because then you have no wiggle room whatsoever. A good rule of thumb is to choose a winch that’s rated for 1.5 to 2 times the maximum you think you’ll need. That way you won’t be left stuck in the mud, literally or figuratively.
Remember that if you’re calculating for the pull weight of your vehicle, you’ll have to factor in everything. That includes the vehicle’s weight, weight of passengers, any additional equipment and cargo onboard. For example, just because your Jeep has a curb weight of 6,000 pounds doesn’t mean that you’ll be fine with a 6,000 pound winch. Imagine you’re loaded up for a weekend trip with passengers, coolers, bags, and more. Your weight could stretch up closer to 8,000 or even 9,000 pounds.
Remember, always air on the side of more strength when choosing a winch. You don’t want to have your winch break or leave yourself stuck with no way out.
How am I going to use my winch?
It’s important to address the needs you’ll have for your winch, as well. This will help you make a smart, informed decision. We mentioned some intense hauling jobs above, but they may not apply to you. You might simply want a winch for the security of knowing you can pull yourself out of a jam. But if you’re going to be using your winch heavily for heavy-duty applications, you’ll want the best.
That said, winching can be dangerous. Even pulling your vehicle out of a tight spot can bring risks. That’s why you’ll really want to choose the best winch for Jeep that you can afford. We’ll highlight the best options available to you regardless of uses later on in this article. For now, keep in mind safety as you consider your future purchase. It might mean the difference between peace of mind and constant worrying that your winch might snap.
How often will my winch get use?
It’s also important to consider how often you plan on using your winch. This factors into what we discussed above. If you work on a farm or in construction applications, your winch might be another tool in your virtual tool chest. But for many users, a winch is simply a security feature. It’s there to help you know that if your vehicle gets stuck, you can get your way out. Consider how much use your winch will get when buying. If you plan on heavy use, then you can consider your winch an investment that you’ll be using on a regular basis. If it’s a last-resort tool, then you might be less willing to shell out more to purchase a high-end option.
Personally, we think that buying quality is always a wise move. But we understand that buying the best winch for Jeep is also about value for money. If you feel like you’ve overspent on a winch, you’ll end up resenting your purchase over time.
Understanding Winch Ratings
Ask ten different people how winch ratings work, and you’re pretty certain to get ten distinct answers. The factors that go into determining a winch rating can be complex and complicated. But it’s worth at least making an effort to understand how they work so that you can choose the best winch for Jeep. So with that in mind, let’s give it a shot.
The number that the winch’s manufacturer gives you is based on a very specific test. This test may or may not be standard across multiple manufacturers. That means that the exact way one company tests their winch might be completely different from another. Generally, winch rating tests look something like this. They use only a single layer of rope or cable around the drum. (Remember what we mentioned above about how the further a cable gets from the drum, the weaker it is? That’s no joke—every layer of cable loses between 10% to 25% of strength from the rated number.) Then manufacturers will hoist a static (non-moving) load. This is how they usually determine their winch rating number.
But this doesn’t account for real-world conditions. Anyone who’s ever tried to pull their foot out of the mud knows this. That “sucking factor” has been the death of many a winch before. A buyer selects a winch rated well beyond the weight of their vehicle. But they fail to account for the sucking factor of mud and other factors, like additional cargo. Then their winch fails or breaks. This is not only frustrating and costly but can be downright dangerous and even deadly.
That’s why it’s so important to pick a winch with plenty of headroom above the weight of your vehicle. Remember—use the 1.5 to 2-times rule for determining a safe weight rating.
Should I go for steel cable or synthetic material?
When it comes to the cable for your winch, you have two main options—synthetic or steel. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so you’ll want to be informed before buying.
Synthetic rope is a great all-around option for a wide range of applications. One of the best traits of synthetic winch cable is that its lightweight and not as cumbersome as steel. You can move it easily and handle it without gloves. Another benefit in terms of safety is that synthetic rope doesn’t store up energy like steel rope when in use. That means its less likely to snap and whip dangerously around. That said, synthetic rope is also more likely to develop abrasion damage and frays. It’s also susceptible to ultraviolet damage from the sun. Synthetic rope is often recommended for users who plan to use their winch often and want the best winch for jeep to do it.
Steel rope is made to have very high durability, and it’s also a solid choice for all-around work. It can be used for recovering stuck vehicles to general construction and hauling work. The benefits of steel over synthetic include immunity from UV damage and resistance to abrasion. However, steel rope is much heavier and tougher to handle than synthetic. It can also rust and develop sharp, dangerous metal burs that stick up from the rope. That’s why it’s recommended to always wear gloves when using steel rope. Even the best winch for Jeep brands use steel rope, but these are all factors that are worth keeping in mind.
How can I properly take care of my winch?
Once you’ve selected and purchased a winch, you’ll want to keep it in peak operating condition. This not only protects your investment for the long-term, it’s also a safety measure. Even the best winch for Jeep can snap and break if it isn’t maintained and kept safely. So here are some safety tips for taking care of your winch setup.
- Lubrication is extremely important for your winch, so be sure to regularly check the winch’s grease points and keep them lubricated at all times. This will prevent wear, abrasion and damage.
- Regularly inspect the connection bolts even when winch is out of use. This will ensure that loose bolts don’t lead to a broken winch.
- Don’t neglect the electrical elements of your winch. Make sure your battery and all electrical connections are clear of corrosion or other damage.
- Regularly tighten connections wherever they occur—this will keep your winch from coming apart at the seams.
- Your cable is an integral part of your winch. If it looks damaged, worn, or frayed, replace it immediately. A winch rope that looks damaged isn’t just a cosmetic issue. It can be the sign of an underlying structural problem. Even the best winch for Jeep can wear down over time.
If you remember these important tips for keeping your winch in peak condition, it will reward you with years of dependable and safe operation.
Safety Tips When Winching
It goes without saying that using the utmost care when winching is extremely important. Whenever you’re dealing with heavy loads and extremely tense cables, there’s an element of danger involved. Snapping winch cables have been known to severely injure and even kill users and bystanders. Here are a few essential safety tips to make sure that you use the best winch for Jeep safely and effectively.
- Make sure you’re using the right tool for the job. There are different winch types for different applications. Using the wrong one can result in a dangerous situation. If you’ll be doing lifting, use a winch for lifting. Pulling? Use a pulling winch. It’s that simple.
- Never use your winch without inspecting it first. The time to find damage or wear is before you put a load on your winch, not after it snaps and breaks.
- Always use gloves, damper blankets, slip hooks and other safety gear as directed. You might have the best winch for jeep and have had ten successful winches without issues. But it only takes one to cause severe injury.
- Always be sure you’re using your equipment properly. Never winch in any direction but a straight line. Winching around corners is dangerous and can permanently damage your winch or cable.
- Seeing a winch completed can be fun for spectators but be sure to always keep the area clear. The less people that are standing nearby, the less chance of there being an injury or accident. Also—that includes you. If you’re pulling down a tree or other large, heavy object, stand well clear. Even the best winch for Jeep won’t help you if a tree falls on your head.
- You know what else can put a damper on a successful winching? Bringing down a power line and being electrocuted. Always look out for power lines, especially when bringing down trees. The best winch for Jeep on the market won’t keep a tree from bringing down a high-voltage power line. Not only is it dangerous, it can also cost you a heavy fine from the government. If you don’t feel equipped to complete a winching job near a power line, don’t be ashamed to call in a pro.
- It’s vitally important that you remain focused on the task at hand from start to finish when winching. Many accidents take place after the vehicle has been rescued or tree has been felled. Users will disconnect their cable while there’s still tension on the line. And even the best winch for Jeep won’t help you in that case. Every time you complete a job, be sure to gradually release the cable tension. Stay aware of your specific products instructions. And remember—never use a damaged piece of equipment under any circumstances.
- Last of all, the best safety practice is to take good are of your winch. A winch that’s been properly maintained, stored, and used on a regular basis is far less likely to result in an accident. Even the best winch for jeep vehicles can become useless or even dangerous in the wrong hands. Do your research, take the time to be well-informed, and winch safely.
How to choose the right winch for you
We’ talked a bit about winch safety, the elements of a winch and how to use one effectively. Now it’s time for the main event. It’s time to give you the information you need to choose the best winch for Jeep available anywhere on the market. To do that, we use a strict set of criteria that we believe every quality winch should meet. Before we get to our definitive rankings of the best winches on the market, we’ll start with a quick rundown of our process. These twelve qualities all factor into our determination. Only by combining all of these features into a quality-made product will a product be crowned the best winch for Jeep.
Everyone cares about quality and features, but nothing grabs attention like price. And that’s for good reason. Value is a huge element of how users choose the best winch for jeep. That’s why we’ve made it an essential element of our rating system. Inexpensive winches don’t automatically score highly. But a great price-to-quality ratio definitely will lift a product higher on our list. Getting more than what you paid for is guaranteed to make anyone happy and will help you get more satisfaction out of your winch. So when it comes to our rankings, the best winch for Jeep had better come with value.
This is a no-brainer. Winches that combine other powerful features with the ability to pull bigger loads will rank more highly on our list. As we mentioned above, reaching your max needs with some wiggle room isn’t as easy as it might seem. That’s why it’s vital to select a winch that allows you the space to get some tough jobs done without worrying about breakage or safety. A winch with high pull strength is certain to rank highly on our list, assuming the rest of the qualities match up as well.
Whether a winch comes standard with steel, synthetic or another material cable will factor into our ratings. It won’t make or break a product, as these preferences are specific to unique needs, but it will have an impact. The best winch for Jeep should serve its user in as many situations as possible. That’s why the winch cable material is so vital.
The strength of a winch’s motor has a great deal of effect on the overall winch effectiveness. The horsepower output will determine the pulling and hauling strength of your winch. Horsepower in winches can range widely, so it’s important to determine how much power you’ll need before purchasing. In general, you should opt for the most horsepower that you can afford. The key is that even the best winch for jeep should never be pushed to its absolute limit. You always want a bit of breathing room for the sake of safety and maintaining the integrity of your winch.
A winch’s break will stop the winch from moving when its secured or not in use. This makes it a vital element of any quality winch. In our ratings, you can bet that we won’t give any product the distinction of best winch for Jeep unless it includes a high-quality, dependable brake. Only the most battle-tested and proven winch brakes should be considered for your product. So keep that in mind when you’re deciding on a winch.
Electric winches draw on battery power. So it’s vitally important to consider the power drain needs of each winch before buying. A winch that drains more power than you have available will be virtually useless to you. Even the best winch for Jeep won’t help you if your battery doesn’t have the juice to power it for longer than a few seconds. So do yourself a favor—consider battery power when buying. You’ll thank yourself later on down the road.
The size of your drum determines several factors in your winch. But the most important one is that it will determine how long your winch cable can be. No matter how long of a cable you buy, it will be limited by the space available on your drum. A bigger drum means a longer cable. That being said, remember that the more loops around your drum, the weaker the winch’s pull strength. So a massive drum allows for longer cable but brings up the potential for weakened capability. Keep this in mind when browsing and buying the best winch for Jeep.
What good is a winch if the cable can’t reach whatever you’re trying to haul? Winches that offer longer winch cable lengths will score higher on our ranking. After all, taking a winch out on adventures is all about flexibility. You might have the best winch for Jeep on the market, but with a too-short cable you won’t get much done. While cables can always be swapped out for longer versions, it’s better to buy a winch with everything you need right out of the box. That includes a cable that’s long enough for your specific needs.
Adding any weight to your Jeep will only add to the weight that must be winched. Your winch should be heavy-duty and stable, but as light as possible while still getting the job done. It will also make your winch easier to handle during maintenance or other activities. The lighter the winch, the less hassle it will become for you. The best winch for Jeep should balance weight and strength in one seamless package.
It’s vital to keep in mind that your winch has to actually fit on your specific jeep. We’ll be sure to keep size and dimensions in mind when ranking the best winch for Jeep on the market. If a product has strange dimensions that are unlikely to fit a wide range of vehicles, it won’t make it onto our list. You want to buy with the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll be able to use your winch with the vehicle you have now. Otherwise, it won’t do you much good at all.
Durability & Quality
This is one of the most important factors, if not the most important. With something as critically important (and potentially dangerous) as a winch, build quality is number one. If a winch is poorly made, it might not only be ineffective but could prove deadly for even an experienced user. You can rest assured that the winches featured on this list are all well-built, durable, and constructed for maximum safety. The best winch for Jeep should put your mind at ease on adventures, not add more stress. The winches feature here are designed to do exactly that.
Last but not least, we made sure to include warranty quality as a factor in our rankings. A winch that offers a high-quality warranty will rank higher, because it shows the manufacturer has trust in their product.
Ranking the Best Winch for Jeep on the Market
The time has come for us to determine which of the many winches available on the market are truly worth the money. These nine products all feature high-quality build construction, durability, ease of use, and overall value for the money. By selecting one of these nine standouts, you’ll be choosing the best winch for Jeep available anywhere on the market. So, without further ado, let’s meet our top performers.
Coming in at #1 on our list is a truly impressive machine capable of handling all of your heavy-duty winching tasks. The Smittybilt 97495 features a powerhouse 6.6HP amphibious motor with over 9,500 pounds of load capacity. That’s as monstrous as it gets. But that’s not all—it also features a completely waterproof solenoid, plus a corded remote for safe use. Meanwhile, the entire kit comes with all required wiring plus a lifetime warranty. That warranty covers the original stainless steel materials. The powder coated materials feature a 5-year warranty as well.
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Overall, this winch is an extremely well-built, dependable and high-quality device. And at $299.99, it’s an incredible value that just about anyone can afford. If you’re looking for the absolute best winch for jeep that money can buy, look no further. You’ve found it in the Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch. It’s the bestselling powered winch on the internet, and it can be yours to handle all of your toughest jobs.
Available now from the Superwinch brand for only $194.99, this winch is a great value. It’s loaded with features and offers respectable specs for the price, all in a dependable and low-profile package that will help you handle minor tasks from a four-wheeler.
The high-efficiency motor features 1.6 HP and can handle up to 3,500 pounds of pulling weight. While that’s not match for the Smittybilt’s 9,500 capacity, it’s a respectable figure that will serve in many small-to-medium-sized towing jobs. Meanwhile, the steel wire rope is a sturdy and high-quality alternative to synthetic.
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Other features include a steel planetary gear, circuit breaker protected solenoid and a heavy duty latched hook to ensure a firm hold on whatever you’re attaching. Overall, this is a high-quality product that’s earned its spot at number two on our ranking
3. Warn VR 10
At $587.85, the Warn VR 10 winch is one of the more expensive options on our list. That may leave you asking—is it worth the money? While it’s price tag is high, its features serve to back up its value. With a sleek, streamlined design and plenty of power, you can’t go wrong with the Warn 96810 VR 10.
First of all, we’ll start with the carrying capacity. This beast of a winch can handle loads up to 10,000 pounds. That’s 500 pounds more than our number one pick, and it means there’s just about no job this winch can’t handle. Meanwhile, it comes with the highly respected Warn-brand durability that’s made them one of the most trusted brands in off-road design.
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The winch also features a waterproof Albright contractor, plus a one-piece tie plate that eliminates the need for multiple bars. This design ensures long-lasting strength and dependable durability. That durability is backed by a 7-year electrical and limited life-time mechanical warranty.
With a better price and warranty, the Warn VR 10 might have been crowned the best winch for Jeep on our list. But it’s still an impressively solid, feature-heavy product that’s guaranteed to impress for years to come.
Another product from Smittybilt makes its appearance on our list, and it’s not going to be the last. The X20 Builds upon the strength of the XRC, offering a downright monstrous 10,000 pound load capacity with a synthetic rope winch. But the power doesn’t end there—additional custom options allow you to access a winch with an absolutely unreal 17,500 pounds of load capacity. That’s simply unparalleled strength in a Jeep winch.
But for now, we’ll focus on the base model. At $579.99 it’s in the same general price range of the Warn VR 10, and matches it step for step with features. The 500AMP solenoid is 100% waterproof, while the winch also features a wireless remote. This is a huge safety feature, as it allows you to stand well out of harm’s way when winching.
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Meanwhile, the sleek design and enclosed construction helps protect your cable and winch from the elements. Overall, when you include the fact that even higher pull capacities are available, this winch set might just be the best winch for Jeep on the market. You’ll just have to be willing to pay a higher premium for the added strength, durability and quality. That being said—Smittybilt has a way of making that added cost worthwhile.
Yes, this is another product from Smittybilt. They’re just that good at making top-notch Jeep winches. This one is the XRC synthetic, and it’s essentially a variation on the XRC with a synethic cable design. That synthetic rope is a bit more durable and versatile than steel, making this version a bit more expensive. At $479.99 it’s noticeably pricier than the original XRC. But with 9,500 pounds of load capacity plus a three year electric warranty, this product matches its price with impressive features you’ll love. It even comes with a wired remote for safe operation from a distance.
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6. X Bull
This X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch boasts some impressive features and design elements. We’ll start with the most important—it can handle a beast-like 12,000 pound load capacity. This is significantly more than the 10,000 pounds offered by some other products on our list. And at only $309.90, it’s quite the value. But it loses out in certain areas, including the lack of a high-quality warranty. That being said, it does feature two remote wireless controls for flexibility and safety, plus a free spooling clutch for fast wire rope payout. Available now from the X-Bull brand, this powerful electric winch won’t fail you in a pinch. It may not be the best winch for jeep on the market, but it gets the job done.
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7. Offroad Boar
One of the cheaper options on our list, the Offroad Boar Stainless Steel Waterproof winch also happens to be one of the strongest. Its 13,000 pound load capacity is second highest in our rankings, and it doesn’t end there. The Offroad Boar also boasts a wireless remote control, powerful and efficient series-wound motor, and more. Plus, the stainless steel rope is 85 feet long for a great deal of flexibility. Just keep in mind that with added length comes more spools around the drum. That means a weaker pull strength than that 13,000 pound maximum. That said, this is a great value even if it’s not the best winch for Jeep available.
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Our second X-Bull brand winch comes in at $369.90, a reasonable price for any winch. And this one backs up that price with quality features. It includes 13,000 pound load capacity plus a waterproof and corrosion resistant design. The automatic load-holding breaker offers maximum safety and security, as well. Plus, the two included wireless remote controllers provide you the option to operate your winch at a distance. That means safer and more convenient winch use without the hassle. If you trust the X-Bull brand and want a dependable winch for the future, this product is for you.
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The Arksen brand might not be well known, but its earned a spot on this list by virtue of its truly impressive winch. It might tap out at 9,500 pounds of load capacity, but it’s an absolute steal at $209.97. That value, combined with the high quality that it brings to the table, earn it a spot on our rankings. It also features custom gaskets that seal the inner components against debris, water and other intrusions. Finally, the automatic braking can lock the mechanism anytime your finger leaves the button. Is this the absolute best winch for Jeep on the market? It’s hard to say. But it’s an incredible value and is well-worth the investment.
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We hope these rankings have been helpful in guiding you towards the right winch for you. Remember- everyone’s individual needs and preferences are different. Just because your neighbor or buddy chooses a winch doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Keep your specific needs in mind when buying, and your winch won’t let you down.
Buying a winch is all about bringing a sort of insurance policy with you on your adventures. It should give you the peace of mind to climb that hill, push through that mud, or barrel over that pit. That’s why choosing the best winch for Jeep is so critical. By skimping on important factors like rope quality, drum size, or overall pulling power, you’re selling yourself short. You’re putting yourself in a position to be disappointed, stressed, or even in danger.
So the next time you go out on a wild off-road adventure, do it with the peace of mind you deserve. Bring along one of these nine winch options above and enjoy true quality that won’t let you down. You’ll find that with the security these winches bring when attached to your beloved Jeep, you’ll enjoy yourself more than ever before. That’s because you’ll know that no matter what happens, you’ll have a surefire way to get yourself out of any jam. And that’s what buying the best winch for Jeep is really all about.