Top 10 Winches for Off-Road and Pickup Trucks

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Categories: TOP 10 Best Products

Buying a winch if you have an off-road truck is a must especially if you are living in a rural area or doing farming. Those who drive away from main roads will definitely understand this necessity and say “Yes” to purchase such a device. 

Once you have decided that you need one, you will find many offers from various manufacturers. It is normal as many producers understand the importance of these devices for US off-road and pickup vehicle owners. It is a matter of a couple of minutes to lose yourself in this richness of choice. We are here to help you and to provide you with the information about the best products of this type you can find on the market. We will also give you a brief guide on how to find out, which winch is the best and meets all your requirements as a bonus.

Before we start, here is a table with the most important features of each model we are going to describe below.

Model nameCapacity, lbsRope material
WARN® 95960 ZEON 12-S PLATINUM12,000 Synthetic
WARN® 85760 9.5CTI MULTI-MOUNT9,500 Steel
WARN® 47801 M15 12V HEAVYWEIGHT16,500Steel
WARN® 103253 VR EVO 10-S10,000Synthetic
WARN® 97740 16.5TI-S SERIES16,500Synthetic
Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch9,500, 12,000, 15,500, 17,500Steel or Synthetic
Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch10,000, 12,000, 15,500 and 17,500Steel or Synthetic
Smittybilt 97204 XRC ATV UTV Marine Trailer4,000Steel or Synthetic
Rough Country 12,000 LB PRO Series Electric Winch12,000Steel or Synthetic
Rough Country 9,500 LB PRO Series Electric Winch9,500Steel or Synthetic

WARN® 95960 ZEON 12-S PLATINUM WINCH

This manufacturer is one of the true leaders of the branch. As for this model, it is one of the best devices that this famous manufacturer has ever made. Zeon 12-S Platinum has a high 12,000 pounds pulling capacity. It comes with an electric 12V engine that can be plugged into the battery of your car. 

The engine will work without any issues even in cold weather. The winch has a special protective metallic hud that prevents water and mud to penetrate the most important parts of the device. As for the drive gear type, it is planetary like the most of winch types and models. 

To put it on the bumper of the car, you will need a special mounting bracket to attach the device. Once you have mounted it, the further mounting process will be very easy. 

The rope is made of synthetic cable. It is used here to minimize the weight of the winch and to provide it with more flexibility without losing the pulling capacity level. There is a special steel sleeve on the drum that prevents the rope from fast wearing during use. 

This type of equipment is controlled by a wireless remote device allowing you to winch in and winch out. And what is even more important, you can get some additional data about your winch engine temperature and the level of the vehicle battery. By the way, this winch does not show any sign of exhausting or overheating even after hard use. This pulling equipment is rather loud but the sound is not annoying. 

When it comes to the service time of this winch, this manufacturer offers an unlimited warranty to all mechanical parts. The electric parts are under a seven years warranty. You can buy it here:

Pros and cons of Zeon 12-S Platinum

Pros:

  • High pull capacity.
  • Synthetic rope providing flexibility, less weight to the whole device without losing pull capacity.
  • Multifeatured remote control.
  • Great warranty offer.

Cons:

  • High cost of the device.
  • High level of noise.

WARN® 85760 9.5CTI MULTI-MOUNT 9500 LBS ELECTRIC WINCH

This 9,500 lbs high-capacity electric winch is another representative of the famous Warn brand. This model is equipped with one of the most powerful motors in the industry. You can plug it directly into the battery or any 12V outlet in the vehicle. The device was developed to perform in the most extreme conditions. 

Multi-Mount 9,500 is equipped with a special brake model that enables better control of the whole process when the device is used. As for the gear, the model offers a three-stage planetary one. This is one of the most durable and reliable types of gear for winches. 

The wire rope does not add too much weight to the whole equipment and meets all capacity requirements. It is flexible enough. 

The remote control is performed with a special control box that allows users to perform various winching operations. It is not wireless like in the previous model but it is one of the cost decreasing factors. If you don’t have a special need in the wireless control set, you will be pleased with what Multi-Mount 9,500 offers to you.

The device has a chip protecting coat that prevents mud and water to damage the inner parts. It also protects the mechanisms from corrosion. You can buy it here:

Pros and Cons

Advantages:

  • Easy mounting.
  • A comparatively high pull capacity.
  • Three-stage planetary gear.
  • Reliable wire rope.
  • Protective black coat.
  • Can be used in extreme conditions.

Disadvantages:

  • Wired remote control set.
  • Relatively high price.

WARN® 97740 16.5TI-S SERIES ELECTRIC WINCH

This is one of the most powerful winch models in the Warn product line having a synthetic 80-inch rope. Warn 16 TI-S electric winch is made of high-grade materials and meets all the industry’s standards. Its high-reliability level is due to the attention to each detail of the mechanical device. Before you mount it on your off-road vehicle, you need to install a special mounting plate on the bumper. 

WARN® 97740 16.5TI-S SERIES offers one of the strongest pulling power in the industry. Its engine is protected from overheating allowing you to use it for a long time if needed. The motor is equipped with a three-stage planetary gear, which is one of the most reliable and appropriate solutions for this type of device.

The engine is equipped with a special thermal sensor. It allows you to watch the temperature of the motor. Having this information, you can prevent the device from breaking due to overheating. Another great solution is a special brake system that provides users with the most flexible control of the device.

The remote control is wired and has a couple of buttons to operate the winch. The device is coated into a special metallic hull that protects the inner parts from mud, dust, water. This winch is delivered with a detailed user guide. You can buy it here:

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • High pull capacity level.
  • Easy to mount construction.
  • Aluminum control box for higher chip protection.
  • Thermal sensor and LED indicator. 
  • Synthetic rope to decrease the weight of the winch.

Disadvantages:

  • A relatively high price.
  • Wired remote control.

WARN® 47801 M15 12V HEAVYWEIGHT WINCH

This is another “tough guy” in the WARN series. This winch has 16,500 lbs pulling capacity. The kit includes wire rope, which is a reliable solution for this kind of winch. The rope is equipped with a latched hook. This one can be called one of the most powerful devices of the kind on the market. The winch requires a winch mount for proper installation.

As always, you will have an electric motor here that can be easily plugged into the battery. Its voltage is 12V. There is no thermal shutoff in this model but you will have to do your best to overheat it. WARN® 47801 M15 12V HEAVYWEIGHT WINCH comes with a planetary gear and mechanical cone brakes. 

This winch is equipped with wired remote control, which has two buttons allowing you to winch in and winch out. This is a big advantage as you don’t need to think much about what to do when you deal with this set. The manufacturer offers 7 years warranty for electrical parts and a limited warranty for all mechanical parts.

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • One of the highest pull capacity levels in the industry.
  • Planetary gear and cone brakes for better control.
  • 90-feet wire rope.
  • 7 years warranty for all electrical parts.
  • Lower price as compared to other devices with the same pull capacity level.

Disadvantages:

  • Wired remote control.
  • A winch mount is required for installation.

WARN® 103253 VR EVO 10-S WINCH

With Warn VR EVO 10-S you can equip smaller off-road vehicles including ½ ton pickups. This device has a special waterproof construction allowing you to use it in various weather and terrain conditions. The features of this equipment make it one of the most hard-working and reliable winches in the industry. And even more, this is a budget model, which you can afford as compared to the models we have described above.

Its engine and planetary gear are put together to provide higher speed and more stability. You can plug it into the battery or any 12V outlet. Warn VR EVO comes with a two-in-one remote control kit that you can use with wire or without it depending on the situation. 

This kit is equipped with a synthetic rope, which decreases the total weight of the winch being as reliable as other types of ropes for this type of device. Warn VR EVO 10-S is protected with a special cast-aluminum plate, which adds strength to the whole construction. This set includes mounting hardware so you don’t need to think a lot about how to install it on your bumper and where to buy additional tools. The manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty for all mechanical parts and seven years warranty for all electrical parts.

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • High speed and performance.
  • High pull capacity.
  • The device is protected by a cast-aluminum plate. 
  • Waterproof construction.
  • Albright contactor.
  • Mounting hardware included in the kit.
  • The price is comparatively low.

Disadvantages:

We haven’t noticed any disadvantages of this tool. It has a lower pull capacity (around 10,000lbs) but it was designed for smaller off-road vehicles.

Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch

This winch has a great up to 17,500 lbs load capacity and includes a 6.6 horsepower engine. This one is among the best performers in the industry. If you need a highly efficient winch with this level of capacity, this model is what you will definitely look for.

This one is heavier than the previous generation. However, it is more efficient when it comes to pulling power. It is equipped with three-stage planetary gear, which allows this winch to do the hardest job that it can. 

This winch is delivered with all necessary wires that you will plug into your battery. The system is equipped with a wired remote control. The model also features an automatic in-drum brake, unlike its predecessor. This model comes in four versions. You can get a 9,500, 12,000, 15,500 and 17,500 models. Most of them come with steel rope. In the 12,000 lbs version, you can choose between synthetic and steel rope.

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • This model offers a powerful 6,6 horsepower engine.
  • There are four versions with different pull capacity levels.
  • All wiring that you need to install this model is already inside the package.
  • The model is equipped with planetary three-stage gear.

As for the disadvantages, it is to mention that the remote is corded. 

Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

This model has four versions of 10,000, 12,000, 15,500 and 17,500 lbs. It is equipped with a 6.6 horsepower engine, which is a pretty powerful one to get all work done. The manufacturer provides users with remote wireless control. 

As for the gear, this model is equipped with a three-stage planetary mechanism for even faster and effective pulling. You can choose between four versions with various pull capacities to meet all your needs. 

Steel and synthetic ropes that you can find in various versions are other great features of the device. They decrease the weight of the whole winch without losing pull capacity. By the way, the total weight of Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch is 67 lbs only. This allows the installation of the winch on any type of average off-road vehicle.

With this model, you are free to choose whatever you want when it comes to rope type and strength. The versions of this device have many things in common except the material of the rope and pull capacity. 

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • You can choose between the four versions with various pull capacities.
  • The device comes with wireless remote control.
  • The 6.6 horsepower motor provides higher speed and efficiency.
  • The winch is equipped with a planetary three-stage gear.
  • The price is one of the cheapest on the market.

As for the disadvantages, there are no major issues with this model.

Smittybilt 97204 XRC ATV UTV Marine Trailer

This is not the best performer in the line of winches but it is a cheap model that everyone can afford. Its maximum pull capacity is 4000 lbs meaning you will have to reduce the gross weight of the vehicle you want to recover. The engine in this winch is a 4.1 horsepower motor combined with a planetary gear. 

The winch is equipped with a steel rope coming through a roller fairlead. There is an option to buy a synthetic rope for the model to reduce it sweight a bit. However, you should be ready to pay more for this type of cable. 

As for the remote control, it is corded meaning you can be 11 inches far from the device. It is to mention that this is not the best solution for various Jeep models. 

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • High-efficiency motor.
  • Planetary gear.
  • Cheap price.
  • The device goes with the steel cable but you can switch it into a synthetic one by paying more.

Disadvantages:

  1. Low remote control wire distance.
  2. Lower pull capacities as compared to other brands and models in this review.
  3. The battery cables are short.

Rough Country 12,000 LB PRO Series Electric Winch

This winch is capable to pull up to 12,000 lbs of weight. However, it is better to use this winch to recover a vehicle, which weighs 8,000 lbs and less. That’s because it is recommended to use a winch that has 1,5 times more capacity than the gross weight of the car. 

If you want to buy this winch, you will have an option between synthetic and steel rope. Whatever you choose, you will not lose capacity. Steel ropes weigh more and they are more dangerous if they break under load. Synthetic rope weighs less and it is more flexible and less dangerous.

Rough Country 12,000 LB PRO Series Electric Winch is equipped with a 6HP motor and a sliding gear clutch. The three-stage planetary gear makes it easier to operate this device. The winch comes with a wired remote. The waterproof rating is rather high and almost equal to the figures huge brands offer. Even so, it is better not to put this one into water. The device has one year of electric warranty and two years warranty for mechanical parts.

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • Average pull capacity.
  • High waterproof level.
  • Powered 6HP motor with three-staged gear.
  • You can choose between synthetic and steel ropes.
  • The package includes all necessary hardware for the installation of the kit.

Disadvantages:

  • The company does not offer a lifetime warranty.
  • There is no wireless remote in the package.

Rough Country 9,500 LB PRO Series Electric Winch

This is not the “strongest” winch on the market but it is one of the best choices as it offers a competitive price. It has the same advantages that the previous product of Rough Country has. Rough Country 9,500 LB PRO Series has a 5.5HP electric motor, which can be plugged into any 12V outlet or even into a car’s battery.

This kit can be equipped with both synthetic or steel ropes. Synthetic rope has many opportunities including less weight and safety. This winch model has a high waterproof rate and is equipped with three-stage planetary gear. This one is a good choice for Jeep and other SUV vehicles. 

Pros and cons

Advantages:

  • Powerful 5.5Hp electric motor.
  • Three-stage planetary gear.
  • Comparably high power for this kind of model.
  • Good bargain for Jeep owners. 
  • You can choose between synthetic and steel ropes.

Disadvantages:

We haven’t found significant disadvantages in this model.

How to buy the best winch

Many off-road truck owners want to buy a winch. However, it is not easy to choose one. This market has many competitor manufacturers and you will have to spend much time trying to find out which one is more suitable for you. This is why we have decided to provide you with a brief guide on how to choose a winch for your car. Here are some important parameters that you will definitely look at before purchasing a winch.

The size of the device

When it comes to the size of the winch, we don’t mean its dimensions. It is about the capacity of this equipment. When looking at this parameter you need to bear in mind that you don’t need to choose the most powerful one. The pull capacity should be 1.5 the weight of your vehicle in order to recover it.  

Why is this figure? The weight of the vehicle may vary depending on the situation. For example, you have passengers on board or some cargo. You will need more power to recover your truck in this case.

Type of motor

There are two main types of motors for winches – hydraulic and electric. The latter cost less and can be powered by the car’s battery. Additionally, most electric motors show better results as compared to their hydraulic competitors. Electric motors can be easily plugged into the car’s electric system. 

However, there is one aspect that you need to bear in mind. The electric motor can be damaged if overheated. This means you need to be careful when using this type of winches and prevent those overheating situations. Some devices are equipped with special sensors that capture the motor’s temperature and send a signal to the remote for example.

If you choose an electric motor, you will also have some options here. Those motors vary among each other by horsepower. The higher the pulling capacity a winch has, the more powerful the motor will be.

Ropes

Winches may be equipped with steel or synthetic ropes. A steel one may seem to be more reliable but it weighs more. Another disadvantage of this type of rope is that it is more dangerous. If it breaks under load, it can damage your car or harm you. 

Those were the most common recommendations that every winch buyer should keep in mind. Do not forget to give this device a good clean from time to time if you use it in sandy or muddy conditions.