The 10 Best Truck Winch Review

Whether you are an off-roader like us or the one your friends call when they get stuck, you need a high-quality truck winch that can survive the toughest environments while having enough power to tackle small and large projects.

As off-road enthusiasts, we use and review the best winches available on the market each year. So let’s dive in!

Our Top List

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Preview

Product

Our Rating

Link

1

Warn 103252 VR EVO 12V Electric Winch (10,000 lbs)

2

Smittybilt GEN2 XRC Winch (9500 lbs)

3

Warn 92820 Zeon Platinum 12-S (12,000 lbs)

4

X-Bull 12V Synthetic Rope Winch (13,000 lbs)

No products found.

5

ZeSuper 12V Electric Truck Winch Kit (13,000 lbs)

6

X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch (12,000 lbs)

7

Orcish IP67 Electric Jeep & Truck Winch (13,000 lbs)

8

Smittybilt X2O COMP Truck Winch (10,000 lbs)

9

Superwinch 1595201 Tiger Shark (9500 lbs)

10

Rough Country PRO Series Electric Winch (9500 lbs)


1. Warn 103252 VR EVO 12V Electric Winch

WARN 103252 VR EVO 10

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Every truck winch model in the Warn VR Evo series has the same important features built into them except for the cable lengths and the rated load capacity, and this product comes outfitted with Abright contractors that are waterproof. The contractor inside the control pack is easy to relocate if you want a more low profile installation, and you’ll get a 2-in-1 remote that you can use wirelessly or wired when you work. There is a cast aluminum tie plate that is very durable but lightweight, and you get a 12v series wound motor that has a 3-stage planetary gear train to give the winch a low amp draw without sacrificing power.

You’ll get a long seven-year extended electrical warranty with a limited lifetime mechanical warranty from the date of purchase that helps protect you from damage or defects, and the winch comes rated for standard-duty use. You get a 90-foot steel cable that can safely pull up to 8,000-pounds without strain, and you can fit it nicely on light SUVs or two-door jeeps. There is a synthetic rope option available, and you get a very reliable winch that works on large and small-scale projects. This is the best truck winch out there in our experience.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: 3-stage planetary gear
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 10,000-pounds
  • Warranty: Seven-year electric with a limited lifetime mechanical

Pros

  • Get dual warranty options
  • Can pull up to 10,000-pounds
  • 2-in-1 remote control included
  • Low amp draw
  • Can opt for a low profile installation

Cons

  • We haven’t found any notable issues with this truck winch

2. Smittybilt GEN2 XRC Winch

Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch

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The second best truck winch we have come across this year is the Gen2 XRC. It has a powerful 6.6 horsepower amphibious motor on it, and it’s one of the top picks for a huge audience of winch users because it has a 9,500-pound load capacity. If you need an affordable price without sacrificing efficiency and power, this is the product for you. This product is slightly heavier than the previous winch from the same manufacturer, but it packs in a 3-stage planetary gear system with an impressive ratio of 162.28:1 that allows you to tackle larger projects without it stalling out.

You also don’t have to worry about installation wiring because the kit comes outfitted with everything you need to complete the installation process, and you should use the included wire for a hassle-free installation process. There is a sliding ring gear clutch with a remote control system that ensures you don’t have to do any manual labor when it comes to operating the winch, and it has a nice automatic in-drum brake. The truck winch measures 5.4-inches wide by 22.3-inches long by 9.4-inches high, and this makes it the exact same size as the previous model, and it works well with a 650CCA battery at the minimum.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: 3-stage planetary gear
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 9,500-pounds
  • Warranty: Five-year or 100,000 miles

Pros

  • Lifetime limited replacement warranty
  • Hassle-free installation process
  • Compact but powerful
  • Maximum load capacity of 9,500-pounds
  • Powder coating to protect it

Cons

  • None we could find, only the manual could be a bit more clear. That’s the only nitpick we have.

3. Warn 92820 Zeon Platinum 12-S

WARN 92820 Zeon Platinum 12

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This truck winch has a maximum load capacity of 12,000-pounds, and this means that you should keep any vehicle that you pull with your winch at or below 6,666-pounds to avoid causing excess wear and tear or damage. You’ll be able to use it to take on any medium-duty towing project without a problem, and you can use it to haul trucks, cars, trailers, jeeps, and small SUVs. You’ll get an 80-foot steel cable when you order this product, and it gives you a 162:1 gear ratio to ensure that you get plenty of pulling power without straining your truck or the equipment.

There is a 10-inch mounting pattern with this product, and you get an advanced wireless remote control that allows you to operate the winch at a safe distance. The remote will also read the motor temperature and two additional accessories to ensure nothing overheats, and there is a car charger adapter with a USB charging port to ensure it’s always ready to go. It comes with an IP68 waterproof rating that will keep water and dust out of the body in rough terrain, and it’s up to two times as durable as previous models.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 12,000-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year on electrical and limited lifetime on everything else

Pros

  • Powder coating
  • IP68 waterproof rating
  • Wireless remote included
  • 80-foot steel cable included
  • 162:1 gear ratio

Cons

  • Can rust in wet or humid conditions

4. X-Bull 12V Synthetic Rope Truck Winch

X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Winch

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This is a very heavy-duty truck winch that comes with a maximum load capacity of 13,000-pounds, and it features a Dyneema synthetic rope that has a breaking strength that tops out at 23,809-pounds, and this allows you to handle larger projects. The synthetic rope is light enough to float in water while working beautifully in negative temperatures, and there is an overload protection device built into the design to keep it up and running for extended periods. It works to protect the winch in case of an overload or a short-circuit by switching off the power before any damage can occur, and this can save you money.

The clutch lever on this truck winch is very user-friendly, and it has an ergonomic design to it that will fit right into the palm of your hand to make operating it a snap. There is a remote control if you want to stand back and operate it from a safe distance, and there is a three-stage planetary gear system that gives you much greater torque. The automatic load-holding brake increases the safety factor, and there is a softcover included in the purchase to protect the winch from dust and debris, and it’s waterproof.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Three-stage planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 13,000-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year limited with unlimited tech support

Pros

  • Soft cover included
  • Waterproof design
  • Comes with a Dyneema synthetic rope
  • Unlimited tech support
  • Overload protection built into the design

Cons

  • Installation can be tricky

5. ZeSuper 12V Electric Truck Winch

ZESUPER 12V Electric Winch

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The ZeSuper winch comes with a capacity of 13,000 pounds to allow you to use it for vehicle recovery projects on any vehicle that weighs at or less than this mark. You get a 6.4-horsepower powerful motor equipped that helps you tackle your projects with ease, and it comes with a handheld and wireless remote and a wired remote so you can swap out to whichever one works the best. There is a free-spooling clutch, automatic load-holding brake, and a three planetary gear system that ensures that the operator is safe by keeping the winching process well under control.

The motor on this truck winch has a power in and outmode that gives you positive load control as you work, and there is a heavy-duty sealed contractor with a four-way roller Fairhead that ensures the winch is durable and resistant to wear and tear. The winch comes with an IP67 rating that means that it’ll survive being immersed in water up to three feet without damage, and it works well on UTVs & ATVs, jeeps, cars, trucks, trailers, boats, and modified vehicles. The performance, quality, and price all combine to give you a durable but affordable must-have for your adventures.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 13,000-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year limited with lifetime tech support

Pros

  • IP67 waterproof rating
  • Handheld and wired remote
  • 6.4 horsepower motor
  • Pulls up to 13,000 pounds
  • Versatile use

Cons

  • Warranty only lasts a year

6. X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch

X-BULL 12V Winch

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You’ll get a strong 26-meter cable that ensures you’ll get a smooth pulling process from start to finish when you pull items that weigh up to 12,000-pounds with it, and it works well for all off-road vehicles without bogging down. The motor comes equipped with a power in and power out load control with a powerful current that can support a smooth motor operation and operate within the specific load limit without any current impact, and it also ensures that it’s safe at all times. The body is a very high-quality steel construction that doesn’t rust or corrode with use in rough terrain, and a free spooling clutch helps the wire rope run quickly.

There is very strong sand, mud, dust, and water resistance on this model that prevents it from clogging, and there is a highly precise mini digital wireless remote control that allows you to operate it at a safe distance away. There is also a one-handed control that is very user-friendly, and you get friendly and timely customer service each time you contact them with an issue. There is lifetime technical support included with this product, and it’s very easy to mount once you get it out of the box.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Three-stage planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 12,000-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year limited

Pros

  • Comes with a 26-meter cable
  • Steel construction
  • Water-resistant
  • Digital wireless remote
  • Power in and power out load control

Cons

  • Shorter, limited warranty

7. Orcish IP67 Waterproof 12V Electric Jeep & Truck Winch

ORCISH 12V Electric Truck Winch Kit

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The 13,000-pound weight capacity on this truck winch is excellent for taking on heavy-duty jobs like getting your jeep or truck out of the mud during an off-roading trip, and it can recover almost anything as long as the weight is at or under 13,000-pounds. Keeping the weight of anything you tow at 8,666-pounds or lower will help stop unnecessary wear and tear on the winch to help it last longer, and there is an automatic load-holding brake system installed to ensure that it stays safe when you use it.

There is a three-stage planetary gear system that will help ensure your winching goes smoothly, and it has a power-in and power-out feature that gives you positive load control for your projects. The remote control allows you to work from a safe distance to reduce the risk of accidents, and you get the choice of a synthetic or steel cable with this winch to help tailor it to your needs. This winch comes with an IP67 rating on it that ensures it’s waterproof enough to drop it in at least three feet of water for 30 minutes without causing any damage to the components.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Three-stage planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 13,000-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year limited

Pros

  • Get lifetime technical support
  • Smooth system
  • Steel cable or synthetic rope are available
  • Has a remote
  • IP67 waterproof rating

Cons

  • Cable quality could be a bit better but it can be swapped out with a different cable if needed

8. Smittybilt X2O COMP Truck Winch

Smittybilt X2O COMP

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You’ll get a 6.6-horsepower amphibious motor on this truck winch that will help you get all of your work done, and there is a wireless remote control system that will allow you to use this product while you stay a safe distance away from it to reduce the risk of accidents. You won’t have to try and operate it manually each time you use it, and it has a three-stage planetary gear system with a gear ratio of 218:1 that ensures it won’t stall between uses. You’ll get efficient and fast pulling when you use this winch, and it can handle up to 10,000-pounds for the maximum pulling capacity.

There is an automatic out-of-drum brake system, sliding ring gear clutch, and steel or synthetic rope or cable to make it a complete suite of features. There is a roller fairlead or a hawse fairlead included, depending on which type of cable you pick. The mounting bolt pattern is 10-inches by 4.5-inches, and it weighs in at around 67-pounds to make it compact enough to fit in a host of different vehicles. You’ll want a minimum of 650CCA batteries for winching to ensure it goes off smoothly.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 10,000-pounds
  • Warranty: Five-year electrical and lifetime mechanical

Pros

  • 6.6 horsepower motor
  • 218:1 gear ratio
  • Sliding ring gear clutch
  • Synthetic rope and steel cable
  • Weighs 67-pounds

Cons

  • Not very waterproof

9. Superwinch 1595201 Tiger Shark

Superwinch 1595201 Tiger Shark

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The newer Tiger Shark has a host of standard issue features included that make it a good choice for the enthusiast-level buyer, and there is a synthetic rope, stainless steel hardware, aluminum hawse, automatic load-holding brake design at the end of the motor, and a sealed submersible contractor solenoid. The brake’s placement can help eliminate heat transfer to the synthetic rope, and this can help you take on bigger-scale projects without worrying about overheating the unit. So, this adds versatility to this product.

The severe-duty textured finish on this truck winch allows you to use it in rough terrain and different weather conditions without it showing a lot of wear and tear, and there is a three-stage planetary gearbox that will handle torque and stress on-demand without failing. You get a lift-and-pull ergonomic free-spool lever that will stop any stray trail debris from activating your truck winch as you go along the trail. The 5.2-horsepower motor comes weather-sealed to protect against snow, rain and blowing dust to keep it in top shape, and there is a hand-held remote to keep you away from it as it works.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 9,500-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year limited

Pros

  • 5.2-horsepower motor
  • Sealed design
  • Brake placement eliminates heat transfer
  • Remote included
  • Ergonomic free-spool

Cons

  • Cable sometimes breaks

10. Rough Country PRO Series Electric Truck Winch

Rough Country PRO Series Winch

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This Rough Country winch has a lower weight capacity at 9,500-pounds, so you’ll get the best performance out of it if you use it to pull anything that weighs 6,333-pounds and below. You get a 5.5-horsepower motor with a 12-volt series wound motor that is powerful enough to handle large or small jobs without overheating, and you get a steel cable or synthetic rope version on the same model to allow you to tailor it to suit your needs. It’s a reasonable price when you compare it to others on the market, so you can easily buy it without breaking your budget.

This winch comes with an IP67 waterproof rating to keep it in good working shape, and there is a three-stage planetary gear system with an automatic in-drum brake to help make it safer and ensure it operates smoothly. There is a one-year electrical and a two-year mechanical warranty included on this winch to help protect you against defects or general failure from repeated use.

Key Features:

  • Gear Train: Planetary
  • Maximum Pulling Capacity: 9,500-pounds
  • Warranty: One-year electrical and two-year mechanical

Pros

  • Two warranties included
  • Customer service is each to reach
  • 5.5-horsepower motor
  • Powerful wound motor
  • IP67 waterproof rating

Cons

  • Installation is tricky

Verdict & Review

Warn 103252 VR EVO 12V Electric Winch

9.6

Ease of use

9.7/10

Instructions

9.3/10

Performance

9.8/10

Design

9.7/10

Quality

9.6/10

Pros

  • Get dual warranty options
  • Can pull up to 10,000-pounds
  • 2-in-1 remote included
  • Low amp draw
  • Can opt for a low profile installation

Cons

  • We haven't found any issues!

WARN does it yet again. The VR Evo is our our pick for the best truck winch because you get a powerful motor with a high load capacity. There are various versions of this winch with different capacities. It has a high gear ratio to ensure it runs smoothly throughout your projects, and the kit comes outfitted with everything you need to install it quickly and easily. We also liked the safety features like the nice automatic in-drum brake to keep the operator safe when you use it, and this is why it’s our winner. This concludes our best truck winch review but you might want to check out our buying guide below for more input.

Winch Buying Guide

When you buy a winch, you want to ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck. This is why you should take a look at the buying guide to narrow down which criteria you should consider when you start shopping for the best truck winch.

Capacity

One of the biggest considerations to keep in mind is the winch’s capacity and line pull rating. This is the combination of the technical capacity of your winch and the drum line’s tensile strength, and you can easily figure out the maximum line pull rating for any particular product by taking your gross vehicle weight and multiplying it by 1.5. So, if your vehicle weighs in at 4,000-pounds, the capacity for your winch should be a minimum of 6,000-pounds. Depending on where you install the winch, you may want to put it on a quality mounting plate.

If you’re still not 100% sure which one to go for, always go for the winch that has more capacity to it. The higher this capacity is, the better it’ll be able to take on your projects. Bigger capacity truck winches typically come outfitted with bigger line spools and motors.

Winch Type

Truck winches get powered in two different ways, and you can choose from electric or hydraulic ones. Electric models are the most common ones available, and they draw their power from the vehicle’s electrical system and battery. Hydraulic truck winches draw their power from the steering pump on the vehicle. Check out our list of the best batteries if you need input for that.

An electric winch tends to be much easier to install, and they usually come with a larger winding speed on them. They can feature a remote control to help you safely operate the winch while you stand out of the way. They do draw a decent amount of power from your vehicle’s electrical system, so your truck will need to have enough power to run it.

You can overheat an electric winch if you use it on larger-scale projects, so you should pick out a hydraulic one if you plan to pull all day. Hydraulic truck winches are generally more reliable because low battery power won’t impact them. This is why they’re commonly used in areas with a lot of mud or water. You can keep running it as long as the engine runs, but these truck winches require extra plumbing and hydraulic lines.

Rope Type

You have two options when it comes to the rope type for your truck winch, and they include:

  • Steel – Steel cable is durable, long-lasting, and very easy to keep in top shape. They’re great for use in rough terrain, and it’s a better pick if you’re someone who likes to go off-roading through rocks or sand. Steel cable can break, corrode, or break with hard use, and you have to wear gloves when you work with it.
  • Synthetic Rope – Synthetic rope is very light, flexible, easier to handle, and stronger than steel cable. This is a great option for trail and recovery truck winches, but a synthetic rope is very prone to wear from chemicals, UV exposure, and abrasion. It also has a higher price tag on it over steel. By the way, we have a page on synthetic rope, too!

Drivetrain

Truck winches come outfitted with one of three gear options, and each one has benefits and drawbacks associated with it. They include:

  • Planetary Gear –This is the most popular gear train with winches, and they have a compact size, low weight, and a lower cost. When it comes to amp draw and drivetrain friction, they fall into the middle spot between the three drivetrain options, and most winches have this gear system today. They have a brake located inside the center of the drum, but they can get very hot when you are spooling it out under a load.
  • Spun Gear – This is the most cost-effective drivetrain available on the market, and it has a power transfer efficiency of 75%. The Warn 8274-50 is the only winch remaining on the current market that uses a spun gear drivetrain.
  • Worm Gear – This drivetrain isn’t as powerful as you’ll get with planetary gear, and they tend to run slower than other types of the market. However, they’re very solid and reliable.

Motor

An electric winch comes with two DC motor types: the series-wound motors and the magnet motors. They are:

  • Permanent Magnet Motor – This motor is suitable for light or medium-duty projects, and they’re less expensive than the other type. When you use this type of winch, you should note the load and winching time because they can’t handle heat well. They can also lose power when the weather gets very cold.
  • Series Wound Motor – This motor has field coils that create a magnetic field when it’s in use. They’re very expensive and powerful, but they work well for heavy-duty projects and for use in frigid temperatures.

Remote

Having a remote control for your setup allows you to control the direction of the truck winch from a safe distance. You can get a cordless or corded type of remote. When you pick out your winch, ensure that you get a remote with it because this is an essential safety feature. Ideally, you’ll pick out a wireless remote control with your winch, but a wired one is better than nothing.

Cable Length

When you start to compare multiple truck winches, remember to keep the cable length in mind. Most winches on our list come with 80 to 100-foot cables when you buy them. You should be careful not to choose too short or too long of a cable, and you can ask the company or associate to help you select the best cable length based on your intended use.

Waterproofing

Most of the best truck winches have some degree of waterproofing to them, but some brands pay closer attention to this feature than others. Look for a higher IP rating, as this will tell you how waterproof the whole setup is. You want something that can get completely submerged into the water without failing for at least 30 minutes, if not longer. Also, pay attention to how deep the winch can get submerged because many have a limit of three feet.

Best Truck Winch FAQ

Many people have several questions when it comes to this type of winch, especially if they’ve never bought one before. We picked out a few popular questions for you below.

1. How big of a truck winch do you need?

The heavier your vehicle is, the more powerful your winch will have to be. Ideally, the best truck winch for you should pull roughly 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle, and you can calculate this by taking your vehicle’s gross weight and multiplying it by 1.5. This is the minimum rating you need, but it’s a good idea to go up slightly.

2. Should you really put a winch on your truck?

If you do off-roading for leisure or work, a winch is a good addition to your truck. If you have a work truck or live in an area that routinely sees bad weather conditions like snow, you may want to consider adding a winch.

3. Which manufacturers make the best truck winch?

It’s always a good idea to go with a reputable company when you buy a winch, and a few of the more well-known manufacturers on the market include Smittybilt, Warn, X-Bull, ZeSuper, Orcish, Superwinch, and Rough Country. Picking out a reputable company increases the chances of getting better materials, products, and more responsive customer service.

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