Best Truck Winch Review & Buying Guide 2020

Best Overall

smittybilt x2o truck winch
Smittybilt X2O

The best truck winch

If you’re looking for truck winch and you don’t have the time for intense comparison shopping then get this Smittybilt X2O winch for overall quality and performance.

Off-road adventures are all fun until your truck gets stuck somewhere, right?

Although these situations are inevitable, getting out is never an easy task to accomplish. It is truly a laborious and dangerous work when you do not have the proper tool.

If you have the best truck winch with you, it can save your truck’s life(and yours). It gives you the power to tow your vehicle from whatever situation you’ve got yourself into.

But finding a good one from all these options isn’t easy. So, we did the research for you.

In this article, we’ve listed down the top 10 best truck winch you can purchase now. Stick around to learn more about these models’ pros and cons.

Best Truck Winch Comparison Table

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS

Smittybilt X20 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 10,000 to 17,500 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic/Steel
  • Remote: Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

WARN 95960 ZEON Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 12,000 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check ON Amazon

Ze-super 13000 lb Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 13,000 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wired + Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

X-BULL 13000 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 13,000 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wired + Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

Tungsten T12000S Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 12,000 lb
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

Smittybilt GEN3 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 9500 lb.
  • Rope: Steel/Synthetic
  • Remote: Wired
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

Zeak 12000 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 12,000 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check ON Amazon

Superwinch 1595201 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 9500 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wired
  • Sealed: Yes
Check On Amazon

WARN 103250 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 8000 lb.
  • Rope: Steel
  • Remote: Wired/Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

RUGCEL 12000 Truck Winch

  • Capacity: 12,000 lb.
  • Rope: Synthetic
  • Remote: Wired + Wireless
  • Waterproof: Yes
Check On Amazon

10 Best Truck Winch Reviews

To help you choose the perfect winch for your truck, we listed down the 10 best options and their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Smittybilt X2O Truck Winch

The heavy duty winch is no wonder one of the best option for truck in town. It will impress you with a 6.6 horsepower motor, which you can rely on any time. This powerful motor will surely never let you down, especially in emergency cases.

Furthermore, the gear system of this model features a gear ratio of 218:1. Hence, you can be sure that it will get the job done quickly. The load capacity of this model is as high as 17,000 lbs. Surely it can handle everything with ease.

You have an option between steel and synthetic for the cable, at least for the 10,000 and 12000 capacity version. For the higher capacity versions, such as the 15,550 and 17,500 pounds, you only get a steel wire cable with roller fairlead. For lower capacity(<12000) versions, Synthetic rope will be a better option.  For higher capacity, steel wire cable is the only option.

The winch comes with a wireless control remote. You do not need to manually operate this bad boy, plus, it lessens the possibility of accidents since you can work farther from it. Also, the remote allows you to work without getting dirty!

In terms of dimension, this model’s size is 22.3 x 5.4 x 9.4(Inches). On the other hand, it weighs just about 30.4kg. Moreover, you need 650CCA battery to operate this model.

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Option to choose from steel and synthetic cable
  • Gear ratio of 218:1 gets the job done easily
  • Powerful 6.6 HP motor
Cons
  • Some people may want synthetic cable for larger capacity

2. WARN 12000 lb Truck Winch

Getting your truck stuck in the mud is unavoidable, especially if you are an adventurous person. It can be dangerous, complicated, and very hard to get your truck back on the road if you do not have the proper tool.

When these situations happen, you need a reliable truck winch to save you and your truck. This Zeon winch will come in handy and won’t fail for sure. This is a premium high-quality winch.

This heavy-duty winch has 12,000 pounds worth of pull strength rating. With this load capacity, the model is one of the most reliable you can purchase from the market. It comes with an 80 ft synthetic rope, which is 3/8 inches in diameter. The model also features a standard 10×4.5 bolt pattern.

Warn provides a high-quality winch remote with this model, so it is very easy to operate. In terms of its specification, it features a 12V motor. This is capable of pulling at a rate of 5.6 feet per minute. It also is sealed with an IP68-rated case. You do not have to worry about corrosion with its black powder coat finish!

Its gears feature a 162:1 reduction ratio and automatic load holding breaks. Also, it features a Hawse fairlead. You do not have to worry about using this tool in the mud or even when it is raining since it is waterproof!

Overall this is the best winch you can buy if you are willing to pay the premium price. If you have the budget then go for it, you won’t regret.

Pros
  • The model is waterproof
  • It comes with 80ft synthetic rope as cable
  • Hawse fairlead
  • Wireless remote control
Cons
  • Some people may want more capacity than 12,000 pounds

3. XBull 13000 lb Truck Winch

Winches can be expensive, but it does not mean you cannot get one that is affordable but will still impress you with its quality and features. Take for example, this winch model’s price is more affordable than the others, but the quality is on par with the high-end models.

First, you should know that it will not let you down in terms of its pulling capacity. It can pull up to 13,000 pounds! Definitely, this model is capable of tackling medium to heavy vehicles with ease. Of course, your truck can rely on it at any time.

This particular model comes in a synthetic cable. We all know that synthetic cables are safer just in case the rope breaks. What will impress you more is that it used a Dyneema material.

Furthermore, this is one of the strongest fibers in the world, so you know it is durable. It is 10 times lighter and stronger than steel, and the material is even bulletproof!

The model is also water and UV resistant. What’s more, almost any chemical cannot harm this. The three-stage planetary gear train system is also an additional feature you will get from this.

With the hawse fairlead, the rope operation will surely be smooth. You also get 3 remote control pack upon purchasing.

Pros
  • The model is waterproof and UV resistant
  • More affordable than other truck winches in the market
  • Hawse fairlead
  • 2 wireless control remote and 1 extra remote control
  • Comes with Dyneema synthetic rope
Cons
  • No overload protection

4. Ze-super 13000 lb Truck Winch

This winch kit can pull up to 13,00lbs. This capacity is higher than the average truck winches in the market. Combined with its 6.4 horsepower winch motor, this winch can do the recovery job with ease.

When buying this winch, you will get both wireless and a wired remote. You can choose between whichever you are more comfortable with. In the end, you will surely have no trouble when operating the winch.

It features a free spooling clutch and an automatic load holding break. The model also comes with 3 stage planetary gear system. Another good thing about this model is that it has power in and out feature. All these features combined ensures the safety and allows you to have full control of the winch.

The model comes with a heavy-duty sealed contractor. On the other hand, it can pull up to 5.8 feet per minute once fully loaded. When empty, it can pull up to 22 feet per minute.

It also comes with a Dyneema 9mm by 18m synthetic rope as its cable. This is an extremely light material; it even floats on water. Yet, the durability is superb. Also, it is still workable even if the temperature is below 20-degree Celsius.

Pros
  • Waterproof and corrosion-resistant
  • Can hold up to 13,000 lbs
  • Automatic load holding brake for more safety
  • Both wireless and wired remote control pack
  • 6.4 horsepower motor
Cons
  • Could be hard to set up

5. Tungsten4x4 12000 lb Truck Winch

Since your life may depend on your truck winch in case of being stuck, you absolutely need to look at its specifications. So, let us see how reliable is this T12000S model and find out why a lot of people consider liked this truck winch.

This model has the power to pull as heavy as 12,000 pounds. Of course, the other specifications will impress you as well. It features a magnetic motor with 6.5 horsepower.

Since it has a lot of features, it is understandable that this model may weigh heavier than the others, being 84lbs. This particular model comes with a synthetic rope, which no doubt is durable and the safest cable option.

So, what else does it feature? The 3 stage planetary gear system gets the job done with ease. Plus, no matter how the weather is, you can use this winch since it is waterproof.

More on that, it has an IP 67 rating which guarantees complete water resistance.

You have a lot of control of the winch with its dynamic and mechanical brake.

The stylish design of this model adds to its advantage from other models. Not only that, but the price also will surely not break the bank. All in all, this is a perfect option if you are looking for a reliable truck winch.

Pros
  • It comes with a synthetic rope cable
  • Has a 265:1 gear ratio
  • The model has a decent capacity of 12,000 pounds
  • Offers a powerful 6.5 HP motor
Cons
  • It is heavier than other models

6. ZE-AK 12000lb Truck Winch

This winch brand may not be the most popular brand, but it does not imply that their products are not worth it. Just like this 12,000 lbs. Winch model, their products are packed with features and specifications, which will make you sing its praises.

Let us take a deeper look at this particular model. It is an electric winch that has the capacity to pull up to 12,000 lbs. You can use it with your truck, jeep, and anything else. The matt black color and powder coat finish makes it easy to the eyes; it looks simple yet strong.

It also features a wireless control remote, which is very convenient since you can have some distance from your truck when you are operating the winch. The cable is a synthetic rope that is 86 inches long. It also features a dynamic braking system.

On the other hand, the 6 HP motor is very powerful and is enough to pull back your truck quickly. It is not only the motor that will impress you. The three stage planetary gear system increases its power, which allows the winch to pull at a speed of 4.6 feet per minute. That being said, this winch is definitely a good purchase.

Pros
  • It features a synthetic rope cable that is 86 inches long
  • The model has a decent capacity of 12,000 pounds
  • Offers a powerful 6 HP motor which is powerful enough to pull your truck
  • Has remote control
Cons
  • The motor might overheat

7. Smittybilt 9500lb Truck Winch

This is one of the newest models under their product line, released a few months ago. If you are in search of a winch with a lower capacity, this might be the one of the best option for you. For its price, you will get a hold of a very powerful motor equipped with the latest technology.

This unit has two versions. One version is equipped with a stainless steel cable that is 94 ft. Again, this is a really long cable compared to other models out there. The roller fairlead is a high-quality 4-way roller to ensure quick and smooth operation. Now, if you want to use a synthetic cable instead, you have the option to do so.

The synthetic version is as long as the steel wire cable. You can do a lot with 94 ft of rope. For the fairlead, the synthetic model comes with a hawse fairlead.

This model features a powerful 7 HP series wound motor. I must say this is the highest amongst other models out there. Plus, the gear ratio is at 173:1. What’s more, it has a three-stage planetary gear and automatic in-drum braking.

Not only is this model powerful, but it is also efficient and safe as well. Of course, this model comes with a corded remote control.

Pros
  • Powerful 7 HP motor, hard to find from other models
  • Both synthetic and steel cables are 94 feet long
  • The model is waterproof and IP 67 rated
  • Offers a 3-stage planetary gear
Cons
  • Might not be easy to set up and assemble

8. Superwinch 9500 lb Winch

As the name implies, the winch is incorporated with super-strong features, which makes its performance superb. It combines both cost-saving and power-boosting techniques. These are the key considerations when choosing a good truck winch! Let’s find out more about this model.

What makes this model stand out from other truck winches in the market is that its drum is thicker, this, in turn, adds strength to the winch when pulling the truck. It is designed to tackle up to a weight of 9,500lbs.

On the other hand, you get a good performing motor. The 5 HP motor is weathered sealed. So, even if it is raining or snowing, you can be confident that your winch is protected.

Like the heavy-duty winches in the market, it features a three-stage gearbox that efficiently handles the stress and gets the job done quickly. When it comes to durability, the heavy-duty textured finish on this model makes it resistant to off-road abuse.

With its stainless steel hardware, the overall look is very pleasing to the eye and will suit every truck.

The durability of this product does not end with the winch itself. When it comes to the remote, you can be sure that it will last you for years and years. This rubber handheld remote will allow you to operate effortlessly.

This model comes with an aluminum hawse fairlead and a synthetic 95 inch rope as cable.

Pros
  • It is very affordable than other truck winches
  • The model has a decent capacity of 9,500 pounds
  • Offers a decent 5 HP motor
  • Comes with 12 inches handheld remote
Cons
  • Quite heavy — being 41 kilos

9. WARN 8000 lb Winch

If you happen to own a lighter SUV or let us say, a two door jeep, you do not necessarily need a high capacity truck winch. Higher capacity winches generally weigh heavier, and it is not efficient if you have a pretty small truck.

Now, if you are in search for high-quality truck winch regardless of the high price that is perfect for your small truck then read on because this VR EVO winch might be the one for you.

One thing you will like about this model is that it features a waterproof construction. It is IP68 rated, so you know you can rely on it whatever the weather is.

The powerful series-wound motor combined with the planetary gear system makes the job done quicker with a lower amp draw. It also features an Albright contractor. These features combined ensures maximum product reliability.

As mentioned, this is the perfect truck winch for light trucks. It can pull up to 8,000 lbs.! It is equipped with a 12 V motor too. The model is easy to install as well. Its one-piece cast is made from aluminum, which adds to the product’s durability.

This model is equipped with a steel cable, which is 90 ft long going through a roller fairlead. The line speed of this without any load is 24.80 feet per minute. In terms of the fairlead, it as a roller type. Of course, it comes with a remote control that you can use either wireless or wired.

Pros
  • 90ft long stainless steel cable
  • The model is waterproof
  • Offers a decent 12 V motor
  • Comes with a remote that works wireless or wired
Cons
  • The 8,000 lbs. capacity might not be enough even for slightly heavier trucks

10. Rugcel 12000 lb Truck Winch

This winch is capable of towing up to 12000 lbs. With its powerful 6.6 horsepower motor, this winch will easily get your works done. We found the material quality and overall design really good.

Controlling the winch is easy as it features a three-stage planetary gear system (265:1 gear ratio), dynamic brake and free spooling clutch. All these features increase your safety to the highest degree.

Moreover, the larger free spooling clutch allows you to easily pull the rope out and can be operated wearing gloves. That sounds good.

This model offers a high-quality synthetic rope with hawse fairlead. What will impress you more is that the rope length is 100 ft that is substantially longer for any towing job.

Plus, You do not have to worry about the weather since it is IP68 rated waterproof winch! It also offers multiple mounting options.

You also get a wired and two wireless remote controls upon purchasing. Lastly, installing this winch is very easy and it comes with an easy to understand user manual.

winch for truck features
Image Credit: Rugcel
Pros
  • Easy installation.
  • 12,000 lbs pulling capacity.
  • Completely waterproof 500AMP Solenoid
  • Powerful 6.6 hp motor.
  • Gear ratio 265:1
  • Substantially long rope
  • Dynamic braking system
  • Multiple mounting options
  • Affordable price.
Cons
  • Line pulling speed isn’t that great.

Verdict : Which One You Should Buy?

By this time, you should be able to have your pick from this top 10 truck winches in the market. All these winches have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to weigh them. By the end of the day, you know better what features you need and what will best suit your truck.

If you’re looking for a truck winch but you don’t have the time for intense comparison shopping, get the Smittybilt one for overall top quality at budget. Or, the Warn if you want the highest quality one and the price isn’t an issue for you.

 

Truck Winch Buying Guide & Tips

how to choose the best truck winch
Here I have described all the necessary things to help you get the best truck winch. I hope this guide will remove your confusion that makes the buying process a difficult task.

Pulling Power

Accident occurs when the weight is larger than the pulling weight capacity of the truck winch. So, you have to consider the weight of your vehicle when choosing a truck winch and avoid low profile design winches.

In terms of the winch, you should go for a winch that has a minimum of 8000 lbs pulling capacity. It’s better to start at 10,000 lbs. Pick one that is able to pull 1.5x of your truck’s weight as a rule of thumb. If you are still unsure about pulling power, I recommend you pick one that is able to pull the double weight of your truck. If your vehicle weight is 10000 lb the yu will need a winch having a minimum of 15000 lb capacity.

Type of Winch Rope

winch rope

You may be in confusion about the heavy-duty truck winch rope. There are mainly two kinds of heavy-duty truck winch rope available. They are synthetic and steel wire cable. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. Most of the best winches models offer both versions. Read on to know which one will be perfect for you.

Steel Cable: It is the traditional choice and most common type that has been around the truck winch industry for a very long time. There are a lot of advantages of using a steel wire cable. Some of them are heat and abrasion-resistant, comparatively inexpensive and less maintenance.

This type has some disadvantages too. Steel wire rope can rust and develop burrs. You will need gloves and protective gear to operate it. You will need a heavy-duty truck winch dampener to secure your safety. One major downside of steel wire cable is that, it stores a lot of energy and if it breaks, it can cause dangerous accidents. It is also heavier than synthetic rope.

Synthetic Rope: Synthetic wire rope participated offroad arena in the 90’s. The safety features of this rope have made this amazingly popular among offroaders. This rope is flexible, lightweight and easier to handle the first type. The great upside of synthetic wire rope is it doesn’t store energy. So, the possibility of causing damage to anyone or anything very low if it breaks. Plus, if it breaks, you can easily repair it in the field and continue winching. That’s great! Synthetic rope winch are more famous now.

Synthetic ropes have some disadvantages too. Synthetic wire rope is susceptible to wearing off and needs regular maintenance. It can hold water that can make your heavy-duty truck winch a useless ice block. There is a solution to this problem. You have to pick a Synthetic wire rope that is weather and water resistance. You need to consider all these when you choose a winch.

Different Types of Winches

Which winch type is right for your truck?

To find the right one, you have to understand the types of truck winches. There are mainly two types of winch: electric & hydraulic. Read on to make your choice wisely.

Electric Winch: It is the most familiar winch type and popular choice for most truck drivers. All the winches I have reviewed in this guide are electric types. Most famous winches are of this type.

An electric winch is very easier to install and can be transferred easily from one truck to another. This is cheaper than hydraulic types having the same pull weight capacity winch. You don’t need a hydraulic pump to run it as it runs by using trucks battery. But if you use an electric winch for a very long period, then it can overheat and blow up the battery. They are less costly than a hydraulic winch. Also less powerful than a hydraulic winch. This type is considered as the best truck winches.

Hydraulic Winches: As hydraulic winch runs off the power steering pump, you have to keep your truck’s engine running when you using a hydraulic winch. But hydraulic winches are expensive and the installation process is difficult. Hydraulic winches are much powerful though. Hydraulic winches are usually used for pulling/lifting a very high capacity load. You won’t need a hydraulic winch for regular truck winching. Electric winches are better than hydraulic winch for regular offroaders.

Electrical System

Before making a purchase, make sure that you have the right battery and alternator of your heavy-duty truck winch. The duty of your vehicle’s battery is to start it. The rest of the work is done by the alternator. If you use your vehicle’s battery to run the truck winch, then your vehicle and winch both can die. Is there any solution? Yes. You can use a deep cycle battery or marine battery to solve this problem.

Sealed

Invest in a heavy-duty truck winch that has a weather-sealed motor. Because sometimes you have to rugged adventures. A sealed motor will protect the mechanics from dust, snow, mud, rain, and moisture. So, choose one with a sealed motor to protect yourself and your truck winch. The powder-coated option is also nice.

Accessibility

There are a lot of heavy-duty truck winches that don’t come with accessories which makes the winching process easier. Again, you will find some good winch models that come with all the necessary accessories that make the winching process fast, smooth and easier. Make sure it has free spooling.

You will also get a user manual of the truck winch to know how to use it properly. Also, consider picking a versatile one that could be used for ATV, UTV and Jeep too.

Mounting Options

Before making a final decision, consider the truck winch mounting options. Bumper mount, multi-mount and heavy-duty good winch bumper are three popular options. These will make it easy to install.

Warranty

You will find the most high-quality truck winches includes a warranty. I always recommend you invest in a unit that has a warranty. Because it’s a difficult job to find spare truck winch parts.

Who Makes The Best Truck Winch?

who makes the best truck winch
There are a lot of brands available that produce truck winches. It is very confusing to find out which is best for truck winches. To make things easy for you, here I have talked about 3 top brands that produce high-quality truck winches. many of them offer a limited lifetime warranty.

Warn Winch

This leading brand provides premium quality truck winches with ultimate performance. Their huge popularity is the reward of their excellent quality products. They have also achieved a lot of awards for their quality products.

Superwinch

This global company produces high-quality electric truck winch, hydraulic winches, hubs, power drives, etc. The reason behind their huge popularity is its product quality, design and solid construction.

Smittybilt

This is another brand that offers top-rated pickup truck winches. This is a perfect brand for you if you don’t have enough budget to go for an expensive truck winch. Lots of their winches are in the best selling list on Amazon.

How Does A Truck Winch Work?

Regular offroaders use truck winches to recover themselves out of sand, mud, terrain, or from any other sticky situation. But do you know how truck winches work?

Motor, rope, gear train and drum are the important parts of an electric truck winch.

The attached truck recovery winch cable is operated by the motor. Plus, the drum and the motor are run by the gear train. The gear train transforms the motor power into pulling power.

A rope or cable wrapped around the drum. The rope length is generally 40-150 ft. The truck winch drum is circular-shaped which keeps the rope properly wrapped.

You will find some heavy-duty truck winches that comes with a manual crank feature instead of a motor. Generally, older and cheaper units come with a manual crank.

The free spooling clutch allows you to engage or disengage the truck winch drum from the gear train. You can check my guide on how to use a winch to tow truck if you don’t know.

Truck Winch Safety Tips

Everyone should care about safety. Here are some tips that you should follow while operating your pickup truck winch.

  • Make sure You have the best winch for your truck
  • Inspect truck winch before each use.
  • Stay away from the winching area.
  • Stay focused.
  • Never winch for long bursts.
  • Always use a dampener.
  • Don’t exceed the maximum winch capacity.
  • Use safety gear.
  • Follow the instructions manual.

Although, you can’t fully prevent accidents. But following these tips will minimize risks and help you to protect yourself, your vehicle and other people around you.

Frequently Asked Questions

best truck winch

What is a truck winch and what is it used for?

A recovery truck winch is a mechanism that winds a cable around a drum while keeping a steady tension on it. Truck winches are used when you need to recover your truck from getting stuck in the mud, terrain, or any other unfortunate situation.

How much winch capacity should I look for when buying a truck winch?

The first thing to consider is the weight of the truck. Do not make the mistake of purchasing one in which pulling power is just the same weight of your truck. Remember that you are not only pulling your car, you also need to overcome the sludge.

Should I spend a lot of bucks on my truck winch?

Like most products, you get what you pay for. It is important to know that a truck electric winch can save your life. Getting a cheap one made from cheap materials might put your truck as well as your life in danger.

That being said, it does not mean that you cannot get a heavy-duty recovery truck winch at an affordable price. This review mentioned a few models with affordable prices and good performance.

How do you install a truck winch?

Every truck winch comes with its installation instructions, but if you are not that confident, you can surely use some professional help.

Video: Installing A Truck Winch

That’s all for today. I hope that this best truck winch review has helped you selecting the right truck winch.

Leave a Comment