Best ATV Winch – Top Picks and Buying Guide 2018

There are many upgrades that are worth considering in improving the performance of your all-terrain vehicle. Among others, one of the most practical to have is an ATV winch. With the latter, it will be possible for an ATV to tow weight that is up to three times its size, which will depend mostly on the winch that you will buy.

In this buying guide, I will help you to pick the best ATV winch that is perfect for your needs. Yes, there are plenty of choices, but this does not mean that choosing any product is a good decision. You need to consider various factors including those that will also be mentioned below. I hope that it will help you to become a more intelligent buyer.

best atv winch

What is an ATV Winch?

As it has been noted in the introduction, an ATV winch is one of the best upgrades that will be worth considering. It can be expensive, but it is sure to be worth your money. Every off-road enthusiast must invest in a high-quality winch as it makes towing easier and safer. Through the use of a rope or cable, the winch uses force to pull an object towards another.

There are many ways by which it will be possible to use a winch such as when pulling a friend’s ATV that has been stuck in the mud and attaching a plow, among other things.

Types of ATV Winch

Before anything else, you have to be familiar with the different types that are available, which will make it easier for you to end up making the right decision. While there are many ways by which it is possible to classify the types of the winch, one of the most common would be on the type of the motor used, which can be:

Series-wound Motor: One of the benefits of this type of motor for an ATV winch is that it does not heat easily, regardless of the weight of what is being pulled.

Permanent Wound Motor: If you are looking for energy efficiency, this can prove to be the better option for the two types. However, the problem with this type is that it can be prone to overheating, which can speed up its wear and tear.

Meanwhile, it can also be classified based on the winching technique that is used, which can be classified as:

Single Line Method: Between the two, this is the more popular method of winching. This means that a single cable will be attached directly to the object that you are pulling. Because only a single cable is used, this is more appropriate only for lighter weight.

Double Line Method: For more demanding towing, on the other hand, this will prove to be the better choice. A pulley block is used, which will result in doubling the pulling capacity of the winch. Therefore, if it is rated as 1,500 pounds, with double cables, it will be able to pull weight that is as much as 3,000 pounds.

Lastly, you can also classify winches based on their power source:

Electric Winch: In this type, the battery of the ATV is the one that will be used to power the winch. Therefore, it will work only if your battery has a charge. This can cause the battery to drain in an instant. If you need a winch that is for light-duty towing that is used only occasionally, this will prove to be sufficient.

Hydraulic Winch: For more demanding applications and heavier weight when towing, this is the best choice to consider. A hydraulic pump is used as the source of power, which makes it able to deliver towing power that will be hard to match.

Essential Factors to Consider

best atv winch

Below are some of the most important things that you need to take into account as you decide which winch to purchase:

Line Pull: In its simplest sense, this refers to the maximum weight that the winch will be able to pull. Most of the options available can pull anywhere from 1,500 to 5,000 pounds. Think of the size of your ATV and the weight that you often pull to help you decide which one is best.

Power: The motor of the winch will be indicative of its power and performance. It is the heart of the winch. Therefore, a stronger motor is necessary if you want the winch to be more powerful.

Material: One of the most important parts of the winch is the rope. See to it that the material is strong enough. Two of the most common are synthetic and steel. If you want one that is stronger, go for steel. Synthetic rope is most likely be prone to breakage, which is why it is not recommended.

Safety: Aside from the material, there are other safety measures that you have to take into consideration. An overload indicator and remote control are two of the most important. For the winch to be safe, it must also be made from materials with exceptional strength.

Braking Mechanism: Generally speaking, there are two ways by which the brakes of the ATV winch are designed. With a dynamic brake, the gear system is used to be able to keep up with the drum while making a movement. Mechanical braking, on the other hand, locks the drum, which makes it less prone to breakage.

Ease of Use: From installation to the operation of the ATV, make sure that it is going to be user-friendly. The manufacturer must provide comprehensive instructions. Pay attention to its proper use so that you can be more confident in its safe use.

Warranty: As usual, it will be better to choose a product that comes with a longer warranty coverage. This means that the manufacturer has got you covered against defects and problems that will be indicative of problems in craftsmanship. Within the warranty period, the company can offer free repair or replacement.

Price: For most people, it is tempting to choose a product that comes with the cheapest price, especially for those with a tight budget. At the end of the day, quality should be the deciding factor and not the cost of the product.

Top Picks for the Best ATV Winch in the Market

ATV Winch Comparison Chart.

ProductItem WeightBrandOur Rating
best atv winch
Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35
Winch
20.1 poundsSuperwinch 4.8/5
best atv winch
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch
83 poundsSmittybilt4.6/5
best atv winch
Superwinch 1130220 ATV Winch
19.84 poundsSuperwinch 4.8/5
best atv winch
Superwinch 1511201 Tiger Shark
ATV Winch
65 poundsSuperwinch4.8/5
best atv winch
Warn 87800 M-8000-s Winch
65 poundsWarn4.85/5
best atv winch
Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch
39.3 poundsWarn4.4/5
best atv winch
Viper Elite 5000lb UTV SXS
Wide Spool Winch
31.2 poundsMotoAlliance4.4/5

To lessen the likelihood of being frustrated, below are the top products that you might want to take into consideration.

In terms of its overall construction, it can be exceptional in more ways than one. For instance, it has an all-steel planetary gear, which has premium bearings. Its width is also two times compared to most of what is offered by competing products.

1. Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 winch

Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 Winch

This ATV winch has a maximum load capacity of 35,000 pounds, making it exceptional in terms of the weight limit that it can handle. It has a low-amp draw and high efficiency, which can be partly attributed to the use of a 1.6 HP permanent magnet motor.

To make it withstand the test of time, it should be also pointed out that the circuit breaker has the protection that it needs. To add, the internal components are protected from external conditions that can possibly speed up damage.

There is also an abundance of safety features that you can find in this ATV winch. For instance, there is dynamic braking, which will lessen the likelihood that the rope will slip in an instance that there is a power failure.

Lastly, to make you more convinced that this is indeed an ideal option, it is also worth pointing out that the manufacturer is offering a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros:

  • Comes with a dynamic brake
  • Durable construction
  • Can resist external elements for long-term functionality

Cons:

  • Circuit breaker can be always prone to problems
  • Mounting features could be better

2. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch

Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch One thing that is well-loved in this product is the 6.6 HP amphibious motor, which is basically the one that is responsible for delivering a performance that is hard to match. Such is also partly to be blamed on why the price can be quite high for some buyers.

The IP67 rating of this ATV winch is one of the reasons why it can be a dependable choice. This offers protection to the internal components, which also helps to make them less prone to wear and tear.

For your convenience, this product is also great because it comes with its own remote, which makes it easy to control the functions of the winch without having to be next to it.

It is designed with a magnetic control handle, as well as a sliding ring gear, which are both contributory in making the winch deliver smooth overall performance.

When the product is purchased, it is inclusive of all the wires that will be needed to complete the installation. However, you might need to pack patience as the assembly can be quite a challenge.

Lastly, the manufacturer is offering 3 years warranty on the electrical components and lifetime mechanical warranty.

Pros:

  • Has a waterproof construction
  • Powerful motor
  • Inclusive of all the wirings required for installation

Cons:

  • Open-end wrench can be thin
  • Can be prone to electrical issues

3. Superwinch 1130220 ATV Winch

Superwinch 1130220 ATV Winch With this ATV winch, you can expect a rated line pull of 3,000 pounds. To add, it has 1.2 HP motor, which offers protection from elements that can cause wear and tear. The solenoid is also sealed and the circuit breaker is protected.

When the winch is installed, it has a weight of 20 pounds. More so, it has one-stage planetary gearing, 4-way roller fairlead, 2-inch drum diameter, and free-spooling clutch.

There is also a 12-inch handheld remote that will make it easy for you to control the functions of the winch. To add, the remote is also rubberized.

To ensure the dependable and safe operation of the ATV winch, some of the features that make this possible include 100% automatic load holding, as well as dynamic and mechanical braking. In a nutshell, these features will lessen the possibility that the rope will slip in case there is a problem with power.

Lastly, the manufacturer of this ATV winch offers a warranty that lasts for two years. It is not as extensive as the premium models, but given the fact that it comes with a cheap price, this should be more than enough.

Pros:

  • Has an affordable price
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Can resist external elements

Cons:

  • Assembly can be tricky
  • Wire quality could be better

4. Superwinch 1511201 Tiger Shark ATV Winch

Superwinch 1511201 Tiger Shark ATV Winch The next generation entry-level winch – this is how the manufacturer describes this model. It might be an entry-level model, but the price can be quite steep for some buyers. Nonetheless, this is one thing that can be easily justified, given the features that you can expect in this product.

Among its features, one of the most notable is the three-stage planetary gearbox, which is a major reason for its exceptional performance. This affects not only the power of the winch, but also makes spooling a snap to accomplish.

The motor, on the other hand, is 6 HP. From the technical specifications of the product, it has been identified that it can resist damages from dust, water, and snow. There are some users, however, who noted that the motor protection could have been done better.

The hand-held remote is also a good feature in this product, providing you with the freedom to have it controlled at an approximate distance of up to 12 feet.

More so, it should be emphasized that the hardware is made from luxury stainless steel, which is hard to match in terms of the durability that it can offer.

Pros:

  • Comes with everything you need
  • Installation can be accomplished in a snap
  • Delivers great power

Cons:

  • Expensive price
  • Motor can be easily prone to water corrosion

5. Warn 87800 M8000-s Winch

Warn 87800 M-8000-s Winch If you are looking for a winch that will be perfect for Jeep, SUVs, trucks, and ATVs, among others, this is another option that should be on the top of your list. It has a pulling power of 8,000 pounds, which is one thing that gives this a good reputation in the market, despite the fact that the price can be quite steep for most buyers.

It has a 4.8 HP Series motor, which is also critical in its performance. More so, there is a 3-stage planetary gear train, which helps the winch to do almost any job without requiring too much effort and making a loud noise.

The price can be high, but when you take a look at the features, it will be easy for you to understand why such is the case. This is partly because of the premium construction of its parts, such as the 100-foot Spydura synthetic rope.

For your convenience, there are also countless features that will ensure comfort and ease of use. For instance, it comes with rubberized remote with a pistol grip, which makes it easy to control the functions of the winch. It can also resist weather conditions, making it heavy-duty.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Exceptional power and performance
  • User-friendly design and features

Cons:

  • Expensive price
  • Poor customer support

6. Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch

Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch The first thing that you will notice in this product is perhaps its steep price, which can easily discourage many people. Nonetheless, if you take the time to evaluate its many features, it will be easy to understand why it is expensive.

Among its features, one of the most notable is the Spydura pro synthetic rope, which is known for its exceptional quality. The braid is heat-treated and urethane-coated, which is why you can expect it to be hard to rival when it comes to durability.

To add, it also comes with an exceptional planetary gear train. The latter is quiet and fast, which are some of the reasons why it is a great choice if you are looking for a product that can provide excellent value for the money.

Another feature worth noting is the convertible control pack. The latter will provide you with the freedom to attach it to the winch or use the included remote to have it controlled. You can install it in several ways and this can lead to different looks.

Lastly, the stainless steel material has a powder-coated finish, which allows it to resist corrosion and withstand the test of time.

Pros:

  • Can resist corrosion
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Has a convertible control pack

Cons:

  • Expensive price
  • Complicated for beginners

7. Viper Elite 5000lb UTV SXS Wide Spool Winch   

Viper Elite 5000lb UTV SXS Wide Spool Winch From the seven products that are mentioned in this guide, this is the least popular. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should no longer consider buying this. Given its reasonable price and its set of exceptional features, it is still worth looking at this option.

This model comes with a 5,000-pound weight capacity. More so, it has 1.8 HP permanent magnet motor. This is far from being the most powerful from the options that you can find on the market, but for most light-duty towing, this will prove to be more than enough.

The Black AmSteel synthetic rope is one more thing that you will love in this product. The latter is made from a material that is long-lasting. To make it even more durable, the latter is sealed to protect it from external elements.

There is also a 3-stage planetary gear, which has the main purpose of making sure that the winch will operate in a manner that is smooth and quiet.

Lastly, the manufacturer is offering a limited lifetime warranty, which should make you confident that the quality will be hard to rival.

Pros:

  • Simple installation
  • Durable construction
  • Sold at a reasonable price

Cons:

  • Not as popular as other models
  • Minimal reviews are available

Tips for Using an ATV Winch

best atv winch

To be assured of favorable outcomes, below are some of the tips that you have to keep in mind:

Check your electrical system prior to installation and make sure that it is in a good condition, which will optimize the performance of the winch. For instance, see to it that the battery is fresh to prevent it from being drained when a winch is used.

Pay attention to the line pull that has been stated by the manufacturer. Do not go beyond the maximum to avoid any unfortunate incident.

If you will handle the steel wire cable of the winch, never touch it with your bare hands. Always use gloves made from strong materials. It can fray and cut your flesh, so caution must be observed at all times.

Do not wrap a winch around a tree. You need to use a tree saver strap, which is a special product that you have to purchase separately. If you wrap the cables, it will damage and kill the tree.

Follow the instructions at all times. If you are unsure of what to do, take the time to consult the manual and there will be a lesser likelihood of committing mistakes.

Most of the unfortunate accidents in winching can be avoided if you have the right knowledge. Be educated about its right use, and for sure, you will not have any problem and your safety will not be a major concern.

Conclusion

The best ATV winch can indeed prove to be a valuable investment. It can be beneficial in more ways than one, but the latter holds true only if you choose the right product. For this reason, you need to take your time to evaluate the possibilities and make the right decision.

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