If you are reading this post, it is likely that we share the same passion for Jeeps. With your passion, the chances are that you live for weekends when you can explore the most challenging 4X4 trails with your Jeep. We, therefore compiled a list of the best winch for Jeep because we know that you are bound to get stuck at some point while powering up sandy hills, charging across streams, and plowing through mud.
Off-road terrains don’t care about your best off-road driver title. Getting stuck is an inevitability. It has happened to the best of us, but we don’t let it ruin our off-road experiences. We discovered that winches are like your personal “get out of jail free card” in off-road tracks. They get you out of trouble so you can continue enjoying your off-road adventures, and return home safely.
With that in mind, here is a comprehensive look at the best winches for your jeep:
- Best Winches for Jeep: Editor’s Top Picks
- 16 Best Winch for Jeep Reviews:
- 1. Superwinch 1145220 Terra 45 ATV& Utility Winch
- 2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC Winch
- 3. Smittybilt 98510 Synthetic Rope Winch
- 4. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch
- 5. Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch
- 6. X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Winch
- 7. Warn 87835 VR8000-s Synthetic Rope Winch
- 8. OFFROAD BOAR Synthetic Rope Winch
- 9. Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch
- 10. Superwinch LT2000 12V Utility Winch
- 11. Rough Country 9,500lb Electric Winch
- 12. Champion 3,000lb Winch Kit
- 13. LD-12 Elite Heavy-Duty Electric Winch
- 14. Orcish 13,000lb Waterproof Electric Winch
- 15. AC-DK 13,500lb Electric Winch
- 16. MotoAlliance Viper Max 5,000lb Winch
- Things to Consider When Buying a Winch for Jeep
- How to Install Jeep Winch
- Differences Between a Synthetic Line and Steel Cable Winches
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Q-1: Which is the best winch for my Jeep?
- Q-2: How do I determine the ideal capacity/RLP (Rated Line Pull) for my Jeep?
- Q-3: Can I install the winch by myself?
- Q-4: Is a winch more effective than towing?
- Q-5: Should I go for a wire rope winch or synthetic rope winch?
- Q-6: Can I replace the wireline on my winch with a synthetic line?
- Q-7: Should I install a hydraulic or electric winch on my Jeep?
- Q-8: Permanent Magnet (PM) motors vs. Series Wound (SW) motors. Which is the best motor type?
- Final Verdict
Best Winches for Jeep: Editor’s Top Picks
16 Best Winch for Jeep Reviews:
1. Superwinch 1145220 Terra 45 ATV& Utility Winch
First on our list of the best winch for Jeep is the Superwinch Terra 45. Consumers describe this winch as a “serious workhorse,” and rightly so. Its power, versatility, and durability make it one of the best off-road winch for the money.
If you are wondering about its maximum pull weight, this utility winch can tow a load of up to 4,500-pounds (2,046 kg).
But where does this pulling power come from? Well, the Terra 45 is powered by a potent 1.6 HP low-amp draw motor and driven by an all-steel 3-stage planetary gear system.
This wide, sophisticated gear uses oil pocket bronze bearings to transfer the power from the engine to the tow cable more effectively. But that’s not all, the magnetic motor of this winch features a dynamic braking system with mechanical load holding.
So- Why is this particular winch regarded as the best in the business? We can spend an entire day breaking down many of its excellent features, but the truth is that this Terra 45 winch inspires a great deal of confidence when you’re out in the wild with your Jeep.
One of the major reasons why Jeep enthusiasts and off-roaders trust this winch is down to its robust steel wire rope. On top of giving the impression that it is indestructible, this steel rope provides automatic operation with its free-spooling clutch.
- Powers load in and out
- Maximum Load Capacity: 4500lbs/2046kg
- Dynamic brake with mechanical load holding
- Steel Wire Rope Dimensions: 55′ length and 1/4″ diameter
- 6 HP permanent magnet motor
- Weather-sealed solenoid and circuit breaker
- Heavy duty latched hook with thimble
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Item Weight: 22.1-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 15.1 x 4.5 x 4.8 inches
2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC Winch
The 1130220 is yet another winch from the highly respected Superwinch brand. If you are wondering what this winch offers to make you consider it for your Jeep, you are about to find out. Just as with the Terra 45 featured above, this Superwinch 1130220provides versatility and durability to its users.
Another similarity is that both winches utilize the same planetary gear system.
However, you will notice that this winch is 1,500-pounds less powerful than its variant featured above. This difference in pulling power is because a slightly low-powered 1.2 HP motor powers this particular winch compared to a 1.6 HP motor in the Terra 45 winch. That said, the pulling power isn’t the only difference between these two models.
The price also varies between these two models.
Fortunately, the Superwinch brand is reasonable enough to reflect the power deficiency in this 1130220 model in its price. It costs significantly less than the Terra 45. The steel ropes are another difference between the two models.
The shorter and thinner rope of this particular winch feels just as robust and inspires the same confidence when off-roading in the jungle. Ultimately, the Superwinch 1130220 can be classified as a budget winch for novice off-roaders and intermediate-level off-roaders.
- Max Line Pull: 3,000-pounds or 1,361 Kgs
- Sealed 1.2 HP permanent magnet motor
- Weather sealed solenoid and circuit breaker
- Free-Spooling clutch with ergonomic control
- Dynamic brake with automatic load holding
- Handheld remote with a working radius of up to 12-feet
- Steel wire rope dimensions: 3/16″ x 50′ (4.8mm x 15.0m)
- Heavy-duty hook with a clevis pinned latch
- Item Dimensions: 13.2″ L x 4.25″ W x 4.25″ H
- Item Weight: 20-pounds
- Two-year limited warranty
3. Smittybilt 98510 Synthetic Rope Winch
Third on our list of the best winch for Jeep is the 98510 winch from the highly-regarded Smittybilt brand. Anyone who’s ever used a product from this brand can attest to its functionality and reliability.
Smittybilt has been around for over half a century, and this 98510 winch is among one of their many products that continue to carry on its excellent legacy.
If you are a serious off-roader, this synthetic 98510 might just be the winch for you. Upon much scrutiny, it is easy to see why many Smittybilt winch reviews rave about this particular winch.
Yes, it might require you to reach further down your pockets or purse to purchase, but it is well worth it. From its high-quality build to its wide range of features, you have a trustworthy companion to bail you out of all kinds of sticky situations in the wild.
What makes this Smittybilt 98510 worth your buck? Simple. Its potent motor, sophisticated gear system, and long synthetic line are up there with the industry best.
This winch is powered by a 6.6 HP amphibious motor that produces a maximum pull of up to 10,000-pounds. Also, the comprehensive list of warranties that come with this winch is a testament to its quality assurance.
- Weatherproof winch
- Max line Pull: 10,000-pounds or (4,535 Kgs)
- 6 HP Series Wound motor
- Remote control Switch with 12-foot working radius
- A 3-Stage Planetary gear system
- Gear Ratio: 218:1
- Sliding Ring Gear clutch
- An automatic Out-Of-Drum braking system
- Textured Black finish protecting against corrosion and harmful UV rays
- Cable size: 98.5′ Length and 3/8″ Diameter
- Protected by a lifetime mechanical warranty and a 5-year electrical warranty
- Item Weight: 99-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 14.5 x 24 x 11.5 inches
4. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch
The 97495 is the second Smittybilt winch on our list, and just like the Smittybilt 98510 mentioned above, this particular winch has a lot going for it. The Smittybilt 97495 is a second-generation winch from the XRC series.
But how is this relevant? Interested parties will especially be glad to learn that the new Smittybilt 97495 comes thoroughly updated with the latest features and heavy-duty materials to enhance its performance and durability respectively.
Wait for it. That’s not all with the Smittybilt 97495 winch. As impressive as this winch, is its price It costs a fraction of the amount the Smittybilt 98510 costs and offers the same level of performance. It is probably one of the best bangs for buck winches you can find.
In a nutshell, the Smittybilt 97495 winch is an intermediary-level winch for off-road enthusiasts. For its price, this winch almost feels like an early holiday gift from the people at Smittybilt. This versatile winch is powered by a potent 6.6 HP engine that produces a maximum pulling power of up to 9,500-pounds.
- Waterproof: IP67 Rating.
- Max line Pull: 9,500-pounds or (4,309 Kgs).
- 6 HP Series Wound motor
- Cable size: 94′ Length 5/16″ Diameter.
- Remote Control Switch, 12′ (3.7m) lead.
- Gear Train: 3-Stage Planetary gear system with 161.28:1 Ratio.
- Sliding Ring Gear clutch
- An automatic In-Drum braking system
- Textured Black finish for durability
- Lifetime Mechanical Warranty and a 5-year Electrical Warranty
- Item Weight: 78-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 20.88″ (L) x 6.3″ (W) x 7.4″ (H).
5. Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch
The Warn 89120 ZEON is without a doubt one of the best 12,000 lbs. winch on the market. Before we explore its immense power output, you have to take a second to admire its excellent design and build quality.
This is the natural response you get when you unbox this winch. Its exceptional build quality is highlighted by its muck-busting sealing and durable satin-black cast-aluminum housing.
Enthusiasts refer to the Warn 89120 ZEON winch as a “workhorse,” and like a real-life workhorse, you will have to cough up a significant amount of money to acquire it.
A huge chunk of that money goes into the ZEON’s new potent motor and efficient gear train. These two components work together to produce a staggering 12,000-pound-force of pulling power.
But is this ZEON worth its steep price? Well, its performance numbers and price numbers tell you a story. The story is that the ZEON 89120 is not a regular winch. Much like the Smittybilt 98510 winch mentioned above, this Warn winch is for Jeep owners who live and breathe off-roading.
Ultimately, these are people that will utilize the full capabilities of this winch and won’t feel the pinch of spending a fortune on it.
- Max Line Pull: 12,000-pounds
- Sturdy wire rope with a uniquely balanced roller fairlead
- Consistent design throughout the entire winch
- Convertible control pack
- Weather-sealed Warn winch solenoid
- Black powder-coated finish with stainless steel fasteners and clutch to protect against corrosion
- Large, lightweight aluminum winch drum for reducing rope wear
- Item Weight: 16-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 26.2 x 8.5 x 19.8 inches
6. X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Winch
The X-BULL 12V is one of the most unique winches you can get for your Jeep. It is not often you find a professional reviewer like myself having a hard time categorizing products. This X-BULL winch is one of those rare products. This is because the characteristics of this winch are all over the place. But this mixture of characteristics is not necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, in the case of the X-BULL winch, this mixture of characteristics is a positive thing. How so? The manufacturers of this X-BULL took the best attributes of winches and created one of the best winches in the form of this 12V model.
Faced with the conundrum of creating a unique winch, the manufacturers of the X-BULL 12V created one of the most powerful witches on the market but slapped a meager price on it.
Typically, a 13,000-pound winch is considered a high-end/premium winch among off-road enthusiasts. But if you take that winch and give it the price of an entry-level/novice winch, it becomes hard to classify the wrench into one group.
That said, you don’t care about these details. You are more interested in finding out if the X-BULL 12V is worth the risk. Simple. The answer is a resounding, “YES!” How can you not fall in love with its vibrant orange color? That color alone will earn your Jeep points on the “cool car” board.
- Comes in a unique, vibrant orange color
- Max Line Pull: 13,000-pounds
- Waterproof IP67 rating
- 26-metre DYNEEMA SYNTHETIC cable
- Comes with an overload protector and a winch cover to protect against harsh weather conditions
- Heavy Duty Sealed Contactor
- Positive load control with power in and out
- Clutch Lever
- Power: Requires two 12V Alkaline batteries to function
- Item Weight: 63.2-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 24 x 13.8 x 10 inches
7. Warn 87835 VR8000-s Synthetic Rope Winch
The 87835 VR8000-s is yet another Warn product on our best winch for Jeep review. If you are a Jeep owner that’s begun modifying your Jeep, Warn is a brand that doesn’t require any introduction.
You have probably encountered it somewhere along your modification journey. Given our tough selection criteria, having two winches featured on our review is a testament to Warns immaculate products.
This particular Warn 87835 VR8000-s belongs to the VR series of winches that are famous for their pocket-friendly prices and high-performance levels. The Warn brand guarantees highly functional and durable products.
To this end, the VR8000-s winch is fitted with all the bells and whistles that have become synonymous with the Warn brand. You get a 100-foot Spydura synthetic rope, a three-stage planetary gear train, and much more for a fraction of the price.
The most impressive thing about this particular Warn VR8000-s is its seamless way of delivering power. From its name, the Warn VR8000-s utilizes a motor that delivers a maximum pulling force of up to 8,000-pounds.
With this amount of pulling capacity, the VR8000-s winch can pull you out of any trouble you encounter in your wild adventures. Also, as you expect from a classy brand, this winch comes with all Warn winch accessories and favorable warranty terms.
- Wire: 100-foot Warn Spydura synthetic rope
- Wire Coating: Ballistic nylon sliding sleeve that protects against abrasion and wear
- Max Line Pull: 8,000-pounds of pulling power
- A three-stage planetary gear train
- Exclusive brake design for maximum stopping power
- Control pack with remote control with a 12-foot working radius
- Comes with all Warn winch tools
- Protected by a full Warn Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Item Weight: 63-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 26 x 18 x 8 inches
8. OFFROAD BOAR Synthetic Rope Winch
The OFFROAD BOAR is one of the favorite Synthetic Rope Winches on the market. Like the Warn VR8000-s featured above, this OFFROAD BOAR is popular for its low price yet high-performance ratings. Together with the X-BULL 12V, this winch is the joint most potent winches featured on this review.
They produce a mind-boggling pulling capacity of up to 13,000-pounds. But that’s not where the similarities between these two winches end. Like the X-BULL 12V featured above, it is just as hard to classify this OFFROAD BOAR. This is because its performance levels outshine its meager price point.
After careful scrutiny, this OFFROAD BOAR is up there when it comes to providing value for money. That said, the chances are that unless you are an extreme off-roader, you will never utilize the full capabilities of this OFFROAD BOARwinch.
However, you can take comfort in knowing that if you ever get stuck in a tricky situation, you can always depend on this winch to bail you out.
- Waterproof grade IP67
- Rated line pull: Maximum pulling power capacity of up to 13,000-pounds
- Rope Type: High-tensile synthetic rope
- Rope Dimensions: 85-feet in length by 3/8-inch diameter
- A reliable Three-stage Planetary Gear System
- Powerful and highly-functional Series Wound (SW) motor
- Free Spooling Clutch
- Mechanical, Automatic load holding braking system
- Heavy Duty Sealed Contactor
- Wireless Remote Controller
- Item Weight: 61.2-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 24 x 14 x 11 inches
9. Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch
The Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch did not make it to our list by sheer luck; it has a lot going for it. One can spend days talking about the brilliance of this Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch, and fail to scratch the surface. This winch provides the perfect balance between price and functionality, a feat that has made it popular with enthusiasts.
The first impression you get when you unbox it is its phenomenal build quality. This heavy-duty wrench has a nice weight to it and is coated with black powder paint that gives the impression that this winch is indestructible.
Overall, the build quality of this Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch fills one with confidence that it will perform its job whenever the need arises.
In regards to features, this Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch has it all. With a potent 6.6 HP Series Wound (SW) motor and a sophisticated 3-Stage Planetary gear train, this winch utilizes the best equipment on the market.
When you dig deeper, you realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg with this winch. Below are summarized features of the Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Winch.
- Waterproof: IP68 Rating.
- Max line Pull: 10,000-pounds or (4,535kgs).
- Motor: Potent and Reliable 6.6 HP Series Wound (SW).
- Wireless remote control Switch with a 12-foot working radius
- 3-Stage Planetary gear train with 218:1 ratio
- Sliding Ring Gear Clutch and Automatic Out-Of-Drum Brake.
- Finish: Textured Black for maximum protection against corrosion
- Protected by a Lifetime Mechanical Warranty and a 5 Year Electrical Warranty
- Item Weight: 91.5-pounds
- Item Dimensions: 7 x 24.1 x 14.3 inches
10. Superwinch LT2000 12V Utility Winch
Last but not least is the LT2000 winch from Superwinch. This Superwinch LT2000 winch is unique in its own right. Despite not being the “typical” top 10 products we go for, this light-duty winch impressed us. The main reason we picked this winch is that it does what it was designed to do very well.
The Superwinch LT2000 is a light-duty, low-cost winch. There is no denying or sugarcoating this fact. In fact, the LT2000 embraces the tag that it’s a budget winch for people that don’t want to break the bank but want a small, reliable, and functional tool.
The bare truth is that this LT2000 winch is for show purposes only. It is ideal for Jeep owners that don’t off-road. The kind of owners that want to have it on their Jeep to beef up its look but never actually use it in real off-road situations.
With a 1 HP PM motor that only produces 2,000-pounds of pulling force, the absolute reality is that this winch is next to useless when you are stuck in the wild.
If your Jeep weighs over 1,300-pounds, good luck trying to rescue it using this winch. That said, at its price, this LT2000 is the best low-budget winch and as such worth it every penny in its price tag.
- Low Amp, 1.0 HP Permanent Magnet (PM) motor
- Max line pull: 2,000-pounds
- Pull and turn free spooling clutch.
- Rope Dimensions: 49-feet in length by 5/32″ diameter
- Powers load in and out.
- Circuit breaker protected.
- Gear ratio 153:1.
- Heavy-duty latched hook with rope thimble.
- Water-sealed, handheld control switch.
- Protected by a 1-year limited warranty.
- Item Weight: 11.9-pounds
- Item Dimensions:11.2 x 4.1 x 4.1 inches
11. Rough Country 9,500lb Electric Winch
This electric winch from Rough Country offers professional recovery for all Jeep owners. The system is high-powered, high-quality, and IP67-rated. This means that it’s dustproof, waterproof, and safe for use in wet conditions.
Whenever you find yourself in murky situations, where there’s mud, dirt, water, and sand, you’ll be grateful to have this machine on hand.
The winch system is built to withstand the elements. You will get reliable recovery every time thanks to the series-wound motor. If you’re someone who is off-roads a lot and wants high performance from their electric winch, then this is an excellent option for you.
It offers exceptionally efficient performance even at higher speeds. Also, it’s less prone to overheating, which is another great plus. Compared to many other electric winch options in the same category, this product from Rough Country offers enormous value for money. It includes a Clevis hook for your convenience, as well.
- Pro-series 9,500lb electric winch with synthetic rope
- Powerful 5.5HP motor with 265:1 gear ratio
- Includes wired remote control
- IP67-rated for water and dust resistance
- One-year electrical, and two-year mechanical warranties
12. Champion 3,000lb Winch Kit
This Champion power system is equipped for pulling weights of up to 3,000lb. It’s ideal for anyone who’s searching for an ATV/UTV winch kit that includes everything needed for winching. With this kit, you get a mounting channel, ruler fairlead, and remote control.
With such a strong pull, you can mount this winch on your vehicle or side-by-side with a mounting channel. This will allow you to harness its 1.3HP-strength permanent magnet motor quickly.
The winch comes with a 46-foot galvanized aircraft cable that is rugged and tough. It’s ideal for use in rough terrains, like rocky, muddy, or sandy areas.
The incredibly strong high-grade cable is guided into the drum through a reliable ruler fairlead. This helps to maximize the cable’s life and ensure safety during use.
You get excellent winching control thanks to the three-stage planetary gear system. There’s also a free-spooling clutch as well as a handlebar-mounted remote control to help make your job easier.
- Powerful 3,000-pounds max rated line pull
- 1HP permanent magnet motor
- Comes with bonus accessories and remote
- Efficient dynamic braking systems
- Comes with a two-year limited warranty
13. LD-12 Elite Heavy-Duty Electric Winch
This is a premium electric winch manufactured by Driver Recovery Products. It’s rated for a pull of up to 12,000lb. An upgraded 12V DC, series-wound motor offers maximum torque. It also allows a consistent flow of power through the duty cycle, compared to a magnet motor that may falter when heated up.
The motor is reversible, which means you can wind the cable both in and out. The components that make up the three-stage planetary gear system are specifically manufactured to provide smooth, efficient operation. This will help to eliminate slippage, wear, and tear.
There’s a convenient lever at the top that allows you to quickly engage and disengage the cable from the drum for cases where free spooling is ideal. A wireless controller is also included. It has a battery and a 75-foot range.
This winch is super easy to install, mount it, connect the power, and ground – and that’s it. You’re ready to go.
- The upgraded reversible motor has a power rating of 6.0HP
- Compact yet robust design weighing in at 90lb
- Includes a wireless remote control for convenience
- Automatic braking locks the cable to prevent free spooling
- Premium 87-foot abrasion-resistant wire cable
14. Orcish 13,000lb Waterproof Electric Winch
This electric winch from Orcish is IP67-rated, which means that it is waterproof and completely dustproof. This product can be submerged up to one meter underwater, and it will continue to perform flawlessly in normal conditions.
When you purchase this system, you get at the 10,000lb-rated 12V winch, a wireless remote controller, and a hand remote controller. You also get a pair of gloves, a user manual, and a set of wire cables. Basically, this winch kit comes with everything you need, including all the necessary accessories to complete the installation.
This is a great winch for Jeep owners who want the ultimate power and performance. It has alloy Hawse fairlead and automatic load-holding. It also comes with a high-tensile synthetic rope and a breaker for maximum safety.
With its heavy-duty sealed contactor and three-stage planetary gear system, this winch promises quality, durability, and outstanding service. You get positive load control thanks to the power-in and power-out motor. You’ll also be able to efficiently operate this winch with wired and wireless remote control options.
- IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating
- Includes an overload protector and winch cove
- Comes with a heavy-duty sealed contactor
- The winch features 85 feet of Dyneema synthetic rope
- Power-in, power-out motor for positive load control
15. AC-DK 13,500lb Electric Winch
If you need a winch that is tough both on and off the road, then this one from AC-DK is a good one to consider. It will pull you out of danger without a hassle every time. The heavy-duty construction from high-grade materials makes this winch utterly resistant to harsh weather.
In addition to that, it’s also resistant to corrosion and moisture. This means that you’ll be able to use your winch in all types of harsh conditions without having to worry about it breaking down. The vigorous pulling power you get from this machine is unmatched in its category.
It has dual molds that work with both wired and wireless remotes. This winch features automatic load-holding, and it comes with a heavy-duty sealed contactor, as well as an alloy Hawse fairlead.
It also has a motor cooler to help avoid overheating during use. Overall, this is a great winch option for Jeep owners who are looking for a high-quality, affordable solution for all their winching needs.
- Heavy-duty 13,500lb-rated winch
- Comes in a vibrant orange color
- Bonus accessories, including gloves
- Includes two high-quality remote controllers
- Two-year warranty from the manufacturers
16. MotoAlliance Viper Max 5,000lb Winch
The Viper Max winch is rated for 5,000lb. This powerful machine is ideal for UTVs, ATVs, and Side by Sides. It’s durable and robust, offering real pulling strength any time it’s needed. If you’ve been searching for an affordable high-grade, great-performing winch from a trusted manufacturer, this could very well be what you need.
It carries an IP67 rating, which means that it’s waterproof and dustproof. This is a feature that is essential for those who do a lot of off-roading in conditions that are less than ideal. You will be able to pull yourself or anyone else out of trouble, even in wet, muddy, or sandy situations.
This winch has a sealed planetary gear system and a 1.95HP permanent-magnet motor. It also comes with automatic brakes for additional safety during use. The unit features high-grade stainless steel hardware and comes with a waterproof handlebar switch.
- Unique safety features including a dynamic braking system
- Compatible with all the big brands
- IP67-rated waterproof and dustproof
- 95HP permanent magnet motor
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
Things to Consider When Buying a Winch for Jeep
To someone who’s never used a winch before, they can seem tricky, but the truth is that they are not. Therefore, when buying a winch for your Jeep, there are a few things you ought to know about winches. Here are the top considerations to make if you want to get the best value for your hard-earned cash:
1. Rated Line Pull (Winch Capacity)
This is perhaps the most important consideration to make. Rated Line Pull (RLP) essentially measures the pulling power of a winch and is represented in pounds or kilograms. The tensile strength of the rope and the mechanical capacity of the winch are tested to determine the performance level of a winch.
Some of the most potent winches can have an RLP of up to 13,000-pounds while the lower-end winches can have an RLP as low as 2,000-pounds. But how much pulling power is enough for your Jeep? Well, multiply its Gross weight by 1.5 to establish the ideal pulling power for your Jeep.
2. Electric vs. Hydraulic Winches
What is the main difference between these two types of winches? The main difference between electric and hydraulic winches is the work cycle. With a hydraulic winch, you can spool endlessly as long as the engine is running. Electric winches give you maximum spooling power even when the engine is dead, albeit for only five minutes.
Since hydraulic winches can run forever, they are ideal for continuous heavy-duty commercial activities such as farming and ranching. Electric winches, on the other hand, should be more than adequate for most adventure-seeking Jeep owners that want to have fun in their favorite off-road spots.
Interestingly enough, Mile Marker is the only brand that produces hydraulic winches for 4X4s.
3. Line/Rope Length
The length of the line is another important factor to consider. The length of most lines lies between the 20-foot mark and 100-foot mark. Obviously, a longer line gives you further reach than a shorter one.
However, this can be costly in that it can get snarled up, jammed or kinked. For this reason, most people prefer 50-foot lines and below since they can purchase supplementary line extenders.
4. Gear Train
Winches utilize three types of gear trains. Here are their different functions and features:
Spur Gear Winches: These types of winches use a pair of spur gears. The larger gear is mounted on the motor shaft while the smaller one is mounted on the winch shaft. These gears operate with low friction and as such are fast.
But even so, the spur gear technology is dated as the only current winch using this technology is the old Warn 8274-50.
Worm Gear Winches: These types of winches are even more dated than spur gear winches. Manufacturers stopped using this gear technology. In fact, modern winches now use a combination of worm gears and spur gears for better load holding capacity and braking potential.
However, despite their ability to tow massive loads, they are painfully slow. Ramsey, Pierce, and Superwinch are the only brands that currently produce worm gear winches.
Planetary Gear Winches: Planetary gear trains are considered the standard for winches. Nowadays, all the premium winches use this gear technology for its compact size, lightweight nature, and affordability.
Performance-wise, planetary gears are fast and can handle a considerable load of weight. Their only drawback is their internal brake system that tends to overheat when spooling out under load.
5. Winch Motor
Electric winches utilize two types of motors, Series Wound (SW) and Permanent Magnet (PM) motors. PM motors are light-duty and thus less costly compared to SW motors. SW motors are also more powerful, and generally, produce 10 to 15 percent more amps than PM motors.
What’s more, SW motors are more durable and practical than PM motors. They are more tolerant of abuse and heat and don’t lose power in icy conditions.
How to Install Jeep Winch
If you decide to install the winch yourself, here is the complete step by step guide to follow:
- Step 1: Safety comes first. Disconnect the negative battery cable followed by the positive wire to cut off all power in your vehicle when working.
- Step 2: Install the fairlead at the front of the winch plate. Use a torque wrench to secure the provided fairlead bolts in place.
- Step 3: Align the winch to the winch plate and secure it in place tightly using the provided winch bolts. These bolts are long and should easily penetrate the winch for easy fastening.
- Step 4: Undo the four bolts that hold the tow hooks in place on your Jeep’s bumper. This step requires an extra pair of hands to hold the winch in place.
- Step 5: With your friend holding the winch in place, replace the bolts you’ve unscrewed then fasten the provided (longer) bolts. The provided bolts are longer and should attach the winch to your bumper securely.
- Step 6: The next step is powering the wrench. Direct the red and black power cables to the battery. Run the cables through the grill, past the radiator and attach them to the battery and tighten them securely. The red cable (positive) should go to the positive battery terminal while the black cable (negative) should go to the negative battery terminal.
- Step 7: Finally, re-attach the battery cables to the battery then turn on the engine to test your latest accessory.
As you can see, installing a winch to your Jeep is a straightforward procedure that anyone can do. If you’ve followed the steps as highlighted above, you can drive your Jeep to your nearest 4X4 track to test out your new winch.
Differences Between a Synthetic Line and Steel Cable Winches
Wire lines and synthetic lines are the two basic types of wrench lines/ropes. Here is a little information about both ropes:
Wire Ropes: These ropes are made up of bundled-up strands of carbon steel wire. This traditional rope type is cheap to produce and is highly resistant to heat and abrasion. The downside to this rope type is that it is super heavy and vulnerable to crushing if wrongly re-spooled.
The 7X19 is the most common wire rope. It uses 19 strands of carbon steel wire that are intertwined into seven bundles. The 6X37 is a less common wire rope. Since it uses thinner carbon steel wires, it is more flexible but more prone to abrasion than 7X19 ropes.
Synthetic Ropes: These ropes are relatively new in the winch industry. They are popular with most manufacturers for their lightweight and rigidity. For instance, a 120-foot synthetic rope only weighs 5-pounds while a similar-length 120-foot wire rope weighs 28-pounds.
They are also generally stronger than wire ropes. Synthetic ropes and wire ropes of similar diameters were tested, and it turned out that synthetic ropes can handle more tension than wire ropes. If your winch uses wire ropes, there is no need to worry. Most manufacturers sell synthetic ropes separately in case you might need to upgrade your old wire ropes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q-1: Which is the best winch for my Jeep?
- Wow, there are many good winches for sale. Superwinch, Warn, X-Bull, Smittybilt, and Off-road Boar are some of the best winch brands on the market, and you cannot go wrong with them. Ultimately, the best winch for your Jeep depends on your needs and wants.
- But based on our professional opinion; the Superwinch LT2000 is the best budget winch while the Smittybilt 97495 XRC is the best winch for intermediate off-roaders, and lastly, the Warn 89120 Zeon 12 is the best heavy-duty winch on the market.
Q-2: How do I determine the ideal capacity/RLP (Rated Line Pull) for my Jeep?
- Simple. Multiply your Jeep’s gross weight by a factor of 1.5 to determine the minimum RLP required for your Jeep.
Q-3: Can I install the winch by myself?
- Yes. Winch installation is a simple process that anyone can do.
Q-4: Is a winch more effective than towing?
- Yes. If your Jeep is stuck, a winch is better equipped to free you. It is safer, takes less effort, and does a cleaner job at freeing your vehicle than towing with an extra car.
Q-5: Should I go for a wire rope winch or synthetic rope winch?
- Synthetic rope winches are newer to the industry and are better. Synthetic ropes are lighter, more flexible, have appendage-friendly surfaces, and can handle more tension than steel wire ropes of the same diameter.
Q-6: Can I replace the wireline on my winch with a synthetic line?
- Yes. This is possible. Most winch manufacturers sell aftermarket synthetic lines in case you are damaged or needed to replace your old winch line.
Q-7: Should I install a hydraulic or electric winch on my Jeep?
- You should install an electric winch. These winches are more appropriate for 4X4 SUVs than hydraulic winches. Hydraulic winches are more suitable for commercial applications such as large-scale farming, ranching, and other heavy-duty applications. Also, hydraulic winches are harder to come by than electric ones.
Q-8: Permanent Magnet (PM) motors vs. Series Wound (SW) motors. Which is the best motor type?
- SW motors are more heavy-duty, powerful, reliable, durable, and practical than PM motors. They are better equipped to handle abuse and are less likely to lose power in extremely cold or hot conditions.
As we’ve established in this lengthy post, winches are essential accessories to have in Jeeps. This is especially true if you’ve embraced the off-roading lifestyle that’s practiced by so many Jeep owners. Your budget is critical when it comes to buying a winch for your Jeep, but shouldn’t be the determining factor when making the final decision.
Many other factors can guide your decision. For instance, some people install winches to enhance the aggressive stance on their Jeeps. If you fall into this category, it does not make sense to spend over $1,000 on a heavy-duty winch that you won’t use when you can achieve your goal by spending less $200.
We hope you enjoyed this post and acquired important knowledge on the best winch for Jeep to enable you to spend your money more wisely.