If you are an avid off-roader, then you’ve probably heard of or used a winch before. However, if you happen to just be getting into the game or are looking to use your vehicle to pull something heavy but aren’t super familiar with what a winch is, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
While picking out a winch may seem simple, there are many factors that you will need to consider to make sure that the winch you purchase is the optimal fit for your needs and for your vehicle. Some of the things that you will need to determine are the pull rating or capacity, the cable type, whether or not it is weather resistant, power, frequency, and size. Once you have a general idea of those things, your hunt for the perfect winch will become much easier. If you happen to know the answer to most of those questions, but are simply stuck on the type of cable you want, there are a few key differences between the steel and synthetic cables. Steel cables are incredibly durable, however do tend to require additional care and caution when using. Synthetic cables are becoming increasingly popular due to this and are much easier to use, however, they are prone to wearing out faster than steel cables.
But, if these things don’t seem to clear anything up for you, or you are simply just looking to purchase the best of the best, below we will be breaking down our top picks for the best off-road winches for 2021.
1. WARN 92815 Zeon Platinum 10-S
Our absolute top pick for 2021 is the WARN 92815 Zeon Platinum 10-S. This winch is not only two times as durable as the previous models, but also has a IP68 Waterproof Rating, which should fit any weather need you may have. The pull rating is at 10,000 lbs and it comes with 100 feet of 3/8” WARN Spydura synthetic rope, a heat resistant rope coating, and a polished aluminum hawse fairlead. This model also has the advanced wireless remote function, which will operate the winch, read the motor temperature, let you add up to two additional accessories that it will be able to read, a car charger adapter, and USB charger. The line speed is about 20% faster due to the new powerful motor and the gear train is stronger as well. While the ZEON 10-S Platinum is our top pick, for obvious reasons, other similar models are the ZEON 10 Platinum, with a 10,000 lbs capacity and the ZEON 12 Platinum and ZEON 12-S Platinum both with 12,000 lbs capacity. However, both Platinum models come with roller fairleads and steel ropes, while the S Platinum models do not. ZEON Platinum products also come with a limited lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and a 1 year warranty on electrical parts.
2. Smittybilt X20 Comp
For our number two spot we have the Smittybilt X20 Comp. This winch comes with a synthetic rope, hawse fairlead, forged hook, wireless remote, and rope sleeve. The load capacity is 10,000 lbs. This winch also has a IP68 waterproof rating. There are multiple mounting options, a larger clutch, oversized rod struts, and an inductive braking system. The winch also has a 6.6 HP motor and a 3 stage Planetary Gear system. This winch is also available with a load capacity of 12,000 lbs. If a synthetic rope winch is not for you, they also have steel cable winch options for 10,000 lbs, 12,000 lbs, 15,500 lbs, and 17,500 lbs.
3. X-BULL 12V Winch
Coming in at number three is the X-BULL 12V winch. This winch has an 82 foot synthetic rope with a load capacity of 13,500 lbs and has a IP66 Waterproof Rating. It also has a wireless remote control and a three stage Planetary Gear system. The motor has 6.0 HP and a clevis slip hook with a safety latch. The fairlead is aluminum and X-BULL’s new synthetic rope is heavy duty steel with a powder coating. The winch is a UV resistant matte black color, has the latest generation of design control pack, a larger clutch, and can be wire controlled if you are not a fan of wireless remotes. X-BULL also offers a satisfaction guarantee and technical support services.
4. ZESUPER 12V Electric Winch
Finally, taking our last spot at number four is the ZESUPER 12V electric winch. This winch has a 9500 lb load capacity and a hawse fairlead. The Waterproof Rating is IP67 and the motor has 5.5 HP. The rope on this winch is synthetic 3/8” x 100 ft and it also has a new control box where the reception speed is 20% faster. This winch also has a wireless remote and a three stage Planetary gear system. Their winches all come with lifetime technical support and a one year limited warranty as well.