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 2023.
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.
Having a winch for your Jeep or 4x4 is almost essential when off-roading, to ensure an escape plan if you or your trail buddy gets stuck. At Rhino USA, we are experts in off-road equipment and recovery gear, and we always recommend being prepared for the worst. If you don't have a winch, we highly recommend getting a kinetic recovery rope, one of the easiest and safest ways to recover a vehicle off-road. Even if you do have a winch, a kinetic recovery rope can be more suitable than a winch in certain recovery situations.
5. OpenRoad 13,000lbs Electric Winch with Synthetic Rope
The OpenRoad 13,000lb Electric Winch is the ultimate powerhouse for tackling challenging tasks. With an impressive 13,000-pound load capacity, it's well-equipped for off-road adventures, heavy-duty towing, and vehicle recovery. Built to endure rugged conditions, this winch offers exceptional durability and reliability, ensuring it remains a trusted companion in demanding situations. Its smooth electric motor operation, wireless remote control, and choice of steel cable or synthetic rope make it user-friendly and versatile. Safety features like a load-holding brake and easy rope deployment further enhance its functionality. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, the OpenRoad 13,000lb Electric Winch provides unbeatable value and performance, making it a top choice for those seeking power, durability, and versatility in a winch. Also, the OpenRoad winch provides one of the best values of all of the winches on this list, with a retail price of $479 and promotions up to $100 off!
Featured Product: Rhino USA Kinetic Recovery Rope
Rhino USA is one of the leader's in off-road accessories and heavy duty tie downs. Make sure to check out our lineup of heavy duty kinetic ropes, the strongest, and best kinetic recovery ropes on the market.
What size winch do I need?
Determining the right winch size for your needs depends on several factors, including the type of vehicle you have, its weight, and the specific tasks you plan to use the winch for. Winch capacity is crucial, however, other factors like winch line length, line material (steel cable or synthetic rope), and winch speed should also be considered. With that being said, the common rule of thumb is to have a winch that has double the pulling power of your vehicle. This means that if your vehicle weighs 4,500 pounds (small truck or Jeep weight), you would need a 9,000 pound winch. If your vehicle weighs 6,000 pounds we would recommend getting a 12,000 pounds winch.
What is an off-road winch used for?
An off-road winch is a specialized type of winch designed for use in off-road vehicles, such as trucks, SUVs, Jeeps, and ATVs. These winches are primarily used for self-recovery and assisting other vehicles when navigating challenging off-road terrain. Off-road winches can be used to recover your vehicle from a stuck position, or to recover another stuck vehicle.