Off-Roading 101: What Exactly is a Snatch Block?

Off-Roading 101: What Exactly is a Snatch Block?

Written by Pierce Bryant
September 21, 2023

At Rhino, we always carry a snatch block in our recovery kit. Why? Because they not only improve the working load limit of your winch – they almost double it. If you often go off-roading with friends, family, or large groups, then you have likely heard of the tool in passing.

Maybe it was a close friend, or maybe it was that guy who cannot stop talking about how “kickass” his recovery kit is. Regardless, they are smart, and you should listen to their advice.

Without a snatch block, the chances of you getting your vehicle unstuck on your own are practically zero. You can try digging yourself out, but that only works if you have a high-quality shovel on hand, a pickaxe, and a whole lot of time, patience, and of course – dedication.

I do not mean to knock shovels, as they absolutely help in specific situations.

However, sometimes you just need a bit of motion, and for that you are going to need a winch combined with a heavy-duty snatch block and a reliable tree saver recovery strap.

So, if your vehicle is currently equipped with a winch, you may want to get your wallet out.

What is a Recovery Snatch Block?

what is a snatch block

A recovery snatch block ultimately increases the total working load limit of your winch. And, unlike a winch, you will not be going too far out of pocket to acquire one – think around $50.

A $50 investment may seem “too good to be true” when it comes to winch equipment, especially one that promises to greatly improve your winches working load limit, but we are dead serious. Snatch blocks hugely improve a winch’s working load limit.

Before we dive into the “how”, it is important that you understand what a snatch block is. Many different industries use these for various purposes, but the thing to know is that they are essential for lifting and moving heavy objects from point A to point B. You will find them being utilized in construction zones, warehouses, and practically any field that requires heavy lifting.

Below is a great example of the snatch block you will need for vehicle recovery.

which snatch block is used for recovery

The key difference between these snatch blocks and one used for recovering a vehicle, is the design. A recovery snatch block is designed to fit a winch cable and accommodate a loop-end tree saver recovery strap. Whereas the snatch block more often used outside of vehicle recovery has an entirely different design that is most often accompanied by a hook.

So, how does a Recovery Snatch Block work?

how does a recovery snatch block work

A snatch block is essentially a pulley encased in a metal shell that is built to assist a winch with heavy loads. Typically, they are manufactured with high-grade materials, and can easily handle thousands of pounds at a time. The big idea behind a snatch block is to redistribute the weight of a heavy load, allowing the winch to work freely with ease and increasing the pulling power.

The pulling power of a winch is greatly decreased when the spool is full of cable. Let this cable out, and the winch will perform more effectively with a higher pull ratio. A snatch block allows you to let out more winch, therefore increasing the overall pull ratio of your winch.

MUST READ: Instantly Increase the Pull Power of Your Winch

Now, combine the two factors. You have achieved a better weight distribution and less winch line in the spool. The amount of pulling power your winch is capable will greatly increase.

These are especially handy when recovering a vehicle. Different vehicles have a different weight, and just because you were able to winch yourself out, does not mean that you can safely winch another vehicle. By combining your winch with a recovery snatch block, you likely will not have to worry about the other vehicles weight. As it will add enough juice to your recovery setup to handle heavier loads – unless we are talking buses or freight trucks.

Here are 5 easy steps on how to use a snatch block:

  1. Place the recovery vehicle directly across from the stuck vehicle.
  2. Feed your winch cable from the recovery vehicle through the snatch block pulley.
  3. Attach the snatch block to the stuck vehicle using a d-ring shackle.
  4. Run the winch cable back to the recovery vehicle and begin winching slowly.
  5. Tip: Multiple snatch blocks can be used in this configuration to increase the pulling power of the winch, especially if the stuck vehicle is heavier than the recovery vehicle.

Featured Product: Rhino USA Recovery Snatch Block


Safety Guidelines and Warnings

winch and snatch block safety guide

Winching vehicles can be dangerous. So, before winching your own vehicle or another, be sure to read our guide on properly using a winch for vehicle recovery. We almost always advise that you have a winch damper on hand for winching vehicles, as this prevents the winch cable from snapping backwards if it breaks.

Visit our online store today to learn more about the Rhino USA 13.5 Ton Break Strength Recovery Snatch Block.

rhino usa tow strap


When should I use a recovery snatch block?

You should use a snatch block in off-roading scenarios when you encounter the following situations:

  1. Change of Direction: When you need to change the direction of your winch cable or recovery strap. Snatch blocks are ideal for redirecting the pull, allowing you to approach an anchor point from a different angle.

  2. Difficult Angles: When your vehicle is stuck at an awkward angle or in a position where a straight-line pull is impractical. A snatch block can help you apply force more effectively and from a better angle.

  3. Reduced Winch Load: To reduce the strain on your winch and vehicle during a recovery operation. By using a snatch block, you can share the load between the winch and the anchor point, preventing excessive stress on your equipment.

  4. Precise Pulling: When you need to perform a recovery operation with a more controlled and precise pulling angle. Snatch blocks enable you to achieve the desired direction and tension for safe and effective recoveries.

In summary, snatch blocks are valuable tools in off-roading for changing the direction of force, navigating challenging terrains, reducing load stress, and achieving controlled recoveries. We highly recommend having a recovery snatch block in your arsenal if you are planning on off-roading, especially in more treacherous areas.

Where to buy a snatch block?

We're not biased... but we highly recommend buying your recovery snatch block from Rhino USA, where our snatch blocks are made from high-strength cutting edge aerospace polymer pulley and 6mm powder coated drop forged steel. Rhino USA's recovery snatch block has a 9,000+ pound working load limit, and just like all of our products, it comes with a lifetime warranty!