5 Pro Tips to Finding the Best Electric Winch

When you’re trying to find the best electric winch for your vehicle, you need to consider the many variables involved. You never want to hook anything up to your truck, camper, or ATV if it can potentially damage it, or even you. So, who should you ask about the best way to find the right winch when you need something durable, strong and affordable? Ask the pros!

best electric winch on vehicle

We can give some of the most incredible tips to finding the best electric trailer winch or truck winch, based on the information we’ve gathered through the companies that make them. We’ve taken the time to research tons of different electric winches, so that you don’t have to.

This article will discuss five pro tips for finding the best electric winch for you and your circumstances and vehicle type.

5 Pro Tips for Finding the Best Electric Winches

If you’re in the market for a good winch, there are five main questions you should ask before buying.

  • How much weight can it pull?
  • What mounting style do I need?
  • What type of cable should I use?
  • What is its warranty and reliability?
  • Is it worth the money?

Once you know what to ask, then it’s time to decide what the answer should be.

1. How Much Weight Should an Electric Winch Pull?

The pull size of your winch will depend significantly on the size of your vehicle. In theory, your winch should be able to pull at least one and a half times the weight of the vehicle it is attached to.

Vehicle TypeVehicle WeightPull Weight
Ford F150- Heavy Duty5000lbs10000-15000
Jeep4000-6000lbs10000-15000
4-Wheeler/ATV500-700lbs1000-1500
Boat trailer(boat size)¾ of the weight of boat, fuel, motor, and gear.

This rule is efficient enough for pulling the intended load. However, it may be much more beneficial if you got a winch line that pulls even more. After all, the more power and durability, the better!

2. What Mounting Style do I need?

There are a few different mounting styles offered by the industry, which are mostly based on the location of the vehicle you’re hooking the winch to. The four main types of mounting styles are:

  • Front bumper mount: As it sounds, this mount will hook to the front bumper of your vehicle. It’s great for jeeps and trucks.
  • Bed mount: The bed mount is designed for a pickup truck, tow truck, and for trailer towing. This is a good option for pulling heavy loads.
  • Universal mount: These universal mount kits will attach to just about any vehicle and to almost anywhere on the vehicle, as long as you have the right equipment.
  • Hidden mount: The hidden mount is mounted underneath the vehicle, right behind the bumper.
electric steel winch installed on jeep front

3. What Type of Pull Cable Should I Use?

There are two main types of pull cables: synthetic and metal. Both pull cable types have their advantages and disadvantages. We’ve put together a list of both, to help you decide which you prefer and would be a better fit for your situation.

Synthetic Winch Rope

Advantages:

  • Weight: A synthetic rope winch is a lot lighter than metal, which makes it easier to handle and places less tension on the motor pulling it.
  • Repairs: A synthetic rope winch is a lot easier to repair than metal rope. (Mending should only be done when you’re in a pinch, as it’s necessary to replace the rope.)
  • Strength: Synthetic cable is known to be a bit stronger than steel metal rope, and this reduces the chances of it snapping under pressure.

Disadvantages:

  • Cost: Synthetic cables are a bit pricier, especially if you’re getting heavier pull capacity lines.
  • Damage: Synthetic cables are known for picking up dirt and debris that can get caught in the cable lines and will cut you or start to wear out the line. They are also highly susceptible to weather stressors like UV rays, water, and mud.

Metal Winch Rope

Advantages:

  • Damage: Although metal wires can rust from water exposure, they can hold up to pretty much every other type of weathering. There is also a protectant you can purchase to help waterproof your line.
  • Cost: Metal winch ropes are usually less costly compared to synthetic ropes.
  • Age: Metal ropes have been used for much longer than synthetic ropes and have always done the job well.

Disadvantages:

  • Weight: Metal winch rope is heavy, and this can make moving and handling difficult.
  • Repairs: Unlike synthetic rope, if your line snaps in the middle of a job, then doing a quick repair will be much harder, if not impossible.

3. Warranty and Reviews

Customer experience considerations are very important when choosing the best electric winch to purchase. Although customer reviews are important to research, it is also very important to remember that sometimes they aren’t all reliable. Find a product you’re interested in and check the reviews. Then, look at the reasons for the good and bad scores. You may find the bad scores are nonsense and the product is in fact right for you.

For optimal customer experience, customer service is imperative. When purchasing a winch, you want it to have a decent warranty life, and check out the battery too. All warranties are different and have their own guidelines and sets of stipulations. Whether the warranty states 5 years, a limited lifetime, or a lifetime, you should always read the fine print.

4. Cost

A good winch doesn’t have to be an expensive one. On the flip side, an expensive winch is not always a good one. Electric winches are extremely popular these days, especially with off-roading and ATV vehicles, and companies know how coveted they are. Make sure you’re getting what you pay for and not paying for a feature that isn’t included.

A good winch will have good pull capacity, it will be durable and strong, and it will come with proper instructions and information on how to install it. A good winch can fit into just about any budget, as long as the consumer does their homework.

Dangers of Using the Electric Winch Incorrectly

Always use the electric trainer winch or truck winch properly and make sure you have the correct type for the load you’re carrying. There are many possible dangers if a winch is used incorrectly.

  • Incorrect mounting: Make sure the winch and mounting plate are installed properly onto the vehicle using the correct mounting. Incorrect use of the mounting plate can cause damage to both winch and mount.
  • Incorrect attachment: Always ensure the proper cable strength when pulling any object. If the rope is not strong enough, it will snap, halt production, possibly break the winch or damage your vehicle, and could kill anyone in its path.
  • Unkempt parts: Just like when you use a hoist for lifting, you need to be careful: Check the winch’s parts and pieces to make sure everything is still in good shape and working order.
  • Poorly made winches: Do not buy a winch because it’s “cheap,” without looking into its details first. Sometimes the phrase “You get what you pay for” can play out with winches, and cheaply made or designed winches can break down or burn out quickly, leaving you – literally – “stuck.”

Winch Recommendations

We have our preferences when it comes to a great winch that’s made with durable, long-lasting materials, that’s safe to use, and is affordable for all types of budgets. Although these aren’t the only good winches on the market today, these are a few winch recommendations.

1. WARN 94000 4000 DC Series 12V Electric, Winch

Warn is a well-known company that’s highly recommended by its customers and reputable. They are known for building products that are made to last, and they know the importance of a high-grade winch. This particular winch comes with a steel cable designed to pull up to 4,000 pounds, making any workload easy to maintain.

2. Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch

Smittybilt is another company that we find makes a great product for an affordable price. You never have to sacrifice quality for cost when buying these winches. This Smittybilt winch has a 9500lb pull capacity and is weatherproof and durable. You can take this machine with you off-roading or towing, and know you have equipment that’s up for the job.

3. Off-Road Boar 12v Winch

This high-performance, durable electric winch is great for just about any job you can imagine. With its 9500-pound pull capacity, getting stuck in the mud is no longer the end to a fun day of off-roading. Not only is it able to power through even the toughest terrain, but it’s priced to accommodate just about any budget.

Conclusion

It may seem that a lot goes into picking the best electric winch for your personal needs. However, educating yourself is the only way to get a safe and reliable tool. Winches can be very dangerous, and even deadly when not used properly, or if the right one is not being used.

Always use a winch that was designed for your vehicle and load type, and be sure to follow our 5 pro tips for finding the best electric winch.


James with daughter on the trails

About James...

Hi, I’m James. If I’m not working on this site, you can often find me outdoors roaming the trails. I’m an avid hiker, mountain biker, and overlander. I’m excited to share my passion for the outdoors with you.