Finding The Best Winch For Jeep: Know The Basics

A winch is a beneficial equipment to have in your vehicle compartment. Because as a driver, you will never be able to tell when accidents or emergencies can happen.

That is even more important for off-road vehicles such as a Jeep. Stick around as we review the best winch for a jeep!

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Best Pick
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb. Load Capacity
Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC winch 3,000lbs/1360kg with...
Reasonable Price
Liteway 12 VDC Winch 3500lbs/1591kg with Roller Fairlead Electric...
Smittybilt 98510 X 2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch - 10000 lb....
Warn 89041 Vantage 4000-S Winch - 4000 lb. Capacity
Capacity
9,500 Ibs
3,000 Ibs
3,500 Ibs
10,000 Ibs
4,000 Ibs
Horsepower
6.6 HP
1.2 HP
1.2 HP
6.6 HP
1.4 HP
Unique feature
500-ampere solenoid
100 percent automatic load holding
4-way roller fairlead
Fully submersible
Aircraft grade-steel rope
Best Pick
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Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb. Load Capacity
Capacity
9,500 Ibs
Horsepower
6.6 HP
Unique feature
500-ampere solenoid
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Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC winch 3,000lbs/1360kg with...
Capacity
3,000 Ibs
Horsepower
1.2 HP
Unique feature
100 percent automatic load holding
Reasonable Price
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Liteway 12 VDC Winch 3500lbs/1591kg with Roller Fairlead Electric...
Capacity
3,500 Ibs
Horsepower
1.2 HP
Unique feature
4-way roller fairlead
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Smittybilt 98510 X 2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch - 10000 lb....
Capacity
10,000 Ibs
Horsepower
6.6 HP
Unique feature
Fully submersible
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Warn 89041 Vantage 4000-S Winch - 4000 lb. Capacity
Capacity
4,000 Ibs
Horsepower
1.4 HP
Unique feature
Aircraft grade-steel rope

Last update on 2018-05-27 at 09:36 PST - Details

My Top 5 Picks

First on my list would be my pick for the best winch for jeeps. Smittybilt’s 9,500-pound winch certainly fits the bill, mostly thanks to its strength and reputation. For over 50 years, Smittybilt has been a reliable brand for jeep accessories to customers. This reputation certainly shows in their XRC winch.

One of the first things to focus on this heavy duty equipment is its horsepower. Built not only for jeeps, the 6.6 HP of this machine can take in all kinds of amphibious automobiles.

That means no matter how cumbersome or light your jeep is, this winch can get the job done without any glaring problem. It’s also completely waterproof, which is a standard for most winches to accommodate amphibians.

Installation is also one of the things it excels. Smittybilt recommends supplied wiring for their product. The great thing here is that all of the cables and requirements are in the kit. You’ll get convenience and power in one awesome winch!

We like

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    State-of-the-art design for strength and durability
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    It has a 3-stage planetary gear system which efficiently hauls and recovers your jeep without putting stress on it
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    Solenoid features 500 amperes for increased hauling power
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    Customer-friendly warranty
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    This warranty offers a dual-stage bargain which can give you limited warranty on stainless steel parts.
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    Powder-coated products comes with a 100,000-mile warranty as well
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    Complete kit makes installation a walk in the park

We do not like

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    Finding a cover that can fit well with this winch can be a problem. That makes storage a bit difficult
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    The instructions are lacking
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    It needs to be more accurate and precise regarding the installation of the winch.

Superwinch’s LT3000ATV could’ve been atop our list as the best winch. After all, hundreds of reviews online have nothing but praises for this winch. So, how did the Smittybilt edge this powerhouse of a winch? Simply put, it’s just a matter of power in recovery.

Superwinch will have been the Editor’s pick if we’re talking about pulling non-Jeep vehicles such as lighter SUVs and ATVs. That’s because the Superwinch LT3000ATV is specifically designed to draw the largest ATVs and other light off-road vehicles.

While that may be the case, the LT3000ATV has surprisingly exceeded expectations. How so? Well, it’s safe to say that this “ATV winch” can pull Jeeps as well. Although not as quick and powerful as the Smittybilt, it gets the job done nonetheless.

The only case here is to check the model of your Jeep. If your Jeep rates around the 4,000-pound weight, it’s best to use a Smittybilt. However, Jeeps that weigh below that mark can be hauled by this efficient winch!

We like

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    Mechanical and dynamic braking allows safe and smooth operation
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    It also comes with a 100 percent automatic load holding which reduces the risk of rope or wire slippage
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    In case of power failure, the gearing system is designed to stop the drum quickly
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    Reliable mechanism for recovering all kinds of off-road vehicles
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    It has reduced amperage along with a permanent magnet motor which is responsible for delivering quick and safe results

We do not like

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    The hand control for this winch can be quite hard to maneuver
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    The fuse block of the winch can improve

Liteway enters my list as the budget pick because of its super affordable price that’s guaranteed to attract your wallet. Liteway’s 12 VDC winch is capable of pulling lighter Jeeps efficiently, for no more than 199 US dollars. The prices vary, but you can expect that this won’t go higher than that.

Despite its lower price, it does not disappoint regarding mechanism and strength. For one, Liteway boasts a 4-way roller fairlead that’s designed to bring the rope towards the drum carefully. Moreover, it also has a feature where you can control winching more efficiently through the brake layout.

We like

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    Overall a good winch for almost half of a Smittybilt’s price
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    While it doesn’t possess a complete package, Liteway does a good job by making their winch fundamentally sound
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    It has excellent quality exterior protection
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    The encasing that it has protects the drum from dust and mud. That makes it very durable and easy to use for harsher terrains.
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    Operation is innovative yet simple
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    It has a dual wireless remote control which can control the winch from a distance of 20 meters
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    While a lot cheaper, it can easily pull 3,500 pounds which makes the operation run smoothly.

We do not like

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    The cables are not as good compared to the other winches reviewed
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    Installation is not as easy compared to others
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    It lacks key components that can enhance its installation time

Smittybilt makes a second appearance on our list with its X20 waterproof winch. It’s my update pick because of its high-quality specs that go along with its hefty price. The price of the Smittybilt X20 ranges anywhere between 500 US dollars and above.

While that might seem pricey, it nonetheless retains the XRC’s capabilities. However, it’s a lot more powerful and has a longer shelf life. It’s perfect if you’re engaging in a lot of free driving with massive automobiles. Which means that this equipment is best suited for professionals or hobbyists that needs a lot of winching every week!

We like

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    Strongest winch in this list
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    Its pulling power is rated at 10,000 pounds, allowing it to cover virtually any Jeep model.
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    Excellent water-proof feature makes it completely protected
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    While some winches have only selected parts, this winch can be submerged in water and still work
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    Solidly build winch
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    It retains the 6.6 horsepower and 500-ampere specs of the Smittybilt XRC that we previously reviewed
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    The synthetic rope that it uses is among the best quality cables you can find

We do not like

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    Although it has a wireless remote system, it can malfunction from time to time
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    The cabling can be a bit short for your preference

Warn’s Vantage winch is my niche product for this list because it’s a specialist for pulling ATVs, light Jeeps, and SUVs in harsh terrains. Some of the products I reviewed here are excellent winches all-around. However, most of the winches are suitable for straight-line pulling.

Meaning, when the going gets tough, those winches can have a hard time recovering vehicles from awkward angles. Not to mention, a few others are not as easy to transport and setup. That is where Warn Vantage comes in. It’s the best winch for ultimate outdoor recovery.

We like

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    Recovers power sports vehicles in the toughest positions
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    It’s excellent for recovering ATVs and lighter Jeeps out of swampy areas, dunes, tar, and much more.
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    Extremely portable
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    It’s designed to fit in a standard sporting ATV, so this can fit in Jeeps easily too.
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    You get a choice of rope material
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    You can get either an aircraft-grade steel cable or the traditional synthetic one
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    Lightweight but full of powerful components
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    Smooth planetary gear system coupled to permanent magnet motors allows this to compete with the rest.

We do not like

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    Not nearly as powerful compared to the others
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    It’s originally designed to pull ATVs of all sizes, so heavier Jeeps are not suitable
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    The instructions are a bit hard to follow
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    That makes installation a little difficult

Mini Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Buying A Winch

Just as we mentioned earlier, the best winch for your vehicle must not only be good for one use. An excellent winch can withstand multiple uses and rough terrains. To find this miracle of a winch for you, here are some things you might want to consider when finding one:

Winch motor type

The first thing you might want to look into when buying a winch is its engine type. For winches, there are three main types of vehicle-mounted motors. These are the series wound, the permanent magnet and the hydraulic.

The series wound type of winch motor is usually ideal for heavy duty usage. If you need a winch motor that can withstand extreme weather conditions as well as frequent usages, then this type might be what you need.

On the other hand, the permanent magnet is only suitable for light to average usage. It is ideal for ATV winches. Also, this winch motor type is also generally cheaper compared to other types such as the series wound.

And lastly, is the hydraulic winch motor. Among the three categories, this might even pass as the heaviest duty. It is enough to withstand usages as long as a whole day. This type is usually the winch motor used for towing trucks and factory work.

Size

Another factor to look out for would be the size of the winch. It might be tempting to buy a big and powerful one, but then, is it going to fit in your vehicle compartment? Is the weight still within the capacity of your vehicle?

And, if you are in need of a winch that is easily portable, then this factor might also play an important part. That is the case if most of your work and usages will be outside the comforts of your office or home.

Rope used

If you’ve already been familiar with winches already before, you would know that there is always that difficult choice between opting for a steel cable or synthetic rope. It is important that you know how to weigh the pros and cons for both.

For quite a while now, steel cable has always been usual for winches. It is heavy duty and can do more than just tow a vehicle. It can even be used to move away from tree stumps, say for example, after a storm.

Also, you won’t have to worry about exposing it to the sun’s heat all the day since it is quite UV resistant. However, it is also much heavier than synthetic rope. With its texture, you’ll have to wear gloves on while using to avoid getting cut when it snaps.

And given its steel nature, it is prone to rust and corrosion due to time or when it wears and tear. So it is also important to check it and have it maintained now and then. On the other hand, the synthetic rope is the much lighter alternative.

That makes it a better option to store in your vehicle’s compartment. It can be a little less dangerous compared to steel cable when snapped. And it doesn’t keep that much energy compared to steel cables.

However, it needs a lot of maintenance and cleaning after usage. It can be damaged over time when exposed to UV rays and abrasions from sand, dirt, and other gritty particles as well as chemicals.

Mounting and anchoring capacity

The last factor would be the anchoring function. Make sure to take note first of the weight capacity of the winch you're planning to buy. Is it enough for what you will be using the tool?

The mounting capacity is also something that you should consider. Winches with solenoid mounting have reduced footprint sizing while at the same time maintaining their pulling capacity.

However, note that there are two main types of solenoid mounting: the integrated and the kind of remote. Among the two, the mixed type is open more suited for extreme weather conditions and rugged terrains due to its mounting.

You can compare this to the control type which is just externally mounted.

Although these might not be everything you need to consider as there is still the warranty, the price, and other winch specifications, these are just some of the basics.

The Verdict

So that completes my list of the best winches for your Jeep. Remember, these are five different products that cater to different needs and preferences. The winner here will be none other than the Smittybilt XRC. However, you can always check the others depending on your circumstance.

For instance, if you’re not willing to go the extra mile, then the Liteway winch is a good alternative. That’s the case especially if you don’t use winches that much. If you found my article informative, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! Thanks for reading and good luck!

Thomas Roberge
 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

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