When you’re working outdoors, an ATV can be a great boon. They’re small, yet tough, and can help move and hoist things that are much too heavy to carry. A great tool to make that job even easier is an ATV winch, which hooks on to things and pulls them in. However, choosing an ATV winch can be difficult sometimes due to the wide array of models. Thus, we decided to write this buyer’s guide on the best ATV winch.
It’s an invaluable thing to have, especially if you get into a tough situation with no recourse. For example, if you get stuck in the mud, you can use a winch to drag yourself out; without the winch, you’d likely be stuck there for a while. As for most useful things, there’s a large ATV winch market online. Because of that, it can sometimes be difficult to find the best winch for you.
To help you out, we’ve made this list of the best ATV winches on the market today. Like all of our lists, we’ve divided the winches into 3 different budget categories, in order to help you find the one that fits your budget.
In addition, each winch comes with a list of specs that’ll make it easier to distinguish each winch. Here’s a breakdown of each spec to help you out even more:
Line Pull: One of the most important specs, considering it’s what determines what you can pull out, including the ATV itself. Expect to see the better line pulls on the higher-end winches. However, some of the budget winches are surprisingly tough, so keep your eyes peeled.
Material of the Rope: You really don’t want your rope to snap when you’re using your winch. To prevent that, you should know what type of rope will fit best with what you’re expecting to haul. There are only two types of rope: synthetic and steel. Steel is tougher, but if it snaps, it can also be fatal. That’s why you should never exceed the suggested weight limit when using steel cable. Synthetic is less tough, but cheap to replace if it snaps, as well as far less deadly.
Motor: This is part of what determines the overall line pull. Better motors are usually found on higher end models. In addition, higher end models will come with extra motor features that the budget ones most likely won’t have.
Budget (under $150)
In this range, expect to see synthetic ropes and motors without any extra features. There are some surprisingly some of the best ATV winches in this range, especially when you factor in price. If you’re looking to get a winch at a steal of a price, this is a great range to look in.
Keeper Corporation KT2000 Trakker Winch
Line Pull: 2000 lbs
Material of Rope: 50′ galvanized wire rope
Motor: 1 hp, 12V DC electric motor
This is a barebones winch, but it’s offered at an unbeatable price. It comes with a 1 HP motor and a 50 foot long wire rope, both of which are good enough to give the winch 2000 pounds of pulling power. It comes equipped with a great braking system that allows you to find the perfect wire length for your task and hold it steady. It also comes with a circuit breaker in case the voltage suddenly changes, or if the whole thing short circuits. It’s also remote-controlled, allowing you stay at a safe distance when operating the winch.
This isn’t the best ATV winch for heavy duty jobs; it’s lacking in safety features and the 2000 pound limit isn’t good enough for many tough winching tasks. However, if you’re not planning on needing a super-strong winch, this one is good enough for most jobs. And most importantly, it’s offered at an absolutely unbeatable price.
Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC
Line Pull: 3000 lbs
Material of Rope: 50′ galvanized wire rope
Motor: Sealed 1.2 HP permanent magnet
One of the best winch on the cheaper side, but this one is considerably more powerful than the last; for only 20 dollars more, it might make sense to invest in this one! This winch comes with a 1.2 HP motor and a 50 foot wire rope, giving this a recommended pull limit of 3000 pounds! It’s pretty amazing how much weight that is for a winch this cheap. The motor itself is a permanent magnet, meaning that it runs off electromagnetic power.
This winch also comes with plenty of great safety features, such as a braking system (mechanical and dynamic), sealed solenoid and circuit breaker protection, and a rubber remote switch that allows for safe operation of the winch from a good distance away. If you’re willing to invest a few dollars more into a higher-end, yet one of the best ATV winch at an affordable price, this could be the one for you!
In this range, expect to see a dramatic increase in the line pull threshold, as well as more safety features. The differences between winches in this range can be dramatic, since it spans $250. As such, you might have to do some digging in this range to find the best ATV winch for you.
Superwinch Terra 45
Line Pull: 4500 lbs
Material of Rope: 55′ synthetic rope
Motor: 12V DC, 1.6 hp weather-sealed permanent magnet motor
If you’re looking for a supertough winch, look no further. This winch has a staggering line pull of 4500 pounds, which will get you out of any tough situation, guaranteed! The rope is synthetic and pulls out to a full 55 feet, far enough for most jobs.
The motor is incredible, in part because of the 1.6 HP it’s able to produce. It’s powered by an electromagnetic motor that produces all the power inside the winch. It also comes with a 3-stage planetary gear train so you can easily adjust the speed of the winch. Since it’s a mid-range winch, it has plenty of safety features, including a remote control, a state-of-the-art braking system, and a circuit breaker. In addition, all mechanical parts are protected under a lifetime warranty, ensuring your investment won’t ever go to waste!
High-End (above $400)
The cream of the winch crop are in this range. Expect to see the best of the best here, from rope material to lift pull. Still, all that comes at a (literal) cost; you should be ready to invest when looking to buy from this range.
WARN 75500 XT25 Extreme Terrain
Line Pull: 2500 lbs
Material of Rope: 50′ synthetic rope
Motor: 12V DC, .9 hp permanent magnet, Sealed
This is one of the best ATV winch on the market. Any problem you run into, this bad boy will have no problem fixing it. That includes everything from snow plowing to lifting other ATV’s out of the mud! With 2500 pounds of lift pull, this winch can handle pretty much everything that’s thrown at it. The motor is sealed, allowing for much more protection that you’d usually get on a winch, and making it really easy to use in terrible (or “extreme) weather conditions. It comes with a 3-stage planetary gear train that allows the speed of the winch to be controlled easily, which can also be controlled with a remote control that comes with the winch. The mechanical parts are under a lifetime warranty, while the rest is under a 3 year warranty.