Whether you ride your ATV frequently or only during rare adventures, you want your machine to be as well-equipped as possible. After all, your riding skills only get you so far. Eventually, you need some off-road equipment to take your ride to the next level.
Getting stuck is part of the fun of tearing up an uncharted trail. Of course, you do not want to stay stuck for hours on end. The right winch ensures you can get out of tough places and back on the trail in record time. It also helps you rescue your off-road buddies when the trail gets a bit too extreme.
If you are in the market for a new ATV winch, you likely want to know which are the best ones on the market. Before getting to five excellent options for 2020, though, let’s take a look at some common considerations when buying a winch for your ATV or UTV.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
Perhaps the most important of all considerations when shopping for a new winch is figuring out your gross vehicle weight rating. As such, you need to ask yourself, how big of a winch do I need for my UTV?
Typically, to get the maximum pull-rating capacity, you multiply your vehicle’s weight by 1.5. When it comes to ATVs, UTVs, side-by-sides and other off-road rigs, this rating gives you important details about the size of winch you need.
- 1,500-pound capacity winches are only appropriate for vehicles under 300ccs.
- 2,500-pound capacity winches are appropriate for vehicles greater than 300ccs.
- 3,000-pound capacity winches are for the largest ATVs and UTVs.
- 4,000-pound capacity winches are for the heaviest side-by-sides.
After you know what capacity of winch is right for your rig, you must think about your off-road style. While there are many great ATV winches on the market today, some are tougher than others. Which winch is right for you likely depends on a variety of factors.
If you regularly ride in wet or sloppy conditions, you may wonder are ATV winches waterproof? While many winches are water-resistant and work while submerged, a few are actually waterproof. With water-resistant winches, you usually must disassemble, clean and dry the winch after submersion. Of course, if your treks regularly take you into swampy areas, you certainly can find a winch that is fully capable of handling wet conditions without causing any additional work.
In addition to carefully considering the overall off-road performance of a winch, you must take care to pick the right winch accessories to get the most out of your equipment. Put simply, ropes, chains, connectors and other items often make the difference between good and moderate performance. When deciding which accessories to add to your setup, consider recommendations from the manufacturer of your new ATV or UTV winch.
The Best ATV Winches on the Market
Now that you have some general ideas on how to pick a new winch for your off-road vehicle, you may be asking, which ATV winch is the best? While there are many effective winches on the market today, some edge out the competition. Whether you choose to purchase one of the following winches or a different one, you can use the comparison below to improve your buying experience.
Here five of the best ATV winches for 2020:
The Warn AXON 4500-RC Winch with Synthetic Rope is a beefy, formidable winching system that is perfect for those who need some serious pull. This winch features all-metal construction with a waterproofing seal, meaning you can take it virtually anywhere. A built-in load limiter ensures you winch with confidence, while the device’s digital control lets you keep an eye on important matters. Additionally, the Warn AXON 4500-RC has 27 feet of high-grade synthetic rope that resists fraying while getting the job done.
The Quadboss 3500lb. Winch is a powerful, yet affordable, alternative to the Warn line of winches. This winch offers exceptional pull in a lightweight and compact housing. Its two-stage planetary design also makes quick work of your towing projects. To operate this winch, you easily use the corded remote. And, while the Quadboss 3500lb. Winch is not waterproof, it does have a water-resistant seal that does a good job keeping essential components dry.
The Warn VRX 3500 Winch with Wire Rope is an excellent ATV winch. This winch is a fantastic choice, as it offers premium features without a premium price tag. The winch has a black powder-coated finish that resists corrosion. It also comes with a handlebar-mounted rocker switch, which makes for easy use. Even better, the VRX 3500 comes with a 50-foot steel rope that is sure to hold up well to the challenges of any off-road trail. At just over $300, this winch leaves enough room in your budget to add some other aftermarket upgrades to your ATV, UTV or side-by-side.
The KFI Products SE35 Stealth Series Winch is a good alternative to winches made by other well-known manufacturers. This winch weighs just under 25 pounds, allowing you to get full winching potential without overloading your rig or adding unnecessary weight. With a rated pull line of 3500 pounds, this piece of equipment can hold its own against industrial-style winch setups. Meanwhile, the 50-foot synthetic cable allows you to reach anchor points that are far from the trail.
The Moose Utility 3,500-lb. Winch delivers the sort of performance you expect from trail-ready equipment. This winch has durable, all-metal construction, which works perfectly on smaller ATVs and UTVs. Available with either wire or synthetic cables, the Moose Utility winch has a load-holding mechanical break that allows you to carefully control pull. It also features a complete waterproof design.
A Few Additional Thoughts
The problem with Top 5 lists is they tend to make it look like components that are not on the rankings are not good items. That is not the case with many of the ATV, UTV and side-by-side winches available for purchase today. On the contrary, you can find exceptional winches that may not have landed on our list. As such, you should use the products above to get a good idea of which type of winch is right for you and your off-road style.