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If you use a winch, whether during off-road driving or as a tool to haul and heavy items like other vehicles, then you need to equip your winch with the best possible winch rope. For many years that meant steel cables, but synthetic winch rope has steadily gained popularity over the years as a viable alternative to metal ropes.
In this buying guide we take a look at the best synthetic winch rope products on the market. We evaluate the standout features that are the calling card of a quality synthetic rope, and you’ll discover that when it comes to winch rope, synthetic really can be a great option.
The Best Synthetic Winch Rope
We kick off our list with this very impressive rope from AUXMART. Not only does it boast a quality construction from a very high-grade material (Dyneema), it has a number of other impressive features too.
Chief among them is the built-in protective sleeve. This goes a long way to protect against overheating and slippage, helping to make this a real user-friendly winch rope. It will also protect against rough and sharp surfaces, the weak point of synthetic ropes.
95 Feet of Length
Built in Protective Shield
20,500Lbs Breaking Strength
- Weight4.6 Lbs
This synthetic winch rope from WARN is certainly from the premium end of the market. That’s not just because of the price tag but also because of the huge range of features packed into this product.
The construction of the rope is its biggest stand out. This is a very well-made product constructed of super high-grade polyethylene. WARN states this material has a “high molecular weight.” That means this material is very dense and tough, making it abrasion resistant while also packing a very high tensile strength.
80 Feet of Length
Ballistic Nylon Protective Shield
12,000 Lbs Breaking Strength
Urethene Coating for Added Protection
- Weight7.28 pounds
If you are going to be using your winch ropes properly, you also need some supporting characters too! A winch is obviously a must have, but a quality D ring is also very important for use in off road driving.
Say hello then to this quality D Ring shackle from FieryRed. It boasts a solid steel construction for incredible strength. In fact, it has been laboratory tested to a breaking point of over 22,000 Lbs. That is frankly stronger than many styles of winch rope (and indeed winches), so you can be confident this shackle can stand up to anything that can be thrown at it.
Lab Tested to 22,000 Lbs Break Strength
Powder Coated Steel Construction
Protective Polyurethane Cap
- Weight6.1 pounds
Next up we have a far simpler style of synthetic ATV winch rope here. It is priced at the lower end of the spectrum, and whilst it may be missing a few of the features found on premium ropes, HOOAI have still packed in a lot of useful features here.
The rope is 48 feet long and has a breaking strength average of 7,000lbs. That’s the basic specs, but there are a few quality extras too. The hook attachment eye guard, for example, is very tough and well designed. You also get a 1.5 meter length protective shield to extend abrasion protection.
48 Feet of Length
7,000 Lbs of Strength
Easy to Handle & Splice
- Model7000+ LBs
- Weight13.8 ounces
Astra Depot are the next manufacturer to make our list, bringing this very attractive green cable design with them. This is another more basic kind of synthetic winch rope, but again if you are looking for a good rope without breaking the bank then there is a lot to like here.
The construction of this rope is very impressive. It boasts a 12 strand build, and also includes an interwoven durability layer. This helps to provide additional abrasion protection and tensile strength. A built in heat guard has also been included to protect the rope from damage caused by excess heat generated by the winch braking mechanism.
50ft of Length
Built in Heat Guard
7,000 Lbs Capacity
- BrandAstra Depot
- Weight1.19 pounds
This synthetic rope, which is known as “The Devil’s Hair”, is a pretty normal style of winch rope. It is 50-feet long and packs a weight capacity of some 6,000 pounds. Construction is good with tough and well braided material on show. The eyelet is also well designed and reinforced with metal, which is good to see.
One interesting feature with this rope is that it is available in a wide range of colors, everything from the standard grey to more eye-catching bright red and blue – there is even a pink rope available. If for some reason you are very keen on color coordinating your vehicle and your winch rope that could be something to bear in mind.
50 Foot Long
6,000 Lbs Weight Capacity
Available in a Range of Colors
- BrandExtreme Max
- Weight8 ounces
This synthetic winch rope from Smittybilt is packed with quality features and design points. The first thing to note is the strength and length of this product: 88 feet is a very useful length of rope. An upper weight capacity of 12,000 pounds is also impressive. The construction of this rope is also eye catching.
It has been given a special coating that makes it feel a little tacky. This in turn helps the product to grip while being wound on the winch drum, minimizing the chance of rope slip. The rope also benefits from enhanced protection against both UV and abrasion damage.
88 Feet in Length
12,000 Lbs Weight Capacity
UV and Abrasion Damage Resistant
- Weight22 pounds
There is a lot to like in this next rope from ELUTO. The bright orange design, for one thing, helps to make this a winch rope with excellent all round visibility. If you off road in evening or even night time conditions, that could be something to bear in mind as a useful feature with this product here.
Aside from that you get a useful length of 49 feet and about an average weight capacity of up to 7,000lbs. Neither the length nor weight capacity is exactly earth shattering, but are still both very useful amounts.
49 Foot Long
7,000 Lbs Breaking Strength
Protection from Chemical Corrosion
- Weight13.6 ounces
Offroading have put together an excellent kit here, designed for anyone interested in… well… in off roading. That means you get a quality synthetic rope (more on that in a minute) as well as a useful rubber stopper and a very useful stainless steel snap hook.
The rope is the big stand out here though. At 95 feet you get plenty of length to play with, whilst the weight capacity of 18,500 Lbs is extremely impressive. There is also a quality protective sleeve included in this design here. That sleeve will work hard to resist fraying, overheating and slippage on the rope.
95 Foot Long
18,500 Lbs Breaking Capacity
Kit Includes Quality Snap Hook
- BrandOffroading Gear
- Weight5.5 pounds
Best Synthetic Winch Rope Buying Guide
In our buying guide, we’ll take you through the features that you should keep an eye out for when picking out the best synthetic winch rope for you. After that, we’ll take a look at how best to use and care for your new rope and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely useful product.
What to Look for When Buying a Synthetic Rope
With so many options on the market today it can be hard to decide which rope is the best for you. Luckily, there are a few features to bear in mind that can help you to narrow down your options…
Is there a more important consideration when choosing your winch rope than the strength of the rope? You should never select a rope that is close in breaking point to what you plan to winch. So for example, if your vehicle weighs 5,000 lbs, don’t buy a 6,000 lbs winch rope. That is putting the rope weight capacity far to close to the max strength of the rope, and that is asking for trouble.
Bear in mind the typical winching distance that you will work at. Again, as with the strength option above we would suggest working in some room to maneuver here, and buying a rope that is a little longer than you think you will need.
As we saw with our product list above, there can be quite a discrepancy between price tags when it comes to winch ropes. About 100 bucks is the average, but you can still pick up quality ropes for less than that too. Just be aware they may be missing some of the premium features such as UV protection or stainless steel snap hooks or eyelets.
Synthetic Winch Rope vs. Metal Winch Rope
Ever since synthetic ropes began to become popular, it has been a big debate between off road enthusiasts as to whether metal or synthetic ropes are the better option. The truth is that they both have a number of pros and cons:
Synthetic easily wins out here! Quality synthetic ropes only weigh a few pounds, whilst metal cables weigh huge amounts more. The cable is also lighter in your hands, making it easier to work with.
Metal cables are going to win here. Synthetic versions are almost always more expensive than their simpler, metal cousins.
- Ease of Use
We’ll give this as a narrow victory to synthetic. The truth is that both material ropes are pretty easy to use. But the lower weight of the synthetic tips it over the edge for us. It’s also easier to rewind a synthetic line onto a winch as you don’t need to be so concerned with kinks or fouling the line.
Again, a narrow victory for Synthetic. Yes, it can be easier to spot faults on a metal cable. However at the same time, if the rope fails then a snapping metal cable holds a lot of kinetic energy. That energy translates into a cable that almost explodes when it fails under weight, posing a risk to everyone around. On the other hand when a synthetic rope breaks it is far less dramatic!
So there you go, synthetic wins the most categories – to us at least! But a number of them were very close, and other people could give those same categories to metal cables if they were so inclined. The truth is, both metal and synthetic ropes can both be extremely useful tools that do a good job for the owner that selects the right model, uses it in the right way and keeps up a decent program of simple maintenance.
Best Synthetic Winch Rope FAQ:
Q: What is synthetic rope?
A: The traditional material for winch rope was always steel. But whilst steel cables have a number of benefits such as high strength they also have some drawbacks like being very heavy and also being harder to use in everyday situations.
Synthetic ropes came about in the 1990’s as an alternative, and as time has gone on they have steadily increased in popularity. As their name implies they are simply ropes that are made of synthetic materials, usually tough plastics such as Polyurethane.
Q: How should I maintain my synthetic rope?
A: The best way to maintain your synthetic winch rope is to protect it from environmental damage. UV rays from the sun and long-term exposure to moisture are both things to be avoided if you want a nice long lifespan for your rope.
As far as UV damage is concerned, try to keep your rope out of direct sunlight where possible. If you don’t use it very often, you could consider removing the rope and storing it in the garage until you do need it again.
Avoid moisture damage by never storing the rope wet. If it gets wet during use or when driving, remove the rope and lay it out to dry properly before storing it off the vehicle or rewinding it onto the drum.
Q: How do I install winch rope?
A: Installing a winch rope is actually pretty easy, though you do need to spend a little time on the task to do it right. The first thing to do is to remove and discard any rope that is already on the drum. Don’t try to recycle any old lengths of rope, just get rid of them!
Secondly most winch cables will come with a small eye-let at one end. This will be attached to the locking mechanism inside the winch drum. It tethers the winch rope to the drum, though if you ever get to the point that the rope is being held on with this device then you are in trouble!
Once connected, the next thing to do is to get the rope wound onto the winch drum. This is where it really pays to spend a little time getting the job done right. Some winches will have a mechanism mounted to the front to help the rope to load evenly across the drum.
If your winch has one of these, thread the rope through it before you start to wind. If not then you will need to manually feed the rope from one side of the drum to the next, ensuring the rope is loaded up evenly across the drum.
Our Top Pick
It was a real tough task picking the best synthetic rope out of this selection! There are a number of very well designed and built ropes, many of which we would be more than happy to throw onto our own winches. That being said, we know that you guys like it when we pick an overall winner – or at least that’s what you tell us?
Best in show today, also known as our Top Pick, has to go to the AUXMART Synthetic Winch Rope. For us, whilst it was a little pricier than some other options on our list this product more than justified the extra investment. It has a useful length and good breaking point of over 20,000 Lbs.
That excellent protective sleeve is a big factor in its win too. It goes a long way to protecting the rope against abrasion damage of sharp surfaces. As we’ve mentioned several times that really is the Achilles Heel of synthetic ropes, so it’s great to see features included to counter that threat.