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Off-roading is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the outdoors. However, it can quickly turn into a serious situation when the terrain gets rough and your UTV is stuck up to its headlights in the mud. In times like this, a good UTV winch can make the difference between riding home or walking in the wilderness.
When shopping for a UTV winch, keep in mind the weight of the UTV, the horsepower of the winch, and the length of the cable. These specifics will decide whether a UTV winch is correct for your personal all-terrain vehicle. Some winches are equipped with additional features that can make winching easier to use when you’re out in the field. You can rely on our buying guide to find some of the best UTV winches on the market.
The Best UTV Winches
Our pick for the best overall UTV winch goes to Superwinch, which is a great option for those who prefer steel over synthetic rope. This 3,500-pound winch will pull your UTV out of the muck using a sealed, high-efficiency, 1.6 horsepower permanent magnet motor that uses a low-amp draw. Winch controls include load holding and a dynamic brake. Pulling is done by a 50-foot long, 13/64-inch thick steel wire using an ergonomic cam action through a free spooling clutch. Just be sure to wind the steel cable neatly in the drum to avoid kinking it.
Superwinch claims this UTV winch uses all-steel planetary gear that is twice as wide as the competition. The oil pocket bronze bearings are machined-in for added strength. Built for off-road, the circuit breaker and solenoid are weather protected. Additional features include a contract four-way roller fairlead and a heavy-duty latched hook with a thimble. Superwinch offers a limited lifetime warranty on this UTV winch.
1.6 horsepower motor
3,500-pound pulling capacity
Three-stage planetary gear train
50 feet of 3/16-inch steel cable
- Weight20 pounds
Has a reliable weatherproof design
Protected from rope slippage
Allows for safe working distance
Backed with a limited lifetime warranty
A bit on the expensive side
Insufficient user instructions
Steel cable kinks
The Rugcel ATV/UTV Winch lets you enjoy your off-road adventures even when you’re on a budget. It’s an affordable electric winch that’s perfect for the modern outdoorsman since it’s made of stainless steel for enhanced corrosion resistance and durability. The unit is powered with a one horsepower permanent magnet motor that provides a 2,000-pound pulling capacity. This is low compared to the other models on our list, but will come in handy for pulling light ATVs and UTVs.
Additionally, the winch is designed with a 49-foot, galvanized, aircraft-grade cable that can handle rough terrain without fraying. A free spooling clutch featuring stage one planetary gearing helps the steel cable to roll out smoothly without drawing a lot of power from your vehicle. The steel cable attaches with a clevis hook with a safety latch featuring blue-white zinc plating that’s eco-friendly and resists damage caused by salt or moisture.
1 horsepower permanent magnet motor
2,000-pound pulling capacity
Stage one planetary gear train
Stainless steel construction
- Weight18.83 pounds
Waterproof and corrosion-resistant design
Easy to install
Comes with a wired remote control
Provides optimal towing control
Low pulling capacity
Length of the remote control could be longer
Might ship with a few missing items
The Warn Powersports Winch is slightly expensive, but comes packing most of the important features you would want in a utility winch if you are a frequent off-roader. It has an all-metal construction with a black powder-coated finish for optimal corrosion resistance. The metal is also IP68-rated for waterproof capabilities, and can effectively prevent moisture from damaging the motor and drivetrain.
It has 50 feet of 7/32-inch synthetic rope that can help pull a load weighing up to 3,500 pounds, meaning that it can help you accomplish a wide range of tasks. The rope rolls out smoothly thanks to the three-stage planetary gear train. A dash-mounted control switch is included so you can operate it from a safe distance, and it also includes a mechanical brake for increased control when pulling.
3,500-pound pulling capacity
Includes 50 feet of 7/32-inch synthetic rope
Three-stage planetary gear train
- Weight24.1 pounds
Easy to use and install
Long cable for easy reaching
Durable and weatherproof construction
Minimal power consumption
Poor installation instructions
Corded remote sold separately
The SuperATV Black Ops UTV/ATV Winch offers a safe way of pulling off-road vehicles that are stuck on a slope. It’s designed with a 50-foot synthetic rope and a mechanical brake that holds the spool on inclines. Synthetic rope is more flexible and lighter than steel cable. It’s driven with a 1.2 horsepower permanent magnet motor and can pull up to 3,500 pounds.
The kit comes with a wireless remote so you can control the winch within a 50-foot radius. A water-resistant remote receiver helps to maintain a reliable connection even when the UTV is dipped in mud. The unit is somewhat bulky, but the upside is that it’s fairly easy to install. It can fit on most winch-ready bumpers or a 3- by 4.87-inch winch mount.
1.2 horsepower permanent magnet motor
3,500-pound pulling capacity
50-foot synthetic rope
- Weight30.1 pounds
Kink-resistant synthetic rope
Wireless remote control
Easy to mount
Backed with a one-year warranty
Synthetic rope kinks easily
Winch mount sold separately
For the best value in a UTV winch, we chose the Champion Winch Kit. This UTV winch kit is powered by a one-horsepower permanent magnet motor with a 3,000-pound max-rated line pull. It is equipped with a super-duty aircraft cable measuring 49 feet in length, with a handlebar-mounted remote control.
Winch controls include efficient planetary gear and dynamic braking systems. The arrangement of all the controls on the same housing seems somewhat cumbersome, but they are fairly easy to use. In addition, Champion Power included additional features, a roller fairlead, and a mounting channel. A complete winch kit to get you started deck out your UTV with the proper off-road tools to tackle any terrain. This winch is backed by a two-year limited warranty that includes a lifetime of free technical support.
3,000-pound pulling capacity
49-foot aircraft-grade cable
Three-stage planetary gear system
1 horsepower permanent magnet motor
- Weight22.2 pounds
Offers great value for money
Lengthy and durable cable
Lightweight and compact design
Offers good control when towing
Backed with a two-year limited warranty
Cumbersome control arrangement
Power button can be hard to push with gloves on
Heavy-duty strength at an affordable cost earns the MotoAlliance Viper Midnight MD-4500 our pick for the best value UTV winch. The Viper Midnight is built with a maximum weight capacity of 4,500 pounds using a 1.6 horsepower permanent magnet motor. It pulls with a 50-foot black synthetic rope, with a mechanical load holding and dynamic brake.
The winch comes equipped with a rocker handlebar switch, contractor/solenoid, all the wiring, Hawse fairlead, steel planetary gears, and stainless steel hardware. MotoAlliance designed this UTV winch to be compatible with major brands of all-terrain vehicle manufacturers like Polaris, Yamaha, Can-Am, Honda, John Deere, and more. However, it may be incompatible with some Polaris models. MotoAlliance offers a one-year warranty on the winch and a six-month warranty on the rope.
4,500-pound maximum rating
50-foot black synthetic rope
1.6 horsepower permanent magnet motor
Three-stage planetary gear system
- Weight11.28 pounds
Decent rope length
Powerful motor that runs quietly
Includes a safety dynamic brake
Rope is backed with a six-month warranty
Not compatible with all ATVs/UTVs
Rope might snap when frequently pulling at the maximum load capacity
Internal components aren’t as durable as the outer components
Why settle for a winch that can only be used on one kind of vehicle? For the most versatile UTV winch, we picked the Bravex Electric Winch. Bravex designed this UTV winch to also work on ATVs, cars, boats, Jeeps, and multi-purpose utility trailers. Great for different kinds of complex situations and extreme off-road terrains involving rocks, mud, and/or sand.
Built for all weather, this UTV winch is waterproof and anti-sediment with an exclusive brake design for maximum control. The high-powered motor drive delivers a strong and steady pull. A two-year warranty is backed by lifetime technical support, but Bravex points out that the steel cable is a consumable and not covered by the warranty.
3,500-pound maximum pull rating
Differential planetary gear train
40-foot long cable
1.5 horsepower motor
- Weight18.7 pounds
Protected from bad weather
Comes with both a corded and wireless remote control
Powerful motor offers fast line speeds
Cable not covered in the warranty
Mounting kit sold separately
Not entirely waterproof
The X-Bull Electric Winch falls in the heavy-duty winch options due to its 4,500-pound pulling capacity and heavy-duty mounting plate. It’s driven with a powerful 1.5 horsepower permanent magnet motor, and has a 49-foot synthetic rope with a thick 12-strand design. The rope is made of Dyneema to make it lighter and more durable, and it rolls out fast and smoothly with the help of a free spooling clutch.
A three-stage planetary gearing system ensures that the winch has enough pulling power when using it off-road. The entire unit is IP67-rated for water resistance and can hold up to bad weather. Also, you can control the winch from a safe distance with a wireless remote control. You may have to make a few modifications or buy a locking plate to prevent the rope from unwinding from the drum when it’s not in use.
1.5 horsepower permanent magnet motor
4,500-pound pulling capacity
Three-stage planetary gear train
- Weight23.6 pounds
Quick and easy spooling
Corrosion and moisture resistant
Comes with both wired and wireless remote control
Comes with a mounting plate
Not as strong as steel cables
There’s nothing that keeps the rope from unrolling
Might not always respond to the wireless remote
Best UTV Winches Buying Guide & FAQ
The Best UTV Winches Buying Guide
A winch is a tool that can help you pull heavy objects easily, but things can quickly go from bad to worse if you use the wrong winch for your application. This is why you shouldn't just use any type of winch to pull your UTV. The line could snap sending your UTV crashing back down the slope, or you might lose control of the line and it will lash around and strike you.
Before buying your UTV winch, there are several factors you need to evaluate and it's easy to do this by using a simple buying guide. We have done the homework for you, and have come up with some of the best features and considerations that will help you get the best one on the market.
Why Do You Need a UTV Winch?
The beauty of off-roading is that it comes with many surprises so it's better to be prepared for anything that may come your way. When riding your UTV, it may run out of power, or it may get stuck on a rocky, muddy, or snowy surface. It's prudent to have a high-quality UTV winch on hand so you can pull your UTV out of those tough situations.
So long as you have the UTV winch permanently attached to your UTV, you can use it to complete other manual jobs, including pulling a fence, moving farm equipment, or pulling any other heavy load when you are landscaping or farming.
If you're out camping with your UTV, you can use the winch line as part of your survival equipment. For example, you can use it to remove fallen tree branches from your campsite or you can use it as a clothesline.
- Pull obstacles out of the way.
- Drag heavy loads behind you.
- Use it for rescue missions to get vehicles unstuck.
- It's a multi-purpose tool that can also be used on an ATV.
The Most Common Types of UTV Winches
There are two main types of winches: hydraulic and electric winches. Both types are compatible with most vehicles, and can be used to tow a UTV in any off-road environment. The differences are further discussed below.
Hydraulic winches are powered by the vehicle's steering pump. The steering pump creates hydraulic pressure that helps to run the motor. The hydraulic winch will continue to run as long as the engine is running, but won't draw power from your vehicle's electrical system.
However, it requires regular maintenance like monitoring the high-pressure lines and valves, topping off the hydraulic fluid in the winch, and maintaining the steering pump. You will be sacrificing first line speeds with hydraulic winches, but the benefit is most can be submerged in water without getting damaged.
Electric winches and powered by your vehicle's electrical system. It can either be driven with a series wound or a permanent magnet motor. A serious wound motor draws a lot of power from your UTV's electrical system, but is more reliable than a permanent magnet motor in the long run. A permanent magnet motor is the least expensive and most power-efficient option.
Electric winches are reliable and can work for as long as there's sufficient power from your vehicle's electrical system. They require little to no maintenance except keeping the winch clean to protect the internal components from corrosion. Most UTV winches on the market are electric winches.
What to Consider When Buying a UTV Winch
Safety is our most important consideration when choosing UTV winches. With that in mind, we picked winches with strong pulling mechanisms and ones with a maximum load rating so the user can avoid overloading the winch. We also prioritized options with a wired or wireless remote control to allow the user to work at a safe distance.
We also prioritized versatile UTV winches that can be used to pull both ATVs and UTVs. Despite the fact that they are different types of machines, you can have one tool that works for both so long as it can handle the weight of the vehicle.
It's also important to consider the price of the winch. If you're a frequent off-roader and you have a large UTV, expect to pay more for a heavy-duty UTV winch that can handle the demands of your vehicle. However, if you only need something that can help you pull your UTV out of mud or snow during recreational riding, then you can opt for a more budget-friendly option.
The Most Important Features of UTV Winches
The UTV winches on the market come with different designs. If you haven't already grabbed your UTV winch, use the features discussed below to find the most suitable option for your off-road adventures.
Most winches on the market are electrical winches that are driven by a motor. You want a unit with a motor that's powerful enough to tow your UTV, but doesn't draw too much power that it drains your battery or blows your engine. A safe bet would be going for a winch with a motor that's rated at about 1 to 1.5 horsepower.
The best way to determine the appropriate motor power is to consider the size of your UTV and check the specs of your engine. For example, if your UTV weighs more than 3,000 pounds, then you will have to get a winch with a motor that's rated at 1.5 horsepower and above. Also, ensure that your engine can handle a winch that draws that much power.
The towing capacity or the pulling power of the winch is the maximum load that the winch can handle without the rope or cable snapping. Ideally, you want a winch that can handle more than the weight of your UTV to cater to environmental factors that may increase the weight of the load.
For example, a winch cable has a higher chance of snapping when pulling a UTV on a slope than when pulling the same UTV on a level surface. It can also be harder to pull the UTV when it's stuck in mud or deep snow. Therefore, you need to get a winch that caters to the extra weight that may come about from the environmental factors. Most winches on the market are rated at about 2,000 to 5,000 pounds so it should be easy to get one with the pulling power you need.
UTV winches can either come with a steel cable or a synthetic rope. Steel cables are typically strong and long-lasting. Therefore, they can be used for heavy-duty pulling applications where you need to constantly use the winch to get your UTV unstuck. However, you need a high-powered motor and efficient gear system to control a steel cable since it can be dangerous if it snaps mid-tow.
Synthetic ropes are more lightweight than steel and they do not rust. They are easier to control and can also be used to tow heavy loads weighing about 3,000 pounds. However, synthetic ropes fray easily and can at times kink when rolled on the drum. They are also not as long-lasting as steel cables.
Some winches come with mounting kits while others don’t. If a mounting kit is provided, ensure that it is compatible with your UTV. Also, consider if you want a permanent or a removable mounting kit. A permanent mounting kit can be a convenient option for frequent off-roader, but a removable one gives you the flexibility of using the winch on another vehicle.
Best UTV Winches FAQ:
We understand that you may still have a few questions on UTVs, especially if it's your first time buying or using one. This is why we have included some answers to a few frequently asked questions by buyers.
Where can I buy UTV winch replacement parts?
A: You can find a vast selection of replacement parts online. Be sure to buy replacement parts for the same type of winch you are using. For example, if you have a Warn winch, ensure that you buy replacement parts from Warn or parts advertised to be compatible with Warn winches.
How do I determine which size UTV winch do I need?
A: If you mean the size of the actual winch, it should fit within your UTV's bumper. However, if you’re referring to its load rating, your best bet will be to choose a unit with a higher rating than your vehicle's actual weight. So, multiply your UTV's weight by 1.5 and get a winch with a similar load rating.
What other accessories do I need to use together with UTV winches?
A: Basically, choose any accessory that will make using the winch easier. This could be mounting kits, extra hooks, alternative winch cables, a wireless remote control, or dash-mounted controls.
Our Top Pick
We went with the Superwinch Terra 35 as our top pick mainly because it's easy to use and is powerful enough to pull heavy loads of about 3,500 pounds. It only adds 20 pounds to your UTV, and has a weatherproof design that can provide years of reliable service.
The Superwinch Terra 35 can allow you to tackle heavy-duty tasks, but it's not the most budget-friendly option out there. This is why we recommend Rugcel ATV/UTV Winch. It's a more budget-friendly option that can help you pull loads up to 2,000 pounds.
- Winch - Wikipedia