Off Road Love: The Best Winches for Jeep Adventures
Having a jeep so that you can travel off the beaten path is one of the best ways to explore your own sense of wanderlust.
While you're jeeping, you might find that you get mired or you might end up having to go through some overly rough terrain.
When this happens, the best way to get out of a tough situation is to have a dedicated jeep winch that can pull you to safety so that you can get on with your trip.
So, which are the best winches for jeep enthusiasts? Let's take a look at some pre-purchase considerations first before we get to our reviews.
Top 5 Best Winches For Jeeps Reviews
- What Is A Jeep Winch For?
- Things That You Should Consider
- 1. Capacity
- 2. Line Length
- 3. Waterproofing And Weatherproofing
- 4. Budget
- Accessories And Additional Purchases
- 5 Best Winches For Jeeps Reviews
- Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch
- Warn 86255 VR10000
- Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope
- Warn 89040 Vantage 4000
- Smittybilt 98495 XRC Synthetic Rope
- Final Thoughts
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What Is A Jeep Winch For?
While there is definitely an argument that states that jeep winches are designed primarily for towing your vehicle out of the muck and mire, there's also several other great uses for a dedicated jeep winch.
A winches utility relies on its pulling capacity, but once you have a strong winch, you can use it to:
- Move larger obstacles like logs, boulders, and smaller structures out of your path.
- Help other vehicles out of a hole or crevice on a trail.
- Get back to civilization when you have a bent suspension or other vehicle damage that has happened while on the trail.
- Move larger objects when you want to do some landscaping on the fly.
Winches are versatile items and are relatively easy to install and manipulate. Some landscapers have even used them as a makeshift crane for smaller items.
In any situation, there's a lot of utility, so let's take a look at some things that you should know about the winch before you make a purchase.
Things That You Should Consider
Also known as line pull rating or simply rated line pull, the capacity of your winch will greatly affect its overall performance.
Most modern jeeps that are produced today weigh between 4100 to 5500 pounds, which means that if you want to use your winch to pull your jeep out of the muck and the mire, then you need to have one that can manage these weights.
As a rule, rated capacity is calculated based on the length of cable that's closest to the drum of the winch.
Typically, there are several layers of cabling on a winch and the closest layer will have the highest amount of overall pull; this length has the lowest gear ratio.
If you're looking to find out how much pull you need, a good method is to take your vehicle's gross weight and multiply it by 1.5 and that'll be the capacity that you should seek.
2. Line Length
Believe it or not, it's almost always better to not have a massive length of cabling for your winch.
Though you may want reach, as we already mentioned, the most pull is typically found closer to the drum of the winch.
Also, more cabling leaves more of an opportunity for the cabling to become tangled or jammed.
If you'd like to have an ideal length, many people go with a 100-foot cable winch. After that, you can purchase an extension that you can keep on-hand for jobs that need a little more length.
3. Waterproofing And Weatherproofing
As an off-road enthusiast, the last thing that you'll need is to have issues with the weather during your winching.
A winch that is electric and can't be used in a rainstorm will quickly prove itself to be near useless. Additionally, a winch should also be able to be used in watery situations.
Simply put, sometimes you'll have to winch across moving water or pull your vehicle out of a similarly flooded situation.
A winch that has a protected shaft and electrical components is much more likely to survive this type of situation than one without these components.
We also find that the winch's remote should be waterproof as well. This way, you won't have to worry about losing the ranged feature during your winching operations.
When buying a winch, the winch itself is seldom the entirety of your purchase.
Since there are usually additional accessories to buy, it's important to know exactly how much you will end up spending.
It'd be nice to purchase an expensive wonder-winch, but if you don't have the money for one of the more premium models, simply make sure that once you've purchased your cheaper unit that it can manage your vehicle's weight and that you have enough cash left over for important accessories.
Accessories And Additional Purchases
Speaking of important accessories, here's a list of things that you should also consider:
- A Tree Saver
- Extra Cabling Lengths
- Thick Gloves
This is a major consideration because, with it, you won't have to kill the tree that you're potentially winching from. The majority of winching operations involve trees and what a tree saver does is prevent the cabling from destroying the tree's trunk.
These accessories wrap around the tree and use a very durable material. This wrap sets an anchor point for the winch and simultaneously spreads out the weight of the contact so that the bark and the wood of the tree aren't greatly damaged.
Usually, these are attached to your winch via a D-shackle, which is very easy to setup and use.
As we already covered, it's better in most situations to keep the cable length on your winch as short as humanly possible in order to achieve maximum rated line pull easier and to avoid kinks and tangles.
That being said, you may sometimes need a bit more cabling than 100 feet.
In this situation, it's always a good idea to bring at least an extra 50 feet of cabling, just in case.
When you're winching, the moving cable and the gears can injure your hand.
To protect your hands from abrasions, we suggest purchasing a good pair of thick gloves.
Pick a pair that is made of a strong and durable material and you'll be well-protected from friction.
5 Best Winches For Jeeps Reviews
Our first winch is a great all-around device that has a high capacity of 9500 pounds, which is more than enough to pull any full-sized jeep out of trouble.
When it comes to waterproofing, the level of protection is usually demonstrated by an IP rating.
The Jeep Wrangler forum has a good breakdown of this rating, but the IP67 rating that this winch has indicates that it's totally protected from dust and can be fully submerged in up to a full meter of water without detriment.
- It has a waterproof corded remote.
- It's covered by a very impressive lifetime mechanical warranty.
- It has a very impressive line pull capacity.
- It uses a planetary gear train for smooth winching.
- The fuse can be burned out if the cable gets twisted.
If you have a larger jeep that is often used in weather-intensive situations, there aren't many winches better than the Smittybilt 97495.
We really liked the IP rating on this product, which indicates that there isn't a lot out there that can interrupt its overall function and effectiveness.
Warn is a company that specializes in towing and their Warn 86255 is a great product for jeep winching.
Rated at a very impressive 10,000-pound weight capacity, this winch should easily be able to pull the majority of off-road vehicles and jeeps without much struggle.
This winch comes with a corded remote that grants 12 feet of cabling and also has a control pack that you can mount anywhere in your vehicle, which adds a lot of versatility.
- The control pack is installable anywhere, which is a very nice touch for someone who wants to install it in the cab or even somewhere else.
- The rope of the winch is synthetic spydura, which is very durable. It's strong enough to be used on a truck or SUV as well.
- While it is weather-resistant, this winch is not fully waterproof.
When it comes to capacity, this is a very impressive winch. We loved the fact that this winch incorporates a corded remote with a lot of extra slack so that you can use it worry-free while you winch.
Our second Smittybilt product is the 98510, which is a winch that is designed to also manage 10,000 pound pull rated loads.
Similarly to our first selection, this winch is fully amphibious with a motor that can be submerged.
In fact, this particular winch actually has an IP68 rating, which is the highest available rating against both liquids and solid objects like dust.
With a planetary gear system and a 6.6 horsepower motor, you can expect this jeep winch to be able to pull your vehicle out of diverse situations.
- It includes a corded, waterproof remote that has 12 feet of slack.
- It uses a synthetic rope that has a total capacity of 10,000 pounds.
- It has a very attractive design.
- The winch itself is a little heavy; it weighs about 99 pounds.
Smittybilt does a great job at providing strong winching options that are designed to work well regardless of the terrain. We loved the protection on this winch, no dust or liquids will be able to damage its operation.
The top winches for jeep excursions don't always have to have the highest load pull ratios. Sometimes, you have a smaller jeep or an off-road four-wheeler that will need help out of obstacles as well.
When this situation occurs, the Warn 89040 Vantage is a great option. The components of this winch are fully sealed so that the elements won't be able to damage the winch.
Additionally, the dash-mounted control switch can be installed just about anywhere, from the front of your off-roader to the cab of your jeep.
- The control switch goes just about anywhere.
- It's very easy to install.
- It uses a planetary gear system for smooth winching.
- This is simply not for larger, full-sized jeeps. You can use this on vehicles like the Honda Pioneer or the Yamaha Rhino.
In our opinion, for smaller jeeps and off-roaders, there aren't many better options on the market. We also loved the fact that it's fairly light at only eight pounds and its ease of installation.
Our final product is another great winch from Smittybilt.
Like the first product from them that we covered, this winch has a nearly unassailable IP rating of 67, which means that it's fully immersion resistant and up to a depth of a meter.
It's also very strong, the 98495 has an impressive load capacity of 9,500 pounds.
For winching, this product also uses a three-stage planetary drive train that allows it to have a very smooth operation as well.
- It has a 6.6 horsepower motor.
- The cable is made of super-strong synthetic rope.
- It has a cable length of 94 feet.
- It comes with a fairlead to guide the cable.
- It's somewhat heavy at 78 pounds.
- If you align the remote's cabling in the wrong orientation, you can bend the pins.
Smittybilt has a well-earned reputation for designed rugged winches, and in our opinion, the 98495 XRC is no exception. It has a very durable rope, a convenient fairlead, and it's pretty easy to install.
If you need a winch that has a good capacity and can be operated just about anywhere, give this one a look.
Winching doesn't have to be tough. The products that we covered in this guide will get you and your jeep out of a jam quickly.
While they are all excellent, there is a cream of the crop product. In our opinion, if you want the best overall experience, go with the Smittybilt 98495 XRC.
It has a good capacity, has a fairlead that can make winching easier and more guided, and also is very resistant to the elements. In any case, whichever product you select, we hope that you have fun off road!