How Big Should Your Winch Be?

Written by Tim Esterdahl | Comment Now »

You’re building that off-road vehicle and want to add a winch. First question that comes to mind, how big should my winch be? Here is a guide to figure out the right size.

How Big Winch Be

Need help figuring out how big your winch should be? Here is a handy guide.

First, find the gross weight of your vehicle and to multiply by 1.5. When you figure out your weight, remember you are going to hauling gear and passengers. You don’t want to be stuck on the trail when nature reminds that you should have bought a bigger winch. Getting stuck can be easy. Getting unstuck your going to need some extra power.

The weight of the winch comes into consideration as well. You will need to check with your manufactures recommend rated load for your front end as well as the rear before deciding the best place to mount your winch. Remember the weight of your winch and where you mount it can affect the performance of your vehicle.

One important thing to remember is to get more winch than you think you will ever need. Having the 6000lb winch when you truck is stuck in the mud on an incline, is not the time to find out you should have gone with the 10,000lb one.

Buying the Winch

If you’re not planning on heavy off-road driving and want to add a winch for occasional use you can save a few dollars and get a winch manufactured by Harbor Freight or Smittybilt. Not many serious off-roaders use these brands but for the weekend warrior, they will treat you right.

Craigslist is a good place look for used equipment. A friend of mine picked up a 10,000 lb. Smittybilt winch for $150. It was lightly used and came off a totaled jeep. There are a numerous good deals out there; it won’t hurt to take a look. If the winch has been heavily used I would keep looking. Your money is better spent on a new one or at least one that will not leave you stuck in the woods.

If you are a regular off-road driver and your winch is going to be getting a lot of use, you should go with a trusted name brand such as Milemarker, Warn or Ramsey to name a few of the more popular ones. If you want the most reliable winch, look for a worm drive. They are a bit slower and cost more but there may come a time when you’ll be glad you did.

There may be a local Off-Roader club that you can bounce your ideas off and there will be plenty of members to help with your decision. The best advice is from some who has been there and has tried the products.

Enjoy the adventure.

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