Best Winch

Your luck might not have gone south up to this point, but as a conscientious driver, you cannot afford to take any risks as you might put your well-being in peril or be faced with an unpleasant situation where you have to abandon your vehicle as it is stuck and you have no tools to get yourself out of trouble with. This is one of the main reasons why a winch – preferably an electric model – is compulsory for drivers. No matter if you end up using it to get yourself out of trouble or lend a helping hand to a fellow vehicle driver, the crane is an installation you have to make.

Top 5 Winches Comparison

1. Warn 96815 VR 10-S 2. Smittybilt 98495 XRC 3. Smittybilt 97495 XRC 4. Smittybilt 97510 X20 5. Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35

General Info

Manufacturer Warn Smittybilt Smittybilt Smittybilt Superwinch
Dimensions (L x W x H) 20.8″ x 6.3″ x 9.8″ 22.3″ x 5.4″ x 9.4″ 22.3″ x 5.4″ x 9.4″ 22.3″ x 5.4″ x 9.4″ 13.4″ x 4.5″ x 4.8″
Weight 59 Lbs 46 Lbs 78 Lbs 99 Lbs 20 Lbs
Style Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric
Finish Powder Coat Over Primer Undercoating Textured Black Textured Black Textured Black Powder Coat

Technical Specifications

Rated Line Pull 10000 Lbs 9500 Lbs 9500 Lbs 10000 Lbs 3500 Lbs
Fairlead Type Hawse Hawse 4-Way Roller 4-Way Roller 4-Way Roller
Motor 12V DC, Series Wound 6.6HP Series Wound 6.6HP Series Wound 6.6HP Series Wound 12V DC, 1.6HP Permanent Magnet
Drive Gear 3-Stage Planetary 3-Stage Planetary 3-Stage Planetary 3-Stage Planetary 3-Stage Planetary
Maximum Line Speed 26 FPM 32.34 FPM 32.34 FPM 31.10 FPM 22.50 FPM
Gear Reduction Ratio 261:1 161.28:1 161.28:1 218:1 140:1
Recommended Battery 650 CCA 650 CCA 650 CCA 650 CCA N/A
Type Rope Rope Rope Rope Rope
Material Synthetic Synthetic Synthetic Braided Steel Steel
Length 90′ 98.5′ 93.5′ 98.5′ 50′
Diameter 3/8” 3/8” 5/16″ 3/8” 7/32″
Mounting Holes 4 4 4 4 4
Mounting Pattern Length 10″ 10″ 10″ 10″ 4.87″
Mounting Pattern Width 4.5″ 4.5″ 4.5″ 4.5″ 3″


Remote Control 12′ Handheld Remote Switch 12′ Lead Remote Switch 12′ Lead Remote Switch 12′ Lead Remote Switch 10′ Handheld Remote Switch
Brake Automatic In-Drum Automatic In-Drum Automatic Out-of-Drum
Power Out
Free-Spooling Clutch
Waterproof IP67 Rating IP67 Rating IP68 Rating


Electrical Warranty 7 Years 3 Years 5 Years 5 Years 1 Year
Mechanical Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime
User Manual
Customer Support
Telephone Support 1-800-543-9276 877-695-7810 877-695-7810 877-695-7810 1-800-323-2031
E-Mail Support cs @ info @ superwinch . com
Online Chat Support

How We Rated the Vehicle Cranes

What we can say right from the get-go is that while we were indeed successful in our mission to rank the best winches on the market, it was no easy task at all. There were many considerations to take into account, ranking criteria we will list in the following. As we do this, we give you the chance to take a glimpse at a professional manner of rating and ranking these auto devices, helping ease your work even further when your time comes to go shopping.

  • Type – Electric

  • As you have already taken notice of, all of the tools we ranked as being the best are electric, none of our selections being hydraulic. The motivation behind this selection is that electrically powered tools are a lot more convenient to work with and they come with more features, delivering the enhanced performance you deserve and have grown to expect.

  • Pulling Capacity

  • The device’s pulling capacity unveils its limitations in terms of objects it can tow. When it comes down to this rating, the bigger the capacity the better as it shows you will have no problem regardless of the pulling task you want to take up. Two of our tools received higher ratings in this department, the Warn 96815 VR 10-S and the Smittybilt 97510 X20 as they are both capable of pulling up to 10000 pounds.

  • Maximum Line Speed

  • The maximum line speed indicates what is the top speed at which the line retracts when it is not attached to anything. This is a direct indicator of how the line acts when it is actually attached to an object like a vehicle, for example, denoting how high is the maximum speed when carrying weight. From this point of view, two models prevailed as the best, more precisely the Smittybilt 98495 XRC and the Smittybilt 97495 XRC as they both reach a maximum line speed of 32.34 FPM.

  • Line – Material, Length, and Diameter

  • The last spec we will talk about as it has influenced our decision-making process greatly is the line itself, more precisely the three main traits it boasts – material, length, and diameter. Each of these specifications weighs a lot in the quality and durability of the line, so it should come as no surprise that the winner when it came down to this rating was the Smittybilt 98495 XRC as it is made from synthetic material, it measures 98.5 feet in length, and 3/8 inches in diameter.

How These Hauling/Lifting Devices Work

Before we get further into details and learn about the operation of this tool, let’s understand what the vehicle crane actually is. A winch is a device intended for lifting or hauling, and it is composed of a rope, a cable, or a chain wound found around a horizontal rotating drum. Another part of the tool, more precisely the crank or the motor, has the role to turn the drum along with the rope, cable, or chain attached to it. Mounted at the rear or the front end of vehicles, it helps in the towing process, thus getting you out of unpleasant situations or allowing you to help others who are in need.

The aforementioned pieces that make up the auto crane each play important roles in the hauling/lifting operation. To use the tool, you must pull out the cable wire and attach it to the object or vehicle you intend to tow. After attaching the cable, the motor of the tool must be turned on for the spool to turn and pull the cable towards your vehicle. When finishing this procedure, the item you intend to tow will come along for the ride without any issues.

Why You Should Install the Lifting Device

If up to this point you have not encountered problems on the road during your commute, you are probably wondering how a winch could serve as a wise investment. Seeing how you have to take a few hundreds of dollars out of your wallet to purchase a quality towing tool, it is understandable why you need further clarification before actually deciding to buy the product. Find out why making this installation is a good idea and see if you actually need it be reading the following lines.

  • You work in an insecure area: Whether talking strictly about the destination of your workplace or about the places where work affairs take you, as long as the road is rocky and tends to get very muddy when the rainy season comes, you are in danger of getting stuck. Once this happens, you need the towing tool to get out of the unpleasant situation.
  • Your daily commute takes you through rough terrain: If your road to work takes you through muddy terrain where it is very likely for the vehicle to get stuck at one point, you must install the auto tool to be cautious and get out of trouble quick when the unfortunate situation emerges.
  • You want to make a business out of towing cars: Some people speculate opportunities better than others, making money out of anything they can. If you are willing to do it, you could even earn money off of this investment by starting your own business where you help others in need. All you need for the business are the proper certifications, a strong Jeep, and the towing device. Market your services in the area you live in, and if the rainy season is long and tumultuous, customers are bound to appear.
  • You like going on adventurous weekend trips: If you are the adventurous type of person and you like to go on hikes and other fun activities in the wild when your work-free days arrive, you need this tool as you will probably get stuck somewhere at one point. After all, there are many areas to be explored, many of them hard to access and quite unfriendly for vehicles, but you cannot let anything become an impediment when it comes to you and your favorite relaxation activities.
  • You are the cautious type: Being cautious does not mean you are paranoid but rather that you like to plan ahead and not be caught off-guard. If you are the cautious type, this is an investment worth making with certainty as it allows peace of mind when you are on the road and the situation gets muddy. Like the saying goes, better be safe than sorry, right?

What to Look for When Making a Purchase

Calling forth your intuition when looking for a winch can prove to be a lot more difficult than you could have ever imagined as the market is filled with these products, the wide variety making it borderline impossible to make up your mind. To make your quest go smoother, we have rounded up the important specs and features you must look into when buying the auto device, so check out this section of the article for further clarification.

  • Cable/Rope Design – Look for Durability

  • There are two line variations you will inevitably stumble upon when looking for the tool – steel cables and synthetic ropes. Both have their pros and cons, so we cannot give you a clear guidance regarding what is the superior option to go with. However, we can underline the fact that although steel has been the standard-issue material for these auto tools for years as it is durable and reliable, the synthetic rope has gained a massive popularity fast as it is lighter and easier to work with, not downgrading at all when it comes to durability.

  • Rated Line Pull – The Bigger the Better

  • The rated line pull is the specification indicating the tool’s limitation in terms of hauling/lifting. The bigger the rating the better as it denotes you will not be faced with a hazardous situation where the winch is not capable of handling the weight of the object you want to pull. If it were to make a recommendation to even further ease your search for the ideal winching tool, it would be the Warn 96815 VR 10-S as it can pull up to 10000 pounds.

  • Motor Type – Series Wound or Permanent Magnetic?

  • This is where your search gets even more complicated as you have to choose the right motor to ensure the electric winching device you go with will perform as expected. You will encounter two types of motors, more precisely permanent magnetic and series wound. Permanent magnetic motors are better suited for casual winchers who know they will rarely be stuck in extreme terrain or recovery situations. On the other hand, series wound motors offer the heavy-duty performance you seek if you are often stuck in these types of situations. Obviously, we recommend you invest in a model featuring a series wound motor to ensure a highly reliable performance regardless of how severe is the situation you are in.

  • Line Speed – Maximum Speed It Can Reach

  • The line speed specification shows the maximum line retraction speed when the tool is not pulling on another object. Evidently, this speed rating is the best indicator of the line’s speed when towing or pulling a vehicle or another type of object, so you must not skip on checking it if you want to make a purchase you will not end up regretting later. The faster the pulling rate is the better, and the model we strongly recommend you go with from this point of view is the Smittybilt 98495 XRC as it offers 32.34 feet per minute speed.

Frequently Asked Questions

?How do I figure out the right winch size for my vehicle?
You cannot pinpoint the exact winch size you need but rather a minimum size required to tow your vehicle. The calculation to obtain this result consists of multiplying the weight of your vehicle by 1.5, the resulting number showing the minimum pulling capacity the tool should boast.

?How do I proceed if the cable does not spool evenly on the drum?
When this situation arises, a bad angle between the cable and the fairlead could be at fault. To fix it, exert pressure on the cable when it is retrieved onto the spool. If this does not suffice, freewheel a part of the cable and repeat the process all over again.

?Can the tool be used to hoist a vehicle?
No, vehicle cranes are specially designed to haul/lift automobiles or other objects. You should not use them to hoist as they are not designed to support the dead weight. If you do so, the braking system of the tool will witness a faulty performance as it is not capable to pull angles that exceed 45 degrees.

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