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 lifting/hauling device – 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
BEST MODEL OUR CHOICE BEST SELLER
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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
Line
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
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″
Applications
4×4
ATV
Trailer
Utility
Features
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
Warranty&Support
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 @warn.com info @superwinch. com
Online Chat Support

Winching Devices Reviews

1. Warn 96815 VR 10-S


As it comes pre-wired and ready to install, there’s no hassle involved with this pulling device. It comes with a standard synthetic rope that is pre-wound onto the drum, and the tie plate it features ensures structural integrity and an unsurpassable strength. Ease of use is granted by the clutch lever it features as it fits perfectly in your hand, regardless if you are wearing gloves or not. If you want to opt for an upright appearance, you can do so as the control pack it comes with is convertible, allowing you to opt for this position or to relocate it for in-bumper applications. It features an automatic direct drive cone brake system that is reliable and provides superior control over this operational aspect, and a 3-stage planetary gear train.

Capacity

The 10000-pound or 4536-kilogram single-line pulling capacity it provides makes it ideal for SUV applications, half-ton pickups, Jeeps, and more. For those who this impressive pulling power ensures that it will effectively get you out of any nasty situation and that you can come to aid others who are in danger as well. It includes 90 feet of heavy-duty synthetic rope that has a heat-resistant coating, a rope that can withstand all the pressure that comes with pulling high weights without breaking.

Mention Worthy Features and Specs
  • Features a waterproof Albright contractor that ensures full control over the pulling process, and that enhances durability and reliability of the system as a whole.
  • Features 4 mounting holes that have a mounting pattern length of 10 inches, and a mounting pattern width of 4.5 inches.
  • Pulling rope is 3/8-inch thick, ensuring it will not break easily, regardless how much time passes since you bought the device.
Warranty

When it comes to the warranty agreement provided by the manufacturing company, this product is hard to surpass as the electrical parts are covered by a 7-year warranty, while the mechanical parts are covered for a lifetime. Thus, regardless when issues occur with the device, as long as you haven’t subjected it to improper use by trying to pull more than the maximum weight indicated on the spec sheet, these problems will be handled free of charge by the manufacturing company.

PROS CONS
  • Spooling technology prevents the rope from snagging when it is spooled
  • Clutch lever designed to fit perfectly in your hand when you are wearing gloves
  • Waterproof Albright contractor delivers unmatched control and durability
  • Cast iron brace plate increases structural stability
  • Some customers have reported rust appearing after a period of time
VERDICT

By far the finest choice you could go with, the Warn 96815 VR 10-S does not disappoint even if you succumb it to intense use over prolonged periods of time. The 10000-pound pulling capacity and cast iron base plate design guarantee an unparalleled performance, reliability, and durability, also ensuring there are no limitations to how you can use this vehicle crane.

2. Smittybilt 98495 XRC

To ensure an enhanced performance in use, the 98495 XRC provides a pulling capacity of up to 9500 pounds, more than what most vehicles cranes out there offer. This impressive pulling capacity it boasts also guarantees an easy handling of any situation you might be confronted with on the road.

Lightning-fast speed is delivered by the combination between the quality 6.6 HP motor and the 3-stage planetary gear system, so there are no chances for this electrical device to ever fail you when you are in need of help.

Considering the superior design and hard to match performance, the lifetime warranty on the mechanical parts comes as no surprise. After all, the manufacturer is wise to trust this product considering its spectacular specifications.

PROS CONS
  • Gear ratio ensures an increased pulling power to get the job done fast
  • Powerful 6.6 HP motor guarantees an outstanding performance when lifting/hauling
  • UV resistant matte black coating reduces chances of product wear
  • Designed for stress-free heavy-duty use
  • There are reported cases where the crane spooled during use
VERDICT

Ultimate pulling power and unmatchable performance are what best describes this Smittybilt vehicle crane we strongly recommend. Equipped with a durable synthetic rope, it withstands intense use without even the smallest wear as it is specifically designed for heavy-duty work.

3. Smittybilt 97495 XRC

Another entry from Smittybilt, this hauling device exceeds expectations considering the reasonable price it can be bought at. Able to pull up to 9500 pounds, it proves to be the perfect auto tool for any nasty situation you might get into. Additionally, this superior pulling power allows you to aid those in need who you encounter during your commute.

The UV resistant coating alongside the stainless steel hardware it features ensure durability and reliability as time passes, so you can rest assured knowing you will not be forced to replace it after a few years of use as it is designed to last. Another design element worth mentioning is its lightweight construction that allows you to easily maneuver the crane during installation.

Featuring a forged steel tow hook, it will not disappoint when used to tow other people’s vehicles in order to help them. Furthermore, this auto device allows you to install it in three different positions, so versatility in use is not an issue with it.

PROS CONS
  • 3-position mounting ensures complete freedom in use
  • Recovery system is designed to get you out of trouble regardless of the situation
  • Synthetic rope is highly resistant, not breaking when succumbed to heavy-duty use
  • Increased pulling power and fast line speeds guarantee a hassle-free operation
  • Customers have reported rust issues appearing over time if the crane is not covered
VERDICT

Versatile in use and boasting a strong construction, this Smittybilt auto crane is exactly what you need to get out of an unpleasant situation where your vehicle is stuck. It comes at a fair price considering what it brings to the table, and seeing how it is manufactured by one of the most reliable brands on the market, you can confidently purchase it without worrying about a faulty performance ever arising.

4. Smittybilt 97510 X20

Built to last, this crane is worth the reasonable asking price as it is an investment that will accompany you for as long as you can find a purpose for it. Ready to get your vehicle out of any unwanted situation, it is quite dependable performance-wise.

It features a controller that can be wired or used wirelessly if you want a hassle-free operation, so there is enough freedom of decision with this tool. Catering to your needs perfectly, you can install it as needed as there are two locations where you can mount it. The waterproof design it boasts ensures it will not degrade as time passes.

In addition to a wide array of features, the crane also includes a lifetime warranty for the mechanical parts. This element alone shows how much trust the manufacturer puts into this product and how unlikely it is for the vehicle crane to ever disappoint when using it.

PROS CONS
  • Integrated wireless remote control maximizes versatility in use
  • Designed to reduce drum temperatures better than competitive cranes
  • Can be mounted in two different locations depending on your needs
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Some customers have complained about tear spots appearing in the rope after prolonged use
VERDICT

Only state of the art pieces and parts have been used in the manufacturing process of this Smittybilt auto crane, so it should come as no surprise that we are recommending it. Capable of pulling as much as 10000 pounds without pulling a muscle, this is the go-to tool when you are literally stuck in an unpleasant situation.

5. Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35

Not everyone has the necessary budget to purchase an expensive auto crane, so there have to exist quality options for those who have limited sums of money to spend as well. Manufactured with the purpose of being widely accessible without sacrificing quality, the Terra 35 is an option worth taking into consideration.

It features a handlebar-mounted toggle switch that provides convenience in use, making it a cinch to operate the crane when wearing gloves. Boasting a reliable design and ensuring it can excellently withstand intense use as it is capable of pulling up to 3500 pounds, you can confidently rely on it to get you out of sticky situations.

Featuring a wealth of safety functions like mechanical load holding, quick stop of the drum in case of emergency, and so on, it shows that reliability and durability are not its only favorable traits. Overall, it is a product worth your attention and hard earned cash, one we strongly recommend you go with.

PROS CONS
  • Weather sealed solenoid contact ensures durability as time passes
  • Circuit breaker protection delivers reliable power in all weather conditions
  • Incredible performance delivered by the low amp draw permanent magnet motor
  • Cheap price makes it an affordable option to go with
  • Some customers have reported that the wires get tangled
VERDICT

The extra-wide gears, strong motor, and built to last drums make this crane a must-have for all 4×4 and ATV owners. Not only does this product boast a hard to surpass performance, but it comes at a fair, cheap price. Thus, it is accessible to a wide range of customers, providing a remarkable price to quality ratio.

6. Champion 12003 ATV/UTV

Perfect for pulling you out of an unpleasant situation when you are on your ATV or UTV, as the name suggests, the Champion is a reliable and quite affordable winching device you should carry with you wherever you go. It features a 1 HP motor which enables it to pull up to 2000 pounds, more than enough to get you out of sticky situations.

Another great feature is the 49-foot long galvanized aircraft cable that is sure to withstand even the most abrasive terrain without being damaged. The line speed it boasts on a full load, 3.3 feet per minute, ensures you will be out of the gutter in no time. When there is no load, its speed can reach a staggering 10.5 feet per minute.

The mounting channel is included, as well as the roller fairlead. It comes with a convenient remote control which endorses ease of use. In addition, the product is backed by a 2-year warranty which exceeds expectations considering the low asking price.

PROS CONS
  • One of the most affordable top of the line products on this market
  • With a full load, it reaches a maximum line speed of 3.3 feet
  • Features a 49-foot long galvanized cable that can withstand harsh terrain conditions
  • Backed by a 2-year warranty
  • Cannot handle pulling as impressive weights as other more expensive devices can
VERDICT

Better suited for ATV or UTV owners, the Champion is your go-to solution if you have a vehicle which does not exceed 2000 pounds and you want to stay in the clear and get out of trouble quick when an emergency appears. Boasting a low asking price, it is a device you will find it hard to say no to.

7. X-Bull 12000 Lb

Made to be reliable in all situations where its help is needed, the X-Bull provides, as suggested by the name, a pulling capacity of up to 12000 pounds. This strong power ensures there will be enough power to recover your vehicle when it is stuck so that you may continue your adventure instead of waiting for others to come get you out. The line is made of stainless steel to enhance durability and it measures a total of 26 meters.

It comes with 2 remote controls that you can use to conveniently operate it from afar. In order to pass the test of time, it boasts a waterproof and corrosion resistant design. As it weighs 88 pounds, you will find it a bit difficult to carry it on your own, so we recommend you make this a 2-person job. It features an automatic load-holding brake that enhances safety in use. Positive load control is provided by the power in and power out motor it features. In addition, a 12-month warranty is provided for it.

PROS CONS
  • Comes with 2 remote controls
  • Pull line measures 26 meters
  • Corrosion and weather resistant design
  • Accompanied by a 1-year warranty
  • Weighs 88 pounds – a bit heavy
VERDICT

There’s no flaw to the X-Bull performance-wise, so we had to rank it accordingly. Reasonably priced considering what it offers and able to pull up to 12000 pounds without breaking a sweat, it is a tool every car owner should go on the road with.

8. Driver Recovery Products LD12-ELITE

Even at the most extreme angles, you can rely on the LD12 to get you out of the nasty situation you are in as it delivers one of the most reliable performances out there. Sure, it might come at a hefty price, but if you have the budget for it, this is an investment worth making. In terms of design, it measures 21.25 inches by 6.25 inches by 9.88 inches, and it weighs 90 pounds.

What makes it highly convenient to use is the wireless controller it comes with which allows remote control over its operation for up to 75 feet. It also comes with a 12-foot wired remote control that allows at-distance operation of line-in and line-out controls. As it can pull up to 12000 pounds with the help of the maximum torque delivering 12V DC motor it features, you can rest assured knowing it will get you out of any unpleasant situation.

For safety and convenience, it features a top level which allows easy drum engaging and disengaging. Another great feature of this tool is the automatic braking system that locks the rope in place when power is not applied, thus keeping the load in a steady position.

PROS CONS
  • Free-spooling and slacking are prevented by the automatic braking lock it features
  • Heavy-duty operation – up to 12000 pounds pulling capacity
  • 12-foot cord of the wired controller it features ensures that line-in and line-out controls can be operated at a distance
  • Comes with a wireless remote control that grants a more convenient use
  • On the expensive side
VERDICT

Not necessarily the most reasonably priced entry on this market, but a product still worth checking out as it provides a 12000-pound winching capacity that is hard to beat, the LD12 makes it in our top due to its reliable and convenient operation.

What Influenced Our Rating

Criteria Impact/Importance Best Product
Type – Electric Electrically powered tools are superior from all points of view when compared to hydraulic models. The reasoning 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. Warn 96815 VR 10-S, Smittybilt 98495 XRC, Smittybilt 97495 XRC, Smittybilt 97510 X20, Superwinch 1135220
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. Warn 96815 VR 10-S, Smittybilt 97510 X20
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. Smittybilt 98495 XRC, Smittybilt 97495 XRC
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, one element of a great importance in the overall quality of the product. Smittybilt 98495 XRC

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 vehicle crane 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?

Brands Worth Trusting


On every market, a few brands stand out due to the superior quality of the products they design and manufacture. When it comes to the production of winches, the most reliable brands to purchase from are Warn, Smittybilt, and Superwinch. Learn more about each of them and their history by reading the following lines.

  • Warn

    Due to the vast experience this company has gathered since it was founded way back in 1948, it is one of our top recommendations for those who are searching for a quality hauling device. You have inevitably encountered this brand’s name and logo at least once in your life if you are an ATV or Jeep enthusiast as this company designs, manufactures, and distributes off-road accessories and equipment of all kinds, participating in the enhancement of utility vehicles, ATV’s, and 4WD vehicles.

  • Smittybilt

    Inaugurated in 1956 by Basil Smith, the Smittybilt company started off as a small machine shop found in a house’s garage. It was the quality of the products developed by Smith that skyrocketed the brand and made it the worldwide renowned brand it is today, this outcome being a direct result of the enthusiasm and passion of the founder for 4WD vehicles. As the years have passed, the same level of concern for the smallest detail and dedication to creating innovating products made the brand resist at the top with flying stars.

  • Superwinch

    With over 45 years of experience in the domain of designing, manufacturing, and delivering winches for all possible purposes – recovery, recreational, military, utility, and industrial – this company has left its print on the market. Starting out as a project of the Ford Motor Company, the company has grown into its own, now receiving worldwide recognition as a result of the innovative products it has released as time passed. Perseverance is key, and when it is combined with passion, exceptional results appear like in the case of this company.

Tips for Making an Informed Chuck Purchase


Calling forth your intuition when searching the market 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 crane 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 hauling/lifting 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 hauling 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 users 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 lifting device size for my vehicle?
You cannot pinpoint the exact 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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