Top ATV Winch – Our Analysis & Guide
If you are in need of a winch for your ATV but you are short of time to search for the best product on the market, you have come to the right place. By reading our buying guide and lists you will know how to buy the best cheap ATV winch. Our team has carefully analyzed the most appreciated products in this category and, after comparing technical specifications and customer feedback, we have come to the conclusion that the best ATV winch is the Superwinch Terra 35 single line with a roller fairlead. It has a rubberized remote switch that enables safe operation from a distance, a mechanical load holding and dynamic brake which minimize slip and provide a quick stopping of the drum in case of a power failure or surge. Last but not least, it is an all-weather system that places safety in the first place. Due to its affordable price, the item might be quickly sold-out; in that case, Warn 89020 Vantage 2000 Winch is another product to keep in mind.
Our Team Recommends
Finding the best ATV winch for the money can be a rather time-consuming task that might not yield the best results. In order to give you a hand, we have written some ATV winches reviews after carefully analyzing offers from various producers, technical specifications as issued by the manufacturer and customer feedback. The best products are showcased below.
Superwinch Terra 35 (B003COTFS4)
This was the product that came up first while our team was doing the research. It has received excellent feedback, specifications that are meant to satisfy even the most exigent users and an affordable price that makes this perhaps the best offer available on the market.
The design features a roller fairlead, a mounting plate, and remote control. The sealed 1.6 horsepower permanent magnet motor is a high efficiency, low amp draw engine that has been waterproofed to ensure all-weather operation.
The planetary gear train is made out entirely of steel and has machined, oil pocket bearings that are designed with reliability in mind. With a pull rating is about 3.500 pounds, this item will certainly get you out of any unpleasant situation that might appear. It is compatible with almost any four-bolt pattern mount kit, making it versatile enough.
The winch is delivered with 50 feet of 13/64” steel wire rope that is resistant and hard to break. In case of power surges or failures, the mechanical load holding and dynamic braking systems minimize the possibility of wire slip and can quickly stop the drum. Another safety feature is the remote control that has a 10 feet cable, to enable safe operation from a distance.
Warn Vantage 2000 Winch (B008BYQBVY)
Another great option, the Warn Vantage winch for 2000 lbs is a tough design that can withstand the harshest weather conditions and worst treatments that it might receive during use. It is appreciated by many customers not only for the technical features but also for the compact size and good price.
This device features a strong and compact build, a differential planetary gear train with a ratio of 155:1 designed for smooth operation and a powerful permanent magnet motor rated at 0.7 kW.
It is fully sealed, making it waterproof and usable in any weather condition, including in snow, while the corrosion resistant finish lengthens lifespan. It also incorporates a dynamic brake that further enhances safety.
The Warn Vantage 2000 winch can be used for many purposes, including moving trees or obstacles found on the road. It is delivered with 50 feet of 5/32” wire rope, and it can be remotely operated via an included switch that has about 10 feet of cable length. A handlebar-mounted mini rocker control is also integrated into the package.
Warn Vantage 3000 (B008BYQC6I)
Designed for more massive loads, the Warn Vantage 3000 pounds winch shares some characteristics with its smaller relative, the Vantage 2000 model. This product was built for vehicle recovery or for moving heavy loads aside.
It has a pulling capacity of about 3000 pounds and is one of the most powerful cheap ATV winches.The rugged planetary gear train with a ratio of 155:1 is powered by a permanent magnet motor rated at 0.8 kW. When combined, these parts offer quiet operation and decent pulling speeds.
Waterproof sealing was also used for the winch, making it an all-weather device that any motorsport enthusiast should possess. The rope used is 50 feet long and 5/32” thick, and it is made out of synthetic materials that can easily handle heavy loads.
A mini-rocker switch is included, as well as a remote control that can be used to operate the winch while the user is not standing on his or her ATV. It has a corrosion resistant finish that looks modern but also helps preserve the winch in the best operating condition possible. This item is also pretty lightweight, weighing in at only 12.25 lbs.
Warn ProVantage 2500 (B008BYQBC8)
This rather high-end choice is a professional winch that is known for being extremely durable, performant and reliable. Quality is guaranteed by the manufacturer which produced this item not only for experimented buyers but also for inexperienced users.
The product is part of the ProVantage series, an upgraded version of the Vantage above series.Powered by a 12 V DC permanent magnet motor rated at 0.7 kW, the winch delivers all the power needed to recover any immobilized ATV or sports vehicle.
A 3 stage planetary gear train that ensures a ratio of 154:1 means that the maximum load for this particular model is 2500 pounds. Everything is sealed and waterproofed, meaning that the design is suitable for any weather.
The roller disc brake offers good control while winching, increasing the security of use. The ProVantage 2500 winch incorporates a rocker control switch with a plug for a separately sold corded remote. It is delivered with 50 feet of 3/16” wire rope that is thick enough to not break easily, but also lighter.
Superwinch Black 12 VDC (B00NM5ILXS)
This is one of the most powerful very cheap ATV winches available on the market. The Superwinch LT4000 is a rugged and reliable product that has been well-received by customers upon its release. Intended for everyday use as well as for professionals, this particular model can handle up to 4000 pounds of load.
Power comes from a 12 V DC, 1.4 horsepower permanent magnet motor and it is delivered via a 3-stage planetary gear train with a ratio of 166:1. Like previous models, all electronics are sealed and waterproofed.
Since the Superwinch LT 4000 was designed to offer more power than many other models, it was also used by many customers for heavy-duty loads encountered in their everyday life. Many buyers have claimed that, when subjected to a much heavier load than the one specified, the winch worked, proving its versatility and reliability. However, this is not recommended.
Delivered with 50 feet of 3/16” steel wire rope, a roller fairlead, a handheld remote control for safe operation and a handlebar rocker switch, the item includes all the accessories needed for casual operation. However, it is not very lightweight, at about 24 pounds.
Champion ATV/UTV Winch Kit (B00AX19UMU)
When looking for an affordable item without sacrificing quality and safety, why not try to give a chance to the Champion winch? It is one of the few products available for under $100, and the stock can be quickly exhausted.
The rated load is 3000 pounds, making it powerful enough for most applications. The planetary gear has a reduction ratio of 171:1; powering this mechanism is a 1.3 horsepower 12 VDC permanent magnet motor. Weighing in at 20 pounds, it is neither light nor too heavy, and it can be mounted on an ATV since it is delivered with a mounting channel and a roller fairlead.
In terms of remote operation, the Champion 13004 ATV winch is delivered with a switch and mount and a remote control. Another safety feature is the dynamic braking system that holds the load firmly in place. It is most appreciated for its power, ease of use and versatility, as it can be used for almost any task that requires pulling or hauling a massive object.
Champion ATV/UTV Wireless Winch Kit (B00BKW444A)
The Champion 14560 ATV winch is designed for the heaviest loads that might be encountered, providing powerful and reliable service for all types of users. The winch has a maximum line pull of 4500 pounds, making it one of the most powerful products in its category.
The efficient planetary gear has a ratio of 180:1 and works together with a dynamic brake. Power comes from a 1.6 horsepower permanent magnet motor; these features will surely be more than enough for most tasks that this item might face during operation. Included in the package, the 38 feet, 15/64” galvanized aircraft cable is guaranteed to not break at such loads, ensuring a safe usage.
This kit is easy to use and includes everything the user might need to start winching. A roller fairlead, cables, contactors one wireless remote and one mounting channel are delivered alongside with the aforementioned items. Safe operation is guaranteed by the wireless action and the other high-quality parts that were used. The producer offers a 2-year limited warranty.
Best ATV winch accessories
If you are a powersports enthusiast, keep in mind that apart from the winch itself, other accessories might be useful. To spare you the time of searching extras that might come in handy, we have included some ATV winch rope reviews. Also featured in the list below are other items that come in handy when you are exploring the wilderness with your vehicle.
HOOAI Synthetic Winch rope (B075JV64VV)
Even though almost all winches available for sale are delivered with rope (either steel wire or synthetic), having a spare one is a good idea especially when the winch is often operated. With time proven reliability, the HOOAI 7000+ pounds rope is the first product that we discovered while gathering information for the article.
A heavy duty synthetic material was used for this 3/16″ winch rope that is known for its resistance and special characteristics. Used in winches, ATV or SUV mounted, it can also be employed for securing boats and other small vessels. Easy to handle, without sharp frays, the product is hailed for some other features too: it does not coil or curl after deployment, and it has no memory.
It is delivered with a 1.55 meters protective sleeve that prevents overheating and slippage. A specially designed nylon eye guard for hook attachment ensures long lasting service and increased safety for less experienced users. A hook stopper is also included in the package so that the HOOAI synthetic winch rope can be a ready-to-use item.
KFI Products Winch Cable (B00WMQPP4G)
Also required to complete your ATV winching kit is a cable hook stopper. This item is usually not included with the winch itself and should be bought separately. It is used for eliminating wear and tear that experienced by the rollers when the hook comes in contact with them.
The KFI Products ATV-SCHS hook stopper is 6 x 4.4 x 2.5 inches in size and weighs in at about 3.2 ounces. It is a durable, lightweight item that should not be omitted by the outdoor enthusiasts.
It fits between the outside rollers found on the winch fairlead, keeping the hook away from the mount, thus eliminating not only wear and tear but also hook clatter. Made out of a very hard rubber, it is good for synthetic cable and steel wire rope, without requiring any other modifications.
Explicit mounting instructions are available online, but this particular product is easy to set up, thanks to the detachable semi-spheres that compose it, that are held together by screws. Praised by customers is the value for money that the KFI ATV-SCHS cable hook stopper exhibits.
Guide Gear Universal Winch Mount (B01C8XR504)
A winch, no matter how powerful or efficiently is, becomes useless when the mount supporting it cannot hold the weight of the load being pulled. For this reason, a good universal winch mount is required.
Guide Gear offers a product that has been designed to resist at loads of 3500 pounds (but not more). Featuring a tough build that enables heavy lifting, the universal mount is also versatile and reliable. It is pre-drilled for 2 and 4-bolt winches, these being the most commonly available types.
Installation is simple and requires no other items, no matter of the vehicle chosen to mount the product onto.Powder-coated steel was used while manufacturing the universal winch mount. This makes it reliable and long-lasting since it resists corrosion and bad weather.
It is compatible with any 2” receiver, so versatility is no problem here. Weighing in at 4 pounds, it is 12 x 5.7 x 2 inches in size, which is pretty compact. Customers have appreciated the fact that it works as the producer claim it would.
This Year’s Buying Guide
Finding the suitable ATW winch and accessories can be a time-consuming task. After reading feedback sent by customers, product specifications and explanations offered by professionals, we wrote a buying guide that deals with the most important aspects that should be kept in mind while shopping for these items. Our guide could also be helpful for customers looking for a UTV winch.
Like with any other outdoor product, there are some basic things that you must take into consideration before prospecting the market. The first detail that must be dealt with is what pulling power do you need? To find out, first, you should know or find out the weight of your ATV.
It is important to know this because it is a good appreciation of the effort that will be needed to drag the vehicle out of a trap. Most ATV winches can be used for many other pulling tasks as well, but usually, the effort required for these is less than what is needed to get the vehicle out of the mud. For example, even an ATV winch for snow plowing requires less, despite being able to perform this difficult task.
What is the winch going to be used for is another thing that influences the characteristics that are to be sought after? Such a device is good for much more than simply getting a vehicle unstuck.
Other uses are in construction works, in removing obstacles that are blocking a road, or in carrying the hunted animals back to the cabin. A versatile ATV winch is the best option to look after since it can prove a worthy companion in times of need.
Winch size and power
One of the most important differences between winches is the maximum pulling power, together with overall size. Common ATV winches have a maximum load rating that varies between 1500 and 2500 or even 3000 pounds. More powerful devices, suitable for UTVs as well, can pull an object that has a total mass of 3000 – 4500 or even 5000 pounds.
Depending on the other intended purposes, which also influence pulling power, you can decide what device type you actually need. Below 2000 pounds, the items will be useful for getting small ATVs out of the mud, between 2000 and 3000 lbs even larger, utility vehicles can be dragged out of the mud, while those above 3000 pounds are good for getting pretty much any buggy, UTV or ATV unstuck. The latter is also recommended for many other purposes.
The maximum size of the winch depends on how big the vehicle is and what mounting plate it can accommodate without serious modifications. The smaller products can easily be fitted onto the frame rails of a sports ATV, while the bigger ones are easier to mount on UTVs. Of course, a small winch with high pulling capacity is usually pricier; however, these are also available at pretty reasonable prices.
Environment and warranty
Not all winches are entirely waterproof or sealed, so take the environment and weather patterns of the area where you ride your ATV into consideration. Water can affect not only the circuits and motor but also the steel components as well, if these have not been treated to be stainless and corrosion proof.
Besides, snow can also be an enemy if the product is not properly sealed. Last but not least, having a sealed device protects it from sand and dust, elements that can cause it to overheat and eventually break down if not removed in due time.
Once you have decided where the winch is going to be used, it is time to think about reliability. Most products are pretty rugged and durable, but, even so, they might break down. Search for a device that is also delivered with the longest warranty possible; of course, the best case is that of a lifetime guarantee, but those valid for two years are also good.
Other details to take into consideration
There are a few other things that should be known. A free-spooling clutch is a feature that allows the cable to be freely pulled from the drum without overcoming the mechanical resistance of the gears. It also allows quick release and spares the winch from some wear and tear.
Fairleads can be with a roller or a hawse – the latter offers less cable protection than the first, which is better in terms of smooth operation. Remotely mounted switches are used to control the winch either from the ATV via a small button placed on the handlebars, or from a distance, via a remote control.
This is a safety feature that can save your life in case of rope failure, so look for it. If the package includes a cover to offer further protection to the winch, go for it because it is a bonus that will expand the device’s lifetime.
Frequently asked questions about ATV winches
How to install an ATV winch?
In order to install an ATV winch, you must install a mounting plate first since most ATVs do not have a place for winches on their frame. There are many mounts available, and choosing one depends on the type of ATV and line pull rating of the winch.
Instructions are usually issued with the winch and plate, but, in case they are not present, the installation should go like this: first, the plate has to be bolted in place. Secure the bolts with adhesive. After this, the winch will be mounted on the plate, secured and bolted. Make sure to remove wires, hoses or other obstructive parts out of your way before bolting in the mount.
How to wire an ATV winch?
In order to wire an ATV winch, some easy steps must be followed closely. To begin with, first, you need to find a place for the contactor, a relay box used by the winch. It acts as a central wiring point, basically doing what a console does. After the contactor has been installed, run the wires from the winch itself to the proper contact points found on the contactor.
Bear in mind that this operation can require drilling and other operations performed to run the wires to the proper spot. Therefore, after completing the installation, try to waterproof the contactor in order to make it work in any kind of weather.
What is an ATV winch used for?
Driving an ATV over rugged paths and muddy roads is all fun and joy until you get bogged down. Then, a winch will suddenly become extremely useful. These devices are used to pull one object towards another, and the one that moves is the one that has the least resistance.
When the ATV is stuck in the mud, the rope from the winch is attached to an object that is firmly held in place, acting as an anchor. After that, the motor powering the device will turn the drum, drawing in the cable and moving the vehicle towards the anchor. It can also be used to move trees, rocks and other obstacles off the road.
Can you use an ATV winch on a truck?
ATV winches are designed for a certain maximum line pull load, usually between 2000 and 4000 pounds. Even though there are many videos on the internet and accounts claiming that they can be used to pull trucks or other heavy vehicles, this is not recommended.
When overloading a winch, some things might happen, either randomly or all at once. Sometimes, the rope might fail, as it was not designed for such strain. Rope failure can lead to serious injury or even death, as the tension is extreme. Overloading the engine is not a good idea as it might either drain the battery or simply burn itself out. There are truck winches available on the market, and ATV winches should only be used for their purpose.
What size ATV winch do I need?
To decide what size is the best for your needs, you have to know the weight of your ATV. After figuring this term out, think about what you need it for. Winches start at around 1500 pounds of pulling power and can go up to 4500 pounds. Sub-2000 pound winches are for smaller and lighter ATVs included in sports classes.
These winches are smaller and can be easily mounted. 2000-3000 pound winches are suitable for almost any pulling job, and they are designed for utility class ATVs that are bigger and heavier than free-time models. Other tasks can also be completed with these products, such as pulling timber, trees or big game after it has been hunted.