Top Winch for UTVs – Our Analysis & Guide
We know that buying a suitable winch for your UTV can be a hassle. Fortunately, here you can find out what the best UTV winches are, particularly if you are short on time and you don’t want to do any excessive research. Our team has analyzed the most sought-after models that you can find on the market and they concluded that the Superwinch 1135220 is the winch that you should definitely consider. It offers more than enough pulling power with the help of its sturdy engine and steel planetary. Included in the package are also a sturdy cable made of steel that can be used under any circumstances and a remote that allows you to safely operate the tool from a distance. If you can’t get this model, then you should search for the Champion Power Equipment 3000-lb Winch that comes with almost similar features.
Our Team Recommends
We have taken the time to do the necessary research, we have read quite a lot of UTV winch reviews, we’ve analyzed consumer reports and we’ve read professional opinions, all to compile an accurate list depicting the most popular winches you can find.
Offering 1.6 HP of pulling power, this efficient winch is ideal for vehicle recovery, load hauling and pulling game in the wild. It meets the industry standards required to pull a UTV, being capable of towing 3,500 pounds.
The cable that it uses is made of steel, and that means it will last a long time. The 50-footlong wire is capable of pulling your vehicle out of mud, and suitable for use around the farm or on a hunt.
This model is a high-quality one, good for all purposes. The steel planetary used is twice as wide as the ones offered by the competitors and that helps the system to provide smooth rotation for years to come. The circuits are encased and protected from the weather. Designed to be compatible with most ATVs and UTVs, you can fit it onto any vehicle. A remote allows for off-vehicle use, making the whole system safer.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($205.31)
Champion Power Equipment 3000-lb
This winch kit includes everything you need to start pulling. It consists of the actual winch, a strap and a hook, a mounting channel, a roller fairlead and a remote control. The line pull is rated at 3000 pounds so you easily can fit it onto an ATV or UTV, using the mounting channel.
The motor offers 1.3 horsepower and it’s a DC permanent magnet motor. The 46-ft long cable included is galvanized and thus less prone to fraying, compared to others, when used in abrasive terrains like rocks, sand or mud. This type of cable finds its applications in the aircraft industry, as well.
You will feel in control while winching due to the three-stage planetary gear system, the handlebar-mounted remote control and the free spooling clutch that the system incorporates. To offer more safety, the system features a dynamic braking option on the winch drum. This lightweight and compact tool provides a lot of power in any situation.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($98.98)
Equipped with a high-strength steel cable, this winch will prove to be a stylish and durable option in any situation. It provides enough power and it is able to pull 4000 pounds of weight. That makes it a great model for a heavy-duty UTV.
The power is provided by an electric motor on permanent magnets and a planetary-type reducer. At the highest load, it can wind the cable at 5.2 feet per minute. You can choose to start the pulling process through the remote control, or with the help of a switch positioned on the steering wheel. To protect the system from water, the gearbox and the power source are equipped with seals and gaskets.
You will find that this winch uses a steel cable that is 50-ft long and 0.2 inches thick, but the manufacturer also provides an alternative model of this tool that employs a synthetic rope.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($326.39)
This winch is part of a series that meets the toughest requirements. With a pulling capacity of 4500 pounds, this tool can be used on the heaviest and most demanding UTVs. The 50-ft long synthetic rope will provide the flexibility and strength you need to get out of mud or snow. It’s not a heavy piece of equipment so it won’t add much weight to your vehicle.
The black finish, the hook and the tire rods are stylish and corrosion resistant. The machine offers efficient operation and a three-stage planetary gear train that allows you to control the process better. The powerful permanent magnet motor makes pulling a fast, reliable and silent process.
Included in the system are an illuminated, dash-mounted control switch, and a corded remote. All these features ensure admirable safety. To add to that, the cable is guided by a fairlead plate.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($569.99)
KFI Products A2500
A reliable winch is one of the most important accessories that your UTV should have. This winch delivers that in any condition, be it when you use an ATV snow plow to remove snow, on a winding trail, or when deep in mud. Its pulling capacity is 2500 pounds so it is advised to you use it on your lighter vehicles.
It comes with durable and quality cast aluminum and steel components, and seals that are made to keep the water out and make the winch resistant to harsh weather. The mounting design is based on the standard four holes that you can find on most mounting plates.
You will be in control of your winch with the included Mini-Rocker switch that allows you to spin the wire both inwards and outwards. It comes with adjustable brackets so you can mount it on your handlebar and use it from there.
To protect your vehicle, this winch includes a heavy-duty electric contactor that switches the power distribution to your winch when in use.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($193.45)
This model is field-tested to provide 4000 pounds of pulling power that will help you in tough situations. The popularity of this tool showcases its reliability and strength. Taking strong points from the premium models, this one provides a sturdy steel drum, a permanent magnet motor that is very powerful, aircraft steel cable and a safe braking system.
The steel cable included will ensure good performances in harsh conditions. You won’t have to worry that the wire will get overheated or that it will break. The cable measures 3/16 of an inch in diameter and 50 feet in length and a roller fairlead makes sure that it’s properly guided and positioned every time you use it.
For extra durability, the model includes reinforced steel drums, a relocated in-motor brake, an increased shock load performance and a durable permanent magnet motor. Please note that this winch doesn’t come with a mounting plate and you must make sure that your UTV already has that.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($180.99)
Extreme Max 5600.3072
This package contains everything you need in order to get out of the worst environments. Being the same size as a usual 3000-pound winch, this one offers a bit more pull, 3100 pounds to be precise. It has a compact design and a motor that will provide smooth and quiet spooling.
What’s great about it is that it comes with a very easy setup process, color-coded wiring, and an easy-to-follow user’s manual that offers installation instructions. The four-bolts mounting pattern is commonly used by vehicles so you can attach it to your own without a struggle.
All the power that this winch offers is protected through the use of covered super-conductive, corrosion resistant terminal posts. The electronic components are well insulated, and the base of the winch is designed to pull the heat out of the components, particularly from the cable. The hook is zinc plated and that means it’s also a lot safer and resistant to corrosion.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($104.95)
This Year’s Buying Guide
When driving your UTV, you may encounter obstacles that are impossible to traverse through. That is where a winch comes in handy. Having one installed can help you or one of your friends when needed most. There are many tasks that you can use your winch for, and for each of them, it’s important to know your tool’s capabilities.
How much weight can it pull?
This is the most important characteristic of a winch and is the one aspect that is always mentioned and written on the product. When you are shopping for a winch, please be aware that they are not differentiated for ATVs and UTVs so you will find tools that are not appropriate for your vehicle.
The difference between them is the weight rating. Because UTVs weigh more than ATVs, you will need a bigger winch. Generally, it is a good idea to get a tool that is in the 4000 pounds range. A smaller one, that has a pulling force of 3500 pounds can be also used, especially if your vehicle is a bit lighter or if you don’t regularly need the winch to pull it out of deep mud.
If you choose a tool with less power than this you might run the risk of it being unable to help you in crucial situations. Of course, heavier UTVs that will get stuck a lot will need a bigger winch, and in this case, a 4500-pound one will be ideal.
However, you might not need this device to help you get your UTV tires out of mud, but for other purposes. If you want one to help you operate a snow plow in the winter, you can get by with a model that has a low weight rating.
Metal wire cables
UTV winches use two types of cables: metal wire and synthetic rope. You can find both types on the market because they each come with their own pros and cons. You might want to know that models using metal wire are among the cheap UTV winches available these days.
Wire represents the classic option and it gives the feeling of sturdiness. These cables are made of many individual strands of steel wound spirally. Because of that, the small strands are prone to breaking and it’s best to wear gloves when using them. Being made of steel, wire cables are quite heavy.
When the winch needs to be used often, the metal wire is better because it’s resistant to abrasion. It’s also durable in heat. Because of the material used in it, the wire rope will store energy in it when pulled and in the unfortunate event that it breaks, it can whip back dangerously. To avoid this, you can put something heavy on it when you use it to reduce the whiplash.
The other option is the synthetic fiber wire. This one is safe to touch without gloves and it’s stronger than metal wire, given an equivalent diameter. It’s lightweight and ideal for use in mud because it doesn’t sink in it.
A disadvantage that the synthetic rope has is that, when used repeatedly and rubbed against surfaces, it will wear out faster. Also, using it too much in a short period of time can cause it to overheat and this will lead to it being damaged.
This kind of rope is safer to use because it doesn’t cause a whiplash effect when it breaks. It also provides more flexibility for the user – you can tie a knot in it if needed, although that slightly reduces its strength.
The material they are made of is not the only feature that cables are judged upon. You will also want to consider the length of the wire. 50-foot long cables are usually the norm and most often they are enough. That’s because the more wire the spool needs to pull, the less power it will have. If you feel like there are situations when you need a longer cable, you can get an extension for your winch’s wire.
The diameter is another important feature. Of course, thicker cables provide more strength, but if you are looking for something lighter, you can consider wires with smaller diameters.
Suited for your style
Each winch has its own pros and cons, and based on your preferential driving style you will be able to choose a good UTV winch for you. Alternatively, you may want to use the winch to haul an animal that you just hunted. You will need a powerful winch if you enjoy hunting elks or bigger pray.
Another aspect that you should consider is that most winches are made without a mounting plate. So if your UTV doesn’t already have that plate, you will need to purchase it separately. Most manufacturers produce winches that work with all UTV models, but some only make models that are particularly designed for a specific vehicle.
Frequently asked questions about UTV winches
What is a UTV winch?
A winch is a machine designed to help vehicles when they get stuck. UTV winches are attached to the front of your vehicle and they should provide enough pulling power to get your side-by-side unstuck from mud or snow. They can also be used to operate snow plows or haul hunted animals.
You can use the winch to attach your UTV to another vehicle and let that vehicle pull you out and get you out. If you are alone, you can find a strong structure, like a sturdy tree, hook your winch to it and let it get you out of the mud. The power of the winch can also be used to eliminate an obstacle like a fallen log from your path.
How big of a UTV winch do I need?
Some people use an ATV winch for their lighter UTV, but that is not recommended. To be safe, your winch needs to be able to pull at least 3500 pounds and it’s even better if it can work with weights over 4000 pounds. Don’t risk it and get the best UTV winch for the money you have.
Always keep in mind that the vehicle weight specified in the owner’s manual is always the dry weight. That doesn’t take into account all the additional weight you put on your vehicle. Each winch comes with the size rating on it. You can go for a winch as big as you want, as long as you are sure that you are still able to attach it to your vehicle.
What UTV winch weight rating do I need?
The industry standard for weight rating is 1.5. This means that the power your winch can pull should be one and a half times more than the vehicle’s gross mass (the total weight that your UTV has with all the equipment, fuel and you on it). Although 1.5 is a good rating, you can always choose a more powerful winch. That will help you in sticky situations.
Alternatively, if you travel extremely light, you can get a smaller winch, although that is not recommended. In addition, the winches that have more power than the minimum required by your vehicle will stall less often and are less likely to overheat.