Winch capacity

It is important to consider the weight of your best ATV winch in terms of your winch capacity. Majority of manufacturers will always suggest that one should calculate the winch rating by taking the gross weight of the ATV and multiplying it by 1.5.

What you need to know is that this is just a minimum rating. There are several factors that will result in the winch capacity increasing. It is important to consider this as you don’t want to get stuck in a sticky situation. One factor you need to consider is terrain. While ATVs are designed for off-road courses, the course that one selects differs from another.

Certain terrains may result in the ATV getting stuck frequently even though the vehicle is designed to encounter such terrains. If you consider the 1.5 rule of thumb, then you may end up in trouble. Mud is another situation that causes a vehicle to get stuck. It is known to have incredible suction force on a stuck vehicle so the 1.5 rule of thumb will not work well. It is important to understand the purpose and safe use of winches and their accessories for example the snatch block.


When it comes to shopping for the right winch, it all boils down to the dollars. Your budget helps to dictate the kind of winch you are going to buy. Today, you will get to find top of the line brands and budget models.

The one thing you need to know is that not all top of the line winch models is suitable and again, not all budget models are of questionable quality. You can find durable models when you opt for budget models. Also, we have found that winch capacity and performance may vary in different level of uses. For example, if you choose a winch which is suitable for pulling a wood log, might not be good at picking up your ATV or 4X4.

If you are planning to shop online, it is important to utilize the price comparison tool. This will allow you to check out the price of selected brands and models at a go. When shopping, be honest with yourself. The amount you have needs to cover the winch, its accessories and a mounting kit plus a new bumper if you are going for a brand or model that will not work with your current bumper.

Frequency of use

Let’s face it; every person has responsibilities to take care of everyday. This means one has to wake up, prepare the children, take them to school, head to work or shopping for groceries and end the day by retiring to bed. This leaves minimal time to explore the back country or an off-road terrain. If you are engaged in competitive ATV sports, then it is important to consider how often and how hard one will be using the winch. In the market, you will find permanent magnet motors, series wound and hydraulic winches. It is important to know the intended purpose. For example, if you will be performing light winching, then you need to consider a permanent magnet motor. If you will be conducting heavier and more frequent winching, it is wise to consider series wound winch and if you will be winching all day, consider a hydraulic winch.

Other considerations

Other considerations for the best ATV winch include warranty, serviceability and necessary upgrades. Read the manufacturer’s warranty and it should cover more than one year. When it comes to serviceability, there should be a service center close by that can fix it for you. Furthermore, it should be possible for you to purchase parts and fix it yourself.

Editors Recommended ATV winch Reviews

Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC winch 3,000lbs

Editor Rating
Low Amp permanent magnet

The model is designed to be compact, an all purpose winch which is ideal for people looking for a larger and durable winch with a brand name that assures you of reliability and functionality. It is engineered with a low amp permanent magnet motor with protected circuit breaker delivering reliable performance. This has made the Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC winch to be suitable for casual ATV snowplow application.

Full metal 3 stage planetary gear train

It is designed with a rugged full metal 3 stage planetary gear train that allows the winch to provide the much needed strength allowing one to perform a wide variety of functions. The full metal planetary gear train is engineered to be durable too.

Safety features

It has mechanical and dynamic braking with 100% automatic load holding. This is a safety feature that helps to minimize possibility of wire rope slippage especially in case of power failure. It also helps to provide quick stopping of the drum.

Weight and warranty

The winch has a total weight of 20 pounds (9 kilograms.) The manufacturer provides a 2 year warrant where 1 year of use should ensure the product does not have defects or damage to its electrical components or workmanship.

Champion Power Equipment 13004 3000 lb

Editor Rating
3,000 pound rated pull

The Champion Power Equipment 13004 winch has a rated 3,000 pound maximum line pull which is attributed to the 1.3 HP permanent magnet motor, the efficient planetary gear system and the ergonomic handle bar mounted remote control. This enables the powering of the line in and out.

1.3 HP permanent magnet motor

The 1.3 HP permanent magnet motor is powered by 12V DC and helps to power the winch cable allowing it to pull the ATV from a sticky situation. It can also be used to assist the ATV climb uphill or assist another ATV to get out of a sticky situation.

2 Year limited warranty

It is covered by a 2 year limited warranty which is not transferable. The warranty takes effect from the date of retail purchase.

Dynamic braking system

The winch is fitted with a dynamic braking system that allows it to stop the drum when needed. This not only helps to prevent overheating but ensures the safe removal of a vehicle from a sticky situation without damage to it.

WARN 86245 VR8000 8,000 lb Winch

Editor Rating
12 feet remote control

It has a rubberized, ergonomic pistol-grip handle that sits comfortably in the user’s hands. It is engineered to have ultra weather/mud resistant. This is attributed to improved sealing. It is simple to use too.

Control pack

It has a completely removable control pack that ensures one has control mounted on the winch itself. It can also be mounted on a different location on the truck or SUV. Control is depended on you.

Spydura synthetic

It comes with a 100 feet 3/8 inch diameter Warn exclusive fully synthetic Spydura rope that has a full radius matt aluminum hawse. This assures the user of durability and efficiency especially when stuck in a sticky situation.

Durable construction

The WARN 86245 VR8000 8,000 lb Winch has a durable construction so you don’t need to be worried about getting caught when unprepared.

Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb

Editor Rating
Waterproof capability

The Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb has been updated with heavy duty features for enhanced performance and protection. It has a waterproof rating of IP67 that protects the components from water.

Weight and dimensions

It is engineered to weigh 78 pounds (35 kilograms). It has the following dimensions – 20.88 inches length by 6.3 inches width by 7.4 inches height.

Battery powered

It is powered by a 650CCA battery which is great for minimum winching. The battery leads have the following dimensions – 22mm2, 72 inches (1.83m).


The manufacturer has provided limited lifetime warranty coverage for all steel based products which include bumpers, sides, armor and steps against manufacturer defects. The winch also comes with a 5 year warranty that protects the winch’s signature two-stage powder coat finish. This is available in textured, satin or gloss black.

9,500 pounds rated pull line

Thanks to the 6.6 HP Series wound motor, the winch has a rated line pull of 9,500 pounds (4,309 kilograms). This assures the user of accomplishing a wide array of tasks for example getting a truck out of a sticky situation or helping it travel uphill.

Warn ProVantage 2500-S

Editor Rating
Dash switch

It comes with an illuminated dash mounted control switch which is suitable for use on an ATV. The switch comes with a complete set of screws and mounting bracket for easy installation.

Mini rocker control switch

The mini rocker control switch with side plug is suitable for the corded remote to plug into. It can be mounted on handlebars for easier control of the winch right from the ATV or inside the SUV or truck. If you are stuck in mud, you will be glad to have this accessory.

Black powder coated finish

The black powder coated finish provides the winch a look that not only attracts compliments but it protects the winch from oxidation action that results in rust. This helps to ensure that the winch provides service for a long time.

3 stage planetary gear train

It has a newly designed planetary gear train with a powerful magnet motor engineered to deliver fast, quite and reliable pulling power. It is tough and capable enough to tackle anything you need. With the full winch sealing, you need not worry about getting wet.

Superwinch 1120210 LT2000 12-Volt ATV Winch (2,000 lb Capacity)

Editor Rating
Highly efficient low amp draw motor

The Superwinch 1120210 LT2000 12-Volt ATV Winch is engineered with a highly efficient low amp draw sealed permanent magnetic motor. Combined with the unit’s solenoid that disconnects your winch’s electrical system from the battery when the vehicle’s power is off plus the circuit breaker protection, users are assured of better performance without any toll on their ATV battery.

Dynamic braking

It features dynamic braking that provides a variety of safety features. It helps one have control of stopping power needed to accomplish a particular task. This helps to extend the lifetime of the winch.

Full metal planetary gear train

It helps to provide a strong and quite operation. The full metal planetary gear train works in tandem with the pull line allowing the winch to accomplish its tasks with ease.

2,000 pounds rated line pull

The winch has a rated line pull of 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms). It has a permanent and latched hook which can be secured around another vehicle, tree trunk or rock allowing the winch to pull the vehicle from a sticky situation.

Warn 89020 Vantage 2000 Winch

Editor Rating
New and unique exterior styling

It has a rugged design that gives the winch a look that is advanced, capable and strong. As a next generation heavy duty winch designed for SUVs, trucks and ATVs, the exterior finish is designed to be corrosion resistant. The look not only attracts but protects the interior components.

Reliable planetary gear train

Coupled with the powerful permanent magnet motor, the rugged and reliable planetary gear train delivers a fast, quite and reliable pulling power. With this model, you are assured of getting out of any sticky situation plus you can never leave a friend who is stuck.

Redesigned powder coated hawse fairlead

The redesigned powder-coated hawse fairlead is engineered to lower the ropes wear ensuring its lasts long. Combined with the efficient gear train and brake design, users are assured of outstanding control when winching.

Mini rocker switch

A mini rocker switch is available and can be mounted on the handlebars allowing the user the ability to control the winch. The mini rocker switch allows precise control ensuring longevity and efficient operation.

Extreme Max 5600.3072 Bear Claw ATV / UTV Deluxe Winch Package - 3100 lb

Editor Rating
Compact design

It has a compact design and the best thing about it is that it has an extra 100 pounds of pull which is much better than other models. Combined with its Bear Claw durability, smooth spooling and quite performance, the winch performance is unsurpassed.

Snatch block and hook

It has a quarter inch zinc plated steel hook making it tough enough to perform like a champ. The zinc coated steel cotter pin and clevis key is designed for secure attachment and corrosion free performance. Its powder coated steel snatch block is suitable for angled pulls or creating pulley systems. This reduces the amount of force significantly.

Tough electronics

It features corrosion resistant, super conductive terminal posts which means consistent power and dependable performance are provided. Power gets to travel from the battery to the real and from the real to the winch ensuring a clean connection.

2 year warranty

The manufacturer warrants this model to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 2 years.

KFI Products SE45 ATV Stealth Winch Kit - 4500 lb. Capacity

Editor Rating
Heavy duty electric contractor

It comes with a heavy duty electric contractor that protects the ATV electrical system and switches. It also helps to protect the power distribution that is controlled by the switches themselves. This assures you of durability and no damage to your electrical system.

Handheld corded remote

The handheld remote is perfect for controlling the winch from a distance or dismounted from your machine. It is a compact and high quality remote designed to offer reliable control than other wireless options. It comes with a socket plug and play wiring system.

Mini rocker switch

The mini rocker switch comes with an adjustable bracket designed to be mounted easily on the ATV. It allows easy control of the winch with just the touch of a finger. You don’t have to let go of your handlebars or steering wheel.

1.7 HP permanent magnet

The 1.7 HP permanent magnet is powered by 12 V DC allowing the line to have a rated pull of 4500 pounds.

Smittybilt XRC-3 3000-lb Winch

Editor Rating
Revolutionary planetary gear system

The Smittybilt XRC-3 3000-lb Winch boasts a revolutionary planetary gear system that allows a 3,000 pound line rating pull when combined with the 3.9HP 12 volt permanent magnet motor. The gear system has a 136:1 gear ratio.

Intuitive design

To ensure easy and hassle free installation, the Smittybilt XRC-3 3000-lb Winch has an intuitive design. It has a drum size with the following dimensions – 1.97 inches diameter by 2.95 inches length.

3.9 HP permanent magnet motor

It is fitted with a 3.9 HP permanent magnet motor that powers the winch and offers a quiet and efficient operation.

Planetary gear system

It has a gear ratio of 171:1 which delivers power and reliability at a premium price. This makes the winch perfect for recovery operation with the right muscle and dependability.

How To Choose Best ATV Winch

Weight or dimensional requirements and limitations

Every winch is engineered to withstand a certain range of weight. When shopping for one, it is important to keep in mind the weight and dimension specifications. Majority of ATVs may be fitted with aftermarket bumpers which mean that the winch will be mounted internally so size matters. The many brands and models of winches available in the market have a wide variety of sizes and dimensions.

It is important to note that winches may have an integrated or remote solenoid pack. The remote solenoid is usually externally mounted off of the winch while the integrated solenoid is part of the winch. It is included with the bridge over the cable or it’s mounted elsewhere for example above the motor. If your ATV has bumper space restrictions, you need to select a remote solenoid.

It helps to reduce the space required to mount the winch. The integrated solenoid offers great protection especially for a compact package. When shopping, request the help of an experienced sales person at the store. The reason for doing so is to ensure that you get help from an experienced person especially when it comes to weight and dimension requirements and limitations.

Final Thoughts

As you already know, shopping for the right winch for your ATV is a daunting task. There are several features you have to go through and other considerations. This helps to ensure that one gets to purchase the right product with the muscle and dependability to get you and your friends from sticky situations.

Things to consider include weight of your ATV, usage of the winch, the price, dimensional requirements, rated cable pull capacity, mount accessories, remote switch and covers. Other considerations include serviceability, warranty and upgrades. Are you having problems with selecting the right winch? I highly recommend the above reviewed products.