Winches are one of the most important investments that you need to make in your automobile. They are mounted to the front of your vehicle and will be powered by the cranking battery. You need to conduct detailed research before setting your hands on a quality winch that will be able to handle your fully-loaded vehicle. Here are some of the important details that will be useful to you.

Power rating

To date, winches are rated in pounds of pulling power. So your winch needs to be rated to pull the vehicle with its extra kit and equipment out of a bog or up along a slope. The basic thumb rule is to have an extra margin of 1.5 to 2 times that mass. The resultant rating will be your safer choice. Remember that the capacity is going to be measured with just one layer of the winch line wrapped around the winch drum.


If your vehicle is used mostly for off-road competitions, you need to get your hands upon expensive winches which have high duty cycles and higher capacities. If you want to pull your vehicle out of emergency recoveries, expensive winches can be your pick. For regular use, pick the commercially available ones with decent pull speeds. But these winches tend to get hot when being used hardly.


It is common for 4×4 winches to have compact three-stage planetary gear arrangements. This is how it converts the high-speed to low torque output into higher outputs. If you are using a hand winch, it will have a simple spur gear. But the industrial hoists will have a worm gear arrangement.

Weight and mounting

A 9500lb to 12000lb winch will have an associated controller with it. It can weigh weights ranging from 35 to 45kg even before you are adding a rope or cable. It needs to be mounted very securely to the front chassis member.

The cable

A standard cable length of 28 to 30 meters is commonly provided on most of the winches. This is going to be enough to reach a secure anchor point and double back the cable for extra power. In case of more robust needs, you might want to use a steel cable.

If you are a lone traveler using your vehicle to its maximum potential, this information will help you pick the best winch fairlead.