How To Choose The Right Truck Winch (8 Steps)

A winch should not be considered only as a recovery equipment. It is definitely more than that. It should be considered as a good friend to support you in a critical situation.

If you have a winch mounted on your truck, then you can easily get out of any sticky situation while driving off road. But having a good winch is important to make the process smooth.

Here are some important facts that you should consider while choosing a truck winch.

1.   Hydraulic or Electric

There are mainly two types of winches available for trucks. Either you go for a Hydraulic Winch or an Electric Winch.

As you are going to handle your truck, so, I will always recommend you to go for a Hydraulic Winch. The hydraulic winch is more expensive than an electric winch. 

Here, a question may arise in your mind that why I am suggesting the expensive one. Because, although hydraulic winches are a bit expensive, they are more dependable than the electric winch.  

So, a hydraulic winch is always a better option over an electric winch.

2.   Pulling Capacity

After selecting the types of winch, you should look for its capacity.

Normally, all the trucks are heavy-weight. That’s why you need to have a winch with high capacity.

In this case, I will recommend you to choose a winch whose weight capacity is at least 1.5 times greater than the gross-weight of your trucks. 

Suppose, your vehicle’s gross-weight is 10000 lbs, then you should go for the winch with a minimum 15000 lbs weight capacity. This will ensure you a reliable winching operations.

In terms of truck winch, I suggest you don’t go for a winch which load pulling capacity is below 8000 lbs.

3.   Gear System

The gear system is responsible for determining the speed of a winch. There are two options for you to make a choice. Either a Worm gear or Planetary gear.

The worm gear is a bit slower but good one for longer pulls. Maintaining and repairing a worm gear is very simple. 

On the other hand, the planetary gear train is faster than the worm gear. But the problem with the planetary gear is that it generates more heat and not a good one for longer pulls.

4.   Steel cable or Synthetic rope

Winch cable is one of the most important parts of a winch to consider. You may go for a steel cable or a synthetic rope.

Between steel cable and synthetic rope, steel cable is the most common one. Steel cable is also incredibly strong. Without it, steel cable is much easier to replace. The most important point of a steel cable is that it can be used in any tough condition like mud, water and so on.

The downsides of the steel cables are its weight and durability. The more cable means the more weight. Over time it can be frayed and steel cable can be a dangerous one if it gets cut.

Meanwhile, the Synthetic rope has become very popular in the present time. Many off-roaders prefer synthetic rope for its light-weight feature. The synthetic rope needs more care than the steel cable. Also, they cost more. Synthetic rope requires a skilled approach while pulling and so far it is not the best choice for rough terrain.

However, I will suggest going for steel cable as you are going to handle heavy loads.

5.   Long cable or Short cable

Well, there is a contradiction. Many may suggest you choose a long cable but I always prefer cable which is long enough not too much longer.

The problem with the longer cable is that it may get engaged to the point of jamming the drum. Without it, if the cable is too much longer and in case it gets cut, then it may become very dangerous. So, you should avoid having too much longer cable into your winch.

6.   Wired remote control or Wireless remote control

It is pretty much easy to guess which one is better.

Yes! You are right. Wireless remote control is far better than the wired remote control system. Because you can operate your winch from a safe distance. You won’t get hurt in case of winch power failure.

7.   Waterproof

If you are an adventure lover and your adventures involve mud and water, than you must choose a waterproof winch. 

You will see lots of winch comes with different IP rating which classifies the degree protection against water must and other derbies. Otherwise, you may have to pay a lot in tough conditions like rough terrains.

8.   Brand

There are so many manufacturers that make winches. Smittybilt, Warn, Superwinch and Champion are some of the most popular manufacturers that produce high quality winches. You can pick one from any of these brands.

Wrapping Up

These are all the basic criterias you need to keep in your mind while choosing a truck winch. 

Make sure to calculate the required pulling capacity for your truck and consider the mounting options before making the final decision. Happy offroading!


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