Best Winch for Jeep Reviews (Updated June 2020)

When you have an adventurous spirit and would like a wild tour around the world, then you know that a winch is essential. Sometimes you get stuck in the middle of nowhere, and the only way to get out is to swim yourself out. The winch is one of the handy equipment that jeep needs because this baby with power wheels does not roll on the smooth surface. When you have the correct equipment for you, then you can conquer the world. To find the best winch for jeep can be a challenge but with this buyers’ guide then you are a step ahead to finding what you want.

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Types, Benefits, and Drawbacks of a Winch for Jeep

When you are riding on a rough road, you need to be prepared for the unplanned incidences. A winch is one of the prep gears that Jeep owner needs whether it is a hydraulic winch or electric winch. However, like any other great equipment it has its flaws, and in this sections, we will see the benefits and flaws of a winch for your jeep.

1. Steel cable winch

Steel cable has been a traditional winch material for years. It is one of the durable materials, but it has its flaws.


  • The cable steel needs low maintenance to function. Most of the users need WD-40 to keep the cable in shape.
  • The cable is resistant to abrasion.
  • The cable is protected from chemical and UV rays damage.
  • Heat resistant
  • It is a cheaper material to use.


  • The cable is difficult to repair if it breaks.
  • If not properly oiled the cable becomes vulnerable to rust
  • The cable is rigid compared to other materials used in making a winch cable.
  • Spooling this cable is hard
  • It stores kinetic energy which can be dangerous
  • You need gloves when handling the cable to avoid sharp burs.

2. Synthetic rope winch


The synthetic rope was introduced later in the 90s as an alternative to a steel wire.


  • You can handle it without gloves since it is smooth compared to steel cable
  • You can quickly repair it if it breaks
  • Lightweight compared to steel cable making it easy to handle
  • It is very flexible
  • It can be easily cleaned
  • It does not store kinetic energy


  • If exposed to chemical or UV rays for a long time it can be easily damaged
  • They are very expensive
  • They can be damaged by heat

How to Use a Winch Properly


A winch can be helpful if you know how to use it properly. However, if you are not familiar with the winching process, you can cause massive destruction or even injure yourself and those around you. There are various tips on personal safety and self-recover when using a winch. Wear gloves when you are handling the winch cable especially if it is made of steel. Use Jeeps with heavy-duty bumper can find multiple self-recovery points. Here are tips on how to use a winch for Jeep correctly:


Check if the bumper and winch are in proper working condition.


Look for a solid anchor point if you are doing a self-recovery. To safely secure the anchor point you need tree strap, D-ring, Snatch blocks, and recovery ropes. These additional tools may not be used all at once.


When you are anchoring on a tree, take a tree strap and wrap it around the tree trunk but not too high to avoid yanking the tree over. If you are recovering using another jeep, then ensure that the two vehicles are in parallel line.


Take the D-ring shackle and put it through the tree strap loops.


Put the winch in neutral gear and pull the cable using the winch hook towards your anchor point.


Hook the winch hook to the D-ring, and you are good.


Plug in your winch controller firmly to your winch. Safely run the cable on the side of your jeep.


It is highly recommended that you operate your winch controller inside your jeep cabin to protect you in case something snaps and give you a perfect control of your breaks and gas.


Snatch blocks can be used in situations that your recovery vehicle has no direct position to stand parallel to the vehicle being recovered.

How to Choose Winch for Jeep


Shopping a winch can be a nightmare because you have to get it right the first time. You might be stuck in the middle of nowhere, and it will be just you and your winch. It is easy to purchase something if you know what you are looking for and knowing the important features is a bonus. To get all the confusion out of the way the next time you are on a shopping spree and a winch is on your bucket list, here are tips to help you choose the right winch for your Jeep:

Your intended purpose

Various types of winch are designed to carry out different purposes. Hydraulic winches, Permanent magnet motors, and series wound are the major winch types in the market. Hydraulic winches are designed for long winching hours which is not convenient for a jeep that is only taken out during off-road adventures once in a while.

Size of the winch

The dimensions of the winch will depend on the requirements, limitations, and weight recommendation for your jeep. Another major consideration is the solenoid mounting. The size of the winch will depend on your mounting preferences.

Your budget

Know the estimated amount that you are willing to spend on the winch. This makes it easier for you to narrow down the brands and options that are available for you. Going through the reviews of customer satisfaction can help you get the best winch for your jeep that’s within your budget.


This might include one of the most important considerations when you want to buy a winch. Steel cable winches and synthetic cable winches have different maintenance routines. The various models in the market have different care methods that manufacture specify. Check for something that is cheaper, and you can comfortably maintain and also the necessary upgrades.


The warranty serves as a silent indicator of the manufacturer’s faith in their product. The longer the warranty period, the better the product may help you, but it is not usually the case. You also need to protect your pocket in this annoying financial time.

Features To Look Out For In a Winch


The features on the winch are what will make your life easier when you are using it or help you lose your cool. Here are important elements to consider while purchasing your winch:

Winch capacity

The winch capacity in calculated on the first layer of the winch and you may 13 to 25 percent of your winch capacity. The gross weight of your vehicle multiplied by 1.5 will indicate if the winch capacity will be able to serve you properly.

Motor power

The horsepower rating of winches varies depending on some aspects. The strength of your motor and gear ratio will determine the pulling power and line speed of your winch. However, the pull rate and line speed will depend on the layer of the cable.

Line length and type

The length line is one of the important features because the line length allows you to increase the radius of your anchor point. However, a longer line length can mean an additional weight especially if you are using steel cable. Most people prefer less length on the winch, but an extension on the side is essential for survival.

There are two primary types of winch ropes in the market i.e. steel cable and synthetic cable. The strength of the rope is rated for tensile strength and diameter of the material. The type of the rope can differ, so you need to check for the right diameter and tensile strength that works for you.

Top 5 Winch for Jeep Reviews

There are some impressive winches on the market which can overwhelm you if you are not prepared. Here is a review of the top 5 winches in the market:

1. Smittybilt (97510) X2O Waterproof Winch - 10000 lb. Load Capacity

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Winches have been evolving over the years, and Smittybilt has continued to outdo themselves each time. The Smittybilt (97510) X2O Waterproof Winch is a monster. This heavy-duty device has the amphibious motor power of 6.6 HP and a load capacity of 10000 pounds which is one of the largest in the industry. You can be a little reckless if you have this winch because you cannot get yourself in a hole that you will not recover yourself from.

This winch is completely waterproof, and all the electrical components are protected from water damage. The break system is Out-Of-Drum which is automatic to give you full situation control when you are winching. The Smittybilt (97510) X2O Waterproof Winch is more like the Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch on the battery recommendation but it a little advanced and maybe more expensive.


  • Wireless remote control
  • Five years electrical warranty and lifetime mechanical warranty
  • Awesome load capacity
  • Automated Out-Of-Drum brakes system
  • Completely waterproof
  • The free spool is very easy


  • The speed is quite slow.

2. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch - 9500 lb. Load Capacity

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This Gen2 series of Smittybilt XRC winches are some of the powerhouses in the winch world. The Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch has the muscle to pull you out of very tricky situations. The device is completely waterproof and has the best 500AMP Solenoid system. This makes it convenient for all areas including wet regions which was a nightmare for most Jeeps with winches. Another excellent feature is the 3 Stage Planetary Gear System with a 6.6 HP Amphibious motor to help you pull a load capacity of 9500 pounds. The cable design is smaller and stronger with less kinetic energy buildup.

The versatile mounting option makes the Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch unique in the market. This winch is both sturdy and durable that the manufacturers gave it a lifetime mechanical warranty and a five years electrical warranty. They also provide a wiring kit for the device, so everything is compatible and guaranteed performance. The remote is corded, and battery recommendation for minimum winching is 650CCA.


  • It is waterproof
  • It has versatile mounting options
  • Light and durable winch cable
  • The 3 Stage Planetary Gear System
  • It has a suitable warranty period


  • It does not come with a mounting plate

3. Superwinch 1595200 Tiger Shark 9.5, 12 VDC winch, 9,500 lb/4,309 kg capacity with roller fairlead

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The off-road Superwinch 1595200 Tiger Shark 9.5 winch has a muscle to pull up to 9500 pounds which mean you can self-recover or recover a friend from most uptight situations. The Weather sealed solenoid protect the winch from water, snow, or dust damage. The cable is heavy-duty stainless steel that is highly resistant to abrasion and chemical damage. The excellent finish on the fairlead reduces any wear and tear and protects the cable from damage caused by friction during operations.

The rubber handheld remote gives you a good grip to take control even in sweaty situations. The winch is ergonomically designed for free-spool control and also a 3-Stage Gearbox to enhance its performance. The 95-feet long steel rope increases your radius to help you can find multiple anchor points.


  • Sealed solenoid to give the maximum winch protection
  • Easier to work with
  • Roller fitted fairlead
  • High load capacity


  • The seals can fail if the winch is let in wet condition for an extended period
  • The installation is a bit hectic.

4. WARN 26502 M8000 8000-lb Winch

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WARN has been one of the reputable winches manufacturers for years and their designs keep getting better each time. The WARN 26502 M8000 has a lower load capacity than we expected but that’s the only shortcoming in this beast winch. It has enhanced efficiency due to its automatic direct drive cone brake system and 3-stage planetary gear box. This Series Wound Power baby has 12 ft. corded hand-held remote to help you operate from a safe distance. The winch is made in Oregon, USA which ensures all the safety and operational criteria are followed.

Free spooling is facilitated by the sliding ring gear. The winch is convenient for dry off-road adventures, but you don’t have to get worried if you find yourself in a muddy situation. However, you will need a 12 volts power source to juice up the winch.


  • The unit is sturdy and durable
  • 3-stage planetary gear box
  • The fairlead is fitted with rollers


  • It does not come with a mounting plate

5. WARN 86245 VR8000 8,000 lb Winch

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If you are looking for a guaranteed performance in all off-road encounters, then you may want to consider the WARN 86245 VR8000 winch. The winch is designed to be compatible with most lightweight vehicles from SUVs, Trailers, to Jeeps. The fast speed line will help you get out of any situation fast and a convenient 3-stage planetary gear train to help you in the process. The cool break system gives you full control when winching. One thing that makes the WARN 86245 VR8000 outstanding it is the durability and reliability.

It gives you a separate control pack to widen your mounting options. It also comes with a 12 ft. corded remote control to maximise on your safety while winching. The Synthetic Spydura is easy to handle.


  • Compact and durable unit
  • Compatible designs for various vehicles
  • Separate control pack for various mounting options
  • Fast speed line


  • It is limited to light vehicles

Final Take

The winch that takes the top spot is Smittybilt (97510) X2O Waterproof Winch for its outstanding features. The wireless remote control and heavy load capacity just nailed it. Apart from the electrical and mechanical superiority, the unit is sturdy, and its longevity is unquestioned.

When you know what you are looking for in your winch, it becomes easier for you to find the right winch for your jeep. The gross weight of your Jeep plays an important part when it comes to selecting a winch for it. The off-road conditions that you drive in will help you choose the winch cable that is convenient for you because they both have their strengths and weakness.

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