Best Winch Mounting Plates – 2019 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Before you buy a winch, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to mount it to your UTV or ATV. A winch without a mounting plate is basically useless. However, most vehicles are not designed with a place on the frame where you can mount the winch. Thus, having a quality mounting plate is extremely important.

While most mounting plates are universal and are compatible with other brands of winches, it’s still advisable to check if the mounting plate you’ve chosen fits your vehicle.

To ensure you find the right model, here are some of the top-rated winch mounting plates and tips on how to find the best one. So, feel free to read on!

Comparison Chart of the Best Winch Mounting Plates

Product

Rating

Price

ECOTRIC 10x 4 1/2 Cradle Winch Mount Mounting Plate

ECOTRIC 10x 4 1/2 Cradle Winch Mount Mounting Plate 13,000 Lb Capacity Recovery Winches with One Year Warranty

Best Overall

Driver Recovery Products

Driver Recovery Products Universal Recovery Winch Mount Mounting Bracket - by

Runner-up

Goplus 36" Winch Mounting Plate

Goplus 36' Winch Mounting Plate 13000 lb Capacity Mount Bracket Truck Trailer ATV

Best for the Money

RUGCEL WINCH Cradle

RUGCEL WINCH 36' Cradle Winch Mounting Plate, Winch Mount Recovery Winches

WARN 11078

WARN 11078 Universal Flatbed Winch Mount- Foot Forward Kit

What is a Winch Plate?

Although a winch plate seems unassuming, it’s actually an extremely important tool. Basically, it helps mount a winch to your vehicle and ensures that it stays bolted firmly in even the most taxing situations. In other words, the unit safely secures the fairlead and winch in place, allowing you to focus on your adventurous trip.

Winch plates are usually manufactured with thick powder-coated steel for corrosion resistance and added strength. Some models slide right over the bumper, while larger models have provisions for D-rings, shackles, lights, and a hitch receiver. No matter what model you choose, it’s essential that you choose a quality one, as a less-than-ideal product can fail and leave you stuck in the middle of nowhere.

What Size of Mounting Plate Do I Need?

Most mounting plates are universal and can be used with winches, regardless of the brand. However, it’s important that they have the correct orientation and are designed with the standard 10” x 4.5” bolt pattern. While there’s no specific width, you’ll have to choose a model with a bolt pattern that lines up perfectly with your winch holes.

If you’re unable to find a mounting plate that suits your needs, it’s advisable to consider Jeep plates or mounting plates specifically designed for your vehicle. There are numerous Jeep model-specific plates that can be modified to fit other vehicles.

How Do I Choose a New Mounting Plate?

Choosing the right mounting plate can be a very difficult and time-consuming task. To ensure you select a quality model, the following are some things you should consider before making your purchase:

Compatibility

It’s crucial that the mounting plate you choose is compatible with your winch. Quality models are usually universal and can be used to mount winches, regardless of the brand. These durable units are compatible with every type of winch, including those that need to be raised higher, so the fairlead and bumper don’t rub against each other.

Quality Construction

If any winch mount bolt comes loose, it will shear and will start damaging and destroying your winch. This is especially important for foot-down winches. That’s why it’s essential that the mounting plate is firmly clamped to the winch by properly torqued bolts. Even if a single bolt comes loose, the clamping force will reduce significantly.

Efficient Design

Quality mounting plates are efficiently designed and enable you to achieve the rugged exterior without affecting the functionality. In simpler words, they’re skillfully manufactured and ensure safety, strength, and durability.

Quick Take - Best Winch Mounting Plates

Skip the review - here are the best winch mounting plates:

  1. ECOTRIC 10x 4 1/2 Cradle Winch Mounting Plate
  2. Driver Reco​very Products
  3. Goplus 36" Winch Mounting Plate

Review of the Best Winch Mounting Plates

With so many mounting plates available today, choosing the best one is no easy task. To ensure you make an informed decision, the following are detailed reviews of some of the best mounting plates available in the market. So, read them all and choose the model that best suits your needs!

ECOTRIC 10x 4 1/2 Cradle Winch Mount Mounting Plate 13,000 Lb Capacity Recovery Winches with One Year Warranty

PROS

  • Comes with a clip hitch and pin
  • Four bolts make it extremely easy to assemble
  • Does not require any extra grinding or drilling
  • High-quality construction ensures durability, longevity, and reliability
  • Ergonomically designed handles make it easier to transport and carry the heavy winch

CONS

  • The unit adds around 20 lbs to the winch
  • The cable might rub as it’s spooled in and out

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were very impressed with the ECOTRIC and recommended it to other potential buyers, as well. They loved the solid construction and stated that the drilled holes perfectly lined up with the winch holes. One user even reported that the unit held strong on a near full-capacity pull. However, some people were disappointed with the quality of the bolts on the handles and said it stripped out easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While there are several reasons why the ECOTRIC is on the top of our list, it mainly stands out to us because of its construction and design. The on-center fairlead bolt pattern ensures the unit lines up perfectly with the winch holes. Meanwhile, the high-quality steel and powder-coat finish prevent rust, further ensuring long-lasting performance.

Who Will Use This Most

The ECOTRIC is a sturdy model that’s designed to help in the installation of a self-recovery winch to your UTV or any other vehicle. Furthermore, it’s ideal for winches that have a load capacity of 8,000 lbs to 13,000 lbs.

Bottom Line 

All in all, the ECOTRIC Cradle Winch Mount Mounting Plate is certainly one of the best models available in the market. Featuring an on-center fairlead bolt pattern, it’s ideal for 8,000 to 13,000 lbs winches. However, the cable might rub when it’s spooled in and out.

Driver Recovery Products Universal Recovery Winch Mount Mounting Bracket - by

PROS

  • The unit comes with mounting hardware
  • Epoxy grade finish prevents rust and chipping
  • Innovative design ensures perfect alignment with the fairlead
  • Heavy-gauge steel ensures durability and long-lasting performance
  • Pre-drilled bolt holes enable easy installation, making it easier to use

CONS

  • The back flange might have to be trimmed a little
  • The unit will need some modifications if you’re mounting it to the floor of your vehicle

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers found that this model worked exactly as advertised and stated they would not hesitate to purchase it again. Users were particularly impressed with the finish and quality of the metal. They also said the holes lined up perfectly with the lead rollers and winch holes. However, some people found the unit to be too big, while some reported receiving broken hardware bags with missing nuts.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This universal winch mounting plate stands out from the crowd because of its ease of use. Designed with three pre-drilled bolt holes, the unit can be custom-mounted, making it compatible with almost all winch brands. Moreover, the front of the mount is pre-drilled for the standard roller fairlead, further ensuring perfect alignment.

Who Will Use This Most

As mentioned above, this model is universal and can be used with almost all winch brands. Compatible with winches that have a load capacity of 8,000 to 17,000 lbs, the unit is perfect for a flat surface in a trailer or bumper bed.

Bottom Line 

This universal winch from Driver Recovery Products certainly deserves a place on our list of top picks. Manufactured with an epoxy-grade finish, the model ensures reliability and longevity, while its innovative design makes it extremely easy to install. However, you’ll need to make some modifications if you’re going to mount it on the floor of your vehicle.

Goplus 36' Winch Mounting Plate 13000 lb Capacity Mount Bracket Truck Trailer ATV

PROS

  • Durable black powder-coating prevents rust from building up
  • Multiple mounting holes make it compatible with a variety of winches
  • Solid steel construction provides added strength, ensuring a long lifespan
  • Eliminates roller fairlead interference by providing a secure platform for larger bumpers
  • Pre-drilled holes align with the original mounting holes perfectly and do not require any modification

CONS

  • You might need to drill extra holes
  • Fairlead bolt holes measure 11" on center

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of users loved the heavy-duty construction of the Goplus mounting plate and stated that it was well worth the money. They found the installation to be extremely easy, as well. One user also reported that the plate stayed strong even after they had pulled their trailer and truck out of some mud. However, some people said they had to drill some extra holes to fit the unit to the bumper.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Goplus stands out to us because of the excellent value for money it offers. Manufactured with quality and heavy-duty steel, the one-piece fully welded design adds extra strength and ensures long-lasting performance. It further boasts a durable black powder-coating that prevents rust, even if the unit is left out in a rainstorm.

Who Will Use This Most

The Goplus Mounting Plate can only be used with foot-down winches. Compatible with winches that have a load capacity of 8,000 to 13,000 lbs, the model's 36" width enables it to span long distances between trailer frame stringers and 4x4 frame rails.

Bottom Line

The Goplus is an excellent start if you want to mount your winch. The model provides a safe and secure platform for larger bumpers, while its multiple mounting holes make it compatible with several different winches. However, some extra holes might be needed for perfect fitting.

RUGCEL WINCH 36' Cradle Winch Mounting Plate, Winch Mount Recovery Winches

PROS

  • Provides excellent value for money
  • The model is extremely easy to install
  • Holes line up perfectly with the winch and fairlead
  • Powder-coat finish protects the RUGCEL from rust
  • Quality construction ensures reliability, durability, and longevity

CONS

  • The receiver is a bit off-center

What Recent Buyers Report

Most people who invested in the RUGCEL were very happy with their purchase and stated it was a very solid model. They were particularly impressed with the quality of the finish and found the installation to be extremely easy. While most users reported that it lined up perfectly with their winch holes, some stated that they had to drill extra holes to ensure a secure fitting.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are several reasons why the RUGCEL winch cradle stands out from the crowd. Firstly, the heavy-duty steel construction ensures reliability and long-lasting performance. Secondly, the tough powder-coat finish protects the unit from rust. Lastly, the standard, on-center fairlead bolt pattern makes it compatible with numerous winches, further ensuring ease of use.

Who Will Use This Most

The RUGCEL is a quality bracket that can be used to mount fairlead and winches. As mentioned above, it's designed for ATV winches that have a load capacity of 2,000 to 3,000 lbs.

Bottom Line 

One of the best models available today, the RUGCEL features quality steel construction and a durable powder-coat finish. While the standard on-center fairlead bolt pattern lines up perfectly with most winching holes, some additional holes might need to be drilled for a secure fit.

WARN 11078 Universal Flatbed Winch Mount- Foot Forward Kit

PROS

  • Quality construction ensures the product lasts long
  • Large faceplate protects the winch if it's used on a trailer
  • Can be used to mount a winch to any suitable flat surface
  • Includes all the necessary bolts and nuts required for installation
  • Sides of the unit are reinforced with angle bracing, ensuring durability

CONS

  • Might need some drilling and modifications

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone who purchased the WARN 11078 stated that it worked flawlessly. Buyers were particularly impressed with the heavy-duty construction and loved the quality of the finish. One user even said their WARN 12K Winch fit this plate like a glove. However, some people reported that they had to make some modifications and enlarge the holes as they were a little off-center.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The WARN's design is what makes it stand out from the crowd. Manufactured with four holes in the front to allow forward foot mounting, the unit also features several other foot-down holes, making it compatible with other winches, as well. Moreover, it has the standard 10", on-center fairlead mount, so it can easily be welded or bolted to any flat surface.

Who Will Use This Most

The WARN 11078 is an excellent start to a homemade receiver bumper or a winch bumper. As mentioned above, it is designed for the WARN 9.5xp, XD9, M6, M8, M8274-50, M12, and VR8 winches. While the unit is compatible with foot-forward winches from other manufacturers, some drilling might still be needed if the bottom holes don't align perfectly.

Bottom Line

All in all, the WARN 11078 surely deserves a place on this list. Constructed with quality steel and featuring a black powder finish, the model ensures durability, longevity, and reliability. While it's multiple holes make it compatible with several different winches, some modifications might still be required.

Perks of Upgrading Your Mounting Plate

A mounting plate is an essential tool that helps in attaching a winch to your vehicle. However, there are other advantages, as well, including:

Versatility

A hitch-mounted winch plate enables you to remove the winch or move it to the back of your vehicle when it's not in use. This further ensures ease of use and adds convenience.

Ergonomic Design

Most winch mounting plates have a simple design and look clean. They enable the winch to be hidden behind the stock bumper and are usually extremely easy to install.

Firmly Holds the Winch in Place

As mentioned above, mounting plates hold the winch firmly in place, allowing you to pull your vehicle out of difficult terrain safely. Furthermore, if a winch is tightly secured with a plate, you can easily hold and lift items off the ground, such as truck bed covers and Jeep roofs.  

How to Install a Winch Plate on a Mount

Before installing a winch, make sure it's compatible with the mounting plate you've chosen. While universal winch mounts can be used with several different bumpers, it's still advisable to check if it's compatible with your vehicle. Once you've chosen a plate, you can follow the steps mentioned below to install it:

  1.  Remove the four bolts situated on the top of the bumper.
  2. Remove the four bolts that hold the plastic sway bar cover in place, preferably with a 3/8" wrench.
  3. Remove the cover from your vehicle.
  4. Remove the two sway bar mounting bolts situated in the front.
  5. Install the fairlead and winch on to the mounting plate according to the instructions provided by the winch manufacturer.
  6. Place the winch mounting plate on the bumper of your vehicle and align the holes.
  7. Firmly secure the mounting plate in place with the OEM sway bar mounting bolts.
  8. Run the wiring according to the instructions provided by the winch manufacturer.

If you want to get an even better idea about how to install a winch plate, feel free to watch the following video:

Conclusion

To put it simply, a winch mounting plate is a crucial tool if you're planning on installing a winch on your vehicle. But with so many plates available, choosing the right one is no easy task. For us, the best unit is the ECOTRIC Winch Mounting Plate because of its quality design and compatibility. But, make sure you read all the aforementioned reviews to find the model that best suits your needs!