Best Truck Winches of 2020 – Ultimate Round-up

Finding the best truck winch can be a challenge. But if you know what you are looking for and have a basic understanding of how they work, then the search process might not be so difficult. If you are looking for something that will allow for towing or hoisting to transport from point A to point B is a cinch then you may want to invest in a winch that is perfect for your truck.

There are winches that will work on most trucks while some will be compatible with certain types. Either way, you’ll have five of the best truck winches to choose from the list below. While there are many on the market, these five stand out as the best on the market.

Before we get to the list, let’s talk about whether or not all truck winches are actually the same and what size might be right for you. We will also talk about how you can choose a truck winch for your own personal use. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Truck Winches

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Waterproof Winch

  • Best overall truck winch
  • Wireless remote control
  • Constructed from high-quality materials
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Superwinch 1135220

  • The rope is 50 feet long
  • Weight limit of up to 3500 pounds
  • Runner-up for best overall truck winch
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Champion 4500-lb.

  • Handles up to 4500 pounds
  • Best truck winch for the money
  • Wireless remote for easy operation
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Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495

  • Handles up to 9500 pounds
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Includes a 6.6 HP amphibious motor
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WARN 96820 VR12

  • Low-profile design
  • 12,000-pound weight capacity
  • Designed to handle Jeeps, trucks, and SUVs
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Are All Truck Winches The Same?

The short answer: no. To further elaborate, they are not the same thanks to a few features and characteristics. While they do perform the same intents and purposes, some of the winches are different because of such things as the weight limit.

For example, one winch can handle 2,000 pounds while another can be made to sustain a 6,000-pound lift. Another would be compatibility. Some winches are known for fitting most trucks while some others can be compatible with specific trucks like Ford F150s or Dodge Rams. 

What Size of Winch Should I Get For My Truck?

The answer is it depends. It will depend on the size and space you have in your truck bed (since that’s where most of the truck winches usually go). If you have a smaller frame or a large frame truck, then you would have to choose the size that corresponds with it. Of course, you wouldn’t want a large winch on a smaller model truck, would you? 

How Do I Choose a Truck Winch?

If you are looking for a truck winch, you should be able to find one that will fit your preferences and needs. You should know how to distinguish a great truck winch between one that isn’t so great in terms of quality and performance. Here are some things to look for:

Price

The price tag might matter to most people. But don’t make it the only reason why you’ve bought it. As a buyer, you want to put quality and performance over all else. So if you must find a budget truck winch, do find the best quality and performance that you can afford. That way, you’ll be able to invest in better quality rather than throw money into the fire and get nothing in return. 

Weight Limit

The higher the weight limit, the better it can handle most heavy-duty lifting and towing. So if you plan on doing some heavy lifting, be sure to consider your options when it comes to weight limits. If you want to pull just regular cars and trucks, a weight limit between 2,000 to 5,000 pounds will be sufficient. 

Installation

The installation process should be easy for you. And we’ve managed to find truck winches that do just that. However, you need to make sure that it fits your truck before you even consider purchasing it. Installation takes about 10 to 15 minutes tops using the right kind of tools. Be sure that the winch is sturdy and secure after the install so you won’t have to deal with any malfunctions.

Quick Take - Best Truck Winches

Skip the review - here are the best truck winches:

  1. Smittybilt 97510 X 2O Waterproof Winch
  2. Superwinch 1135220
  3. Champion 4500-lb

Review of the Best Truck Winches

The following is a list of the five best truck winches that are currently on the market. As you go through each one on the list, be sure to note each feature and characteristic so you can find one that might be the closest to your “ideal winch”. If it fits your description, then you know it’s a winner.

Let’s start off by unveiling our “best overall” choice:

Smittybilt X2O - Waterproof Steel Cable Winch - 10,000 lb. Load Capacity

PROS

  • Waterproof and durable
  • Super strong and well-built
  • Handles heavier towing loads
  • Wireless remote allows for easy operation
  • Speed is not too slow or fast -- but at the right pace for operation

CONS

  • The spool may rust over time
  • The synthetic line may not be the best in quality
  • Some say the rope may be a little too long for them

What Recent Buyers Report

This winch was a hit with most truck drivers. They installed this on the beds of their trucks with ease and were able to use it for towing and hoisting heavy objects (most of them as heavy as 4000 pounds). One user said that the remote control operation was easy and allowed for effortless lifting without the struggles. He also added that the rope was sturdy and long enough to reach farther into a wooded area for pulling out an old vehicle that was sitting on his property for many years.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch is pretty tough and sturdy. And it can handle almost any weather condition imaginable (which is pretty much expected since the winch is waterproof). The rope is super durable and long enough for you to reach for any vehicles that may have run off into the road or have gone slightly farther off of it. You can pull them out with little to no effort and have it towed to the nearest auto shop. Overall, the durability and construction is pretty solid and won’t break on you even after years of use.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be perfect for auto mechanics who want to turn their truck into something that will allow them to do some towing. But it will also be used by those who want to tow vehicles that are unable to operate. Either way, it’s got enough toughness to handle your heavy lifting needs. So if you want something sturdy and able to handle whatever nature can throw out all while towing or hoisting the heavy loads, this just might be right up your alley.

Bottom Line

The Smittybilt Waterproof Winch is excellent for vehicle towing and even some marine towing like boats. Either way, it’s reliable, durable and ready to take on whatever heavy loads you’ve got. It can tow and hoist like nothing else and can hold it all together if you have a long way to travel.

Runner-up: 
Superwinch 1135220

Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 3500lbs/1591kg single line pull with roller fairlead, handlebar mnt toggle, handheld remote

PROS

  • Easy to install on most vehicles
  • Excellent construction and durability
  • Super quiet, doesn’t make a lot of noise
  • Handles a lot of towing and hoisting of vehicles and boats
  • The rope is at the right length for most uses, some say it’s perfect

CONS

  • Some have questioned the rope’s overall quality
  • May not fit some ATVs like some Yamaha models
  • Does not come with self-tapping screws for the solenoid

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were in search of a winch that was excellent for road vehicles, boats, and even ATVs. They were happy with the overall construction and durability and had no trouble hooking it to their vehicles. One user said that the lifting was easy as pie and had no struggles with the lifting aspect nor did he have any trouble with the ropes. He also added that the winch didn’t make a lot of noise as opposed to some others he’s used in the past.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch can handle a good amount of weight. So, if you are looking to lift something that is 3500 or below, then you’ll probably want to get a hold of this truck winch and use it for all your hoisting and towing needs. The rope stretches out to about 50 feet, which is plenty of length for many users. It’s also a winch that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. That’s because it can also be used to tow or hoist ATVs. And it can pull them out of some really muddy pathways. So, if someone is stuck in the mud, you can get them out of it easily. All you need is your truck and a winch like this to get the job done.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be excellent for those who want to use this for towing and even getting people out of ditches or sticky situations. It’s tough, solid, and ready to tow, hoist, or pull whatever load you have ready at the other end of the rope. It will be simple and easy to use and you can take it from point A to point B regardless of distance. If simple and strong is what you are looking for, this winch might go perfect with your truck.

Bottom Line

The Superwinch Terra 35 is the best possible option for you if you are looking to tow just about any vehicle you want. ATVs, cars, trucks, RVs, you name it. Plus, you’ll be towing these vehicles or hoisting them without breaking a sweat (or a rope). If you want something that will get the job done in any given situation, this winch might just be your cup of coffee.

Best for the Money: 
Champion 4500-lb.

Champion 4500-lb. ATV/UTV Wireless Winch Kit

PROS

  • Superior durability
  • Construction is solid
  • Fits in most truck beds
  • Easy to hitch to most vehicles
  • Wireless remote can operate as far as 50 feet away

CONS

  • A few have complained about the remote buttons sticking
  • May not be suitable for newer model trucks like the 2019 Ford Ranger
  • Some have reported that the instructions were vague and hard to understand

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new users were quite happy with the winch for a few good reasons. Yes, it’s affordable for most budgets. But it really excelled as a winch that was able to hitch to most vehicles and RVs and allowing effortless towing no matter how far they had to travel. One user said that his camper needed to be towed to his truck so he could take it to the woods for a weekend of camping. He said that the winch was pretty tough in terms of quality and was easy to hook. So far, so good he added.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch is made from one of the best names in winches and mechanical goods. Champion has long been reliable for many years and their reputation in providing quality products is nothing to brush off. This winch is no different as it provides users with the ability to tow and lift heavy loads. Plus, it’s affordable for most budgets so it will definitely be the steal of a lifetime if you are looking for something that will be solid in construction and easy to use. It can fit most truck beds and installation takes just between 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your know-how).

Who Will Use This Most

If you are in search of a winch for your truck that you can use for towing and hoisting tasks that might get a little heavier than most, this will likely be the best possible option for you. It might be a no-brainer decision if you are looking for something that won’t suck the life out of your bank account. You’d be hard-pressed to find a winch for your truck that can do a good amount of heavy lifting even at a price that might be considered a steal.

Bottom Line

The Champion 4500 pound truck winch might just be right up your alley if you want something that is excellent in quality and performance with a price tag that is affordable. After all, that’s pretty much the sweet spot for those on a budget. You’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to give this truck winch a closer look.

Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch-9500 Pound Load Capacity

PROS

  • Fits most truck beds
  • Waterproof and weatherproof
  • Can tow or pull large pickup trucks
  • Excellent construction and durability
  • Super sturdy, holds up to 9500 pounds

CONS

  • Some had it arrive with stripped hardware
  • Some shipments have come with missing parts
  • Remote control plug may need to be checked before use for any faulty wiring

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were using this for the purpose of heavier towing and hoisting. They said that hitching it to their loads like vehicles and boats were simple and easy. The motor that operated the winch was not even loud in the slightest, making operation quieter compared to some other winches on the market. One user said that he used this to tow his boat from the marina to his garage (which he was putting away before the winter). He said that the winch holds up pretty well especially when towing something heavy like his boat even while traveling at longer distances.

Why it Stands Out to Us

At this point, it’s a winch that has the highest weight limit capacity. It can fit most truck beds with ease and can lift or tow most motor vehicles. It might even be a good winch for towing the bigger vehicles like boats or even large-sized trucks. This has a weight capacity of 9500 pounds so you’ll have plenty to work with if you need a winch that will take care of the really heavy lifting. If you want a winch that will haul some serious loads, this might be the go-to option for you.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a tow truck or wrecker driver, this might be a great winch for you to upgrade to if you’re getting tired of the old winch you might have. This puppy is built solid and can resist a good amount of water and bad weather. So, if you are caught in the middle of a snowstorm or if it’s raining cats and dogs, this winch will not waver to the bad weather at all. In fact, it would be pretty difficult to damage, period.

Bottom Line

The Smittybilt 9500 lb truck winch is tough as nails and will certainly handle the heavy-duty towing and lifting that involves large trucks, boats, and other vehicles. Simply put, this winch means serious business. If you want a great winch to add to your truck, this might be the go-to choice for when you want to handle the loads that no other winch on this list can handle.

WARN 96820 VR12 12V Electric Winch with Steel Cable Rope: 3/8' Diameter x 80' Length, 6 Ton (12,000 lb) Capacity

PROS

  • Cone brake provides excellent holding power
  • Low-profile design makes it easy to hitch on most vehicles
  • Handles even some of the heaviest loads for towing and lifting
  • Excellent quality, doesn’t fall apart easily when handling heavy loads
  • Can easily pull out a lot of vehicles that are in ditches or deep mud holes

CONS

  • Mounting bolts are not the best
  • Synthetic rope may fray over time
  • Instructions for use are vague and hard to understand

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new users were looking for a winch that did it all: towing, vehicle rescuing, and loading, more than they knew what to do with. And sure enough, this winch pretty much sealed the deal for those that needed it. At 12,000 pounds of capacity, this was the commercial and industrial user’s favorite choice. One user who has owned a towing and wrecker business for years has said that he used this a few times already and preferred it more than the winch installed on his own tow truck. He said pulling people out of snowbanks and mudholes with this winch was super easy. Overall, the rope sturdiness was pretty solid and could handle really heavy weights.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch holds up to 12,000 pounds. That’s enough for you to haul off any large trucks or boats among anything else that may require a winch that just might as well be considered “industrial strength”. This might not just be a personal use winch. It’s a winch that’s capable of the kinds of work done in a construction setting. On job sites, a lot of heavy lifting can go on. Sometimes, it might need a truck and a really powerful winch that will make any task look easy. If that’s the kind of winch you’re in search of for the job site or while you are on the road, this might be the one you want to consider.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a winch that you can use for vehicle towing and commercial or industrial work that requires really heavy lifting. It’s got a weight limit that is unbelievable and it’s got the toughness to handle the tasks you want it to do. Just add this to your truck of choice and be ready to put this bad boy to work for as long as possible. It doesn’t wear down easy nor will it break apart. For all your serious heavy lifting needs, this is the winch that gets that done.

Bottom Line

The WARN Electric Winch with Steel Rope is as tough as it gets and won’t say no to any hauling or towing project you can come up with. This will end up being your best friend on the road or at the construction site (or both). It’s hard to say what other winches on the market can give it a run for its money when it comes to some of its abilities.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

It’s important that you make a well-informed decision as you are looking for your own truck winch. There is some vital information that you must know about so you are able to choose the right winch and be able to operate it whenever you wish. Here are some things you need to know:

Know the Weight Limit

The weight limit is important if you want a winch to work. Some will have lighter limits than others. If you want something that will require heavy lifting like trucks or large boats, be sure to find out how much it weighs before settling on a winch. Some may even break because the load is too heavy. 

Hydraulic Winches Will Need Power

While hydraulic winches are not electric (obviously), they’ll need to be powered by the engine of your vehicle. Be sure to check your engine to see if it’s running before going any further. If it fails, the winch will stop working as well. Electric winches, however, won’t need to rely on a vehicle’s engine for power since they rely on electricity.

Consider the Rope Length

Rope length will differ between winches. So, it’s important to look at the overall length and determine how much is enough for you. Some may think 100 feet is too long while some will say it’s just right. It all comes down to personal preference. 

Conclusion

The best truck winch is not that hard to find now that you know what to look for and how they work. You can find one that will work to your advantage so you can do all the heavy lifting or tow without having to rely on any complicated solutions. Plus, it’s way better than having a few human bodies rely on their weight to pull something out of a sticky situation too. Find one that is built solid, reliable, and is willing to get down and dirty if needed.