Whether you need to pull your vehicle from mud or help a stuck car back to civilization, you will need the best winch for the money.
Unfortunately, vehicles and boats do give out sometimes and not all places are accessible by AAA in good time meaning you will have to get your automobile out of that sticky situation on your own.
A portable electric winch is one of the most important equipment you can have in your car even though they are expensive because it can save you in dire situations.
Being able to pull something as heavy as a car, trailer or boat without much help is an awesome thing that can’t be put in monetary value.
Table of Contents
Best Car, Boat and Truck Winches On The Market
1. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC Winch
Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC Winch is the most trusted brand when it comes to making professional winches for recovery, off-roading and boating made with sleek, compact and durable construction.
This LT3000ATV is a versatile winch that can be used to pull big sport vehicles and casual ATVs from snow and mud.
The 1.2 horsepower low amp, permanent magnet motor delivers top notch performance and guarantees strength and reliability.
This small winch features 50 feet of very durable wire rope, handheld remote with 12’ lead, ergonomic clutch, free spooling and a heavy duty roller fairlead.
Superwinch LT3000ATV comes in a rugged full metal planetary gear train and can pull up to 3000 pounds of weight.
It also has a circuit breaker protection, sealed solenoid, automatic load holding and dynamic braking to ensure safety and reliability in the event of power surge or bad weather conditions.
If you extend the cable too far out, it can loosen up and become useless so you should install a limit switch to avoid that.
2. Warn 90260 ZEON 8 Multi-Mount Winch Kit.
This Warn 90260 ZEON 8 Multi-Mount Winch Kit is all about technological advancement featuring a strong cast aluminum construction that is laser-cut to exact dimensions, shaped on a computer based press machine and welded robotically.
It has a very powerful motor and efficient gear train meant for amazing performance and quiet operation and it can hold up to 12,000lbs.
Unlike most winches for trucks, this unit comes as a complete package with the winch, multi-mount carrier, long power lead that connects quickly to the front of the car, hawse fairlead and a remote.
It’s able to distribute the load throughout the entire car frame so it will not lean on one side when pulling.
It has a heavy duty sealing and a changeable control pack so you can place the winch on the vehicle the way you want.
This high safety electric winch is very attractive thanks to the satin-black powder coated finish with fasteners and clutch lever that are stainless steel to avoid corrosion.
Mounting this electric winch on your front bumper is a bit of a headache and you might need to do some drilling.
3. Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 3500lbs/1591kg.
Like all Superwinch trailer winches, Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 3500lbs/1591kg comes with a high-efficient, low amp draw permanent magnet motor that gives 1.6 horsepower for optimum performance.
The engine also has a mechanical load holding, brake, sealed solenoid contact and circuit breaker to offer protection against surge and bad weather.
The all-steel 3-stage planetary gear train is twice as wide as the competitors is and comes with machined-in, oil pocket bronze bearings to offer versatility and long lasting performance.
This winch also features 50-feet 13/65’’ steel wire rope and a 4-way roller fairlead to make pulling 3500lbs. possible.
Though it does not come with a mount kit, this Superwinch 1135220 is compatible with most four-bolt pattern mount kits in the market.
It also has a handlebar mounted switch, an ergonomic freespooling clutch and a latched hook.
The instructions for assembling this winch for trailer are complicated. So, if you don’t have some electrical handling experience you will need a professional to help.
4. WARN 86255 VR10000 10,000 lb Winch.
This WARN 86255 VR10000 10,000 lb Winch is one of the Warn Vehicle Recovery series winches meant for first time buyers and those who can’t afford expensive brand names but still want a genuine and reliable winch.
With a 10,000 pounds capacity, you can pull any vehicle as long as it’s not a super heavy truck.
The WARN VR10000 comes with a new series-wound motor that has unbelievable power and speed regardless of what kind of vehicle you are recovering.
It has a separate control pack so you can mount it anywhere and anyway you want.
As expected of Warn products, this unit has exclusive brake design and a 12 feet rubberized water proof remote to give you total control of your vehicle recovery process.
The 94 feet of 3/8 inch diameter rope and lifetime warranty are also great features.
The remote control is bad quality and the control box is not well sealed for weather protection.
5. Master Lock 2953AT 12-Volt DC Portable Winch.
If you have several vehicles and boat, it’s not necessary to buy multiple winches for each of them; with this Master Lock 2953AT 12-Volt DC Portable Winch you can pull anything from ground or water because it mounts to any ball mount hitch or flat surface.
This boat or car trailer winch has a parallel-shaft gear that ensures enough power to pull a boat, vehicle or trailer from 2,000 up to 6,000 pounds.
Master Lock 2953AT 12-Volt DC Portable Winch has a 20 foot cable which is enough length to tow a boat snug up beside a trailer and it has a toggle remote control if you want to run things from a safe distance.
The package also includes battery cables, back-up hand crank and a hook with latch in case you run out of power.
Master Lock 2953AT is lightweight at only 27 lbs. and has a built-in handle to make portability easier.
This machine switches off automatically if overloaded and the battery cables are too short.
6. Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch – 9500 lb. Load Capacity.
Smittybilt has a new generation of XRC winches that are upgraded with amazing features to make them more durable and efficient.
This Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch model has a capacity of 9500 pounds which is enough muscle and power to recover the heaviest vehicle except trailers.
This electric trailer winch has a waterproof rating of IP67 and a 4-way roller fairlead.
The 6.6 horsepower series wound motor and 3-stage planetary gear train makes the Smittybilt 97495 XRC a powerful and efficient machine for any situation.
The 94 feet 5/16 cable is long enough even for a trailer or a boat and the remote control and switch helps to run the operation from a safe distance.
This unit has a beautiful black finish and comes with a lifetime mechanical warranty and 5 years electrical warranty.
The electrical cables are a little hard to attach and the handle used to switch from free spooling to ‘in’ is difficult to move.
Buying Guide For The Best Winch For The Money.
Shopping for the best winch for the money can be a bit tough because not many people understand the specifics and what exactly you need.
This buying guide will direct you a bit on what to look for taking into consideration your car type and purpose;
- Winch Capacity:
This is also called the line pull rate which is basically how much weight the winch can handle in the first layer of the cable.
If you exceed this pull rating the cable can become loose or the light duty winch switches off automatically.
In order to know how much pull you need, take the gross weight of your vehicle and multiply that with 1.5.
- Line Length:
The longer the cable, the farther you can reach especially if the subject is big or in a ditch.
However, while this is a good thing a very long cable can snarled up and kinked so it’s wiser to have just enough cable and a separate extension just in case it’s needed.
- Line Speed:
The best winches for trucks and cars are usually very fast unloaded but they must slowdown dramatically when you load hundreds or thousands pounds of weight.
There are two things to consider when it comes to line speed; your patience and electricity; the faster a winch is the more electricity it will use so you have to decide whether you are willing to pay the extra cost of power or be patient with a slow winch.
- Winch Motors:
There are two types of motors; permanent magnet normally found in cheap winches and draws fewer amps and series wound that are more powerful and tolerant to abuse.
Depending on how often you use your winch, you can choose between the two.
A series wound motor winch is great for heavy duty winchers and cold weather but they are expensive.
When it comes to buying the best winch for the money, all you need to know is what you will be using it for because different winches serve different purposes.
Besides being functional, reliable and durable, a good winch should also come with an accessory kit and should be easy to maintain.