Best 12000 lb Winch

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Last Updated on August 26, 2022

A quality high-capacity winch should offer all the necessary features to make someone’s life easy while towing heavy objects or vehicles like trucks, SUVs, etc.

I believe anybody would expect the following benefits from the best 12000 lb winch –

  • First off, the obvious: the ability to recover large vehicles from difficult conditions without causing too many hiccups.
  • Waterproof and protected from weather elements.
  • Not hard to install and operate.
  • Something that offers both wired and wireless remote control.
  • Relocatable control box.
  • The value for the price, etc.

Considering all those, I’ve shortlisted some of the top-notch 12000 lbs winches and prepared this guide mentioning their praiseworthy aspects and shortcomings.

Before I start, here is the rule you should follow to get the best results from any winch and to prevent overload failure accidents.

Always keep the gross weight of your vehicle at least 1.5 times less than the load capacity of the winch you are using. For instance, You should keep the gross vehicle weight up to 8000 lbs once you decide to use a 12000 lbs load capacity winch.

**Gross weight of the vehicle = vehicle weight + weight of the objects inside while towing.

Top Pick


Warn VR EVO is undoubtedly the best 12000 lb winch considering its performance, durability, and ability to handle heavy-duty towing jobs.

Now, let’s get to the review part.

Best 12000 Pound Winch

1. Warn 103255 VR EVO 12000 lb Winch – Best Overall


  • Straightforward installing process.
  • IP68 rated. Meaning it’s genuinely a waterproof winch.
  • It’s quite a beefy and durable winch.
  • A quality remote control having substantial wire length comes with the purchase. It can be used as a wireless remote control too.
  • It generates less waste heat by putting less load on the electrical system.
  • A relocatable control box lets you install the unit at your convenience.
  • It works fast enough and draws a considerably low amp.
  • Offers both synthetic winch rope (90′) and steel cable (85′) versions for this model featuring adequate lengths in both cases. 
  • Excellent customer support from the company.


  • The price is on the higher side compared to other models. With that said, the performance and quality of this winch justify the bill undoubtedly.
  • The spring brake technology implemented in this winch is not as reliable as a load-holding automatic braking system.

When it’s about finding the best 12000 pound winch, this Warn VR EVO winch is undoubtedly the chart-topper because of its build quality, efficiency in towing, and other essentials required to get a smooth recovering experience.

Besides this synthetic rope version (90′) with aluminum hawse fairlead, you can buy their off-the-rack steel wire version winch (85′) with four-way roller fairlead, depending on your preference.

While both synthetic rope and steel cable versions do the job just fine, I prefer the synthetic version because of its ability to keep the winch light and comparatively safe if the line breaks under load.

One of the most applauded aspects of this winch is its remote control can be used as both wired or wireless. It boasts 11.5 feet of wire cable which is adequate enough for winching from inside the vehicle. If you want to use it as a wireless remote, you will get good coverage up to 50′ from the unit.

To make the winching smooth and safe, it features other essential features like a three-stage planetary gear system, free spooling clutch, series-wound motor, spring brake system, etc.

Warn VR EVO is the upgraded version of Warn VR. In addition, they implemented the Albright contactor, which is quite known for its reliability and performance.

All in all, if you are willing to pay some extra to get the best bet, you won’t regret buying this 12000 lbs winch from Warn. I have selected this winch as the best pick on my jeep winch list!

2. Smittybilt X20 COMP 12000 lb Winch – Best Value


  • IP68 rated. Meaning it’s entirely waterproof winch.
  • Easy to install and operate.
  • The flexible mounting option on the control box lets you mount the box anywhere you want, depending on your need.
  • A well-functioning hefty, easy-to-grip remote control comes with a winch that can be both wired or wireless.
  • It spools relatively fast.
  • The system prevents overheating. Kudos to the inductive braking system.
  • Both synthetic rope and steel cable versions are readily available.
  • It’s reasonably priced.


  • It would have been more convenient to attach it to the bumper if it had been a magnetic controller.

Smittybilt is quite famous for making quality winches at a reasonable price. This X20 COMP 12000 lbs version is no exception. 

It’s quite handy in towing vehicles like trucks, large SUVs, and anything heavy, and you require a 12000 lbs winch.

Similar to the other models, you can buy their steel cable models besides this synthetic rope version. Both offer adequately long lines (98.5′ in both cases) for a smooth heavy towing job.

The sliding ring gear clutch is pretty straightforward to use. Not to mention, it features a three-stage planetary gear system and an automatic out-of-drum braking system for maximum safety and a smooth winching experience.

Like the Warn VR EVO winch I reviewed above, you can use the remote control as wired or wireless. It works flawlessly in both cases. The wire length is about 12′, which is slightly longer than the previous Warn winch remote line. Similarly, the wireless version offers a great range too.

In a nutshell, this particular 12000 lbs winch from Smittybilt offers all those meats and potatoes to consider it to be a handy-dandy unit for towing heavy vehicles. You won’t regret using it for sure.

3. X-Bull 12V Steel Cable 12000 lbs Winch – Best Budget


  • Easy installation and operation process.
  • IP67 rated. Meaning it’s waterproof and dust-tight.
  • It comes with wired and wireless remote controls. Both function well.
  • A multi-position control box lets you install the control box at a suitable place.
  • The power-in, power-out winch motor features positive load control.
  • Well constructed. It doesn’t look flimsy at all, considering the price.
  • A useful instruction manual comes with the purchase.
  • Inexpensive.


  • I saw several customers complaining about bad customer service these days.
  • Not IP68 rated like the other winches I reviewed above.
  • It’s a bit on the heavier side.

X-bull is not as a popular brand as Warn or Smittybilt. However, they maintain decent quality in making heavy-duty winches like this 12V 12000 lbs capacity electric winch.

Particularly if you don’t want to use a winch regularly, this X-Bull winch is the unit you should get your eyes on to use for only emergency purposes.

The wired remote control features a substantially long line to control the winching process from inside the vehicle. In addition, it boasts a long button and robust handle to help you hold it and push the button easily, even with the winching gloves on. The wireless remote control does its job well, too, by providing fairly enough remote range.

It features well functioning free spooling clutch, three-stage planetary gear train, and automatic load-holding brake. All these are essential to get a safe and smooth winching experience.

This X-Bull comes with a steel cable going through a quality four-way roller fairlead.

All in all, this winch features everything a handy winch should feature. 

However, I recommend this winch only if you are searching for a budget winch or you don’t need to use a winch regularly. Otherwise, it would be better to buy any of the above models from Warn or Smittybilt I reviewed above.

4. Zeak 12000 lbs Electric Winch


  • The circuit breaker helps prevent unwanted damage to the unit by switching it off if anything goes wrong.
  • Well constructed with a quality finish, make it look sturdy.
  • Effortless installation process.
  • It offers both wired and wireless remote control operations.
  • Weather sealed and relocatable solenoid box. Meaning it’s free from weather elements, and you have multiple mounting options.
  • It comes with a relatively long synthetic rope line going through a decent hawse fairlead.
  • A comprehensive user manual comes with the winch to make life even better for beginners.
  • It’s a bargain price.
  • The company stands behind its customer well.


  • The hook quality would have been better.
  • The wired remote control should have been a bit larger to fit big hands.

Zeak 12000 lbs winch is another low-priced & one of the best 12000 lb winches offering the required characteristic to ensure a smooth and safe towing experience.

Like all other winches, this one also offers a three-stage planetary gear system, dynamic load-holding brake, and free spooling clutch.

The wireless remote control is large enough to hold it and operate it without any hassle.

This one is a synthetic rope version that makes it lightweight and does the job just fine. On top of that, the line is adequately long (86′) to confirm a smooth towing.

Overall, Zeak 12000 lbs electric winch is quite a useful and powerful winch at an affordable price. Yes, it’s not as good as the Warn VR Evo or Smittybilt X20 COMP winches. But for the price point, you can’t go wrong with this unit.


After all those analyses above, I believe Warn VR EVO is the best 12000 lb winch considering its performance, durability, and ability to handle heavy-duty towing jobs.

The Smittybilt X20 COMP is another effective winch in recovering trucks, SUVs, etc.

Both the Warn and Smittybilt winches are suitable for regular uses.

If you are on a tight budget or you don’t want to use the winch regularly, the X-Bull winch is the one you should get your eye in.

On the other hand, the Zeak 12000 lbs winch costs slightly higher than the X-bull winch but perform better.

12000 lb Winch Buying Guide & FAQ’s

12000 lb winch

The 12000 lbs winch is a high-capacity winch that has the ability to deal with any type of heavyweight vehicle. You will not have to worry about the pulling capacity. There are several aspects you should consider before buying the best 12k winch.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Winch cable is an important thing as you will be pulling using this rope. There are two types of cable: Steel cable and Synthetic rope. 

The steel cable is heavy-duty and requires less maintenance, whereas you should provide the required maintenance to synthetic rope. You can pick anyone according to your preference. Make sure that the cable you are purchasing is made from quality materials.

Your 12000 lbs need to have a powerful motor. Without a powerful motor, you may not get the proper results. So, pay heed to this issue.

It is better to get a 12k winch with a waterproof feature. You will be allowed to use your winch even in tough conditions.

12000 lbs Winch Line Speed Comparison

winch line speed graph

Source: Roundforge

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight can a 12000 lb winch pull?

Up to 8,000 lbs.

Can I use my 12000 lbs winch for recovering all types of vehicles?

Obviously. The 12000 lbs are good enough to deal with all vehicle types. It will get your job done. However, in order to get the maximum outcome, you need to use this winch for a vehicle that weighs below 8000 lbs.

How much does a 12000 lbs winch cost?

12000 lbs winches are available at different prices ranging from around $350 (Budget Option) to $1200 (Premium Option).

What is the safe distance to operate my 12000 lbs winch?

It is always recommended to operate your winch from a safe distance. Otherwise, you may get injured in case of cable tearing. There is no specific law about distance. But it is recommended to maintain about 30-35 feet distance if you hold a wireless remote. You will not have any option while using a wired remote.

Can I use my 12000 lbs winch for hoisting?

Basically, the winches are designed for pulling your vehicles or any other type of activity that include a hefty amount of effort in the horizontal plane. The winch gearing and drums are designed for optimizing the horizontal effort. That’s why it is recommended not to use your 12000 lbs winch for hoisting or any other vertical efforts.

Why sparking problem exists while joining the winch battery?

It happens to many people. When the positive and negative connections get mixed up, they start sparking. It is a serious issue. Sparking problems can lead to cable melting and fires. So, make sure that you have fitted all the cable properly and checked it.

Is it necessary to keep any extra battery with my 12k winch?

It is not mandatory but recommended to have an extra piece of battery with you. You will find it handy if you need to use your winch for long pulls or multiple uses within a short period of time.

Is it necessary to have a mounting plate for my 12000 lbs winch?

If you have a plan to have your winch always with you, then it will be a wise thing to bring a winch mounting plate or bumper that matches the mounting configuration of your winch.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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