Winch Recommendations for Pulling Logs

Disclaimer: We may earn a small commission from sponsored links in this article at no additional cost to you.

Last Updated on August 26, 2022

Moving big-sized tree logs is always a tough task but there is a way to make it simple and easier. Just add a logging winch to your collection and all the difficulties will be over. No matter the size of the logs, if the winch has enough pulling capacity, the job will be smooth.

Here, I have collected the best winch options available in the market to pull logs. I will try to keep some variations in the list so that every type of shopper can have their pick. Continue reading and let’s see if I can provide you with the name of your next winch.

Best Winch For Pulling Logs

Portable Winch 1550 Lbs. PCW3000 Capstan Winch


  • Very compact and lightweight design
  • Powerful Honda GX engine
  • The pulling power will be double if a snatch block is used
  • Comes with a backpack carrier
  • 3-stage spur gears
  • Anti-reversing roller clutch


  • Pulling capacity is not very high
  • No accessories were included in the package, not even rope

Let’s kick off this log pulling winch list with a lightweight and compact gas-powered portable winch from the brand Portable Winch. This 1550 lbs. load capacity winch is from their 3000 series Capstan winch. The weight limit might seem low but there is a way to increase that.

The way is nothing unique, it’s the traditional way of using a snatch block to double the weight capacity. To support that limit, there is a 35cc 4-stroke Honda GX engine. This engine is extremely powerful. It can generate 7000 RPM which will ensure a tremendous power unit and the maximum torque is 5500 RPM.

This winch is powered by gas, and it is very lightweight. The lightweight feature makes it an ideal option to carry over long distances. That’s why, this winch is a perfect choice for a hunter, boater, forester, or even snowmobiler.

If you buy this winch, you will get only the winch and no other accessories. The accessories must be bought separately. That seems to be the only drawback of this compact, lightweight gas-powered winch.

Portable Winch 2200 Lbs. PCW5000 Winch


  • It is a multi-purpose winch so you can use it to pull other loads beside logs too
  • The operating functionality is pretty straightforward
  • A good option to deal with heavier objects
  • Offers well-balanced flexibility
  • A heavy-duty rope included with the winch
  • Easy and fast anchoring
  • Can be used anywhere as it runs on gas
  • Good value for money


  • It would have lasted longer if the manufacturer used steel instead of aluminum as its body-building material

Portable Winch is a well-known brand for producing top-quality gas-powered winch to help those who need to do some winching where there is no electricity. It has been the name of a dominating brand in that particular market since 2003.

The PCW-5000 Capstan winch is one of their finest products. It is another compact winch option that users can bring with them wherever they want to. It weighs 35 lbs. only. It runs on gas so there is no additional tension of managing external energy sources. 

It can easily pull up to 2200 lbs. of weight which can be doubled by using a snatch block.

Now to generate that immense power to pull that high amount of load, it has a GXH50 4-stroke Honda engine (50cc). The gear ratio of 110:1 along with the 57mm drum ensures that the winch constantly provides the required pulling power unit.

With the full load, this winch will work with a speed of 25 ft/min. The synthetic rope that comes with the package is 164 ft long. You will get an anchor strap to attach the rope to your load. The pulley system of this winch pulls the rope back on the drum and then removes it out from the back end.

The rope never gets stacked on the drum. This feature ensures no limit on the length of the rope we want to use with this winch. You can pull anything with this winch as long as the rope can reach there. Just make sure the rope you are using is a double-braided polyester-type rope.

Aside from the rope, you won’t get any other accessories with this little beast. The body of this winch is aluminum made which I didn’t like personally as I prefer a steel body. Steel bodies last much longer than aluminum bodies.

This model has another high-speed version PCW-5000-HS with a faster-pulling speed.

WARN 103253 VR EVO 10-S Winch


  • Higher load capacity
  • Available in various versions
  • Powerful motor with high gear ratio to ensure smooth winching
  • Fully waterproof
  • Free spooling and braking functionality 
  • Top-quality build 
  • Reasonable price tag


  • The line speed with full load could have been a little faster

Warn is the brand that practically invented the winch which is a must-have off-road accessory in every off-roader’s arsenal. Most of us are already familiar with the name Warn and we know that they have a long line of winch series. The one I am going to talk about is their standard duty winch Warn VR Evo 10-S.

The VR Evo series is one of their most popular series and it’s for the right reasons. The VR Evo 10-S comes in three different weight capacity versions rated as 8000, 10000, and 12000 lbs. and two different rope versions, both synthetic and steel cable.

My pick for this article is the one that has 10000 lbs. load capacity with synthetic rope. The high pulling capacity just opens doors to allow you to deal with various kinds of loads alongside huge logs. I must add, that this winch is also suitable for ½ ton pickup trucks, large SUVs, and jeeps. 

It is equipped with a heavy-duty series-wound motor with a planetary gear train. Combinedly, they generate power and faster line speed for a smooth winching experience. To support the heavy load pulling, it has a gear ratio of 218:1. It draws a lower ampere compared to the other 10000 lbs. winch.

The synthetic rope is 90 feet long and has a diameter of 3/8”. 

It’s a heavy-duty rope and it comes with a removable hook attached. The IP68 waterproof rating gives you the freedom to use it under any weather condition.

You will get both wired and wireless remote experience with their 2-in-1 controller. The wireless functionality works perfectly, and you won’t have any issues there.

Although Warn is known for its premium products, this one doesn’t come with a premium price tag. That just makes a strong case for why you should buy this top-notch winch.

WARN Handheld Drill Winch


  • Great for smaller pulling jobs
  • Compact in size so easily portable
  • Powered by a portable drill so no cord or cable is in it
  • Rugged body and easy-to-use functionality
  • Rigging hooks are available on both the front and rear side


  • Portable drill sold separately

As we already entered the Warn section, let me present to you another winch model from their finest collections. This one is meant for handling your day-to-day small pulling jobs like dragging small logs, stretching fences, pulling games, loading trailers, etc. The weight limit of this little drill winch is only 750 lbs. for a single-line pull.

I am talking about the Warn 101575 Handheld drill-powered winch. This winch is so compact in size that you can carry it around at ease and place it anywhere you like. This winch is powered by a portable drill, but you won’t get it included with the package. You have to purchase it separately which is a bummer.

The synthetic rope is 40 feet long and the diameter of the rope is 5/32”. It has an integrated hawse fairlead, and you will get rigging hooks in both the front and rear sides. The use of a free-spool clutch makes the rigging job faster and easier.

It is equipped with a load limiter that disconnects the wheel drive and the winch automatically when you reach the maximum weight limit of 750 lbs. It holds the load still to start pulling. The variable speed functionality will let you control the load better based on the weight and distance of the load by controlling the speed of the drill.

The price point of this winch can be considered as standard as it is not so cheap and not a premium option either.

Smittybilt X2O Winch


  • Powerful amphibious motor
  • Capable of pulling heavy loads
  • Waterproof, durable, and reliable
  • Needs little effort on the user’s part
  • Available in a wide range of variations
  • Affordable price


  • It is quite heavy compared to other options in this range

Now let’s step out of the Warn zone and enter the Smittybilt area. Smittybilt is another market leader when it comes to top-quality off-road gear. One of their many successful winch models is the Smittybilt X20 with 10,000 lbs. pulling capacity.

The X20 holds some impressive features under its sleeve that can easily impress anyone. It requires minimal effort from the user’s end to complete a winching session with this one.

The key feature of this little beast is the 6.6 HP series wound motor that handles the power generation section. There is a cooling system installed inside that prevents the motor from overheating. It also comes with a 3-stage planetary gear train with a 218:1 gear ratio to allow faster line pull functionality.

For superior performance, it is equipped with a 500 Amps solenoid box which is fully waterproof.  The box also increases the versatility of this winch along with reliability to be used for a variety of applications.

The synthetic rope included with the package is 98.5 ft long with a diameter of 3/4”. It comes with an aluminum hawse fairlead for hassle-free spooling. The winch is completely waterproof with an IP68 rating so you can use it everywhere.

You will get a wireless remote to control it from a safe distance. So, if it fits your bill, you shouldn’t hesitate to go for it. If you need something more powerful, then you can check out its other versions as there is up to 17,500 lbs. version available.

Besides log pulling, this winch is also a good choice for recovering small jeeps, ATVs, and SUVs.

Champion Winch Kit


  • Comes with all the necessary gears
  • A budget option
  • Powerful motor with 3-stage gear train ensures a constant flow of power
  • Easy to control during winching
  • Heavy-duty aircraft-grade steel cable is very durable


  • Not waterproof
  • No wireless remote

The Champion 4000 lbs. Winch Kit for ATV / UTV users is a complete package of performance and power. The Champion Power Equipment is offering this winch with all the accessories included for a smooth and safe winching session. 

Even with all the accessories, they still managed to keep the price of this little monster within every budget shopper’s range. I liked all the gears that came with it like the cables, contactor, roller fairlead, a wiring kit with a contactor, a mounting channel, and a mini-rocker handlebar switch.

The 4000 lbs. line pull is enough to pull any middleweight range load like tree logs, boat, snowmobile, ATV, or trailer. The 1.4 HP permanent magnet motor does a great job of generating enough power for a smooth pull. 

I also liked the inclusion of aircraft-grade steel cable on this one which is 49 ft long with a diameter of 7/32”. The cable doesn’t get frayed even when used in sand, mud, or rocks. The roller fairlead perfectly guides the cable onto the winch drum so pulling it out and putting it back feels like a breeze.

I can fully control the winch with the help of a 3-stage planetary gear train, a free spooling clutch, and the mini-rocker handlebar switch. It is extremely safe to work with as it has a dynamic braking system too.

This winch is a lightweight option too so it is easily portable. It comes in a wide variety of versions ranging from 2000 to 12000 lbs. weight-pulling capacity. So, you will definitely find the one according to your need.

Landworks Winch


  • Lightweight and compact in size
  • Battery-operated winch so no hassle of gas or electricity
  • Easy-to-use functionality
  • Very long rope included


  • Pricey option

I am going to end today’s episode of log puller winch with an out-of-the-norm winch as this one is powered by a battery, yes you read it correctly, a battery-powered winch. This exceptional piece of machinery is from the brand Landworks and the model’s name is Capstan.

So, the Landworks Electric Capstan winch is equipped with a 48V Li-ion battery that generates enough power to handle 1000 lbs. single line pull. To charge the battery, you will get a charger included with the package. The battery is a 2 Amp-hour type, but you can additionally purchase a 4 Amp-hour battery too.

The synthetic rope is 100 ft long and the diameter is 3/8’’. They recommend using only this type of rope with this model. The brushless motor along with steel planetary gears can perform relentlessly all day long without overheating.

It is very compact in size so you can carry it with you wherever you want. You won’t even have to break a sweat for that. Two mounting hooks are available to connect with the load and pull.

The price tag of this little winch is on the higher side so it can be categorized as a premium pick. If you want to try something different, only then you should consider buying this one, otherwise, there are a lot of better options available for less amount of money.


When it comes to a winch, you can never go wrong if you choose Warn or Smittybilt as your brand. They always live up to their reputation and never disappoint. You will get a wide variety of line pull options to choose from too.

If you need something smaller, lightweight, and compact, then the Portable Winch brand has some good options to consider. Just make sure that you know the type of weight you are going to be dealing with and get a winch that can handle the logs properly.

How To Choose The Best Winch For Pulling Logs

There is no doubt that the best use of a winch is for vehicle recovery purposes. Apart from this recovery purpose, you can still use your winch for your utility work. A lot of people in the present time take help from a winch for pulling logs. Obviously, you need to have proper knowledge about it. Because different winches are used for different purposes. 

At this point, we will give you a proper idea about how to pick the best winch for pulling logs. I will also cover some additional information that you need to know.

Pulling capacity

The first thing that you should consider is the pulling capacity of your winch. The pulling capacity will tell you the strength of a winch to lift a certain amount of weight. In this case, you have to make sure that your winch holds enough strength to deal with your log-pulling tasks. 

For log pulling purposes, you should bring a winch that has a pulling capacity between 1000 lbs to 10000 lbs. This capacity will get your job done smoothly.

Steel Vs Synthetic ropes

When it comes to winch rope, you have two options. Either you can pick synthetic rope or steel cable. Each rope type has its individual upsides and downsides. That’s why you need to be careful while choosing your winch rope.

According to experts, synthetic rope is the best option for pulling your logs as there is less chance of slippage. The steel cable will also do your job there will be some slippage though. In terms of withstanding heavy pull logs, the steel cable is better.

Battery Vs Gas-powered

You will find different types of winches in the market. Some are powered using electricity and some are gas-powered. There are a few manual winches also. Pulling heavy logs requires a continuous power supply. As you can guess the manual winch will not be convenient for pulling your logs.

Again, the gas-powered winch will be the best option for pulling your logs as they are powerful enough for this task. You may not be able to carry them sometimes. On the other hand, the electric winch has some cautions. Although it has the ability to show professional performance, you may not have access to the middle of a forest. You may run out of battery also. Keep it in your mind.


For ease of use, you should bring a winch that is lightweight and easy to maneuver. You will be able to deal with your logs easily. There are some winches that can be mounted on your trailer. Get a winch for pulling logs that is versatile and easy to handle.

How To Use Winch Logging

Bringing a winch for pulling log is not the end. Obviously, you need to know how to use the winch for log pulling. You may find the using process a bit difficult if you are a newbie. Before getting started, you can give my guide a quick check. I hope you will get your work done.

Step-1: Safety precautions

Before getting started, you need to follow proper safety precautions. As a part of your safety precautions, you should put on safety hand gloves.

Step-2: Tie the hanging sling to your anchor

Then, find an object for tying your winch cable. You need to select a heavy item for pulling your log near your desired location.

Step-3: Free-spooling

Now, you need to release the cable. In order to do this, you have to enable the free-spool option of your winch clutch. While releasing the cable, you need to ensure that the cable is covering the distance of your log.

Step-4: Hook the cable to your D-shackle

After that, before you start pulling, you have to tie the cable to your log. You will find some lines with hooks for preventing slippage. So, hook your cable. You should hook tightly.

Step-5: Re-engage the winch for pulling log

It’s time to operate the winch. You should run your winch now to pull the rope. You will find your log has started moving to your desired location. You need to continue pulling until your log reaches its destination.

Step-6: Winding the process

Once you find your log is in your desired location, it’s time to get the winch cable back in its drum. You have to leave the tool in the way you found it. I think you know what to do. Finish the process accordingly as you started.

How To Move Big Logs With Winch

It may happen that sometimes you need to move big logs with your winch. There is nothing to worry about at all. Moving the big logs will be a piece of cake if you follow the proper guide. You can follow my guide for moving your big logs.

Step-1: Cutting sizeable rolling sticks

First, you need to cut or find some small logs or sticks. You can think about the branch of a robust tree. Make sure that the logs have no tree trunks and they are straight.

Step-2: Securing the working area

Well, securing the working area means clearing your working space. There should be no objects within your working space. It can create problems while moving your logs.

Step-3: Placing the sticks horizontally on the surface

After that, you have to lay down the rolling sticks or small logs on the surface. The number of sticks you have may vary depending on their availability. The higher number of sticks will make your log run smoothly.

Step-4: Pulling your big log over the sticks

In the last step, you have to power your winch and connect the winch cable to your log. You have to pull the log using your winch slowly until you find it over the sticks. You should take off the backlogs and place them in front of your log. This is not mandatory though if you have adequate tree branches.

That’s the end of my article on the best log pulling winch. Hope you’ve liked my winch recommendation in foresty and logging. If you still have queries on the log skidding winch, then drop a comment below.

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.

Leave a Comment