Top 5 Best Winches for Toyota Tacoma

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Last Updated on June 29, 2022

Finding the best winch for Toyota Tacoma requires some crucial factors to consider. Power is one of them, and I believe it’s the most vital for choosing a perfect winch for trucks like Tacoma.

Besides power, you will want to consider the following factors like –

  • Size and fit.
  • Durability.
  • Ease of installation and operation.
  • Quality remote controls.
  • Build quality, etc.

Keeping all those into consideration, in this write-up, I’ve short-listed five top-quality winches for Toyota Tacoma and tried to find out their benefits and pitfalls.

I’m sure it will help you find the best bet for your tuck. So, let’s begin.

5 High-Quality Winches for Toyota Tacoma

1. WARN VR EVO 103253 Winch for Toyota Tacoma 

Pros

  • It draws a relatively low amp. Hence, it remains easy on the electrical system and also doesn’t produce excessive heat.
  • IP68-rated winch. That means it’s quite a bit protected from water, mud, and other outside materials that might cause a threat to its durability.
  • Works fast at full load.
  • Relatively compact and visually appealing.
  • As a substitute for a typical solenoid, WARN EVO offers an Albright contactor which is a more reliable and high-performing unit than a solenoid.
  • A well-functioning corded remote control comes with the unit having a substantially long wire. You can use it as both a corded and wireless remote control.
  • It offers a comparatively lower price than other winch series released by WARN.

Cons

  • Compared to the previse 1st gen and 2nd gen WARN VR, this VR EVO winch is the weakest in terms of pulling power.
  • It boasts a spring brake system. An automatic load-holding brake would have made it more reliable than the spring brake system.

WARN VR EVO 10-S winch is a 10000 lbs rated winch. That means it’s the best fit for vehicles like Toyota Tacoma. Besides the Tacoma, you can use this unit for towing other vehicles like Jeeps, big SUVs, other 1/2 tong pickup trucks, etc.

As per the rule of thumb, you better keep the vehicle’s gross weight up to 6666 lbs to get the best results without worrying about any breaking or snapping.

While this synthetic rope line is about 90′ long, the other steel cable version also features a 90′ line. Both go through a quality fairlead (synthetic line through a hawse fairlead and the steel cable line through a 4-way roller fairlead).

A series-wound motor helps the line to pull faster under a heavy load, which saves a remarkable amount of time during the towing operation.

When it’s about the price, any WARN winch is way more expensive than its similar weight capacity winch competitors. However, they outperform other brands and implement most of the modern technologies.

2. Smittybilt 98695 XRC GEN 3 COMP Series Winch

Pros

  • IP67-rated winch.
  • Faster line speed than its previous GEN 2 series winches.
  • A handy, beefy, ergonomic, easy-to-grip controller comes with the purchase.
  • The remote control has magnets built into it. That certainly protects it from getting in the mud if you stick it somewhere in the vehicle when not in use.
  • You can see how much load you are putting on the winch from the controller. It keeps the motor from overheating and burning.
  • The LED on the controller helps to work at night, which is a great benefit one could expect from a unit.

Cons

  • Sometimes the free spooling does not work perfectly.
  • The controller’s wire harness quality is not up to the standard.
  • The LED on the controller is too bright that is sometimes so uncomfortable to deal with.
  • A wireless remote should have been included in the kit at this price range.

Smittybilt 98695 XRC GEN 3 COMP is not like the other typical winch you have seen for the last few years (e.g., GEN 2 or others). Instead, this one is much improved in performance and technology and offers some cool features.

This very winch is a 9500 lbs winch (best if you keep the gross weight of the vehicle up to 6333 lbs), and GEN3 XRC COMP also offers a higher weight capacity of 12000 lbs rated winch (best if you keep the gross weight of the vehicle up to 8000 lbs).

Although it doesn’t offer any wireless remote control, the corded remote stands out to deliver an excellent winching experience. Yes, the wire harness is pretty thin and tends to rip the insulation off upon a little kink; you should consider using duct tape to wrap it to make it durable.

Like other quality winches, this one also boasts a 3-stage planetary gear system and a free spooling clutch to make the recovery process smooth and safe.

I’m not sure whether the company set the price right or not. However, it’s pretty close to the WARN EVO winch’s price. Nonetheless, you can go for this Smittybilt XRC GEN3 winch considering the improved performance.

Regarding performance, compared to the previous WARN VR EVO, this Smittybilt GEN3 XRC is not too far behind. Therefore, if I give the WARN VR EVO 9 out of 10, then this Smittybilt GEN3 surely deserves 8.5. 

3. WARN 26502 M8000 Electric Winch

Pros

  • Low profile and simplistic design help to install at any convenient place.
  • The relocatable control box also provides a flexible mounting option.
  • Simple to operate.
  • Hefty enough to tow the vehicle efficiently within the weight limit.
  • It’s a well-built unit having a powder coating that protects it from debris, gravel, etc.
  • Relatively fast line speed.
  • As it’s a pretty old model, finding its replacement parts is quite easy.
  • The purchase includes a well-functioning corded (12′) remote control to tow vehicles from the driving seat or from a safe distance.
  • No wonder you will get excellent after-sales support from WARN.

Cons

  • If you don’t have prior winch installation experience, you will need someone’s assistance.
  • Expensive like any other WARN product. Nonetheless, the performance makes the price justifiable. 
  • Several buyers have complained about the poor control box packaging.
  • Doesn’t have the waterproofing ability like other series like ZEON.

WARN M8000 electric winch is one of the most simplistic yet quite effective units in WARN’s product line. It’s perfectly suitable for Toyota Tacoma with its low profile and multi-mount control box design.

As it’s an 8000 lbs rated winch, you should limit the vehicle’s gross weight up to 5333 lbs as per the rule of thumb.

This winch boasts a 3-stage planetary gear system and automatic direct drive cone brake to control the winching with safety and better control.

WARN M8000 is a relatively old model. That means it’s well-tested and praised by a lot of real users. Considering its performance, durability, and reputation, I believe it’s worth buying this unit for Toyota Tacoma.

4. Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch

Pros

  • IP67 rated. That means it’s safe from water splash, mud, or dirt.
  • It’s powerful enough for doing heavy-duty jobs efficiently.
  • This unit works relatively fast.
  • Easy to install, wire up, and operate.
  • The necessary hardware set for installation comes with the purchase.
  • It works quietly.
  • The motor doesn’t get too hot under maximum load.
  • It’s quite an affordable winch compared to the other units I’ve listed here.
  • Splendid customer support from the company.

Cons

  • A bit thicker free spooling clutch would have made it even easier to grip.
  • The remote control connection needs quality improvement. It’s a bit flimsy.

This particular Smittybilt winch XRC GEN 2 is 9500 lbs rated winch, which means it has the required power to tow a vehicle like Toyota Tacoma from a difficult situation. If you need more power than this, the XRC GEN2 has some more powerful versions available, like -12000 lbs, 15500 lbs, and 17500 lbs. However, I believe this 9500 lbs rated winch is good enough to use with Toyota Tacoma.

Like any other quality winches on Earth, this one also features a three-stage planetary gear train, automatic in-drum brake, and free spooling clutch to ensure a safe, smooth, and successful recovery.

Although the remote control connection is poor, as found by several users, the remote itself works pretty well, and it features a 12′ lead which I believe is adequately long.

The steel cable is 94′ long, and it goes through a quality 4-way roller fairlead.

Overall, this one is a high-quality winch offering all the basics and essentials to recover some stuck vehicles, particularly Toyota Tacoma.

5. ZEAK Premium Winch

Pros

  • IP68-rated unit.
  • Easy to install and operate.
  • Getting both the corded and wireless remote control at this price range is a win.
  • The remote controls work without any flaws.
  • A well-built winch has a powerful motor and quality reel to do some heavy-duty jobs with efficiency.
  • The color-coded wires having crimped terminal ends help in wiring instantly without thinking too much.
  • It features a top-notch free spooling clutch lever.
  • A circuit breaker is in place to prevent short circuits and overload.
  • Excellent value for the money.

Cons

  • The control box size could have been slightly smaller.

ZEAK is probably the most underrated winch brand, if I’m not wrong. Considering the weight limit, this 13000 lb winch is quite a well-performing heavy-duty winch at a super affordable price. As it’s a 13000 lbs winch, you should consider keeping the gross vehicle weight to 8666 lbs to get the best results.

It’s not that sort of dominant plastic body. Instead, the body is mostly made of metal. The wireless remote control quality is worth mentioning, and it certainly makes it a safer winching experience from a distance. The corded remote doesn’t have any flaws either, and it features quite a lengthy (50′) wire.

As it’s a synthetic rope winch having a 86′ line, it’s relatively lightweight. The synthetic line excels in quality as well as the hawse fairlead. The 3-stage planetary gear system, dynamic brake, and top-notch free spooling clutch make a smooth towing experience.

Overall, this ZEAK 13000 lbs premium winch is a pretty good choice for using with Toyota Tacoma without hurting your pocket.

Verdict

All the above winches are some of the best winches for Toyota Tacoma, considering the performance, strength, durability, etc.

If you want to go for some of the premium winches without worrying about spending a bit extra, the WARN VR EVO and WARN M8000 winches are some of the ideal choices for you.

On the other hand, the Smittybilt XRC GEN3, GEN2, and ZEAK winch some of the best bets for the money. The ZEAK is quite a heavy-duty, high-quality winch offering wired and wireless remotes at a super affordable price.

How to Choose the Best Winch for Toyota Tacoma

Winch Type

Start with defining the winch-type you need for your Tacoma. You are supposed to know that there are a lot of winches types available in the market and all of them hold different features. In order to find the best one for your Toyota Tacoma, you need to know about them.

Electrical winches

The electrical winches are basically operated by the battery of your vehicle. Your vehicle’s battery will work as a power source. You can use this winch for Toyota Tacoma. The electric winches are easy to install though.

Hand Winches

As you can guess from the name the hand winches are operated using a hand. This type of winch has a barrel axis and lever arm to allow you to pull lightweight vehicles. The hand winches are the best for your lightweight usage, not suitable for Toyota Tacoma.

Air Winches

Air winches are to use in the marine industries and construction sites. This type of winch is the most eco-friendly and uses compressed air as the power source. The air winches are more powerful than the other winches. That’s why they are more convenient for hoisting or lifting materials.

Hydraulic winches

Well, the hydraulic winches are also powerful. They are the famous ones and have the ability to deal with heavy-weight vehicles for long distances. The hydraulic winches use fluids in their mechanics as their power source. 

The impressive thing about a hydraulic winch is its improved duty cycle. It is possible to use this winch consistently without facing problems. Without it, most hydraulic winches are waterproof that will allow you the winch in tough conditions.

Drum winches

The drum winches are basically used in ships or boats. In this type of winches, the rope remains fitted on the drum and that’s why they are known as drum winches.

Pulling Capacity

Pulling capacity is the most important one to consider. The smoothness and efficiency of your pulling mostly depend on your winch capacity. If your winch has a higher capacity, then you will enjoy a smooth and relaxed winching operation for sure.

According to the experts, it is better to get a winch that holds 1.5 to 2 times higher recovery capacity than your vehicle’s weight. If your Toyota Tacoma weighs 5500 lbs, then you have to get a winch that holds 8250 lbs+ pulling capacity.

Gear System

The gear system will decide how fast your winch will be pulling. This is also one of the most important factors to consider. Basically, there are two gear system types found in a winch. The worm gear and the planetary gear.

Worm gear

The worm gear system is found on the winches that are used in industrial sites. This type of gear system has lower transfer efficiency and that’s why winches with this gear system are a bit slower.

Planetary gear

On the other hand, the winch where the planetary gear system exists is faster. Because this system has higher efficiency of transfer. However, this system is not capable of bearing higher loads. Also, the planetary gear system is cheaper and best for recreational winch.

Rope Type

As your winch rope will be pulling the vehicle on your behalf, there is no chance to deny its job. Definitely, your winch rope needs to be strong enough. However, there are two types of winch rope or cable on the market. You should pick one that makes you feel comfortable.

Steel cable 

Well, the steel cable is the most powerful one. Dealing with heavy-weight loads is possible with this type of cable. The steel cable is durable and requires little maintenance. They are also easy to wind and unwind.

However, you should be careful while using the steel cable. Using protective hand gloves is a must. Without it, the steel cable tends to fray and wear and they store lots of energy while pulling. In case the cable gets cut accidentally, it can be the reason for a serious accident.

Synthetic rope

Again, synthetic rope is the most popular cable type at the present time. This type of cable is also strong and has the ability to deal with heavy-weight loads. Also, using the synthetic rope is more convenient

The synthetic rope needs more maintenance as it is more vulnerable to abrasion and UV rays. Proper maintenance will make the rope more durable. Apart from that, this type of cable is safe to deal with compared to steel cable. I recommend you pick a winch with synthetic rope for recovering your Toyota Tacoma.

Shorter or Longer Cable

You need to consider the cable length as well for the best winching experience. Usually, the shorter cable holds more strength when it comes to pulling. Again, the cable length may not be enough for you if the cable is short. In this kind of case, it is recommended to keep an extra cable with you and add it when needed.

Construction Material

The material of your winch will decide how durable your winch will be. If your winch is made from high-quality materials, then it is supposed to stay for a long time with you. So, whenever you plan to get a winch, make sure that it is made from premium materials.

However, you have to spend a good amount of money to purchase a quality winch as they are a bit expensive. Definitely, the service you will get from the winch will justify the price.

Wired or Wireless Remote Control System

For controlling your winch, you have two options. Either you can pick the wired remote control or wireless remote control.

Obviously, the wireless remote is a smart addition. This remote will allow you to operate your winch from a long distance. Thus, your safety will be ensured. The winch that has wireless remote control is also a bit costly.

Again, the wired remote control is also an option if you have a limited budget. It is recommended to get a winch that offers a long remote cable length so that you can use your winch by maintaining a safe distance.

Waterproofing

At the present time, most winches have waterproofing features. No doubt that it is a great addition as you will be able to use your winch whether the condition is snowy or muddy.

Basically, there are two waterproof ratings you will find. The IP67 and IP68 ratings. Among these ratings, the IP68 is more powerful and has a better ability to tackle rough conditions.

Winch Brands

Warn

Warn industries

The Warn is considered one of the most renowned brands for winch. They have been running this business for more than 70 years. The first product of Warn was the jeeps hub locking mechanism during world war 2. After that, Warn launched different products in the market and 1959 is the year when they introduced the winch for the very first time.

Warn offers winches with different pulling capacities. All of the winches from this brand are made with premium quality materials.

Superwinch

The Superwinch is also a good brand for a winch that has more than 45 years of experience. Superwinch is known as an innovative company. They launched the synthetic rope version for the very first time. Superwinch also offers a winch with a lot of variety in the capacity. 

Champion

Champion Power Equipment

The champion winch brand is known as the pioneer of the lightweight vehicles winch. They have expertise in making highly-efficient winch for dealing with motorcycles and ATVs.

The quality of the champion winch is also up to the mark. All the materials used for building the champion winch are of premium quality. The special thing about the champion winch is the convenient remote control system. Winch from this brand offers up to 50 ft long wired remote cable.

Smittybilt

Smittybilt

Smittybilt is also a winch brand that has been serving its customers for a long time. Winch from Smittybilt is premium in quality. That’s why the Smittybilt winch has more durability.

However, the special thing about the Smittybilt winch is its synthetic rope quality. The rope quality is higher and does not get affected by water or other hazardous elements.

X-BULL

X bull auto

The X-BULL winch should be on the list too. You will find a lot of winches from X-BULL with different capacities. The winches from X-BULL are reliable. Also, the durability of this brand winch is up to the mark.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which size of winch do I need for my Toyota Tacoma?

As I said earlier, the winch size will depend on your vehicle’s weight. The average weight of a Toyota Tacoma winch is approximately 4500 lbs, so you can pick any winch having a pulling capacity between 8000 and 12000 lbs for the best experience.

Can I power my electric winch from my Toyota Tacoma?

Yes, you can use your Toyota Tacoma as the power source of your electric winch. In order to start the winch motor, you will need to provide a certain electricity amount.

Will using a winch drain my Toyota Tacomas battery?

It is very usual that the battery of your Toyota Tacoma will drain by your winch, especially if you use the winch continuously for a long time. Also, if your Tacoma holds an old battery, it will drain the battery more quickly.

Is it possible to speed up an electric winch?

Yes, it is possible. In order to do that, you can connect your electric winch to a running vehicle. By doing so, your winch will receive enough amperes for pulling.

Best Winch for Toyota Tacoma

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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