Complete Truck Winch Review 2022

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Last Updated on June 28, 2022

Having the best truck winch is a wise idea if your truck or SUV is meant for heavy applications or off-road riding. However, ensure your winch can pull high-load trucks.

In addition to bearing strength, you should evaluate some other essential features –

  • Overall performance, construction, durability
  • Easy handling and installation
  • Is it powerful enough to tackle heavy-load?
  • Waterproof and well-sealed solenoid
  • Gear system quality
  • Rope type, strength, and length
  • Remote control functionality

I’ve enlisted my concise list of the best winch for trucks considering all these crucial points. Thus, you can be confident that none of these items will let you down.

So let’s move to the review section to hit the right deal!

Top 10 Best Truck Winches

1. WARN 103255 VR EVO 12-S Winch – (Top Pick)


  • Comes with a series-wound motor that offers powerful performance under heavy loads
  • Remote has two different options, wired or wireless. You can choose one based on your needs
  • IP68-rated weatherproof construction ensures durability
  • Features a transportable control pack for limited mounting space. That is an added advantage for low-profile installation
  • Excellent loading capacity makes it suitable for ¾ and 1-ton utility vehicles
  • Large-frame configuration is perfect for large-size trucks, heavier jeeps, and many SUVs
  • Albright contactor provides exceptional conductivity
  • Easy user manual lets you install quickly
  • You’ll get an excellent pulling capacity due to its durable steel rope.
  • The 90 inches cable performs the best for heavy vehicles so that you won’t get any twisting


  • Some customers complained about missing parts

During my research, I found that the WARN 103255 VR EVO is the best heavy-duty truck winch. You’ll always get excellent performance without any hassle, just what a consumer would expect from a winch.

If you go on an off-road adventure and get stuck in a muddy puddle, you need some reliable truck winch to save your truck from this worst condition. 

With 12,000 lbs. pulling capability, WARN VR EVO is enough to haul any high-load vehicle from rough terrain, rocky surface, or muddy ditch. An excellent companion to rescue you while riding in dangerous places!

What makes me fascinated about the winch is its three-level planetary gear and powerful wound motor. No matter how many loads you put on it,  it’s ready to give you the ultimate performance.

The bold tactical appearance of the winches gives your truck an invasive style. And another feature that I would mention is its fast speed with a low amp. In a nutshell, this hardest winch is undoubtedly an excellent unit for the money.

2. Smittybilt X2O COMP – (Second Choice)


  • A built-in wireless remote is the best option as you’re getting a hassle-free operation
  • The amphibious motor with a 3-stage planetary gear method is loaded for enhanced pulling strength
  • The 98.5 inches cable offers convenient operation without tangling
  • The winch features a dynamic brake system, reducing the drum temperature. So, you can fit this with all types of cables
  • IP68 rated construction material protects during underwater applications
  • It has a more oversized clutch, giving you a firm grip even during gloved function
  • The texture comes with a matte black end and is UV-resistant
  • A rope sleeve is included to prolong the service life of your synthetic rope
  • Simple installation process
  • The free-spool is so easy. You can even do it with one hand


  • The solenoid mounting couldn’t be used on the motor part
  • The unit is provided with Chinese attachments. Therefore, it’s better to get additional mounting bolts from the local shop

The Smittybilt X2O COMP is my second choice for the best winch for tow truck. With a 6.6 HP robust motor and three-step planetary gear process, you can perform any heavy-duty operations. At the same time, you can have the ultimate strength and noise-free operation.

The feature that inspires me to put this winch in second place is its unique dynamic braking system. As this system reduces the temperature by 66% and ensures lasting service, you can use it with other types of synthetic ropes.

It features massive tie rod struts for optimum strength. However, since this winch has a 12,000 lbs. lift capacity, it would be wise to limit the total weight of your vehicle to 8,000 lbs.

The convertible control pack lets you use two solenoid mounting options. Besides, when it’s about installing the X2O COMP, you’ll find it indeed straightforward. In the end, they come with a rope sleeve to prevent your synthetic rope from abrasion.

3. ZEAK 13000 lb Electric Winch


  • Three-stage planetary gear provides the most brutal performance.
  • IP68 waterproof build with a weather-protected solenoid. So, you don’t ever worry about the underwater operations.
  • It comes with a unique control panel for ease of operation.
  • A robust and highly efficient gear system is included to tackle heavy applications.
  • The hawse winch fairlead is to alleviate fading.
  • It has a wired and wireless remote controller that lets you choose a suitable winch according to your needs.
  • The synthetic rope with a hook is added to help you in hauling.
  • Corrosion-free finish.
  • You’ll have an 86 ft. synthetic rope that works well in all conditions.
  • The instructions are pretty straightforward. And it requires a few hours to install.


  • The wireless remote can be slightly problematic.
  • The stock hook might not fit on a synthetic cable.

While it’s about choosing something budget-friendly, the ZEAK Premium Electric Winch is a decent choice to make. Designed with a 6.2 HP powerful motor and 13,000 lbs. hauling strength, you can look forward to the most robust winching performance from this piece of unit.

The IP68 metal construction with a well-sealed solenoid will prevent it from water. So suppose your truck plunges in a muddy ditch or puddle; no need to be concerned about it as this winch can pull out the truck from an extreme conditions.

It comes with an easily accessible remote with in-out options. All you need to do is press the switch just for three seconds, and the remote shows a red light. Meaning –  it’s activated.

The clevis hook is included to give you reliable performance under loaded functions. And it features a dynamic braking method to protect the device from high heat, and in that way, it enhances the product’s life.

Overall, this is a reasonable option with lots of general features.

4. X-Bull 12V Synthetic Rope Winch


  • It’s an IP67 rated winch meaning it’s safe from water, dust, mud, etc.
  • It boasts a relocatable control box that provides multiple mounting options depending on the application.
  • Easy to install and operate. 
  • It pulls the vehicle nicely.
  • A hefty wired remote and a wireless remote control come with the purchase.
  • Easy to handle, and high-quality synthetic rope makes the winch light, and it’s safer than a steel cable in case of an unexpected breaking under load.
  • For the price, you can’t go wrong with this unit.


  • The instructions are a bit vague.
  • A bit longer rope would have made it more smooth for towing vehicles like trucks.

This X-Bull 12V winch is capable of towing a truck weighing about 13000 lbs. So, as a rule of thumb, you should keep the truck’s gross weight up to 8666 lbs to get the optimum result.

Besides this orange winch with black rope, you can buy the black version of this winch from this link having a blue synthetic rope. Moreover, you can use X-Bull’s 10000 lbs capacity or 13500 lbs winch as they are equally suitable for recovering a truck.

Despite being an inexpensive winch, it features all those essential features that pricey winches offer, like a powerful motor and a three-stage planetary gear system for faster speed and lower amp traction. It also features a free spooling clutch for speedy rope payout and an automatic load-holding brake for enhanced safety.

The rope length is 80′, which is sufficient, but it would have been even better for towing if it had been a bit longer. However, the rope and hawse fairlead shine in quality.

Overall, the X-Bull 13000 lbs winch gives the best bang for the bucks when it’s about finding a reasonably priced unit for towing heavy vehicles like a truck.

5. Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC 9.5 K Winch


  • It’s a powerful winch and works pretty fast.
  • Easy to install and operate.
  • An IP67 rated winch, meaning it is waterproof and safe from several outside elements like sand, mud, etc.
  • You will get with the purchase to get going, including winch cables, battery cables, etc.
  • It offers a relocatable control pack to let you mount it depending on the application.
  • This unit features a substantially long and strong steel cable that goes through a quality 4-way roller fairlead.
  • A quality wired (12′) remote control comes with the purchase that works flawlessly.
  • Remarkable customer service from the company.
  • The price is a bargain.


  • Fragile remote hook up.
  • The control box mounting bracket needs quality improvement.

Smittybilt is quite famous for making quality winches at an affordable price. This very GEN 2 XRC winch is no exception. This 9500 lb winch can recover any vehicle other than trucks like SUVs, Jeeps, etc., as long as you keep the gross vehicle weight up to 6333 lbs.

No wonder this winch also features a 3-stage planetary gear system, an easy-to-operate free spooling clutch, and, to ensure safety, an automatic in-drum brake.

The steel cable is about 94′ long, which is good enough for a hassle-free winching operation. 

While steel cable is capable of towing heavy trucks more efficiently than its synthetic cable counterpart, at the same time they are dangerous if they break under load. It would be best if you used a dampener to avoid possible accidents in this case. 

It works just fine even if you have to submerge it in muddy water during operation.

So many winch companies lack in providing a straightforward and handy instruction manual. But Smittybilt is different. A lot of the users are pretty satisfied with the instruction manual that comes with this unit.

All in all, Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC is one of the best bangs for your dollars when it’s about buying the effective winch for your truck to rescue it from difficult conditions.

6. WARN 92810 Zeon Platinum 10 S


  • The wireless remote controller is loaded with advanced features. You’ll even get to know the motor temperatures and battery charge levels.
  • It’s designed with an IP68 waterproof rated component. That keeps your winch free from dust and water.
  • The 80 ft. steel rope is for convenient operation.
  • The aluminum hawse winch fairlead is integrated to guide the synthetic rope to the forepart of your winch.
  • The powerful motor and solid gear train provide the best performance under heavy operations.
  • It’s an excellent device for driver-assisted truck recovery for its high-end features.
  • The stainless steel texture protects from corrosion. You’ll get durable performance as the mounting is made of aluminum.
  • The relocatable winch control pack gives the flexibility to set it up apart from the winch.
  • You can operate the clutch; the winch-operated clutch system has been removed.


  • The controller battery might not last long 

What I like about the WARN 92810 Zeon Platinum 10 is its outstanding remote control features. If you’re one of those guys who want to avoid a manual operation, this is something you must try.

Their advanced wireless remote will provide you with some feedback on the vehicle and winch. Like you can get to learn about motor temperature, clutch status, battery power, light update, and many more.

This winch comes with a relocation kit, allowing you to place it inside the space of a vehicle engine. Besides, you can mount your remote to the windshield or any flat surface.

In this winching process, you can safely drag a maximum of 10,000 lbs. In addition, the black satin coated with stainless steel built provides complete protection against corrosion, abrasion, and rust.

If you have to pull any mid-size truck, jeep, or SUV, you can go for this unit from WARN Zeon Platinum. Overall, fast line speed, manual clutch system, durability, and absolute strength make it apart.

If this model doesn’t suit your demands, you can check out my top choice, the WARN VR EVO 12-S Electric Winch.

7. ZESUPER 13000 lbs Capacity Electric Winch for Truck


  • Hassle-free installation process.
  • Well constructed to take the desired load efficiently.
  • Getting both wired and wireless remote controls at this price range is a win.
  • The relocatable control box lets you mount it at any suitable position.
  • It comes with a quality synthetic rope that works perfectly at -20-degree Celsius.
  • An IP67-rated winch; ensuring more than enough protection from dust and water.
  • For the price, it’s a steal! Considering the load capacity and performance of this winch.


  • The company should focus on improving the user manual.
  • A longer rope would have been better.

This particular winch offers 13000 lbs load capacity. So, you can use it to tow a heavy vehicle like a truck by keeping the vehicle’s gross weight up to 8666 lbs to get the best results.

Despite being a budget option, this high-capacity winch features everything the other expensive ones usually offer. It offers a 6.4 HP series winding powerful motor, a three-stage planetary gear system, an easy-to-manage free spooling clutch, an automatic in-drum brake, etc. The overall construction is not flimsy at all.

The clutch lever and the remote control buttons are big enough to use even when wearing big winching gloves.

No question about the rope quality. However, I reckon a longer rope would have made things smoother. Unfortunately, it’s only a 78′ rope. The hawse fairlead is up to the mark, no doubt.

Both wired and wireless remote control works like a champ. If you find any issues in operating the remotes, read the instructions again. Some users didn’t and faced problems in figuring out the operation process.

Some users like the orange color, and some do not. It’s nothing to do with the performance, though.

Altogether, this winch steals the show when it’s about buying a high-capacity winch and spending less money. So, if you are looking for a quality budget option, go for it.

8. Champion Power Equipment-100427 Winch


  • The hawse fairlead provides smooth operation with ultimate safety.
  • Lightweight, kink-free, flexible synthetic rope, yet it’s robust enough to haul the load.
  • Free-spooling clutch for simple operation.
  • Integrated dynamic brake system for long-lasting service
  • Convenient and quick assembly
  • Potent motor for heavy applications
  • The 85 ft. rope is perfect for straightforward winching
  • The winch is ready to rescue you from any challenging conditions


  • The winch is a bit noisy
  • Sometimes it fails to provide a rugged grip while wearing gloves

If you want something convenient and easy-to-use, you should try Champion Power Equipment. While analyzing the truck winch, I found this one comes with a free-spooling clutch and quick-connect remote to improve the winching experience.

It gives you a smooth, safe, and flexible pull due to its hawse fairlead and synthetic rope. With 12,000 lbs. pulling capacity powered by a 6 HP motor, you’ll get the best performance that an enthusiast expects from a winch.

Since it features a 2-inch adapter, you can install it easily with the speed mount. On top of that, it has a convenient built-in handle that lets you adjust the winch in three positions. Also, the gear ratio is 216:1, enhancing the line speed 2.3 ft. in one minute with a total load. And it boasts a 15.7 line speed with no weight.

The product is made of high-quality polyethylene. Plus, you’ll have a lightweight, kink-less synthetic rope, which won’t flinch like steel. The aluminum hawse fairlead with a black-coated end is accurately engineered to prolong the rope’s life.

With the wireless remote control and 12 ft. cable, the winch offers substantial control while pulling. Furthermore, it features an integrated snatch block that enhances the winching strength or helps you in angled hauls.

9. Rock-Hulk 13500 lbs winch


  • Effortless to install and use.
  • Operating the remote controls is a breeze.
  • You can set up the control box at any convenient place as it’s a relocatable unit.
  • The synthetic rope is quite long to serve the purpose just right.
  • It’s fairly a quiet unit.
  • Water and sand proof.
  • The purchase includes a quality waterproof protective winch cover.
  • Easy on the wallet.


  • The wireless remote control could have been better.
  • The installation instruction manual requires improvement.
  • Although the hawse fairlead and hook are good, replacing them with higher quality ones would be wise.

This Rock-Hulk 13500 lbs electric winch is manufactured by Rugcel, which is quite known to the off-roaders world. As it’s a 13500 lbs winch, no doubt, it’s the ideal one for towing heavy vehicles like trucks. Besides trucks, this winch is also applicable for Jeeps, SUVs RV, trailers, etc.

As per the common rule of thumb, to get the optimum results, ensure the durability of the winch, and avoid possible accidents, better keep the gross weight of the vehicle up to 9000 lbs.

Like other standard winches, this one also offers a 3-stage planetary gear train, free spooling clutch, unique clutch brake system, etc. All these play a part in a safe and smooth operation. 

It features about 100′ long quality synthetic rope, which I believe is adequately long to provide a pleasant winching experience.

Overall, Rock-Hulk is a handy-dandy option for towing heavy vehicles like trucks. It gives good value for the money too. If you don’t need to use a winch frequently, this one is probably the best choice for irregular use.

10. STEGODON T2 Electric Winch


  • A well-built, sturdy winch.
  • It runs fairly quietly.
  • IP67 rated winch is safe from water, dust, mud, sand, snow, and other outside elements.
  • Super easy installation process.
  • One large wired remote control and two large wireless remote controls come with the purchase. All of them work perfectly.
  • Compact and relocatable control pack lets you set it up as per the application more conveniently.
  • Satisfactory after-sales service from the company.
  • Acceptable price.


  • I found multiple users complaining about the poor packaging. They found at least one wireless remote control kit broken.
  • The winch rope could have been longer.

STEGODON T2 winch is the upgraded version of their T1 model. One of the core differences between these two models is T2 is about 20% faster than the previous T1 version of this winch. Another major change is the size of the control pack. The newer one is more compact; hence it’s even easier to mount at any suitable place.

As it’s a 13000 lbs winch, you better keep the truck’s gross weight up to 8666 lbs to avoid possible damage or accident during the operation.

This particular winch also features a three-stage planetary gear system, free spooling clutch, and a unique clutch brake system like other quality winches available on the market.

For the price, this winch is a steal! I believe T2 is a perfect truck winch at an affordable price point, offering all those essentials to get a smooth winching experience.


Well, this is all about the best truck winch!

If your curious mind wants to know more, the WARN VR EVO 12-S is my favorite one. It’s the best choice to drag loaded trucks. Series-wound motor, three-step planetary gear, Albright contactor, and large-frame design are some unique features of Warn VR.

I want to add the Smittybilt X2O COMP as my second pick for its powerful motor, dynamic braking method, oversized clutch, free-spool, and rope sleeve points.

So, now the choice is up to you. Choose an appropriate truck winch that best meets your needs!

Truck Winch Buying Guide & FAQ’s

Pulling Power

You are buying a winch to pull your truck, so your primary concern should be the winch’s pulling power; it’s that simple. The winch capacity must be at least 1.5 times higher than your vehicle’s actual weight, and I repeat, “IT MUST BE.” So, to decide if a winch is perfect for your truck or not, you have to know the weight of your vehicle first.

For example, if your truck weighs 8000 lbs, you will need a winch with (8000 * 1.5) or 12000 lbs pull capacity. Now you might have a question “Why do I need that extra winch capacity?”. Well, the winch capacity rapidly decreases when the winch line spools back on the winch drum. 

The more layer of winch line on the drum, the less pull capacity you will get. That’s where the extra winch capacity will provide the necessary juice to finish the job smoothly.

Steel Cable vs. Synthetic Rope

The next concern is the thing that will do the pulling, i.e., the winch line. Now you will have two winch line options to choose from: Steel cable and Synthetic rope. To decide which one will suit your need, you need to know the pros and cons.

Steel Cable

  • More durable
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Less maintenance needed
  • It won’t get spliced easily
  • Heavy
  • Prone to rust
  • Less strength

Synthetic Rope

  • Lightweight
  • Stronger
  • Not dangerous if splices or breaks
  • Easy to handle
  • Won’t rust
  • It can break
  • UV rays, heat, abrasion might damage it
  • Needs more maintenance

After seeing the pros and cons of both the cables, it is undeniable that synthetic rope has a slight advantage over steel cables. While the steel cable is more affordable, the synthetic rope offers more strength and is easier to handle. So, if you can manage the money, you should go for a winch with synthetic rope and use it with care.

Waterproof Rating

You don’t know when or where your truck might need the help of the winch. It can be in a dry place in the middle of nowhere or in a muddy area near the water. In any case, a winch with a waterproof feature will add a point in your favor. 

When a winch with an IP67 waterproof rating does the job, the more updated version IP68 rated winch will perform even better at keeping the water outside. Plus, it will also make the winch dust resistant.

Electric vs. Hydraulic Winch

When buying a winch, many customers get confused between these two types of winches and can’t decide which one to get. Well, it’s not that complicated. The electric and the hydraulic tag suggest the power source of that winch.

An electric winch runs on electricity; they typically use the voltage power of your car’s battery to do the job. So, for an electric winch to run, your car battery needs to be fully charged, and keep in mind that it can drain your battery quickly. Electric winches are faster, lighter, easy to install, and easily portable. They are the best fit for small pulling jobs.

On the other hand, a hydraulic winch needs some additional equipment to complete the setup process and perform. A hydraulic system will power this type of winch, and you will require a hydraulic pump to operate the winch. Hydraulic winches can handle the heavy jobs at ease that an electric winch can’t pull off. It is more powerful and durable than an electric winch.

As you are here to find the best winch for your truck, though an electric winch will cost less, a hydraulic winch will best serve your purpose. After all, it has the higher pulling power that you are going to need.

Line Speed

Another feature to look out for in a winch is its line speed. The line speed indicates the time a winch takes to roll the cable back on the winch drum. The speed rate varies depending on how much load the winch is pulling. Higher line speed will save you some time during winching.

On average, if a winch has around 40 feet per minute line speed with no load, it can be considered a good winch. With a full load, the line speed should be about 5+ feet per minute. 

Sealed Motor

If you are buying a truck winch, chances are you’re going on rugged adventures on a daily basis. When traversing difficult terrain, you’re bound to kick up a lot of mud, dust, and dirt. You don’t want your engine to come in contact with these forces. Otherwise, it possibly won’t work when you need it.

Many failures are the result of motor dysfunction, so look for one that’s sealed. A sealed motor guards against mud, rain, dust, and moisture with its mechanics. These substances frequently bring on corrosion. Invest in a sealed motor truck winch to keep you and your truck protected.

Mounting Option

There are many winch mounting options out there. The four most popular mounting types are Bumper mount, Multi mount, Hidden mount, and Winch bumper mount.

When all of them have different merit and style sense, the hidden mount winch style is the perfect option for truck owners with limited space behind the bumper. Plus, the winch will stay hidden under the truck bolted to the frame.

Integrated vs. Non-integrated

The solenoid control box makes an integrated winch a large piece of machinery as the box is connected to the winch. That makes it troublesome to fit on a bumper. It will only work if the bumper is bulky. But this type of winch provides better waterproof performance.

On the other hand, a non-integrated winch is smaller as the solenoid is separate from the winch. You can remotely mount the box to the winch by placing it in front of the vehicle or above the bumper. You can put the solenoid box in the engine compartment, which will save some space. It is very versatile and will fit most of the winch bumpers.

If your plan is to buy an aftermarket bumper for a winch, then a non-integrated winch is your best bet.

Remote Control Type

Anything controlled by a remote is so fun to operate. Thanks to the advancement of technology, just like a TV or a Toy, you can now manage your truck winch with remote control. You will either get a wired or wireless remote control.

When it does the job perfectly, the problem with a wired remote is that you need to plug it in every time before using it. Moreover, it needs some maintenance to keep the pin safe from corrosion. On the other hand, a wireless remote will save you the trouble of needing none of it. Plus, you can take the remote far away from the car, unlike the wired remote, which can only go a fixed distance.

So, a winch with wireless remote control will make your winching experience more comfortable, that’s for sure. 

User Friendliness

Any machine that we work with should be user-friendly and have an easy-to-understand mechanism. This rule also applies to the winches available in the market. A winch should be easily portable, easy to install, need less maintenance and be durable. Plus, a winch should have a reasonable price tag.

Check these features before confirming the purchase, as they will have a long-term effect on your winching buy

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brands are the most popular for truck winches?

There are so many popular winch brands in the market right now. It is hard to rate them, so let me just randomly provide a few names. Brands like Warn, Smittybilt, Superwinch all provide suitable quality truck winches.

What can I do with a winch?

The basic functionality of a winch is pulling or lifting things. The items can be anything as long as your winch is powerful enough to pull or lift them. You can use a winch for winching ATVs, UTVs, boats, cars, trucks, trailers, logs, trees, industrial equipment, etc.

How do I know the perfect size and capacity winch for my truck?

It depends on the weight of your truck. First, find out the actual weight of your vehicle and multiply that weight by 1.5. The result of the multiplication is the amount of pull capacity the winch has to possess. For example, a 10000 lbs truck will need a winch with 15000 lbs winching capacity.

How much should I spend on a truck winch?

There is no correct answer to this question. It depends on your requirement and the budget. Just try not to compromise with the quality of the winch as it might put you and your car in danger. There are plenty of affordable winch options available that offer suitable quality materials for better performance. You just have to do some research.

How to install a truck winch?

Installing a winch does not require any rocket science; it’s pretty straightforward. You will get clear instructions in the manual provided with the winch. But you can always get some professional help if you are not confident enough or just don’t have the time.

How much maintenance does a truck winch need?

If you want a longer life for your winch, you need to allow some time to take care of your winch. Don’t worry! It isn’t a tough job. Just some casual inspection, some cleaning and putting some lubricant where needed, and that’s it.

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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