Best Waterproof Winches & Why You Need One

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Last Updated on July 1, 2022

While off-roading can be very thrilling and fun, it can often get you into a sticky situation. Ask any veteran hobbyist you know, and they’ll all have a story about that one time their jeep could not get away from a mud puddle.

Winches are your best friend if anything like that occurs. And if you happen to have the best waterproof winch, then it will last a long time, no matter how many muddy situations it combats.

Today, I am reviewing my favorites. Stay tuned!

Best Waterproof Winch

Finding the best among all the choices was not an easy task, but I did the research for the sake of my readers. I hope you like these products as much as I did!

1. Smittybilt X2O COMP – Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

Pros

  • It comes with a remote operation, eliminating manual labor
  • Heavy-duty performance from the synthetic puller can pull the heaviest of trucks easily
  • Exclusive dynamic braking technology reduces excessive temperature by 66 percent
  • Sleek and compact, it does not take up too much space

Cons

  • A bit heavy for a steel winch

My top pick comes from Smittyblit, a well-loved brand for jeep accessories. This 12000 lb winch comes with a state-of-the-art synthetic rope, which is very robust. 

It can easily pull a staggering weight of 12000 lbs or 5454 kilograms. Most jeeps fall under this weight, so rest assured your vehicle will be a good fit.

A common problem with heavy-duty recovery winches is the amount of heat they produce. The harder they have to work, the more heat they generate. 

This is not a good thing as heat can damage winches, particularly synthetic ones. Smittyblit thought this through because this winch eliminates the issue.

This is where the brand-exclusive Dynamic Braking mechanism comes in. It reduces the heat produced in the drum by 66 percent, ensuring the winch is safe when it is working to pull your truck up.

A winch is only as good as the motor it comes with. With its 6.6 horsepower backing, the powerful motor helps the winch achieve such a magnificent pull.

Another very well-received feature of this product is the remote control system. As you can guess, working a winch by hand requires quite a lot of effort. 

To save you the trouble, Smittybilt added a remote control feature. With the click of a button, all of your work will be done for you.

In case the battery happens to run out, you will not be stuck, either, as it still features a manual system just for that.

2. WARN 103253 VR EVO 10-S Waterproof Winch

Pros

  • High capacity of up to 12000 pounds, making it perfect for large jeeps, SUVs, and half on pick-up trucks
  • Fast line speed makes the operation much quicker
  • Tactical design complements the vehicle
  • Two in one wireless and wired remote options for versatility
  • Both steel and synthetic ropes are available, giving flexibility

Cons

  • No significant cons found

This one comes from WARN, another well-loved high-end brand known for making high-quality, long-lasting truck accessories.

This product gives the user a lot of flexibility and options to choose from, which is something I appreciate because not everyone has similar needs from a winch.

You can adjust the maximum weight based on the vehicle you have, choosing from a maximum capacity of 8000 pounds, 10000 pounds, and 12000 pounds. 

On top of that, you also get to choose from steel or synthetic rope. Each of these has its pros, so it is up to your preference.

Furthermore, the remote that it comes with can be operated both wireless and wired. The wired remote lets you use the remote in case the battery runs out, and the wireless version gives you the flexibility to operate the winch from a set distance.

An important factor where the more affordable winches fall short is the speed of operation. 

WARN VR EVO winch comes equipped with a powerful series-wound motor that draws a lower amp. This motor, coupled with the 3-stage planetary gear train, will get the job done quite fast.

Another much-appreciated factor is its appearance. This product has a sleek, tactical design that compliments any vehicle it is installed on. 

All things considered, this item is perfect for people with vehicles of any size who would not mind splurging for a brand-name product.

3. Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch 9.5K

Pros

  • Inexpensive and good value for money
  • Really durable and incredible load capacity winch, which is why it is suitable for heavy-duty automobiles
  • Easy installation as all the wiring is provided
  • Fantastic build quality and waterproof for long-lasting service

Cons

  • Replacement parts can be expensive
  • The remote control plug sometimes creates issues

This amazing product from Smittybilt stands out due to its staggering load capacity that surpasses all the other options on this list. For this reason, this particular winch model is trendy among people with heavier trucks

You can choose the load capacity from 4 versions – 9500 pounds, 12000 pounds, 15500 pounds, and 17500 pounds. Due to its incredible capacity, it is unlikely that you’ll ever be able to see its limits.

This beast of a winch can work on your heavy-duty stallions. It is an incredibly reliable winch at an amazing price. 

In fact, the price is unbelievable considering its max capacity. Sure, it cannot compare to higher-end products, but it will do a good enough job if you manage to install it correctly. 

The motor has a totally waterproof 500 AML state-of-the-art solenoid. It is what makes the product work so well. The water resistance ensures the elements cannot get to it.

One downside is that the mounting piece is problematic. It even broke for one person because they had been too careless. 

The design of this could have been improved. For a better-built version, go for the Smittybilt X2O COMP we reviewed earlier. 

If you had to sum up this product in two words, they would be ‘load capacity’ and ‘sturdiness.’ It is definitely the one to get if you own heavy vehicles.

4. X-BULL 12V Waterproof Winch

Pros

  • Strong Dyneema rope provides the hardiest performance
  • A relatively lightweight and compact item does not weigh the vehicle down
  • Specialized motor build for lower amp draw, promoting efficiency
  • IP67 waterproof rating ensures no element can do any damage to it
  • Forged steel gears for faster performance and high durability

Cons

  • The installation manual is not detailed enough, leading to confusion

Our 4th pick is an excellent item for people who do not care about brand names and would rather have the same outstanding performance at a more affordable price. 

X-Bull is not a name you will hear too often when talking truck accessories, but its performance is on par with the other items we have discussed so far.

The stand-out feature of this waterproof winch is the material used for the rope. It features a Dyneema rope, which is extremely light yet strong at the same time. 

X-Bull claims this rope to be 10 times lighter than a steel rope, which decreases the overall weight of the tool by 20 pounds.

Please do not mistake it for being weak, though, as it has 10 times the strength of a steel counterpart. 

Other pros of Dyneema include UV resistance, weather resistance, chemical resistance, bend fatigue resistance, and abrasion resistance. This is the product to get if you want the best rope possible.

X Bull has engineered the accompanying motor with dedicated silicon steel, which allows an efficient current throughput while requiring less amperage.

During my research, however, I found that the instructions are not detailed enough. 

They are thorough, but they omit some key information that may leave you confused. It would be best if you used online resources to help with this when installing the product.

5. WARN 101045 VRX 45 Powersports Winch

Pros

  • Three different capacities provide customization
  • The all-metal build makes the item tough
  • Powder-coated black finishing resists corrosion besides looking sleek
  • Mechanical load holding brake provides remarkable control

Cons

  • Not enough wiring is provided
  • Installation is tough

Last but certainly not least, we have a perfect winch for all the UTV owners out there. Till now, we featured electric winches mostly made for mid-to-heavy weight off-roading vehicles. 

But not everyone needs a winch with a capacity of 10,000 lbs. or up, which is what this product is for.

You can choose from three capacities – 2500, 3500, or 4500 pounds according to the type of vehicle you have. It has a clutch design with a mechanical load-holding brake. 

This makes usage more controllable and easier. You can also choose the rope material, which is always a pro because of its flexibility.

This product has a powder-coated black finish, which resists corrosion on the all-metal body. 

While the finishing looks nice, it is very prone to get scratched if not handled carefully. Nonetheless, at an IP rating of 68, it will keep all the water and elements at no problem.

The good things aside, this item comes with some serious limitations regarding installation and fit. 

Firstly, some users reported that the required yellow and blue wire for most ATV and UTV installations is not provided. They did not have enough gauge to take the load either.

At the same time, the mounting bolts are too short for some vehicles. Another feature I am missing in this item is wireless remote control. Wired remotes limit the convenience by a lot.

In short, if you get this product, be ready to replace a few installation items.

Verdict

Among the 5 best waterproof winches we have reviewed today, Smittybilt’s X2O COMP ticked all of the boxes, though their other featured product left much to be desired. 

It has everything you’d want from a high-quality winch – remote control operation, high load capacity, temperature control, incredible technology, efficient winch power, and IP68 rating.

So, undoubtedly, it is the best waterproof winch we have found from research. Remember, a winch is a great tool to have, even if you are not aggressive with your off-roader. 

You’ll never know when you might need one, as mud and ice can often make you stuck.

Best Waterproof Winch

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my winch need to be waterproof?

Undoubtedly, the waterproof feature is a blessing for any winch. If your winch holds a waterproof feature, this means you are allowed to use this winch in tough conditions. You will find winches in the market with different waterproof ratings. I am explaining them below:

No rating: If the winch does not hold any waterproof rating, then you need to understand that it has no waterproof feature.

IP67-rating: If your winch has IP67 ratings, then you have to understand that dust-tight can dip in the lower portion of the winch for about 30 mins 1 meter under the ground level.

IP68-rating: Lastly, if your winch has IP68 ratings, this means that dust can dip into the lower portion of the winch as per the advice of winch manufacturer. Basically, the depth will be approximately 3 meters under the surface level.

It is better to know that water can reach your winch even if it has an IP68 rating. There is nothing to worry about that. The winch will perform its best. However, you may get confused about which rating will be the best for your winch. Usually, the IP68 ratings are better than the IP67 ratings. You need to decide which one to pick.

You still may get confused about what if water reaches your winch. Let me explain it too.

What if water reaches your winch?

In general, there are three penetrable points for winch in terms of reaching the water. They are:

  • Gearbox
  • Motor
  • Control Pack

You need to be concerned about the control pack. Basically, the control pack holds either solenoids or contactors. The solenoids are old tech and contactors are new. 

In general, the winch holds 4 solenoids and each got 4 terminals. In total, there are 16 terminals in the control panel of your winch. The winch solenoid may get corroded if water reaches it. Besides, the solenoids are electromechanical and that’s why there is a possibility of failure. That’s why it is recommended to have a few pieces of solenoids with you.

On the other hand, the contractor is a solid-state device. It’s a sealed box and you will not have access to it. It comes with all the essential stuff. You will find that almost all the winch contractors have IP68 ratings. Now the question is that what if the contractor fails. In this case, you will need to replace the whole unit.

The good news is that you will not face any problems with your winch motor and gearbox. The winch will work fine even if there is a lot of gunk. However, if you sink a not-rated winch into the river, then you have to pull the gear and motor housing so that you can flush and grease your winch.

Now the question is which one will be good for your winch. Well, the solenoids will work find. In this case, make sure that you are bringing a few extra solenoids with you. On the other hand, the contractors are the future of a winch. They hold a waterproof feature and are less prone to failure.

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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