Best Jeep Winches: Get Out of Almost Any Sticky Situation

Rescue yourself or your buddies with these tough and rugged winches

byLisa Conant| UPDATED Aug 11, 2022 5:30 AM
Best Jeep Winches: Get Out of Almost Any Sticky Situation

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Best Overall

Warn 9.5xp Self-Recovery Winch

Summary
Rated to efficiently and reliably pull up to 9,500 pounds, this asymmetrical winch is the ideal companion for practically any Jeep setup.
Pros
  • Top quality, rugged construction
  • High power and high performance
  • Fast and efficient pulling speed
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No wireless remote control
Best Value

Smittybilt 97495 XRC Gen2 Winch

Summary
This model is not only super affordable, but it comes with a lot of the same features that you find in higher-priced models.
Pros
  • Highly affordable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Quick and easy to install
Cons
  • No wireless remote control
  • Doesn’t come with a mounting plate or battery
Honorable Mention

Superwinch LP8500 Winch

Summary
An affordable choice that  features automatic load-holding brakes and a 12-foot handheld wired remote to allow for safe and secure operations in serious weather conditions.
Pros
  • Free-spooling clutch gives faster line payouts
  • Compact, lightweight, and user-friendly
  • Fully sealed motor
Cons
  • Components aren’t as rust-resistant as some other models
  • Shorter lifespan than some competing options

Our Methodology

The Jeep winches that made this list are those that offer the latest in technology. I considered devices that were specifically made for Jeep use as well as other winches that could work with almost any type of vehicle. Those that offered lots of built-in safety features and came from reputable, well-known manufacturers were my top picks. To assess how reliable, trustworthy, and convenient these devices were in real-life settings, I also looked at user reviews. For more info about strict selection criteria, check out this link to The Drive’s Gear About page which explains our methodology further.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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List Summary

Best Jeep Winch Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Brand: Warn
  • Rated Line Pull: 9,500 pounds
  • Motor: 6 HP

Pros

  • Top quality, rugged construction
  • High-power and high-performance
  • Fast and efficient pulling speed

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No wireless remote control

If you want a great balance between pulling power, speed, dependability, and reliability, the Warn 9.5xp Self-Recovery Winch is at the top of the list. Rated to efficiently and reliably pull up to 9,500 pounds, this asymmetrical winch is the ideal companion for practically any Jeep setup. It comes equipped with 100 feet of strong, corrosion-resistant steel cable that’s ideal for extreme conditions. A strong 6 HP motor will get you out of a jam fast. This winch features one of the longest duty cycles and fastest line speeds under load of any winch on the market today. The three-stage planetary gear train and continuous-duty control pack can handle some of the most difficult pulling situations. The motor and end-housing gaskets are extremely water resistant and long-lasting. The drawbacks? You’re going to pay a pretty penny for this tough pick. The lack of a wireless remote control detracts somewhat from the convenience factor.

Specs

  • Brand: Smittybilt
  • Rated Line Pull: 9,500 pounds
  • Motor: 6.6 HP

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Quick and easy to install

Cons

  • No wireless remote control
  • Doesn’t come with a mounting plate or battery

For the budget-conscious buyer, I’d like to offer up the Smittybilt 97495 XRC Gen2 Winch. This model is not only super affordable, but it comes with a lot of the same features you’d find in higher-priced models. It’s got a powerful 6.6 HP amphibious motor with a three-stage planetary gear system similar to the top overall pick. As an added bonus, this winch is completely waterproof and features a 500 amp high-tech solenoid that ensures reliable function in some serious weather. This kit comes equipped with all wiring necessary for installation. It’s also backed by a limited lifetime warranty, which is good since some components have been known to fail within a few uses. This seems to be a rare occurrence, however. This unit features a corded remote control, but would be greatly improved by offering up the convenience of a wireless remote. However, for the price, I’m not complaining. Keep in mind that this winch doesn’t come with a battery or its own mounting plate, so you may need to purchase those separately.

Specs

  • Brand: Superwinch
  • Rated Line Pull: 8,500 pounds
  • Motor: 4.5 HP

Pros

  • Free-spooling clutch gives faster line payouts
  • Compact, lightweight, and user-friendly
  • Fully sealed motor

Cons

  • Components aren’t as rust-resistant as some other models
  • Shorter lifespan than some competing options

The Superwinch LP8500 Winch gets a nod for being another affordable choice that’s ideal for medium-sized Jeeps, trucks, and SUVs. It features automatic load-holding brakes and a 12-foot handheld wired remote to allow for safe and secure operations in serious weather conditions. Weighing in at only 76 pounds, this is a compact and lightweight option that offers some durable and rugged pulling potential. The 4.5 HP motor is somewhat smaller than some other models, but it’s plenty powerful enough to get the job done. Rated to pull up to 8,500 pounds, this unit features 100 feet of sturdy, rust-resistant cable and a high-performance three-stage planetary gear drive. The weather-sealed solenoid and fully enclosed housing protect the motor and its components from water damage. The free-spooling system allows for a super fast line payout. One thing to note is that this unit tends to be less durable over time than some others, but it’s backed by a two-year warranty for added protection. This model also is constructed with slightly less durable and rust-resistant components than some others, but the price is tough to beat.

Specs

  • Brand: Warn
  • Rated Line Pull: 12,000 pounds
  • Motor: 4.6 HP

Pros

  • Includes an advanced, wireless remote control
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • Seriously heavy-duty pulling capacity

Cons

  • Expensive
  • May be too heavy, bulky, and overpowered for some Jeep models

If you want one of the most advanced and rugged Jeep winches on the market, the Warn Zeon 12 Platinum Winch deserves your attention. It’s ideal for Jeep Cherokee drivers and comes with a convenient wireless remote that many other winches lack. With a pulling capacity of 12,000 pounds and a strong 4.6 HP motor, there’s not much this top-tier winch can’t do. It comes equipped with a three-stage planetary gear system like many other options on the market. It also features an automatic mechanical brake for secure holding of loads. With 80 feet of stainless steel rope, a roller fairlead, and a free-spooling clutch, you get fast line payout. The ergonomic wireless remote features a bright LCD screen that gives you plenty of feedback with regards to winch motor temperature, battery life, and more. The drawbacks to this heavy-duty winch are few, but the hefty price tag has to be at the top of the list. This unit may be overpowered and too large for some Jeep owners, so you also run the risk of suffering from some serious FOMO.

Specs

  • Brand: Smittybilt
  • Rated Line Pull: 10,000 pounds
  • Motor: 6.6 HP

Pros

  • Includes the coveted wireless remote control
  • IP68 waterproof rating
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Short remote operating range
  • Solenoid mount could use a redesign

The Smittybilt X2O Comp Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch is a top choice for folks who love running through the mud and muck. This unit features a wicked 10,000-pound pulling capacity and a powerful 6.6 HP amphibious motor that provides strong torque for getting you out of some slippery situations. You also get an inductive braking system that helps manage heat production in the motor during use, extending the life of the winch. This well-priced winch offers much of the same or comparable performance seen in its higher-priced counterparts. The IP68 waterproof rating ensures that all components are protected in some of the worst, wettest conditions. However, the entire unit is backed by a limited lifetime warranty, just in case. The 98.5 feet of super strong synthetic rope limits the chances of damage to your hands during use, while the wireless remote lets you stand well back from the action. This wireless remote does tend to have a limited range compared to some others, though. Also, while the solenoid is able to be mounted in more than one position, the over-the-motor mounting requires a redesign to make it more secure.

Specs

  • Brand: Warn
  • Rated Line Pull: 12,000 pounds
  • Motor: 4.6 HP

Pros

  • Maximum strength and pulling capacity combined
  • Best-in-class cone brake
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Gut punching price tag
  • Heavy and somewhat difficult to install

If you want to combine impressive load capacity with seamless, smooth, heavy-duty operation, the Warn M12-S Recovery Winch is my pick to click. It features 100 feet of 3/8-inch state-of-the-art Spydura synthetic rope that holds an ultra-rugged EPIC hook with an 18,000-pound weight capacity. Special heat treating gives this rope maximum tensile strength and heat protection. With 12,000 pounds of pulling power, this winch can practically move mountains, or at least move you off of one in a pinch. It also features the best-in-class cone braking system available on the market. As always, this winch is backed by Warn’s limited lifetime warranty for maximum peace of mind, which is good, since this is also one of the most expensive winches on the market. It’s definitely an investment for serious Jeep enthusiasts. Other than the hefty price tag, the only other real drawback to this beast of a winch is that its heavy, bulky, and installation can also be a real…beast. Yeah, let’s go with beast.

Specs

  • Brand: Superwinch
  • Rated Line Pull: 11,500 pounds
  • Motor: 6.0 HP

Pros

  • Reasonable price point
  • Well-designed automatic load braking system
  • High-quality entry-level choice

Cons

  • Questionable customer support
  • No wireless remote control

The Superwinch Tiger Shark 11500 Winch combines a reasonable price point with strong and reliable functionality and could be a strong contender for the best overall choice. It’s compatible with a variety of different vehicles but is ideally suited for higher gross weight Jeeps like the Rubicon and Wrangler Moab. It features a super strong synthetic line with aluminum hawse fairlead and gives you up to 11,500 pounds of pulling capacity. It’s equipped with a rugged weather-sealed solenoid and motor, a sturdy automatic load-braking system that is situated away from the drum center to help prevent heat transfer. An advanced three-stage planetary gear drive, just like you would expect to find in the more expensive models on the list, supplies excellent torque. The lack of a wireless remote control and a reputation for questionable customer support are the two factors that keep this option out of the best overall category.

Our Verdict on Jeep Winches

For the best combination of pulling power, speed, dependability, user-friendliness, and reliability, the best overall pick is the Warn 9.5xp Self-Recovery Winch. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, you also get 9,500 pounds of pulling power. For a great value choice, you need to check out the  Smittybilt 97495 XRC Gen2 Winch. It’s got a powerful 6.6 HP amphibious motor with a three-stage planetary gear system similar to the top overall pick but is sold at a fraction of the price.

What to Consider When Buying a Jeep Winch

When it comes to picking the best winch for your Jeep, there’s more to consider than just pulling power. Several key factors will play a significant role in determining which winch suits your particular vehicle, driving conditions, and needs best.

Jeep Winch Key Features

Pull Line Rating

As mentioned above, pulling capacity is arguably the most important feature to consider when choosing the right winch. Ideally, you want to look at winches that offer a load rating of at least 1.5 times your vehicle’s gross weight. Let’s say your Jeep Wrangler weighs 4,500 pounds (curb weight plus accessories and passengers). In this case, you’d want to look for a winch with at least 9,000 pounds of pulling capacity. To be safe, doubling the working load capacity of your vehicle’s gross weight is a good bet.

Rope Construction 

Jeep winches come with two kinds of cables: stainless steel or synthetic. Stainless steel rope is the traditional type of cable. It’s durable and isn’t subject to UV damage, abrasion, chemical breakdown, or other off-road hazards like synthetic may be. However, synthetic rope is prized for the fact that it’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, and gentler on your hands with less risk of cuts and burns.

Winch Control

While all winches feature remote control operation for safety, many come equipped with a wired remote that offers a limited range. The bonus of that is that you never have to worry about batteries dying or the signal not being strong enough. On the flip side, wireless remote controls allow you to operate the winch from a greater distance from a safety perspective. You can even operate it from behind or inside the vehicle if you choose. 

Waterproofing

If you love rolling through wet, muddy, or marshy terrain, or taking your Jeep out in all kinds of weather, waterproof rating for your winch is key. Look for an IP rating (Ingress Protection), which classifies items as to how well they guard against water, dust, mud, or other debris. Waterproof winches usually fall into IP65, 66, or 67. An IP65 rating guards against powerful water jets, while an IP67 rating is fully waterproof in water as deep as 3 meters.

Mounting Options

You can get winches that are either bumper-mounted, multi-mounted, or have receiver mounts directly integrated into bumpers. Integrated bumper plates offer the greatest level of support and strength. Bumper mounts are the least secure, mounting with bolts onto your factory-installed bumper. Multi-mounted winches attach to a carrier that is mounted to a receiver-mounted bumper.

Jeep Winch Pricing

A decent winch can be found for between $350 and $750. These are usually basic bumper-mounted winches that provide a lower line pull rating, around 5,000 to 7,000 pounds, but are great for lighter weight vehicles and occasional use. For a good middle-of-the-road winch, with higher pulling power and more torque, expect to spend between $900 and 1,500. If you want a heavy-duty beast that offers over 10,000 pounds of pulling power and wireless remote control function, you should expect to spend upwards of $1,800.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Does a Jeep come with its own mounting plate?

A: Most Jeeps do not come with mounting plates already integrated into their bumpers. These are usually aftermarket parts that can be purchased through your dealer or through reputable websites, like www.4wheelparts.com or www.autoanything.com.

Q: How do I find out what size winch I need?

A: You need to know the gross weight — which is the curb weight of your Jeep plus all gear, accessories, and passengers — in order to determine your recommended winch size. Get a winch that is rated to pull at least 1.5 times the gross weight of your Jeep. To be extra safe, it’s recommended to get a winch that offers at least double the capacity of the gross weight of your Jeep.

Q: Do I need a winch plate?

A: If you plan to do any amount of serious winching, then yes, you need a winch plate. You can opt for a universal plate, which goes with the standard 10 x 4.5-inch mounting pattern to keep it simple. You can also install a new bumper with an integrated winch plate for added stability and security. Check with your specific model of Jeep to determine the best winch plate setup prior to purchase.

Q: Can a winch be too big?

A: As with many things in America, bigger is usually better. However, if you like to travel light, rarely use your winch, or want something that’s super easy to install, then yes, a winch can be too big. Just because your Jeep can accommodate a 12,000 pound pulling capacity doesn’t mean you actually need to invest that amount of cash into one.

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