The Best Overland Winch for All Your Recovery Needs

Whether its mud, snow, dirt, or sand, having the best winch to get you out of a tight spot

Our Top Recovery Winch Picks

Image of Warn ZEON Platinum 10-S Winch (92815) ► Best Overall Warn ZEON Platinum 10-S Winch (92815)
Image of Smittybilt X2O COMP ► Best Overall Value Smittybilt X2O COMP
Image of Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch ► Most Versatile Overland Winch Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch
Image of Rugged Ridge 15100.25 Trekker Winch ► Best Budget Winch Rugged Ridge 15100.25 Trekker Winch
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If you’re planning to step up your off-roading game and tackling more strenuous trails, a winch is a must-have. Vehicles can quickly end up in a moat, get stuck in the snow, or a deep mud hole. The list of situations where overlanders get stranded is endless. A winch is a favorite recovery gear that offers many advantages to users with professional or travel needs. However, winches can be costly.

Significantly, the best overland winches from top brands come with a high price tag, and you might probably never go to use them when. But, like much other equipment, it will be there when you need it and want it to work and work well. We thoroughly research the market to find the best five off road winches that are affordable yet high-quality. So below are some essential factors to consider in choosing the right Overland Winch.

How to Choose an Overland Winch

Selecting a Winch for Truck or SUV

Multiply the gross vehicle weight rating by 1.5. For example, if you own a Jeep Wrangler, visit their site. The vehicle’s GVWR is about 4,332 lbs. Multiplying this number by 1.5. and you’ll get your minimum capacity of 6498 lbs. A 7,000 lb capacity is a decent place to start, but you can go up to a 10,000-pound capacity if you need more power.

Types of Winches

Electric and hydraulic winch are the common type of winch and the main difference between them is the power source. An electric winch connects to the vehicle battery and electrical system, While Hydraulic Winch is coupled to the power steering line.

The most popular and commonly used Winch is the electric Winch. They’re excellent and less costly than hydraulic winches, but they can overheat if used for an extensive period. If you use the Winch all day, your vehicle’s electrical system might experience a problem. Choose a hydraulic winch in this case; otherwise, an electric winch is the best choice.

Winch Rope Options

There are two types of winch rope available: steel cable and synthetic rope.

Horsepower:

When it comes to winches, power is always the second question to ask, but we’ll cover it first. If you’re a casual traveler, you’re probably carrying a winch solely as a safety precaution in case you get stuck or get into an unexpected situation. The Winch’s power should depend on our frequency you intend to use it and the type of work you’re expecting to do. In my view, using a winch with more horsepower is beneficial. However, they seem to be on the expensive side. However, they allow you to handle any tricky situation if necessary.

If you look at these winches, the Warn Zeon Platinum 10-S has a 12 Volt DC series wound motor. The Smittybilt X20 Comp, and the Smittybilt XRC feature a 6.6 hp motor, while the Champion 3000-lb. Winch Kit features a tough 1.3-horsepower (12-volt) DC motor, and Rugged Ridge 15100.25 Trekker Winch has a 5.6 hp motor.

Steel Rope:

Steel rope types are more is affordable, long-lasting, and simple to maintain. However, one disadvantage is that it could be too bulky for the front of your rig. They’re suitable for use in abrasive environments. Steel rope is a wise option if you often travel through rocks, sand, or mud. We suggest wearing heavy gloves to secure your hands when holding the steel rope.

Synthetic Rope:

Compared to steel wire, this is safer, more durable, smoother, and simpler to handle without gloves. They are ideal for trial and recovery winches. The problem is that they are susceptible to chemicals, UV, sun, and abrasion. This kind of rope also needs regular care and maintenance.

Our Favorite Recovery Winches of 2021!

Warn ZEON Platinum 10-S Winch (92815)  Image

Warn ZEON Platinum 10-S Winch (92815)

★★★★★ (4.9)

Warn is arguably the undisputed leader in the production of off-road gear and equipment. Their Zeon series includes some of the most sophisticated and high-tech off-road winches currently available. However, we’re focusing on the premium Zeon 10-S winch as it’s our top pick because it’s specially designed to tackle almost anything when it comes to Overlanding life.

Sleek and streamline design. Fit nicely. When you hear Warn’s name, you think durability, reliability, quality, and, unfortunately, price. The Zeon series requires minimal maintenance and no unique covers. The Winch, tucked into the frame rails with a low and wide body. It stays out of the way, doesn’t obstruct engine cooling, and looks nice. This device comes with a pull capacity of 10,000 lb, and a 12 Volt DC series wound motor, as well as a synthetic rope and a polished aluminum hawse fairlead.

It’s also the only Overland Winch available with an advanced remote-controlled clutch. However, we didn’t like that the remote’s battery only lasted about two weeks after being used. The wireless remote allows you to operate the Winch from the driver’s seat safely. We’ve seen a few winches break on the trail when you need them the most, but the ZEON Platinum has never failed us.

Pros:

  • Solid performance and easy to use
  • Waterproof.
  • Easy to mount like any other Zeon.
  • The remote control does everything.

Cons:

  • It’s pricey but well worth it.
Smittybilt X2O COMP Image

Smittybilt X2O COMP

★★★★★ (4.7)

Smittybilt brand is known for its performance and affordability, and its Comp is offered in the X20 model for more rugged performance ratings and enhanced durability. Like the Warn, the X20 Comp features a wireless remote control for easy operation from wherever the Winch is needed. It’s just a few more minor features that set the Warn model apart; also, the Warn model is built better and lasts longer.

The X20 Comp is well equipped with a powerful dynamic braking mechanism designed to smoothly slow the line while also protecting the system’s components. The X20 Comp, on the other hand, is marginally slower and pulls less power, but it’s the more powerful model. Depending on the load you need to drag and lift, you can choose from 10,000 and 17,500 lbs.

Both Smittybilt and Warn come with a mechanical lifetime warranty. However, Warn only covers electrical issues for one year. At the same time, Smittybilt offers five years of protection for electrical, giving consumers peace of mind if any of the devices fail. The Winch is excellent for the cost. It includes all of the extra parts you’ll need, including synthetic rope winch, hawse fairlead with forged hook, and all required power cables to hook, so you don’t need to spend extra bucks shopping for additional accessories.

Pros:

  • The 6.6hp motor is quiet and strong
  • Fairly easy to install
  • It’s waterproof
  • Lighter synthetic rope.

Cons:

  • The solenoid can be a bit challenging to mount
  • The wireless remote may not function properly.
Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch Image

Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch

★★★★★ (4.6)

There are two models of Smittybilt winches to consider when purchasing from the company: the X20 and XRC models. The GEN 2 XRC is available in a base model built for versatility and fits in more places. It’s a very popular Overland winch and one of the most popular choices by users regarding high-quality, heavy-duty winches that can be handy in various situations, but most often for moving, hauling, or lifting something heavy like off-road or 4×4 vehicles.

It’s a highly reliable winch that can handle up to 9500 pounds of load, making it one of the most potent pull ratings on the market. The XRC has an amphibious engine that makes it waterproof, and an outstanding power output of 6.6 HP series wound motor, and the highest torque available. The horsepower provides silent operation even when handling heavy loads.

The XRC is equipped with military-grade synthetic ropes, a reliable brake mechanism, and a high-quality aluminum fairlead (which is used in any Smittybilt winch) to ensure the safety of people and equipment. The XRC model does feature a remote control – but it is not wireless – it uses corded remote control.

Pros:

  • Highly durable and reliable.
  • Impressive pulling load.
  • Relatively lightweight and compact.

Cons:

  • The motor system overheats
  • Possibility of metal parts rusting
Rugged Ridge 15100.25 Trekker Winch Image

Rugged Ridge 15100.25 Trekker Winch

★★★★★ (4.3)

The Rugged Ridge Trekker Winch is a top pick high-quality and heavy-duty winches that provide a new solution for the off-road enthusiast. It’s highly reliable and designed to pull heavy loads or recover your heavy-weight vehicles weighing up to 10000 lbs.

The 15100.08 Trekker Winch outperforms several winches on the market thanks to its high-power performance 5.6 HP durable motor, making it waterproof, and an impressive three-stage planetary gearbox. The Winch is made from high-quality materials to ensure that it lasts for the claimed amount of time. Also, the Winch comes with a remote control you can use to operate it safely.

The synthetic rope and steel wire are the most intriguing aspects of this system. It gives traditional steel cables or synthetic rope option, and a hawse fairlead combined with the synthetic rope. The Winch is rugged and capable of surviving the worst possible conditions. So far, we found the Winch reliably and without issues.

Pros:

  • Quick, easy, straight to the point.
  • Easy to install and wire up
  • Relatively inexpensive but reliable
  • Off-road accessories included

Cons:

  • A bit of difficulty mounting the solenoid

Our Recovery Winch Recommendation

For this guide, we looked at the best Overland winch options currently available on the market. After hours of studying online reviews and company websites and considering our own diverse winch recovery experiences, we determined the top contenders and narrow our checklist to five products presently available on Amazon. A must-have in the event of a sudden 4×4 recovery without damaging or triggering more problems

Our picks should be able to pull you out of any difficulty. Though, the higher the maximum weight limit, the better. For off-road enthusiasts looking for something less expensive, the Smittybilt X2O COMP is your best option, but for overlanders who play hard, the WARN ZEON 10-S Platinum is our editor’s choice. If you’re a casual traveler, you’re probably carrying a winch solely as a safety precaution. In this case, the Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch is an excellent cheap pick, while the Rugged Ridge 15100.25 Trekker Winch is also quite remarkable for its low price.

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