Best ATV Winch

To find the best ATV winch, we researched the essential features critical to a great product, including the maximum load weight, the rope material, and the included remote control. Depending on how you will be utilizing your ATV winch, you might need a product that can handle a lot of weight and sport a durable rope. Additionally, the remote control included with a winch could be essential to ease of use; many manufacturers include remotes that can be installed onto handlebars easily for control right from the driver’s seat. No matter if you are using your winch to lift a plow blade, or move a fallen tree, we’ve got an option for you.

After our extensive research, we found the Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 to be our top pick for the best ATV winch. Featuring the ability to pull up to 3,500 pounds with its 50-foot long steel wire rope, you can accomplish a ton with this great winch. The Superwinch Terra 35 also includes several hookup accessories to get you started, not to mention, two remote controls, one designed for mounting on your handlebars.

Top 5 Best ATV Winch

 #1  Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 ATV Winch – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Superwinch Terra 35 offers up to 3,500 pounds of pulling force, while including all the essentials you need to set up your winch. The Terra 35 is built to last thanks to quality additions such as its steel gears with bronze bearings.

Read Full Review: Superwinch 1135220 Fairlead Handlebar Handheld Review

Pros
  • Best for plowing
  • 8.75 feet per minute line speed
  • Extremely reliable& durable
Cons
  • Comparatively expensive
  • Max weight could be higher

The Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 is one of the most reliable and well-built ATV winches that we found during our research process. Superwinch uses well-built components such as steel gears that are not only twice as wide as the competition, but also features bronze bearings with integrated oil pockets; it all adds up to gears that remain well lubricated and last longer than other manufacturers. The company also ensures that essential electric components such as the solenoid remain protected from poor weather, making it the best ATV winch for plowing.

The Terra 35 can pull up to 3500 pounds, which is impressive, but we would have liked to see more power at this price range. We do feel the difference as well made up for, however, thanks to Superwinch’s inclusion of mounting components, and dual remote controls. One of the two remotes can even be mounted on your ATV’s handlebars for easy access. If you need to get the job done fast, the Superwinch comes in with the fastest line speed, reaching up to 8.75-feet per minute on a full load. This is great for adult ATVs, but maybe too powerful for 4 wheelers for kids.

 #2  Smittybilt 97495 XRC GEN2 ATV Winch – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Smittybilt blows our expectations out of the water with an ATV winch capable of handling up to a 9,500-pound load. Add on the waterproof design and this winch is ready to hit the trails without any worry.

Read Full Review: Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch Capacity Review

Pros
  • Impressive 9,500-pound load capacity
  • Completely waterproof design
  • Includes all needed wiring for install
Cons
  • No handlebar remote control
  • Potential reliability issues

The Smittybilt 97495 XRC GEN2 ATV winch delivers a lot of performance for not much money, making it the best value out of any option on our list. Able to pull up to a staggering 9,500 lbs, the Smittybilt 97495 can also operate in the water thanks to its utterly waterproof electronics design and the use of an amphibious motor; it is easily the best waterproof ATV winch in our list. Never worry again when winching in knee-high water – this winch is built to survive. If you’re looking to upgrade your ability for winter transport, take a look at the best ATV snow plow currently on the market.

We do wish that Smittybilt would have added dual remote control options; at this time, a handlebar-mounted control is not included. The kit does, however, come with all needed wiring for installation. We have read complaints that some users have suffered reliability issues, but the positives seem to outweigh the negative heavily. Not for use with the best motorcycles, only ATVs. Another great option is the MotoAlliance VIPER Elite ATV/UTV Winch with a weight rating of pulling up to 3000 lbs. This 1.2 HP permanent magnet motor has mechanical load holding and a dynamic brake. The product is available in other weight rating sizes as well, and they all include a wireless remote, rocker switch, contractor, wiring, hawse fire lead, 40 ft RED AmSteel-Blue Synthetic Rope.

 #3  Superwinch LT3000ATV ATV Winch – Best Lightweight

WHY WE LIKE IT: Winches can be heavy contraptions that weigh down ATVs, but Superwinch delivers a lightweight solution with the LT3000ATV at under 20-pounds that still holds its own, pulling up to 3,000-pound loads.

Pros
  • Best for small ATVs
  • Excellent two-year warranty
  • Includes handlebar-mounted remote
Cons
  • More affordable options available

Superwinch delivers another excellent product with its LT3000ATV ATV winch. This lightweight 20-pound winch is excellent for small ATVs that can’t be tied down with larger 50+ lbs winching options. The design of the winch also enables it to be hooked directly into an ATV’s 12V battery with ease, and the handlebar remote can be easily mounted where you need it – at your fingertips.

Again, Superwinch products do seem to come in at a premium; there are much more affordable options that come in at less than half the price, but there is something to be said for a product that is built for a lifetime. Superwinch also includes a stellar two-year warranty for those who might be concerned. It is great for retrieving an electric motorcycle for kids out of the swamp and much more.

 #4  Champion 3000 lb. ATV/UTV Winch Kit – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: Having a smaller budget doesn’t mean you can’t get something great, and Champion delivers with its 3000-pound winch for ATVs and UTVs. Champion even includes bonus accessories for the installation at no charge.

Pros
  • Big performance at a low price
  • Includes mounting accessories
  • Includes lifetime technical support
Cons
  • Includes only a single remote control

We had a hard time finding faults with the Champion 3000 lb. ATV/UTV Winch Kit, as it merely offers an outstanding deal for such a low price, that buying one almost feels like stealing. Perfect for ATVs that need to raise and lower snow plow blades, the Champion can pull a maximum of 3,000 pounds with its steel super duty cable. Included with your purchase are mounting accessories for mounting the remote control on your handlebars and the included roller fairlead that guides the steel cable.

It would have been nice if Champion threw in an extra controller for use when not at the handlebars of your ATV, but again, for the low price, we can’t fault them. We are also impressed with the inclusion of the company’s two-year warranty and lifetime technical support. Champion Power Equipment makes other great winch kits with different weight capacities, like the Champion 10,000 lbs Truck/SUV Winch Kit. This kit allows you to have better control with the three-stage planetary gear system, dynamic brake system, free spoiling clutch, and handheld remote control. You can also purchase professional installation with the kit optionally if you need assistance mounting the winch to the mounting plate or bumper, connecting to the battery, etc. Another great vehicle accessory is the best rooftop cargo carrier.

 #5  Superwinch LT4000ATV SR ATV Winch – Best Synthetic

WHY WE LIKE IT: For those who prefer a synthetic winch cable, Superwinch delivers with the LT4000ATV. An alternative to steel cables, synthetic cables are more easily managed but just as tough; this unit pulling up to 4,000-pounds.

Read Full Review: Superwinch 1140230 Black LT4000ATV Winch Review

Pros
  • Impressive 4,000 lb weight limit
  • Includes 50-foot synthetic rope
  • Packaged with dual remotes
Cons
  • Installation can be a bit complex

The Superwinch LT4000ATV is the perfect ATV winch for anyone who prefers a synthetic rope over steel. While both materials offer their benefits, synthetic rope is just as strong as steel but much lighter weight, making it easier to manage. Additionally, while precautions must still be taken when being used, the danger presented by a snapping cable is slightly reduced when using synthetic rope in comparison to a steel rope. The cord isn’t weak either, with the winch, it can pull up to 4,000-pounds.

We also like that Superwinch bundled two remotes with the unit, one for the handlebars and one that can be used from afar. Our research has found some consumers that feel the electrical installation is a bit complex, but a manual can be downloaded and reviewed before purchase. It shouldn’t be too much trouble if you park it under the best carport and consult the manual. Another easy to use winch is the ZEAK Advanced 5500 lb. Electric Winch Off Road Automatic Powersports Winch. With its durable and galvanized steel wire winch rope, you can haul up to 5500 lbs. Measure your ATV’s gross vehicle weight and multiply it by 1.5 to get your pull rating to determine how much line pull and pulling power you’ll need. 

How We Decided

During our research, we ensured that we only selected the best ATV winches available on the market. We accomplished this feat by examining the variables that make a winch great such as its maximum pull capacity, rope material, and included controls. For each item on our list, we ensured that every single one met a set of minimum requirements we had set; this ensures that the product you purchase will meet your needs and expectations.

Each ATV winch in our selection has a minimum pull capacity of 3,000-pounds; we left out any products that we felt were too weak to accomplish common ATV tasks such as plowing snow, moving small fallen trees, and tow lightweight vehicles. Each ATV winch also features either a steel rope or a sturdy synthetic rope to help prevent snapping during use.

When it comes to controlling your winch, we gave preference to selections that included dual remotes – one for handlebar attachment and one for distanced use from the ATV. In every scenario, we ensured that the remote control was durable and could be used from a sufficient distance if needed for safety reasons.

Best ATV Winch Buyer’s Guide

 

Features

  1. Maximum Weight: The most critical aspect when selecting a winch for your ATV is to choose one that can tow the weight of what you need to be moved. If unsure, we recommend going with a minimum line weight of 3,000-pounds, which we found suitable for most tasks. Otherwise, consider what you will be moving, such as snow or debris, and make a decision based on your specific needs.
  2. Rope Material: Ropes are typically constructed of either steel or synthetic material. Both options have their pros and cons, with synthetic ropes being easier to maneuver but being susceptible to UV rays and fraying. Steel ropes, on the other hand, are vulnerable to rust and can be more dangerous when snapped. We recommend doing a deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of both materials before making a purchase.
  3. Remote Controls: How will you control your new winch? If you want to stand from afar, be sure your ATV includes a standard remote control. Otherwise, if you wish to control the winch from the seat of your ATV, you might want to ensure that the option you are eyeing includes a handlebar-mounted control for ease of use.

ATV Winch FAQs

What size winch should I get for my ATV?

One approach to approximating the proper winch size for your ATV is to multiply the gross weight of your vehicle by 1.5; the resulting number is the rated pulling capacity you should purchase. For example, an ATV with a total weight of 2000-pounds might consider a winch with a rated pulling capacity of 3000-pounds.

Are champion ATV winches any good?

In our research, we found one of our top options to be the Champion 3000 lb. ATV/UTV Winch Kit; it impressed us with its impressively low price, yet able to provide a 3000-pound pulling capacity. We also were impressed with the included bonus mounting accessories.

Is a 2500 lbs winch enough for ATV?

Most tasks should suffice well with a 2500-pound winch. After our research, all of the options on our list provide a winch force of at least 3000-pounds; we selected this number as it allows ATV owners to accomplish most common tasks such as snow plowing and debris removal.

Are winches waterproof?

Not all winches are waterproof, so choose carefully. If you are looking to take your winch for a swim, we recommend the Smittybilt 97495 XRC GEN2 ATV Winch from our guide, which features a waterproof housing for its electronics as well as an amphibious motor.

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Michael Archambault

Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade, Michael has covered the consumer technology space, reporting on the latest industry offerings while crafting comprehensive how-to guides, hands-on-reviews, and opinion-editorials. Michael has worked for Amazon.com's DPReview, Mobile Nations' Windows Central, onMSFT, PetaPixel, Dotdash’s Lifewire, and Digital Trends.

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