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Best Jeep Winch

Updated on September 6, 2014

What Is The Best Winch To Put On A Jeep Wrangler?

A lot of Jeep Wrangler owners would like to place a winch on the front of their Jeep, and when they do, they want it to be the right one. For this to happen, they need to know what would be the best winch for a Jeep? It is a fair question. They all look about the same and cost an arm and a leg to purchase. So, why is it so hard to just pick one and slap it on? Well, the answer to that may just surprise you. Finding the best Jeep winch is not as easy of a task as you may think.

Being a Jeep owner is more than a experience. It is a conversion. After you have a Jeep for a while, you go from being a Jeep owner to a Jeepster. You are no longer just the guy or gal with a tough little 4wheel drive vehicle that can go just about anywhere. You become a proud member of an elite group of people who "Get It".

What is "It"? It is an understanding that you are no longer a part of the norm. You have gone beyond vehicle ownership. You have surpassed the plebeian masses with their cars, trucks, and crossovers. You are no longer a blank face in a crowd. You, my friend, have become a brother or sister in a fun loving, happy go lucky, wave at your buddies, group of eclectic people who own the only vehicle that can, and has, concurred the world.

Winch 101

Before picking out a winch, you may wish to answer these simple questions first...

1. is this winch for work or looks?

If you plan to use this winch, you may want to get the most powerful one you can afford. If it is just for looks, and the occasional use, you should at least get one that is rated for twice the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) of your jeep.

2. Is it for show and competitions only?

Yes, there are people who purchase these just for show. They never intend for them to be used, they are strictly purchased to compete in Jeep beauty pageants. If that is the case, you need one that is easy to clean and shines up nice and pretty. Name brand and high dollar is what you are looking for. The biggest and most expensive Warn winch you can find to slap onto your show girl may be what you want.

3. Is this for personal use or to be used as a recovery unit?

If it is for your own personal use, make sure you get one that has is at least 1.5 times the GVW of your Jeep. If you plan on using it all the time to pull others out of the muck, you need to go much higher than that. Also, if it is to be used as a recovery unit, make sure you find one that has field coils in the stator motor instead of just magnets. Magnets are great for light and medium use, as long as you do not let them overheat. Keep an eye out for that.

Buying Used

I know a lot of people like to shop for jeep accessories , such as a used winch, on eBay. They will also try to search Craigslist to see if they can find a good used winch. These options are both viable options, but you need to be careful. You want to get the best WINCH for the money, but you don't to to get taken. Buying a used winch comes with it's own hazards.

If you are looking on eBay, the two main things to look for, as I am sure you know, is customer feedback on the seller and what the shipping costs will be. A winch is not light. You do not want to spend as much money on a used winch, as you would have on a new one, due to shipping costs.

Also, make sure to read the full description carefully before you bid or "buy it now". The devil is in the details.

Now, if you are searching on Craigslist for one, do not buy it sight unseen. Tons of scams can be found on that site and you do not want to become another statistic.

If you do go to look at one that you found, bring a car battery with you. They may have it disconnected and this way you can hook it up to try it out. You may also want to bring a handful of tools to accomplish this task.

If it works, see if you can use it under a load. A lot of times they will run and let the cable in and out, but if you try using it under a load, it may just snap, pop, or whine. If it does, you may wish to keep on looking.

If you are handy, you may still want it if you can get it for very cheap. These things are not that difficult to repair and if it is a quality name brand winch, you can most likely get the parts to repair it.

Removable Winch

I currently have three vehicles. One Jeep Wrangler YJ, a 1990 full size Chevy Blazer, and a 2006 Ford F150 Lariat. I was thinking about getting a winch that I could use on all three. It would need to be an interchangeable winch that I could easily pull off of one and slap onto the other.

Come to find out, there is such a critter. It is a Champion Power Equipment 10,000 lb.Heavy Duty Truck/Jeep Power Winch Kit with Speed Mount Hitch Adapter.

This little beast easily mounts to a hitch type bracket that secures with a pin or a pin lock.

Special Hitch

You do need a special style bumper or you can weld on a hitch to your bumper to attach this bad boy. With the winch off you can see the hitch that is welded on to the center of this bumper.

The good thing is, you can take it on and off as you please. You can leave it in the back of your Jeep and only pull it out when you need it. Or, you can swap it from vehicle to vehicle without an issue as long as you have the same hitch and wire attachments on those vehicles too.

I also like the fact that if you are going to be doing a lot of driving, you can take the winch off before you hit the road. That way it will not restrict the airflow to the engine or add weight to the front of your vehicle, causing drag.

I have heard of people who have placed a large winch on the front of their Jeep only to find out that it blocks airflow to the radiator causing it to overheat. Being able to remove it when needed would help to avoid having that issue.

Winch On

As you can see, the Champion mounts very nicely to the front of the bumper, but do not forget to put the pin in. You do not want to start driving or pulling without that very important pin holding it in place.

I like the fact that it has the two grab, or lifting, handles mounted to either side of it. I am sure that they make it a lot easier to tote around when you do not have it mounted.

The reason I didn't go with this model was for the simple fact that I am lazy. I do not want to tote a winch from one bumper to the next. When I place a winch on a bumper, it is going to stay there.

Still, I like the concept and if the idea of having a removable winch cranks your engine, go for it.

Champion Winch and bumper images via: JeepForum

Tuff Stuff Winch
Tuff Stuff Winch

Which One Did I Get?

I am so glad you asked. When I went winch shopping, I wanted to get the best winch for my jeep that I could find.

First off, I wanted the biggest one I could find under $400.00

As I live in Florida, I wanted one that was waterproof. I love to drive on the beach and getting salt water in the works would surely be a winch killer.

I also wanted one that came with a wireless remote. That way I could sit in the cab of my Jeep and work the winch at the same time being able to steer. I do not recommend that you try this, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

So what Winch did I choose? As I am sure you guessed, it is the Tuff Stuff Xtreme 12,500Lb Waterproof Winch.

It came with everything I wanted and it can pull up to 12,500Lb. To top it off it came in under $350.00.

Now some people have said, "You should have bought a Warn". But to me, that is like wearing a Rolex while digging ditches.

As a matter of fact, a guy I know dropped about $1400.00 on a Warn winch two years ago. I asked him if he has gotten much use out of it and he told me that the only thing he has done with it so far is wash the mud out. It was a very nice winch, but to me, that is just over priced Bumper Bling.

What Type of Winch Do You Have or Want?

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    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 4 years ago from Here

      A heavy one... ;-)