4WD Winch Review
Let’s talk about winches, 4-wheel drive winches to be exact. Some of you probably already know what they are and what they are used for but for those who don’tyou’ll learn a bit about them, why you need them, some of the different types of winches, and how and where to mount them in this text.
Now let’s get the main question out of the way. What is a winch? Well, the simplest answer is that it is a recovery device. That is at least what most people that go off roading use it for. You can however use a winch to pull or lift some heavy cargo too.
Why Do I Need A 4WD Winch?
Well, the truth is you don’t. Most of the off road and overlanding gear is not necessary to have. You can still get around and through obstacles without it. However, it does make some things easier if you do have it. The most important one is the recovery of your vehicle.
Types Of Winches
As you probably might have guessed there are different types of 4wd winches. So let’s take a look at them and see what the differences between them are. There are two main types of winches. Electric and hydraulic.
Hydraulic winches were used mostly for heavy machinery back in the day but have found a way into the off-road market. However electric winches are more popular and more used by the majority simply because they are easier to use and set up.
An electric winch is much simpler to set up than a hydraulic winch. They require much less maintenance and consume less power. It produces less noise and is more environmentally friendly. However, it is less powerful than the hydraulic one.
Now the hydraulic winch is more powerful than the electric one, but it does however make more noise, requires more maintenance, consumes more power, and is not that environmentally friendly. It does, however, have a smaller footprint than the electric one.
Difference Between The 12V And 24V Electric Winch
There are a few more things you need to know about electric winces and that is the difference between the 12V one and the 24V one. The most notable difference is that the 24V is stronger and if you have a heavier vehicle then you should get that one.
If your vehicle makes 12V you should get a 12V winch. In case you have a 24V diesel system you should get a 24V winch. You can install a 24V winch on a 12V system, however, trying to put it together can be a bit complex.
Let’s take a look at different parts of a winch and see what they do and how they look.
This is probably one of the most important parts of it because without it the winch would not function and would not be able to do its main task. The motor itself can be typically powered by either electricity or hydraulics depending on the type of winch you choose.
This is a switch that lets you power the winch itself. It is an electronic device that allows you to activate the motor. Integrated solenoids are installed at the top of the winch while the remote ones are not. Solenoids also control the rotation of said winch.
Winch Rope Or Cable
The cable can vary in size, length, and even material. The cable itself can be made out of steel or even hi-tech polyethylene. But we will talk about that a bit later. The length of the winch cable can be anywhere from 12 to 30m.
The winch drum is there so that the cable can be wrapped around it when not in use. It is powered by the winch motor, and it turns circularly, whenever it needs to wind the cable or release it. Besides the motor, this is another very important winch part.
Internal Winch Brake
Yet another important part of the winch. The internal winch brake. This device serves to maintain a stable load. Meaning that when the crank is released the load you are pulling will remain stationary and will not slip back into the mud. The brakes can be found inside the winch drum.
Winch Gear Train
This component is there so it could convert the energy from the power source into mechanical energy with which you will be able to pull that cargo or your vehicle. There are three gearing systems; planetary gear, worm gear, and spur gear.
Free Spool Clutch
This part is used to mount or dismount the winch drum from the gear train. When mounted, it needs to be powered so that the cable can be spooled properly. When dismounted you can wind up the cable manually which will be faster.
Steel Or Synthetic Winch Cable?
As we mentioned before there are two types of winch cables. Steel and a synthetic one. But the question is which is better and which one you should pick? Steel ropes have been used for quite some time now and they have proven great.
However, with the advancement in technology we figured out that synthetic ones may be a bit better, and here’s why. They are much more flexible, lighter, and easier to handle overall. One thing that may also surprise you is that the synthetic winch cable has a higher breaking strength than the steel one.
But that doesn’t mean it’s unbreakable. Even though there are many advantages over steel cable it does have some disadvantages as well. The synthetic winch cable has lower heat resistance, and lower cut resistance and is more susceptible to environmental damage.
Winch Towing Weight Capacity
Another very important thing to have in mind is the towing weight capacity of your winch. And that depends. Some winches have more, some less. That’s why it is important to know the weight of your vehicle before choosing the correct winch for it.
Ideally, you would want to acquire a winch that can tow at least 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle. Why? Well, considering that you will not have an empty vehicle when going on your off road or overlanding trip you should have a winch that can pull all of it.
There’s also an easy formula to calculate how much towing power you would need;
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) = Base Weight + Passengers & Cargo
Best Winch Strength = GVWR x 1.5
So, let’s say that your GVWR is 4000 lbs. That means that you should opt for a winch that has a weight towing capacity of at least 6000 lbs. Ideally, you should choose a winch that can do even more. It is simply safer that way.
How And Where To Mount My Winch?
So, you chose the right winch for your vehicle. Now what? Well, you need to mount it of course. The majority of people mount their winches onto the vehicle’s bull bar. Now for that to work you would of course need to have a bull bar that is winch compatible.
In case you do not use a bull bar you can set up the winch onto the bumper or the hitch receiver. However, that will require a lot more hassle and you have to make sure that the said bumper is rated for and configured to accept the winch installation.
So your best and most reliable option is to acquire a bull bar that is already configured for it and gives extra frontal protection to your vehicle. After mounting the winch, you should connect the wires accordingly to your power supply.
Best 4WD Winches
RUNVA HWN15000 Hydraulic Winch
This is as the name states a hydraulic winch and it uses aircraft-grade steel cable and cable tensioners to give you the best performance. It has an automatic ratchet brake to prevent slipping and has a durable body to counteract the damage from outside elements such as water, rust, or heat.
This winch comes with a large recovery hook as well as the mounting bolts and it has a rated line pull of up to 15000 lbs. The cable itself is 26,6m long and the body has a red powder coat finish to it. It is a bit heavy weighing a bit over 80 kg.
|Sturdy Build High |
Rated Line Pull
Easy To Use
|Pretty Heavy |
CLICK HERE to learn more.
RUNVA EWB20000 Premium 12V Winch
This is a gray powder coated, 12V winch with a synthetic cable of 26,5m that has a rated line pull of up to 20000 lbs. It has an automatic ratchet brake which makes slipping virtually impossible even in some of the harshest terrains.
The motor of this winch has 5.5kW/7.4 HP with a full steel 3-stage planetary gear train. Unlike the previously mentioned winch, this one is a bit lighter, weighing around 60 kg. Alongside the winch, you will get a control box with power cables, a handheld, and wireless remote, a large recovery hook, and mounting bolts.
|Has One of the Highest Rated Line Pulls|
Very Durable Cable
|A Bit Bigger Than The Rest Of The Winches|
CLICK HERE to learn more.
KingOne TDS 12000 12V Winch
This is yet another 12V electric winch with a 27.4m long synthetic cable. It has a heavy-duty 6.0 HP motor that delivers superior torque output and faster line speed. It has a rotating ring gear and a 3-stage winch gear train.
This is a good and reliable winch that will come in handy on some of the dirty and muddy roads out there. It also has some waterproof features which include specifically designed sealed motor drum supports and V-ring seals inside the drum flanges.
|Long Durable CableFast Line SpeedReasonably Priced||Can Be A Hassle To Install For Some Vehicles|
CLICK HERE to learn more.
RUNVA 11XP 12V Premium Winch
With this reliable RUNVA electric winch that uses a 25m long synthetic cable, you’ll be able to get your vehicle out of that mud you’ve been stuck in no time. It has a 5.0kW/6.7 HP motor with a full steel 3-stage planetary winch gear train.
With its automatic ratchet brake, you don’t have to worry about slipping. It has a rated line pull of 11000 lbs. and is one of the lightest winches out there weighing only a bit more than 30kg. This will surely be a great addition to your next overlanding trip.
|Very LightweightFast Pull SpeedIP67 Rated||Not So Highly Rated Line PullNot As Long Remote-Control Wiring|
CLICK HERE to learn more.
Superwinch Terra 35 3500lbs Winch
This is one of the smallest winches out there weighing around 20 lbs. It has high-performance ATV winching power. This winch possesses a 3500lbs pull rating as well as a 1.6 HP low amp draw engine and even a handheld remote controller.
It uses a 64” steel cable. Now, as you might have guessed, this winch would not be useful for your car. The 3500lbs pull rating will just not be enough. This is a perfect winch for your dirt bikes and smaller off-road vehicles.
|Very LightweightDurable DesignATV Compatible||Not Suitable For TrucksLower Pull Power|
WARN 92815 Zeon Platinum 10-S
This winch uses a 12V DC series wound motor with a 3-stage planetary gear train. It has a 10000lbs pull rating and comes with a 100ft of spydura synthetic cable on it. It is twice as durable as the previous models, and it weighs around 70 lbs.
It has extreme IP68 waterproofing features as well as a remote-controlled clutch and a new advanced wireless remote. It has a black satin finish and stainless-steel hardware which will prevent it from eroding in muddy environments.
|High Quality DesignIP68 Waterproof RatedMore Durable Than Previous Models||Pricier than similar models|
TJM Torq 12000lb Winch
This winch has an IP67-rated body, solenoid, and integrated wireless switch. It is a 12V winch that has a 3.6kW/4.9 HP motor with a 3-stage planetary gear train. It uses a 9.5mm x 28m synthetic cable and has a line pull rate of up to 12,000 lbs.
It is also one of the lighter winches out there weighing around 30 kg. Thanks to its automatic load-holding brake you don’t need to worry about slipping. No doubt that this electric winch will come in handy if your vehicle is ever stuck while you’re on an overlanding trip.
|Long CableLightweight ConstructionIP67 Rated Body||Motor Is A Bit Weaker Than Most Of Other Winches|
Domin8r X 12000lb Winch
This is a winch that has a new, massive 7.2 HP motor with a 3-stage planetary gear train which will make operating it quiet and smooth over longer periods. It has a re-engineered, upgraded break with a larger surface area for better braking power.
It uses a 9.5mm x 26m long ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene cable which is really lightweight but also very strong and durable. The winch also comes with a 3.7 m long wired hand controller which you can easily attach and use to operate the said winch.
|Very Strong MotorAmazing Breaking PowerVery Sturdy ConstructionPretty Cheap||Hand Controller Wiring May Be Short For Some|
Let’s Wrap It Up
So, let’s conclude with what we learned from this article. We talked about what winches are, and what they are used for, we went through the different parts of the winch itself and asked ourselves why we need them.
It’s always better to be prepared, especially if you are far away from the city and the emergency services. If your vehicle gets stuck it’s not so smart to wait for God knows how many hours before someone can come to your rescue.
And of course, before choosing your winch be sure to do your research as we mentioned above. Know your vehicle, how much it weighs and how much your winch should be able to pull before getting one.