Photo courtesy of Warn

Shopping for a winch?

Good news! There is a winch for every budget, powersports vehicle, and application.

So, let’s buy one!

Important note for the inexperienced winch buyer: If you’re buying a winch, you will almost certainly have to buy a winch-mounting kit specially made to fit your particular make and model ATV or side by side, and designed to fit whatever winch you own. You can generally expect to spend between $30-$150 on your mounting kit, depending on the winch you purchase.

We’ll do this the way most of us shop—on price. As you have certainly heard before, and may or may not already know from personal experience, you get what you pay for. But if your needs are few, there are some low-cost options out there for the entry-level buyer.

And on the flipside, there are superhero winches capable of lifting adult elephants in a pinch. They cost a little more. Worth it.

Under $200

Superwinch LT2000 Winches – This utility winch can be upgraded to an ATV winch featuring a 2,000-pound pull rating with an accessory and switch-upgrade kit.

Smittybilt XRC 3 ATV Winches – This winch has a 3,000-pound pull rating and comes equipped with a handlebar mini rocker switch and 11 ½-foot remote. A 3,000-pound-capacity winch is tough enough to get you out of most any sticky situation.

Rugged Ridge Extreme Heavy-Duty Winches – The lower priced version offers a 2,500-pound pull rating in a compact winch, which is generally the recommended pull rating for a 300cc ATV.

Under $250

Superwinch Terra 25 ATV Winches – Get 2,500 pounds of pulling capacity with this winch from Superwinch, featuring a 10-foot hand-held remote switch and a name you can trust.

Under $400

Ramsey ATV Winches – Equipped with a wireless remote, this winch from Ramsey offers 2,500 pounds of pulling capacity in one Ramsey-tough unit.

Superwinch Terra 35 SR ATV Winches – Superwinch delivers the goods in the form of a 3,500-pound pull rating and a 10-foot remote.

Under $500

T-Max Pro Trailer Series Winches – Get 50 feet of synthetic rope-pulling capacity with this T-Max winch offering a 4,500-pound pull rating. That’s a big pile of awesome.

$500 and up

T-Max Off-Road Series Winches – This mean machine has a 100 feet of synthetic rope and a 11,000-pound pull rating that should leave you feeling right at home moving the seemingly immoveable. It may cost a bit more than the others on this list, but how can you argue with 11,000 pounds. You know what weighs 11,000 pounds? Adult male elephants. Enjoy getting pulled around by my winch, elephant!

Certainly, we encourage you to do your homework before making an investment, regardless of how much you’re looking to spend.

But we’re confident in encouraging you to add a winch to your life. They’re pretty fantastic tools for getting you out of sticky situations. And relocating gargantuan African mammals.


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Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.