Best Winch For The Money in 2020

Deciding on the perfect electric winch based on your needs is quite overwhelming.

I understand that.

Even if you decide on the perfect weight capacity for towing your vehicle or utilities, you must get confused to select the most cost-effective winch for you.

To clear the air, and assist you in finding the best winch for the money, I’ve prepared this guide where I reviewed 10 top-notch winches.

Needless to say, they all are quite cost-effective.

Here are some core parameters that I considered before putting any winch on my list –

  • Whether it’s one of the best bets for the money or not.
  • The winch’s weight capacity, and application.
  • If the winch is well-accepted among other real off-roaders or not.
  • If the winch offers smooth winching experience without causing any major trouble or not.
  • And many more.

So, let’s begin.

Top 5 Best Winch For The Money Review

1. RUGCEL 2000 lbs Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • This winch is compact in size, lightweight, and easy to install.
  • An easy to grip remote control with a big button, and substantially long wire comes with the kit that works as expected.
  • The pull and turn free spooling clutch knob is convenient to use, and it works without any hiccups.
  • An ample length of galvanized aircraft cable is in-placed that goes through a quality roller fairlead. It performs notably smooth.
  • This winch doesn’t make excessive noise, and it’s a low-amp motor.
  • The hook is blue-white zinc plated, which is more durable, and environment-friendly compared to other color zinc plated hooks.
  • It’s inexpensive.
  • It features a detailed instruction manual.

Cons

  • A handlebar rocker switch or a dashboard rocker switch with the package would have been an all-in-all solution for the UTV/ATV users.

Summary

RUGCEL 2000 lbs winch is an ideal winch for using with UTV/ATVs. It’s one of the best winches for the money on my list for light-duty jobs.

Nonetheless, it’s not limited to only UTV/ATV use. You can use it with a car, boat, modified vehicle, or as a multipurpose utility trailer as long as you keep the weight of the towing object up to 2000 lbs (better if you can restrict the weight to 1333 lbs to get the best result).

Altogether, RUGCEL 2000 lbs is a quite handy, versatile winch at a reasonable price.

2. Champion 3000 lbs Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • It’s straightforward to install.
  • The wired remote control (10’) buttons are relatively big to press effortlessly wearing gloves.
  • A 45’ heavy-duty aircraft cable is there that goes through a high-quality 4-way roller fairlead quite smoothly.
  • A 3-stage planetary gear train, dynamic braking, and a free spooling clutch are there to ensure easy controlling and increased safety during the operation.
  • The package includes an abundantly clear user manual.
  • This winch is reasonably priced.

Cons

  • The size of the remote control is not too convenient for handlebar mounting.
  • I expect a dashboard rocker switch for any UTV/ATV specialized winch.
  • The hook is color zinc plated, but a Blue-white zinc plated hook is more environmentally friendly and durable.

Summary

Champion is a reputed brand for manufacturing high-end winches at a lower price. This performance of this 3000 lbs electric winch reflects that too.

This winch is a compelling option for towing UTV/ATV, and it’s a 3000 lbs capacity winch.

With that said, you can use this winch for towing various other objects like logs, cars, jeeps, trucks keeping the gross weight of the object up to 2000 lbs (1.5 times less than the weight capacity).

This winch can be an excellent replacement for any expensive winch from a brand like Warn.

3. Bravex 3500 lbs Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • This winch features considerably faster line speed compared to its competitors.
  • A well functioning wireless remote is also included with the kit along with a quality handlebar rocker switch.
  • Installing this winch is quite easy, including wiring. Kudos to the clearly written instruction.
  • A high-quality steel cable (40’) offers a smooth winching experience.
  • The free spooling clutch, the differential planetary gear, and the automatic in-drum brake give you all it requires to control the winching effortlessly.
  • It’s a compact winch and not too heavy.
  • It offers a competitive price.

Cons

  • This winch sounds a bit louder than usual.
  • The cable seems a tad rigid.

Summary

This winch from Bravex is another good alternative for other costly winches.

It’s a 3500 lbs winch, so quite suitable for towing UTV/ATVs, trucks, cars, jeeps, log, trailer, etc.

As this is a 3500 lbs capacity winch, therefore, you will want to keep the gross weight of the vehicle up to 2333 lbs.

Overall, this Bravex 3500 electric winch (3.13” (79.5mm) Φ9 mounting bolt pattern) is a powerful, well-built, versatile option that won’t break your bank.

4. AC-DK 4500 lbs Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • You are getting several handy accessories, including gloves, rope stopper, etc. without spending any extra money.
  • It’s super compact and lightweight.
  • The unit doesn’t overheat as it has an onboard motor cooler.
  • This electric winch is straightforward to install too, and it comes with everything you require to install the unit, including a mounting bracket (3”x4.8”).
  • A useful handlebar mount switch and a wireless remote control come with the kit. Both these work flawlessly and fit well in hand.
  • A substantially long (50’) and high-grade synthetic rope goes through a quality hawse fairlead sleekly.
  • It features a 3-stage planetary gear system, free spooling clutch, and automatic load-holding brake like other useful winches.
  • This winch is inexpensive compared to its competitors of the same weight capacity.

Cons

  • I miss a dashboard rocker switch with the package. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with the other accessories at this price.

Summary

Perhaps you are not familiar with this brand (AC-DK). But don’t fool yourself by considering this as a junk.

In fact, it fulfills almost every need by offering some useful accessories for free.

This particular winch is a 4500 lbs capacity winch from AC-DK and suitable for all sorts of object towing. However, don’t exceed the gross weight of the towing object over 3000 lbs to get the best output.

As this one is a synthetic rope version, so don’t worry about lightweightness at all.

5. ZEAK Advanced 5500 lbs Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • Surprisingly inexpensive considering the weight capacity.
  • It’s IP 68 rated. That means it withstands against dust and submersion up to 1.5m underwater up to 30 minutes.
  • The remote control is extensive, and the wire length of the remote is also ample long (50’), which helps to control the winching keeping a reasonable safe distance.
  • Al weather sealed solenoid is included in the kit, and it’s circuit breaker protected.
  • The length of the high-quality steel rope is also 50’.
  • This unit is composed of a pull-and-turn free spooling clutch, a 3-stage planetary gear train, and a dynamic brake for smooth winching experience and increased safety.
  • It comes with every nut and bolt, including a mounting bracket (3” * 6.6”) to make your life easy to install this unit.

Cons

  • Had it been a bit more compact in size, it would have been a better fit for UTV/ATVs.

Summary

This 5500 lbs weight capacity winch from ZEAK is a perfect option for pulling anything that weighs up to 5500 lbs (ideal if the weight is up to 3666 lbs).

That means, it’s quite a good winch for using with UTV/ATVs, car, jeep, plow, trucks, trailers, logs, and other utilities, etc.

So, no doubt, this is another multipurpose and quite an affordable winch on my list that excels in power and performance too.

6. Viper 8500 lbs Recovery Winch Review

Pros

  • It features integrated weather sealed solenoid with circuit breaker protection. As the solenoid is weather-sealed, so it’s safe from outside materials.
  • This winch comes with two remote controls. One is wireless, and the other one is corded. Both are error-free and easy to grip and operate.
  • It’s waterproof.
  • Installing this winch is quite easy.
  • A 94’ heavy-duty steel cable is in place that performs as expected during the operation. You won’t see any tangling, I believe.
  • It’s reasonably priced.

Cons

  • A winch cover and a mounting plate with the kit would have been a handy inclusion.
  • It comes with a hawse fairlead for both the steel cable and synthetic rope versions. I like to have a roller fairlead with the steel cable.

Summary

As this is an 8500 lbs capacity winch, so it’s a perfect tool for towing anything up to 5666 lbs.

The wireless remote control works within 50’ range, which is good enough to control the winching from a safe distance. The corded remote control has a 15’ long cable, which I believe is also substantially long for winching from a safe distance.

This winch from Viper features other basic yet necessary attributes like free spooling clutch, 3-stage planetary gear, and automatic load-holding brake.

Overall, this is a dependable winch for towing anything like truck, jeep, car, boat, or any other objects like logs, trailers, etc. You have the option to buy an off the shelf synthetic rope version for this winch from here.

7. Smittybilt 9500 lbs Winch Review

Pros

  • You have three points for mounting the solenoid.
  • It’s IP67 rated. That means it’s waterproof, and safe from other materials like mud, snow, sand, etc.
  • Easy to install. Wiring is easy-peasy because of the color-coded wires and wiring diagram.
  • The package includes everything you require for the installation process.
  • I found a lot of real users who are satisfied with the durability of the unit. It’s too early for me to conclude, though.
  • A 94’ high-quality steel cable that goes through a quality roller fairlead does its job accurately.
  • A flawlessly working wired (12’) remote control comes with the package that is quite big to grip and operate it effortlessly.
  • It has an easy to use sliding ring gear free spooling clutch, and 3-stage planetary gear train for smooth winching, and automatic in-drum brake for better safety.

Cons

  • No wireless remote control comes with the kit.

Summary

This winch from Smittybilt is one of the widely accepted winches out there. It’s a 9500 lbs capacity winch. Meaning, to get the best result, you should keep the towing weight up to 6333 lbs.

As a whole, this is a powerful and quality winch that you are getting at a reasonable price. Moreover, you can buy this winch with a winch cradle, spending a little more money from here.

8. Tungsten T12000S Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • IP67 rated winch. Meaning it’s waterproof, and safe from some other outside materials like mud, sand, snow, etc.
  • The free spooling experience is noticeably smooth using this winch.
  • The control box is extra thick that genuinely makes it impact resistance. Furthermore, it protects the solenoid from outside material quite well.
  • It comes with a wireless remote and a corded remote control (10’). Both of these work perfectly.
  • It doesn’t weigh too much considering the weight capacity. Glory to the high-quality 73’ synthetic rope that makes this unit lightweight and performs as expected.
  • It’s easy to install.
  • You can replace the synthetic rope with a steel cable (if you want it) without any issue whatsoever.

Cons

  • The corded remote control is a bit flimsy.
  • The length of the synthetic rope could have been longer.

Summary

Tungsten T12000S is one of the best winches for the money on my list. As it’s 12000 lbs winch, so it can withstand against any medium to heavy-duty jobs like pulling a big truck, jeep, car, or other 4×4 vehicles.

However, you will want to keep the gross weight of the towing object up to 8000 lbs to get the optimum results.

All in all, this is a cost-effective winch that can be a suitable replacement for any pricey winch any day.

9. X-Bull 13000 lbs Electric Winch Review

Pros

  • This winch is also water, mud, sand, and snow proof (IP67 rated).
  • It features a weather-sealed control box that keeps the solenoid free from outside materials. The control box is relocatable too.
  • An overload protector is installed into the unit to break off the power supply in the event of an overload or short circuit.
  • The new generation wireless remote control works great within 98’ range.
  • The corded remote control is quite convenient to grip and operate even after wearing gloves.
  • A dust cover comes with the kit. So, you don’t have to spend extra money for the protection of your winch.
  • It’s quite inexpensive than other winches of same weight capacity.

Cons

  • It’s a bit louder than expected.
  • The instruction manual lacks in providing proper pictorial instruction.

Summary

Like other winches on my list, this winch from X-bull is also an easy to install winch that won’t disappoint with its performance.

You will get a good value for the money from this unit. It’s a 13000 lbs weight capacity winch. Therefore, you can use it for any heavy-duty jobs any day. To get the best performance and for the sake of longevity, you better keep the gross weight of your vehicle up to 8666 lbs.

Altogether, it’s a handy winch for using with your truck, jeep, car, pulling heavy objects, or trailer.

10. Smittybilt 97517 (17500 lbs) Winch Review

Pros

  • It’s IP68 rated. Meaning, it’s submersible.
  • I like the remote control feature of this winch most. The wireless remote controlling system is integrated to wired (12’) remote control. So, you will use the same remote control for both purposes.
  • It’s compact, considering the weight capacity of the unit.
  • A remote plug cover is there to protect the remote plug.
  • This winch features a wire isolator for better management of the wires.
  • A 500amp covered solenoid box is there that is safe from outside materials, including water.
  • The 98.5’ steel cable proves to be a substantially long and quality option for heavy-duty jobs.
  • The price is quite reasonable.

Cons

  • It weighs a bit more than expected.
  • A winch cover with the kit at this price point could have been a useful addition.

Summary

Like other Smittybilt winches, this particular winch also provides excellent value for the money. Smittybilt 175000 lbs winch is a perfect tool for towing anything as long as you keep the weight of the towing object up to 11666 lbs.

I must praise the price that Smittybilt offers for 17500 lbs of weight capacity. The performance is excellent too. No doubt, this is a perfect replacement for those pricey winches, mainly if you are on a budget.

Verdict

As I said, the main objective of producing this review guide was to help you find the best winch for the money based on you needs and application.

I’m sure I’ve already cleared the air, and you are already decided on the best bet for you.

Despite a few minor hiccups, I still believe all the above winches are some of the best winches for the money without any doubt.

You can opt-in for any brand you want.

Best Winch For The Money: Buying Guide

1. Types of Winches

There are mainly two different types of winches: electric winches and hydraulic winches.

Electric winches are most common, widely used and easier to install. They are also cheaper than electric winches. But if you use an electric winch for a long time, they will overheat.

On the other hand, hydraulic winches are capable of pulling larger weight capacities. They can run for a long time without overheating. They also have a longer lifetime. But they are very expensive and hard to install.

2. Types of Ropes

Winch rope has a big impact on the performance of the winch. While the case is synthetic rope vs steel cable, there is a hot debate among offroaders Both rope has its upsides and downsides. Read on to get a clear idea about these two rope types. I hope you’ll be able to choose the right rope type for your job.

  • Steel Cable

Steel cable has been around the industry for a very long time. It is highly durable, long-lasting, resistant to the sun and requires less maintenance. If you will be often using your winch in highly abrasive terrains, then choosing steel cable is a better decision.

You have to use a glove while handling steel cable. But if steel cable breaks during operation, it can create a very dangerous situation. So, you should always inspect the cable before using it. Never use a damaged rope. It is also very harder to fix a steel cable if it breaks.

  • Synthetic Rope

Synthetic rope is gaining popularity day by day. It is lightweight, flexible, floats in water, easier to handle and doesn’t store energy. It is also comparatively safer than the steel cable.

Synthetic rope has some downsides too. It is expensive, requires extra UV protection and maintenance. Though synthetic rope has very high breaking strength, it can breaks. But you’ll be able o repair it in the field easily.

If you want my opinion, then I will always vote for the synthetic rope

3. Winch Brands

It’s very difficult to select the right winch brands as there a lot of companies that produce winches.

However, I’m going to introduce you to some leading brands of winches that offers high-quality winches at a reasonable price. These brands are Warn, Smittybilt, Badland, X Bull, Supeerwinch, Ramsey and Mile Marker. They are highly trusted in the offroad community.

Final Words

I hope this article helped you to make the right decision. I’ve also separately reviewed high-quality winches from different brands. You can check those in the review section.

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