Small Winches – Are They Worth It?

In my experience, one of the favorable factors of a good winch is how compact it is. Many winch users would like a powerful yet small winch.

Innovations in the winch industry has made it possible to achieve packing a lot of power in a compact build.

At a Glance

Why Want a Compact, Small Winch?

The main reason consumers want compact, small yet powerful winches is convenience. They want winches that are easy to transport or that will save some space on their vehicles.

Having a small winch also guarantees that it can be fitted into more bumper models.

But of course, power should not be sacrificed in place of size. In this guide, I will to you  five small winches that pack a lot of punch.

Small Winches That Are So Worth It

RUGCEL Electric 12V 2000lb Single Line Waterproof Winch

Our Rating

Features & Key Technical Data

2,000 lbs capacity
Mechanical & Dynamic Brake
Completely Waterproof
3 Years Limited Warranty

Rugcel is one of those brands that provide great value for less. Although relatively new in the scene, it can make older winch brands a run for their money.

This unit has a 2000 lb rated load capacity when used with a single line. It is fairly small, roughly less than 30cm in length and 10 about 10cm in height.

It is a utility winch. It’s good for ATVs, UTVs, small trucks, trailers, boats or jeeps. Mechanically wise, it is quite efficient. It is equipped with a 1 HP, 12 volt, series wound motor. it also rocks 3 stages in its planetary gear system.

It also both convenient and durable. It utilizes a free-spooling clutch, a steel fairlead, a clevis hook with a safety latch, and a hand held wired remote controller. It is also both waterproof and UV resistant.

As for the braking system, it uses a dynamic and mechanical automatic load holding brake. This means you can be sure you’ll be safe in case the power runs out in the middle of an operation. It comes with a steel wire cable. There is no option for synthetic rope.

In general, this unit is easy to install, very efficient, and is of great value for your money.

  • Convenient, complete and easy
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • No synthetic rope option
WARN 885000 PullzAll Corded 120V AC Portable Electric Winch with Steel Cable

Our Rating

WARN is no longer selling this old model. Check out the newer model here.

Features & Key Technical Data

1,000 lbs. capacity
15 feet of wire rope
Heavy duty anchor hook
Variable speed control trigger

Sometimes price speaks for the quality of the brand and Warn is known for that. It perhaps is the most trusted and most well-known brand considering many winch users regard it as the best winch manufacturer (to know more about the best winch manufacturers, see this informative article).

The Warn PullzAll might just be it’s best product among all portable winches. Of course, there is a reason for that. This portable winch is very easy to use, highly durable and  also very handy. With a load capacity of 1000 lbs, it is perfect for garage or industrial applications.

It comes with its very own heavy duty anchor hook, 15 feet of wire rope, an LED indicator for mid-operation feedback, and an electronic automatic load-limiter. A sling, a complete rigging kit, a car charger, and a rigging cable are also included.

It is super easy to use. Not to mention, the winch can go in two directions – forward and reverse.

WARN is no longer selling this old model. Check out the newer model here.
  • Highly durable
  • Light and compact
  • Very easy to use
  • Pricey
ORCISH 12V 3500lb Electric Winch ATV UTV Synthetic Rope Winch Kits

Our Rating

Features & Key Technical Data

3500 lbs capacity
Comes with Full Winch Kit
2 Wireless Remote Controls
3 stage planetary gearing system

ORCISH is a brand that really drives deep into raw ruggedness and definite durability. With ORCISH products, you are sure to get your money’s worth. It will last for years.

This unit is as handy as it is tough, it comes with a lot of winching essentials. Two wireless remote controls are part of the package. These two remote controls work great in my experience.

A very functional 4-way roller fairlead guides the 30ft long steel wire rope. A pair of sturdy gloves and a heavy duty hook are also present. Along with an ATV mount.

As for the performance, this unit is quite exceptional. A 3 stage planetary gear system plus a sealed permanent magnet motor that produces low amps make for an efficient pulling mechanism. The entire mechanical workings is also corrosion resistant. This utility winch works great for a lot of ATV winch applications like snow plowing. It is also waterproof with an IP67 rating.

Other accessories included in the package are the control box, a safety rope, installation hardware, the user manual and a wired remote control.

With its 4500 lbs rated single line pull and a 1.4 HP motor, this thing makes winching easy.

  • Easy to install
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Convenient even in tough operations
  • Excessively noisy in use
Reese Towpower 74337 600 Pound Capacity Winch

Our Rating

Features & Key Technical Data

600 lbs capacity
High carbon steel gears
Zinc-plated finish
Comfort grip handle

The next item on our list of small winches is  a manual winch. It is manufactured by one of the best manual winch producers, Reese Towpower.

Compared to the other winches on the list, this one has a relatively lower pull capacity. With only a 600 lb capacity, this manual winch is perfect for personal and very light duty use. The good thing about it, though, it doesn’t rely on any power source.

Since it only needs an operator to work, it is highly portable.

The unit is resistant to corrosion – it has a zinc plated finish. The gear mechanism is also durable as they are made from strong, high carbon steel. The drum and shaft bushings and well oiled shaft bushings require very little maintenance.

It is very easy to use. It utilizes a one-way ratchet technology. That can also serve as some sort of an automatic braking system. The crank handle is very ergonomic and comfortable in the grip.

Overall, this is one tough, easy to use manual winch model.

  • Very durable
  • Ergonomic and easy to use
  • Portable
  • Easy to mount
  • Highly affordable
  • Only 600 lb capacity
  • No rope included

What to look for in a Small Winch?

Portability of Design

The main point of having a small winch is so that it is handy. They should be easy both to install and uninstall, or mount and dismount. If they are not, they are not really handy.

A small winch should be lightweight. It should be easy to transport. It should be easy to store. It should not take too much storage space. Although compact and light, the materials should be strong.

Durability of Materials

Commonly, a small winch can easily be broken. This should not be the ease. If it is, then you just wasted money on an item that is soon to be useless.

You should look for features that guarantee a long lasting winch. Corrosion resistance and some sort of weather resistance are good features to begin with.

Easy to Use

Since small winches are commonly used for light duty, personal applications, they should be easy enough to handle. Most likely, the job you need it for is a one-man task. One person should be enough to operate it.

Your Decision for the Best Small Winch

At the end of the day, the best small winch entirely depends on each individual’s specific needs and preferences. Some may need more powerful models like the ORCISH 12V 3500lb Electric Winch ATV UTV Winch Kits. While a lightweight manual winch like Reese Towpower 74337 600 Pound Manual Winch is good enough for some. The aspect of budget comes in to play. But whatever your needs and preferences are, there is an item in the list that suits you.

Do you have questions? How about suggestions of worthy small winches? Share your thoughts on the comments section!

Best Smittybilt Winch Review
Best X Bull Winch Review
Best Badland Winch Review
Best Champion Winch Review