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If you are an outdoor enthusiast and enjoy using your ATV, then you should always have something to get you out of a bind when stuck. The best tool for the job is obviously a winch.
However, with the number of models to choose from, (plus potential compatibility problems) selecting the right one can be overwhelming.
That’s where we come in. We’ve pulled together 5 of the best ATV winches currently available on the market in 2020.
For our results at a glance, just head to the table below. For full reviews of each of our top picks, plus a comprehensive buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Best ATV Winch – Top 5 Revealed
TOP PICK: Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35
3500lbs/1591kg (2500, 3000 & 4500lbs also available)
The best ATV winch on the market in 2020 is the Superwinch Terra 35, with the most powerful version featuring 4500lbs weight capacity. The Champion Power 13004 is a top budget option with a comparable capacity of 3000lbs. For smaller loads, the Warn Vantage 2000 is our recommended buy.
Top 5 ATV Winch Reviews
Armed with the knowledge above, it’s now time to dive into our top 5 ATV winch reviews. We have aimed to cover the demands of all ATV users, to ensure one of these choices will fit the bill for you.
It is easy to see why. They are all designed to pull weight faster and longer in deep water and heavy mud.
The new Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35 is a perfect device for outdoor enthusiasts who travel to harsh terrains, especially when you consider the tool is capable of pulling over 3500 pounds, (other power capacities are also available).
It comes with wireless remote as well as mounted controls allowing you control it from the comfort of your vehicle.
The model has an invaluable safety feature that involves mechanical load holding and one of the most sophisticated braking that reduces any chances of rope slippage in case you experience a power outage.
Unlike most products of its kind, Superwinch Terra 35 features its own circuit breaker protection and a weather-sealed solenoid contact that assures safety, reliability, and convenience in all conditions.
The Terra 35 is compatible with almost all four-bolt pattern ATV mount kits you will come across.
What’s more the Terra 35 features rugged all steel gears with machine-in oil pocket bearings. The end result is a much smoother performance and increased durability.
Other additional features on the Super winch 1135220 Terra 35 include a handlebar mounting switch, a cam action frees polling clutch that allows you to disengage the motor quickly as well as draw out the winch rope as and when you need.
Pros of the Superwinch 1135220 Terra 3
Easy to use
Durable construction, thanks to the weatherproof and sealed circuit breaker.
Built with power in mind
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Wide steel planetary gear making it one of the best machines
Greater efficiency w and with low power consumption
The roller fairlead is a 4 way.
The rope quality needs some improvement; it could be better
Versatility is good but need more improvement
This Winch is our top pick here, it’s quite affordable, great for hauling even the heavier vehicle thanks to the large capacity and the release mechanism. Its efficiency and durability is definitely something competing brands cannot beat.
The Champion Power Equipment 13004 is a powerful, effective winch designed for those on a budget.
It has 3000 pounds rated pull, with an automatic brake which means whatever winching situation you might have, this winch will have you covered.
It also has one of the best clutch systems allowing for easy spooling. The kit also comes with remote control, a roller fairlead, and mounting channels, and other tools you need to have an effective winch.
One of the frequent criticisms of ATV winches is the weak cable they usually include, however, the 49.5 ft provided by Champion is an aircraft-grade made for use in any kind of environment. It is rugged with a latched clevis hook.
The last thing you want when your ATV is stuck is figuring how to use a winch. Well, Champion has made it easy for you, the winch is pretty easy to install and on once in place, you won’t have trouble getting it to work.
Pros of Champion Power Equipment 13004
The provided power is more than enough for small ATVs
You won’t have trouble getting it to work.
The manufacturer offers lifetime technical support and a 2 years life warranty.
The planetary gear works perfectly well
The pulling power is quite reliable
Effective remote control
Only suitable for small ATVs
The remote has been reported as being bulky and overly slow
Relatively durable but affordable
The Champion Power Equipment 13004 is compact yet does not compromise on power.
The general consensus is that the model is only suitable for small ATVs and it’s a little slow, but it does get the job done all the same.
In terms of cost, the price is slightly higher than most budget friendly ATV winches, but you will be pleased with its performance.
The Extreme Max is one of the most budget ATV winches you will come across yet with its large range of features it makes a worthwhile addition to our top 5 list.
Extreme max comes with a 3100 pound Winch package named bear claw, a battery plug-in, and a universal hitch mount.
The battery features a quick connect tech that ensures a seamless connection or disconnection. The universal receiver is purposely designed in a way that makes it compatible with 2 and 4 bolt winches.
The bear claw 3100 pounds has a compact design and features a concentric winch spool to ensure better cable alignment.
On top of that, the Extreme max 5600 comes with a two-year warranty.
The product does not only have low power consumption but it’s also not noisy thanks to the triple planetary gear box.
All parts are covered and sealed as necessary for weather resistance; therefore you can expect good performance even in tough weather conditions.
One of the features that distinguish Extreme Max 5600 with other models is the setup process, it really is very easy to install.
Pros of the Extreme Max 5600 ATV Winch
Low power consumption
Dynamic breaking providing safety and convenience as well.
Comes with a 2 years warranty.
Features a universally mounting system compatible with almost all winches.
Durable and budget friendly
Hassle free setup process
The wires are too short for large ATVs
There are some complaints about cable durability
Overall, this is a fantastic winch kit with everything you need to bolt it to your ATV. It might be a little simple, but it’s a durable and performing product. Unlike most winches of its kind, this one is compatible with almost every winch out there.
Combine its durability, it’s incredible performance, low power consumption and smooth spooling, and you have a winch that is unsurpassed.
Things to consider when buying a winch for your ATV
As with any tool, when buying a new winch there are a few things to think about before you part with your hard-earned money.
Let’s take a look at a few of them now…
The first issue to take care of is to know the specifications of your ATV. More specifically, you need to know the weight of your vehicle.
The owner’s manual will give you all the information you need, (if you don’t have a hardcopy to hand you will almost definitely be able to download one from the internet).
Knowing the weight is important because you need to ensure that you buy a winch capable of hauling more than the weight of your ATV or UTV, (plus the extra force required to get you unstuck from a potential jam).
Another issue to consider is your planned usage for the winch.
If it’s just for peace of mind backup if you end up stuck in the mud or wedged in a ditch you can opt for a lower-powered model that is capable of pulling the weight of your ATV.
However, if you are planning on using your ATV around the farm where more grueling work is required you will want something with a bit more grunt.
An ATV with a winch can be used for a wide range of tasks, whether you’re hauling game out of the woods or pulling timber from the roots, thinking about the power and features you need will help you get the best model for you.
Winches of this size are more affordable on the market. They are smaller in design and tuck nicely into the frame rails of the ATV. They provide great backup for when you might hit trouble, rather than a daily work-horse solution.
2,500-4,000 pound capacity winches
This is the more common power range ATV winch as they are far more versatile. They are much better suited to pulling jobs and models on the top end of this power scale can comfortably work with UTVs too.
If you are planning on using your ATV for construction work or sports such as deer hunting, you will certainly need a winch up to the task. These power levels should serve you well.
Features to look for when buying an ATV winch
So we’ve covered the ATV winch power options available, what about the features?
The following are just some of the bells and whistles you should look out for when buying the best ATV winch.
A free-spooling clutch
A winch with a free-spooling clutch means you can save the gears by pulling the cable from the spool only.
On models without a free-spooling clutch, it actually takes longer to work the winch as you are pulling against the gears. That extra force also adds wear and tear on the winch over time.
Remote mounted/rocker switch
A remote switch (or rocker depending on your circles) is a device that is mounted on to the handlebars of the ATV.
The switch gives you the ability to control the winch while you are sat comfortably on top of your ATV.
Some of them even come with long extension cords so that you can control the winch from a safe distance if need be, which is great if your ATV is knee deep in mud.
Fairleads are built-in guides that help ensure that the cable sits evenly as you spool it in. The two main styles of fairlead are the Roller and the Hawse. Both do a good job of keeping your winch cable neat and tidy, ready for use.
Finally, you should look for a winch that has a sturdy cover. Winches get a battering. While they are built with durability in mind, a well-made hardcover will help keep dust and dirt out of the winch components.
It will also be the first line of defense for the inevitable knocks and bumps that occur when you are using your ATV.
To make sure you get the best UTV winches, you need to find the one that offers convenience and one that‘s easy to use. Other than that, you need to check the accessories included, to avoid ending up buying these accessories separately.
Our best pick, out of the reviewed five options is the Superwinch 1135220 Terra 35. It offers convenience, has superior features, and is a budget-friendly machine.
Essentially, whatever ATV winch you decide to buy, be careful to consider how it will be able to serve your needs as well as your wallet.