When you buy a heavy-duty vehicle, you are purchasing not just a means of transportation but a way to make your life easier in many other facets. Whether you have a sturdy truck, an SUV, or a heavy car, you will have the ability to employ your trailer tow hitch in various ways if you utilize a mounted winch. For example, if you do off-road driving, getting stuck in mud, sand, or snow, then having to ask someone else to pull you out will be a thing of the past. With the correct front-mounted receiver hitch and a hitch-mounted winch, you can pull your truck or Jeep or someone else’s vehicle out of the mud with ease.
- 1 Best Receiver Hitch Mounted Winches – Top 3
- 2 What EXACTLY is a winch?
- 3 DIY Hitch Mounted Winch Kits
- 4 Hauling Capacity
- 5 Steel Cable or Synthetic Rope
Best Receiver Hitch Mounted Winches – Top 3
1. Superwinch 1510200 LP 1000 WinchIf you need to haul some serious weight, then look no further. The Superwinch 1510200 is rated at monstrous 10,000 pounds, and it comes packaged with 85 feet of steel cable. You have a completely steel-bodied, weather-sealed product with a heavy-duty motor and a great warranty. Aaffix this winch to any 4×4, trailer, RV, or SUV in order to get your next project done.
2. Warn 2000 DC Utility WinchThe Warn 2000 is a small but powerful 2,000-pound hauling winch powered by a 1.6 HP permanent magnet DC motor, a durable differential planetary gear, and a 12-volt power supply. The Warn 2000 will get you out of tight and sticky situations. It comes packaged with 35 feet of 4.7 mm wire cable, a remote control, and a power cord.
3. Superwinch 1145220 Terra 45 ATV/Utility Winch
Best Hitch Mount ATV and UTB WinchA favorite Polaris Ranger hitch, but it works with other UTV and ATVs as well. The big benefit of this highly effective winch is in how efficient and easy it is to use. You can use the hitch mounting plate to get it right onto your trailer hitch for nearly instantaneous usage. This hitch has a low amperage draw with 55 feet of steel cable. Safety measures are full force with a dynamic brake, full-featured steel material, a heavy-duty hook, and a lifetime warranty. The winch weighs just 22 pounds and is great for smaller loads, as it is rated at 4,500 pounds.
What EXACTLY is a winch?
To put it simply, a winch is a machine used to make pulling around large objects reasonably easy for your vehicle. A winch comprises gears, cable, a central drum, and other parts that keep everything moving.
DIY Hitch Mounted Winch Kits
A winch kit is the best way to go. Typically a kit will include nearly all of the essentials. This would be the winch, winch cable or rope, winch hook, and electrical cables to connect to the vehicle’s power. The better kits will include a wired or wireless remote for the winch as well.
Often, winch kits do not include the mounting plate. If that is the case, make sure you purchase one separately.
As you look through the different trailer hitch-mounted winches out there, you will undoubtedly see that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Larger winches typically have larger motors, tougher cable, and more hauling capacity. When you look for a winch, you should opt for something with a pulling strength of double your vehicle’s weight. Unlike other pieces of equipment in the auto world, bigger is better. So if you have to opt for a guess, defer to guessing for something much larger than you intend to use.
It’s often recommended that you get a winch rated at least 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend anything lower than a 10,000-pound winch.
Electric v. Hydraulic Winches
Once you’ve scouted out the size of your winch, you need to break down how you want it to be powered. There are manual winches, which can be used for other situations, but we’ve opted to leave them out in this discussion — instead of focusing on high-powered products. The two most likely winches you will come across are electric winches and hydraulic winches.
Electric: An electric winch utilizes your vehicle battery to keep the motor powered. These types of winches can drain your battery, but they operate much quicker with accelerated winding speeds. Many of the newer winches on the market powered by your car battery will be easy to install and even easier to use, especially when remote controls are being used. If you opt for this route, ensure that your battery rating provides enough voltage to cover the electric option.
Hydraulic: The hydraulic winch is your second choice. Hydraulic winches utilize the power steering pump of your car to give the winch power. These winches are particularly revered because they do not need to use the vehicle’s battery and thus are more reliable. If you figure to be in wet or ultra muddy conditions often, you should consider using the hydraulic winch. Hydraulic winches, unfortunately, are much harder to install and thus require more serious and committed users.
Steel Cable or Synthetic Rope
Finally, we’ll talk about the guts of your hitch-mounted winch: the cable. The cable is the single most crucial aspect when it comes time to start utilizing your winch. We’ve all seen the horror scenarios in the film where the cable fails, and our heroes plunge to their potential doom. You don’t want that happening to your car or boat, do you? We see primarily steel and synthetic cables manufactured with the new winches on the market. We’ll break down the pros and cons of both.
Steel: Steel cables are the most common and affordable option on the market right now. They are strong, long-lasting, and fight off abrasion at a fantastic rate. The downside to stable cables is that they can cause severe injury on the off-chance that they snap. Steel cables retain a ton of tension that can be turned into forceful damage if a snap occurs.
Steel Cable can also act like a spring bending all of the wrong directions. That makes the steel cable harder to work with. When retracting steel cable, it can “birdcage” in the housing if there is insufficient tension, causing a bad jam. Most experienced people dislike steel cable and often replace it with rope.
Synthetic: Synthetic lines are for more experienced users. They are lighter and safer in that the synthetic cable will not retain as much energy when snapped. The truth is that synthetic lines snap more often than cable lines, but they are still rated safer. We suggest learning on a steel cable and then transitioning to the synthetic line in the future.