A decent winch is an off-roader’s best friend. Even the most well-kept 4x4 with the highest tread tires, money can buy will occasionally get stuck.
If you have ever been stuck in a snowbank, loose sand, or a mud puddle, you will appreciate how much easier getting out of that predicament is if you have a good quality winch to help haul your vehicle out.
Even if you are not an off-roader, any vehicle can get stuck or break in the worst possible place, having a winch in your toolkit will help you get out of a bind, hopefully, without having to call a tow truck.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Warn makes some of the best winches on the market. With almost a century of experience in making automotive equipment, the company designs, and markets and most importantly manufactures all of its products with pride, right here in the USA.
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Regardless of whether you need a winch for your Jeep, truck, or 4x4, from offroading to commercial applications Warn has a winch to suit your needs, and what’s more each comes with a limited lifetime guarantee for their mechanical parts and seven-year warranty on all electrical parts.
Below we have collected together the best Warn winches along with a helpful buyers guide so you know what to look for when buying a winch.
Top 5 Best Warn Winches
OUR TOP PICK
Designed for the recovery of off-road vehicles the Warn 90330 ZEON, is our top pick. A long-lasting, high-quality winch from one of the best producers of off-road winches in the market.
The 90330 multi-mount kit is part of the Warn Zeon series of winches which are specifically designed to recover heavy loads.
As it pulls, it reduces the chance of changing a vehicle’s wheel alignment by distributing the load across the entire frame of the vehicle. If your Jeep, truck, or 4x4 is stuck in a ditch, this winch can safely pull it out without causing any further damage to the vehicle.
While its powerful series wound motor with an improved planetary gear train system, is capable of hauling 8,000 lbs, providing you with fast, quiet, and reliable pulling power, so you can haul your vehicle out of any tight spot, no matter how deep or difficult.
The Zeon also comes with a convertible control pack which can be mounted separately or attached. The rope is protected from wear and tear by a large, but light, aluminum drum, and mounting the winch kit is easy to do, while it’s all-black powder-coated design gives your vehicle a rugged, yet professional look, while protecting the unit from corrosion.
The Warn 90330 Zeon 8-S may be one of the pricier winches on the market, but, with a reliable, powerful motor, superb pulling power, and multiple mounting options, this is a solid winch which is worth every penny.
- Distributes load to reduce damage to vehicles
- 8,000 lb capacity
- Easy to mount
- Only comes in black
Versatile and incredibly powerful, the Warn 26502 M800 is a great winch for recovery applications, while it’s low-profile, compact build makes it the perfect winch for Jeeps.
For a small, quiet winch this Warn winch packs a surprising amount of power,
Perfect for recovering jeeps and other smaller off-road vehicles, the M8000 couples a high-performance, three-stage planetary gearbox with a heavy-duty wire rope, and a steel roller fairlead with a powerful motor capable of hauling up to 8,000 lbs.
Including a 100 feet spool of 5/16inch wire rope, the M8000 allows you to attach your vehicle to an anchor point from a long distance, making it great for use on steep slopes and in more dangerous recovery locations.
The Winch is controlled by a handheld remote on a 12-foot lead, while an automatic brake feature ensures the safety of both vehicles involved in any towing operation.
It comes with a roller fairlead but is also compatible with a horse fairlead.
Lightweight, with a small form factor, multiple mounting options, and a surprising amount of power, the WARN 26502 M8000 is the ideal winch for Jeep owners but will work just as well with any truck or 4x4, and is a great winch for vehicle recovery.
- Powerful motor
- Multiple mounting options
- 8,000 lb capacity
- Remote is wired
The VR EVO 8 is an ideal everyday winch for two-door jeeps and lighter SUVs.
Its high-performance, reliable Albright contactor is contained within the control pack which is handy for low profile installations when you want to hide the winch from view.
The winch is controlled by a versatile state-of-the-art, two in one remote which can be used wired and wirelessly, making it easier to use in a variety of situations and pulls safer as a result.
With a pulling capacity of 8,000lbs and a 90-foot steel wire, with a sturdy hook on the end, the VR Evo 8 is more than capable of pulling the average Jeep or 4x4 out of the stickiest mud puddle or the deepest snowdrift.
It also features an IP68-rated waterproof construction that keeps the elements out, and a durable, one-piece cast-aluminum tie-plate improving its strength and durability.
While a powerful series-wound motor and planetary gear train deliver faster line speed under load, with a lower amp draw than most other winches.
Durable, reliable, and with a decent amount of pulling power the Warn EVO 8 is a fantastic everyday winch for offroaders and jeep owners alike.
With its fast line-speed, low amp draw, and two in one remote, it’s an incredibly hard-working winch that looks great on your front bumper, while being very safe to use.
- Two in one control ensures safe operation
- 8,000lb weight capacity
- Very durable, waterproof, and reliable
- Not suitable for heavier trucks
A seriously heavy-duty winch, the 95960 Zeon Platinum 12-S is powerful enough to unstick even the heaviest trucks and get them back on the road again.
With a 12,000-pound pulling capacity, a powerful engine, as well as 80 feet of tough synthetic rope, the Zeon Platinum is easily one of the most powerful winches on the market. Capable of easily dragging the heaviest trucks out of the mud and is built to take years of punishment.
The engine is protected from the elements, and the casing has an IP68 waterproof rating, while the body of the drum is corrosion-resistant
The winch is also surprisingly lightweight considering how much of a beast it is, weighing just 80lbs and is easy to install with just a few bolts.
However, one of the best features of the winch is its wireless digital remote control. This can be charged via USB, or car charging cable and makes the winch a lot easier and safer to use as you do not need to be anywhere near the vehicle which is being recovered, the remote even tells you the temperature of the winch’s motor so you can tell if it is about to overheat.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty winch that can tackle just about anything you throw at it the Zeon Platinum may be the winch for you. The combination of high power pulling, incredible durability, and brilliant safety features make it easy to recommend to both off-road enthusiasts and truckers traversing dangerous routes.
- 12,000lb pulling capacity
- Wireless remote can be charged via USB
- Easy to install
- The Remote’s battery can lose charge after a couple of weeks.
The 16.5ti is an absolute beast of a winch, robust, reliable, and incredibly powerful, it's the perfect winch for anyone needing some serious pulling power.
Weighing about 130 pounds and capable of hauling 16,000lbs can recover everything from Jeeps to trucks, and even trees.
The 16.5ti is an incredibly heavy-duty winch, combining a series wound, high-speed motor with a durable three-stage planetary gear train system, the 16.5ti is capable of providing fast line speeds on light loads, and incredible pulling power when it needs it while being incredibly energy efficient, with smooth and reliable operation.
The drum is kept in a solenoid housing cover, while extreme sealing protects the winch from the elements and is finished off with a chip-resistant powder coating, with undercoat protecting it from corrosion.
This is attached to 90 feet of 7/16 diameter wire rope and a sturdy tow hook. The wire is incredibly heavy-duty and feels like you could fell a tree with it, but it is also quite heavy, but when the winch touts the ability to drag 16,000lbs worth of truck out of a ditch you would hope it came with a wire that you feel sure is not going to snap while you’re trying to do this.
While the winch is operated by an LED remote tethered to the winch by a 12-foot long cable. The remote features Warn’s thermometric technology which allows you to monitor the heat of the winch in operation to make sure the motor is never overloaded.
- 16,000 lbs pulling capacity
- Incredibly durable
- Remote monitors heat from the motor
- Steel wire is heavy
Best Warn Winches Buying Guide
To the uninitiated looking for a winch for your new Jeep, truck or 4x4 can be a daunting task. With different drive types, weight limits, and cable densities, there’s a lot to take on board.
But fear not, for we have answered all the questions you may have about buying a new winch so you can be happy in the knowledge you have the product that best suits your needs.
Electric or Hydraulic Winch?
The first thing to consider is whether to get an electric or a hydraulic winch. Hydraulic winches tend to give you far more power, but costs a lot more to buy and require regular maintenance, while electric winches are ideal for use with small to mid-size vehicles and are generally much cheaper, but can drain your car battery.
Unless you are likely to be dragging big rigs out of ditches anytime soon, an electric winch should be more adequate for your needs. You can get electric winches capable of shifting several tonnes and can usually pull a small truck or a jeep out of the mud pretty quickly.
They are also easier to install and use than hydraulic winches. It is worth noting though that electric winches can run down your car battery, or overheat. Therefore it's best to buy an electric winch with remote control on your wench that can read the motor temperature to prevent this.
However, if you are likely to be facing a professional workload or lifting heavier trucks, a hydraulic winch is probably the way to go, and worth the extra cash. Though it may be worthwhile to have it professionally installed, as they are trickier to mount to your vehicle than electric winches.
Synthetic rope or steel wire?
Winches come with either synthetic rope or steel wire, both have their benefits, and neither affects the pulling power of the winch, so ultimately which one you decide to use is just a matter of preference.
Steel wire cables can be found in most older winches. They are long-lasting and weather-resistant, although they can succumb to rust after a while. They are also usually heavier and more cumbersome than synthetic rope and can be very dangerous if it snaps.
It is also advisable to wear gloves when handling steel wire to protect yourself from cuts.
Seen as the more modern option, synthetic rope is incredibly strong, much lighter than steel wire, and is also a lot less likely to cut your hands while handling it. AS such most newer winches come with it as standard. However, it is worth noting that it can wear down quicker or fray faster than steel wire, although as stronger fabrics are being developed all the time this is becoming a less frequent occurrence.
How much pulling power do I need?
It should be painfully obvious that if the weight of the vehicle you want to pull exceeds the pulling capacity of your winch, you should not try to pull it. Overloading a winch can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is vitally important you have a winch with the right weight capacity for your vehicle and the vehicles it will pull. As such it is always worthwhile, and safer, to buy a winch with a much higher weight capacity than you will ever need. Then you will be prepared for anything and not have to worry about ever overloading it.
Bear in mind that pulling capacity is not the only factor that determines how powerful your winch is. Other factors including how badly your vehicle is stuck in the snow or mud, and whether it is dangling off a cliff as well as the power of the actual electric or hydraulic motor powering the winch also come into play in how well your winch will perform in any given situation.
In short, the more pulling power a winch has the better it will perform in most circumstances.
How to use your Winch
Using a winch to recover a vehicle can be daunting, and even dangerous if you have not done it before. As such this is only meant as a general guide to the operation of winches and we would urge you to do further reading and be sure to read any documentation which came with your winch before use.
First, you need to switch the winch into free spool mode, so you can easily reel out the rope and attach it to an anchor point which is a lot heavier than the weight capacity of the winch itself, for example, a heavy truck or 4x4. Once the cable is attached, lock the winch. If you are using another vehicle as an anchor point, make sure someone is in the driver’s seat with their foot on the brake.
Then, using your winch’s remote control from a safe distance, feed the rope back into the drum until it is taught and tight. Then start the winch while lightly pressing the gas pedal on the stuck vehicle, if possible, to gently free it.
When recovering vehicles stuck on steep slopes or in a precarious position, make sure to. keep everyone out of the way, and don’t put yourself in a dangerous position. If the vehicle which needs recovering is dangling off the edge of a cliff, don’t try and get in it. You can always buy a new 4x4, but you can’t buy a new you.