How much winch power is enough for your truck or Jeep? The industry rule-of-thumb is to multiply the gross weight of your vehicle by 1.5 for a minimum rating. In real-world situations, however, there’s a lot more that goes into deciding what size winch is best for your rig.
How and where will you use your winch?
How you use your recovery winch and what type of terrain you encounter will influence how much winch power you need. For pulling vehicles out of the mud, you’ll need a lot more winch power than if you use your winch to pull a rolling load on flat, stable terrain.
The “sucking” force of mud and sand demands a lot of power from your winch. Heavy mudders will need a winch rating at least 2 times the gross weight of their truck or Jeep. And that’s just the minimum.
5000 lb. truck (GVW) x 2 = 10,000 lb winch (minimum)
Incline matters, too. For steep grades, you’ll need more winch power. For steep hills, mountainous terrain, and pulling a load up a ramp, you’ll need to consider a larger winch size.
How often will you use your winch?
If you use your winch frequently, you should choose a larger winch size. The harder your winch has to work, the faster it will wear out. A more powerful winch motor will not have to work as hard to pull a load. Although you might need to “max out” your winch once in awhile, it’s not good practice to use the full capacity on a regular basis. The strain on the motor will wear down your winch quicker than if you purchased a more powerful winch.
Understanding Winch Ratings
Recovery winches are rated based on the first layer of winch cable (closest to the drum). To reach the full capacity of your winch, you’ll need to spool out enough cable so that only one layer is left on the drum. If the distance between your recovery winch and the load you’re pulling is too short to spool out enough cable, you may need to rig up a double line pull.
Jeep Winches and Truck Winches
Need a winch for your truck or Jeep? Check out our selection of 8000 lb to 17,500 lb recovery winches from Superwinch, Mile Marker, and ProMark Offroad. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 US!