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ProMark Offroad Blog

Winch Pulling Power and Snatch Blocks

Snatch block

Use a snatch block to double your winch's pulling power.

Want to know how you can increase the pulling power of your ATV or truck winch? Meet the snatch block. This little powerhouse can almost double the rated load capacity of your winch, without even breaking a sweat.

What Is a Snatch Block?

A snatch block is basically a pulley with a metal casing designed to give you more flexibility in winching—whether you need to redirect a pull or get more power and reduce the strain on your winch. It’s compact enough to easily store inside your vehicle.

How Do I Use a Snatch Block?

To use a snatch block, spool out a few feet of cable, thread the winch cable through the pulley, and attach the hook to a recovery point on your vehicle. The winch line should travel through the block on the pulley and back to the vehicle.

Then grab hold of the snatch block and walk the cable and pulley out to your anchor point. Wrap a tree strap or chain around your anchor point and attach the snatch block to the strap/chain with a D-shackle.

Safety Tips

Make sure the recovery point on your vehicle is rated high enough to handle the full force of the pull. Your winch’s line speed will be slower with a double line pull, but the stress on your winch will be reduced and the power will be greater—both because of the snatch block and because you have more winch line out.

Winching Techniques: Use a Pulley Block to Double Pulling Power

Pulley block

Using a pulley block can give you almost double the pulling power.

Pulling power decreases as the number of layers on the winch drum increases. The more winch power you need, the more line you need to spool out.

So what if your anchor point is too close to the recovery vehicle? Or what if you have almost all of the cable spooled out, but you’re still not getting enough power to make the recovery?

A snatch block (also called a pulley block) can almost double your winch power. And since it doubles the amount of winch line that you need to spool out, you can choose a closer winch anchor without losing pulling power.

To rig up a double line pull, spool out a few feet of winch line and attach the winch hook to a tow hook or recovery point on the front of your vehicle. Open the snatch block and run the cable through the block. Walk the snatch block and cable out to your anchor point, and secure the snatch block to the anchor point using a clevis and tree strap or chain. Follow proper winching techniques to complete the recovery.

What’s the downside to rigging up a double line pull? A slower recovery. But even a slow recovery is better than leaving your truck in the mud or waiting for someone to come and rescue you.

Rigging Up a Winch Snatch Block

Winch snatch block

Make sure your winch snatch block is rated high enough for the force of the pull.

A winch snatch block can come in handy when you need to redirect a pull, rig up a double line pull for more power, or spool out more cable for maximum single-line pulling power. A snatch block is a basic winch tool that every offroader should own. It makes your winch more versatile and can give you the extra power and direction you need to get out safely.

How to Rig Up a Snatch Block

  1. Free the winch hook and feed out several feet of cable.
  2. Attach the winch hook to your vehicle’s tow hook (make sure it is attached to the vehicle frame and not the mounting plate).
  3. To open the snatch block, rotate the side plate until there is opening to attach the cable.
  4. Run the cable through the snatch block so that it fits into the metal groove on the wheel.
  5. Rotate the side plate so that the two side plates are lined up together.
  6. Disengage the clutch and use the snatch block to feed out enough cable to reach your anchor point.
  7. Secure the snatch block to the anchor point by using a tree trunk protector or choker chain and a clevis/shackle.

Make sure your snatch block is rated for the capacity of the pull. Remember that if you rig up a double line pull, you are asking your snatch block and other rigging parts to handle up to twice the capacity of your winch. If a snatch block breaks under load, it can do an incredible amount of damage. Always take safety precautions and stand clear of the winch line under load.

ProMark Offroad Winch Product Reviews

See what some of our customers have to say about our ATV and truck/Jeep products, including ATV winches, synthetic rope for truck winches, and the 20K snatch block.

Cinching down the rear suspension

Cinching down the rear suspension

3000 lb XTR Winch with Synthetic Cable

“Wife got me a ProMark winch. Love it, easy to install – great instructions. Used it and found it quiet and able to pull my Honda 500 out of my favorite mud hole. Would recommend product – heard great things about this winch…”
– D. H.

3000 lb ATV Winch

“Here are some older pictures of my Toyota based truggy [see right]. I have a 3000# Gorilla ATV winch that I use to cinch down the rear suspension during steep descents or off camber situations. Love this winch – it’s been working flawlessly for me for the past 4 years!!!
– Peter B.

4000 lb XT Winch

“One of the best winches I have ever owned and it has plenty of power to spare… Might be designed for a UTV/ATV but it can move a truck that is stuck with the right hardware and not even break a sweat. I have mine mounted on the rear of an Arctic Cat 700 EFI. It gets muddy, wet and covered with gunk – I know I should treat it better – I do bathe it with a power washer each time. I have yet to have a problem with it dealing with water or wet winch.

Peter's Toyota with 3000 lb winch

Peter's Toyota with 3000 lb winch

A Well Worth having, Great Product!!!”
– Tim M.

ProMark Blue Synthetic Winch Rope

“Excellent product. I already installed in my 4×4 truck and is very resistant. The item was delivered the same day that it was purchased and was received on time.”
– E. R. Torres

20K Snatch Block

“I bought a pair of these to augment my existing snatch block for reverse-pull capability from my CJ’s front-mounted hydraulic winch. This snatch block is *beefy* weighing in at nearly 7 pounds of thick plate steel. The pulley axle even has a zerk fitting, something missing on my $50+ brand-name block. It is held together with snap rings instead of a hair pin cotter, so it’s not quickly disassembled like some others out there, but for the price you can afford to buy several of them and greatly expand your winching capability.
– “Cowlick” (Georgia)

“Fast shipping. Finally a ‘REAL’ heavy duty snatch block. Just what I’ve been looking for. Thank You.”
– R. Dunn

Winch Rigging: Straight Line Pull

Winching Tip of the Week from ProMark Offroad

16K Snatch Block

Use a snatch block to straighten the pull as needed.

Winching Tip of the Week: Always avoid continuous side pulls. The rope can pile up on one side of the drum, possibly damaging your winch or rope.


Try to rig up the pull so that the recovery vehicle or anchor point is directly in line with the stuck vehicle. Make the pull as straight as possible, and any angle pulls should be no more than about 30 degrees to either side. With a straight pull, the rope should spool evenly and neatly from side to side on the drum.

If the winch rope begins to pile up on one side of the drum or gets tangled up, stop winching and spool the line back out. Re-spool the line in straight and even rows; then continue winching.

If you get stuck in a situation where a straight line pull is impossible, use a snatch block to redirect the line. A snatch block lets you change the pulling direction and guide the rope straight into the winch.

How to Use a Winch Snatch Block

8000 lb Winch Snatch Block

8000 lb Winch Snatch Block

One of the best winch tools to keep in your off road tool kit is a snatch block. It can get you out of some tough situations by straightening out an angle pull, spooling out more line on a short pull, and doubling your winch capacity.

Attaching the Winch Snatch Block

Snatch blocks are designed to attach to the cable without having to remove the load or take apart the pulley. Just open up the side plate by rotating it, then attach the block to the cable.

Setting Up a Single Line Pull with Snatch Block

To straighten out a pull or to route the winch rope around an object:

  1. Attach the snatch block to an anchor point in a straight line with the winch.
  2. Then attach the other end of the cable to the load (if winching out another vehicle) or to a solid anchor point (if recovering your own vehicle).
  3. Use a tree strap or chain to secure the snatch block to the anchor point. Do not wrap a chain around a tree; use a tree strap to prevent damage to the tree.

How to redirect an angle pull using a snatch block

How to redirect an angle pull using a snatch block
(Used with permission from JonFund and 4WheelDrive)

Setting Up a Double Line Pull with Snatch Block

To double the line for more winch power or to spool out more cable when the anchor point is too close to the vehicle:

  1. Attach the snatch block to the cable.
  2. Then freespool the cable out to the anchor point.
  3. Attach the snatch block to the anchor point with a tree strap or chain.
  4. Then attach the end of the cable to a solid mounting point on the frame of the vehicle for self recovery.
Self Recovery with a Double Line Pull

Self Recovery with a Double Line Pull
(Used with permission from JonFund and 4WheelDrive)

Recovering another vehicle with a double line pull

Recovering another vehicle with a double line pull
(Used with permission from JonFund and 4WheelDrive)

Snatch Block Ratings

Remember that a double line pull places double the stress on your mounting points, cable, and winch tools. Make sure all tools, including the snatch block, are rated to double the winch capacity if you plan on pulling the maximum load.

Snatch Blocks for Winches

Snatch block rated up to 20,000 pounds

Snatch block rated up to 20,000 pounds

What is a snatch block good for?

  1. It gives you more pulling power.
  2. It takes a load off of your winch.
  3. It gives you more options for rigging up (double line pull, straighten an off-kilter pull, etc.).

Winch snatch blocks are designed to operate safely under heavy loads. They are made to handle different strengths. Higher rated snatch blocks are made from stronger, thicker materials.

What size snatch block do I need?

If you plan to pull up to twice the capacity of your winch with a double line pull, make sure the snatch block is rated up to double the maximum load your winch can handle. If you only use the snatch block to straighten a pull, you can get by with a lower rating.

Generally an 8000 pound snatch block is strong enough for a double line pull with any ATV or UTV winch. For Jeep and truck winches, double the capacity of the winch to find the recovery snatch block rating (16K, 20K, and larger).

How big are they?

Like most other winching tools, snatch blocks are small enough to easily be tucked away in a corner of your vehicle (for recovery snatch blocks) or in the tool kit for your quad (for ATV/UTV snatch blocks).

Why do I need a snatch block?

A snatch block is useful for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • It increases pulling power.
  • It increases the amount of winch line spooled out.
  • It doubles the pulling power and cuts the strain on the motor in half by using a pulley system.
  • It lets you straighten out a pull.
  • It lets you double or even triple the line for hard pulls.

When rigging up a double line pull, keep in mind that it will also reduce the line speed by half and double the amount of stress placed on the mounting points.

Basic Offroad Recovery Kit

If you wheel out in the backcountry, you know how important it is to be prepared in case things go wrong. And when it comes to offroad recovery, there are certain items you just don’t want to leave at home!

We’ve put together a basic list of offroad recovery and winching tools to help you prepare for any recovery situation you might face. Some of these items are essential to the winching process, and others are just a matter of convenience. Feel free to add your own items to the list.

    20,000 lb Snatch Block for Offroad Recovery

    20,000 lb Snatch Block for Offroad Recovery

  1. Gloves – Protect your hands during the winching process with a pair of heavy duty leather gloves.
  2. Hook Strap – Keep your fingers from getting pinched in the winch hook by using the hook strap to spool out the cable.
  3. Snatch Block – Double up the winch line with a snatch block for really tough pulls.
  4. Clevis / D-shackles – Attach the winch hook to the anchor point with a clevis or D-shackle.
  5. Choker Chain – Use the choker chain to hook up to sharp objects or other vehicles. (Note: Not for use on trees, since a choker chain could damage or kill the tree.)
  6. Tree Strap – Use the tree strap to hook up to trees or other natural objects as an anchor point.
  7. Heavy Blanket or Coat – Throw a heavy blanket over the winch cable to zap the momentum of the cable in case it breaks.
  8. Recovery Strap – Use the recovery strap for quick and easy snatch pulls. (Note: Do not use the recovery strap in combination with your winch.)
  9. Batteries – Throw in extra batteries for the winch remote, just in case your batteries die out on the trail.
  10. Accessory Bag or Case – Keep all these winching accessories handy when you need them by storing them all together in one place.
  11. Shovel – One of these might come in handy during a tough recovery.
  12. Toolbox – Throw some pliers, a wrench, a screwdriver, and other basic tools into your accessory kit for repairs and quick fixes.
  13. Backup Parts – If you have room, it’s a good idea to throw in an extra winch cable or cable extension, an extra tree strap, and an extra clevis shackle and snatch block, along with any other extra parts you think might come in handy.

Don’t Go Offroading Without These 2 Winch Tools

Going off road this weekend? Don’t leave home without these two handy winch tools: a snatch block and a clevis shackle.

8000 lb snatch block

8000 lb snatch block

Snatch blocks (or pulley blocks) are an offroader’s friend. Here’s why:

  • Snatch blocks double the pulling power of your winch.
  • They let you straighten out an off-kilter pull.
  • They give your winch motor a break by reducing heat buildup and amp draw. The more you let your motor overheat, the faster it will wear out. A snatch block means less demand on your winch.
  • Because a snatch block pivots at the pulley pin, it easily attaches to the winch cable without any need to take apart the snatch block.

A D shackle (or clevis shackle) is another winch tool you don’t want to leave behind. Here’s why:

Pair of clevis shackles

Pair of clevis shackles

  • A clevis shackle lets you connect the looped ends of cables, straps and snatch blocks.
  • It prolongs the life of your winch cable. Looping the winch around an anchor point and tying it back on itself is a quick way to destroy the cable or, at the very least, compromise its strength.
  • The shackle pin is threaded, so it stays in place when you’re depending on its strength and can easily be removed when the pull is over.
  • It’s a good tool to have around for more than just off road recovery.

Double Your Winch Power

An electric winch is a powerful recovery tool. Used correctly, it provides massive amounts of power to pull out your ATV or truck. With the right tools and rigging, you can pull up to two or even three times the maximum rating of your winch. The key to maximum power is knowing how to use your recovery equipment to its full potential. With these recovery tips, you’ll be winching your way out of even the toughest spots just like the pros.

Snatch blocks increase pulling power.

Snatch blocks increase pulling power.

For starters, let’s focus on rigging up a single line pull. Whenever possible, choose an anchor point directly in line with the stuck vehicle. A straight line pull is more efficient than an indirect pull. If the only option is to winch at an angle, use a snatch block to guide the cable directly into the winch and prevent it from stacking up on one side of the drum. Attach the cable as low as possible on the anchor point for the best leverage. The base of a tree, stump, or rock is generally the strongest point.


If you want to double the power of your winch, or if the anchor point is too close to let out enough cable for a strong pull, use a snatch block to double the line. Using a snatch block will double your load capacity and will allow you to spool out more cable to reach the maximum rating of your winch. For even more power, you can rig up a triple line pull. However, use caution with double and triple lines. As the strength of the pull increases, so does the amount of stress placed on each rigging point. Make sure your anchor point is rock solid and can withstand the force of the pull.

The length of cable you spool out also affects the power of the pull. All electric winches are rated based on only one full wrap left on the drum. The more line you spool out, the more power you’ll get. For a maximum power pull, unwind enough cable to leave only one layer on the drum. If your anchor point is too close to spool out enough rope, double the line with a snatch block.

Another trick to squeeze the most power out of your winch is to gas the stuck vehicle. A rolling load fuels the momentum of the pull and eases the strain on your winch. Before starting the recovery, dig out around the tires or build a rock ramp to give the stuck vehicle some traction as it begins to move.

As your winch works harder, it generates more heat. In order to prevent overheating the motor, take breaks if you’re pulling over a long distance and let the motor cool before starting again. Winching places a heavy load on your electrical system, so keep your engine running to prevent a complete drain. In some cases, a stock battery may not provide enough juice to power a maximum pull. Some wheelers swap the stock battery for a heavy duty one, or they install a second battery solely for recovery.

Your winch has incredible potential if you know how to get the most power out of it. With these advanced winching techniques, you’ll have a few more tricks up your sleeve when the pulling gets tough.