A winch may be one of the most useful vehicular-based tools you can own, adding utility that is difficult to compensate for with other tools. Sure, you can also use a farm jack or come-along for many of the same tasks as a winch and more, but the amount of labor needed to get the same tasks done is larger than with an electrically or hydraulically powered winch. The most obvious task a winch can handle is vehicle recovery—assuming you have some sort of solid land anchor to winch to, be it another vehicle, a sturdy tree, large rock, or some mechanical anchor nearby. We’ve used winches for landscaping, moving rocks, logs, and dirt, and to uproot small trees and bushes out of the ground or impart a falling direction to a larger tree that’s getting cut down. We’ve also seen winches used to right fallen fences or add tension to a wire-based fence. Their utility around the house (and on the trail) is only limited by how you can imagine using them. On the trail a winch and a tree saver or other strap can make self-recovery much less of a hassle, although we would never recommend going four-wheeling alone. Winches come in handy for some trail repairs, like straightening bent tie rods, or acting as a stabilizer when a vehicle is in a precarious position and a wheel has to come off. Truly, winches are a versatile tool that can expand the utility of just about any 4x4 vehicle.
In today’s world there are tons of winches on the market with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars and everywhere in between. Like with anything you might buy, these prices can reflect the manufacturer’s efforts at maintaining an affordable price or dedication to their products durability and reliability despite heavy use. Like with many tools, choosing the right winch for the job depends on what the job at hand is. The first step is to find out what’s available. Our plan is to introduce you to a wide selection of winches and winch manufacturers that offer winches with load ranges between 6,000 and 15,000 pounds. This range is perfect for use with most 4x4s from the smallest Jeep and Suzuki 4x4s on up to 3/4- and 1-ton 4x4 trucks. We’ll talk a little bit about the company and its product line, and we’ll show you an example of one of their winches in more detail. What you want and need is up to you now that we’ve made the introduction.
MODERN RELIABILITYWho: Warn
What: Warn might just be the most widely recognized American winch company in the world. We’ve seen and used Warn winches (sometimes in admittedly unkind ways) from the deepest corners of Africa to the northernmost points in Alaska and everywhere in between. Formed on June 10, 1948, Warn Industries cut their teeth making surplus WWII Jeeps more road-friendly right at the inception of four-wheeling as a hobby and have ever since built products of the utmost quality and reliability. Warn’s flagship winch is the ZEON Platinum 12s (although we will always have a special place in our hearts for the venerable and still available Warn 8274-50). With 80 feet of 3/8-inch military-inspired Spydura Pro synthetic rope and aluminum hawse fairlead, an all-new high-speed motor, and stronger gears, the ZEON Platinum 12s has best-in-class efficiency, and Warn’s highest durability rating. The advanced wireless remote allows you to control the winch’s functions including engaging the clutch and up to two accessories. This sophisticated, advanced remote provides operator feedback on vehicle battery charge and winch motor temperature, controls operation of the winch, and more.
Range of products: 100- to 30,000-pound electric and hydraulic winches, winch mounts, winch accessories, bumpers, body armor, locking hubs, lights, gloves, and more
Info: Warn Industries, 800/543-9276, warn.com