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3 Features to Consider Before You Buy an Electric Winch

Electric winches adorn the front of many off-road vehicles, but there are also smaller, lighter, handheld models that make chores easier to tackle.
Electric winches adorn the front of many off-road vehicles, but there are also smaller, lighter, handheld models that make chores easier to tackle. (Smittybilt/)

Whether you are exploring on your own or off-roading with a group of vehicles, having extra towing capability can save the day in the event of an accident or other misfortune. A front-mounted electric winch is great for righting a vehicle from a ditch, pulling your own rig back onto the road, skidding timber, felling trees, hanging big game for processing, and any number of tasks that require heavy hauling. Consider these things when thinking about investing in an electric winch.

Weight Limit

The greater the task, the larger load capacity your winch will need.
The greater the task, the larger load capacity your winch will need. (Smittybilt/)

Load capacity for commercial winches ranges anywhere for 1,000 to 15,000 pounds. The low end is enough for lighter tasks such as hanging game, stretching fence lines, or yanking a small vehicle or tractor out of the mud. For heavy duty pulling, demolition, and other tasks that require serious leverage, a winch in the range of 5,000 pounds or greater will offer a serious advantage.

Cable Material

Select an amphibious winch to prevent rust if you plan to work around water.
Select an amphibious winch to prevent rust if you plan to work around water. (Smittybilt/)

Electric winches are available with towing lines composed of braided cable, sturdy nylon rope, or webbing straps. An amphibious winch with a synthetic rope that won't corrode or rust is a great addition to any vehicle pressed into hard service in chronically muddy or boggy environments.

Portability

A portable winch is a great tool for jobs traditionally done with come-a-longs and chain falls.
A portable winch is a great tool for jobs traditionally done with come-a-longs and chain falls. (Warn/)

If you don't want to mount a winch to your vehicle, you can still get the same hauling capacity with a portable, hand-held winch. Just attach one end to a fixed object and the other to whatever you are trying to haul, plug it in, and pull away!

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