If you own a truck, you have probably needed to lift heavy loads onto it on several occasions.
While a lot of brands produce both mechanical and electric winches for that purpose, not all of them can handle the weight of 4500+ lbs. loads, have 1.6+ horsepower, have an 80+ feet long cable, and be waterproof at the same time.
Sounds like a dream, right?
Well, if that is the kind of winch you need, then we’ve got you covered!
We are going to be reviewing the best truck bed winch that will ease your job of loading the truck up.
But before we get into all of that, let us explain how the winches actually work.
How Does a Truck Winch Work?
A winch’s whole purpose is to help load up heavy objects onto the truck. The mechanism of this instrument is actually quite simple if you think about it.
It basically has 3-4 parts and a pretty basic mechanism. The parts and their functionality are shown below:
The most important component of a winch is the cable itself.
This is the part that does all the dirty work. Cables used for truck winches are usually made of steel or synthetic materials and measure about 40 to a hundred feet in terms of length.
After the cable, the most crucial part of the winch is the drum. The cable is basically wrapped around this drum.
The motor is used to provide power to the drum to wrap the cable around it. Drums have a spool inside them and help rotating the drum, and the motor powers that spool.
A gear train is an essential component, which allows the motor to control the power of pulling the load.
10 Best Truck Bed Winch For The Money
Now that you know how the tool works, how about we check some of the best winches out there?
We have done extensive research and handpicked only the finest so you can find the best truck winch for your truck.
#1. GEN-2 XRC Truck Winch by Smittybilt
If you have been looking for the best winch for your truck bed, we are pretty sure you have already come across this brand.
Smittybilt is a rather prominent brand, well-known for producing high-quality machinery, including truck winches.
Do you want a winch that is heavy-duty and can pack quite a punch? Then the GEN2 XRC is your guy (winch)! This is one helluva truck winch, and here’s why.
The most important feature a truck bed winch must have is the ability to carry VERY heavy loads and allowing you to load them onto your truck bed.
Well, this bad boy can carry a whopping 9500 pounds! If that doesn’t get you hooked, we have more!
While having a weight capacity of that much, the winch itself is lightweight and can be easily installed onto your truck.
This winch features a cable, which is essentially a wire rope, with a diameter of 93.5”, and a motor with 6.6 horsepower. When we say this is one powerful tool, we kid you not!
It also features a 3-stage planetary gear train and a 4-way roller fairlead. And to top it all off, this bad boy is completely waterproof, which means even though it is an electric winch, it won’t burn its circuits even if it comes in contact with water.
You won’t have any trouble installing this winch onto your truck; it’s easy to install and they provide the necessary wiring and tools for the installation within the packaging.
So, if you are considering buying a high-quality truck winch, this one would be an excellent choice.
#2. Champion SUV Winch
Say you want a winch that has an even higher weight capacity?
Well, we have got you covered there too! While it isn’t a significant upgrade, an increase of 500 lbs. isn’t anything to laugh at either.
Champion is a brand that you must have heard of while scouring through the internet and from numerous hardware stores, right?
They produce some of the best machinery, a winch being one of them.
With a capacity to handle 10000 pounds of weight, this winch by Champion surely lives up to its name. Say goodbye to struggling with loading heavy objects onto your pickup truck, thanks to this baby!
The best part is that it is not only for trucks but can also be used for SUVs. How cool is that! Enough praising, let’s talk about its features.
It comes with a strong aircraft cable that is 85 feet long and a line speed of 3.9 feet/minute (fully loaded) and 15.7 feet/minute (without any load). That’s pretty impressive if you ask us.
What makes this winch even more special is that it comes with a hitch adapter that has a remote control, making it much more convenient to use than conventional winches.
The only downside to this winch is that the power of the motor is not as powerful as the previous product, or even close. This one’s motor has a power of 3.6 horsepower, which is quite low compared to the last one.
However, when looked at it as it is, it isn’t half as bad. So, only if you’re comparing, this one seems weak.
So, we would say this would be a solid option as well, considering the higher weight capacity.
#3. Superwinch Terra-45
Maybe the previous ones were a bit too powerful for your liking. Care for a less powerful one? Well, we have one for that category too!
If you don’t want too much pulling capacity in your winches, this is the one for you.
But not to mistake less powerful with completely weak. The Terra 45 by Superwinch still has a pretty high weight capacity.
Offering optimum pulling power and offering enough support for considerably lightweight towing or loading up, this one is perfect for small pickup trucks.
This recovery winch has a weight limit of 4500 pounds, which is still pretty impressive considering the kind of trucks it will be used for.
It uses a 55 feet long, ¼ inch synthetic material rope cable and a cam action that offers free spooling clutches.
It comes with planetary gears made of steel, which would give the competitors a run for their money. This gear also uses machined bronze bearings.
The drum is made of durable stainless steel that is specifically designed to wind synthetic ropes.
This one features mechanical load holding and a pretty dynamic braking system. It’s also got a strong hook that is latched onto with a thimble.
This amazing winch is pretty rugged and durable and will last you several years.
So, if you are looking for a winch that is not as heavy-duty as the previous two but is still highly durable and will get the job done equally well, this is the perfect one for you!
#4. Powersports Winch by OFFROAD BOAR
If you liked the first two products and are hungry for more power and weight capacity, this is the one!
Adding the ability to lift up even more weight than the previous one, this winch is very strong.
It is the kind of winch you would use to tow cars, jeeps, etc. You can attach this bad boy to your truck, SUVs, cars, and even to ships.
This incredibly powerful truck winch has a pulling capacity of 13,000 lbs. which is A LOT! Toyota Tacoma owners really love this winch.
OFF-ROAD BOAR really outdid all its competitors with this amazing winch, and we can see that in its motor, cable, and overall construction.
The motor used in this baby is a very high-performance one and has an enhanced rope with anti-rotation features. There’s also a 4-way roller for the fair lead and remote control available for the gear.
One of the features that you probably found impressive from the first product is the waterproof feature.
Well, we have good news for you; this one offers this too! You do not have to worry about those muddy trails or rainy weather anymore; the winch will be just fine!
The overall quality of this winch is really good, and we recommend getting this for larger trucks for lifting heavier loads.
#5. Truck Winch by ZESUPER
Continuing with the massively heavy-duty truck winches, we have another one that has a weight capacity of 13,000 lbs.
As it appears, most truck owners require a very rugged and powerful winch for their trucks.
That is why we have decided to scour through brand after brand to find the best winches that have such a high weight limit.
If you are someone who knows a thing or two about winches, ZESUPER is probably not alien to you.
This brand is quite popular and has a pretty good reputation for providing very high-quality winches.
Enough about the brand, let’s talk about the product itself. Featuring a state-of-the-art motor with 6.4 horsepower and 12V of power and a 500-amp relay, this beast of a winch is all about power!
You get a synthetic rope measuring 24 meters and a 3-stage planetary gear with this recovery winch. It also features remote control and a pretty fast speed in the circuit. And to top it all off, it’s got a free winding clutch.
Being waterproof and even sand proof, this winch is the definition of ruggedness! So, if you want a winch that will load weights at 5.8 feet/minute speed when fully loaded, you just have to check this one out.
The only downside is that it comes in the color orange. If that doesn’t matter, we recommend this product.
#6. X-Bull 12V Bed Winch
We’re assuming you don’t prefer the orange color on your winch and want something more minimalistic and standard-looking.
Worry not, if you liked all the features of the previous one minus the color, we have just the one for you!
This amazing winch by X-BULL is pretty much the same winch as the last one, but better. It has the same weight capacity as the ZESUPER one, but with some features being better than that.
As we just mentioned, this bad boy can lift up to 13,000 pounds, which is pretty impressive and perfect for trucks and trailers. You can also attach it to other vehicles such as cars and jeeps.
Unlike the previous truck winch, this one has a 26-meter long cable made out of stainless steel which is very strong and durable and will not get torn upon fully loading up.
It uses a three-stage planetary gear train with a gear ratio of 265:1 and a fairlead with a 4-way roller. The motor uses 4.5 KW 12V of power, which is pretty powerful, in our opinion.
And to make it even better, just like the previous one, this one is waterproof too. Not just that, but also corrosion-resistant. So why won’t you buy this winch?
#7. VEVOR 13000lbs Winch
Lowering down on the weight limit just a little bit, we have a utility winch by the brand VEVOR. If you want something that has quite a bit of power but is not massively big, this one would be a great choice.
Similar to our first one, this one is suitable for trucks and UTV/ATV off-road trailers. You can use this one for your pickup trucks or regular trucks if you like.
The weight capacity of this winch is 8000 lbs. which can’t be considered low per se, but it is comparatively lower than the last two that we reviewed.
Nonetheless, 8000 lbs. is quite a lot and can be enough to even tow a full-sized car. Apart from its weight limit, other features make this winch so amazing. With a 12 V motor and a three-stage planetary gear, this winch knows how to pack a punch.
It comes with a 94 feet long (24.3 meters long) cable which is made out of high tensile steel, providing high durability and hardness. This one also features high-quality fairleads and an efficient brake system.
The feature that makes this one stands out from all the previous ones is that it is not only waterproof but also snowproof and mudproof—making it usable in almost all weather conditions and terrains.
Get this truck winch if this is the kind of high performance you require!
#8. 13k pound Winch by ZEAK
You guys sure seem to like these 13k pound winches. We saw how popular and widely used these models are and decided to review a lot of them, as we mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, this is the last one among them.
Being just as impressive and powerful as the previous 13,000 lbs. truck winches, this one is definitely a beast (Attack on Titan will know what that meant because the brand is called ZEAK).
Apart from its weight capacity, this winch features very efficient 3 stage planetary gear systems made of steel and a highly powerful motor of 6.2 horsepower or 4.6 KW.
You can say that the electronic parts of this winch are pretty top of the line. For the cable, you get a synthetic rope that measures 86 feet in length, which is long enough, we suppose.
It isn’t as long as some of the best winches on this list, but it’s pretty standard. Another feature that catches our attention is that this winch comes with a clevis hook with the package. This is something that not all the winches offer.
Other items that are found in the package apart from the winch itself are the battery lead, winch mounting tools and hardware, a red color strap, control box, pendant controller, hawse fairlead, and the wireless remote controller.
So, if you didn’t find the previous 13k lbs. winches appealing but still need this kind of winch, this should fit your criteria.
#9. ProVantage WARN Winch
If you liked our 3rd product and we’re looking for an alternative to that one with similar features, here is that alternative.
Being one of the most recognized brands in the world for such products, WARN certainly produces very impressive winches. And the ProVantage is an example of that.
Not featuring anything too highly massive like the previous products, the 4500-S comes with a 50 feet long synthetic rope that has a double powder coating on the aluminum hawse fairlead.
It comes with a 12 V 1.9 horsepower motor which provides enough power while pulling up anything heavy from the truck using the winch. On top of that, it also comes with a 3-stage standard planetary gear system with a gear ratio of 154:1.
All these numbers may seem small compared to the previous products, but you have to consider that this one is meant for smaller trucks and pickups.
If anything, this one is actually better than the last 4500 lbs. model we reviewed. This recovery winch comes with a remote control to operate it wirelessly, which is also a pretty standard feature we have seen in the previous ones.
So overall, we can conclude that, if you want something with comparatively less power or don’t have the budget for a heavy-duty model, this is one of the best choices.
#10. VMI14 Winch by Rockland
And to conclude our list of the best truck winches, we have a pretty big and heavy-duty winch by the brand Rockland. Similar to the brand WARN, Rockland has been around the machinery and instruments market for quite a long time.
The brand is known for offering high-quality machinery to its target audience, and we can confirm from seeing how amazing the VMI14 winch is.
Offering a whopping 12,000 pounds of weight capacity, this bad boy was built for heavy-duty lifting. Although it is not on par with the 13k ones, it doesn’t disappoint in any way either.
Apart from this high weight limit, it also has a pretty decent motor with a 12 V power. But that is not what makes it so special.
The most notable feature of this electric truck winch is that it comes with voltage detection and warns you when the power is being overloaded. It comes with these flashing red and blue lights that tell you when you should stop using the winch.
Other than these, the 3-stages planetary gear, just like every other winch on this list, is pretty decent and high quality, and it offers free spooling to ensure faster line speed.
Overall, this is a pretty solid option for a winch if you want to get one with enough power and efficiency. We wouldn’t choose this one over the ones from our top 3 or top 5, but it can be a pretty good option too.
Before You Buy, What to Look for
While you don’t need any special tips regarding how to choose the right winch if you get one from above, we thought we’d still give you some pointers to make a wiser purchase.
This is one of the most important points to keep in mind while looking for a good bed winch. You need to decide how much power is it that you require for your truck.
If you own a large truck that will carry a lot of loads and needs an equally powerful winch to go with it, you should go for ones with a high load capacity.
Now, what would we consider as high weight capacity, you may ask? Well, anything above 9,000 lbs. can be called high. An average car weighs around that weight, so with this amount of power, you can tow it around with your winch.
But if you prefer something less heavy-duty, maybe for only lifting lighter stuff, you can go for winches with 2000 lbs. capacity or 3000 or even 4500 lbs. Those should get the job done pretty easily.
So, it all boils down to requirements and preferences.
You can’t have a winch that is too stiff and cannot be accessed when necessary. Scenario: your truck is stuck in a swamp, and you need to get it out of there. What do you do?
Use your winch to pull it out of the swamp, right? Well, you can’t do that if the winch is not properly accessible.
It also needs to be attached to a part of the truck where you can access it more conveniently, like the truck’s bumper, for example.
Being a truck driver is a tough business. Sometimes you have to deal with pretty harsh weather conditions, pretty much the extremities of all types of weather.
You need your truck’s winch to be waterproof, mudproof, sandproof, and possibly snowproof if you don’t want it to become stiff or unusable after being exposed to such weather conditions.
A lot of times, people will buy winches or any other machinery that aren’t weatherproof, and the outcome would be that those particular pieces of machinery went out of order and became useless.
So, you need to make sure that the truck winch you are purchasing offers at least one sort of weatherproofing feature.
Most of the winches that we have reviewed above are waterproof, some are sandproof and mudproof, while one of them is even snowproof.
The one that’s snowproof is completely weatherproof for all conditions. So, if you want something like that, check that one out again!
Construction of the Cable
An entire load of whatever you are lifting or towing rests on the cable itself. You need a very high-quality and powerful cable to pull it off (pun intended).
It is commonly seen that the winches produced by most brands feature either steel cables or synthetic ropes. Both are good, but we recommend the steel ones.
The thing about the steel cables used in winches is that they are constructed from high tensile steel, so those will not break or tear upon extreme loading up.
Unless you exceed the maximum weight capacity by a lot, the cables should do just fine!
Another important factor about the cables is that they need to be long enough. A good length would be around 50 to 100 feet long. Anything between this range is considered long enough.
And as you can guess, anything shorter than this would be too short, but you can go longer if you need. A sweet spot would be around 80-90 feet long.
Motor Power and Gear System
And once you’ve ensured you get everything else right, you want to be sure that your winch has a powerful motor.
Most of the winches in the market come with 12 V DC motors with different horsepower, depending on the weight capacity.
The ones with lower capacity usually have a motor with around 1.6 to 1.9 horsepower, while the massive ones will provide a power of 6+ horsepower to the cable.
A good motor will ensure that the cable is pulling the weight of an object properly and ensure that you do not have to wait forever for it to load up.
The best feature of a motor and/or the gear system would be to allow loading up within a short period, which means faster line speed.
So, make sure you get a truck winch with a considerably impressive motor and gear system.
Types of Truck Winches
There are many types of winches, but only 4 are the most notable ones.
This is what the name suggests, an electrically powered winch. It features a motor and gear system that is powered using electricity to pull the cable and lift the weights conveniently.
Mechanical Drum Winch
Superior to the electric winches, the mechanical drum winches receive power from the running engine of your truck. The engine powers the gear, which is transmitted to the winch itself, thanks to a turning shaft.
Hydraulic Drum Winch
Similar to the mechanical drum winch, this one is also powered by the engine itself, but not directly.
The engine is connected to a hydraulic pump, which is connected to the drum of the winch itself. One of the coolest things about this winch is that it can be used underwater as well.
Instead of calling it a hybrid winch, we would also call it a DIY winch.
That’s because these winches are usually made by truck owners using spare parts and attaching a hydraulic pump and hydraulic motor to them.
It works similarly to the hydraulic drum winch and mechanical drum winch.
Hydraulic Winch vs. Electric Winch
There is an ongoing debate on which is better, electric winches or hydraulic winches?
While we cannot settle the argument once and for all, we can show you which one is better for what purpose.
Convenience in Installation
While both electric and hydraulic winches are pretty powerful and offer high efficiency in terms of power, installing an electric winch is much easier than installing a hydraulic winch.
Convenience in Use
Electric winches are more convenient to use and operate. These are usually built for small-scale use, like attaching to a truck or any other vehicle, and use regularly.
On the other hand, hydraulic winches are usually bigger and bulkier, and hard to utilize during crucial moments like pulling a vehicle up from a swamp. Electric winches are more reliable at such times.
Hydraulic drum winches are more powerful than electric ones. As the power is directly derived from your vehicle’s engine, the power supply is far greater than electric ones.
Hydraulic winches are more appropriate for heavy-duty work in construction sites, mining, etc.
While electric winches can be pretty powerful too, you cannot expect them to be more powerful than their hydraulic counterparts.
Truck Winch Safety Tips
Winches are machinery that should be handled with caution, or you might get hurt or injured.
To avoid any kind of accidents or mishaps, here are some of our truck winch safety tips that we recommend you to follow.
Wearing Gloves is Better
You don’t know what stuff you will be touching or coming in contact with. Wear gloves, as they will protect your hands from getting injured by anything.
By wearing gloves, we don’t specifically mean just gloves, but also any protective gear that you think might be necessary.
Learn How to Use the Winch
Not knowing how to use the winch properly can lead to major accidents.
You need to learn how to utilize it effectively to get the job done right and avoid accidents from occurring.
At the beginning of this article, we told you how a winch works in a nutshell.
The best way to learn how to use it is to read the user’s manual or watch some tutorials on YouTube or get some help from a professional.
The Frame Mounted Tow Hooks Are Better
When trying to pull out a car from a ditch or a swamp, you shouldn’t use a winch hook. Instead, use a frame-mounted static winch.
You need to know that the winches you will find are not supposed to be used for kinetic pulling but rather for static ones.
To avoid damaging the drivetrain of the vehicle, you need to know how you should winch properly.
Check the Cable Frequently
The cable, or the most important part of a winch, is always prone to tearing and breaking. You need to pay close attention to it to ensure that it does not undergo excessive amounts of pressure.
DO NOT Winch Continuously
We know how it feels when we get stuck. However, this is the best advice we can give you for winching.
Avoid winching continuously and try to take breaks between sets. It’s like working out; only the work is being done by the cable and motor, not your muscles.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which is the best winch?
From the 10 winches we reviewed, in our opinion, the best choice would be to opt for the Champion winch, which has a pretty decent weight capacity along with all other features you might need on a good winch.
- What is the purpose of a truck winch?
The reason you should have a winch on your truck bed is that you might have to use it to get your truck out of a swamp or a ditch or simply just mud.
You can also use it for towing other vehicles out of such situations or just towing in general.
- How long should a 13k pound winch be?
An average length of the cable for 13,000 lbs. winches would be 80-90 feet long. Some might be longer than this, but we’d say this is a moderate length.
- How can I secure loads?
To secure loads, you can opt for straps or ratchets and attach them to your loads. That should help.
- Should I get winches with lower weight capacity or higher weight capacity?
This one depends on your budget and requirements. Lower the weight capacity, lower the price. Plus, if you don’t need to tow heavy stuff, we recommend the ones with lower weight limits.
So that’s about it for this article. Which do you think is the best truck bed winch among our selections?
As we have already mentioned, the Champion winch seems to be the best choice, but if you want heavy-duty weatherproofing, check out the VEVOR one too!