Best ATV Winches for the Money to Clear Out Snow
Let’s face it, winter weather is hard enough on everyone! You can’t control the weather, but there is a way to keep the weather from controlling you – an ATV winch. Your time is valuable. Winter takes away enough of your time as the snowy and icy roads make for longer commute times to and from work.
What We Will Learn In This Article
5 Best ATV Winches We Reviewed
Your time at home away from work is your free time. Maximize your free time by setting up a winch and connecting it to a plow on your ATV or UTV. The winch and the plow will remove the snow in half the time or less that it takes a shovel or a snow blower to do the same work.
The best ATV winches will help you to live your best life now. This means more time enjoying a cozy spot by the fire place, more time watching the ball game on TV, or more time allowing you to pursue whatever hobby you like to do.
Consider the information below when shopping for a new winch.
1. Superwinch 1145230 Terra 45 4500 lbs/2046 kg
To be super is to be able to perform at an extraordinary level in different situations and with multiple capabilities. The Superwinch 1145230 Terra 45 4500 lbs/2046 kg lives up to its brand name by doing precisely that. This winch eliminates several questions that many customers will have before they purchase it.
It’s designed to fit into most ATV/UTV vehicles, and it comes with a mounting plate. Furthermore, customers will have peace of mind knowing that the circuit protector and solenoid are protected and sealed, protecting the wiring in adverse weather situations. Although this winch comes with synthetic rope, its 55’ length and 1/4” size makes it reliable and provides plenty of reaches. What makes this winch super and powerful is its 4,500-pound line pulling capability. This eliminates any worry one has of whether he or she will be able to get unstuck.
- High efficiency, low amp draw, sealed 1.6 hp permanent magnet motor featuring mechanical load holding and dynamic brake
- 55' of 1/4" synthetic rope, drum designed for use with synthetic rope and ergonomic cam action freespooling clutch
- All steel planetary gear twice as wide as those used by the competition and utilizing machined-in, oil pocket bronze bearings
- Circuit breaker protected and weather sealed solenoid contact.Anodized aluminum hawse, heavy duty latched hook with thimble and limited lifetime warranty
- Synthetic rope is remarkable stuff
The solid industrial size of all steel planetary gears will provide heavy-duty use throughout the winter, making it the best ATV winch for snow plowing.
2. Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC Winch 3000 lbs/1360 kg
Benefits bring convenience, and convenience brings customer satisfaction. The Superwinch 1130220 LT3000ATV 12 VDC Winch 3000 lbs/1360 kg is designed to make life easier for outsiders. An extended remote control length of 12’ gives the person the flexibility to move away from the ATV/UTV vehicle and multi-task by doing something else while operating winch pulling.
What makes this super winch stand out in a superb kind of way is the low volume of noise coming from the winch during operation, which will not disturb anyone or anything else going on that is nearby. Designed with a combination of mechanical and dynamic breaking, this winch establishes a secure hold for reliable resistance. A 1.2 horsepower permanent magnet motor offers adequate power to administer a variety of jobs, making it the best ATV winches in the market. With a line pull of 3,000 pounds, you can be assured that it will be able to get many different models of ATVs/UTVs unstuck from mud or a ditch.
- Rated line pull of 3,000 pounds
- Roller fairlead and mounting plate
- Sealed low amperage permanent magnet motor
- Includes both handle bar mounted rocker switch and handheld remote
- Mechanical and dynamic brake
Super’s free-spooling clutch benefits you by making it easy to initiate the winching process.
3. Champion 3000-lb. ATV/UTV Winch
Winch line quality needs to be dependable in tough spots and in tough situations. The Champion 3000-lb. ATV/UTV Winch provides this type of high-quality line. No matter whether this line is called upon to perform in mud, gravel, or sand, this line will provide stability in all landscapes and in all environments.
Both the line and the roller fairlead complement one another well, as they dictate the tempo of the winching process. Rated number one in towing ATV winches, it’s suitable for a variety of towing jobs. In terms service, this product is the champion of customers, providing free life-time technical support for use of the winch. Manufactured for the efficient-minded person, this winch pulls the maximum 3,000 pound limit at a rapid rate of 4.3 feet per 60 seconds. Perhaps the best feature of this winch, the three-stage planetary gear system rotates the drum at a torrent pace, allowing for this kind of record timeline pulling.
- Powerful – 3000 lb. max rated line pull and 1 HP permanent magnet motor
- Bonus Accessories – Roller fairlead, mounting channel, handle bar mounted remote control
- 49 ft. super duty aircraft cable with rugged, latched clevis hook
- Efficient planetary gear and dynamic braking systems
- Champion Support - 2 year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support
Champion has designed this product by placing the remote control right on the handlebar, so that even the most novice of ATV/UTV winch users can easily use the product.
4. WARN 89021 Vantage 2000-S Winch – 2000 lb. Capacity
With the choice-oriented customer in mind, the WARN 89021 Vantage 2000-S Winch – 2000 lb. Capacity gives customers the option of having either steel wire or synthetic rope in their winch. Warn Vantage has designed a fully-sealed permanent magnet motor, which keeps it weatherproof from dust, sand, and water.
This weatherproof security provides the winch user with the advantage of a reliable and dependable device that performs thoroughly and consistently year-after-year. The line pull of 2,000 pounds will accommodate the tugging of light-weight ATVs/UTVs. With a differential planetary gear train installed, you have the winch drum velocity to pull a considerable amount of weight effectively and efficiently.
- 50 feet of 5/32 inch wire rope with roller fairlead
- Fully sealed motor and drive train to keep the elements out
- Differential planetary gear train, dynamic brake; permanent magnet motor
- Includes handlebar-mounted mini rocker control
- Fairlead Plate Included
Its roller fairlead aids the line for balanced pulling and plow stability making it the top ATV winches.
4. MotoAlliance VIPER Midnight ATV/UTV Winch
Power and strength are much needed traits to have in ATV/UTV winch operation during the cold winter months. The Moto Alliance Viper Midnight ATV/UTV Winch 4500 lb with 50 feet BLACK Synthetic Rope offers the highest level of motor horsepower at 1.6, which is above and beyond the horsepower performance level of most other product brand models.
With a line pull of up to 4,500 pounds, this winch is suited for dragging ATV/UTV vehicles out of ditches during inclement winter weather. Its large and sturdy clevis hook will latch securely on to a plow making it the best ATV winches for the money. The mechanical and dynamic braking features will provide the user with an instant locking mechanism to keep heavier objects in place.
- Includes Rocker Handlebar Switch, Contactor/Solenoid, Wiring, Hawse Fairlead, 50ft Black Synthetic Rope
- Compatible with all major brands including Polaris, Yamaha, Can-Am, Yamaha, Honda, Kubota, John Deere, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Arctic Cat CF-Moto + MORE...
- Steel Planetary Gears and Stainless Steel Hardware
- 1.8 HP permanent magnet motor w/ mechanical load holding and dynamic brake
- 1 Year Warranty (winch) / 6 month Warranty (rope)
In this product, Midnight has designed a winch that is an accommodating fit within many ATV/UTV vehicle brands.
What To Look For In The Best ATV Winches for the Money?
- Steel vs. Synthetic Line
From a harsh New England blizzard to a scattered Red Cedar forest in the Pacific Northwest, steel cable is the smart selection. Steel is mighty enough to endure and withstand season after changing season of weather. One hundred degrees difference in temperature can’t decompose steel. It will give you the same top-level performance day in and day out, whether you’re in a sizzling and scorching summer or in a whipping windy winter. If you need to pull objects and snowplow on a regular basis, then steel is going to give you the most reliable grip without grinding the material down. However, proceed with caution – over exertion can snap a steel cable, which in turn can cause bodily injury and/or death.
Synthetic is a sufficient selection for the snow plowing jobs that you only need to do once a week on average, along with some occasional object pulling. It is ideal for the low-risk personality who thinks “safety first.” Word to the wise, synthetic line is best served in predictable climates with seasons that change gradually, and don’t see tons of rain.
- Line Tugging Capacity
Do you own a dog? Did you ever play tug a war with your dog over a rope? Think about that satisfactory feeling you got the first time you beat your dog at tug of war and got the rope from him or her after pulling so hard. Wasn’t it a great feeling to have gotten the upper hand on your pooch? You should expect nothing less than that same level of satisfaction knowing that your steel or synthetic rope line is going to give that same type of premier performance in the clutch when you need it most. Make sure you get a winch that has the line tugging capacity to put up a fight and come out victorious in its pulling endeavors. How much power does the winch rope line need? It’s basic arithmetic. Add the weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle to the combined weight of all the other items in your ATV/UTV vehicle that you lug around, and times that amount by 1.5.
- Proportion of the Winch and its Might
What size winch will your ATV/UTV make room for? To be sure, pull out your cell phone and take a close-up selfie from the front and from the side of the vehicle. The front picture will give you a good indication of the amount of space within which a winch can fit. The side picture will give you an idea if you have the amount of width available to slide your winch into a mounting position. For all the technical people out there, you can take measuring tape to get the precise distances between the front opening space and from the rail bar to the bottom of the bumper.
Think of the might of your winch in three different categories: light-weight, middle-weight, and heavy-weight. A light-weight winch can tug objects or substances up to 2,000 pounds. Winches in this category are ideal for removing up to 8 inches of snow. A middle-weight winch can handle moving objects or substances between 2,000 to 3,000 pounds. Use these winches for snow removal jobs that require moving between 8 and 16 inches of snow. A heavy-weight winch becomes vital to pulling objects and substances above 3,000 pounds. Get these winches for winters that are long and have multiple blizzards demanding snow of 16 inches and above to be removed.
- Nature is Unpredictable so Get a Guarantee
When it comes to ATVs/UTVs and to winches, gas will provide operation, but water could make for incapacitation. Think of watching a news story on T.V. about a major flood, where a brave driver took a chance and tried to drive his vehicle through a pond of water underneath a bridge. It didn’t work out so well for the driver or the vehicle, as the water poured into the engine, rendering it useless. All that is left is a floating 4,000 or more pounds vehicle, and an evacuated driver that had to make an unexpected swimming trip.
Of course, this is the extreme, but the moral of the story is clear – make it a point to find out how much water your ATV/UTV and your winch can be exposed to. Look for an exact answer here. You need to know if the amount of water exposure can be frequent, some, a little, or none, while still maintaining proper operation of the winch and the ATV/UTV. The amount of water exposure the winch and ATV/UTV can absorb and still operate will depend on if they are sealed or not. Make it a point to find out if sealing has been applied to the winch and to the ATV/UTV.
Your warranty is your guarantee. Don’t leave the store without one. It is a protection that you can’t go without. Remember, any product that will cost you a considerable amount of money, should provide you with a considerable amount of years of protection, preferably a lifetime if available. If not, then get a warranty with the highest amount of years of protection as possible. Also, find out if that warranty will cover your ATV/UTV and your winch under the conditions of exposure to water, dirt, and sand.
- Weight Performing Ability
It is said that a full-time college student carries a “full load” when he or she takes five classes that are all challenging. Winches carry their own full load in that there is a weight limit that winches can carry, while still having the ability to perform safely. This is also known as the load capacity. This weight limit should be greater than the combined weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle, yourself, and all the other items that are in the vehicle.
- Put on the Brakes
When it comes to braking, either a mechanical braking system or a dynamic braking system will get the job done. Both of these braking systems serve the purpose of halting the rotation of the drum, so that it stops moving. A mechanical braking system will provide resistance to drum movement through a lever and locking mechanism, and a dynamic braking system will provide resistance to drum movement through a gear system.
- Line Pull Velocity
They say you can’t teach speed to a player, which is true. However, you can recruit a speedy player for your team. The same is true for the line speed of a winch. It comes down to which winch is going to pull a heavy load from point A to point B the fastest. By heavy I mean any vehicle or object around 3,000 pounds or heavier.
- Exposure to Water
Both steel and synthetic line ropes can perform well in water. Word of warning though – proper maintenance of both line types is required for them to maintain high quality and perform well as they face exposure to water over time.
Water can cause steel to rust, and rust can affect the grip of a steel line if you are pulling an object, such as a tree limb off of the path of a road. When not in use, treat your entire steel line with WD-40 to help prevent rust.
The synthetic line will drift easily on the water. With synthetic, it’s all about the treatment of the line after it has been exposed to dirty muddy water. Dirt engrains itself inside the rope over time, which is why in the warmer weather months you should take a hose and spray down the whole synthetic line after it has been exposed to dirty water from mud, ponds, and swamps. However, refrain from doing this in the winter. A wet synthetic line rope can freeze in the winter when it is coiled back up in your winch, as your ATV/UTV sits in the garage. It might be wise to install an infrared tube heater in your garage to help regulate the garage temperature and prevent freezing. Just be sure that your ATV/UTV winch sits away from the heater so that the line rope isn’t damaged by the heat.
Winch Size Matters
Look for clues in the product model name. For example, the number 20 at the end of the product model name could be an indicator that this particular winch product size is 2,000 pounds. Always look at the product specifications listing to be sure.
The most elaborate winch design and the most creative winch model name is all well and good, but it’s all for not if the winch doesn’t fit on your buggy. The front and back of your ATV/UTV provides you with a set amount of mounting area space. Both the size of the winch and the mounting plate must be compatible with this area of space.
As a general rule of them, the maximum size weight that an ATV vehicle will accommodate is 3,500 pounds, where as the maximum size weight a UTV vehicle will accommodate is 4,500 pounds.
Keep your ATV/UTV user manual in a place where you can quickly refer to it, whether under your vehicle seat or in a desk drawer. The user manual will tell you the weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle if you don’t know it off the top of your memory. What if you lost the user manual? No worries! Any search engine should be able to tell you the weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle if you know even part of the product model name (e.g., Superwinch 1145230 weight). Also, there should be a digital version of your user manual on the internet.
I recommend taking the combined weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle, yourself, and all the other items in your vehicle and multiply that number by two, to choose a weight size for your winch.
Once you know the mounting area space you have available, and you have calculated the weight size of your winch, the next course of action is to determine what type(s) of mounting plate(s) will fit in your available mounting space area. Be aware that not every ATV/UTV winch comes with a mounting plate. Some mounting plates have to be bought separate from the winch.
The mounting plate must not only fit into your available mounting space area, but the mounting plate must also be compatible with the ATV/UTV winch you purchased. By compatible I mean the slots on the mounting plate must line up to properly accommodate, fit, and fasten the particular winch you bought. Also, the mounting plate must be able to stand up to heavy-duty wear and tear that the winch may undergo. Talking to a Manufacturer Sales Representative regarding this is advisable.
To install your ATV/UTV winch follow the steps below. First, remove the spark plug from the ATV/UTV vehicle for safety purposes. Second, remove the bolts that hold up the rail bar guard that is in front of your bumper. Skip this step if the rail guard bar design allows you to slide the ATV/UTV winch and mounting plate into place. Third, set the winch above the mounting plate and place the bolts in the slots and fasten the bolts tightly with washers and nuts. Fourth, re-install the rail bar guard by fastening the bolts tightly back in place (do this only if you had to do step two). Fifth, install the roller fairlead in front of the winch. Sixth, pull the winch line through the roller fairlead and connect the hook clamp to the winch line. Seventh, remove the plastic guard that covers the battery. Eighth, hook up the positive and negative lead cables to the battery. Ninth, re-install the spark plug.
How does an ATV winch operate? Basically, it’s as the saying goes, “An action leads to a chain-reaction.” The battery will electrically communicate with the motor, and the motor in turn will toss power to the gear train, which will in turn spin the winch’s drum, which will in turn yank the line cable, which will in turn raise a snow plow or draw another object or vehicle closer to the ATV/UTV vehicle.
Putting the Winch to Work
Having your ATV/UTV stuck in the mud puts you out of business real fast. The winch, however, puts you back in business. Find a solid anchor point nearby, such as a large tree, and harness your line rope around that tree with a sling. Hang a large blanket over the line rope, so that in case the line does snap, the blanket will provide the protection to keep you from getting injured or killed. Make sure to turn the clutch so that the drum can turn. With the engine of your ATV/UTV on, engage the winch and begin pulling your vehicle out of the mud.
What makes ATV/UTV winches great for snow plowing is that you can activate the winch to raise the snow plow up and down, so that snow can be dumped off away from the path you are clearing.
A winch also comes in handy after a powerful thunderstorm by helping to clear debris from road, such as tree limbs, so that vehicles can move freely through the area.
Also, you can help another ATV/UTV traveler from getting stuck out of the mud or out of a ditch. If you are pulling the vehicle out of a deep ditch, then be sure to harness your line rope around a tree if possible, using a sling, as stated above. This is because a deep ditch will most likely require that your vehicle has a solid anchor point, so that you and it don’t slide into the ditch where the other vehicle is.
Winch Wire Hookup
When hooking up the wiring of your winch it is again important to stress that you remove the spark plug from the ATV/UTV to protect yourself from electric shock. The key concept for successful wiring hook up is to match the positives with the positives and the negatives with the negatives. Connect the winch motor wires to the solenoid. Run the battery wires over to the solenoid. Hook up the solenoid’s wires to the battery. Again, all wire connections must pair up positive with positive and negative with negative.
Inquiries - Frequently Asked Questions
- What amount of weight can I pull with my ATV/UTV winch?
When selecting the right weight of winch for your ATV/UTV, think double or nothing. Choosing a winch weight that is approximately double the combined weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle, yourself, a gas tank that is 100 percent full, and all the other items in your vehicle, will ensure that the winch can pull you out when you are stuck.
- What are you planning on lugging around?
The saying goes, “The bigger they are the harder they fall.” However, there should be a continuation on to that statement. It could be said, “The harder they fall the more effort it will take to move them.” This holds true for lumber jack moving logs in the forest, and for the hunter removing road kill from a trail path. If you’re not sure of the weight of the objects, substances, or animals that you intend to move, then set aside some time to research how much each of these objects, substances, and animals’ weigh. You want to be prepared and equipped with the proper winch to do the job.
- Are you aware of the makeup of the terrain that your ATV will be trampling over?
Going out into the wilderness demands that you know ahead of time what you might be getting into. This includes terrain landscapes such as: bumpy hills, dipping ditches, mucky muddy puddles on a dirt path, rugged mountain valleys, pebble-laden gravel roads, etc. Remember, the more uneven the ground surface that you ride on, then the greater the chance there is for getting stuck. Think ahead and ride wisely.
- Can I use my ATV winch for multiple purposes?
The answer to this question is a resounding “YES.” Winches are utility devices that serve multiple purposes including: getting your own ATV/UTV unstuck, snow plowing, hauling and removing objects or animals, and pulling another ATV/UTV out of mud or a ditch. Winches are tailor-made for the outdoor weekend warrior, and for the outdoor day in day out a warrior. An ATV/UTV winch truly is a multi-purpose product.
- Will my ATV/UTV winch work to pull a pick-up truck?
You are strongly advised to not use your ATV/UTV winch on your pick-up truck. A pick-up truck weighs much more than what most ATV/UTV winches are designed to pull. The odds are great that the line will snap if you this. A snapped line can injure or kill you. Also, your ATV/UTV engine, battery, and the winch’s motor do not have the operating powers to complete such a task. Damage is likely to occur. Replacing these parts is expensive. It’s not worth it. Don’t do this.
- Which size winch will suit my ATV/UTV?
As stated earlier, add up the following: weight of your ATV/UTV vehicle, weight of yourself, weight of a full tank of gas, and the combined weight of everything you carry around inside your ATV/UTV (e.g., parts, equipment, supplies, etc.). Take this number and multiply it by two. The answer you get in pounds is the size winch you should buy.
Do I get a return on investment for what I am buying? If you can answer “yes” to that question, then the purchase is worth it. Not only does an ATV/UTV winch give you a return on your financial investment, but it does it year after year. The benefits you receive will quadruple what you paid to get the winch in the first place. You can’t say that about every product that you buy. The best ATV winch for snow plowing is the one that gives you more of your free time back, helps you to make your on the job duties easier, and lets you have fun while you work. With an ATV/UTV winch you will not even feel like you are working while you’re at work. You can’t beat that feeling.
About the Author
Earl Wilson is a French-based American blogger. For a decade, he has covered the ins and outs of the motor industry, studied vehicles on six continents, and is incurably obsessed with rolling antique econoboxes.