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Which Winch is Right for You?

A question we see often and one that varies greatly from user to user....

Things to consider when buying your first winch:

Some folks would consider pulling capacity to be the most important characteristic of any winch. I would argue there are many other factors that a person should look at besides pulling capacity. In fact, pulling capacity is the easiest question to answer when buying a winch.

It’s just this simple. Buy a winch with a capacity of 1-1/2 the weight of your vehicle. The manufacturers have already figured this out for most. If you look at the available winches, they come in 8K, 9K, 9.5k, 10k etc. So by the math, your 5000lb 4 door JKU needs a minimum capacity winch of 5000lbs x 1.5 = 7500lb pulling capacity.

But wait!! Don’t stop there. Think about the equation in a practical engineering perspective and see the chart below. In reality, a winch has its maximum capacity on the last roll of cable on the drum. The subsequent cable puts the gearing of the winch into a different ratio which not only reduces the pull, but it also adds to the friction on the drum.

Typical pull capacity of an 8000lb Warn winch: (Information supplied by Warn industries)

1st layer capacity 8000lbs

2nd layer 6777lbs

3rd layer 5878lbs

4th layer 5189lbs

So as you can see, Capacity is much more complicated than just reading the pulling power on the label. You must consider the fact that your winch loses about 15% of its pulling strength per wrap on the drum. Now that 5000lb JKU looks much better with the 9500lb capacity winch on it or even the 10,000 winch hanging on that front bumper. By the numbers the 8000 winch is just not enough to pull your JKU out of that bog that is sucking the jeep down without more pulling power.

Of course there are a number of ways to increase your pulling capacity and make that 8000lb winch live a happy life. For the purpose of this blog, we will just touch on the numbers and keep the additional pull capacity adders for a later post.

For now, if you are looking for a winch that can pull the needed capacity for your offroad rig, you simply cannot go wrong with the Smittybilt 9500 or the Smittybilt 10,000. They will get the job done at a reasonable price with a reliable product. Call us today or shop online to get yours!

smittybilt winch