November 30, 2017

Superwinch has been building winches since 1970 and in that time, we've learned a thing or two about what makes a winch last and what makes winches die.  Here, we'll attempt to share our years of expertise so you can make the best winch choice for you.


It's all about the fit.  If a winch doesn't fit your Jeep or Truck, well, what good is it?  Here are 3 things you should know:

  1. Winches conform to a common mounting bolt pattern:
    • Standard:  4.5 in x 10 in.
    • Most winch bumpers have this mounting pattern.  Fairlead/Hawse is also similarly commonized across all winch manufacturers.
    • We recommend fitment advice from your bumper of choice.  Our EXP Series (8-12,000) fits within the Warn Zeon envelope, while the Tiger Shark Series (9500-11500) is one of the smallest envelopes on the market and fits almost everything.


Now that fitment is clear, let's move on to capacity.  That is, how much can that winch pull? Here's a couple of facts:

  • We rate our winches based on a deadlift.  
  • We recommend a winch capacity that is close to 1.5x to 2x your vehicle weight (with gear, bumpers and armor).
  • Typically winches in the 8,000 to 10,000 range are perfect for 2-door Jeeps and Trucks while those in the 10,000 to 12,000 range are great for JKUs and bigger trucks.  Work trucks typically prefer winches in the 18,000 range.
  • We always carry a pulley block and you should definitely consider getting one when you get your winch.  A pulley block, if used correctly, will double the pulling capacity of your winch.  That can mean the difference between a long walk home and a good story of how you saved the day.


Here's where things get fun - rope choices.  We offer many of our winches with either steel cable or synthetic rope.  Here's what you need to know:

  • Wire is great - it's strong, trusted, and reliable.  The cons include: rust, barbs, kinks, memory and a real danger should the wire cable break.
  • Synthetic is also great, it's strong, trusted and if cared for quite reliable.  Cons include it suffers from abrasion, does not like heat and needs to be cared for.

We're big fans of synthetic - it's what we recommend to our friends and family.  A bucket of water rinse of the rope after being used in the sand or mud should be all you need to keep your rope running clean.

Some interesting facts about synthetic:

  • Synthetic rope doesn't build up layer on top of layer like a steel cable.  Instead, each layer wants to dig down, putting pressure on the drum tube and drum flanges of the winch.  To counter this, Superwinch insists on steel drums and we beef up wall thickness to counter the rope's squeeze.
  • Synthetic rope hates heat.  In fact, Dyneema (the lightest, strongest fiber in the industry and what Superwinch uses) begins deforming at just 150 degrees.  Winch brakes generate heat (this can happen even when powering in) and that's why Superwinch insists winches built for synthetic rope must have a brake away from the drum.  A rope that's weakened by heat isn't good to anyone.
  • Superwinch includes a hawse fairlead for synthetic and roller fairlead for wire rope.

Water Sealing

Being on the front of a daily driver or subjected to lots of water crossings, winches are out in the elements.  In days of old and on lower dollar winches from Superwinch (and higher dollar winches from competitors), winches relied primarily on a few seals to protect electronics, motors, and gears.  This works to a varying degree.

Superwinch was unsatisfied with the level of protection.  Working with the US military potting electronics, that is, encasing the electronics in a liquid that hardens providing a completely waterproof assembly, Superwinch has built an IP69k rated electronics package in the ground-breaking EXP Series.  Superwinch includes the solenoid and wireless remote receiver as well as winch health monitoring system in the potting compound offering complete protection from rain/snow/sleet.

Winch Health

Burning out a motor isn't an uncommon event in winching.  These motors get hot when worked and until now, there wasn't a good way to tell how much your winch is working.  With the EXP, Superwinch engineers placed onboard sensors monitoring amp draw and providing that information to the winch user in two very unique ways:

  • An eye-catching LED light on the winch
  • Haptic feedback in remotes (both wired and wireless)

The result is an industry-leading notification system that alerts the user of dangerous winching.  One important distinction here: our competitors will cut power until the winch gets back into design parameters - we won't  We know winching can mean as much as life and death, destruction or salvage of property or sometimes you just need one more inch - either way - your winch won't give up on you - the users always has final say on pushing the winch just a little harder.

Now that you are a well-informed winch expert, take a look at these:


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