Utility Winch Buyers Guide
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. Superwinch Utility winches come with either a flat mountable plate or are designed to mount directly to the floor of a flatbed or trailer or what have you.
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.
- For recovery, we recommend a winch capacity that is close to 1.5 x your vehicle weight (with gear)
- For trailering, we recommend a winch in the 2500-5000lb capacity range - rolling weight is much easier to pull than lifting..
- 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.