Looking to add a winch to your UTV and not quite sure which winch is best for your UTV? A winch can come in handy for many different situations. Whether you’re looking to use it to run a snowplow, general use around your property, or when you find yourself or a buddy in a sticky situation. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re looking to choose the best winch for your UTV.
How to Choose the Best Winch Capacity Size for your UTV
The size is the first thing to consider when looking to choose the best winch for your UTV. A general rule is to choose a winch that has a weight capacity rating of 1.5 times the overall weight of your UTV. Be sure to include all accessories, cargo, and passengers in the overall weight.
Another thing to consider is what type of terrain you think you may encounter. If you plan to rely on your winch to pull you out of a deep sticky mud hole. Or, drag you through snow that has you buried up to your belly. Then, you should consider a winch with a larger capacity of 2+ times the overall weight of your UTV.
How to Choose the Best Winch Drum Size for your UTV
UTV winches are available in a standard drum size as well as a wide spool drum size. The standard drum generally offers a smaller overall dimension vs the wide spool and therefore can fit into smaller spaces. The different drum sizes typically have different mounting bolt pattern sizes. Some UTV’s come with factory winch mounting locations and will offer a pre-drilled bolt pattern size. Be sure to check your bolt pattern prior to determining what drum size to purchase.
Below are some general specs and things to consider when choosing a drum size.
- Most common mounting bolt pattern: 3.00″ x 4.87″
- Most common fairlead bolt pattern:4.875″
- Typical cable/rope length: 35′ – 40′ (can be up to 50′ though it is uncommon)
- More compact than wide spool to fit in smaller spaces.
- Most common mounting bolt pattern: 3.00″ x 6.6″
- Most common fairlead bolt pattern: 6″
- Typical cable/rope length: 50′ – 65′ (can be less than 50′ though it is uncommon)
- Less compact than the standard spool however can fit more cable/rope to better accommodate longer pulls.
Synthetic Rope vs Steel Cable
Most winches are available in either steel cable or synthetic rope. Here are some things to consider for each when deciding what is best for your application. Click here to explore our winch cables and ropes.
- Generally, it is more durable than synthetic rope especially when drug over rocks and other debris.
- Does not wear as quickly as synthetic rope and is less likely to fray.
- Better option for operating a snowplow due to the better wear resistance.
- Can be prone to developing sharp burrs which can make it more dangerous and difficult to handle.
- Can rust if not kept clean and dry.
- Can be more dangerous in the event the cable breaks. The cable has the potential to store more energy under load.
- Heavier than synthetic rope.
- Not as durable as steel cable and more susceptible to fraying.
- Wears more quickly than a steel cable.
- Not as good for running a snowplow. The rope and hawse style fairlead will wear much faster than the cable and roller style fairlead. However, there are options to combat this. Click here to check out our special fairleads, pulleys and straps designed for plowing.
- Rope will rot over time especially if it is exposed to the elements for longer periods. Such as being stored outdoors.
- Rope is lighter than steel cable.
- Rope will float on water. This can be beneficial if stuck in a water filled hole and trying to get your winch line over to a buddy.
- Debatably safer than steel cable due to the fact it will store less energy under load in the event it was to break or snap back for any reason during winching. The same safety precautions should always be taken regardless.
How to Choose the Best Winch Mount for your UTV
Another important thing to consider when deciding what winch is best for you is where you want to mount it.
If your UTV has a factory mounting location that you choose to use, you will want to make sure that you use the correct mounting bolt pattern size.
Most winch manufacturers offer mount plates.
It is likely that whatever brand winch you decide to go with will also offer a vehicle specific mounting plate. If they do not, then you can use another brand’s vehicle specific mounting plate.
You will just want to ensure that the mounting bolt pattern of the plate matches your winch. The mounting plates are typically the same from one brand to the next.
Another great mounting option available for most UTV’s is a winch bumper. Click here to explore our winch bumpers. We really like this option because it typically allows room for a larger winch. It also brings the winch out where it is more accessible and able to be seen. Being able to access the winch easier is nice for switching the clutch between the free spool and the lock position. Also, the ability to see the winch is nice to help make sure that you are getting the cable or rope wound evenly on the drum after a winching session.
Winch Operating Switch Types
Most UTV winches come with a wired winch remote and winch rocker switch. Many UTV winches were originally designed for and remain largely used on ATV’s so a handlebar switch is sometimes included. In some cases, with certain brands, the ATV handlebar switch is provided in place of the UTV style rocker switch. We prefer to use an in dash rocker switch in our UTV’s vs making do with the handlebar switch. Quite a few winches now come with a wireless winch remote and some even utilize a phone app to operate the winch in place of the wired remote. The wireless winch remote is awesome though we highly recommend a hardwired dash switch or wired remote as a backup in case the wireless remote battery dies when you need it most. Click here to explore our winch rocker switches and remotes.
Like we said earlier, there are a lot of things to consider when looking to choose the best winch for your UTV. If you’re still not sure and would like a bit more guidance, please click here to reach out to our team of experts. At Fueled UTV we have a slogan…No Salesmen, Just Enthusiasts! We answer our phones (We know, weird!) We walk through options that fit your needs, application, and budget. Our goal is to help you achieve your goals, whether that is keeping your buddies in the rearview, or maximizing comfort and safety for the family. Give us a shout or check out our website, we’d love to help you out!
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