Your ride isn’t complete without a winch. It’s one of those things we don’t think about until we need it, but when that need hits, it hits hard. So we can’t preach enough how important it is to always have a functioning winch installed on your ATV or UTV.
But it can’t be just any winch. If you truly want to be prepared for whatever comes your way, you need a top-quality winch, and it has to be the right size.
Because we like to be prepared and we want you to do the same, the SuperATV team developed Black Ops Winches—a line of winches that are ultra reliable and suited to all ride styles and applications. With so many options to choose from, though, how can you know which winch size you need?
When it comes to choosing the best winch on the market, the answer is easy—go with a Black Ops Winch. Each one has an incredibly durable construction and has been extensively lab and field tested, so you know it won’t let you down. With four different towing capacities to choose from, all that’s left to do is figure out which winch size is best for you.
Finding the correct size winch for your specific machine and ride style is important. Putting the biggest Black Ops Winch on your small ATV would be overkill, and putting a smaller winch on your four-seater UTV could turn an off-road disaster into an even bigger problem.
To make sure you get the perfect winch size for your needs, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind.
For starters, you need a winch that can support all the weight of your machine and then some. Our smaller winch sizes are great for four wheelers, while the larger ones are best suited to side-by-sides.
As a general rule of thumb, you can take your machine’s weight and multiply it by 1.5 to get a good idea of how much pulling power your winch should have. For this reason, knowing how much your machine weighs is a good place to start. (A machine’s weight is sometimes listed in the specifications section of your owner’s manual. If not, check out these articles on the average weight of four wheelers and side-by-sides.)
This rule of thumb doesn’t apply for all applications, though. More-than-average pulling power will be required if you regularly get STUCK stuck, or if you ride with buddies who have machines much heavier than yours—you never know when they’ll need a helping hand.
Winching on an incline requires more pulling power too, since gravity is working against you in those situations. So if climbing hilly terrain is in your wheelhouse, you definitely want a winch that’s on the stronger size.
Contrary to what they say, size isn’t everything. Your winch needs will also differ based on the type of riding you do. If you’re a fan of mudding, there’s a good chance you find yourself stuck every now and then (or every time you ride—but we’re not here to judge). In that case, your winch should be strong enough to effectively pull you out of that sticky situation.
But let’s say you don’t anticipate getting stuck anytime soon. In that case, it depends on what type of work your machine will be doing. If you plan on using that winch to tow heavier objects, like pulling in big game after a hunting trip, you’ll still want more power. But if you only need a winch to plow snow in the winter, a lower weight rating will suit you just fine.
The average weight of a midsize four wheeler is about 520 pounds, with the heavier utility models erring closer to the 700 or 800-pound mark. Based on the 1.5x rule of thumb we mentioned earlier, a 2500 lb. winch would be more than enough for the average ATV.
But you can’t forget to take into consideration the applications we mentioned earlier. Do you plan on using your ATV winch to help rescue your buddies who have really buried it? Will you be hauling a small trailer or lots of gear? If you think you’ll be putting this winch through the wringer more than the average rider, we recommend going a little bigger—like to our 3500 Lb. Black Ops Winch.
Speaking of Black Ops Winches, we’ve got four sizes for you to choose from. Let’s take a look at each one and talk about what types of applications they were designed for.
The 2500 Lb. Black Ops Winch is our smallest and most compact off-road winch. It’s the perfect amount of pulling power for almost any ATV or lightweight side-by-side. And regardless of your vehicle size, if all you need a winch for is operating a snow plow, this winch should be all you need.
If your quad is on the heavier side or if you plan on using it for more heavy-duty applications, you can bump it up a notch to the 3500 Lb. Black Ops Winch. It’ll give you plenty of wiggle room when winching out. It’s also perfect for smaller side-by-sides that might need winched out every now and then.
For most side-by-side riders, the 4500 Lb. Black Ops Winch is the perfect solution. You would have to try really hard to get yourself in a predicament that this winch can’t pull you out of. Whether you’re bringing home a prize deer or pulling yourself out of a ditch, this size will cover almost any rider.
Last, there’s the 6000 Lb. Black Ops Winch. This is the big one. It’s designed for big side-by-sides, hardcore riding, and extreme situations. If you get your loaded-down four-seater buried in several feet of thick, nasty mud, this UTV winch will get you out without missing a beat.
Every size Black Ops Winch comes with waterproof seals and solenoids and a high-quality 50′ synthetic rope. You also get multiple ways to operate it, with a handlebar rocker switch and/or dash mounted rocker switch and a wireless remote.
To learn more about the features of our winches, specifically the benefits of synthetic rope versus steel cable, check out our article on the unmatched pulling power of Black Ops Winches.
For more about SuperATV’s winch lineup, including ways to maximize your pulling power, check out our Black Ops Winch FAQ.