Best ATV Winch (Synthetic Rope, Remote Control, and Heavy Duty)

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Installing an ATV winch on your four wheeler is one of the best upgrades can make. In fact, having a winch for ATV owners has become so popular and and in such high demand that quite a few quads now come pre-wired for installation.

ATV winch in the snow

Not only are winches good for getting you unstuck, they’re actually a great tool for many different jobs.

Whether you’re pulling firewood out of a bad spot to load into your off-road ATV trailer, or if you need a winch for snow plowing, the best ATV winches really can make a big difference in what you’re able to do on your quad, and where you’re able to go. Face it, even if you have a set of new mud tires on your quad, you can still get stuck.


Best ATV Winch (Top Quality)

WARN 101135 AXON 35 Powersports Winch with Steel Cable Rope: 7/32' Diameter x 50' Length, 1.75 Ton (3,500 lb) Pulling Capacity

Axon Warn ATV Winch Review

The Warn brand is basically synonymous with winches. They are known for making some of the best winches for ATV, UTV, and other off road vehicles.

The Warn Axon winch is quite literally the very best ATV winch on the market.. for some people. Why not all? The only reason it wouldn’t be the best pick for all is because it may be overkill. Other than that, yeah, it’s a very good winch for quads.

These are state-of-the-art, heavy duty winches for ATVs for those who demand top performance, and they’re built for the elements. Warn puts a finishing powder coat on these to prevent corrosion and to provide a level of waterproofing.

In addition to the unmatched quality build, the design and features are also good. This winch comes with a digital control that allows you to see load and temperature information, as well provide you with improved performance and feedback.

Highlights

  • 3,500 lb, 4,500 lb, 5,500 options
  • Synthetic rope (with the “medium” option)
  • Dash mounted control switch (handlebar adapter as well)
  • Durable, all-metal construction
  • Waterproof sealing
  • Smooth three-stage planetary gear train
  • Load-holding mechanical brake

Specifications

Dimensions: ‎‎12.2 x 17.32 x 5.91 inches
Weight: 26.4 pounds
Material: Metal
Finish: Black powder coating

Positive Reviews

When it comes to quality, durability, and function, Warn clearly outshines the competition. That being said, these aren’t perfect… because what is? Here are the main pros (and cons) that I picked out for these winches:

  • Easy to mount & setup
  • Great for plowing snow
  • Strong enough to pull quads out of mud
  • Smooth, quiet and strong
  • Heavy duty (all-metal)
  • Includes zinc-plated hook
  • Dash or handlebar mounted switch

Negative Reviews

  • Does not come with a mounting bracket
  • Wires may not be long enough (if not, Warn can send you exact length needed)
  • Have to buy the “medium” (5,500lb) winch to get the synthetic rope with it
  • Expensive

Click here to view pricing and read reviews on Amazon.

Important: You may need to order a winch mount plate as well. Scroll down to the “winch mount kit” section below.


Best ATV Winch for the Money

WARN 101030 VRX 35-S Powersports Winch with Handlebar Mounted Switch and Synthetic Rope: 3/16' Diameter x 50' Length, 1.75 Ton (3,500 lb) Capacity

VRX Warn Four Wheeler Winch Review

The Warn VRX winches offer solid performance and reliability without being as expensive as the Axon winches.

These VRX Warn four wheeler winches are ideal for quads. In addition to their superior design, they offer the option of getting a steel rope or a synthetic rope, and they include a hawse fairlead, a hook, and a handlebar switch.

Highlights

  • 2,500 lb, 3,500 lb, 4,500 lb options
  • Synthetic rope (option)
  • Handlebar rocker switch
  • Durable, all-metal construction
  • Waterproof sealing
  • Smooth three-stage planetary gear train
  • Load-holding mechanical brake

Specifications

Dimensions: ‎12.2 x 17.32 x 5.91 inches
Weight: 24.3 pounds
Material: Metal
Finish: Black powder coating

Positive Reviews

There’s no doubt that if you want the best ATV winch on the market, this is a solid contender. Although I think it’s obvious which one I chose (this one)… it is still a man-made product. Having said that, here are the main pros and cons to these four wheeler winches.

  • Easy to mount & setup
  • Great for plowing snow
  • Strong enough to pull quads out of mud
  • Smooth, quiet and strong
  • Heavy duty (all-metal)
  • Includes zinc-plated hook
  • Handlebar Switch
  • Pre-wired for a remote control (get this one)

Negative Reviews

  • Does not come with a mounting bracket
  • Wires may not be long enough (if not, Warn can send you exact length needed)
  • Not the cheapest

Click here to view pricing and read reviews on Amazon.

Important: Same as above… you may need to order a winch mount plate. Scroll down to the “winch mount kit” section below.


Video Review

Here’s a short video from Warn. However, I must “warn” you (lame, I know)… this video is a little hyped up. But that’s understandable considering who it’s from. It’s still worth watching because it gives you a little more history about their winches and what’s new/improved for the VRX and Axon line up.

Arrow pointing to video

ATV Winch Accessories

As with most products out there, you can find bad, good, and great accessories for ATV winches. Here are some of the best winch accessories you can buy for your quad.

ATV Synthetic Rope for Winch

If choosing from the two options above, you could get a synthetic rope included. However, if you don’t pick one of those options (or you pick the Axon model without a synthetic rope) and you would still like to get a synthetic rope for ATV winch, there are options.

While researching this for hours (literally!) I found that there are some cheap ropes and some expensive ropes. Often times, the price of a product can tell you quickly whether it was well made or not. And while that does hold true here, these ALL-TOP ropes are a great choice AND they are affordable. If anything, it’s not a bad idea to have an extra rope in your quad’s front storage box, just in case you need it.

Specifications

Dimensions: 3/8in x 92ft, 1/2in x 92ft, 9/16in x 76ft
Rope strength: 2,500-3,500lbs
Hook strength: 3,500lbs
Material: Polyethylene, Alloy Steel
Color: Black

Click here to view pricing and read reviews on Amazon.


ATV Winch Mount Kit

Unfortunately, there really isn’t one great “universal” mounting plate or kit for ATVs. So if you think (or know) that you’ll need a plate, I recommend the following steps to figure out exactly which one you need.

  1. Go to the Warn website (opens in new window) and enter your quad year, make, and model.
  2. Choose from the mounting kit options (probably just one)
  3. Copy (or just note) the part number
  4. Head over to amazon.com and type “warn mounting kit *part number*” into the search box
  5. You should be able to purchase it here

Why from amazon.com and not directly from Warn’s website? They’re quite a bit cheaper on Amazon… even when buying from Warn’s Amazon store page. Win-win!


Winch Battery

Would you like the good news or the bad news? Good? Good.

  • Finding a suitable ATV winch battery is doable and it’s fairly easy. = Good news.
  • But you’re going to have to do a little work. = Bad news.

Luckily, it really is just “a little” work though. All you really need to do is go out and measure how big of a battery you can fit. Once you you have that, I recommend going to Battery Stuff and checking out their options. Here’s a link to their (batterystuff.com) website with more info on which battery to get.


Wireless Winch Remote Control Kit

Are you looking for an ATV winch with remote, but don’t see one you like here? Do you remember that I wrote that basically no product is perfect? Here’s great example of how you can take an imperfect product (like one of the Warn quad winches above), and get them a lot closer.

Since most quality winches don’t come with a wireless remote control, here is a full kit on Amazon’s website from Champion. This wireless ATV winch remote control kit works on the Warn winches, as well as other brands. Also, having a remote like this can make loading onto long ATV ramps much easier and safer.


Heavy Duty Winch Hook

While the two options above include nice hooks, some what upgrades. ALL-TOP makes some great aftermarket ATV winch hooks that that are heavy duty enough for almost any job.

The ALL-TOP winch hooks come in two sizes, each with different strengths. The first option is their 5/16 inch, and the second is 3/8 inch.

The 5/16″ ATV winch hook is ideal for 1,000lbs-5,500lbs winches, and the 3/8″ is more for 5,500lbs-15,000lbs winches.

Click here to view pricing and read reviews on Amazon for both options.