8 Best Winches For Jeep JL in 2021: Buying Guide


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Owners of Jeep Wranglers are notorious for pushing their limits on off-the-beaten-track terrain filled with obstacles that add to the adrenalin rush. While you won’t need a winch when gliding smoothly on a paved suburban road, it will come in handy when you hit rocky terrain or asphalt highways.

As your adventurous spirit propels you to get on off-roading courses filled with massive boulders and pits of mud, you will realize how important it is to have a winch installed on your front bumper. And when looking for a winch, you’ll want one that lasts for a lifetime.

If you’re in the market for the best winch for Jeep JL, then you may find yourself confused by the myriad of brands and models to consider. To take the stress out of your decision-making, we’ve created a list of some of the most suitable options available on the market.

Our team has spent several hours researching, reviewing and comparing more than a dozen products to find the ones that work best. Read on to find the complete and unbiased reviews of our handpicked products.

If you are too busy to read until the end, then we suggest that you go with our editor’s pick – theWARN 103255 VR EVO 12-S Electric 12V DC Winch (see Amazon) that has a load capacity of 12,000 lb. and boasts a waterproof construction for safety in all conditions.

Product NamesDimensionsWeightCapacityWire or Synthetic Rope
#1. Smittybilt X2O COMP – Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch‎14.5 x 24 x 11.5 inches16 pounds10,000 lbSyntheticSee Price
#2. Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch | 9,500 Pound Load Capacity‎5.4 x 9.4 x 22.3 inches78 pounds9,500 lbWireSee Price
#3. WARN 103253 VR EVO 10-S Electric 12V DC Winch with Synthetic Rope‎21 x 6.3 x 10.1 inches66 pounds10,000 lbSyntheticSee Price
#4. Warn 89611 ZEON 10-S Winch with Synthetic Rope‎26.25 x 8.5 x 19.75 inches
80.4 pounds10,000 lbSyntheticSee Price
#5. OFF ROAD BOAR 9500-lb. Electric Winch Kit‎24.02 x 14.17 x 11.02 inches61.6 pounds9,500 lbWireSee Price
#6 ZEAK 13000 lb. Premium Electric Winch‎23.7 x 13.6 x 10.7 inches59.9 pounds13,000 lbSyntheticSee Price
#7 WARN 103255 VR EVO 12-S Electric 12V DC Winch with Synthetic Rope‎21 x 6.3 x 10.1 inches70.4 pounds12,000 lbSyntheticSee Price
#8 WARN 17801 M12000 12000-lb Winch28.25 x 13 x 10.25 inches‎131.6 pounds12,000 lbWireSee Price

#1. Smittybilt X2O COMP – Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

The first product on our list is this waterproof synthetic rope winch from Smittybilt. The package comes with an X20 comp synthetic rope winch and hawse fairlead with a forged hook. It also includes all of the power cables needed to hook it up to the vehicle.

There’s also a rope sleeve and wireless remote, allowing you to choose between operating the winch manually or using the remote. This is a completely waterproof product that ensures that the winch doesn’t rust or get damaged if it gets wet.

Some of the technical specifications include a 6.6 hp Amphibious motor, stainless steel hardware, and a 3-stage planetary gear system. We were impressed to find that the product comes backed by a lifetime mechanical warranty and a 5-year electrical warranty.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 14.5 x 24 x 11.5 inches
  • Weighs ‎16 lb.
  • Waterproof IP68 Rating
  • Sliding Ring Gear
  • Automatic Out-of-Drum Brake
  • Black textured finish
  • 5-Year Warranty

User/Customer reviews

Those who have used this winch have said that this is a strong and well-built product, allowing you to avoid breaking the bank by investing in a brand name. Users have also mentioned that the winch is easy to install and offers a nice wireless function. A few customers have warned that the wireless range is only 50 to 60 feet, though.

Conclusion

The Smittybilt X2O COMP – Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch is a sturdy and well-built product from a manufacturer with a 50-year legacy of reliability. Backed by world-class customer service and an extended warranty, it is one of the best winches for Jeep JL money can buy.

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#2. Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch | 9,500 Pound Load Capacity

The next product on our list also comes from the Smittybilt family and boasts a 9,500 lb. load capacity. This cable-type winch comes with a wire rope and a 6.6 hp motor that features a 3-stage planetary gear train.

The winch has a completely waterproof state-of-the-art 500AMP Solenoid. It comes with all of the wiring required for installation. This XRC winch is an impressive recovery system with the reliability to rescue you from any situation.

We were also impressed to find that the manufacturer stands behind the product with a lifetime mechanical warranty and a 5-year electrical warranty. Besides that, Smittybilt also offers a lot of other extended warranties.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 5.4 x 9.4 x 22.3 inches
  • Weighs ‎78 lb.
  • Winch, hardware, instructions
  • 6.6hp Series Wound motor
  • Sliding Ring Gear clutch
  • Remote control switch

User/Customer reviews

Most people have said that this winch looks and works great, and the biggest advantage is that it’s also extremely affordable. A few users have warned that it is not as waterproof as the manufacturer claims. Some people have also said that the plug-in system is not as efficient as they had expected.

Conclusion

The Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch (see Amazon) is a great-looking winch if you are concerned about the appearance, while in terms of performance, it delivers capably for the price paid. Overall, this is clearly one of the best budget winches you can buy to do the job without breaking the bank.

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#3. WARN 103253 VR EVO 10-S Electric 12V DC Winch with Synthetic Rope

The next product on our list is the WARN 103253 VR EVO 10-S (see Amazon), a standard duty winch that comes with a synthetic rope and boasts a capacity of 10,000 lb. It’s built to ideally suit the needs of half-ton pickup trucks, Jeeps, and large-sized SUVs.

This winch comes equipped with a powerful series-wound motor, and a planetary gear train capable of delivering faster line speed under load. The high-performance Albright contactor offers enhanced reliability and the control packs can be relocated to make way for low-profile installations

We were impressed to find that the Warn winch features an IP68-rated waterproof construction. It also comes with a two-in-one remote that has both a wired and wireless option. Designed, engineered, and tested in the USA, it comes backed by a lifetime warranty for mechanical parts and a 7-year warranty on electrical parts.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures ‎21 x 6.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Weighs 66 lb.
  • Standard duty winch
  • High-performance Albright contactor
  • Designed, engineered, and tested in the USA
  • IP68-rated waterproof construction
  • Powerful series-wound motor

User/Customer reviews

Some users were so enthralled with their purchase that they have vowed to stick to Warn above all other manufacturers in the future. Most people have expressed how easy it was to install this winch and found it provided them some much-needed peace of mind. Customers have also mentioned that the price you pay is comparatively much lower than other similar products, and yet the performance is exemplary.

Conclusion

The WARN 103253 VR EVO 10-S Electric 12V DC Winch (shop now) is one of the best on the market and comes with a powerful motor and sturdy waterproof construction. Installation is easy and takes very little time if you have some mechanical knowledge. Overall, this product offers an amazing price to performance ratio. 

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#4. Warn 89611 ZEON 10-S Winch with Synthetic Rope

The all-new Warn Zeon winch (see Amazon) promises to change the rules of the game forever with its tough constructions that can tackle just about anything. This uniquely balanced 10,000 lb. winch is advanced, capable, and strong thanks to its synthetic rope and roller fairlead.

The Warn 89611 ZEON sports a consistent design throughout and has a similar appearance on both the motor and gear side. The convertible control pack can be easily attached to a winch or remotely mounted to enable different mounting options.

The new exterior styling and symmetrical design lends a unique and advanced look to the winch, making it look as capable and strong as it performs. It can confidently be called the next generation in truck and SUV winches. We also love the satin black powder-coated finish that helps it resist corrosion.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 26.25 x 8.5 x 19.75 inches
  • Weighs 80.4 lb.
  • Convertible control pack
  • Black powder-coated finish
  • Large aluminum winch drum
  • Lightweight and reduces rope wear

User/Customer reviews

Those who have bought this product have mentioned that it is a high-quality winch that works with a wireless remote control that can operate vehicles that are up to 40+ feet away. Users have also said that the winch is well-built and the clutch lever is easy to operate. A few customers have remarked that this is slightly on the expensive side but certainly worth your money.

Conclusion

The Warn 89611 ZEON 10-S Winch with Synthetic Rope is what works for everything from small ATVs to big trucks, without failing you on a trip. If you want to save the trouble then this product will give you a good deal. Even though it is somewhat expensive, it offers you peace of mind in times of need. Overall, this is an amazing option.

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#5. OFF ROAD BOAR 9500-lb. Electric Winch Kit

The OFF ROAD BOAR 9500 lb. Electric Winch Kit (see Amazon) is a premium choice when looking for a winch for your Jeep JL. This traction force electric winch features a 9500 lb. capacity and works perfectly for an ATV, UTV, mini, car, boat, Jeep, or modified vehicle.

This electric winch kit comes with steel planetary gears and features a sealed low ampere permanent magnet motor capable of providing you with faster linear speeds. It sports a high-performance pure copper motor that comes with an enhanced anti-rotation wire rope, alloy forged hook, 4-way roller fairlead, and wired and wireless remote controls.

If you put this winch on your Jeep JL, it will help you overcome the more complicated off-road conditions out in the wilderness. Whether you’re traverse jungle, snow, wilderness, or sand, this winch can help you on any off-road trip.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures ‎24.02 x 14.17 x 11.02 inches
  • Weighs ‎61.6 lb.
  • 5.5hp/4.0kW, series wound
  • Capacity ‎9,500 lb.
  • 3 stages planetary
  • Steel rope
  • 650 CCA battery
  • Extra wireless remote switch

User/Customer reviews

Multiple users have expressed that they were happy with the quality and construction of this winch. Many have also said that installation is easy with simple instructions in the manual, although you do need some mechanical knowledge to get it right. A few customers have said that the performance is slow but reliable.

Conclusion

While the OFF ROAD BOAR 9500 lb. Electric Winch Kit is far less expensive than those from other big brands, it delivers amazing performance when needed. Although it is slightly slow, it’s strong enough for a Jeep JL or other SUV. Overall, we feel that this product is worth the price you pay for it.

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#6 ZEAK 13000 lb. Premium Electric Winch

This is a premium electric winch from ZEAK, a world-class winch and accessories manufacturer. This model is designed to perfectly fit a Jeep Wrangler, SUV, or any vehicle that comes with a higher base as in the case of pickup trucks.

With this ZEAK 13,000 lb. winch (see Amazon) installed on your Jeep, you don’t have to worry about steep terrain, mud holes, or rocky surfaces on off-road trails. With a powerful and highly efficient 3-stage planetary steel gear, it also gives your vehicle a pulling power of 6.2hp/4.6kW series electric motor.

This winch package includes an electric winch, a control box, mounting bolts, clevis hook, handle remote, wireless remote, and hawse fairlead.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 23.7 x 13.6 x 10.7 inches
  • Weighs ‎59.9 lb.
  • ‎12V DC motor
  • Weather-sealed solenoid
  • Corded remote control
  • Hawse fairlead
  • 3/8’’ × 86’ Synthetic Rope
  • IP68 Waterproof and corrosion resistant finish
  • Mounting hardware

User/Customer reviews

Most users have said that installation is pretty straightforward with this winch as the cables come color-coded. Those who have tested the winch have said that this product not only looks great but also works just as expected. A few customers have warned that you cannot clock the gear shifter as you can do with the Warn winch.

Conclusion

The ZEAK 13,000 lb. Premium Electric Winch delivers phenomenal performance at this price point. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense design, then this all-black winch is just the thing for you. Overall, we feel that the quality and performance of the winch is just as expected.

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#7 WARN 103255 VR EVO 12-S Electric 12V DC Winch with Synthetic Rope

This standard duty electric winch from Warn comes with a synthetic rope and a capacity of 12,000 lb. It is ideally suited for three-quarter and one-ton pickup trucks, and other large frame rigs. This winch comes equipped with a powerful series-wound motor and planetary gear

The high-performance Albright contactor is known to deliver maximum reliability and the control packs can be easily relocated for any low-profile installations. Its waterproof construction makes this winch perfectly suitable if you frequently go on off-road trips.

This winch features a two-in-one remote with wired and wireless options for your convenience. Designed, engineered, and tested in the United States, we were impressed to find that this product comes backed by a lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and 7-year coverage on electrical parts.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 21 x 6.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Weighs ‎70.4 lb.
  • Standard-duty winches with a synthetic cable
  • 12,000 lb. pulling capacity
  • IP68-rated waterproof construction
  • High-performance Albright contactor
  • Series-wound motor and planetary gear train

User/Customer reviews

Those who have used this product were thoroughly impressed with the quality and construction of this winch. People have gone as far as saying that they now want nothing but Warn products. Several customers have also said that installation took only 30 minutes and putting it together was a dream. A few users have warned that the winch does not come with a cable chafe guard, though.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a sturdy and powerful winch that can fit onto your vehicle and deliver a flawless performance, then the WARN 103255 VR EVO 12-S Electric 12V DC Winch with Synthetic Rope may be the best fit. Besides its amazing construction and good performance, the manufacturer also stands behind their product with solid customer service.

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#8 WARN 17801 M12000 12000-lb Winch

This electric winch comes from the Warn family and is equipped with a 4.6 hp motor. It has a 3-stage planetary gear and a first layer maximum load capacity of 12,000 lb. Some of the features that come with this product include a mechanical brake and clutch-type lever.

This self-recovery winch from Warn can rescue people when they are stuck in the snow or a pool of mud. With a monstrous pulling capacity, this heavy-duty winch is capable of pulling your vehicle out of any situation. Due to its low-profile design, it can be mounted anywhere on your rig.

The powerful 4.6 hp Series Wound motor is designed to last for several years of rugged use. It includes a handheld remote control with a 12-foot lead. We were also impressed to find that the control pack is designed for ease of access and plenty of clearance.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 28.25 x 13 x 10.25 inches
  • Weighs 130 lb.
  • Handheld remote control
  • 15,000 lb. of pulling muscle
  • Ideal for heavier trucks and SUVs
  • Compact 12V 4.6hp motor

User/Customer reviews

Users have said that this winch fits their bumper perfectly and has helped them out of difficult situations several times. Some have also said that installation is pretty straightforward and that the winch functions as expected. Most customers have good things to say about this winch.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a solid and well-built winch with good muscle power to pull the strongest of vehicles then the WARN 17801 M12000 12000-lb Winch (see Amazon) is a great choice. At this price, we feel that it offers you good value for your money. Overall, this is a great buy!

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Recommended Front Bumper

TACTIK HD Stubby Front Bumper – Fits Jeep Wrangler JL and Gladiator JT

This is a heavy-duty steel bumper designed to fit Jeep Wrangler JL and Gladiator JT models. The bumper is made from a 5/32” thick steel sheet and 2” diameter tubing that is cut with a laser and welded robotically. It’s also coated with a high-quality textured powder finish.

The product comes with an integrated winch mount that can fit almost all models of winches and can take a capacity of up to 9500 lb. The TACTIK bumpers also come equipped with a standard 10″ x 4.5″ bolt pattern that is integrated with a fairlead mount.

Installation is easy and the package comes with all the essential tools such as a 3/4″ D-Ring Pair with Isolators. You may need to relocate the factory OEM fog lights to a wider mounting location to ensure that your side view remains unobstructed for a safer driving experience.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 53 x 22 x 12 inches
  • Weighs 89 lb.
  • Heavy Duty Steel Bumper
  • Integrated Winch Mount
  • Accepts Factory Fog Lights
  • Fits 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler JL 2 door

User/Customer reviews

Many users have said that when other vehicles have hit their bumper, the winch has broken their bumper because it’s so solid and sturdy. Some have also said that the fit is extremely good and that installation is also very easy.

Conclusion

The TACTIK Heavy Duty Front Stubby Bumper with Hoop (see Amazon) stands out of the competition not only for its amazing appearance but also its sturdy construction. If you want your Jeep to look extraordinary, then we recommend you opt for this winch. All in all, it offers an excellent price to performance ratio.

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Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Winch

While all of the products reviewed above are suitable for your Jeep JL, you may still want to look into the deeper details to narrow down your options. Here are some of the important things to consider before choosing a winch.

Weight capacity

Most important of all is the capacity of the winch, which informs users of the maximum load that it can sustain without breaking. This depends on mainly two things – the mechanical strength and the tensile strength of the rope.

Length of the line

The next important factor is the line length, which indicates how far the drum will be able to reach out when needed. Again, there are two important things that you need to look at here. As most of the pulling capacity takes place at the first layer, you will need a reasonable length to realize the full pulling potential.

Line Speed

The line speed is the result of both motor power and gear ratio. There are several brands that have extremely fast unloading speeds, but there are others that are slow when working under heavy loads. No matter the unloading speed, most models will have line speeds of 2-6 feet per range.

Motor type

This is another important consideration depending on whether you plan on regular or heavy-duty off-roading trips. Most of the brands will have permanent magnet motors and series-wound motors. Permanent magnet motors can be found in lower-priced models but they have low amp draws and are not resistant to heat. Series-wound motors are more suitable for heavy-duty winches.

Wire or synthetic rope

You will need to choose from the two main options available – wire or synthetic rope. Both have their own merits and drawbacks, so choosing anyone is a matter of preference. Wire rope winches are made from carbon steel and are mostly suitable for off-road tasks. They are resistant to abrasion and heat, but vulnerable to accidental crushing.

Synthetic ropes have an advantage over wire ropes because they are lighter and therefore safer if the rope snaps or something breaks.  Synthetic ropes are much stronger than equivalent-length wire ropes. The drawback is that they are more expensive and susceptible to chafing.

Drivetrain type

There basically get three types of drivetrains that have stood the test of time and are the most commonly used by most top brands: planetary, worm, and spur gear. As the name suggests, spur gear drivetrains function via a pair of spur gears. They are fast but have low amperage.

Worm gears work in unison with spur gears, and they are mostly connected to motor gears. They do a good job at holding load and minimize reliance on brakes, so they are a much safer alternative. They are more popular with tow trucks.

In Jeeps, you will typically find a planetary gear system, which most top brands like Warn and Smittybilt use in automatic transmission systems. They are compact and the automatic transmission makes them a very popular choice. They come in between spur and worm drivetrains in terms of friction and amp draw.

Tips To Stay Safe When Using A Winch

When using a winch for your Jeep JL, it’s important that you take care of your safety, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure the safety of you and your fellow riders.

When handling the winch, you should be careful to avoid straining the cable. For this, we suggest that you pull it in short spurts or at a slow rate. Going at a slower rate will minimize the risk to your safety. Another good tip is to try pulling the cable for 30 seconds and then giving it a break for the system to cool down.

If you have a system that uses a steel wire rope or cable, we suggest that you wear a pair of thick gloves to prevent hurting your fingers while handling it. Steel tends to develop small spikes or frays over time that can damage both the cable and your fingers.

Please bear in mind that winches are not really designed to tow vehicles. Their main purpose is to pull vehicles out of difficult situations, while the actual tow cable can be used to pull vehicles onto a platform. As such, using one in place of another can lead to damage or a larger repair bill.

Related Questions

What is the ideal winch size for my vehicle?

The ideal winch size will depend on your vehicle’s weight. If you have a heavy Jeep, then you’ll need a stronger winch. Ideally, the winch capacity should be 1.5 times the weight of your Jeep.

How can I make my winch last longer?

To prolong the life of your winch, we suggest that you cover it while driving in rain. This will prevent the build-up of moisture that can compromise its function. If you use it in mud, then make sure you wash it quickly and dry it off well.

Does a winch come with a mounting plate?

In most cases, the mounting plate and other tools needed for installation will be included in the package. However, we still suggest that you check this with the manufacturer.

How long can synthetic ropes last?

The lifespan of synthetic ropes depends on various factors such as the tensile strength, how it was made, the way it is used, and how much the owner takes care of it. As per most manufacturers, a synthetic rope should last for at least 10 years if you take good care of it.

Is a synthetic rope winch better for my Jeep JL?

Yes, we suggest synthetic ropes for your Jeep because they are much lighter and safer than steel cable ropes. If you do a lot of winching or expect to do so in the near future, then we strongly recommend you go for a synthetic rope over a steel cable winch.

Can I modify a winch to use a synthetic rope?

Yes, a number of winch systems can be modified to use a synthetic rope if you get the perfect fittings and get it fitted by a trained professional. Nevertheless, we suggest using a winch that comes with a dedicated synthetic cable as standard.

What’s the primary working systematic for a winch?

The primary functioning of a winch is pretty straightforward, although it may have an intricate design. If a vehicle needs to be pulled or an obstacle needs to be removed, this can be done with the help of the rotating motor. This comes in particularly handy on off-road trips.

Should I install the winch on the Jeep hood?

While it isn’t necessary that you install a winch on the hood, this can come in handy if the Jeep gets stuck. If you’re planning to take your Jeep off the beaten track, a winch can be extremely useful in situations where the vehicle gets stuck. Using a dedicated winch is a much safer, more powerful, and more effective way to remove your vehicle from any difficult situation.

See Also:
4 Best Coolants For Jeep Wrangler
3 Best Headlight Bulbs For Jeep Wrangler
3 Best Roof Rack for Jeep Wrangler Soft Top
Is Jeep Wrangler A Good First Car?

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