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What size of a winch do I need for my jeep | choosing a best winch guide

General opinion is that the winch size should be 1.5× GVWR. The long term of GVWR is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. by calculating this you can get an idea of what winch size you need.

But there are so many exceptions for this when choosing the correct winch for your jeep. 

In this article I’ll take you through all the necessary things worth to know before buying a winch.

When I wanted to buy a winch for my off-roading jeep I also had so many confusions when searching online.

Because many people out there try to sell something to us.

Most of the time we may be unable to decide which is accurate and which is not.

Here I’ll try to present you what I had learned from my researches and experiences on choosing a suitable winch for my jeep. Let’s dive in to it.


1.5 × GVWR theory.

The first thing you may hear of searching for a winch is this. As mentioned earlier GVWR is the maximum rated weight your vehicle can handle.

It is mentioned by your vehicle manufacturer and it’s constant number though. It may sometimes be mentioned in your vehicles user manual, under the hood or somewhere.

By multiplying it from 1.5 you can get an approximate idea for what size will match to your vehicle.

For example your jeep has a GVWR of 6000 lbs. you may need 9000 lbs. (6000×1.5) winch.

But when using the winch there are practical things that will reduce this maximum weight a winch can pull.

To achieve maximum pull capacity following things should be there.

Perfect power supply

This is a must for an electric winch. Good battery power with good electric connections and cables should be there.

Keeping start  while winching can increase the battery juice and reduce the effect of battery power for the performance of the winch.

Even if the battery is good, the wiring should be maintained properly.

Winch should directly connect with positive and negative terminals of the battery and wires should be in good condition without eroding.

Pulling angle and winch line layers

Other than power supply, pull should be straight and if there’s only a one winch line layer around the winch drum the pulling power is maximum.

If the line is  not straight there is a reduction in pulling power.

If there is more than 1 winch line layer on the drum, it’s found that there’s a reduction of  about 10% of pulling power for every extra layer.

As an example 10 000 lbs of winch have 10 000 lbs of pulling power when it has only one layer of cable around the drum.

If there is another one layer is over lying on bottom one, the pulling power is reduced approximately for 9 000. It’s like that.

But keep in mind these are only approximate numbers for your understanding

Go big.

The most important thing you have to take from this is ,the maximum pulling power is reduced due to various practical reasons.

What does that mean? That means you can’t just depend on the earlier mentioned equation to calculate the required pulling power of a winch and just buy one according to those values.

You may need a winch with more than that value of power.

Not too big.

You can select a winch with high power, but if it’s too big that also causes problems for you.

Power increase means winch also tends to increase its weight.

That means you should have mounts appropriate to that weight and pulling power on your vehicle.

If the mount is not strong enough to hold a couple of thousands pounds, the winch would quickly remove itself during a pull.So it should be thoroughly considered when choosing a winch. Choosing a big winch is good but too big is worse.

In my case as calculated previously we want a 9000 lbs winch for my 6000 lbs jeep. So it’s not a problem to buy a 10k winch for my vehicle.

But I should be aware of my mounts on the front bumper and if it’s not enough for this winch I have to make it properly by using steel plates to sit that winch on there.

 After choosing a winch you can contact the manufacturer and solve your problems according to your vehicle or if you have installed any aftermarket bumpers according to those.

Other things to consider buying a winch..

Above mentioned things are the main things we have to consider when buying a winch.

Apart from those there are few other things. In this section let’s see what those are.

  • Electric or hydraulic ?
  • Synthetic rope or steel cable ?
  • Best winch brands

Electric or hydraulic ?

There are two types of winches according to the mode power it works as electric and hydraulic.

  • Electric winches 

Electric winches are more common. They are designed for lower to medium pulling powers.

So that normally we use them for off-roading activities.

These are easy to install and easy to operate. when using we have to be concerned about battery power as mentioned above and be aware about overheating if used constantly.

  • Hydraulic winches

Hydraulic winches are used for heavy purposes normally.

They can attach to the power steering compressor of the vehicle.

This is not as easy to install as electric winches. Can use for a long time without heating problems.

But not much used in off-roading activities. Most suitable for heavy vehicles.

Synthetic rope or steel cable ?

Even a winch comes with its own strong rope you have to consider about the type of rope.

Each one has its own pros and cons. The main two types are synthetic ropes and steel cables. Let’s see about them.

  • Synthetic ropes

Synthetic ropes are popular now because of feasibility to use. It doesn’t cause injuries to persons when using and easier to work with.

But as cons of these , they have to be used carefully because these ropes tend to damage easily than metal one if rubbed with rough surfaces like rocks or required constant check ups.

  • Metal cables

These are the ones that are used for a long time for winching purposes. They are durable and perform well in different weather conditions.

But have to use carefully with appropriate recovery gears like gloves and etc.

Can cause serious injuries if something went wrong while winching in progress.

I personally prefer a synthetic rope for my personal use because it’s easy for me to use when my jeep stuck somewhere.

But I give necessary care and services to my winch and rope after an off-roading trip.

I think you can choose it according to your needs.

Apart from above things you have to consider the price and brand of the winch you’re gonna buy.

I’ll give you a few brands now for the completeness of this article. But there are many good brands out there.

You can choose a brand according to your budget and needs.

Few best winch brands


This is a famous brand in the winch manufacturing industry and it has a history from 1930.

They made all types of winches for small uses to heavy uses.

They ensure that all of the winches meet stringent standards including SAE, NFPA and J706.


Company that was founded in 1929 that manufactures hydraulic winches also for grand purposes like work in oil fields.

This company  has a great name for the winch manufacturing industry.


A globally known brand founded in the 1970s.

Their products are famous among users due to quality and top designs.


A famous brand among the off-roading community. They started their productions in 1956 as a small machine shop and grew their business with time while increasing their quality and design of products.

Now they proudly supplied thousands of dealers worldwide their truck and SUV accessories including winches.


DP WINCH company has a history from 1975 for building their first winch.

Since then they built military winches, hydraulic winches for use in army, navy and marine vehicles and more than 40 000 winches for government field operations around the world.

Today this brand manufactures a complete line of planetary winches including bumper packages.

Have fun and safe off-roading!!

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