How Big of a Winch Do I Need?

The perfect pulling power of a winch is more than that of a vehicle’s weight. Preferably 50% more pound winch is best for hauling jeeps and similar vehicles. We will discuss more details on how big of a winch do I need right below.

An adventure buff is fond of going off-road bucketing jeep. It’s an excellent experience over the drive on the plain off-road trail, but the question arises when it becomes rough. Vehicles generally get stuck on rough, muddy, and rocky trails or sands. A winch works great to recover stuck vehicles from such uncomfortable situations.

But which winch is perfect for you?

Different brands are out there to display more powerful winches ranging from 8,000 lbs to 10,000 lbs load capacity. You may find winches ranging from 2500 lb to 4500 lb as well. All of these winches are not the right fit for you. You have to pick the right pound winch for your jeep among many alternatives.

But before you go, go through this article to learn to pick the right tool for you.

This guide will show you how to pick the right-sized winch. Also, show you how big a winch should be for a jeep.

How Big of a Winch Do I Need or How Many Pound Winch Do I Need for My Jeep

Less than the double of vehicle’s weight is the general measurement of a winch system. More clearly, a 4500 lb jeep ideally requires a 6500 lb winch. This difference makes the pulling operation smooth.

However, some ordinary brand promoters show more pulling power but can’t pull the deserving weight when required. On the other hand, opposite directives are also visible.

A few manufacturers, whose mission is to produce only motor parts, supply some excellent winches on the market. Smittybilt, Warn, and a few more brands are worthy of mention.

An incorrect size may be the result of worse consequences off-road. An unfit and imperfect size of the kit may also lead to deterioration and create unpleasant problems frequently.

So, calculate the size of your vehicle first to determine how big of a winch you need. You can depend on GVWR theory for that. By this measurement theory, you can easily calculate the vehicle’s gross weight. This gross weight calculation is vital for winch size selection.

What is the GVWR theory?

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the elaborated form of the GVWR. It is a widely known formula to estimate the right-sized winch. This formula will quickly show you your gross vehicle weight rating. You can easily calculate the vehicle’s gross weight by multiplying it by 1.5. Maybe it is not completely clear to you, still. Let’s have a clear statement of this theory by example.

For better understanding, assume your jeep wrangler’s GVWR is 4500 lbs. If so, multiply it by 1.5 and you’ll get the result of 6750. So, the lowest size, like UTV winches, will be 6750 lbs or more. In general, an 6,500 lb size or more is perfect for such vehicles.

The vehicle manufacturer provides GVWR by considering the vehicle’s maximum weight, including the cargo, passengers, and fuel. You can search the GVWR in your user manual, online, or maybe at the driver’s door.

Getting a recovery kit of the same capacity as that of a jeep (like a 4500 lb for a jeep of 4500-lb) might seem pretty good, but it can’t tackle the additional weight from gear and pressure. It is advisable to go for a size that is somewhat more than the jeep’s weight. The more lbs capacity a winch has the better. But take care if it doesn’t make unnecessary expenses.

Here’s a relevant blog post on winches pull rating calculations. It may also be a helpful resource for your understanding.

Is An Undersized Winch Appropriate to Use?

The accident appears without an alarm and shows no forewarning. If you carry a small-sized winch – it won’t work for your vehicle – the statement is not strictly true. The reality is that it will pull your car, and you will recover it from ordinary terrains, no problem.

The problem is when you’ll get stuck in very tough terrain or a stiff rock. Moreover, when the vehicle is carrying heavy loads that your winch does not afford.

So, it is wise not to take the risk in such uncertain circumstances. Better to keep the right-sized winch to avoid any emergent situation.

Can I Have An Oversized Winch?

Too big or too small, both of them are worse and unfit for a vehicle. An extra large recovery kit may sometime cause damage to the bumper. The GVWR rating is the determinant of the right-sized tool. In fact, your car needs what it deserves. Not too big or not too small.

As we described GVWR above, you know how it works. If you blindly select an oversized kit, it may not be the right fit for your 4wd. Moreover, large-size winches are heavy-duty and expensive. It may waste your money. So, be wise to choose the right tool for your vehicle.

Do you know the GVWR of our vehicle? Enter here to calculate the right-sized winch for your car.

Basically, winch selection depends on your vehicle’s configuration and load-carrying capacity. A close observation will show your vehicle’s load capacity and other necessary information sealed on the body. You can also find it in the manual. You can easily calculate how large the winch should be following the manual.

For ATVs, never choose heavy-duty extreme winches of 12,000 lbs. Better find an ATV winch between 3,500 lb to 4,500 lb load capacity winches. You can also choose such small-size winches for Polaris Sportsman or rangers. These vehicles are small and lightweight so low amp and budget-friendly winches are right-fit.

How Can You Boost Your Winch’s Pulling Capacity?

You can increase the power of your winch if it is not strong enough to perform the task or if you are doubtful about its performance. Thanks to trees, clevis, and snatch block. They can increase the pulling power.

Below is a five-step process to increase winch pulling power. By following this process, you can improve its capacity, and it can pull out your vehicles easily.

  1. Attach a tree saver to a nearby tree, boulder, or heavy debris. Tree savers are efficient since they protect your rope from breaking down in the mid. Never wrap a rope around a tree as it will rip down due to friction during the application, thus leading to the failure of the whole process.
  2. Wrap the rope around a snatch block. It will boost the pulling power when you wrap it. This way, it may double the winch-pulling capacity.
  3. Next, hook the clevis to the snatch block. Make sure the clevis is strong enough to handle the vehicle’s weight.
  4. Again, attach the winch to the mounting clevis on your jeep bumper.
  5. Finally, lock it to prevent the rope from sliding while pulling out. Never forget to lock the winch rope. Otherwise, it may lead to stretch and entrap you. Then, tighten it up and continue hauling.

These are all the steps by which you can escalate the strength of your recovery kit. This process accommodates the additional weight from the gear. It also increases the lifespans of the tools. However, be cautious about the proper installation since any mistakes can injure you or damage the vehicle.


So, don’t make a hasty decision while choosing your pulling kit. From the GVWR theory, it is clear that size is not the only measurement of the winch’s performance. Only big winches will pull heavy loads and vehicles; this is not the only aspect of winch selection. There are a few other things to consider before you pick one.

You already know that the large-sized winch for a small car may damage the bumper or similar installation device. On the contrary, undersized tool also fails to pull the vehicles at the right time.

So, it is vital to know the GVWR formula to decide how big of a winch you should have. Moreover, some technical winching tips and tricks will help you power up small-sized winches to pull heavy loads. All these things combined conclude selecting the right-sized winches.

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