How to Size a Winch for UTV? – [Detailed Guide]

A winch is plenty good when it comes to pulling heavy loads up and down, with cables attached to your vehicle. Just imagine, you are out with your vehicle that has a winch installed, you see a man with his stuff that fell off the rocks, you could help him as you have a winch installed!

Now imagine the same situation, you see a man, try to help him pick his heavy items and guess what, your winch comes off or gets damaged. Why? Because you did not choose the right size on finch for your vehicle. So in this article, we will be dealing with how to size a winch for UTV.

This article will look at the safety measures around winches as they can be dangerous if not applied, how to select the best size of winch for your vehicle, types of winches, and a few more things about winches. Now let us get onto it!

These are the primary safety measures to be followed when dealing with winches, and please gain more knowledge about winches before operating them

How to Size a Winch for a UTV? – Guide

Yes, winch is great for vehicles that go off-road because they experience more need of pulling things up and down. But a winch with the wrong size for your vehicle can be a little too dangerous to have. The perfect winch size for your vehicle depends on multiple factors, and we will now be looking at them.

1. The Frequency of Usage

The winch you want to buy will depend on how frequently you use it. If you do not regularly use it, it’s just an ‘in case’ item; you can look for winches that can pull back its cable into the drum faster; basically, look for higher winch line speed so that you will not have to get into a lot of work and will have to pull the cables back.

If you use your winch regularly, you would want to buy a winch that is one and a half times your vehicle weight. This will increase your winch’s pulling potential.

2. How Much your Vehicle Weighs 

The weight of your vehicle is essential in determining the size of the winch you want to install. Pulling a lot more load with the winch installed on a vehicle that is too light to handle can damage the winch and the vehicle. The opposite is also true.

It is suggested to use a winch that is double the weight of your vehicle so that you do not overload your vehicle and damage any of them. 

3. The Weight of your Vehicle’s Front Part

Since winches are generally installed on the front part of your vehicle, it is crucial to know the weight of the front part of your vehicle and how much weight it can take. Using a heavy winch on a vehicle without the capacity to handle it can damage your vehicle as well as the winch. 

It is better to use a winch with synthetic cables since they are lighter and will not add much weight to the front end. Metal cables are relatively heavy and tend to add a lot of weight to your vehicle.

Types of Winches

Yes, there are many types of winches, and they all serve the same purpose but with different effectiveness. There are light as well as heavy lifting winches. Let us look at a few of them now.

1. Hydraulic Winches

Yes, we have winches that are powered hydraulically. They use the energy of a hydraulic system and a pump. They require much more power but also give the appropriate results. These can lift heavy weights, so you might not always opt for this one, as it is not suitable for regular weight lifting. 

Hydraulic winches are primarily used in sailing, marines, basically for lifting heavyweights. These are highly durable if properly maintained. 

2. Electric Winches

Electric winches are also heavy-duty winches. They take energy directly from your battery, so you can expect your battery to drain out quickly while using these. They are pretty easy to install to your vehicles and are great on snowy days to pull people out of it. 

These are almost recommended for trucks as they are the ones who are prone to lift heavy loads. These are great when you want to tow heavy loads.

3. Air Winches

As the name suggests, Air winches use air, specifically compressed air, to retain energy. The capacity of these winches can be increased or decreased depending upon the compressor. If you use a larger compressor, the more will be the winch’s capacity and vice versa.

Air winches are pretty quick at their job, for both light and heavyweights. These can be used in any environment, dusty or wet. Mostly used in oil and gas industries, construction, etc. are great in lifting heavy loads.

These are a few examples of types of winches; you can find a lot more variety in them for different weight capacities.

Safety Measures

  1. Always wear gloves and gloves while operating a winch, and do not let your hands run through the winch cable even when wearing gloves.
  2. Do not let children under the age of 16 stay around or operate the winch, and it can be hazardous.
  3. Keep your vehicle on break when operating a winch.
  4. Always inspect your winch before use and never oil or grease winch cables.
  5. Do not use recovery patches on winch cables; they won’t handle the weights and will experience shock load, resulting in injury or death.


It is crucial to choose the perfect winch size for your vehicle. A wrong winch size can get you and people involved into a lot of trouble and perhaps death. While operating winches, make sure you keep the safety measures in mind and have not consumed any alcohol or drugs before the winch operation. 

The size of the winch you want to install on your vehicle can depend upon the vehicle’s weight, the frequency of use, and the front part’s weight. It is recommended to use winches that are double your vehicle’s weight. 

Go through various types of winches, select the one that suits the purpose, and do not overload your vehicle. And again, safety measures are a must, so do not forget to keep yourself and others safe.

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