How to Size a Winch for a UTV – Choose The Right Winch

Winch mounted on a UTV in the front

Put in simple words, a winch is a mechanical device that can help in pulling in and pushing up heavy items that cannot be done using normal methods and options.

From a layman’s point of view it consists of a spool or drum. This is attached to a mechanical or hand crank. They work almost on the same mechanism that moves tow trucks, elevators, and steam shovels.

There are some complex winches that are larger in size. They come with gears and are also powered by drives that run on electricity or by using mechanical brakes, or pneumatic and hydraulic combustion drives.

However, in this article, we will be looking the reasons why winch is an important tool when you are on an UTV and traveling on difficult muddy, rocky and other such terrains.

Different types of winches for UTVs

There are different types of winches that you can choose for your mudding and mountain trekking and other needs. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Electrical winches
  • Hydraulic drum winches
  • Mechanical capstan winches
  • Hybrid winches
  • Mechanical portable

However, when it comes to choosing a winch for your UTV, there are a few things that you must bear in mind.

You must be aware of the size and weight capacity of your winch, the size of the wheels and other such things. The terrain that you are driving on also will determine the size and type of winch that you are planning to use.

What is the purpose of the winch

When you are riding a UTV or side-by-side vehicle, you certainly need a good winch. This is because these specialized vehicles are designed for use in tough and difficult terrains.

There is a risk of the tires and the vehicles getting stuck in sand, slush and mud or even getting stuck in big rocks and boulders. It may not be possible to physically put back the UTVs back on track.

This is where winches come quite handy. These mechanical devices have the capacity to pull or push and make other such adjustments to help put the vehicle back on road. This process of pulling and pushing is known as winding up or winding out.

Many people do not find it necessary to carry a winch hoping that the brain and brawn of the persons who are riding along will be able to do the job. However, this is not always possible and there are many occasions when the large sized UTV tires get stuck deep in slush and mud. In such situations winches are perhaps the best solution. They help in pulling out the UTVs from the mess they could be in. They have the power and the pneumatic pressure that they can offer is much more than what the human brawn can perhaps do.

Additionally, winches are used in various other situations and therefore they form an integral part of any situation where there is a need to pull out things that are stuck or even when it comes to moving heavy things from one place to another. We also see the use of winch-technology in ropeways where men and material are moved from lower heights to hill tops and other such elevated places. We are listing down a few of the common areas where the use of winches is widespread.

Farm use

Winches are commonly used in farms and they certainly add quite a bit of efficiency and help the farmers in tough and difficult situations. They are used mostly for helping, in case tractors and excavators get stuck in water, slush and mud. They can be mounted on tractors and excavators. You can also choose the smaller variants known as gypsy winches. These small alternatives have better flexibility and maneuverability and are also durable, long lasting and can be handled easily even in tough and rough terrains.

These farm winches are proven on the ground and are stable and they can also come in handy when it comes to pulling down and dismantling a solid construction. They work on the same mechanics of any winch. They can be attached or tied to any solid or robust surface. The winches can be used to for load lowering and pushing loads up elevated surface and of course when it comes to lifting excavators and tractors that may get have got stuck in deep soil, water and slush. These winches are available in different sizes and capacities and they certainly do make a big difference to your farming requirements and needs.

Mudding and rock climbing

UTVs or side-by-side vehicles are the most commonly used options for rock climbing and mudding. Even the most powerful and well designed SUVs will not be able to handle the rough and unpredictable terrains as efficiently as UTVs can do. However, we also need to keep in mind that even the best of UTVs with the best of tires, power, and other mechanical features may not be able to stay stable and firm in such treacherous and unpredictable surfaces.

In spite of the best driving and negotiating, there are many instances where these special vehicles get stuck in deep mud or rock. In spite of the best manual and other efforts, it may not be possible to get them off the ground. In such situations a good winch could make all the difference. We are sharing a few reasons why winches could make a big different when you are either rock climbing or mudding.

Winches help in keeping control of the UTVs on steep climbs and descents. Though UTVs are designed to climb steep heights at a brisk speed, the risk of slipping and toppling is always there. In such situations, a winch can come in handy. It reduces the speed of the vehicle, and provides the much needed support and stability. This comes in handy when your UTV is moving downhill in some of the toughest and uneven terrains. You need winches to control the speed and these devices can do a wonderful job of it.

Winches are a must when you are mudding with your UTV. While some formal lessons and tricks can help when driving through vast tracks of muddy and slushy surfaces, you may still get stuck. In such situations, there is no doubt that winches become indispensable. They can be tied to a solid surface and the stuck UTV can be pulled or pushed out even when they are stuck deep in mud and slush.

You might also like our article Go Mud Riding with your Side by Side and Go Rock Climbing with a UTV.

Winching other UTVs

These winches can also come in handy when you have another winch that is stuck up, or has some mechanical failure. Towing another UTV in such difficult terrains would be too difficult and here, a good winch can make the job easy. They can easily push the UTV or pull it down as needed.

Price tags for a UTV winch

You can buy winches in different price ranges depending on size, power, capacity and other such attributes. There are winches that can be manually operated and you also could go in for mechanically operated ones. While some winches make use of ropes, there are others that make use of steel ropes and synthetic ropes. The motor, pulling power, mounting and other factors also determine the price of winches.

You can get winches for as low as $100 and these are basic variants. If you are a regular hiker and make use of your UTV on weekends or whenever you find spare time, it would be better for you to go in for a higher price range winch. Good branded winches should come with a price tag of around $300 or even $500 if you are looking for a few more additional features.

Winch installation price at a shop

The installation costs again will vary on the complexities of the winch, the power, the weight that it can handle and other such things.

You should be able to install a winch for around $50 to $100. Branded winches are easy to install because they have a standard installation procedure.

Though there are DIY ways of doing it, we suggest you should take help from a mechanic at a professional to help you with the installation.


Winches and UTV vehicles go side by side, in the real sense of the term. Therefore, we do believe that we have been able to give a reasonably good idea about the need for winches, how to choose them, how to make use of them and also have given the readers a rough idea about the prices of different types of winches.


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