Best Portable Winch Today

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Top 3 Picks

pressed for time? Check out our top picks

best overall rating
★★★★★

WARN 885000 Winch

WARN 885000 PullzAll Corded 120V AC Portable Electric Winch with Steel Cable: 1/2 Ton (1,000 Lb) Pulling Capacity , Red
  • Lasts a long time
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Speed control
best overall rating
★★★★★

Master Lock Electric Winch

Master Lock Electric Winch, Portable 12-Volt DC Electric Winch, 2953AT
  • Highly durable design
  • Remote control
  • Easy to use
best overall rating
★★★★★

WARN 910500 Drill Winch

WARN 910500 Handheld Portable Drill Winch with 30 Foot Wire Rope: 1/4 Ton (500 lb) Pulling Capacity
  • Ergonomic design
  • Easy to use
  • Can be handheld

How We Decided: 33 products considered. 1,900+ reviews analyzed, 29 research hours spent, 28+ info. sources referred

Having a winch, more so when you’re taking an off-road adventure, is very important. The only problem you may encounter is choosing the right winch for yourself.

Every time you go shopping, you will discover that there are different winches out there, but only the best will serve you a long time.

One of the reasons for purchasing a portable winch is to help you unstick yourself anytime. All you do is hook your rope to the load, start the engine, and that’s it – you are free.

The winch will engage and move the weight with the power needed. This article will help you learn everything you need to know in choosing the best portable winch.

Top Portable Winch Compared

ProductSpecificationsPrice

WARN 885000

Best winch overall

Motor: 120V AC
Rated Line Pull: 1000 lbs
Line Length: 15 ft

Master Lock Electric Winch

Best versatile winch

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 2000 lbs
Line Length: 20 ft

WARN 910500 Drill Winch

Best handheld winch

Motor: No own power source (Uses standard drill for power)
Rated Line Pull: 500 lbs
Line Length: 30 ft

Bravex Electric Winch

Best dual direction winch

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 2000 lbs
Line Length: 30 ft

Superwinch 1140232

Best all round winch

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 8000 lbs
Line Length: 30 ft

Keeper KWSL2000RM

Best recreational winch

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 6000 lbs
Line Length: 40 ft

Master Lock 2955AT

Best compact design

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 1500 lbs
Line Length: 35 ft

Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson TW9000

Most powerful marine winch

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 9000 lbs
Line Length: 25 ft

Keeper KW75122RM-1 Winch

Best powerful portable winch

Motor: 4.5 hp
Rated Line Pull: 7500 lbs
Line Length: 72 ft

TruePower 40-4003

Best battery powered winch

Motor: 12V DC
Rated Line Pull: 6000 lbs
Line Length: 30 ft

Best Portable Winch

1.best overall rating

WARN 885000 Corded PullzAll 120V AC

WARN 885000 PullzAll Corded 120V AC Portable Electric Winch with Steel Cable: 1/2 Ton (1,000 Lb) Pulling Capacity , Red

Best winch overall

This winch is a multipurpose machine that is designed for light tasks around your home, auto shop, or garage. It was made to be an affordable and versatile winch so that you can accomplish more while paying less.

It is the right choice for anyone who needs an affordable winch that will serve you for years to come.

Key specifications

  • Line pull rating of 1,000 pounds
  • LED indicator
  • Electronic load limiter
  • No-load line speed of 13.8 feet per minute
  • Length of cable – 15 feet
  • Diameter of rope – 7/32 inches
  • Weight – 15 pounds
  • Product dimensions – 19 x 12 x 12 inches

Pros

  • Lasts a long time
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Speed control
  • Weight limit indicator
  • Suitable for multiple lightweight tasks

Cons

  • Cannot handle heavy jobs

These Chinese manufacturers are known for specializing in cheap, durable products, and this winch is no different. Moreover, it is simple to use so that even beginners have a smooth time operating it.

Because this winch is meant for lightweight jobs, you may have to clear the path along it’s intended line of work.

However, that is a small price to pay for the benefits you get from this winch. The machine was designed to replace chain falls and come alongs, which are considered old-fashioned today.

This item is a reliable winch that will help you finish tough tasks that require less than 1,000 pounds of force. You will also enjoy its light weight, which makes it easy to carry the winch anywhere the job takes you.

2.best overall rating

Master Lock Electric Winch

Master Lock Electric Winch, Portable 12-Volt DC Electric Winch, 2953AT

Best versatile winch

Convenience, durability, and versatility are the best three words that describe the Master Lock Electric Winch. It can be used in handling trucks, cars, boats, and trailers.

The cable is conveniently tucked inside the winch, making it quite easy to transport. For a winch of its size, it pulls an impressive 2,000 pounds of weight.

Key specifications

  • 12-volt DC power unit
  • Capacity of 6,000 pounds
  • Pulling rate of 2,000 pounds
  • Galvanized steel cable
  • Remote control
  • Cable length – 20 feet
  • Product dimensions – 14 x 12 x 10 inches
  • Weight – 25.4 pounds

Pros

  • Highly durable design
  • Remote control
  • Easy to use
  • Serves multiple purposes (trailers, cars, and boats)

Cons

  • Performs poorly with heavier trucks, boats, or trailers

With a capacity of 6,000 pounds, this winch can be classified among the most powerful portable winches. It has a wide range of applications, and it was designed with an easy-to-operate mechanism.

This makes it an ideal choice for new users. You will also receive a detailed user’s manual.

The compact design reduces the storage space it takes up and allows it to fit into tight spaces for easier transportation. There is also a remote control and a 20-foot power cable.

Other safety features include the galvanized steel cable and plate for added strength. The machine is made of steel, as is the cable. Both of these significantly contribute to its durable design.

3.best overall rating

WARN 910500 Drill Winch

WARN 910500 Handheld Portable Drill Winch with 30 Foot Wire Rope: 1/4 Ton (500 lb) Pulling Capacity

Best handheld winch

Coming in at a pulling capacity of 500 pounds, the WARN 910500 Drill Winch delivers more than meets the eye.

As small as it is, it packs a significant amount of power when used with a standard portable drill.

Key specifications

  • Line pull rate of 500 pounds
  • Cable length – 30 feet
  • Free spool clutch
  • Weight – 12.63 pounds
  • Variable speed for more control

Pros

  • Has an ergonomic design
  • Easy to use
  • Can be handheld
  • Double rigging hooks

Cons

  • Clearly unfit for medium or higher level jobs

WARN has made a name for itself with its portable, lightweight, and yet powerful winches. They have tried to give this small one as many of those qualities as possible, too.

It has a free spool clutch that will ease your towing process and make it faster.

The 30-foot cable also gives you a more extended reach than most portable winches offer. It also features rigging hooks on both the front and the rear. The wire is integrated with a hawse fairlead.

One of the best features of this winch is that it is handheld. That is how light in weight it is. You can use it to pull loads onto trailers or tackle the tough-to-pull jobs.

The design is ergonomic to ensure maximum comfort during use, and it is quite an easy device to operate. There is a load limiter to keep you from exceeding its pulling weight capability.

4.best overall rating

Bravex Electric Winch, Reversible Portable 12-Volt DC Electric Winch

Bravex Trailer Winch 6000LBS, Reversible Portable 12-Volt DC Electric Winch Boat Trailer Truck Power-in, Power-out (Corded Remote Control & Hand Crank)

Best dual-direction winch

This compact and sturdy winch comes with a pulling capacity of 2,000 pounds and is designed for use with boats and vehicles. It offers a dual-direction feature, which means it can power in and out.

With its enhanced power motor, you will enjoy 30% increased power as compared to similar models.

Key specifications

  • Line pulling rate – 2,000 pounds
  • Manual and electric operation features
  • Electric winching with dual-direction feature
  • Automatic brake system
  • Weight – 24.5 pounds
  • 20-foot power cable
  • Cable length – 30 ft.
  • Hand crank winching

Pros

  • Very low noise level
  • Remote control
  • Can be operated manually or electrically
  • Can be used for spooling or pulling

Cons

  • Works very slowly

This winch has a myriad of features, including minimal noise, dual-direction and dual-operation features, and higher power capacity. Safety features have also been incorporated into its design.

The cable is made of galvanized steel, and the braking system is automatic. The winch also has a corded remote so you can stand at a safe distance during operation.

You will receive a 2-year warranty, although it doesn’t cover the cable. This winch can be operated both manually and electrically.

It may be slow, but this Bravex Electric Winch does its job perfectly. It will also serve you for years due to its durable features.

5.best overall rating

Superwinch 1140232 Winch 2 Go 12V 4000SR

Superwinch 1140232 Winch2Go 12V DC Electric Portable Utility Winch 4000lb/1814.4kg Single Line Pull with Steel Mounting Plate, Integrated Hawse Fairlead, 7/32' x 40' Synthetic Rope, Handheld Remote

Best all-around winch

The Superwinch 1140232 is a state-of-the-art winch designed with the sole purpose of usability in mind. It sets itself apart from the competition by being incredibly easy to use.

It also has a self-recovery system that allows the user to save themselves from any winch-related predicament.

Key features

  • Convenient storage box
  • 16,000-pound pulley block
  • Durable toolbox with a 4,000-pound synthetic rope
  • Quick connect to battery through alligator clips
  • 12-foot hand-held remote
  • 10-foot power cable
  • Three 20,000 pound shackles

Pros

  • Powerful, with the capacity to pull over 8,000 pounds
  • Ease of use with the 12-foot remote
  • Convenient due to the storage box
  • Doesn’t require help, as one can use it by themselves
  • Safe due to ease of hooking it to a power source

Cons

  • Low-quality cable
  • Low-grade case

The Superwinch 2 Go is built with the user in mind. It has a compact and highly portable design, which adds to its usability.

Unlike many other winches on the market, this winch does not sacrifice power for portability. It is able to pull up to 8,000 pounds.

The convenience of the winch goes far beyond its size. It is easy to use and eliminates most of the complications associated with powering the winch. The process is simple and safe when using the remote.

The Superwinch 2 Go is recommended as a tool for both recreational and professional purposes. It is powerful, convenient, and easy to use.

6.best overall rating

Keeper KWSL2000RM 12V DC Rapid Mount Portable Winch

KEEPER KWSL2000RM 12V DC Rapid Mount Portable Winch with Handheld Remote - 6000 lbs. Load Capacity

Best recreational winch

This Keeper model is an excellent choice for those in need of a reliable winch, especially in a marine scenario. This winch can be used for various purposes due to its highly efficient power usage.

It comes with a built-in battery for added convenience for the user.

Key features

  • 10-inch handheld remote control
  • Emergency hand crank
  • Freewheel clutch
  • Safety latch and a galvanized wire rope
  • Pull rating of up to 6,000 pounds
  • Rapid-mount ball hitch mount
  • Power gearbox

Pros

  • Safe to use due to the remote control
  • Powerful
  • Easy and quick to set up
  • Portable
  • Suitable for marine work
  • Durable due to galvanized wire

Cons

  • No reverse capabilities

Few winches on the market apply themselves to marine work quite like the Keeper. The commitment to this function is evidenced by the manufacturer choosing not to include a reverse feature. This feature is seldom used when towing boats.

This winch is much more effective for recreational use than professional purposes. This is demonstrated best by its design, which focuses more on marine use than other winches.

It displays an emphasis on power and convenient setup. This machine is a natural choice for anyone looking for a winch to use on a fishing or boating trip.

7.best overall rating

Master Lock 2955AT 1500lb Portable ATV Winch

Master Lock 2955AT 1500lb Portable ATV Winch

Best compact design

This winch stands out in its portability and compact size. It lends itself more to recreational use than professional tasks. This is evidenced by its relatively lower pulling capacity of 1,500 pounds.

However, it offers incredible ease of use in mounting and powering up.

Key features

  • 35-foot cable length
  • Weight of 13.7 pounds
  • 12-volt power supply
  • Line speed of about 6.4 feet per minute without a load
  • 1,500 pounds pulling capacity
  • Designed for permanent mounting

Pros

  • Long cable
  • Relatively fast at about 6.4 feet per minute
  • Has high torque in relation to its size

Cons

  • Relatively weak compared to other market offerings
  • Motor burns easily when strained

The compact and highly portable design makes this Master Lock winch stand out in the crowd. However, it sacrifices power for design, as it has a maximum pulling capacity of about 1,500 pounds.

This makes it better suited for recreational work than professional work, which would usually require a high power output.

It has a 12-volt motor, which is the main power driver of the device. Despite its small size and its relatively low pulling weight, the winch performs exceptionally well.

It delivers high torque and better radial load capacity as compared to similar products.

People searching the market for a small but capable winch will get the most use out of this item. It is suitable for jobs requiring low weight or for recreational purposes.

8.best overall rating

Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson TW9000 12 Volt Trailer Winch

Goldenrod Electric Trailer Winch 3000LBS

Most powerful marine winch

The compact design and sheer power behind this winch make it an exceptionally great tool for the user. It also has an attractive envelope around it.

This, coupled with its power, makes it an excellent pick for anyone. It is also designed to pull boats that weigh up to 9,000 pounds.

Key features

  • Has power-in and power-out capabilities
  • Both dynamic brake and mechanical friction brake
  • Gear ratio of 570:1
  • Rotary switch with three positions: in, out, and off
  • Weight of 30.1 pounds

Pros

  • Portable and compact
  • Versatile with its three-position rotary switch
  • Robust, capable of pulling 9,000-pound boats
  • Convenient with its 25-foot battery wire
  • Attractive envelope

Cons

  • Not suited for smaller boats

The Goldenrod Dutton-Lainson TW 9000 is an instrumental piece of equipment, especially for those who need a winch for marine work.

It pulls boats that weigh up to 9,000 pounds, which makes it unique for professional dock work. Its small and compact size also makes it a tool that can be used in recreational work, such as boating or fishing.

The winch’s envelope serves not only to make it visually pleasing but also to protect it from damage. This lengthens its shelf life, as well. It is also versatile with its 3-position switch and dual braking system.

9.best overall rating

Keeper KW75122RM-1 12V DC Rapid Mount Portable Winch

KW 7.5, Electric Winch, 7,500 lb. Single Line Pull, 12V DC with Wireless Remote

Best powerful portable winch

The Keeper KW75122RM-1 is seemingly designed with the notion of packing as much power into as small a machine as possible.

It may not be the smallest winch available, but it is relatively small in size with a horsepower of about 4.5. Add to that its pull rating of about 7,500 pounds and it sits it in a league of its own.

Key specifications

  • 12-volt DC motor that delivers 4.5 HP
  • Power-in and power-out capabilities
  • Provides variable amounts of power
  • Wireless winch control
  • 72-foot wire rope with a looped thimble
  • Handheld pendant switch

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Safe with a wireless control
  • Versatility of both power-in and power-out capabilities
  • Speedy mount capabilities
  • Long rope for added convenience

Cons

  • Motor prone to breakage
  • Does not have an envelope to protect from damage

The Keeper is a reliable pick, as it provides a pull rating of about 7,500 pounds with a relatively small overall size. It is driven primarily by its 12-volt motor that offers 4.5 HP coupled with the planetary gearbox that makes it exceptionally powerful.

This gearbox has the added convenience of having an automatic load-holding brake, as well as a 4-way roller fairlead.

For anyone looking for a winch with raw power and a small compact design, this Keeper model is an easy recommendation.

10.best overall rating

TruePower 40-4003 12V DC Portable Winch

No products found.

Best battery-powered winch

TruePower, like the name implies, is a beast of a machine capable of pulling about 2,000 pounds on land. It can also pull about a 5,000-pound boat in the water.

This dual-purpose winch is not confined to just one form of use. It is small in size relative to its power, and it has an attractive envelope around it.

Key specifications

  • 12-volt DC power
  • Has battery clips present
  • Wireless on and off controls
  • Has 30-foot cable length
  • Line speed of about 6 feet per minute
  • 6,000-pound pulling capacity

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Safe and convenient due to the wireless remote
  • Relatively fast pulling speed
  • Convenient battery clips
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Prone to getting stuck
  • Cheap construction quality

TruePower’s most significant fault lies in its construction quality. Though it looks great and has a sound spec sheet, the actual operation is hampered by poor quality.

There are multiple instances where the cable retracts in an awkward fashion, which can make the process troublesome.

However, this model offers excellent performance from its 12-volt DC motor that provides 5,000 pounds of pulling power for boats.

It is also convenient, as you can operate it through its remote control. This winch also provides a lot of raw power that can be used on land, too.

The spec sheet is impressive due to the power it offers, but the risk of breakage is something to consider when buying this product.

Buying Guide for Portable Winch

WARN 885000 Corded PullzAll 120V AC

Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to know first before settling on which portable winch to buy.

Winch capacity

This is the maximum power a winch can pull. This power is denoted in pounds or kilograms. When shopping for a winch, you need to consider how much your vehicle weighs and which winch has the ability to pull the car with ease.

Cable length

The more rows a rope makes on the winch drum, the less its power. As the cable winds on the drum, the mechanical force increases, and this lowers the capacity of the winch.

Therefore, the more you lift a load, the more significant the transmitted force becomes.

Traction speed

In every given power, there occurs a trade-off between load speed and traction speed. You expect a heavy load to be slowly towed.

A typically loaded winch pulls up to 1.5 meters per minute. A faster winch has more power compared to an average one.

How it Works

Since there are a variety of winches in the market, how they function is a pivotal aspect to look into before you make your purchase.

  • There are manual winches, the simplest, and they contain the traction capacity ideal for your arms. They are best suited for small loads.
  • Electric winches are connected to a truck or a car battery and are known to have a higher capacity than that of manual winches. They are slightly expensive, but they are worth it if you need more power output. Always go for one that has a higher capacity than your needs.
  • Mechanical winches – These are driven by heat engines. They are more cumbersome and slightly more expensive than electric winches.
  • Hydraulic winches – These are connected to a hydraulic circuit. These winches are the most powerful and reliable.

Typical failures to consider

Some winches break easily while others are coated with a metallic coating, which adds to its strength, thus making it more immune to breakage.

To prevent similar failures, purchase a winch cover that will protect your winch from coating damage or breakage.

Why you need a Portable Winch

There are a hundred reasons why you need a portable winch. Having a portable winch guarantees you a safe ride despite how remote you may be located because you know the winch will help you when you get stuck.

And the best thing about having a portable winch is that you take it with you anywhere you go.

Aside from professional towing business, winches can also be used in certain sports such as water skiing. The list of uses is endless.

FAQs

If you have gotten to this point in the review but still have a couple of questions on your mind, take a look at these commonly asked questions to find out more about portable winches.

How should I power my winch?

Apart from manual winches, most winches are fitted with a mortar. You can power the winch in four ways: through combustion engines, hydraulic drive, electric motors, and finally, manual drive. Refer to your instructional manual in case turning on and running your winch becomes a bit challenging.

How do I know the best size of the winch to choose from?

The size should be determined by the weight of your vehicle and also the jobs you are set on conducting using the machine. However, a small hydraulic winch may prove more powerful than other lesser versions, such as electric ones.

How much does a winch cost?

This will depend on the kind and the type of winch you want to buy. The more powerful versions will cost you, but in return, they will give you better service as compared to models or types below it.

Summary

It is important to own a winch for your vehicle more so when you are used to off-road adventures.

Always take your time when choosing the right winch for your needs. More so if your interest is to have a durable one.

By following this guide, you should have an easier time settling on one that covers all your demands.

About Ryan Henderson

Ryan has more than ten years of experience writing about power tools. He is an expert in the field, and is able to provide unique insights into the reviews, use, and maintenance of various products. He enjoys cooking when he's not working on his articles, as well as spending time with his dog.