The most important tool you could have on the trail is a reliable winch. I spent a lot of time researching to find the best Jeep winch.
The most important factor to a winch, in my opinion, is reliability. It doesn’t matter what features it has or how much more weight it can pull than other winches if you’re not sure if it’s going to work when you need it to.
The following winches are what I consider best of breed. The only requirement I have is they have to be able to pull 8000lbs or better.
My Choice – Warn M8000
Warn is, far and away, the most popular winch company out there. They have been making winches since WWII. Their customer service is known for being one of the best out there. Their winches are built well, last for a long time, and are known for being reliable.
When coming up with what I think are the best winches, there wasn’t much thought for 1st place. I knew it’d be Warn. I’ve had 3 different Warn winches. I first had an XD9000i. I then had an M10000. My latest is a Warn Zeon 8. All of them worked exactly as expected.
The reason I picked the M8000 for the best Jeep winch, is that I wanted to find one that was the best bang-for-buck. Warn does make more powerful winches, such as the M12000 or even the Xeon 12. For the money, though, the M8000 is enough for most people. It comes with a 4.8hp 12v motor. At 74lbs, it’s not the lightest winch out there. You can lower the weight a little by using synthetic line, but that adds to to the cost.
Close 2nd – Warn Zeon 8
This is actually my favorite of the bunch, but it is priced significantly higher than the M8000. That knocked it down to 2nd place. I ran this winch for a few years and never had any issues. I’ve used it to pull myself out (2014 Wrangler JKU) as well as other people that were stuck in a snow bank. It never failed me.
At 94 lbs, it’s also pretty heavy. That’s going to be the case with these higher rated winches. On top of it having the legendary reliability of Warn, it also has the looks that a modern winch should. It just looks awesome sitting on the front of my Jeep.
This winch also comes in a synthetic version, the Zeon 8-s, but it’s significantly more expensive.
Budget Pick – Superwinch Tiger Shark 9.5
The reason I didn’t pick this as the best Jeep winch is simply due to how well Warn is spoken about. This winch is also known for being reliable and for almost half the price, would do well on the front of any Jeep.
I have never had a Superwinch winch, but I have seen some on the trails do their job and people haven’t reported many issues. Overtime, this winch will be a serious competitor to the M8000.
When I got my first Jeep, Smittybilt wasn’t really known for quality. They put out many different products and they were cheap, but they weren’t the most reliable. Over the years, though, I feel like the company has heard the complaints and is working to improve.
The XRC line of winches is one that I normally would have never ran on my Jeep. I’d heard lots of horror stories of motors burning out when you need them. I feel like those days are almost past us. In a few years, I think this line of winches is going to be a serious competitor to Superwinch. They just need to build up a good history.
The XRC line offers an affordable winch with good looks. You also get a synthetic line as a bonus, which is helping knock the weight down to 63 lbs. While you get a lot for your money, what you don’t get is the reliability that Warn is known for. Hopefully that will change over time.
Best Jeep Winch
When it comes to picking the best Jeep winch out there, it’s all going to be subjective. I know what my priorities are and I know what my budget is. The Warn M8000 is my choice due to reliability and cost, but if money were no object I would certainly upgrade to the Zeon 12-S. It is, though, and that’s why I feel the Warn M8000 is the best Jeep winch available.
That being said, no winch article would be complete without the legendary Warn 8274.
What is there to say about the Warn 8274? At almost $2,000, it’s certainly not cheap. What you get, though, is legendary reliability and line speed. This winch has been in production since 1974. If you want something that you know will work, will be fast, and you’re willing to spend the money, look no further.
That being said, you need to make sure this will fit on the front of your Jeep. It is heavy. 121 lbs. That’s a lot of weight to put right on the front of your Jeep.
Make no mistake, though. If you can make it work, this is a great winch.