Are you ready to cut out the guesswork with the best UTV winch? Of course, you are. The last thing any UTV owner wants to worry about is whether their winch will work in the stickiest of situations. A good SxS winch allows you to enjoy the filthiest terrains without worry. Why even own a UTV if you’re worried about getting stuck in the mud? In this guide, I put my expertise to work to share the best side-by-side winches on the market. All of the winches in this guide are diesel and offer up enough capacity to complete any task you throw at them.
For reference, the latest Polaris Ranger 1000 XP weighs just a tick under 1,600 (estimated dry weight). If this is your first UTV winch, the general rule is to aim for a minimum winch capacity of 1.5X the estimated dry weight. So, the minimum winch capacity for the Ranger XP 1000 is 2,400 lbs. Personally, I prefer to get closer to 2X and like to consider adding a snatch block to further boost the winch’s capacity.
In the winch department, it is possible to go too big, but 4,000 to 4,500 lbs is a very safe number for all popular UTV models, including the Honda Pioneer 700 (1,268 lbs), Polaris Ranger models, Can-Am X3, Can-Am Defender, and the Wildcat XX (1,816 lbs).
As you can see, UTVs are getting heavier and heavier. For instance, the Wildcat XX is nearly up to a ton, which is getting close to some pickups.
Best UTV Winch Reviews
Now, it’s time to check out your options. In each of my reviews, I share key information to consider along with some valuable pros & cons to help lead you to the right winch for your UTV.
#1) Warn 101140 AXON 45-S
Currently, the best Warn winch for UTVs is the AXON 45-S. This is an absolute beast of a UTV winch that’s easy to install, dependable, and very user-friendly. Plus, the 45-S model includes 50′ of ultra-durable Spydura synthetic rope. This is the same type of rope included with Warn’s best truck winches to give you a better idea of the quality. With Spydura, you eliminate fraying, costly replacements, and any worries about the rope failing during crunch time.
Next, one of the greatest features of this winch is Warn’s own “Motactor” which is a combination of the motor and contactor. With this feature, you get an overall performance boost as well as a near painless installation. Both veterans and first-time owners will highly appreciate this feature. Second, the mechanical brake system and hub-style clutch dial offer excellent control for smoother operation.
As for the controls, the package includes a Rockerbar digital control switch and a digital wired remote. Lastly, the AXON 45-S sports a high IP68 waterproof rating, an Epic hawse fairlead, an all-metal three-stage planetary gear train, and it comes backed by Warn’s limited lifetime warranty (3-year on electrical).
- Combination contactor & motor “Motactor” for easier installation
- Includes 50′ of durable Spydura synthetic rope
- IP68 waterproof rating
- Available in 3500, 4500, and 5000 lbs
- Mechanical brake system
- Convenient hub-style clutch dial
- Made in the USA
- Lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and 3-year on electrical
- No wireless remote included
#2) SuperATV Black Ops 4500 Lb. UTV/ATV Winch
Alright, if you were let down by the missing wireless remote in the Warn AXON winch, SuperATV’s Black Ops winch is your solution. At the time of this writing, it’s more affordable than Warn’s AXON, and the wireless remote has an operating distance of 50′. Plus, the remote is water-resistant with an auto-shutoff feature to preserve battery life.
After the remote, Black Ops winches are beasts in the performance department as well. Expect smooth and quiet operation from this winch that’s built to pull up to 4500 lbs with 50′ of synthetic rope included. In addition to the wireless remote, there’s also a rocker switch with the option to choose between dash-mounted and handlebar-mounted.
Beyond those features, the final highlights are the aluminum hawse fairlead, a water-resistant sealed solenoid, a straightforward installation procedure, and automatic braking when the winch is under load or stopped. Finally, one drawback to consider when choosing a SuperATV winch is the short warranty period of one year that falls short of its competitors.
- Includes a wireless remote and rocker switch
- Includes 50′ of synthetic rope
- Water-resistant solenoid
- Automatic braking system
- Built like a tank
- Smooth & quiet operation
- 1-year warranty is shorter than competitors
- Larger solenoid than other models
#3) Superwinch 1145230 Terra 45SR ATV/UTV Winch
As you may know, there’s a lot of chatter in the UTV community about whether Superwinch or Warn makes the better UTV winch. If one thing is for sure, both companies make some of the best UTV winches on the market. Additionally, both companies offer the longest warranties. At the time of this writing, Warn winches do cost more than comparable Superwinch models, which is a big reason why a lot of UTV owners knock Warn.
Looking beyond those thoughts, the Terra 45SR is an excellent choice for just about any UTV. Currently, it’s available in multiple capacities ranging from 2500 to 45000 lbs with steel or synthetic rope. Model 45SR comes with 50′ of synthetic rope, and that’s about par for the course across all brands. Regarding performance, Superwinch’s 1.6 HP motor is one of the most efficient and powerful available in a 4500lb winch.
A couple of main reasons to choose the Terra 45SR are its low amp draw and quick line speeds. At 0 lbs load, it draws just 21 amps and sports a 15 fpm line speed. At full load, it draws 178 amps and sports a 6.5 fpm line speed. Lastly, this winch includes a handlebar switch and a rubberized remote switch with a 10′ cord for operating the winch under load from a safe distance.
- Low amp draw
- Faster line speeds
- Waterproof construction w/ weather-sealed solenoid contact
- Mechanical load hauling w/ dynamic brake
- Freespooling clutch
- Lifetime warranty (3-year on electrical)
- Wireless remote not included (optional)
- Not made in USA
- Instructions could be clearer
#4) MotoAlliance VIPER Elite 4500 ATV/UTV Winch
A more affordable alternative to Warn UTV winches is the MotoAlliance Viper Elite winch. First, with its IP67 rating, the Viper Elite is one of the best waterproof UTV winch models available. Also, that same rating makes it an excellent choice for UTV owners who regularly go mudding or trek through the snow. Secondly, the Viper Elite packs a powerful 1.8 HP permanent magnetic motor and a sealed planetary metal gear train for impressively powerful performance.
Third, the mechanical and dynamic braking systems help to prevent rope creep and give you more control as the operator. As for the controls, the winch comes with a rocker handlebar switch and a weather-resistant wireless remote, which is nice to see at this price point. Plus, there’s even a waterproof winch cover included.
Two drawbacks to consider are the slower line speeds and higher amp draw. Comparatively, the numbers are higher than the numbers I mentioned in my Superwinch Terra 45SR review. At 0 lbs load, the Viper Elite draws 31 amps and has a line speed of 26 fpm. At 4,500 lbs, the line speed drops significantly to 3 fpm, and the motor draws 318 amps.
- Powerful 1.8 HP motor
- IP67 waterproof rating
- Includes a wireless remote
- Mechanical & dynamic braking systems
- 65′ of synthetic rope included
- Limited lifetime warranty on winch, 6-month warranty on rope
- Higher amp draw than other models
- Slower line speed at max capacity
- Included universal mounting plate is not quite universal
#5) ORCISH 12V 4500lb ATV/UTV Synthetic Rope Winch
My final pick by Orcish is the best budget UTV winch. This winch might not come with all the bells & whistles of a Warn winch, but it does reliably get the job done for a much lower upfront cost. Firstly, for the price, it’s really nice to see that this winch includes not one but two wireless remotes. Secondly, it sports a user-friendly clutch knob to quickly switch between free-spooling and engaged.
This nifty clutch knob is similar to the hub-style clutch dial found on Warn’s AXON winch. Third, this budget UTV winch is built to handle moist conditions with its IP67 waterproof rating, steel planetary gears, and stainless steel hardware. Plus, if you plan to do some ATV/UTV plowing with this winch, it features a mechanical brake.
A couple of final highlights are the COMP Series aluminum fairlead, 50′ of included synthetic rope, clear installation instructions, and it’s nice to see a winch in this price range come backed by a 1-year warranty w/ lifetime technical support. All in all, this is my favorite bang-for-your-buck UTV winch on the market.
- Excellent value for the money
- 2 wireless remotes included
- IP67 waterproof
- Mechanical braking
- 50′ of synthetic rope included
- Convenient clutch knob for free-spooling
- 1-year warranty on the winch
- Included cables and bolts might be too short for your installation
- Not as powerful as the other models in this guide
When selecting the best UTV winch for your side by side, always be sure to check the estimated dry weight in the specs. Then, factor in your typical load to get the total weight. Once you have that number, multiply it by 1.5 to get the minimum winch capacity for your UTV. As I mentioned in the introduction, I prefer to get closer to 2X, but this is not mandatory, just my preference.
Overall, a good 4500 lb UTV winch will handle just about any UTV on the market. If necessary, you might want to consider the best 5000 lb UTV winch if you own one of the heaviest UTVs, and there are 5000lb models available in the same series’ as the winches in this guide. For example, Warn offers a 5500lb winch in its AXON series. The bottom line is that it’s hard to go wrong with any of the brands in this guide once you match your needs to the winch.