Winch comparison, Part II: Mainstream winches

Building upon our recent examination of several high-end winch offerings, today we examine several mainstream winches. Each has the quality and features Jeep enthusiasts expect, but come don’t carry their big brothers’ hefty price tags.

Ground rules

As with the first group of winches we looked at, our mainstream models all feature synthetic line for its strength and added safety factor. Two of today’s models register pull ratings of 8,000 pounds, sufficient for a two-door Jeep JK, while the remainder are of the 10,000- and 10,500-pound variety. Our so-called mainstream winches carry manufacturer’s suggested retail prices between $501 and $999.

One final note: As the price point comes down, manufacturers must look for ways to boost efficiency while saving production cost. Such corner cutting is often revealed by withholding specifications or data points that are disclosed among higher-end products. For this reason, specifications that are not commonly available on the manufacturer’s website or via a search of common enthusiast retail sites and web forums are marked with a “***”. The reader can make his or her own determination how vital a missing piece of information is.

Here are the contenders:

ENGO-77-10000S-2 Engo EPF 10000s

A popular choice among budget-minded Jeep enthusiasts, the Engo EPF uses hydro printing to give the solenoid box a carbon-fiber look, stainless steel fasteners and an aluminum Hawse fairlead on models equipped with synthetic rope. Engo winches include a limited lifetime warranty on mechanical components and a one-year electronics warranty.
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Cost: $696
Rated line pull: 10,000 lbs.
Weight: 63 lbs.
Rope: 85′ of 3/8″ synthetic
IP rating: ***
Controls: Solenoid
Geartrain: 3-stage planetary
Ratio: 265:1
Clutch: ***
Brake: Auto
Drum diameter/length: 2.5″ / 8.8″
Battery leads: ***
Finish: Carbon-fiber-look laminate
Warranty: Limited lifetime
Dimensions: 21.9L x 6.3D x 7.7H
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winch_sec8_scoutMileMarker SEC8 Scout

Florida-based MileMarker brings its no-frills 8,000-pound winch to our lineup ready for action. The SEC8 includes a series-wound motor, 4.8-horsepower motor, submersible 500-amp solenoid and a 152:1 gear ratio. The Scout is among the more attractive designs in this group, with its blacked out appearance accented only by the company’s trademark orange accents. The 100 feet of Dyneema synthetic rope is protected at the end closest to the removable permanently affixed hook by a chafe guard.
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Cost: $651.06
Rated line pull: 8,000 lbs.
Weight: 57.5 lbs.
Rope: 100′ of 5/16″ Dyneema synthetic
IP rating: ***
Controls: Solenoid
Geartrain: 3-stage planetary
Ratio: 152:1
Clutch: ***
Brake: ***
Drum diameter/length: 2.5″ / 9.0″
Battery leads: ***
Finish: Unspecified black
Warranty: ***
Dimensions: 21.5L x 6.25D x 8.0H
.

rugged-ridge-spartacus-winchRugged Ridge Spartacus 10.5

Rugged Ridge has expanded its winch offerings with the introduction of the Spartacus series of heavy-duty winches. The 10,500-pound-rated model features a 6.6-horsepower series-wound motor and three-stage planetary gear box with a 218:1 gear ratio. The automatic load-holding drum is mounted inside the drum. (Though not uncommon in the industry, out-of-drum brakes are preferable with synthetic rope to avoid excessive heat build-up in such close proximity to the rope.)
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Cost: $599.99
Rated line pull: 10,500 lbs.
Weight: 65.5 lbs.
Rope: 90′ of 7/16″ synthetic
IP rating: ***
Controls: Solenoid
Geartrain: 3-stage planetary
Ratio: 218:1
Clutch: ***
Brake: Automatic (in-drum)
Drum diameter/length: 2.5″ / 9.0″
Battery leads: ***
Finish: Argent powder coat
Warranty: Five-year limited
Dimensions: 21.1L x 6.3D x 8.6H
.

X20Smittybilt X20 Gen2

Smittybilt capitalized on the success of its waterproof X20 model by launching a successor that features a 6.6-horsepower motor that is completely sealed against the elements. That waterproofing extends to the 500-amp solenoid pack, which can be mounted in either of two locations using the included brackets. The X20 Gen 2 also boasts a new controller that can be operated via a traditional 12-foot cable or unplugged for easy wireless functionality.

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Cost: $550
Rated line pull: 10,000 lbs.
Weight: 99 lbs. (official)/67 lbs. (user-observed)
Rope: 98.5′ of 3/8″ synthetic
IP rating: 68
Controls: Solenoid
Geartrain: 3-stage planetary
Ratio: 218:1
Clutch: Sliding ring gear
Brake: Automatic (out-of-drum)
Drum diameter/length: 2.5″ / 9.0″
Battery leads: 4 gauge, 72″
Finish: Textured powder coat
Warranty: Limited lifetime
Dimensions: 22.3L x 5.4D x 9.4H
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VR8000Warn VR 8000s

Warn’s entry-level winch touts its 8,000-pound pull capacity, making it a respectable choice for Jeeps and light trucks. VR Series winches feature quick line speeds and are available with Warn’s trademark Spydura synthetic rope. As with all Warns, VR winches include the Oregon company’s limited lifetime warranty.
.
Cost: $729.99
Rated line pull: 8,000 lbs.
Weight: 62 lbs.
Rope: 100′ of 3/8″ Spydura synthetic
IP rating: ***
Controls: Solenoid
Geartrain: 3-stage planetary
Ratio: 216:1
Clutch: Sliding ring gear
Brake: Automatic direct drive cone
Drum diameter/length: 2.625″ / 9.0″
Battery leads: 2 gauge, 72″
Finish: Powder coat
Warranty: Limited lifetime
Dimensions: 20.8L x 6.3D x 6.97H

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Up next:

Entry-level winches from Superwinch, Barricade and Quadratec.
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