Whether you’re a hobbyist who takes cars to events or certain parts of the country, or you move and transport vehicles for work, owning a functioning car trailer is a vital tool in your inventory.
However, if you don’t have several friends, team members or employees around you to help you load up a vehicle onto the trailer, owning the trailer is useless since it’ll be impossible to move it. Yet, by investing in a car hauling winch, you can make your life so much easier.
By installing a car hauling winch onto your trailer, you can always load up a vehicle no matter where you are or what you’re doing, as well as making sure that you’re loading the vehicle straight, as well as helping you use much less energy in the process.
However, once you’ve realized all the benefits that come with purchasing and installing a car hauling winch, you then have to go through the process of actually purchasing one. The market is full of different kinds of winches, so you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools for the job.
Fortunately, we’ve searched through the market and managed to narrow down everything that’s available and narrowed them down to our final four. We’ve taken all the elements that make a good winch into consideration, as well as the price, ensuring it’s as easy as possible for you to make the right purchasing decision the first time around.
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch 9500lb Load Capacity
To kickstart this list, we’ve chosen this hugely popular winch that’s ideal for anybody looking to winch their cars or other vehicles. This high-performance winch ticks all the boxes and comes with a range of features you’re going to love.
First things first, it measures in with up to 9500lbs of winching power. This is more than enough to pull the vast majority of vehicles you’ll encounter. It actually has so many power that you can even pull something like a Dodge Durango with the parking brake on. If you own a snatch block, you can double this overall level of pull.
Despite this high-performance pull, winching speeds are rapid thanks to the 6.6hp engine. The whole winch is also waterproof to a rating of IP67, which makes it ideal for all-terrain winching. Smittybilt are renowned for their reliable waterproof designs, and this winch is no exception to the rule.
While the winch does allow for free spooling when retracting the cable we found it can sometimes be hard to move, and you may have to wiggle the cable until you find a good bite point, but this doesn’t take longer than a few minutes. It will be even shorter once you learn the technique.
Depending on the make of your vehicle, you might also find it hard to attach the electrical wires to your vehicle motor, but this can be overcome by extending the wires or positioning them over the motor. If this does seem to be causing more of a problem than you like, or you experience any other issues with the winch, there is a 5-year/100,000 mile warranty with every purchase.
Apart from that, installation of the winch is pretty effortless thanks to the instructions that are included, and there’s plenty of support online that you can follow. The build quality is completed to a high standard, and you can tell that it’s built to last. You can even put it at the front of your vehicle, or mount it onto a trailer, depending on what use you’ll have for it.
And before we forget, you’ll also have a corded remote which makes operating the winch really easy, and you can stand back safely while you’re using it and make sure the car you’re hauling is lined up straight and not getting caught on anything.
- Fast 6.6HP motor with a 3-stage planetary gear system
- Up to 9500lbs of load capacity
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Comes with everything you need to install the winch yourself
- Free spooling in can become stuck from time to time
- May need to extent wires to connect to your battery
Superwinch LT2000 12V Utility Winch 2000lb
Buying a vehicle-hauling winch doesn’t have to be expensive. Superwinch has jumped in and filled the niche with the LT2000, but while this is highly affordable, it does only come with a 2,000lbs load capacity. However, while this isn’t suitable for trucks and large cars, it’s perfect for ATVs and smaller cars.
As with most winches, this one can be mounted onto your truck, or onto a trailer, which is then connected to your battery. There’s no opportunity here for you to plug it into a wall or mains socket. It’s also worth noting that this winch only has a 1.0HP engine, and doesn’t come with a brake.
This means there’s no possibility of the winch holding your load in place while you’re using it, so don’t try leaving something hanging while it’s connected. It’s either free spooling out or retracting in. We also found this winch can be a bit noisy compared with other winches on this list, but if that doesn’t bother you, you should be okay.
What we do love is the fact that this winch comes with full circuit breaker protection that minimizes the of winch blowing or breaking through excessive use. When you are using it, you need to use the corded remote control, but this is only a benefit since it allows you to use the winch safely while seeing clearly what you’re doing.
Everything you need to install and use the winch is included with the purchase, ultimately making this winch a great contender if you’re looking for a budget-friendly device that gets the job done.
- Comes with a corded remote control to operate the winch safely
- A consistent 1.0HP engine for a reliable winch
- Comes with a latched hook and 49-feet of wire rope cable
- Up to 2000lbs of load capacity
- Slightly noisy than other winches
- Less power than other winches
X-Bull 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch 12000lb Load Capacity
While so far we’ve looked at quite low-powered winches, if you’re looking for something bigger that provides you with raw winching power, the X-Bull is where it’s at. This high-performance winch is designed for heavy lifting and hauling with an absolute load capacity of 12,000lbs.
This is more than enough strength for you to winch any car or truck, which is all made possible thanks to the included 26 meters of stainless steel cable. Thanks to the mounting equipment, it’s possible to mount this winch on the front of your vehicle, or to a trailer.
In terms of the build quality, this winch has set the bar. Although it’s been manufactured in China, the build is sturdy and secure, and there are many reports that the winch is fully functional even after years of use. It’s also waterproof which is great for when you’re using it outside in less than desirable conditions.
Also included, you’ll also find two wireless remote controls. This means you can enjoy all the benefits of a traditionally corded remote, but you’ll be able to work without the limits of the cords, giving you the freedom to stand and operate the winch from wherever you want.
The only downside to this winch is that it’s very heavy, weighing in at nearly 100lbs. You’re probably going to want some help while you’re installing it, but apart from that, this winch is as professional as it gets!
- An incredibly 12000lbs of load capacity
- 26-meters of stainless steel cable included (with latched hook)
- Comes with two wireless remotes for effortless operation
- Free spooling clutch for easy access to cable
- Heavy build and will require assistance when setting up
Roadstar Electric Recovery Winch 12V 12500lbs Trailer Truck SUV Winch
Finally, to finish off our list of the best car hauling winches, we’ve chosen this absolute powerhouse of a winch which is designed specifically for haulers who need a tonne of power and a highly reliable winch. The load capacity measures in at a whopping 12,500lbs, which is about 6-1/4 tons.
This is complemented by the 6.7HP motor that supplies a powerful and consistent pull, no matter what terrain you’re hauling in. However, we instantly noticed that this winch doesn’t come with a mounting plate, but it’s still ideal for installing onto the back of a trailer.
While on the subject of installing, you can do so easily using a 7-pin connector which connects easily to your battery, or even a mains outlet. Even the winch itself is produced from high-quality and highly durable materials such as stainless steel and iron, as well as the 28m cable made from aviation grade wire rope.
While this winch isn’t one of the most popular, it does boast all the main features you would expect from a professional winch, such as a corded and wireless remote for easy operation, free spooling for winding and unwinding the cable when you need it, and there’s a 4-way roller fairlead to make sure the cable is straight and not bundled together as you pull it in and out.
What we do really love about this winch, however, is the locking system. Unlike many of the winches available today, this one comes with automatic braking which kicks in as soon as you release a button on the remote. This feature ensures you can stop hauling mid-haul and the load won’t go anywhere unless you tell it too.
In short, if you’re looking for a powerful winch with all the necessary features, and you want the ability to lock the cable while you’re using it, there may not be any need to look further than this one.
- An outstanding 12500lbs of load capacity
- Comes with two remotes, one corded and one wireless
- Extremely high-quality steel design
- A reliable 6.5HP motor
- Doesn’t come with a mounting plate
When it comes to choosing the right car hauling winch for you, it’s clear to see there’s a lot of factors that you’ll need to be thinking about. After all, you won’t want to damage your car while you’re moving it, nor struggle to move it in the first place.
However, any of the four car-hauling winches we’ve listed above make the ideal choice that is sure to serve you for many years to come. Consider how often you’re planning to move certain vehicles, how much they’re going to weight and what kind of level of performance you’re looking for, and you’ll be able to find the one that’s right for you easily!