What size winch do I need For My Truck

What size winch do I need for my truck? The answer, sadly, is that there’s no single, right answer. Winches come in a range of capacity and efficiency levels. There are many things that factor into deciding a right winch for a truck. We’ll talk about those factors in this guide so that you won’t be confused anymore.

So, what winch size should you go for?

There’s a rule of thumb which states that a winch should have the load capacity of 150% of a vehicle's weight. You should first calculate how much your truck itself weighs. This is called GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. You can find the gross weight of your truck in its body, likely under the passenger door.

Suppose your truck’s GVWR is 8000lbs. So how much should your winch’s capacity be? It should be 8000x1.5=12000lbs according to industry standard. The number is actually a minimum. If possible, get a winch with higher load capacity. There’s nothing bad in that and it’s completely safe to do so.

That’s about it. This is what you should see before buying a winch. If possible, get a good quality one if the budget allows. Keep in mind one thing: it has never been a bad idea to get a winch which has extra power than necessary.

Things to Look For While Buying a Winch

Size isn’t everything. You should look for other factors too. Let’s talk about those in the following.

Power Source

Your winch will have a power range of its own. It’ll have its motor set in a certain voltage limit. That motor will get its power from your truck's battery through electrical cable. Do you see there are several components in this whole battery to winch motor connection? All these are vital elements.

Now, before buying a winch, look for it’s power requirements and see if that fits within the power output of your truck’s battery. Once both of them match you should feel free to get that winch.

Afterwards, make sure the power cable connected to both the winch and the battery is capable of transferring the right amount of voltage. If you do all these correctly, chances are that there won’t be any serious power related issues here.

Cable Material and Layers

You’ve got two major cable options to choose from. One is steel and the other is synthetic rope. Steel is capable of getting heavy trucks with ease. If your truck is small and light, maybe you can look for some high-quality synthetic ropes too.

Synthetic ropes are lighter and cost only a fraction of the steel ones but there’s a big risk factor: torn rope. Steel ropes don’t break or get torn easily. Synthetic ropes can actually break under normal but extended load periods. And when synthetic ropes break, they can swing back fast and may hurt people around. It’s very risky.

This risk can actually be lessened by using steel ropes. They’re more durable and can last for years without any significant care at all.

Also, the number of layers on a winch’s spool determines how capable it is at maintaining its power. The more layers there are, the weaker the winch can pull and the other way around. A winch’s tension works highest when its spool has one or two layers of cable. As more layers come in, tension reduces extremely.

Final Words

So, hopefully you’re not confused anymore about your question: what size winch do I need for my truck? Check the load capacity as well as the materials used in the cable to determine whether the winch you’re planning to get is fit for your truck or not.


I am Samantha, an automobile engineer and POD business owner. I am also a wife of Jason and a mother of three children, two of whom are twins. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and strive to be a role model for my children. I believe that hard work and dedication can lead to success, no matter what your circumstances may be. I have a passion for cars and enjoy working on them in my spare time. I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you. Stay connected !

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