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What Size Winch Do I Need for My Vehicle?

What Size Winch Do I Need for My Vehicle?

A winch is a crucial tool for off-road enthusiasts, providing a reliable means of vehicle recovery in challenging situations. Whether you find yourself stuck in mud, snow, or on a steep incline, a winch can be a lifesaver. This article aims to guide you through the process of choosing the right size winch for your vehicle, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your vehicle's weight and your off-road adventures.

runva winch


Choosing the Right Size Winch 

Selecting the appropriate winch size is paramount for effective recovery. Various winch sizes are available on the market, ranging from 8,000 to 16,500 pounds or even more. It's essential to recognise that the wrong choice can be both expensive and frustrating. The general rule of thumb is that the heavier your vehicle, the more powerful winch you'll need.

For instance, the Ford Ranger, with a maximum Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 3350kg, would require a winch capable of handling more than 10,000 pounds for safe and effective recovery. Ignoring this guideline may result in an underpowered winch that struggles to pull your fully loaded vehicle from a challenging situation.

runva winch

Sizing Your Winch 

To determine the right winch size, use the industry-standard formula of multiplying your vehicle's total weight by 1.5. For the Ford Ranger example with a GVM of 3350kg, the calculation would go like this;


Next, convert this value to pounds by multiplying it by 2.205


Based on these calculations, a 10,000-pound winch would not be sufficient for the Ford Ranger. It's crucial to choose a winch with a capacity that exceeds the calculated value to ensure a margin of safety during recovery operations.

runva winch


Recommended Winches

When it comes to reliable and high-performance winches, Brixton 4x4 Adventure offers a selection of top-notch options, catering to the diverse needs of off-road enthusiasts. Here's a closer look at three winch brands that we personally recommend;

1. Hulk 4x4 Winches: Hulk 4x4 is a brand synonymous with robust and durable winches designed to tackle challenging off-road situations. The Hulk 4x4 winches are engineered with precision and attention to detail, ensuring they can withstand the harshest conditions. With various models offering different load capacities, Hulk 4x4 winches are known for their power, reliability, and ease of use. Whether you opt for the Hulk 4x4 10,000-pound or the more powerful 12,000-pound model, you can trust in their capability to handle demanding recovery operations.

2. Runva Winches: Runva is a globally recognised brand renowned for producing high-quality winches that combine innovation and durability. The Runva winch lineup includes models suitable for a wide range of vehicles, from compact SUVs to heavy-duty trucks. Known for their advanced features such as waterproof seals, efficient cooling systems, and synthetic rope options, Runva winches offer performance and longevity. Whether you choose a 9,500-pound model for lighter vehicles or a robust 15,000-pound winch for heavier applications, Runva provides options that meet the demands of serious off-road enthusiasts.

3. EFS Winch: EFS is a trusted name in the off-road accessories industry, and their winches are no exception. EFS winches are designed to handle tough terrains and challenging recovery scenarios. With a focus on durability and functionality, EFS winches feature heavy-duty construction, efficient motor systems, and synthetic rope options. Whether you're navigating rocky trails or muddy paths, an EFS winch, available in various capacities, ensures you have the pulling power needed to overcome obstacles and get back on track.

When comparing these recommended winches, factors such as load capacity, build quality, and additional features should be considered. The Hulk 4x4, Runva, and EFS winches all offer reliable solutions, but the choice ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Evaluate the load capacity needed for your vehicle, the type of terrains you'll be navigating, and any additional features that may enhance your overall off-road experience.

winching 4x4



Synthetic vs. Steel Winch Line: Making the Right Choice

The winch line stands as a pivotal component in your 4x4 recovery kit, bearing the full weight of your vehicle during winching operations. Since the introduction of synthetic winch lines in the 1990s, a heated debate has ensued, fueled by passionate arguments on both sides of the spectrum. The choice between synthetic and steel winch lines is not a one-size-fits-all decision but hinges on your unique winching needs, usage patterns, and budget considerations. Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons for each type to assist you in making an informed decision.

Steel Winch Line;


  • Less expensive
  • Highly abrasion-resistant, suitable for challenging terrains like mud, sand, and rocks
  • Requires less maintenance
  • Not affected by UV exposure


  • Heavy
  • Prone to kinking, creating potential weak points
  • Susceptible to rust and sharp burr development over time
  • Stores more kinetic energy, posing greater danger in case of a break during recovery
  • Repairs are challenging in the field if a break occurs

Synthetic ‚ÄúRope‚ÄĚ Winch Line;¬†


  • Lightweight
  • Higher breaking strength
  • Stores less kinetic energy, minimising danger in case of breakage
  • Doesn't kink and spools onto the winch drum more easily
  • Field repairable through splicing in the event of a break
  • Floats, beneficial for water crossings or mud recoveries


  • More expensive
  • Less abrasion-resistant
  • Susceptible to UV exposure, chemicals, and heat
  • Requires frequent maintenance and cleaning
  • Can retain water, potentially freezing on the winch drum

In choosing between synthetic and steel winch lines, consider your preferences, the specific challenges you anticipate, and your maintenance capabilities. The decision is nuanced and should align with your unique off-road requirements, ensuring a winch line that enhances safety, efficiency, and overall peace of mind during your 4x4 adventures.

4x4 winching


Choosing the right size winch is essential for the safety and effectiveness of vehicle recovery. Be mindful of your vehicle's weight and follow the industry-standard formula to determine the appropriate winch capacity. Considering recommendations from reputable brands like Brixton 4x4 Adventure can further aid in making a well-informed purchase. Equip yourself with the right tools and enjoy your off-road adventures with confidence!

Visit Brixton 4x4 Adventure's website to explore a range of winch options and make an informed decision to enhance your off-road experience. Your vehicle's safety and your peace of mind depend on it!


Brixton 4x4 Adventure has a huge range of winches on our online store. We ship all around Australia so no matter what your winch needs, Brixton 4x4 can help you find it. With online chat available everyday, all your questions can be answered quickly, getting you back to your adventures in the great outdoors! 
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