Badland Winch Reviews – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: January 4, 2022

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If you are a frequent off-roader, you must have at least once found yourself stuck in some kind of an obstacle. It might have been a muddy terrain, a dandy hill, a rocky climb, or deep snow. Getting out of such a situation is difficult, especially if you don’t have a winch at hand to pull you out. Winches are very important for overland rigs. When you are off the road, the chances of someone coming to rescue you are slim. But if you have a winch installed on your vehicle, you can easily help yourself out.

The importance of winches has grown about ten folds in recent years. The increase in demand has resulted in the mass production of winches of every size and capacity. Choosing one out of such a vast range of products is a tough task. And if you lack prior knowledge, then you are bound to make a wrong decision. To help you out, we are going to introduce you to Harbour Freight Badland winches. The company is comparatively new to the market but has manufactured some of the best designs that are pushing it towards the top spot.

  • Three-stage planetary gear system
  • Comes with aircraft-grade wire rope
  • Permanent magnet motor that draws less current
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  • Runner-up and Best Badland 12000 lb Wnch
  • Automatic load-holding brake for added safety
  • Free spooling for fast line-out
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  • Best for the Money and Best Badland 2500 lb Winch
  • Reliable and safe option
  • Wireless remote control works up to 20 feet away
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  • Best Badland 5000 lb Winch
  • Roller fairlead with nylon bushing
  • Comes with automatic load-holding brake
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  • Best Badland 9000 lb Wnch
  • Remote switch makes winch easy to use
  • Power in/out for positive load control
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Who is Badland?

Badland is a winch brand name used by American tools manufacturer Harbor Freight Tools. It was founded by Allan Smidt, who later passed it on to his son Eric Smidt. He is now the chairman and CEO of the company. It is headquartered in Calabasas, California. It employs over 17000 people in its 800 stores spread over 47 states across the United States. 

It operates as a chain of retail stores, mail order service, and e-commerce business. Its tools are produced at the manufacturing plant, also located in Calabasas, California. But Badland winches are manufactured in China. Badland is the name of quality. As some users say, “the Badland winch is made for the badlands”.

How Does Badland Compare to the Competition?

Badland winches is a relatively new venture by Harbor Freight Tools. It is a new addition to this market, so it had to strive hard to make its place. And it has succeeded in doing just that. Badland is a successful and well-known name of winches. It has come with a number of products that have made it stand out from the rest of the competition. It is gradually making its progress towards the top. Here’s how it compares to the competition.

Versatile Range

Badland winches are designed with heavy-duty usage in mind. They produce a strong torque that enables them to pull several tons of load effortlessly. They are produced in a variety of weight capacities, so Badland has something for everyone. This versatile range of products makes it stand out from its rivals.

Ease of Installation 

Badland winches are very easy to install. The procedure is very straightforward. Mount the fairlead, attach the controller box, mount the winch through the front bumper plate, pass the cable through the fairlead, and wire it to the battery. It is easy enough to DIY. You don’t need professionals to do it for you. This is something its competitors might not offer.


Considering the price of its competing products, Badland winches come at a low price. This perfectly caters to the need of those who want a heavy-duty professional winch to help them out of tight situations. Badland winches are affordable enough not to create a hole in our savings.


When bought from Harbor Freight, Badland winches have two years no questions asked extended warranty. If you are not satisfied by its performance or if it malfunctions in any way, you can simply go to a Harbor Freight service center, and they will exchange your product without asking any questions. Such is the greatness of the brand. No other company offers such an attractive warranty.

Review of the Best Badland Winches

Badland winches hold the reputation of being sturdy and affordable at the same time. It has a vast range of products that caters to the individual demands of every customer. You can select any of their products and be assured that it will live up to its name. Here is a comprehensive review of some of the best Badland winches.

Best Overall:
Badland Winches 61383

Badland Winches 61383 ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake from TNM, 3500 lb


  • Perfectly suited for ATV usage
  • Energy efficient with a permanent magnet motor 
  • Comes with an ergonomic handheld remote control
  • Automatic load-holding brake provides maximum safety
  • Fast line speed with a single-stage planetary gear system


  • Remote is not wireless
  • It has too many pieces
  • Lags in the waterproof department

What Recent Buyers Report

People who recently bought this Badland winch have all given it a thumbs up for its performance. It is so admirable that negative reviews about his product are hard to come by. Users like it for its fast speed, sturdy built, and reliable performance. The only design flaw they point out is the handheld remote control. They say the winch would have been perfect if the remote control was wireless. However, that’s not a deal-breaker in any way. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Badland winch stands out to us as the best overall. It has a permanent magnet motor that makes it draw less current from the battery. It has a single-stage planetary gear system which enables it to draw the line faster. It is also equipped with an automatic load-holding brake system that makes it safer to use. 

Who Will Use This Most

People who are looking for a lighter weight capacity winch are likely to use this the most. Those who want a winch with a receiver mount will also lie using it. People who often have to pull loads like zero turn mover, boat trailer, and compact trailer will also benefit from using this product. 

Bottom Line

To conclude, we will say that this is one of the best winches that has come to the market. It is a Harbor Freight product, so you cannot doubt its quality. Performance-wise, it is quite satisfying and does not fail at the tasks assigned to it. With a great extended warranty available, you must surely consider this as the choice of your winch. 

Runner-up and Best Badland 12000 lb Wnch:
Badland ZXR 12000 lb. IP 66 Electric Winch

Badland ZXR 12000 lb. IP 66 Weather Resistant Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake


  • Pricewise, it is quite affordable
  • Assembly and wiring are very easy
  • Comes with a fully functional remote control
  • Instructions are easy to understand and follow
  • Three-stage planetary gear system provides better control


  • Pulling speed is a bit slow
  • Wireless remote has to be bought separately
  • The cable of the remote control could be longer

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this winch report of its excellent quality and pulling weight capacity. They say that it’s good, but you have to be careful of the duty cycle; otherwise, you risk burning its motor. Apart from that, they like it for its affordability, saying that for the price, it is perfect for handling occasional heavy-duty jobs. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This electric winch stands out to us for its outstanding towing capacity. It can easily pull anything under 12000 lbs. But for better results, it is recommended not to exceed more than 8000 lbs. It has a three-stage planetary gear system, which makes it easier to handle. It has smooth operation because of the perfect alignment of cable with the spool making it a hassle-free process. 

Who Will Use This Most

We think that those who own heavier rigs and are fans of offloading will find this product very useful. People who have to tow around heavier weights will also like using this winch. People who are looking for a safe, easy to handle and hassle-free winch will also benefit from using this unit. 

Bottom Line

This is a great Badland winch. One of the best in the market, it provides all the safety features and easy handling that people look for. It has a large weight capacity of 12000 lbs., making it perfect for mounting on heavier rigs. If you own a big four-wheeler and are planning to take it out for overlanding, then you should invest in this affordable high-quality winch. 

Best for the Money and Best Badland 2500 lb Winch:
Badland 2500 lb. Electric ATV/Utility Winch

2500 lb. Electric ATV/Utility Winch with Wireless Remote Control


  • Very suitable for recovering ATVs
  • Decent and durable built assure quality
  • Comes at an extremely affordable price
  • Features an easy to use wireless remote control
  • Equipped with a permanent magnet motor for energy efficiency


  • Wires could have been longer
  • The remote control is quite big
  • Lacks a mounting plate for fairlead

What Recent Buyers Report

People who have recently bought this winch report it to be an excellent product. They like it for its energy efficiency and sturdy construction. Coming at a price this low, they were surprised at its great built and performance. The only complaint that we have heard is its lack of a fairlead mounting plate. Apart from that, there is not much to complain about. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch stands out to us as the best for its money. It is decently built with quality materials that ensure durability. It comes with wireless remote control that makes it fairly easy to operate. It powers through a permanent magnet motor, so it draws less current, making it quite energy efficient. All in all, it’s a budget-friendly winch worthy of your notice too. 

Who Will Use This Most

People who are on a tight budget and are looking for a pocket-friendly winch are likely to find it an attractive product. Since it is ideal for ATV recovery, ATV owners will also benefit from using this winch. Off-roaders who are in search of a winch that does not put much burden on their vehicle battery will also like using this product. 

Bottom Line

This is a great winch that comes at a very attractive price. The price is its huge plus point as we don’t get ATV winches in this price range. It comes with wireless remote control, making it easier to operate. It gives an overall satisfactory performance making it a great choice for you to consider. 

Best Badland 5000 lb Winch:
Badland 5000 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch

5000 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake from TNM


  • Comes with an aircraft-grade rope
  • Fast line-out enabled with free spooling
  • Equipped with a permanent magnet motor
  • Comes with an automatic load-holding brake
  • Fast line recovery with a single-stage planetary gear 


  • It could use a shorter cable
  • Cable binds up when winded all the way in
  • Lacks mounting plates for solenoid and plug  

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this winch report that it is a satisfying product. They like it or for its solid built and ease of usage. Users say that it is lightweight and portable with power to spare. The price has also impressed buyers as this quality and performance cannot be found at such an affordable price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch stands out to us as the best Badland 5000 lbs. winch. It has an energy-efficient permanent magnet motor, which ensures that it draws less current. With a single-stage planetary gear system, it has a fast line recovery. It is also equipped with a free spool, so the line comes out faster too. It comes with an aircraft-grade rope, so you don’t have to worry about it snapping while towing heavy loads with it. 

Who Will Use This Most

People who are looking for a lightweight winch with moderate weight capacity are likely to use this the most. Those who have a lot of log lifting to do will also like using this winch. For its suitability to work with an ATV, people who own one will also put it to great usage.

Bottom Line

This is a Badland winch of moderate weight capacity. Equipped with an aircraft-grade rope with a fast line-out and recovery, this is one winch that is bound to come in handy for a lot of purposes. It is decently built with a sealed solenoid, making it a sturdy and reliable winch that will serve you long.

Best Badland 9000 lb Winch:
Badland ZXR 9000 Lb. Truck/SUV Winch

ZXR 9000 Lb. Truck/SUV Winch


  • Perfect for towing a truck or SUV
  • Assembling and installation are fairly easy
  • Equipped with an automatic load-holding brake
  • Comes with a three-stage planetary gear system
  • Comes with a corded flawlessly operating remote control


  • Wireless remote is sold separately
  • Recovery speed could be a bit faster
  • It could do with a longer remote control cord

What Recent Buyers Report

People who recently bought this winch say that this is one sturdy product. With its energy-efficient operation, it is one product that they like for its amazing towing weight capacity. However, they report that it operates at its best when used with a lesser load. Apart from that, there are no other things to complain about. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch stands out to us as the pest Badland winch with 9000 lbs. weight capacity. It boasts a solid construction that enables it to tow even a truck or an SUV. With its permanent magnet motor, it does not draw a lot of current. It is safe to operate and control with its automatic load handling brake system. Supplied with a corded remote control, this is a great product that you should consider buying for yourself. 

Who Will Use This Most

People who have a lot of heavy-duty towing and lifting to do will find this a useful product. People who are in constant need to pull their trucks or SUV vehicle swill also put it to great use. Off-roaders who are prone to get stuck on their overlanding rigs are also likely to use this the most. 

Bottom Line

To sum it up, we will say that this is one sturdy product that lives up to the name of Harbor Freight. It has sturdy construction with equally sturdy performance. With its higher weight capacity, it can easily recover a heavy SUV out of stranded situations. You can use it to tow your vehicles too. It is one powerful winch that is sure to satisfy all your lifting and towing needs. 

How to Install a Badland Winch?

As we have already mentioned above, Badland winches have a reputation for being very easy to install. They provide a detailed and easy to understand instruction manual that makes a DIY installation process a breeze. But still, if you face some difficulties, you can have professionals do it for you, or you can refer to the video link given below to understand the process better. Here’s how you can install a Badland winch in your vehicle

  1. Start by unboxing your very own Badland winch and take out the parts

  2. If you are using a receiver mounting plate for your winch, place your winch body on the mounting plate.

  3. Now take your fairlead roller and bolt it on the front of the winch and mounting plate.

  4. Lay the mounting plate on its side and bolt the winch's main body to the plate’s underside. Secure the bolts tightly.

  5. Attach the control box with the leads facing backward on top of the main body of the winch. It clamps on, so just apply a little force to secure it.

  6. Insert in the additional clamps to secure it further.

  7. Hook up the color-coded leads of the control box to the winch's main body.

  8. Now fire up the negative lead and take the groin lead to connect to the bottom of the motor.

  9. Plug your remote control into the controller box.

  10. Cut free the cable and pass it through the fairlead.

  11. Attach the winch hook to the cable. Secure it with the safety tab.

  12. Now mount the winch through the front bumper plate.

  13. Wire your circuit breaker cables to the battery.

  14. Fully charge your vehicle battery and check if the winch is operating just the way it should. If yes, you are good to go.

  15. If you are not using a mounting plate, you can assemble your winch and then mount it directly on the front bumper plate.

Here’s the video link we mentioned above earlier that gives a simpler account of what we described above.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Winch?

Being an avid off-roader, it is best to have a winch installed on your rig. Overlanders are always looking to discover new places and paths. Unfortunately, it is not a bed of roses. You can get stuck in a number of sticky situations. These include snowy paths and muddy regions. If you have a winch, you can easily get yourself out. But how to choose the right one? We have tried our best to point out a number of features which you should look for before buying a certain winch. 


The most important thing you must know before you buy a winch is to check if it is in your budget. You can get the best winch there is, but it should come at a price that does not leave you in debt. From an extensive range of versatile products, you can easily choose one that comes within your budget. 


The way the winch is built determines its performance. Look for a winch that is powerful, reliable, and efficient. Make sure that it is crafted from high-quality materials and is provided sufficient dealing against environmental elements. A winch’s cable can be changed according to your preference, but it’s built cannot be altered. When you are investing an amount of money, why not invest it in something that is worthwhile?

IP Rating

Off-road trips frequently involve interaction with mud and water, so you should make a point of buying a winch that is waterproof. Every winch has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating, which classifies and rates them on how they protected against the intrusion of water, dust, mud, and other debris. The IP rating is a set of numbers, the first one of which represents the dust resistance. A winch with a 6 is completely dust resistant. The second numeral is for waterproofing. Here, a number seven shows that the winch can be submerged in one-meter deep water for 30 minutes, while 8 represents that the winch can operate steadily in water as deep as 3 feet. You know what your trips revolve around, so choose a winch that is better protected against the conditions you are going to face.


Winches need a large amount of power to operate. It exceeds the amount of energy a typical alternator can provide. So they are powered by your vehicle batteries, which are later charged by the alternator. But the thing is, operating a winch can max out a typical battery. Invest in a winch that is efficient, so you don’t have to buy a deep cycle battery as well. 


Winches are extremely important for your Overland rigs. They not only help you pull tons of loads but also rescue you from stranded situations. Badland winches are a high-quality brand of Harbor Freight Tools. The name itself means quality. They are great winches that come at affordable prices. If you are planning to buy a winch for yourself, we highly recommend getting one from Badland. It will save you a lot of effort and money in the long run. You can choose from the models we have listed above. We assure you it will be a decision you won’t regret.

People Also Ask

Using a winch is dangerous and risky as it is. And if you don’t own the right one, then you can get into a lot of trouble. Choosing the right winch requires a lot of thinking through. You come across a lot of questions that need answering before you head out to buy a winch for yourself. Here, we have tried to answer some of the most common questions people ask about Badland winches. 

Where Are Badland Winches Made? 

Badland is the brand name used by Harbor Freight Tools to represent their winches. Harbor Freight is an all American company that is headquartered in Calabasas, California. Although its main manufacturing plant is also located at Calabasas, Badland winches are not manufactured there. They are manufactured in China from where they are imported and sold under Harbor Freight, who fully backs them with extended warranties. 

ZXR 9000 Lb. Truck/SUV Winch

Is Badland Winch Waterproof?

As we have already mentioned earlier, the resistance of winches against environmental factors is denoted by an Ingress Point (IP) rating. It is a two-digit number. The first one represents how resistant a winch is against solid particles like dust, 6 being its highest rating. The second digit shows the degree of waterproofing. Here, 7 represents perfect results after submersion in one-meter deep water for 30 minutes, and 8 shows that the winch can operate continuously in up to 3 feet deep water. Badland winches have an IP rating of 66. This shows that they are completely dustproof and waterproof to some extent. 

Who Makes Badland Winches?

Although retailed at Harbor Freight outlets, Badland winches are not essentially manufactured by them. They are produced in China. The majority of them are produced by Ningbo Lianda Winch Co. and Ningbo Antai Winches Technology Co. After production, Harbor Freight takes them under its wings. It brands them as Badland winches and takes full responsibility for their performance. It also provides an extended two years no questions asked exchange warranty on Badland winches.

I used to work in construction and landscaping, so I've seen my fair share of ratchet straps, winches, and similar rigging gear. I started Winch Central because I've seen some nasty accidents due to crappy rigging or poor practice. I wanted to be able to recommend good equipment that's SAFE and also provide resources for how its used. I handle the research side of things here as well as product selection for gear reviews.