Best Truck Bed Winches -2020 Complete Buyer’s Guide

Finding the best truck bed winch can be a challenge. But if you know what they are and how they are used, then there’s a good chance the search process may not be so difficult. A truck bed winch is designed to fit in the bed of your truck while providing you with all kinds of tasks to allow towing, lifting, and even using it for rescue situations among many tasks.

A quality winch should last you a long time and should always be up for the task if and when you need it. With so many truck bed winches on the market, it’s obvious that you’ll be overwhelmed with a lot of the choices available. But to make it easier on you, we’ve managed to put together a list of five truck bed winches that are considered the best on the market.

Before we get to the list, we’re going to talk about whether or not every winch can work in the back of a truck bed and whether or not it’s possible to find a quality affordable winch. 

Comparison Chart of the Truck Bed Winches

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch

  • Holds up to 9500 pounds
  • Best overall truck bed winch
  • Includes a completely waterproof solenoid
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X-BULL 12V Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

  • 13500-pound weight limit
  • Runner up for best overall truck bed winch
  • Synthetic rope included for rescue and towing situations
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Champion 3000-lb. ATV/UTV Winch Kit

  • 3000-pound weight limit
  • Best truck bed winch for the money
  • Remote control included with 10-foot range
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Superwinch 1145230 Terra 45

  • Includes 55 feet of synthetic rope
  • Made from high-quality synthetic material
  • Protected circuit breaker and solenoid included
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WARN 90451 'ProVantage 4500

  • Includes a 50-foot cable
  • Weighs at about 15.6 pounds
  • Corrosion-resistant materials included
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Will Any Winch Work in the Back of a Truck Bed?

The short answer: not always. There are some factors that should be considered when trying to find a truck bed winch that is not only functional but can actually fit on your own truck bed. Some truck beds are larger or smaller than others. That’s why you need to make the necessary measurements before you are able to find a winch that will actually fit you.

At the same time, some winches might be able to work with all kinds of makes and models, including models as old as 1995 and as new as this year. But this is not always the case. If you have an eye on a winch you are interested in, be sure that it is compatible with your truck before purchasing. 

Can You Really Find a Quality Winch That’s Affordable?

Yes, you can. It’s important to find a winch that is of excellent quality even if you are on a budget. While the budget ranges do vary, it’s important to find the highest quality and best performance you can afford. This should not be confused with going after the cheapest model out there. Cheap will always lead to disappointment since the quality is not the best and the performance might not be up to snuff. Consider how much you are willing to spend on a winch and find one within that range. 

Why Did These Winches Make Our List?

We didn’t choose these winches at complete random. We were careful in our approach in finding which winches were worth making the cut. As you are looking for a winch for yourself, it is important to find one using a similar formula that we used in finding those for the list. Here are a few reasons why these winches made our list:

Excellent Quality

It’s no secret that quality is one of the best attributes out there. For a winch, excellent quality is what makes a product last longer than others. And it also equates to consistently flawless performance. So you won’t have to deal with any malfunctions or parts rusting or falling apart after short-term use. The better the quality, the better the chance that you’ll have a winch that will last you years or even decades.

Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch

Superior Performance

Indeed, performance should matter, because a winch that doesn’t do its job is practically useless. So it would be ideal if you are looking for a winch that will continuously and consistently work hard to ensure that every task is completed. Keep in mind of some of the other factors that may play a role in the winch’s performance (weight capacity, ease of install, etc.)

Fits Most Tasks

These winches have the ability to lift, tow, hoist, get people out of dangerous situations, and so much more. It’s important to know what your intent and purposes are for the winch you choose. Some winches will excel at one task (even though they can be used for general purposes). So choose the one that will consistently work for your intended applications.

Quick Take  - Best Truck Bed Winches

Before you get any further, here are our recommendations for the best truck bed winches:

  1. Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch
  2. X-BULL 12V Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch
  3. Champion 3000-lb. ATV/UTV Winch Kit

Review Of The Best Truck Bed Winches

The following is a list of the best truck bed winches currently on the market. As you look through each one, you should note any features and benefits so you can find one that will be the closest fit to your “dream winch” you’ve been searching for. Once you find something that’s close enough, you will know you’ve found a winning choice. Now, let’s begin this list by unveiling our “best overall” truck bed winch:

Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch-9500 Pound Load Capacity

PROS

  • Powerful operation
  • Superior durability all-round
  • Easy to install on most truck beds
  • Resistant to call kinds of water and weather
  • Perfect for towing small vehicles and even large trailers

CONS

  • Hook might be cheap or flimsy-looking
  • Some were not happy with some of the plastic parts included
  • May arrive with cracked parts. Be sure to check before using it

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new buyers were quite happy with the winch. They attached this to their truck beds with ease (after measuring their trucks to ensure a better fit) and were able to operate it smoothly without any issues with hooking up their load of choice. One user said he uses this for towing trailers back and forth from one job site to the next. He said no matter how many miles he piles on, the winch tends to keep itself sturdy and showed no signs of giving in or loosening up.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This winch is pretty solid in quality, which is always a good thing when you want to do all kinds of towing and lifting. With a 9500-pound weight limit, it can pretty much handle all kinds of vehicle towing. Whether you are transporting a regular vehicle or even a boat, you have a rope that is made from high-quality materials that will make each task look easy and effortless. If you want a winch that will work hard for pretty much any task you want, this might be the best option for you.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be great for those who own trucks like a Ford F-150 and Dodge Rams (among other trucks). This is made for truck beds that have a good amount of room and will still have plenty of more once installed. If you just want a winch that does the simple tasks with the greatest of ease, this could be the go-to choice.

Bottom Line

The Smittybilt truck bed winch has proven itself to be deserving of the best overall title. It’s solid in construction, reliable for most tasks, and can handle heavy loads like nothing else. If you have a truck bed that’s a good size and want a winch that won’t take up much room, this might be the best option.

X-BULL 12V Synthetic Rope Electric Winch 13000 lb Load Capacity

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Smooth and reliable operation
  • Hooks up quite nicely on most vehicles or loads
  • Can easily tow small vehicles like Jeeps and boats
  • Synthetic rope held up quite nicely in most situations

CONS

  • May not include the necessary bolts
  • Wireless remote buttons may stick at times
  • Engage/disengage lever might be hard to move

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were happy with this winch and for a few good reasons. For one, they were able to use this to their advantage in terms of towing their small vehicles and boats even when traveling long distances. And thanks to the synthetic rope, it made towing effortless without the rope wearing or fraying. Another reason why they love it is the ease of installation and the ability to hook their loads without any struggle.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This winch can handle some heavier weight loads. And for a winch that is equipped with a synthetic material rope, that’s quite impressive. In fact, the material is strong in quality and won’t easily fall apart on you. If you think synthetic means cheap, you’ll be proven wrong with this winch. It can handle the pulling, towing, and lifting better than most steel ropes. If that isn’t impressive, we can’t think of anything that might be.

Who Will Use This Most

This will certainly be a great winch for those looking for a winch that will be used for the purposes of towing and motor vehicle rescue. The rope is strong enough to handle both tasks with ease. No matter how often you use it, you’ll have a winch that will be tough, reliable, and get people out of some sticky situations (like getting stuck in mud holes).

Bottom Line

The X-Bull Winch is strong like a bull both inside and out. There is no question that you will make every towing and rescue situation as simple as possible with a winch like this. Whether it’s a good day weather-wise or raining cats and dogs, this winch will not fail you nor will it give you a subpar performance. This just might be the new best overall”winch in the not-so-distant future.

Champion 3000-lb. ATV/UTV Winch Kit

PROS

  • Perfect for ATVs
  • Super-easy to install
  • Easy to attach to most loads
  • Affordable for most budgets 
  • Plenty of torque for all your towing and pulling needs

CONS

  • Slow operating motor
  • Remote buttons may stick at first
  • The switch may be hard to mount and operate

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were really happy with the winch being not just affordable, but they loved how awesome it was able to work with most ATVs when it came to hauling heavy trailers and even pulling other ATVs out of ditches. One user said this was perfect for the trailer for his four-wheeler and it made transportation a lot easier.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This is perfect not just ATVs towing other trailers and vehicles, it can be attached to truck beds for the sole intent of towing and transporting such vehicles from one place to the next. So either way, it’s a pretty reliable winch that will handle the tasks at hand. You can quickly attach what you need and it will work like a charm, no matter how far you have to go. If you are going cross town or cross country this winch will certainly hold its own with loads up to 3000 pounds.

Who Will Use This Most

If you own an ATV or intend to transport ATVs with the use of your trusty, reliable truck, then you will most likely put this winch to good use. Yes, it’s tough and not afraid to get down and dirty. At the price that it’s going for, you’re getting more bang for your buck. If you want a solid winch at the right quality and price, this might be your cup of coffee.

Bottom Line

If you want an excellent do-it-all winch for your truck bed without having the life sucked out of your bank account, then the Champion ATV/UTV Kit might just be the go-to choice for you. Solid in construction and useful whenever you need it the most, it’s the winch you can depend on for years or until you need another for much heavier lifting tasks.

Superwinch 1145230 Terra 45 4500lbs/2046kg single line pull with hawse, handlebar mnt toggle, handheld remote, and synthetic rope

PROS

  • Super-powerful operation
  • Easy to mount on most truck beds
  • Simple to hook up to trailers, vehicles, etc
  • The motor moves pretty steadily. Not too slow or fast
  • The synthetic rope was super-sturdy and could handle almost every task

CONS

  • Some kinks within the rope have been reported
  • Parts may be missing upon shipment and arrival
  • Some say it works intermittently while used with UTVs

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were using this winch for the purpose of towing and pulling motorists out of the mud and ditches. They said the rope was pretty strong and didn’t wear down or break apart. The new users have used this for tasks from towing boats to heavy trailers. Of course, they were happy with the winch being able to handle the bad weather. One user said he had to carry a trailer from one part of town to the next and managed to do so during a rainstorm. The weather didn’t ruin the winch in the slightest and that was enough for him to say this product was an excellent choice.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

One of the great things about this winch was the synthetic rope making every task easy and effortless. While it’s tough and really hard to fray and wear down, it handles the tasks much better than some metal ropes. The winch is powered by an electric motor that is really efficient but doesn’t need a lot of energy in order to run. So if you are looking for something that might be close enough to a power saver, this might be the winch to go with.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a winch that will be able to tow RVs, small vehicles, and even boats, this might be the winch you’ll want. It’s weatherproof and has the ability to stand up to whatever nature can dish out. This winch is built for the long-haul and environmental elements themselves won’t stand a chance in shortening the lifespan of this really useful tool. Attach this to your truck bed and put it to good use if and when you need it.

Bottom Line

If you want a simple-to-use winch that will work hard and meet all your towing and lifting needs, then you’re definitely going to enjoy using this one. It’s solid in construction, has a rope that will stay strong and not break apart, and will be a cinch to hook up to what you need to move. And since it can be run with a wireless remote, you can operate this from a good and safe distance if in a high-traffic area.

WARN 90451 'ProVantage 4500-S' Winch - 4500 lb. Capacity

PROS

  • The rope is easy to deploy
  • Superior quality and construction
  • Simple to install on most truck beds
  • Comes with the hardware you need for installation
  • Hooks up to trailers, Jeeps, and other vehicles easily

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were impressed with the reliability of the winch itself. They said that each time they use it, it was quick to start up and the motor allowed for smooth operation that wasn’t too slow or fast. Most new users were utilizing this winch for towing purposes while others were using it for other uses like pulling cars out of ditches and even taking dead trees off their property.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The WARN name is perhaps one of the most popular names when it comes to winches. And why not? For the last 70 years, they have been the leaders in creating some of the best winches on the market. They are not only reliable but really sturdy as well. This winch can handle up to 4500 pounds, which means it can handle towing small vehicles and will stay attached to the load even if you are going across the country. So it’s figuratively and literally built for the long haul. If you want a winch that is guaranteed to stay strong and never fail you, a WARN winch just might be the go-to option for you.

Who Will Use This Most

A lot of users will be mechanics and even those who want to keep a winch around in case they need to haul things around. This is a winch that will be one of the most reliable you’ll ever find anywhere on the market. So if you want a winch that never fails in operation (and will never fail to make you happy) you’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to give this winch a closer look.

Bottom Line

If reliability and durability are two of the best qualities you are looking for in a winch, the WARN ProVantage Winch will certainly deliver on the promise. It’s a winch that will last you a long time and consistently operate at a steady speed without any failures or malfunctions. This is a winch that will fit most truck beds, so no fitting will be required.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Before purchasing a winch, it’s important to know what sort of aspects you need to consider. It’s better to make an informed decision about a winch rather than choose one at complete random. Here are some things to consider as you are looking for a winch:

What Weight Limit Will I Need?

All winches don’t have the same weight limit. Some will have high weight limits and some will be on the lower end. So either way, it’s important to determine your intent and purpose with the winch you are looking to purchase. For example, if you intend on towing or lifting small vehicles or even small-craft boats, you should consider purchasing a winch that is nearly 3,000 pounds or more in terms of the weight limit.

Which Winch Will Fit Your Truck?

Not every winch is going to fit your truck bed. So it’s important that you want to make any appropriate measurements so you can find a winch that will perfectly fit with your truck bed. You should also make a note that some winches are designed for specific makes and models and others will be near-universal. As long as it fits and you are able to install it, you will be able to use it.

How Often Will I Need It?

Another question that will be asked is how often will you be able to use it. If you are a mechanic that usually tows vehicles, then you’ll need a winch that can handle constant use. Meanwhile, some winches can handle not just consistent use, but if you don’t use it as much you can still be able to use it occasionally and still be able to last you years. 

Cautious Considerations to Keep In Mind

Aside from the aspects, you need to keep in mind some cautious considerations when looking for a winch. This will be important considering that you may face some potentially dangerous safety issues when using a winch. Do not ignore these as you may risk serious injury or death if you improperly use a winch. Here’s what you need to know:

A Remote Control is a Must

A remote control for the purpose of operating a winch might be suggested for the purpose of keeping yourself safe while using the winch itself. If you are in a heavy traffic area and using a winch in a rescue situation, a remote control will come quite in handy. Likewise, if you are lifting or towing heavy objects, you must keep a safe distance in case the winch fails (i.e.--the cable snaps in half). 

Do Not Exceed the Weight Limit

If you intend to use the winch, be sure the load weighs in at below the intended weight limit. If you are using a winch intended to tow a load that is over the weight limit, it will cause the winch to fail. This is a dangerous task to perform. Once again, please consider what you intend to tow or lift on a regular basis with your new winch and ensure the winch has a suitable weight limit for your applications.

Conclusion

The best truck bed winch is one of the five listed above. Be sure to find one that will be able to support all your applications with ease and can last you a long period of time. You should also make sure it will fit your truck bed with ease so you can use it immediately (if needed) after installation. No towing or lifting tasks can be complete without a reliable and strong winch that will run like a well-oiled machine. 

People Also Ask

Below is a list of frequently asked questions that will help you make a more informed decision on choosing a truck bed winch. This will give you some need-to-know information on winches and how they run. Here are the following questions:

What’s the Difference Between a Winch and a Hoist?

Winches are designed for towing and pulling heavy loads on a ground-level surface. A hoist is designed to lift heavy objects. They are equipped with a locking break so it can easily handle a “hanging load”.

What is a Winch on a Truck Used For?

A winch on a truck can be used for towing vehicles and trailers. However, they can also be used for the purpose of pulling vehicles out of ditches, mud holes, and bodies of water. Some truck winches are often used for pulling down dead trees so they can be easily transported off the property.