Best 12,000 lbs Winch Ranked with Reviews & Comparisons (2020)

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Quick Answer: Best Best 12,000 lbs Winch

  1. Smittybilt 97412 XRC Winch
  2. Smittybilt (98512) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch
  3. Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch
  4. Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch
  5. X-BULL 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch
  6. Driver Recovery Products LD12-ELITE Electric Heavy Duty Recovery Winch
  7. Yescom 12000lbs 12V 6.6HP Electric Recovery Winch
  8. WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S
  9. VIPER Winch 12000lb
  10. New Vortex 12000 LB Pound Recovery Winch

There are many winches available in the market of many varying rated lines pulls (RLPs), however, the focus of this article is on the winches of capacity 12,000 lbs.

These are the ones that are relatively rugged and for accomplishing tasks like pulling heavy vehicles out of ditches, felling trees, or demolishing buildings due to their high pull capacities.

In case the winch capacity is less than expected, there is a possibility of the line rope snapping.

Therefore, the following sections look at the winches in the 12k range. One will be able to refer to the reviews of the various 12k winches available in the market and make one’s choice accordingly.

best overall rating ★★★★★

Smittybilt 97412 XRC Winch

Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch | 12,000 Pound Load Capacity
PROS:
  • Easy installation process
  • Good range on the wireless remote controller

Check Price

best overall rating ★★★★★

Smittybilt (98512) X2O Winch

Smittybilt X2O COMP - Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch - 12,000 lb. Load Capacity
PROS:
  • Great wireless remote controller 
  • Easy installation process

Check Price

best overall rating ★★★★★

Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch

WARN 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch
PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Good brand repute

Check Price

Comparison Table: Top 12,000 lbs Winch in Market Today

Here is a quick comparison table with key specs of the top 12,000 lbs winch available today –

Product Motor (VDC/hp) Line Length (Feet) Price

Smittybilt 97412 XRC Winch

Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch | 12,000 Pound Load Capacity

Best Overall, 800+ Reviews

-/6.6 79 Check Price

Smittybilt (98512) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

Smittybilt X2O COMP - Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch - 12,000 lb. Load Capacity

Runner Up, 400+ Reviews

-/6.6 98.5 Check Price

Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch

WARN 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch

12/- 80 Check Price

Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch

Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch with Wire Rope - 12000 lb. Capacity

12/- 80 Check Price

X-BULL 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch

X-BULL 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch 12000 lb Load Capacity

-/6 85 Check Price

Driver Recovery Products LD12-ELITE Electric Heavy Duty Recovery Winch

LD12-ELITE Electric Heavy Duty Recovery Winch - 12,000 lbs. Capacity - Wireless Remote Control - by Driver Recovery Products

-/6 87 Check Price

Yescom 12000lbs 12V 6.6HP Electric Recovery Winch

Yescom 12000lbs 12V 6.6HP Electric Recovery Winch Wireless Remote Control Trailer Truck SUV Compatible for Jeep Off-Road Towing

12/6.6 92 Check Price

WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S

WARN 95960 Zeon Platinum 12-S

- 80 Check Price

VIPER Winch 12000lb

MotoAlliance VIPER Winch 12 VDC 12000lb/5443kg, Integrated Contactor, Wireless Remote, BLACK Rope

- 85 Check Price

New Vortex 12000 LB Pound Recovery Winch

Vortex 12,000 LB Winch Bonus Package! 2 REMOTES! (Jeep, 4X4, 4WD)

-/6 88 Check Price
 

Reviews of the Best 12,000 lbs Winch

1.best overall rating

Smittybilt 97412 XRC Winch

Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch | 12,000 Pound Load Capacity

Headquartered at Compton, California, USA, the idea for Smittybilt first came to Mr. Basil Smith and he named it Rock-ett Products. Over the years, his son Tom took over and renamed it to Smittybilt.

The business expanded over time due to the introduction of newer, innovative products and currently there are 2,000+ products in their kitty and a loyal audience in the off-roading market.

Their winches are known for durability and reliable performance.

This heavy duty winch by Smittybilt comes equipped with a 6.6 hp amphibious motor and a three-stage planetary gear system. The winch can be operated with the help of a wireless remote controller ensuring safety during usage.

It is completely waterproof and contains a state of the art solenoid (500 AMP).

The winch can also boast of features like automatic in-drum brake and a sliding ring gear clutch. The cable that comes along with this winch is 79 feet in length and 3/8th of an inch in diameter.

The weight of this 12,000 lbs winch is 83 lbs and the dimensions of the same are 26.1 x 13.2 x 10.1 inches.

Check out a quick review of this winch here –

 
 

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • IP67 waterproof grading
  • Drum diameter of 2.5 inch
  • A gear ratio of 193.2:1
  • Textured matte black finish for weather protection
  • Offers a lifetime mechanical warranty and a five-year electrical warranty
PROS:
  • Easy installation process
  • Clearly stated instructions
  • Good range on the wireless remote controller
  • Good value for money
  • Highly recommended by customers
  • Good aesthetic appeal
CONS:
  • Waterproofing could be better

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


2.best overall rating

Smittybilt (98512) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

Smittybilt X2O COMP - Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch - 12,000 lb. Load Capacity

This Smittybilt winch is a part of the new and improved Gen2 series. This 12,000 lbs winch with a 6.6 hp amphibious motor is a perfect example of a good tradeoff between price and performance.

Some of the notable features of this winch are the three-stage planetary gear system, automatic out of drum brake, a sliding ring gear clutch, an aluminum hawse fairlead best suited for a synthetic line rope and a 10.0″ x 4.50″ mounting board pattern.

The synthetic cable that comes with this winch is 98.5 feet in length and 3/8th of an inch in diameter. The winch weighs 63 lbs and the dimensions of the same are 22.3 x 5.4 x 9.4 inches.

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • Comes with a lifetime mechanical warranty and a five-year electrical warranty
  • A gear ratio of 265:1
  • UV resistant matte black textured finish
  • Oversized tie rod struts for maximum strength
  • Inductive braking system
  • IP68 waterproof rating
PROS:
  • DIY customers are happy with instruction quality
  • Easy installation process
  • The wireless remote controller is a popular feature
  • Great aesthetic appeal
  • The synthetic rope makes it lightweight
CONS:
  • Spare parts are expensive

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


3.best overall rating

Warn 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch

WARN 95950 Zeon 12-S Winch

With over 600 products and 100 patents, Warn Industries is a stalwart in the winch business.

They have consistently created newer and more quality products that are enjoyed by a wide audience of off-roaders and adventure enthusiasts all over the world.

Arthur Warn was the person behind starting this business way back in the 1930s along with his wife, Sadie Warn.

What initially started as automotive parts dealership has eventually turned into a designer and manufacturer of the most popular winches known today.

This winch by Warn boasts of excellent weather protection owing to it’s satin black powder coated finish. The winch also comes with a 20 feet Nomex heat protection sleeve for its synthetic rope.

The winch runs with the help of a 12 V DC series wound motor and a planetary gear system which helps deliver a smooth, noiseless performance.

The length of the winch rope is 80 feet and the diameter of the same is 3/8th of an inch. Since the winch is making use of a synthetic rope, it also boasts of a powder coated finish aluminum hawse.

This winch is extremely lightweight as compared to its counterparts in the 12,000 lbs category weighing a meager 39.3 lbs. The dimensions of the winch are 26.4 x 19.7 x 8.1 inches.

Check out this winch at :

 

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • Equipped with propriety, strongest in class Spydura pro synthetic rope
  • Urethane coated and heat treated 12 strand braid
  • Meets IP68 waterproofing standards
  • Equipped with convertible control pack
  • A gear ratio of 162:1
PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Good brand repute
  • Good quality components (manufactured in the USA)
  • Excellent aesthetic appeal
  • Highly recommended by customers
CONS:
  • Replacement is expensive and time-consuming
  • Customer service could be better

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


4.best overall rating

Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch

Warn 89120 ZEON 12 Winch with Wire Rope - 12000 lb. Capacity

This Warn winch is a part of the ZEON series and the aesthetic appeal of the product should be noted given its consistent design on the gear and the motor side.

It makes use of a large aluminum drum which makes it lightweight and increases the life of the rope by reducing the wear and tear.

The stainless steel components have a longer life and inhibit corrosion. The winch motor is a 12 V DC series wound motor.

The length of the synthetic line rope is 80 feet and the diameter of the same is 3/8th of an inch. The rope function is enhanced by a roller fairlead.

The winch design boasts of an integrated rope anchor point for easy replacement. The weight of this winch is a meager 16 lbs which makes it one of the lightest winches in the 12,000 lbs segment.

The dimensions of the winch are 26.2 x 8.5 x 19.8 inches.

Check out how to install this winch at:

 

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • Convertible control pack
  • Multiple mounting options
  • IP68 waterproofing rating
  • A gear ratio of 162:1
PROS:
  • Integrated configurations for easy mounting
  • Made in the USA, better quality components
  • Aesthetic appeal is nice
  • Wireless remote works perfectly
CONS:
  • The warranty should be better
  • Replacement of parts is time-consuming

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


5.best overall rating

X-BULL 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch

X-BULL 12V Steel Cable Electric Winch 12000 lb Load Capacity

With ‘Affordable Toughness’ as its motto, X-Bull is an Australian manufacturer of automotive accessories and equipment.

Over 8 years ago, they started their shop making tire accessories and eventually expanded into the development of winches as well.

This 12,000 lbs winch from X-Bull is equipped with 85 feet of stainless steel cable. The winch is driven by a 4.5 kW series wound motor and a three-stage planetary gear train.

The entire system is built to be weatherproof and corrosion resistance.

Some of the safety features on this winch include a wireless remote controller for easy operation, an automatic load holding mechanism, a brake for maximum safety and a free-spooling clutch for fast wire payout.

The weight of this winch is 88 lbs and the dimensions of the same are 23.6 x 9.4 x 13.8 inches.

Check out an X-Bull winch in action here –

 

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • A gear ratio of 265:1
  • Waterproof motor
  • Heavy-duty sealed contractor
  • Automatic load holding braking system
PROS:
  • Universal fitment
  • Great value for money
  • Good quality instructions
  • Great remote control wireless range
  • Very strong and reliable performance
CONS:
  • Components could be made of better quality

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


6.best overall rating

Driver Recovery Products LD12-ELITE Electric Heavy Duty Recovery Winch

LD12-ELITE Electric Heavy Duty Recovery Winch - 12,000 lbs. Capacity - Wireless Remote Control - by Driver Recovery Products

This LD12 model winch by Driver Recovery Products has a rated line pull of 12,000 lbs and is equipped with an upgraded reversible motor with 6.0 hp power rating, alternatively, 4.3 kW.

The winch comes with wireless remote control for operating the winch from a safe distance. It is fitted with 87 feet of pre-wound abrasion resistant wire rope that has a diameter of 3/8th of an inch of aircraft quality grade.

It is coiled around a drum of dimensions 2 1/2 in. x 8 13/16 in.

Automatic braking prevents the rope from slacking and free spooling. The series wound motor allows for consistent power and prevention of overheating. The wire spooling activity is smooth and efficient due to the roller fairlead.

The winch weighs 90 lbs and the dimension of the same are 21 1/4 in. x 6 3/8 in. x 9 7/8 in.

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • Includes 3/8″ clevis slip hook with a grade 70 latch
  • Waterproofed unit
  • Consistent power through duty cycle by a reversible motor
PROS:
  • Easy to install
  • Perfectly working, good quality components
  • Great mounting plate
CONS:
  • Drains the battery fast

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


7.best overall rating

Yescom 12000lbs 12V 6.6HP Electric Recovery Winch

Yescom 12000lbs 12V 6.6HP Electric Recovery Winch Wireless Remote Control Trailer Truck SUV Compatible for Jeep Off-Road Towing

Yescom started its operations as an e-tailer of cellphone accessories and has now expanded into a staggering range of products. The e-commerce business was launched in the month of February 2002.

The wide range of products now includes categories like business & industrial, patio & garden, office supplies, tools & hardware, health, beauty & salon, home, toys & hobbies, sports & recreation, pet supplies, auto parts & accessories & electronics.

This 12,000 lb winch from Yescom is equipped with a 6.6 hp/ 4.8 kW 12 V DC series wound motor and a three-stage planetary gear train.

The free spooling clutch allows for easy rolling in and out operation of the 92 feet line rope without slacking. The thickness of the line rope is 0.33 in.

The safety features of this winch include an automatic in the drum braking system and a sliding ring gear clutch. The four-way roller fairlead allows for the multidirectional movement of the line rope.

The winch weighs around 83 lbs and the dimensions of the same are 26.3 x 15.2 x 12 inches.

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • A gear reduction ratio of 195.8:1
  • Dark gray powder coated finish for weather protection
  • Extra protective casing for electric connectors
  • Custom gaskets for sealing inner components from debris infiltration
PROS:
  • Long lasting, durable performance
  • Good 12 feet range on the wireless remote function
  • Fits perfectly on most vehicles
  • Good performance
CONS:
  • Prone to overheating (engine burnouts)

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


8.best overall rating

WARN 95960 ZEON Platinum 12-S 

WARN 95960 Zeon Platinum 12-S

This Warn winch of 12,000 lbs capacity can be operated with an advanced wireless remote which is also capable of reading the motor temperature.

This feature is useful to keep constant tabs on the motor performance and to prevent overheating. Warn claims this winch to be two times as durable than the previous models.

The rope’s movement is supported by an aluminum hawse fairlead with a powder coated satin finish. It is also equipped with a rotating ring gear free spooling clutch and an automatic mechanical cone brake.

The winch motor is a 12 V DC series wound variant. The winch weighs 83 lbs and the dimensions of the same are 20 x 26.1 x 8.2 inches.

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • Equipped with 80 feet of the propriety Spydura Pro Synthetic Rope
  • IP68 waterproof rating
  • A gear ratio of 162:1
PROS:
  • Good, reliable performance
  • Easy to install
  • Good range on the remote controller
  • Good waterproofing
CONS:
  • Little expensive
  • The remote battery gets discharged frequently

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


9.best overall rating

VIPER Winch 12000lb

MotoAlliance VIPER Winch 12 VDC 12000lb/5443kg, Integrated Contactor, Wireless Remote, BLACK Rope

Viper winch products are manufactured by a power sports company called Moto Alliance headquartered at Minneapolis, MN.

Their range of products includes winches, winch accessories, trailer parts, plows, plow mounts, plow accessories, cab heaters, led lights and other replacement parts.

This 12,000 lb winch by Moto Alliance comes with 85 feet of synthetic rope of thickness 5/16th of an inch that is supported by an aluminum hawse fairlead.

The winch kit also includes wireless and cabled remote controllers, an integrated contractor and a fully sealed metal planetary gear train.

The motor is a permanent magnet variant and the entire gear system is made of steel for reliable performance.

The winch weighs 59.5 lbs and the dimensions of the same are 8.6 x 8.6 x 11.8 inches which makes it a fairly compact model for such a high RLP.

Check out the installation of this winch at

 

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • Manufactured in ISO-TS16949 Certified Factory
  • Makes use of military grade materials
  • IP67 waterproofing
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • A gear ratio of 265:1
PROS:
  • Durable and reliable performance
  • Fairly easy installation process
  • Good value for money
  • Great customer service
  • Good quality product
CONS:
  • Remote range is limited

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon


10.best overall rating

New Vortex 12000 LB Pound Recovery Winch

Vortex 12,000 LB Winch Bonus Package! 2 REMOTES! (Jeep, 4X4, 4WD)

The Vortex Company is a USA based manufacturer of winches, boat covers, bimini tops, camper/RV/trailer covers, and winch accessories. It was established in 2000.

This 12,000 lbs winch from Vortex is fitted with a 12 V DC 6.0 hp/ 4.5 kW series wound motor.

It is run with the help of a three-stage planetary gear system and includes safety features like automatic in the drum braking and a sliding ring gear clutch. The cable is 88 feet in length and has a thickness of 3/8th of an inch.

The four-way roller fairlead ensures in smooth movement and less slack of the line rope. The winch dimensions are 24 x 8 x 18 inches.

Some of the key USPs of this winch are – 

  • A gear reduction ratio of 265.2:1
  • Sealed and water resistant unit
  • Comes with two remotes, wired and wireless
PROS:
  • Customer satisfaction with the product is high
  • Good performance
CONS:
  • Not waterproof

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Buying Guide for 12,000 lb Winch

Buying Guide for 12,000 lb Winch

The following are some of the factors that should be considered while buying a 12,000 lbs winch.

The Material of Rope used

One of the key considerations while buying a winch can be safety as well as the weight of the whole unit. When it comes to either of these factors, the synthetic line rope beats out the steel cable.

This is because, in the event of the cable snapping, a synthetic one carries much less kinetic energy as compared to a steel one and will, therefore, cause less damage.

Also, the steel cable is much heavier and bulkier as compared to the synthetic cable of the same thickness.

Electric or Hydraulic Winch

Electric winches are powered by the battery and can run only as long as the battery of the vehicle runs; however, hydraulic winches are powered endlessly by the steering pump.
In terms of performance, both of these are comparable.

Mounting Options

There are several different types of mounting options available in winches. Broadly, these can be classified into integrated and non-integrated mounting.

For people who are new to offroading, it is recommended that the installation process be done with the help of professionals.

However, for experts and DIYers, it is often easier to mount an integrated winch as opposed to a non-integrated one.

There are several different components in the latter that need to be affixed carefully for proper functioning and it requires some expertise.

How to use and Maintain a 12,000 lb Winch

How to use and Maintain a 12,000 lb Winch

Winches of high RLPs are usually used for rescuing very big vehicles or in commercial applications requiring a high powered winch.

While operating these winches, it is essential to closely follow the instructions pertaining to the usage of the winch and the various applications it can be used for.

The manual that comes with these winches also specifies certain things to keep in mind for careful maintenance of the winch. This would be to prolong the life of the winch and its various components.

Electrical connections tend to get loose over time and should be checked before each use. The wire should be checked carefully for fraying or any other abrasion related damage.

The winch should be kept free of moisture and sediments and for this; it should be thoroughly cleaned and inspected after each use. The gears should be properly lubricated.

There are several other small instructions which when followed can help in extending the life and improving the performance of the winch.

FAQs

How should the Cable be Reeled in/out?

There is a lever attached to the winch which can be engaged in the IN/OUT position to reel the cable in or out respectively.

How do I Check the Gear Grease?

The clutch can be removed to check the grease in the gears. If it appears too dry, it is recommended that sufficient good quality lubricant be added to ensure frictionless and smooth (efficient) movement of the gears. In case of excess, the extra should be removed with caution.

What is Free Spool?

Free spool allows one to reel the cable in and out without turning the winch on. This is helpful when one needs to unwind the entire rope occasionally for cleaning or any other maintenance activity.

Why am I Seeing Sparks while Connecting the Battery?

This is usually when the positive and negative connections get mixed up. This can be very dangerous and can lead to fires or cables melting, therefore, all electrical connections should be fitted properly and the tightness should be checked.

How far Should the Wireless Remote be from the Winch?

All the winches these days come equipped with a wireless remote function and the range of these remotes is mentioned on the controller itself. It usually ranges from 30 feet to a few hundred feet.

Can the Winch be used for Hoisting?

Winches are constructed for pulling vehicles or any other activity that involves a tremendous amount of effort in the horizontal plane. The drums and the gearing are designed to optimize this horizontal effort. Therefore, it is not recommended to use the winch for hoisting or any other vertical efforts.

Final Words

In conclusion, it can be noted that some brands like Smittybilt and Warn have consistently created good quality winches and enjoy customer confidence and loyalty over the years.

However, one still has to consider the tradeoff between performance and price. There are also several cheaper winches available in the markets that are of comparable if not better quality.

The aim of the article was to showcase different winches in the 12,000 lbs RLP capacity. Having looked at all the different aspects and the features of these winches, one can go ahead and make an informed decision regarding their purchase.

Here are our top pick list again for you, check the specs, reviews, and price on Amazon –

Last update on 2020-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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