Best Winches Reviewed & Rated for Quality

Well, your car has gotten stuck in a ditch. Your wife told you not to take that shortcut, but you just had to be Mr. know-it-all, didn’t you? As right as this serves you, it probably is best that you get that thing out of there as quick as you can, before it starts raining. And of course, there’s only one cure for a vehicle stuck in something it can’t drive out of on its own: you need a good winch.

Featured Recommendations

VicTsing Car Safety Hammer
  • VicTsing Car Safety Hammer
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Superior Durability
  • Price: See Here
AmazonBasics Emergency
  • AmazonBasics Emergency
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Protective Bracket
  • Price: See Here
Red Earth Naturals
  • Red Earth Naturals
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quick Access
  • Price: See Here

A good winch is the best way to yank out those particularly stubborn objects that just refuse to move by any other conventional means. Whether you’re pulling your truck out of some particularly deep mud, or you’re finally yanking that old rotted root out of the ground, there’s a winch for every occasion. But there’s no such thing as a single perfect winch for every problem, which is why we’re counting down what we consider to be the top ten best of them, here today. So, sit back and watch all the leg work be done for you because we’re counting down the:

 

10 Best Winches

 

1. VicTsing Car Safety Hammer

1. VicTsing Car Safety Hammer
Kicking off our list, we have the VicTsing Car Safety Hammer. Small, portable, versatile, this is what we consider to be the gold standard for what makes a good window breaker. But what specific qualities put it at the top of the list, if every entry supposedly meets those marks, you may ask? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
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Superior durability

It would be rather embarrassing if your attempt to escape your increasingly dangerous car was thwarted by your window breaker being weaker than the window it was meant to break. Which is why this window breaker is specifically built to make sure that doesn’t happen. A double tipped hammer, made from high grade carbon steel, and combined with engineering grade plastic, this car hammer won’t let you down in a crisis.

Ergonomic design

The reason most people can’t break a car window themselves is that they’re stuck in an awkward position where they can’t use their full strength. And a good window breaker needs to accommodate for that disadvantage. Which is precisely what this hammer does. This window breaker is about 6.7 in long and made with an anti-skid handle that makes it incredibly easy to control and keep a good grip on while desperately banging on the window.

Cost and Value

The great thing about window breakers is that being such small devices, they rarely cost all that much. This entry, in particular, comes in a set of two, and yet is already one of the most affordable entries on this list.
Pros

Superior durability

Ergonomic design

Affordable

Cons

Doesn’t attach to anything, limiting storage options

2. AmazonBasics Emergency

2. AmazonBasics Emergency
Coming in second place, we have the AmazonBasics Emergency Seat Belt Cutter and Window Hammer. It seems Amazon isn’t happy controlling your buying options and putting robots in your house, they also want to be the thing that helps decide whether you live or die. And as far as that goes, this is actually a pretty good product.
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Quick and efficient breakage

When you’re using this thing, you don’t want to be beating on the window more than you have to. You want to break through that window fast and then get out of there. Which is why the hammer of this window breaker is made from hard tungsten metal, the kind of metal used to tip military tank rounds. And as for your seat belt, the bottom half features a knife made from the same material but sharpened to a razor edge for quick and easy cutting.

Protective bracket

Because of how sharp it is, you really don’t want to grab onto this thing the wrong way, otherwise, you’re going to have another big problem on your hands. Which is why this window breaker comes with a protective bracket that keeps it safe and is easy to remove from in an emergency.

Cost and Value

The price of this entry is about the same as the previous one, so our judgment on its price remains the same. It’s an affordable price for an invaluable tool.
Pros

Quick and efficient breakage

Protective bracket

Affordable

Cons

A bit light for some people’s taste

3. Red Earth Naturals

3. Red Earth Naturals
Finishing up our top three segment, we have the Red Earth naturals Window Breaker and Seatbelt Cutter. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient, and affordable way to break out of your car during an emergency, you’ve come to the right entry.
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Quick access

The biggest problem with the previous two entries was that there wasn’t a lot of options for where to put the things in case of an emergency. The glove compartment or console are too easily compromised during an emergency, capable of being sealed shut. Fortunately, the bracket of this hammer plans for that. At the top and bottom halves of this hammer’s bracket are two screw holes that you can use to mount the window breaker wherever you feel is best to have it.

Safe to wield

The majority of seatbelt cutters on these sorts of devices are mostly covered, save for a single slot where you’re supposed to fit the seatbelt into to cut it. Sometimes, though, that slot can be too big for a safety, and you can still cut yourself on it when fumbling around for it during an emergency. Fortunately, the slot for this seatbelt cutter is just big enough for the seatbelt, without posing any threat to you.

Cost and Value

Being a smaller size, and not using as complex materials like tungsten, this hammer manages to bring down the price a bit from the previous two. Making it the much better deal.
Pros

Quick access

Safe to wield

Cheap

Cons

Metal isn’t as strong

4. Lifehammer Emergency

4. Lifehammer Emergency
Coming in at #4, we have the Lifehammer Emergency Rescue Hammer. This is the original window breaker hammer, first unveiled way back in 1982. And like any good tool, it still works like a charm to this day, providing the iconic look of the device as well as its innovative function. So, let’s see if it still holds up.

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Double sided hammer

It may seem like we’re retreading old ground, but that’s because this is the original, and thus includes everything that the other entries on this list consider to be standard issue. With that said, this window breaker features a double sided hammer made of hardened steel, that will make short work of any window you pit it against.

Ultra sharp knife

On the other end of this device, opposite of the hammer is a knife, mostly obscured by the plastic so that it doesn’t accidentally cut its user. And it would very much cut you, more easily than most other knives you own, because the knife on a window breaker is built to be as sharp as a piece of metal can possibly be, in order to quickly get you out of that seatbelt.

Cost and Value

The main problem with this entry is the price. It isn’t that it’s too high, it’s that we have three preceding entries that do more with this base idea, and also cost about half of what this entry asks of you.
Pros

Double sided hammer

Ultra sharp knife

The mounting bracket that you can put almost anywhere

Cons

Pricey

5. IPOW Car

5. IPOW Car
For our #5 spot, we chose the IPOW Car Safety Hammer Escape Tool. if you want a model of practical design and efficient performance, then this right here is the escape tool for you. So, what makes this entry so worthy of this list? Let’s find out.
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Powerful hammer

The more powerful the hammer, the better a chance you have at getting out of that car as quickly as possible. So, it’s no wonder that manufacturers pay top dollar for the best metals they can get their hands on. Which is why this double sided hammer finds itself being made out of high grade carbon steel. This hammer will punch through glass like a battering ram through cardboard.

Anti-skid handle

If you’re stuck in your car, then you’re probably in the midst of some natural disaster, meaning you aren’t in the mood for constantly having a case of the butterfingers. So, a car hammer needs to provide you with as good a grip as it possibly can, in order to make sure that you don’t drop it somewhere you potentially can’t get to it. Which is why this window breaker comes with a specially designed, anti-skid handle that stays in your grip.

Cost and Value

While a bit lower in price than the previous entry, the first three choices on this list still run circles around this one in terms of price. Not enough to be considered pricey, but still not cheap.
Pros

Powerful hammer

Anti-skid handle

Built in razor blade

Cons

The bracket doesn’t mount anywhere

6. BlueSkyBros Emergency

6. BlueSkyBros Emergency
Coming in at #6, we have the BlueSkyBros Emergency Escape Tool. This is a must have emergency escape tool that every car owner should have in their vehicle, especially if they live in an area at risk of natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes. So what makes this tool so vital for an emergency? Allow us to explain.
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Steel strike point

Making a hammer is one thing, anyone can bang on something with a piece of metal until it breaks, but what you’re looking for is something that can get through the solid glass in a quick second. Which is why you look for one of these hammers, which are made from steel, and sharpened at the edge to an almost razor strike point. This hammer doesn’t just strike, it punches through whatever you use it on.

Easy to store

While you may not be able to mount the bracket this hammer comes with anywhere like with other window breakers, the bracket is still small and compact enough, matching the tool itself, to be stores anywhere else in the car you want. From the side pocket to the glove compartment, to the console, really anywhere is an option.

Cost and Value

Thankfully we return to very affordable prices with this entry, which is odd considering it comes in a set of two, whereas the more expensive entries came with only one tool per purchase.
Pros

Steel strike point

Easy to store

Affordable

Cons

The bracket doesn’t hold the tool very well

7. GOOACC Window

7. GOOACC Window
For our 7th place entry, we have the GOOACC Window Breaker Emergency Escape Tool. While not the biggest thing in the world, and there are definitely entries on this list made from sturdier stuff, this window breaker has a good many advantages to buying it. Those advantages include the following.
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Reflective strip

The reason all window breakers color themselves a bright, garish color like orange is because it’s incredibly hard to miss and immediately jumps out at your eye. But for good measure, in case it’s also really dark while this is all happening, this window breaker also comes with an included reflective strip that will bounce any light off of it, immediately bringing it to your attention.

Breaks in a single punch

Even with the other really good window breakers, you have to hit it at least twice if you aren’t all that strong before the thing completely breaks through the window. A problem that this window breaker doesn’t have, as its high hardened steel hammerhead with ultra sharpened strike points bust through the glass in a single strike.

Cost and Value

This is probably the cheapest entry we’ve covered on the list thus far. So, if you want a good window breaker in case of emergency but don’t feel like paying too much for something you may not need, this one is right up your alley.
Pros

Reflective strip

Breaks in a single punch

Very cheap

Cons

Back of the holder is hollow, meaning there’s nowhere to put velcro or other securing devices

8. Ztylus Stinger

8. Ztylus Stinger
Kicking off our final three entries, we have the Ztylus Stinger Car Emergency Escape Tool. This modern reinterpretation of a car window breaker is definitely the most unorthodox design on the list so far. But as you will soon see, that actually plays in its favor.

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Convenient storage

The main issue a lot of people have with window breakers is finding a place to put them, where they would be able to reach them in the event of an emergency. The Ztylus’ solution to this is to put itself in the one place none of the other entries so far though to do; the cigarette lighter. And because it might as well make itself useful while it’s there during non-crisis situations, it takes the electricity from the lighter and uses it for a pair of USB ports.

Instant breakage

With manual hammers, you need to hit specific pressure points on the window for it to break in a way that’s safe for you to crawl through. The Ztylus, on the other hand, works in one quick burst. Just press this device against the window, and the spring loaded puncher will reduce that glass to harmless atoms in an instant.

Cost and Value

Of course, such an advanced device isn’t cheap, but if you want the top of the line performance from a modern window breaker, this is the one for you.
Pros

Convenient storage

Instant breakage

Razor sharp seatbelt cutter

Cons

Pricey

9. LUXON

9. LUXON
For our second to final entry, we have the LUXON Emergency Car Safety Tool. This is easily the most versatile entry on this entire list. If you have to bail out of your car in the middle of nowhere, at night, with no way to call for help, then this is about as good a window breaker to have as any.
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7 in 1 multi tool

Not only does this multifunctional crash survival tool contain a car safety hammer and a razor sharp seatbelt cutter, but it also has a magnet, an LED flashlight, a red indicating light for signaling for help, a USB charger complete with cables, and a hand cranking charge system. Simply put, this is the best tool for both getting out of a car and finding a means to contact help.

Hand cranking charge system

Worried you’ll drain the battery of this important device just to get your phone charge for the gamble that is hoping there’s a cell signal where you are? Don’t worry, as a few minutes of cranking will have this tool back to normal as nothing happened.

Cost and Value

Without question, this is the priciest entry on the list so far. Which should come as no surprise, considering everything it offers to do for you in exchange. So, while it is more than worth the money, it’s also a lot of money regardless.
Pros

7 in 1 multi tool

Hand cranking charge system

USB charger complete with cables

Cons

Very pricey

10. Resqme The Original

10. Resqme The Original
For our last entry on this list, we have the Resqme Original Keychain Car Escape Tool. Don’t let our final entry’s small size fool you, this thing is about as powerful as any other window breaker on this list. And there are quite a few advantages to not taking up so much room.
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Easily accessible

It’s right there in the name, this is a keychain. Meaning that if you’re driving, and your car gets stuck, and you need to get out ASAP, then congrats, your window breaker is right there on your car keys, ready to be used. No digging around the car and wasting precious time, you have your means of escape right there with you.

Small but powerful

While not as effective at punching through in an instant as the #8 spot, this window puncher will still get you out in short order. And the razor sharp seatbelt cutter on the back will slice through any seatbelt you put it on, no matter what it’s made out of. So, don’t fret because this thing isn’t the biggest or the showiest, because it will succeed where a lot of the other entries on this list will fail you.

Cost and Value

While not the cheapest thing on the list, this window breaker isn’t even half of what the previous entry was asking of you. So, if you want a decently affordable window breaker that performs great, look no further.
Pros

Easily accessible

Small but powerful

Affordable

Cons

Takes a second to dislodge it from the keychain

Like we said at the top of this article, no two winches are created equal. Winches have a wide range of uses, and because of this, there’s no real way of judging which one is better than another unless one of them just straight up falls apart the minute you try to use it. There’s no such thing as a winch that’s better than all the rest, because in order to be better than all the rest, you need to do what those others did better than them, and that’s too many contradictory ideas to fit together in a cohesive way. So, in that sense, winches are a perfect fit for a list like this. This, after all, is not a list of winches, worst to best, it’s a list of the ten we consider to be the best. The ones that did better in their particular field than any other winch like them. And if you need top tier performance from a winch, regardless of type, then one of these ten entries is bound to give you exactly what you need. Whether you need small scale precision, or large scale performance, one of these ten is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Winches

Because of the varied nature of these devices, coming up with a single list of criteria that we could feasibly use to determine the best of the best was tricky. But the closer we inspected, the more similarities emerged. And soon enough, we had what we needed to make a good criteria section. So, with that said, here are the most vital criteria we used to determine who got on the list and where.

Pull capacity

The pulling capacity of a winch is, put simply, the amount of weight that a winch can feasibly pull before it begins buckling under its own weight. When a winch says it has a maximum pull capacity of 13,000 lbs., that doesn’t mean you should use it on a 13,050 lb. object and wing it, that means you get a stronger winch because any higher and that winch will break. The pull capacity is the roof, the absolute most that a particular winch can be asked to handle. We tended to look for winches that could at least handle around 1500 pounds of pull, as that tends to be the agreed benchmark for a good quality winch, regardless of its type.

But if you want the best of the best when it comes to a winch, then you’ll be looking at much larger numbers. The best winches for trucks and other vehicles on the market right now have a pull capacity of 10,000 lbs. or more.

Cable length

Another important aspect that must be considered when looking for a good winch is the length of the cable attached to it. How long it is will depend on how the winch is supposed to be used. If you’re going to be pulling a stranded car or pulling something out of a lake, then you’re going to need a long cable that will give you plenty of slack. And if you’re going to pull out a stump from the ground, you actually want to shorten the distance a bit, so you can bear down hard on that stubborn piece of wood. If you’re a casual user, then 10 meters of length is ideal for you. It’s more than enough length to get done what you need to get done. However, if you do decide to get a longer cable, then remember to get a stronger winch to go along with it, because you’re going to need that extra power.

Motor power

There are lots of different types of motors out there, but one constant remains: the keyword is horsepower, and that all comes from the motor. Horsepower is the measurement of the power given off by any motor, and the case remains the same here. Motor power is required to provide the needed torque for winching. How much motor power your winch has all depends on what you need that winch to do. If you’re pulling somewhat delicate equipment from somewhere, or at least stuff you’d rather not see get damaged, then a winch with less motor power is ideal, since not a lot of winches have speed control. While a more powerful motor will mean a higher price, it will also mean that you’ll be getting a more powerful winch out of it.

Line speed

This is right what it says on the tin, it refers to the speed at which the winch moves back when you tell it to retract the line. Now granted, the speed tends to vary depending on what you have it attached to, but we’re talking about the speed at which the line travels when completely uninhibited by anything else. Generally speaking, a good winch will retrieve a line at a speed of about 2-5 feet per minute. What’s important to note is that, even at its fastest, these things are meant to be slow, so don’t expect a lot from line speed.

Gear ratio

A high quality winch will have a drivetrain system similar to how a car has multiple gears that you can shift it into in real time. The amount of gears that your winch has dictates how fast and how hard it pulls on the line. A lot of smaller grade winches will only have one gear, and thus one speed it can pull at.

Price

The last criteria we looked at for this list was the price of each entry and how that reflected on the overall quality of the product. We don’t think it needs to be said at this point that a winch tends to cost a lot of money. These are high grade, professional quality machines, this isn’t hardware for amateurs, this is pro-level stuff, so of course, it expects its buyers to have a salary that reflects this. Because of these large prices, our choice of how to approach this criterion was the simplest of them all. We just analyzed each product, then looked at the prices they were asking for and just weighed to see if the price was actually worth it. After all, you’re far less likely to get bitter about the high price tag of something if you genuinely feel like you got your money’s worth out of it. Conversely, if you feel like you paid a whole lot more for something than it was really worth, you are not going to be happy, are you?

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

For the last segment of this article, we’ll be taking a look at some frequently asked questions surrounding winches. There weren’t many, mind you, as once you get right down to it, these are rather simple machines. However, we did inevitably notice a pattern with certain queries. And here they are now, as we lay out the most frequently asked questions about winches, and the answers thereof.

Q: I’m unfamiliar with winches and want to know when I might need one. What is a winch generally used for?

A: A winch’s job is simple: lift the heaviest loads, using the bare minimum of effort. Oh sure, manual winches will still require you to operate the device, but you aren’t doing the majority of the heavy lifting. Meanwhile newer electric winches don’t even need you to do that much.

Your average winch works on pretty much anything you’d rather not lift yourself. If you have a permanent fixture that’s a lot less movable than the thing you want to move is, then you can attach a winch to it and start pulling from tree stumps, to cars stuck in a ditch, to something stranded in a lake.

Q: What is a self recovery winch and how does it work?

A: A self recovery winch is a winch you’d typically find attached to the front or back bumper of a truck or Jeep. These winches job is to be just powerful enough to pull your car out of whatever ditch you got it stuck in and can’t get it out of otherwise. It works by being attached to the Jeep, with a cable that you attach to something you believe won’t move before your car does. You then throw the switch or operate the crank and, if all goes well, your vehicle will be free in short order.

Q: What size winch is best for my Jeep?

A: As we said before, the kind of winch you get all depends on what you plan on doing with it. But if it’s attached to your vehicle, then you should plan to use it as a recovery winch just in case. As such, the winch should be able to at least handle 1.5x the weight of your jeep. If you do plan to use it for self recovery, you’ll need a larger device. The winch should have an 8000 lbs. pull capacity, at the very least.

Q: What is a winch brake and how does it work?

A: if you have your winch’s cord out at a certain length and prefer to keep it that way, the brake is what’s going to keep it that way. Some winches use a combination of a solenoid brake and a mechanical brake, but most prefer to use one or the other. If you have your winch attached to your vehicle, a strong brake is paramount to being able to pull on something, because you’re probably using your car to do the pulling, and thus you need the cable to stay put.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Winch
  2. Wheels Tips, Best Winch
  3. Car Care Total, 10 Best Winches