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Reliable winches: What do you have?

Hook_62

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Mar 7, 2019
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Wanted to start a thread on winches that are actually reliable. Some of these may or may not have parts made in China. After a not very extensive search this is what I have come up with. Hopefully others can add to this list, please feel free to add winches to stay away from due to personal experience.

Warn Winch, Non VR series - Manufactured: Clackamas, Oregon.
Westin Winch - Manufactured: St. James, Minnesota.
Mile Marker – Pompano Beach, Florida could not verify if manufactured there.
Ramsey - Tulsa, Oklahoma, could not verify if manufactured there.
 
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Chris

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Sep 28, 2015
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Salem, Oregon
Even those Warn winches are not 100% made in the USA, almost impossibly in this day and age at least.

The more appropriate thing to say is that they are "Assembled in the USA from globally sourced parts".

At least companies like DeWalt say this on their packaging instead of just "Made in the USA".

Now that doesn't mean they are bad by any means of course.
 
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Hook_62

Hook_62

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Mar 7, 2019
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Even those Warn winches are not 100% made in the USA, almost impossibly in this day and age at least.

The more appropriate thing to say is that they are "Assembled in the USA from globally sourced parts".

At least companies like DeWalt say this on their packaging instead of just "Made in the USA".

Now that doesn't mean they are bad by any means of course.
OK, good point, maybe the title should read something along the lines of "Reliable Winch Manufacturers and Winches to stay away from"? help me out here, mind is drawing a blank. I was not very kind to the brain cells in my younger days, Ha.
 
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Mr. Bills

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Nov 24, 2017
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Mile Marker is not the company is once was. Most of its products are now imported. Hubs are manufactured in Brazil; the company's line of electric winches is manufactured in China. I could not find a definitive answer regarding Milemarker hydraulic winches.

Ramsey claims that its electric winches are "made in U.S.A" but does not claim that all component parts are made in the U.S. as well. As with many (most?) "made in U.S.A." claims the phrase could simply mean assembled in the U.S. from globally sourced parts.
 
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Chris

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Sep 28, 2015
38,067
Salem, Oregon
OK, good point, maybe the title should read something along the lines of "Reliable Winch Manufacturers and Winches to stay away from"? help me out here, mind is drawing a blank. I was not very kind to the brain cells in my younger days, Ha.
You can't go wrong buying a higher end Warn from what I understand. While there is no way their entire winch is 100% built in the USA, I have no reservation saying that the parts that are sourced from China and other countries (likely the electronics) are done so using a facility where Warn themselves oversee quality control, and therefore you won't be getting bad components.

I do however wish that more companies would do what DeWalt has done, and label their stuff as "Assembled in the USA from globally sourced parts". That would be the more accurate way to describe things.

But let's not fool ourselves. The Chinese can build things just as good as we can (if not better). It's about quality control, that's the issue. All these smartphones are built with extremely high quality control, hence the reason they last. If you leave the Chinese to themselves without supervision or oversight, that's when you tend to get the cheap crap so many are used to.
 

jesseshoots

Member
Feb 20, 2019
32
Atlanta, GA
But let's not fool ourselves. The Chinese can build things just as good as we can (if not better). It's about quality control, that's the issue.
Thank you for pointing this out. So many people I know swear that just because it's made here it's better than something from China. Most people don't realize that the Chinese are highly skilled workers that care just as much about what they do as American workers. They can also do it faster, in most cases.

I have no worries about buying something made outside of the US as long as it's proven to be a good product.
 

Chris

Administrator
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Sep 28, 2015
38,067
Salem, Oregon
Thank you for pointing this out. So many people I know swear that just because it's made here it's better than something from China. Most people don't realize that the Chinese are highly skilled workers that care just as much about what they do as American workers. They can also do it faster, in most cases.

I have no worries about buying something made outside of the US as long as it's proven to be a good product.
Exactly. Blaine pointed out in another thread that with all the parts he has manufactured overseas, he's found that what it comes down to is quality control.

People like to rip on China, but the fact is, China may very well be more modern and advanced than the U.S. in many ways. I've seen the cities over there in China and the infrastructure, and it's damn impressive.

They can build anything we can, and in some cases even better than we can. People got this idea stuck in their head that Chinese stuff is crap, which was probably true in the 80s and 90s for the most part. However, in this day and age, they are making really, really high quality stuff in China, and I have no reservation whatsoever about buying it.

The enemy will always be us, the consumer. Everyone is always looking for a "deal" or the "lowest price". This of course drives the manufacturers to look for ways that they can drive costs down and make more affordable products. Well, one way you can do that is by cutting quality control out of the picture.

So in the end, we are our own worst enemy. If we aren't willing to pay a higher price for a superior built product, then the person we should be blaming when the crap quality Smittybilt product breaks isn't the Chinese, it's ourselves as consumers.

You want a cheap Harbor Freight winch? Well, when it breaks and leaves you stranded, it's YOUR fault for being a cheapskate. The Chinese just built what you wanted... a "cheap" winch. No one said it was going to be good ;)
 
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Hook_62

Hook_62

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Exactly. Blaine pointed out in another thread that with all the parts he has manufactured overseas, he's found that what it comes down to is quality control.

People like to rip on China, but the fact is, China may very well be more modern and advanced than the U.S. in many ways. I've seen the cities over there in China and the infrastructure, and it's damn impressive.

They can build anything we can, and in some cases even better than we can. People got this idea stuck in their head that Chinese stuff is crap, which was probably true in the 80s and 90s for the most part. However, in this day and age, they are making really, really high quality stuff in China, and I have no reservation whatsoever about buying it.

The enemy will always be us, the consumer. Everyone is always looking for a "deal" or the "lowest price". This of course drives the manufacturers to look for ways that they can drive costs down and make more affordable products. Well, one way you can do that is by cutting quality control out of the picture.

So in the end, we are our own worst enemy. If we aren't willing to pay a higher price for a superior built product, then the person we should be blaming when the crap quality Smittybilt product breaks isn't the Chinese, it's ourselves as consumers.

You want a cheap Harbor Freight winch? Well, when it breaks and leaves you stranded, it's YOUR fault for being a cheapskate. The Chinese just built what you wanted... a "cheap" winch. No one said it was going to be good ;)
I agree, for the most part, however, chinese steel is inferior to American or German steel, and the the replacement parts that you may need from chinese made stuff in the future aren't always available. The reason for starting this thread is to try to get some insight into winches that are of poor quality. Only way to do that is to get some responses from our fellow jeepers who have had winches break when you need it. Yes I'm a little biased against non American made equipment, but only because I think that if you buy equipment from US manufacturers, not only will you likely get a better made product but repair parts are more than likely available
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
38,067
Salem, Oregon
however, chinese steel is inferior to American or German steel.
That's not entirely true. Again, it comes down to quality control, plain and simple. No way around that one.

You can get good Chinese steel just like you can get good Chinese anything else.

That's beside the point though. The winch housings themselves are likely made in the U.S., as that's something that can be made in the U.S.

The electronics and winch motor though? Highly unlikely those are made in the U.S., even on high end Warn winches.

Anyways, I'm just trying to state the facts. There is no such thing as a 100% American made winch. If you or anyone else can prove otherwise, I'm more than happy to be wrong (really, I am). I'm just saying that we live in a global economy these days. I realize a lot of people don't want to admit that, but that's just the way the world is now, and I don't think it's a bad thing.

So to circle back to your original post. You're asking for people to comment with USA made winches. If you're looking for a 100% USA made winch, it doesn't exist (not to my knowledge). If you're looking for something assembled in the USA with globally sourced parts (some of which may be made in the U.S.), then there are a number of them, including Warn.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, so please don't take it that way. I'm merely trying to point out that saying a winch us "USA made" is a bit of a misnomer, that's all.

Anyways, carry on. :)

@mrblaine is admittedly better at discussing this than I am, as he has a ton of knowledge on the inner workings of manufacturing products overseas, as well as what can and can't be manufactured here in the U.S.
 
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Hook_62

Hook_62

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That's not entirely true. Again, it comes down to quality control, plain and simple. No way around that one.

You can get good Chinese steel just like you can get good Chinese anything else.

That's beside the point though. The winch housings themselves are likely made in the U.S., as that's something that can be made in the U.S.

The electronics and winch motor though? Highly unlikely those are made in the U.S., even on high end Warn winches.

Anyways, I'm just trying to state the facts. There is no such thing as a 100% American made winch. If you or anyone else can prove otherwise, I'm more than happy to be wrong (really, I am). I'm just saying that we live in a global economy these days. I realize a lot of people don't want to admit that, but that's just the way the world is now, and I don't think it's a bad thing.

So to circle back to your original post. You're asking for people to comment with USA made winches. If you're looking for a 100% USA made winch, it doesn't exist (not to my knowledge). If you're looking for something assembled in the USA with globally sourced parts (some of which may be made in the U.S.), then there are a number of them, including Warn.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, so please don't take it that way. I'm merely trying to point out that saying a winch us "USA made" is a bit of a misnomer, that's all.

Anyways, carry on. :)

@mrblaine is admittedly better at discussing this than I am, as he has a ton of knowledge on the inner workings of manufacturing products overseas, as well as what can and can't be manufactured here in the U.S.
Yeah i totally mislabeled this thread. My bad. Should have left the
Whole USA thing out altogether. Just trying to get some insight into reliable winches for myself and anyone else who might be looking for one. Everyone already knows pretty much that Warn is one of the better winches, but they arent the only one. I do not have the experience with winches to know which is junk or unreliable compared to what is a better winch. Just thought maybe some would like to give their thoughts here so people like myself could make a better more informed decision.

Thread title and original post edited.
 
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Rubi04

TJ Enthusiast
Feb 3, 2019
207
Jefferson, Oregon
Have owned both warn winches (which rock, including the 8724 and HS series winches) and currently own new smittybilt winches.

As little as I use my winches...5-10 times a year, I have found little differences other than speed.

Would I put another 8274 on my Jeep? Hell yes I would. Would I be happy with a $400 9500 smittybilt as well? Honestly, yes. For less than half the cost. And weight. Yikes.
 

DieselJeep

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Oct 31, 2018
431
KY
If you can always afford the top of the line winch, they're going to be great. My biggest issue I've had has been the battery and charging system. In general one may want to spend some money on your electrical system before you get into a critical situation. As long as you're aware of your limitations, typically charging at idle, you could upgrade electrical later, but I've pulled stuff out that I felt needed some momentum and not just bumping the button. The winch is a system and they all should be considered for a serious setup. You may have a fast winch, but what does it draw? What can your electrical system handle? Obviously if you have a great electrical system and great winch, you're going to be setup well. If you are going to be in a nasty situation and budget is the concern, I'd lean toward the $250 winch and $500+ battery/charging system and then when you come up with $500+ for the winch replace it and sell the other one for a couple hundred or use it as backup.

Just to add something I see misrepresented a lot when it comes to electrical and batteries, I often hear people talking about wanting a deep cycle battery for winching. A large enough true deep cycle battery bank would do an amazing job, BUT most deep cycles can't handle the draw from a winch. Typically deep cycle and marine battery are sort of used interchangeably.They may be equivalent at the Auto store, but in reality they aren't, but typically I get what you mean. For me the question has always been multiple starting and multiple dual-purpose/marine batteries and I think typically multiple dual-purpose are the sweet spot in theory (I've never had them hooked up to confirm this is true). On the dual purpose, I would assume they could each handle draws of up to 600 amps at a time, but you've got a certain capacity to consider with all the power used on those motors.

Personally I prefer the Warn M8000 (not high end, but a good winch) to the Badlands, but I went back to the M8000 for fitment reasons, rather than the Badlands winch being bad. Badlands is not a bad winch for most of us that rarely use it and we're not typically doing anything difficult, just hey I'm stuck in the mud kind of a thing.

More and more I try to buy American, because there's some oversight on our American companies and I think it's important we have industry. I work in industry and there's some issues we have for sure and there's so many regulations that making a better product or anything that is better for the consumer almost feels second to compliance. I think we do a pretty good job of balancing jobs and having great lands we can enjoy. I feel like buying from China or other places that don't have the same values may not ultimately be in the best interest of future generations. I also think our system, which rewards research and design will lead to better products in the future.

I worked with a lot of Chinese scientists and engineers and they're great people that work extremely hard and typically after many years have become very knowledgeable (and sometimes, because we buy so much from China, us US engineers lack their experience, because we're turning into buyers), but much of their education is memorization and less about being innovative and designing using some basic fundamentals and how to design when you're missing information. And to note working with the Japanese, which at one point, from what I've heard, were talked about like the Chinese, I have met so many brilliant engineers from Japan, but so often they have practices and techniques that seem to be passed down that are a waste of time. However those practices often show their dedication and imo it's the dedication to the product that typically makes for a good product, but a flawed design will typically doom any product.

In industry we buy almost all the stuff that makes stuff from China, Japan, Korea, Germany, etc. In a pinch we'll make a few parts, but there's almost no production line for most of that stuff. I feel like much of the general worker in the US is bored and worried about the weekend and from some places I've been overseas it's about food and livelihood. I think we get great designs when someone is excited and eager, which may be harder when you need food, but setbacks seem to be harder to overcome with those that are just eager.
 
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Hook_62

Hook_62

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After a little more research I found "Engo". A company started by the son of Mile Marker founder who made winches for military vehicles.

Drew Aho - President
Prior to starting ENGO, Drew served as a Director and Chief Operating Officer of Mile Marker winches as his father is the founder.

Looks as though this may be a reliable winch company, and is not overly priced. Of course trying to find any reviews of their products is little more daunting.
http://store.engousa.com/p/model-sr9/electric-winches?pp=12
http://careyourcars.com/engo-winches-review/
 
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Hook_62

Hook_62

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I think its funny that people want CHEAP and MADE IN THE USA, not going to happen
True, but not the point of this thread at all. For the amount of time I'll use a winch,,, I don't need a high end, badass winch that will drain my bank for $2k. Also with little or no experience with winches, don't want to end up with a piece O crap that breaks the 1st or 2nd time out.
 

tworley

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May 23, 2018
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I think a large number who have winches rarely use them. Just going for the "utilitarian" look.

I am running a Superwinch LP8500. Found it for very cheap. Its done everything Ive asked it to do. I think I used it 6-7 times last year. However, it is a very, very slow winch.

7a447ee50498febef193f6d9942795d2.jpg
 
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DieselJeep

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Oct 31, 2018
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KY
I haven't seen any that are 8k lbs capable and above of the type of winch we're talking about that won't work fine. If you break it you're doing stuff I haven't done and don't want to do.

I think many of us buy these for the "what ifs" and I'd rather have it and not need it. Do you have a price range, because honestly almost all of them work just fine? If you want to get into some extended research you're only going to find anecdotal evidence really unless you can find stuff broken down and then go look up the motor, solenoid, gear failure, etc.

Personally i lean toward the Warn M series if you simply don't know, but at the time I bought mine it was one of the cheaper ones. If I was buying another I'd likely look at one that's around $400, but I've never used one. And then there's the synthetic cable questions and though I've got steel cable, I may go to synthetic, but steel is nice too. A guy at work has a setup on UTV that's simply bad ass. His frame is made to support winching anywhere and in any direction. Like he can run his synthetic cable behind him and the top of frame acts like a fairlead or whatever to winch whatever he needs to do.

I don't think his winch is overly expensive, but the system is very expensive.