How To Find The Best Winch Fitment For Your Aftermarket Bumper
For some, the search for the right aftermarket bumper isn't limited to just finding one with exceptional protection and a badass look. When you’re relying on the said bumper to regularly haul cargo of a certain weight, you get the extra worry of finding the right winch that goes well with the bad boy you just bought. Searching for the perfect winch for your bumper doesn’t have to be an impossible task, and more importantly, shouldn’t be limited to one expensive option. In this blog, we’ll have a look at some cheaper winch alternatives for the most popular bumper brands we stock. Our intention is to help you find peace of mind with a winch that’s the right missing piece and that doesn’t cost an arm and leg.
Saving Up On Money
If you’ve ever looked into buying a winch, chances are that you’ve come across Warn Winches. After all, they’re the leading brand in the Winch industry and many bumper brands will straight-up recommend them for all of your winch needs. Nevertheless, they are far from being the most affordable option, and if you already broke the bank to get the best aftermarket bumper, the last thing you’ll wanna do is chuck your last few bucks at an expensive winch. You’ll be happy to know that there are alternatives you can try out that will save you from throwing money around, and we’ve listed a few that work best depending on the brand of bumper you’ve opted for.
Finding The Right Specs
How do you get started on choosing a winch? The most important thing you need to check out to find the proper winch for your bumper is the dimensions and bolt pattern. You can use those details to save up money on the winch alternative you wanna go for when a brand recommends a specific Warn winch, you can use the dimensions of said Warn winch to look for other brands that offer good quality winches for half the price. Not only that, but you also need to check with the manufacturer that the alternative winch can carry the weight of your car. The last thing you'd wanna do is find out at the last-minute that the winch you bought is too weak to get you out of a tricky path and end up stuck somewhere just because you forgot to check its capacity. Save yourself from this worry by choosing a cheaper winch that has exactly the same capacity as the recommended Warn winch - that should be rather easy as it's the main information you can find about the winch you need to buy.
Never make the mistake of only considering price when looking for a winch, while a cheap option can still do a good job, if the specs are not correct it will either not fit the bumper or fail to perform when the time comes. Always double-check the specs or ask the brand what recommended winch is best for the bumper you have, it's the easiest way to find another option that is half the price of a Warn winch but also works best as a replacement. If you're worried about saying that you're looking for a cheaper winch than they recommend, only mention the specs of the product you wanna try to get their approval based on that.
Addictive Desert Designs Winches
This brand of aftermarket bumpers doesn’t welcome every single Warn Winch you find, as such when it comes to finding an alternative, we recommend you check out what options you have available based on the type of bumper you chose. Two popular winch brands that are often recommended for ADD bumpers are SmittyBilt and Superwinch - both offering low-cost alternatives that are just as good quality.
For example, if you have a winch-ready Stealth Fighter front bumper, you can expect to use it to pull between 10,000 lb and 9,500 lb. You can find the SmittyBilt winch either with a steel or synthetic rope, featuring a waterproof 500 AMP solenoid pack that can be mounted in 2 different locations, automatic out-of-drum brake, and a controller that can be either wired to the winch or even used wirelessly. Superwinch’s Tiger Shark, instead, is one of their best-sellers, and it's made with a synthetic rope for extra strength - especially since the brake is designed to stay in the motor, keeping the drum cool and the rope strong.
Fab Fours Winches
All of the Fab Fours bumpers have been designed around Warn Winches. Some of the ones most highly recommended are the Warn Zeon winches. If the bumper you have is recommending, for example, a Zeon 10, then we know that the line capacity allowed is 10,000lb and the mounting bolt pattern is 254mm x 114.3mm and search for something similar. In this case, the Smittybilt XRC 10 HD has similar dimensions and bolt pattern while still being way cheaper, with one of the largest motors in its class and a compressor/tank combo that allows you to inflate tires after a busy day wheeling.
Please note that the Premium series for the GMC Canyon bumpers will not work with Warn Zeon winches and will be more designed to fit something like a WARN M8000 winch and alternative winches may require a relocation of the control box.
The Hammerhead bumpers are usually designed and tested to work with Warn winches. As such, whenever you buy one of the bumpers from them, you get a list of Warn winches that have been verified to work based on dimensions and bolt pattern. The convenient thing about their website is that each type of bumper is listed with recommendations of Warn winches that are suited to that product, so based on that information you can search for a good alternative that doesn't break the bank but still allows you to safely and confidently use a winch whenever you may need to.
For example, something like their X-Series Full Brush guard Winch Front Bumper works well with the VR8000 Warn Winch, which has similar dimensions and mounting pattern to the Spartan 8000 winch from Warrior Winches. Both with the capacity of 8000lb, resistant, and tested, only that the latter is cheaper.
Iron Cross Winches
When it comes to bumpers from the brand Iron Cross, you can usually trust most winches under 9.5" tall to work. Differently from other brands, they are not necessarily designed to fit all Warn winches, to the point where re-designed Warn winches no longer work due to their lack of removable control boxes. This is a really important point to consider when looking to buy a winch for your bumper, take some time to carry out careful research and contact Iron Cross if you're at all not sure that the winch you just found could work with your bumper and car. There is no harm in checking but there could be the harm in ignoring it and only trusting your instinct, always better to be safe than sorry. Especially when you are looking to get something for cheaper than it usually is, you can get tons of cheaper options available but you won't always know the quality of what you're paying fewer bucks for.
This brand recommends alternatives like Smittybilt XRC to pull 12,000lbs with a strong steel cable and features made specifically to support trail use. Durable and ruggedly stylish, Iron Cross suggests that also anything below this type of winch would suit their bumpers without requiring any modifications.
This favorite of many bumpers users offers numerous Winch-ready options that are made to make your life easier. The only drawback is that most of them have been designed to specifically work with Warn winches. But not everything is lost, as once again you can use the specs of those winches to find the right replacement based on capacity, dimensions, and bolt patterns. On their site, they recommend using any 10 x 4.5 winch mounting configuration, which is a standard dimension and makes things kinda easier. When it comes to capacity, any bumpers you buy from Ranch Hand can accommodate from 9,500 lb up to a 16.5ti winch (with the exception of the ones made for Jeep as they only go up to 9,500 lb).
You might be thinking, but can I find such a heavy-weight winch like the 16.5ti Warn winch from other brands? You’d be happy to know that yeah, it’s possible. Once again, it’s all down to finding an alternative that matches the dimensions for half the original price, checking out brands like MotoAlliance or SmittyBilt. Overall, they might be doomed to not last as long as the Warn winches ones but that won't stop them from helping you haul as much cargo as you need and potentially save you any time you get stuck in a tricky path. workdays
The ideal bumper brand for when you don’t wanna have to worry too much about researching the right winch. As long as the alternative winch you find welcomes the same capacity, and has the same dimensions and bolt pattern, you’re good to go.
For example, a Stealth Front Winch bumper easily houses both a WARN ZEON 10S and a Smittybilt XRC winch. That grants you the same ability to haul up to 9500 lbs in a go while staying within your budget. The second option is cheaper and yet it’s popular amongst fellow drivers for how well it deals with the challenge of the off-road. It might not have extra fancy features such as an updated planetary gear train like the Warn Winch, but it still allows you to do everything you like with it. Plus, the length of either the steel or synthetic cables is the same, as the dimensions and bolt pattern. The only thing really making a difference is the weight, as SmittyBilt is way lighter. That could impact the long-term use of this winch, but unless you plan on going crazy hauling around the world every day with this specific winch, you’ll probably get good use out of it.
Another great brand for bumpers but do note that if you plan to accommodate over 12k lbs with your vehicle, then you might have to look for another bumper. With these ones, you can expect to enjoy winch-ready bumpers that can welcome between 10k to 12k lbs. In addition, most of them have been designed to fit Warn winches so require a bit of research, but nothing too complicated, especially when it’ll save you a few bucks on getting the winch you want.
For example, if you wanna haul up to 12,000 lbs load capacity then a Warn winch that you would get recommended is the Series 12-S 12v industrial winch, similar in specs to the SmittyBilt GEN 2 XRC winch. They are both conveniently waterproof and do a great job of securely getting you out of even the roughest of off-road paths. That's why it's so important to check every spec of the alternative winch you choose, as the bumpers only recommend one brand, it's on you to find a suitable other option that can still give you the power of getting out of tricky road conditions without the winch's rope breaking as you try to get back on track.
The winches we mentioned in this article are just a few of the thousands of alternatives you can find online. Never shy away from contacting the vendor of your bumper to ensure that you know exactly what winch makes the best match for what you have. Even if you might find some information around the web, it's always good to double-check just to be sure. That will also save you from accidentally wasting money on an inappropriate winch and losing time researching tons of options that in the end would not work with what you have in mind.
If you have any doubts or questions about anything else that we can help with, feel free to contact us as we're always happy to assist you in any purchase. We offer plenty of winch-ready bumpers you can choose from, all with the right specs and features you need to protect and enhance your badass vehicle.