You made a smart choice when you decided to buy a winch, but now the question is: where should you mount it?
There are some really good mounting options out there, but it might be a little tricky to decide which is the best for your rig as there are additional “options” that come with each type. There are four popular mounting types:
- Hidden mount
- Bumper mount
- Winch bumper
Here’s what you need to know about each in order to make a solid decision about which mounting option is right for you.
When you don’t want to change the look of your rig or have limited space behind your bumper but you need a winch, the hidden mount is ideal. The hidden mount uses a short-drum winch, designed to bolt directly to the frame so it’s only minimally visible.
When you choose this mounting option, it will look like you’re pulling your cable right from your bumper. A big disadvantage is the smaller opening, which can trap mud and debris. Still, most people don’t have a huge problem with that – provided they’re not pulling out of a mud hole – and find it worth mounting a winch this way.
Mounting your winch to the bumper is the choice that comes with the most options. It can be configured in about a dozen different ways, depending on your use, vehicle, etc. Most winch brands carry all of the mounting gear for all of the major manufactures, and they usually come in powder-coated black, stainless steel, and chrome finishes or a combo.
Many bumper styles have grille guards for an added bonus. These are easier to work with for mounting since the winch can go right on the bumper. Typically, they use a bolt-on configuration with the factory bumpers, making them super easy to install. It’s easy to see why bumper mounts are so popular given how easy they are to install and how great they look.
This way of winch mounting is ideal for off-roaders who want a more secure winch without having a winch permanently attached to their rig. This mounting method consists of using a carrier and front receiver.
When you have the receiver mounted to the front of your rig, the winch carrier can be inserted and operated when you need it. It also helps tremendously to have quick connect power leads. The multi-mount option is good for added maneuverability from the front of your vehicle, helpful for those who struggle with backing up a trailer.
These are becoming the favorite mounting option amongst off-roaders. Winch bumpers give you a real advantage as a one piece design that houses the winch – they look like they’re part of the vehicle, not just an add-on. Winch bumpers are mounted to the frame with steel sub-frames and come in many popular finishes. They’re definitely a cosmetic upgrade for many rigs. Another winch bumper bonus? They add some protection to the front of your vehicle.
Winch bumpers may look heavy, but they’re made so they won’t add a ton of extra weight. This helps maintain a vehicle’s handling characteristics. Just keep clearance restrictions in mind when choosing your bumper
There’s not a true winner here. It all depends on the time you’re willing to spend mounting (and dismounting over and over again in some cases), money, and the look you’re trying to achieve.