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Choose the Correct Size Winch Line

Choosing the correct size winch line is critical for safe and efficient winching.

In this demonstration you can see that winching with an extreme side angle for a long period without correctly spooling the winch line causes the line to bunch on one side of the drum. With a shorter winch line, there is less chance that the line will contact the winch or bumper in this scenario.

On the left is a 3/8" Classic synthetic winch line with a breaking strength of 17,600 lbs. On the right is a smaller diameter, 5/16" Superline®, which has a breaking strength of 21,700 lbs. The high strength of the Superline® allows you to use a smaller diameter line without sacrificing strength.

With so many options out there, buying a synthetic winch line for your winch can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider here, such as how often the winch line will be used and what vehicle it is installed on. This guide should help you choose the correct winch line to fit your needs.

Length

A common misconception is that it is best to fit as much rope as you can on your winch drum. This is wrong for a couple reasons. First is the issue of pulling power. All winches are rated from the first wrap of the drum, where the pulling power of the winch is the greatest. With each additional drum wrap, the pulling power of the winch decreases because the winch is having to work harder to turn the drum as the size increases.

Another problem with overloading the drum the with winch line is that it makes it easier to damage the winch or winch line in extreme angle pulls. Situations arise where it is very hard, if not impossible, to correctly spool the winch line evenly while extracting a vehicle. This can result in the line spooling on one end of the drum and coming in contact with the spreader bars on the winch which can damage both the winch and the winch line. By using a shorter winch line, you decrease the chance of overloading the winch and damaging both the winch and the winch line.

In many cases, Master Pull recommend choosing a shorter winch line than the wire cable or synthetic that came factory on the winch. For most off-road winches this is ideally 10' - 20' shorter. Not only will your winch work more efficiently but you will also decrease the chance of damaging the winch or winch line from incorrectly spooling the line during tricky winching procedures.

To make up for the decrease in winch line length, we recommend carrying a winch line extension. A winch extension also allows for more versatility in winching procedures, so it is a good item to carry in your vehicle.

Diameter / Strength:

Choosing a winch line diameter comes down to the strength of the winch line. Master Pull recommends using a 1.5:1 to 2:1 safety factor with the winch that you are installing the winch line on. This means the winch line should have a breaking strength of 1.5 to 2 times the pulling power of the winch. For example, if you have a winch with a 9,000 lb pulling capacity, the line should have a breaking strength in the range of 13,500 to 18,000 lbs or higher.

It is always possible to put a larger diameter winch line for additional strength, but keep in mind that as winch line diameter increases, the length of the line has to decrease for it to fit on the drum. This is where the high breaking strengths of the Superline® and Superline® XD really shine. With these winch lines, you can typically use a smaller diameter and achieve the same safety factor as a normal synthetic winch line. For example, a 3/8" diameter Classic winch line has a breaking strength of 17,600 lbs. A 5/16" diameter Superline® is rated at 21,700 lbs, meaning you can fit more line on your drum and increase the breaking strength by going with the Superline®.



Winch Line Conversion Guide

Below is a guideline for choosing the length and diameter winch line to run on your winch. It shows a list of common winches and the diameter/length of the wire cable or synthetic winch line that came factory on the winch. It also shows the recommended diameter and length to use if converting to Classic, Superline®, or Superline® XD synthetic winch lines. Note that this is not a concrete guide, and depending on the application you may need different requirements.

Warn®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD Black
ZEON 12, ZEON 12 Platinum3/8" x 80'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
ZEON 10-S, ZEON 103/8" x 80'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
ZEON 8-S, ZEON 85/16"x100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
16.5ti, M150007/16" X 90'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 100' or 7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
M120003/8" X 125'3/8" x 125'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 125'3/8" x 85'
M100003/8" X 125'3/8" x 125'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 125'3/8" x 85'
VR8, VR8-S5/16" x 94'5/16" x 100' 5/16" x 100' 5/16" x 100'
VR10, VR10-S3/8" x 80'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
VR12, VR12-S3/8" x 80'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
VR120003/8" x 94'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
VR100003/8" x 94'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Endurance 12.0, Powerplant HD3/8" x 80'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Powerplant HP, XD9000I, 9.5cti5/16" x 125'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
9.5 xp5/16" x 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
M8274-505/16" X 150'5/16" x 150' or 3/8" x 125'5/16" x 150' or 3/8" x 125'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
XD90005/16" X 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
M80005/16" X 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
M60005/16" X 80'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 75'N/A
M6000 SDP5/16" X 50'5/16" x 50'5/16" x 50'N/A
9.0Rc3/8" X 50'3/8" x 50'5/16" X 50' or 3/8" x 50'3/8" x 50'
RT15 XT155/32" x 503/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
RT25 XT253/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
RT30 XT303/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
RT40 XT407/32" x 55'1/4 " x 50'1/4 " x 50'N/A
SnoWinch5/32" x 40'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A

Ramsey®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
Patriot 150007/16" X 90'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 100' or 7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
Patriot 12000, RE120003/8" X 125'3/8" x 125'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 125'3/8" x 85'
Patriot UT 9500, Patriot 9500, Patriot 80005/16" x 105'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
PLATINUM 9500, PLATINUM 90005/16" X 150'3/8" x 125'5/16" x 150'5/16" x 100'
RE 10,0005/16" x 150'3/8" x 125'5/16" x 150' or 3/8" x 125'3/8" x 85'
TR50001/4" x 50'1/4" x 501/4" x 50N/A
Patriot 60001/4" x 100'5/16" x 75'1/4" x 100'N/A
Pro Plus 8000, Pro Plus 60005/16" X 95'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
Rep 8.5 E, Rep 9.5 E, Rep 8000, Rep 90005/16" x 95'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
Rep 50001/4" x 80'1/4" x 75'1/4" x 75'N/A
RE 80005/16" X 150'5/16" x 150'5/16" x 150'5/16" x 100'
QM 90005/16" X 105'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
QM 80005/16" X 95'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
QM 50001/4" X 80'1/4" x 75'1/4" x 75'N/A
ATV 2500, ATV 3500, Badger 25003/16" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A

Superwinch®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
EP16.57/16" x 90'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 100' or 7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
EP12.53/8" X 125'3/8" x 125'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 125'3/8" x 85'
Husky 103/8" X 90'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
LP100003/8" x 75'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
X-9, S90005/16" X 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
LP 85005/16" X 94'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
Talon 9.5, Talon 9.5i3/8" x 85'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
Talon 12.5, Talon 12.5i3/8" x 85'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Talon 141/2" x 90'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 100' or 7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
Talon 181/2" x 90'1/2" x 75'7/16" x 100'7/16" x 85'
Tigershark 950021/64" x 96'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
Tigershark 115003/8" x 85'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Tigershark 135003/8" x 85'7/16" x 75'3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Tigershark 1550029/64" x 94'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 100' or 7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
Tigershark 1750015/32" x 85'1/2" x 75'7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
Rock 983/8" X 50'3/8" x 50'5/16"x 75' or 3/8"x 50'3/8" x 50'
Bill Burke Edition3/8" X 80'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Winch in a Bag5/32" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
Terra 35, LT3000, Terra 253/16" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
Terra 45, UTV 40007/32" X 50'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
LT 20005/32" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A

Mile Marker®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
SEC8 5/16 x 1005/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
SEC9.5, SI95005/16 x 1003/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
H9000, HI90003/8" x 100'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
SEC12, SI12000, H10500, H12000, HI10500, HI120003/8" x 100'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
HI-18k1/2" x 96'1/2" x 100'7/16" x 100'7/16" x 85'
PE 2.5, PE 3.53/16" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
PE 4.51/4" x 80'1/4" x 75'3/16" x 100' or 1/4" x 75'N/A

Mega Winch®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
MW-120003/8" X 125'3/8" X 125'5/16" x 150' or 3/8" X 125'3/8" x 85'

Smittybilt®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
XRC3, XRC 2.01/4" X 38'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
XRC4.01/4" x 33'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
XRC8, X2O85/16" X 92'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
XRC10, X2O1023/64" X 94'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
XRC15, X2O151/2" x 98'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 125' or 7/16" x 100'7/16" x 85'
XRC12, X2O123/8" X 94'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'

T-Max® / Westin®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
ATW 45001/4" X 50'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
ATW 60001/4" X 50'1/4" x 50'1/4" x 50'N/A
EW 900021/64" X 94'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
EW 125003/8" X 94'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
EWI 120003/8" X 100'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
EW950021/64" X 94'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
EWI950021/64" X 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
PEW 9500WCP3/8" X 94'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'

Kodiak Winch® / Quality Gear®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
CUB EXT3/16" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
CUB3/16" X 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
BRUIN3/8" X 100'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
GRIZZLY3/8" X 100'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125' or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'

Promark Offroad®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
1500 XT5/32" X 40'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
2000 XT, 2500 XT, 3000 XT3/16" X 45'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
2500 TRAIL SERIES, 3000 TRAIL SERIES, 3500 TRAIL SERIES3/16" X 40'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
3500 XT, 4000 XT7/32" X 45'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
3500 OUTBACK SERIES7/32" X 50'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
4000 OUTBACK SERIES7/32" X 55'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
8000 SILVER BACK5/16" X 87'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 100'
8000 MIDNIGHT SERIES5/16" X 87'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 100'
10000 SILVER BACK, 10000 MIDNIGHT SERIES9/25" X 87'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
12000 SILVER BACK, 12000 MIDNIGHT SERIES3/8" X 87'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
GORILLA 150007/16" X 90'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 125' or 7/16" x 100'7/16" x 85'

Champion Winch®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
10000 electric3/8" x 85'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
4500 electric7/32" x 52'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
2500 electric, 3000 electric3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A

Bulldog Winch®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
8000 lb5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
9300 lb, 9500 lb21/64" x 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
10000 lb9/25" x 87'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
12000 lb3/8" x 90'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
15000 lb15/32" x 92'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 125' or 7/16" x 100'7/16" x 85'
4000 lb7/32" x 55'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
3500 lb7/32" x 50'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
3000 lb3/16" x 40'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
2000 lb, 2500 lb5/32" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A

Engo®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
E30007/32" x 30'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
E40007/32" x 40'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
E900021/64" x 92'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
E1000023/64" x 85'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 85'
E120003/8" x 85'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
EX123/8" x 88'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'

Kingone®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
ATV-3000, ATV-3000C3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
ATV-4000, ATV-4000C7/32" x 50'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50' or 1/4" x 50'N/A
KDS-8.05/16" x 80'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 75'5/16" x 100'
KDS-9.05/16" x 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
KDS-10.0, KDS-10.0i, KDS-10.0c11/32" x 100'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100'5/16" x 100'
KDS-12.0i3/8" x 90'3/8" x 100'5/16" x 125 or 3/8" x 100'3/8" x 85'
TDS-16.5. TDS-16.5C7/16" X 90'7/16" x 100'3/8" x 100' or 7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
TDS-20.0, TDS-20.0C15/32" x 83′1/2" x 75'7/16" x 100'7/16" x 85'

Badland®

Wire CableClassicSuperlineSuperline XD
Badland 18,000 lb1/2" x 75'1/2" x 75'7/16" x 75'7/16" x 85'
Badland 12,000 lb3/8" x 65'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 100' or 3/8" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Badland 9,000 lb21/64" x 65'3/8" x 75'5/16" x 75'3/8" x 85'
Badland 5,000 lb3/16" x 50'1/4" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
Badland 3,500 lb3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A
Badland 2,500 lb5/32" x 50'3/16" x 50'3/16" x 50'N/A