4 Winch Cable Hook Stoppers to Protect Your Winch

You've got a winch, but now you realize how easy it is to reel the hook right into the fairlead!

This can damage your roller or hawse fairlead and your winch line, whether you've got steel cable or synthetic winch line.

Spend a few bucks and protect your winch with one of these hook stoppers to keep your hook from destroying your winch's fairlead and winch line.

Table of Contents

What a Winch Cable Stop Does

Winch Cable Stopper
A hook stopper can keeps your winch line and fairlead from getting wrecked when you over-reel your winch.

If you don't know why you should use a winch cable stop, here it is:

  • You don't have to worry about someone over-reeling your winch line.
  • It'll keep your hook from gouging your fairlead or tearing up your winch rope.
  • It's super cheap.
  • Keeps your winch hook quiet.

A cable stop slips right on your winch line behind your winch hook.

So which winch hook stopper should you choose?

Read on.

1 Piece Rubber Hook Stopper - CHEAP

Ranger Winch Line Hook Stopper
This is a super simple hook stop - maybe too simple? A two piece hook stop is easier to put on.

This is a super simple design that does the job. It also usually tends to be the cheapest, since it's one piece.

You need to either cut your winch cable to put it on (terrible idea!) or pull your winch cable completely off your winch and thread it through the stopper.

We highly recommend not cutting your winch cable just to install your winch hook stopper. Even if you manage to correctly install cable clamps in the correct orientation, your winch line "splice" will be bulkier and longer than the factory cable crimp.

These are usually less expensive, but maybe not worth the savings.

What we like:

  • It does the job
  • Cheap
  • Simple

What we don't like:

  • Difficult installation
  • Cable hole is often oversized for small winch lines
  • Winch cable and hook sticks straight out

2 Piece Round Rubber Hook Stopper - EASY INSTALL

KFI Winch Line Hook Stopper
A hook stopper keeps your winch hook out of your winch's roller or hawse fairlead.

This is basically just like the one piece design, except they are easy to install . It comes in a 2 piece, bolt-together clamshell design. Most kits include stainless steel hardware. If you're perusing around, we prefer the winch hook stops with 4 bolts rather than 2.

Manufacturers usually offer these in at least two sizes. That means that you can get a cable stopper for your light weight UTV winch or for a 12,000 lb. 4x4 winch without either one looking to goofy.

If you like the round stopper style, we definitely recommend the 2 piece over the 1 piece.

What we like:

  • Easy to install
  • It does the job
  • Cheap
  • Simple

What we don't like:

  • Winch cable and hook sticks straight out

Integrated Cable Hook Stoppers - A SAFER WINCH HOOK

Factor 55 Winch Shackle Mount
Made in the USA, these "hooks" from Factor 55 are compact, strong, and light.
Smittybilt Aluminum Winch Shackle
This is a safer winch "hook" that'll never get sucked into your fairlead.

If you want to stop your hook from damaging your fairlead, plus a safer winch hook, this style has you covered. The end of the hook is big, round, and rubberized - it won't be pulled into any hawse or roller fairlead.

You'll notice that it doesn't actually have a hook end - it's made to link up to a shackle. In 4x4 recovery, you're always linking up to a shackle anyway.

The USA-Made hook from Factor 55 is aluminum and rated up to 16,000 lbs. with a 5/8" pin. The pin is retained with circlips, so you'll need to use circlip pliers to remove the circlip and slide the pin out - no cutting your winch line.

The Smittybilt hook is cheaper, but also much bulkier and made in China.

Factor 55 Winch Shackle Mount

Smittybilt Winch Shackle Mount

The Factor 55 is relatively low profile, but the Smittybilt sticks out due to its bulkiness. Factor 55 has other hooks that fold a little flatter, but they do cost a bit more money.

What we like:

  • Better than a regular winch hook
  • Keeps the hook of your winch line
  • Fairly low profile
  • Cheap for a great winch hook

What we don't like:

  • More complicated install
  • Expensive for a winch hook cable stopper

Winch Hook Isolator - LOW PROFILE, LOW NOISE

Daystar Winch Hook Isolator for Roller Fairleads
This is great for storing your hook flat and keeping it quiet. It nests inside the fairleads.

This is more like winch hook storage than a winch hook stopper.

The big difference between this and the other winch hook stoppers is that it works when you "put away your winch", but you wouldn't use it during a long trail ride. It easily slips over your winch hook and cable, and press-fits between your winch fairlead rollers.

These don't prevent your cable from being reeled in during a day of winching, but do keep your hook neatly tucked away and quiet. If you're looking for a way to keep your winch hook from banging your frame, this is what you'd use.

Hook Isolator for Most Roller Fairleads

Hook Isolator for Smittybilt Roller Fairleads

If you have a Smittybilt winch, you need a different isolator! DayStar makes a specific isolator just for Smittybilt winches.

What we like:

  • Made in the USA
  • Easy to install
  • Neatly nests winch hook inside your roller fairlead

What we don't like:

  • Not a permanent solution for keeping your hook out of your fairlead
  • Doesn't work with hawse fairleads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tyler Branham

Tyler came out of the womb with a Birfield in one hand and a stick of 6010 in the other, ready to weld any piece of trail-busted steel back together. He has wheeled, broken, and modified a variety of rigs, from Toyotas to Jeeps to Fords to Chevies. He likes doing long distance overland travel and would happily spend every night in the bed of a pickup under the stars.

Last updated: Jun 2019