Tuff Stuff Winches

Last updated: Oct 2, 2019

Table of Contents


Graph: Winch Line Speeds (Tuff Stuff Winches)

Table: Line Speeds vs. Load

Table: Tuff Stuff Winches Winch Line Speed (in feet/minute) vs. Load
Winch 0 lbs 4000 lbs 6000 lbs 8000 lbs 10000 lbs 12500 lbs
Econo 10000 40.39 24.21 15.49 11.48 9.2
Classic 12500 37.32 14.22 12.72 10.26 8.55 6.45
Xtreme 12500 Steel 22.8 11.8 10.2 8.5 7 6
Xtreme 12500 Synthetic 22.8 11.8 10.2 8.5 7 6

About Winch Line Speed

In the graph above, we're looking at the speed of winches as you pull more and more weight.

The more load a winch needs to pull, the slower it is. To measure-wide this, we calculate line speed. This is pretty simple:

Imagine standing next to your deployed winchline: You attach a ribbon to the line and reel the winch line in (standing in the same spot). You do this for 1 minute. When you measure-wide the distance the line has moved (usually in feet), you'll have a line speed.

Winch line speeds vary a lot! Some of the fastest line speeds are around 45 feet/minute. Some of the slowest linespeeds are around 2 feet per minute.

Is line speed important?

Fast line speed is helpful when:

  • You need to be able to get out of a situation quickly (you're hanging off a cliff)
  • You're in a competition
  • You don't like waiting around

Loaded vs. No-Load Line Speed

With no load on your winch line, your winch will be at its fastest. This is no-load line speed. If you winch all the time, no-load line speed is important - it drastically affects the speed of "clean-up" after a recovery. This can be important if you're on a trail ride with lots of other 4x4s.

Loaded line speed varies by the weight you're pulling and how badly stuck you are. In truly bad "stucks", it's easy to come close to the breaking strength of steel winch cable. Consider upgrading to synthetic if it makes sense.

You need to decide for yourself how important line speed is.

Sometimes you don't have much of a choice:

If you want a larger winch, there aren't as many options out there, so you'll probably have only a couple options.

However, there are many 10,000 lb and 12,000 lb winches that have varied line speed.

Tuff Stuff Winches Pulling Power per Cable Layer: HOW STRONG IS YOUR WINCH WITH EACH LAYER OF WINCH LINE?

Graph: Winch Strength per Cable Layer (Tuff Stuff Winches)

Table: Pulling Power vs. Layer

Table: Tuff Stuff Winches Pulling Power (in lbs) per Winch Line Layer
Winch Layer 1 Layer 2 Layer 3 Layer 4
Classic 12500 12500 10000 8500 7350
Xtreme 12500 Steel 12500 10000 8500 7350
Xtreme 12500 Synthetic 12500 10000 8500 7350
Econo 10000 10000 6850 5985 4250

About Pulling Power vs. Number of Cable Layers

In the graph above, we're looking at how much power your winch loses when you have more cable on the winch drum.

Did you know that the more cable wraps you have on the winch drum, the seaker your winch is?

Most people probably don't realize that.

Basically, with more wraps of cable on the drum the winch line is further away from the axis of rotation. This makes it harder for the winch motor to reel in.

Imagine holding a heavy weight in one hand. If you hold the weight close to your body, it isn't so bad. But if you hold your arm straight out, it's much harder. It's similar for you winch.

The drops in power can be pretty surprising, so pay attention to how much line you have on your drum before starting a pull!

Keeping Your Winch Powerful

You can "preserve" your winch's strength by:

  • Using anchors that are farther away
  • Using a snatch block

If you use a snatch block, know that this will cut your line speed in half! Another reason to pay attention to line speed.


Graph: Winch Amp Draw vs. Load (Tuff Stuff Winches)

Table: Amp Draw vs. Load

Table: Tuff Stuff Winches Amp Draw (in amps) vs. Load
Winch 0 lbs 4000 lbs 6000 lbs 8000 lbs 10000 lbs 12500 lbs
Econo 10000 72 175 203 274 346
Classic 12500 72 136 198 266 310 360
Xtreme 12500 Steel 80 170 210 250 300 362
Xtreme 12500 Synthetic 80 170 210 250 300 362

About Amp Draw and Load

Winches are taxing on your electrical system! Winches can draw a lot of power, especially on hard pulls.

Manufacturers recommend a battery with a minimum of 650 CCA. However, if you winch a lot, it's common make electrical upgrades like:

  • Installing dual batteries (more reserve)
  • Installing a higher amp alternator (faster battery recharge)

Either of these can give you peace of mind on the trail, help you run more accessories, and protect your ability to start your rig if you do a lot of solo fourwheeling.

Don't Run Out of Juice on the Trail!

It's a good idea to run a voltmeter and monitor it while you're winching. If you're winching a lot, you may want to give take breaks so that your winch motor can cool and your battery can charge up.

You should be especially careful if you're solo:

You could kill your battery's charge if you winch a lot without letting it recharge. You won't be able to start your rig again if you have a dead battery!