Do You Need a Winch to Install a Snow Plow on a UTV?


If you are considering installing a snow plow for your UTV, you will want to have all the materials necessary to complete the task.

Do you need a winch to install a snow plow on a UTV? A winch is not needed to install a snow plow. There are other lift systems such as a manual or direct lift. However, with a winch, you can more easily adjust your blade height. Which lift system you need will depend on how much snow you’re moving and what type of area you are in.

If you are wanting to know more about the purpose of a winch for installing a snow plow and some tips for installing a snow plow with and without a winch, then read on.

What is the Purpose of a Winch?

A winch is the top choice for installing a snow plow on a UTV. But why?

Well, a winch is simple to use. Once you have your winch installed onto your UTV, you will find ease in plowing.

A winch is your lift system used for the snow plow. Your snow plow will need something to be able to navigate the plow up and down or from side to side.

A winch can also be used when you are stuck. If you have a winch, someone else can get you out of the mud. Or, you can get someone else out.

A winch is commonly installed before the snow plow. Then, the snow plow is attached to the winch.

Sadly, a winch is an extra purchase to complete your snow plow experience. However, it is the most common lift system used by UTV users.

If you are considering buying a winch for a UTV, I will help you know what to look for.

Every manufacturer can talk up their winch, but the main things to look for when choosing a winch for your UTV snow plow is the weight rating and the cable.

Weight Rating:

You most likely will not see your winches being defined as UTV or ATV. They are normally labeled as a general ATV/UTV winch.

However, UTVs often weigh more than ATVs. Because of this, you will want a winch that is cable of powering your UTV.

A good general rule is to look into winches that are in the 4,000 lb range or higher. If you have a UTV on the heavier side, you will want a winch with a heavier weight rating (WR).

WR (lb)Capabilities
+4,000 Great espcially if your UTV is on the heavier side.
4,000High quality weight rating.
3,500May not plow well in some circumstances.
-3,000Likely will not having the pulling power you need.

The weight rating is an important factor in your winch. The higher the weight rating, the better it will be able to plow snow.

The cheaper winches available are for lower weight ratings. These may work for your UTV. If your UTV is smaller or close to an ATV, then you will not need as high of weight ratings.

Although the safe range for a UTV is 4,000lb, you can veer away if your UTV is smaller in size.

The Cable:

The material plays a big part in the cable. There are two types of cable: wire and synthetic. Both are good options for different reasons.

Wire Cable

  • Made of small stands of steel wire wound spirally. The individual strands sometimes break, so it is good to wear gloves.
  • Heavy- made of steel.
  • Resistant to abrasion.
  • Heat-resistant.
  • Naturally stores built-up energy. When it breaks, it can whip back dangerously, causing damage.
  • Cheaper.

Synthetic Cable

  • Made of synthetic fibers. Safe to touch. Often stronger than wire rope.
  • Lightweight. It can even float.
  • Wears out quickly when rubbed against different surfaces.
  • Can be damaged by excessive heat.
  • Safer. Does not create whiplash when broken.
  • More expensive.

Most people stick with a synthetic cable, even though the prices are higher compared to wire cables. These cables are however more easy to damage from heat or wear.

Wire cables, although cheaper, are actually able to hold up better for longer periods of time.

Another consideration with the cable is the length. Most winches are 50″ in length. More is not necessarily better.

To give you a general idea of the pricing for winches, I will give show you some of the top winches and their weight rating and cables.

NameWR (lb)CablePrice
KFI Stealth Winch4,500Synthetic$399.95
Warn Provantage4,500Synthetic$815.99
Tusk Winch3,500Synthetic$259.99
QuadBoss5,000Wire$369.99
QuadBoss3,500Synthetic$274.99
Warn Vantage2,000Wire$254.99

“If you can afford it, a winch is the way to go.”

UTV user from Wisconsin

The weight rating and cable will factor into your decision of buying a winch. You will want a strong and powerful winch that matches the needs of your UTV.

Although a winch is not needed to install your snow plow, you do need a lifting system. And, the winch is the most commonly used form of a snow plow lift system.

Tips for Installing a Snow Plow with a Winch:

Although there are many options out there to help you install your snow plow onto your UTV, I would recommend using a winch. Although the process is not incredibly simple, it has been done by many and you can do it too.

There is always the option of bringing your UTV to a shop to install your winch and snow plow for you. However, you can avoid the expensive charges by doing it yourself.

To help you with installing the winch onto your UTV, I will offer some advice and tips.

Installing a Winch to your UTV:

  • Pay attention to how your winch mount is designed. This will help you decide the order of installation. In some cases, the winch will need to be installed to the bumper first and then the whole assembly attaches. In other cases, there may not be room to attach the winch line after the winch is mounted.
  • Before you mount the winch, wind 7-10 wraps of winch line on the drum. This will help hold it in place.
  • Smear some grease on the nuts. This will make them stick and stay in their pockets.

These few tips will help your winch installation process go smoother. There should be instructions given to you when you receive your winch.

However, because each UTV is different each winch has different installation processes, I will not delve too deep in those details.

Once you have installed your winch, you will simply need to attach the snow plow to the winch. If you missed that step, you can attach the winch to the snow plow given there is a mounting plate for it.

Even with a winch, you will need to make sure your snow plow is installed properly. The winch itself being there will not guarantee that your snow plow will function great if it has not been put together correctly.

Your snow plow should come with instructions specific towards the brand and UTV. Follow those instructions directly. You would not want the snow plow to be damaged from poor installation.

“One note about using a winch for plowing. A UTV system is set up at 30 amps max. A winch is way beyond 30 amps so if you are plowing a lot the charging system can’t keep up with the draw and it will kill the battery. 

UTV user from New York

Tips for Installing a Snow Plow Without a Winch

In order to install a snow plow to your UTV with any winch, you will go through similar steps. The snow plow process itself will be the same with the change of the lifting mechanism.

To install your snow plow to your UTV, there will be many decisions you need to make in regard to the mounting kit, the plow base, and the plow blade.

Selecting a Mounting Kit

There is the option of having a front or a center mounting kit. There are pros and cons to each.

The front mounting kit is easier to use because you don’t need to go under the UTV to install the plow blade.

The center mounting plate attaches underneath the UTV. However, it can actually strengthen the frame of your UTV.

Choosing a Plow Base

The plow base and tube will directly link the mounting kit to the blade. You will want to choose a plow base that is suitable to your mounting kit.

Choosing a Plow Blade

There are options for straight or angled blades. Angled blades are typically the more desired option.

Angled blades can better adjust to the conditions. You will be able to grab snow from many areas. However, a straight blade also does the job well.


The last thing you will need for installing your snow plow to your UTV is the lifting mechanism.

You also have the option of aside from a winch, having a manual or direct lift. Manual is most similar to the winch. It is similar in that they require manual angling.

However, the manual lift system requires lifting by hand.

A plus to using this type of lifting mechanism is that it is cheaper. It will often simply come along with a manual snow plow.

Considerations to Make Before Purchasing a UTV Snow Plow

Before you purchase a UTV snow plow, there are a few things that you should know.

A significant part of this is choosing the lifting mechanism. The winch is a great one. However, there are more options out there.

How much snow will you be plowing?

Depending on your location, you will have variable amounts of snow. In some places, you may need more power. But, in other places, you may need the basics.

If you are in a place with a small amount of snow, you may not need as expensive materials as others do.

You will also want to take into consideration the area you are plowing. Wider UTV snow plows work well for driveways.

However, if you are going to be plowing rugged terrain, you will want a v-plow.

Straight vs. V Plow

Straight plows are the more commonly purchased plow. They are cheaper and generally lighter.

However, a V-plow can handle more because of its shape. It can cut through frozen snow faster than a straight blade.

Although V-plows are tougher on harder surfaces, straight plows still do a great job.

I have had a UTV snow plow for many years now. I use a straight blade snow plow. However, I have noticed that there will often be a small layer of snow left after I plow. The V-Plows do not leave this same. For me, that is not significant enough to not have a straight plow, but it may be different for you.

The Plow Material

The plow material may make an impact on your plow decision. There are the options of steel or poly.

These are both great materials. However, poly is typically more known for the slick, corrosion resistant quality, while steel is known for its rigidity and durability.

The Alternate Purpose of a Snow Plow

It is likely that you will not have to plow snow all year round. But how can you make use of the winter purchase?

Many UTV users use their snow plow all year round. It is used during the spring and summer for ground clearance. It can be used on dirt or other surfaces.

Depending on what other purposes you may use your snow plow for, you may need a more durable snow plow.

So, if you are in an area with a short winter, you may still want to get the durability. You can make use out of your snow plow all year round if you choose to.


If you are considering buying a snow plow, I am sure you will make the right choice by purchasing the snow plow. However, make sure you research beforehand.

Your UTV and your needs will determine what snow plow you will need. Choose the appropriate snow plow and lifting mechanism for you.

Once you have made the decision, you will be so grateful to have your UTV to do the snow plow work. Because who really wants to be outside for hours shoveling the snow by hand?

Related Questions:

How much snow can a UTV snow plow?A UTV snow plow can handle large amounts of snow. The UTV snow plow can clear roads and driveways to be able to drive. However, it becomes more difficult when there is more snow. The job is still doable, however, the UTV will have to go back and forth many times.

What are some tips for plowing a driveway with a UTV snow plow?

  1. Make sure that the UTV can handle the amount of snow.
  2. Make sure your UTV has proper amounts of fuel and oil. Keep it well maintained.
  3. Set your depth. Make sure the depth is preparatory for more snow for the season.
  4. Follow the contours of the land. There are natural contours to use as a guideline.

How much does a UTV winch cost?UTV winches can range from $100-900. A UTV winch has a wide range of costs. The cost is variable based on the winches weight rating and the cable. Synthetic cables are typically more expensive than wire cables. Also, the more weight capacity the winch has, the more expensive it is.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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