What Gauge Wire For Atv Winch: Everything to Know

When you’re shopping for gauge wire, it’s a key factor to consider what gauge wire for ATV winch you need. Finding the correct size is a bit of a challenge. Confusing gauge references, amp draws for different capacities of ATV winches, and how many amps your wire will handle makes it tough to get the right one. 

This article is exactly what you need as we will explore all the things to analyze for getting the right gauge wire and enable your winch to operate to its full potential.

Let’s Begin.

What Gauge Wire For Atv Winch

Power cable is one of the most important components of a winch. A wrong gauge wire can not only damage the winch but also the vehicle beyond repair. So, it’s undoubtedly crucial to select the right power cable for your winch.

When picking out a wire gauge, you need to take into consideration the size of your winch and how much amps it will draw from the battery under full load.

A winch with a higher capacity will surely draw more amps and the more amps it draws the larger wire you will need. The proper power cable will avoid the risk of excessive heating or melting of the components of your winch and the vehicle.

Let’s check out the key factors that you need to consider while choosing a gauge wire. 

Winch Capacity

Most ATVs require a winch with a capacity ranging from 1500lb-4500lb. The general rule of thumb is to multiply the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) with 1.5 to find the winch capacity for a vehicle.

In the chart below you can get a rough idea of the safe capacity for an ATV.

Engine SizeApproximate winch capacity
1000cc to 850cc4500 lb – 2000lb
850cc to 500cc2500 lb – 1500lb
500cc to 350cc 2000lb – 1500lb
>=350cc 1500lb

Winch Current Draw (Amp Draw)

Winches are power-hungry equipment. These little beasts can draw a lot of power from the source to function properly. One with a higher pulling capacity will demand more power from the source (which is usually the vehicle’s battery). 

The power cable connects your winch to the battery and so it’s important to know how much amps your winch draws. Because power cables are classified depending on their safe current carrying capacity.

Using a cable with lower capacity can overheat the wire easily and catch fire, damaging the entire winch system and the vehicle. The following chart will give you an approximate idea of the current draw for different winch capacities.

Winch CapacityApproximate full-loadcurrent draw
4500 lbs250 A
3500 lbs200 A
2500 lbs150 A
1500 lbs100 A

What gauge wire should you use for your ATV winch?

Winch manufacturers provide the wiring kit when you buy a winch. It’s usually a 6 gauge power cable that you will find with most of the ATV winches and it’s good enough for normal winching. However it depends on the winch amp draw, the bigger the winch the more draw.

A 6 gauge wire is safer to use for ATV winches. Any power cable with lower current carrying capacity may heat up excessively when a winch is under heavy load.

Opting out for a 4 gauge wire would make more sense if your winch is rated for higher capacity. Again for a 1500lb winch, a 10 gauge wire would do just fine. 

You can always check the manual provided with the winch to find out which gauge wire is suitable for that specific product.


Winches are thirsty for power. They draw a lot of amperage from the power source while performing under a big load. So, it’s common to wonder what gauge ATV winch wire size you will need. 

However, there is no need to buy the biggest power cable on the market. We hope this article guides you to choose the perfect gauge wire that you may need as per your needs. 

Good luck and Happy Winching!!!

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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