How to Double Your Winch Power

Double Your Winch Power with a Snatch Block

An electric winch is a powerful recovery tool. Used correctly, it provides massive amounts of power to pull out your ATV or truck. With the right tools and rigging, you can pull up to two or even three times the maximum rating of your winch. The key to maximum power is knowing how to use your recovery equipment to its full potential. With these recovery tips, you’ll be winching your way out of even the toughest spots just like the pros.

For starters, let’s focus on rigging up a single line pull. Whenever possible, choose an anchor point directly in line with the stuck vehicle. A straight line pull is more efficient than an indirect pull. If the only option is to winch at an angle, use a snatch block to guide the cable directly into the winch and prevent it from stacking up on one side of the drum. Attach the cable as low as possible on the anchor point for the best leverage. The base of a tree, stump, or rock is generally the strongest point.

If you want to double the power of your winch, or if the anchor point is too close to let out enough cable for a strong pull, use a snatch block to double the line. Using a snatch block will double your load capacity and will allow you to spool out more cable to reach the maximum rating of your winch. For even more power, you can rig up a triple line pull. However, use caution with double and triple lines. As the strength of the pull increases, so does the amount of stress placed on each rigging point. Make sure your anchor point is rock solid and can withstand the force of the pull.

Snatch Block Diagram

The length of cable you spool out also affects the power of the pull. All electric winches are rated based on only one full wrap left on the drum. The less line you reel out, the less power you’ll get. For a maximum power pull, unwind enough cable to leave only one layer on the drum. If your anchor point is too close to spool out enough rope, double the line with a snatch block.

Another trick to squeeze the most power out of your winch is to gas the stuck vehicle. A rolling load fuels the momentum of the pull and eases the strain on your winch. Before starting the recovery, dig out around the tires or build a rock ramp to give the stuck vehicle some traction as it begins to move.

As your winch works harder, it generates more heat. In order to prevent overheating the motor, take breaks if you’re pulling over a long distance and let the motor cool before starting again. Winching places a heavy load on your electrical system, so keep your engine running to prevent a complete drain. In some cases, a stock battery may not provide enough juice to power a maximum pull. Some wheelers swap the stock battery for a heavy duty one, or they install a second battery solely for recovery.

Your winch has incredible potential if you know how to get the most power out of it. With these advanced winching techniques, you’ll have a few more tricks up your sleeve when the pulling gets tough.

Article provided by Jesse Taylor of  Gorilla Winches.


  1. When you go from single to double line you are not doubling your power. You are doubling your force. The power will be determined by the winch motor and whatever you have powering that. Words have meanings.
    Marc Gilbert you’re wrong about the double-line setup shown. Assuming a frictionless pulley, this is doubling the amount of force the winch can apply to the truck. I took plenty of physics in college, but I learned how to calculate mechanical advantage in a pulley system in 9th grade. If you have tension T in the line, look at how many places that tension is applied to the load. It’s applied twice in the double line picture, so the force pulling the truck is 2T.

  2. A double line, the way it’s shown up here, won’t double your pulling capacity! It’s only changing the direction of pull and it’s still a 1:1 pull. You do have a 2:1 on your triple line image.
    Though it’s true the longer you spool out cable, the more pulling power you’ll get from your winch.

    • Incorrect, just draw a free body diagram of the vehicle with a tensioned cable coming off of it. The winch will put tension on the line, assume the tension on the line is constant throughout. Also, as proof that doubling your line gives more mechanical advantage, for every foot the vehicle moves the line will have to be reeled in 2 ft.

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