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There are plenty of ways to increase the utility and protection of your truck, but few make a bigger difference than a winch-capable bumper. Winch bumpers allow for a winch to be properly and safely installed on your vehicle, allowing you the capability to pull yourself or someone else out of trouble, or haul an obstruction out of the way. Winch bumpers tend to be engineered to be stronger than stock bumpers—many also with other protective and performance properties, such as better tire clearance for plus-size tire fitments and lifted  suspensions. Aside from their practical aspects, these front-end wonders also instantly change up your truck’s look. Bumper applications are rarely, if ever, a one-size-fits-all type of deal. 

The vast majority are designed, styled and manufactured with a certain make and model of vehicle in mind. Some are made to flow with the original lines of your machine, for a refined, almost factory look, while others are built with purely function in mind—giving them a mean, utilitarian, “Mad Max” style.

While there are plenty of benefits to installing a winch bumper on your rig, it’s worthy to note that many do tend to be heavier than the original bumper you’d be replacing—this might result in lower gas mileage, longer stopping distances and could, sometimes, even cause front-end suspension sag. Of course, some of these disadvantages can be remedied with fixes like brake upgrades and suspension spacers. That said, we fully believe that a proper winch bumper, with a quality winch installed on it, is well worth any of its disadvantages—by a long shot. Depending on your vehicle, there’s a good chance that you have plenty of bumpers to choose from. When making your decision, keep in mind the factors that are important to you—for example, depending on your chosen winch, you’ll need to make sure the opening of the bumper is the correct size. Other factors that may sway your decision include the bumper’s style, and light and accessory mounting options. Some bumpers even take into account factory airbag and parking-sensor placements—so if that’s important to you, be sure to look out for those features.

Due to limited space in this guide, we’ll focus on a few bumpers for select makes and models of vehicles. Make sure that you check with the featured manufacturers to see even more bumpers that will fit your truck. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest in winch-capable bumpers.

Warn/Ascent Bumper

OVERVIEW: The Ascent Bumper combines an angular look with purpose-built recovery functionality. Precision angles and a unique low-profi le design maximize approach angles and optimize off-road performance. Plus, it comes ready to fit winches up to 12,000 pounds, like WARN’s ZEON Platinum series of winches. Pre-drilled bolt holes and cutouts make WARN winches easy to mount, even after the bumper install. The bumper also features integrated dual light ports to mount optional auxiliary flood or spot sights.

APPLICATION: 2015-2016 F150 / 2011-2016 Super Duty F250-F350
MSRP: Varies

DV8 Offroad/FS-15 Hammer Forged Front Bumper

OVERVIEW: DV8’s Hammer Forged front bumper is designed and built with hardcore wheeling in mind, and is made to perform on the rocks, where you need protection the most. It has heavily reinforced winch plates, aggressive approach angles, and it is constructed of thick, high-tensile-strength steel. The steel thickness of each part of the bumper varies, and was chosen to keep strength up and weight down. The result is a lighter, stronger bumper that is ready to take on even the toughest challenges. 

APPLICATION: 2007-2017 Wrangler
MSRP: $533

GenRight/JK Winch Guard Front Bumper (Aluminum)

OVERVIEW: GenRight’s high-quality, low-profile bumper design incorporates an optional winch mount to keep the winch lower than most other bumpers, to allow for better airflow to the radiator. This high-clearance, stubby-type front bumper features a tube, directly welded on the bumper to protect the winch from damage. Laser-cut and formed from 3/16-inch-thick 6061 aluminum alloy, this bumper o­ffers a good balance between strength and weight. 

APPLICATION: 2007-2017 Wrangler

MSRP: $800

Road Armor/Jeep JK 07-16 Black Stubby Series

OVERVIEW: Road Armor bumpers add utility and function to your vehicle while simultaneously making it a safer place for its occupants. This rugged steel bumper is coated in a five-stage, satin-black, powder-coat finish for exceptional durability. It is  specifically designed to follow, complement and accentuate the bodylines of your JK. It is capable of housing a WARN PowerPlant winch or similar, and it has recessed light ports for a 20-inch RIGID light bar, as well as other auxiliary lights.

APPLICATION: 2007-2017 Wrangler

MSRP: $700; $900 (with stinger)

Rugged Ridge/XHD Bumper

OVERVIEW: Looking to add versatility and style to your Jeep? If you like to change the look of your Jeep from  time to time, the XHD bumper is what you’re looking for. The XHD series of front bumper kits are modular kits that use a front winch bumper as their base, and can be modified with other parts, like the Double-X Striker bar, stubby bumper ends, storage ends and more. Personalize it the way you like it. JK version shown—ask them about XHD bumpers for LJ, TJ, YJ and CJs, too. 

APPLICATION: 2007-2017 Wrangler; other generations available
MSRP: Varies

Warn/Elite Series Bumper

OVERVIEW: Whether you’re planning an overland expedition or just out exploring, Warn’s Elite Series bumpers  are designed for recovery, protection and good looks. Features include a low, recessed winch mount, and a wrap-around design that others increased strength. There are recessed ports and mounts for auxiliary lights, and an optional welded-on CNC-formed grille tube for even more protection. To increase your JK’s recovery options, there are recessed jack points and eyelets for D-shackles.

APPLICATION: 2007-2017 Wrangler

MSRP: Varies

Westin/Snyper Scope Bull-Bar Front Bumper, Stubby

OVERVIEW: Westin’s stubby-style Snyper Scope bull-bar front bumper is an off-road winch bumper with a welded bull bar, designed for Jeep JKs. It features a fully welded design, and is made of 7-gauge steel; it is pre-drilled for most medium-frame, 8,000-12,000-pound winches, up to 10.25-inches tall. It also features one-inch thick shackle mounts and a Snyper logo, laser-cut on the ends. To keep it sturdy, the mounting brackets attach directly to the JK’s frame. APPLICATION: 2007-2017 Wrangler
MSRP: $1,320
URL: westinautomotive.com

Warrior Products/Toyota Tacoma Front Winch Bumper w/D-Ring Mounts & Brushguard

OVERVIEW: For recovery operations, Warrior Products’ Tacoma winch bumper features an integrated winch  plate and D-Ring mounts that come standard. Its reinforced winch plate accepts most 8,000-10,000-pound inches, including larger integrated solenoid winches. The bumper’s unique rounded endcaps provide a refined and finished look, and a light-plate system allows for use of OEM or optional aftermarket lighting options.

APPLICATION: Tacoma 2005-2011

MSRP: $1,490

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the May-June print issue of Tread Magazine.

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