If you have a which on your off-road vehicle, you should get a snatch block. For a relatively low price, a snatch block can greatly extend your winching capabilities when you or someone else gets stuck.
Here, we’ll spotlight some of the best snatch blocks available for off-road recovery as well as provide some guidance for choosing the best one for your vehicle and winch set up.
For a detailed look at how to use a snatch block, check out our article How to Use a Snatch Block with a Winch for Off-road Recovery.
Snatch Block Topics
Best Snatch Blocks
Below, we’ll go into how to choose a snatch block and why you might need one, but first, we’ll provide our top choices for those looking for those in a hurry and looking for a quick recommendation.
Top of the Line
Warn Epic Snatch Block 18,000 lbs
Based in Oregon, Warn arguably makes the best off-roading winches on the market, a reputation earned over 70 years making off-road gear. They make a quality product, and their Epic Snatch Block is no exception.
This snatch block made of forged steel and powder coated to prevent corrosion. It’s rated to a load of 18,000 pounds, and appropriate for winches rated in the 8,000 to 10,000-pound range, a common rating for winches found on overlanding and 4-wheeling rigs. The groove in the pulley is wide, which makes it a good choice for both metal and synthetic winch lines.
While it’s not twice the capacity of a 10,000-pound rated winch, it’s more than enough snatch block for the vast majority of uses.
GearAmerica Mega Snatch Block 25,000 lbs
The Mega Snatch Block from Gear America is a beast, with a 25,000-pound working limit. It’s a solid choice if you have a larger off-road vehicle and winch.
It’s probably overkill for winches typically found on 1/2 ton trucks and jeeps (often rated in the 9,500 lbs – 12000 lbs range), but a good match for those found on 3/4 ton and full ton trucks (in the 12000 lbs to 16,500 lbs rating range, for instance).
One cool thing about purchasing one of these is that Gear America gives 10 percent of its profits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Rugged Ridge Snatch Block 20,000 lbs
If you’re not looking for the fanciest or the biggest snatch block, this Rugged Ridge option will get the job done.
It’s rated to 20,000 pounds, which will suffice for the vast majority of off-roading recovery situations and makes it suited for winches rated up to around 10,000 pounds or a bit higher.
It can be used for winch cables up to 3/8 inches in diameter. It runs around $33, which is about fourth of the cost of the Warn snatch block.
Why do I need a snatch block?
Snatch blocks are used for two purposes: 1) to enhance the pulling strength of winch when rescuing a vehicle during an off-road recovery; and 2) to redirect the force of the wince in recovery situations where it is impossible to pull directly on a stuck vehicle.
Simply put, if you have a winch, it’s worth getting a snatch block to extending your winch’s capabilities for a relatively low cost. You’ll also want to purchase several shackles and a tree saver strap for making connections with other vehicles and anchors (trees and rocks, typically).
How to Choose a Snatch Block
Several factors should be considered when selecting a snatch block:
Winch Pull Rating
A good rule of thumb is to get a snatch block that is rated for roughly twice the load your winch can pull. If your winch has a 9,500-pound pull rating, for example, your snatch block should be rated to at least around 19000 pounds (9.5 tons). This is because with one snatch block you can pull roughly twice the load that your winch is rated, thanks to the mechanical advantage the snatch block provides.
You’ll see snatch blocks suggested for use with certain winches that aren’t quite rated to twice the winch’s line pull rating. The logic behind this is that it’s rare when overlanding or off-roading that you’ll actually need to pull twice your winch’s rated pulling force (assuming you’ve chosen a reasonably strong winch, which is another discussion). Still, we recommend erring on the side of getting a larger capacity snatch block to give yourself peace of mind and flexibility.
Winch Cable Diameter
The diameter of the pulley (sheave) in the snatch block should be at least 8 to 10 times the diameter of your winch cable or even larger. For a metal cable, if possible, find a snatch block with a sheave diameter that’s at least 20 times the cable diameter.
It’s worth erring on the side of getting a large snatch block, as they will be more versatile for the various situations you might encounter.
Winch Line Material
Synthetic rope winch lines are generally thicker than metal cables. Some of the newer snatch blocks have larger grooves in the pulley that accommodate this evolution and avoiding squeezing the line as it passes around the sheave. Avoid snatch blocks with V-shaped grooves in the sheave, as these can pinch the line. Also, look for and remove any burrs or other imperfections in the sheave that might snag the synthetic line.
Snatch Block Accessories
There are several other pieces of equipment that are essential when using a snatch block with a winch in off-road vehicle recovery.
Recovery shackles connect your recovery straps, vehicles, snatch blocks and winches. Traditional shackles are shaped like horseshoes with a pin that locks them shut. Recently, recovery shackles made with freakishly strong synthetic rope have also become popular.
Here are a couple solid options:
A winch cable damper is a safety device used during winching to prevent the cable from flying through the air and injuring someone, in case it snaps during use. The damper is draped over the winch cable so that gravity will pull the cable to the ground in the case of a snap.
This is a good choice: ARB Winch Damper
When working with recovery straps and winches, you should wear a tough pair of gloves to protect your hands. Thick leather work gloves are preferred.