Harbor Freight Badlands Apex 12 winch? Anyone have any real world experience with one?

Mudskipper

2nd Time Around
Member 2022
I’ve always used Warn winches (except for one Ramsey I won at a raffle). I’m looking at winches, trying to decide what to get next. I’d figured I’d just get another Warn, but now I’m seeing some of the “recreational-grade“ Warns are now made in China… which is disappointing.

And then there’s the HF Badlands Apex. Definitely made in China. And $400+ less than the comparable Warn.

And apparently it’s good enough for Matt’s Off-road Recovery (YouTube channel I binge watch. If you’re not familiar with them, I recommend it). Which really surprised me, given what that guy does for a living. Yet he’s running at least two of them on his vehicles, and adding several more to another project he’s currently building. So apparently he puts enough trust in them to use them for work. That really changed my mind more than anything about these winches. Enough that I’m actually considering one.

Anyone here using one? I’d like to hear your experiences with them?

thanks.
 

BluJT

Member 2022
Blue Ribbon Coalition
VA4WD
I went through the same decision process when I bought my Gladiator. I also saw Matt's Off-road Recovery and Fab Rats using them and decided to try it. I waited until it was on sale (happens regularly) and got it for $508.00 with taxes and have been using it for almost 2 years. I have yet to need it for vehicle recovery but I have pulled 50+ large trees on my property and it does a great job. The only issue I had was that the remote button to activate the wireless connection broke (still worked hard wired) but HF sent me a new one under warranty. I have done a number of deep mud and water crossings as well and it still operates like a champ. Ozark Overland Adventures on YouTube has been pushing the OpenRoad 4WD Panther (under $500) and even though they sponsor him he seems to like them. Good luck with your decision!
 

Mikeyswillys

Member 2022
I bought a badlands winch and have yet to use it on a load. If you get the protection plan they said you can swap it out at the store for a new one if it breaks. It’s a PITA to take them off and replace but that’s a nice option.


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Nacho

President
Member 2022
VA4WD
I do not have one, but have seen two in action (one a couple weeks ago in PA), and they have worked well in my limited exposure.
 

JustOnlyME

Member 2022
Blue Ribbon Coalition
VA4WD
Bought mine second hand so don't know how much it was used before I got it but I've used it plenty and haven't had any problems with it.
 

Fergsy

Member 2022
I have a badlands and not an Apex, but we used it last winter to pull me up an obsticle at Rausch in the pouring rain with 0 issues. I’ve also used it to pull trees and bushes out of the ground. If I had to redo I would go with the Apex you’re speaking of simply for synthetic line (I plan on converting mine) but I’m very happy with my Badlands.
 

JustOnlyME

Member 2022
Blue Ribbon Coalition
VA4WD
The price has gone up so not sure you will be able to get it fo $508 like BluJT anymore but if you get the harbor freight coupon emails they do some good deals on it. I just got one for this weekend and it has a 15%off 1 Badlands item coupon in it and if you're an inside track member it's 20% off.
 

OneArmedSaint

Member 2022
I have a Badlands 12K, not Apex. Very impressed after years of running a Warn 8274. Used several times at Jamboree in PA, (Nacho can attest). Worked flawlessly. About to install synthetic rope.
 

Mudskipper

2nd Time Around
Member 2022
Thanks for the feedback, y’all. I appreciate it.

I may end up going with the HF. If something works, it works.
 
I have the Badlands 12k and have used on others quite a lot, along with some tree removal. It does have a Warn winch cover on it because it fits perfectly.
 

Mudskipper

2nd Time Around
Member 2022
Well, I went with the Apex12. Fit perfectly but very snuggly in the pocket of the new bumper. Really surprised how heavy it was despite having synthetic line.

Did have to relocate my vacuum canister motor unit to inside the engine compartment. Made a mount for it out of a piece of street sign after seeing the prices of the relocation brackets for that.

reduce, reuse, recycle, right!?!?
 

JustOnlyME

Member 2022
Blue Ribbon Coalition
VA4WD
Well, I went with the Apex12. Fit perfectly but very snuggly in the pocket of the new bumper. Really surprised how heavy it was despite having synthetic line.

Did have to relocate my vacuum canister motor unit to inside the engine compartment. Made a mount for it out of a piece of street sign after seeing the prices of the relocation brackets for that.

reduce, reuse, recycle, right!?!?
As long as the street sign wasn't still in use when you "found" it. 🤣
I did the same thing except I had some other aluminum sheet left over from work projects. It wasn't a street sign.

Then I got an SPod and ended up buying the combo bracket from Metalcloak because the aluminum was too flimsy and I don't have a box pan brake to bend it to make it rigid.
 
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