How Much Can An ATV Tow? | Hunt or Shred

ATVs are very fun toys for recreational riding and are extremely powerful tools for hauling heavy equipment and materials, but how much can one tow?

An average ATV that is 500cc or more can tow at least 800 lbs to 1,000 lbs.  However, the power and tow capacity of an ATV can vary depending on its model and engine type - with some ATVs only towing a maximum of 500 lbs and others towing up to 1,700 lbs.

These dynamic All-terrain Vehicles are more popular than ever with many people buying them simply for the joy of riding.  However, ATVs are especially useful to have around for things like farming, hunting, landscaping, logging, and other laborious work, which is why they are used in so many industries these days.  With that being said, you should always try to select an ATV that can deliver on the power and tow capacity that you need it to, which is why we are going to break down some different types of ATVs so that you know exactly how much they can tow.

After years of working as an ATV mechanic and ATV motocross rider, I have been around enough All-terrain Vehicles to know exactly what they can handle and how much they can tow.  My extensive work with ATV engine repairs has given me the first-hand experience to gauge the towing capacity of a quad based on its engine type.

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ATV Towing Capacity

If you primarily ride your ATV for fun and recreation, you likely have never had to test the towing capacity of your quad.  However, if you work in an industry or have a hobby that requires hauling heavy loads around, knowing the towing capacity of your All-terrain vehicle is essential for having a safe ride, preventing overloading, and keeping yourself from getting stuck in the mud with a broken quad to deal with.

Since ATVs transitioned to fuel injection in the early 80s, we have watched the technology behind these powerful vehicles steadily advance and their power significantly increase.  This has affected the horsepower and speed of ATVs, but most importantly their towing capacity.  At the end of the day, one of the fundamental qualities you want to look for in an ATV is how much weight it is capable of handling.

While having a high level of towing capacity is never going to hurt, you may not need a top-of-the-line ATV to get the job.  These days quads are so popular and are capable of being useful in so many situations, manufacturers design a lot of their ATVs based on the specific interests and needs of their customers, which has made these vehicles incredibly versatile and dynamic.

With that being said, if you are the kind of person that wants to know they can count on their All-terrain vehicle through thick and thin, opting for a quad that has a high towing capacity is going to be the way to go - it’s better to have it and not need than to need and not have it!  Let’s take a closer look at some different ATVs and what they can tow.

ATV (500cc)

The engine capacity for ATVs that we most commonly see these days is near the 500cc range.  A quad with this capacity is a fully capable ATV and can handle everything from muddy roads, rocky terrain, and can pull a substantial amount of weight.

So, if you are looking for an all-around solid ATV option that can handle just about anything, you really can not go wrong with a 500cc engine.  This will give you the dynamic range to breeze through light hauls and the extra power to take on heavier tasks when needed, as these quads can generally handle at least 800 lbs to 1,000 lbs.

The most important thing you should keep in mind is that you can not correlate the towing capacity of a 500c ATV with all quads that have this engine capacity.  Just like with any other vehicle, the definitive amount of power that an engine is capable of does not always reflect its speed or towing capacity, as there are other factors tied into this such as the model and manufacturer of the ATV.

There are a lot of quad manufacturers out there and, undeniably, some are better than others.  Reputable ATV manufacturers tend to deliver better performance, power, and towing capacity, as they have been optimized to stand out within the industry.  To highlight how much towing capacity different ATVs have within the 500cc range, we are going to give you a few examples.

CFORCE 500cc

The American ATV company CFMOTO, has consistently been a reputable ATV brand for years and still has a strong standing with many quad riders.

One of their most recent All-terrain Vehicles that they have released is the CFORCE 500cc.  This powerful quad bike can handle rough terrains with ease and has a substantial amount of towing power, as it is able to tow as much as 870 lbs.

This makes the CFORCE 500cc a very well-rounded ATV that can be used for towing a number of different things such as hunting gear and most farming equipment.

Honda Foreman 500cc - 520cc

An ATV manufacturer that is well respected in the industry is Honda.  This company has made some quality quads over the years, which have delivered on performance and power.

Their bikes are as versatile and competitive as most other options on the market but tend to have a lot of appeal for budget options - given that they offer their products at a more affordable price than some of the high-end options.

The Honda Foreman 500cc is a very capable ATV and can handle towing as much as 850 lbs without overhauling.  However, the Honda Foreman Rubicon 520cc has an extra 20cc to utilize, which significantly increases its towing capacity to as much as 1,300lbs.  This is a substantial amount of weight for a little extra power.

Can-Am Outlander 450-570

While there are plenty of great ATV manufacturers out there, few get as much hype as Can-Am.  This company has consistently brought high-quality and dependable ATVs to its customers and has continued to raise the bar for the entire industry.

Their Outlander series has been especially popular and it comes with a variety of different selections, which range in speed, power, and towing capacity.

One of their more modest ATVs is the Can-Am Outlander 450-570, which is by no means their most powerful quad but will certainly satisfy the needs of most riders - with a towing capacity that can get up to as much as 1,300 lbs, this is definitely one of the best ATVs in the industry.

ATV (300cc)

While some of the most common ATVs on the market will generally be in the 500cc range, you can find plenty of options that have significantly less power.

Many quad riders simply do not need so much power, as they are either casual riders that enjoy ATVs for recreational activity or simply have labor tasks that are not as demanding.  Regardless, there are some great options for quads that are in the 300cc range that will take care of most of your hauling needs.

You can find 300cc ATVs with well-established manufacturers such as Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and MSA.  While these manufacturers do still make powerful quads in the 300cc range, you should expect the towing capacity of these All-terrain vehicles to significantly drop with a lower engine capacity.

You will find that most ATVs in the 300cc range can comfortably handle towing as much as 500 lbs.  However, the results that you ultimately get will be dependant on the manufacturer you are considering and the specific model.

ATV (1,000cc)

When it comes to powerful ATVs on the market, the most you can expect to see is a quad that has an engine capacity of 1,000cc.  

While there are a lot of great manufacturers out there such as Honda, Yamaha, and Kawazaki that make ATVs this powerful, you have got to give credit to Can-Am for giving you the most bang for your buck.  

The Can-Am 1000R is one of the most powerful quads ever made and is highly praised by users and even its competition.  This monster of an ATV has an engine capacity of 976cc, intelligent throttle control, electronic fuel injection, and a towing capacity of a whopping 1,650 lbs. A rival to the Can-Am 1000R is the Polaris RZR XP 1000, which has virtually identical specs in regards to power, but lacks in its towing capacity, as it can only handle 1,500 lbs.  

Regardless, both of these All-terrain vehicles are highly regarded in the industry for their power, performance, and towing capacity.  These quad bikes will have no issue handling just about any terrain you put in front of them and should be able to deliver on all of your towing needs.





23 years old. I work at a motocross store where we specialize in gear, parts, and apparel for ATV and UTV riders.

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