Bill's post was full of excellent points.
You need something to attach/anchor to in the desert. A big rock, a large tree, etc...or a sand anchor/buried spare tire in an emergency.
Do you have shovels, picks, tree straps, etc?
Do you have rock sliders and a hi-lift jack?
Winch specific thoughts:
If you wheel where getting stuck would not be a big deal, no dying out there, missing work, someone missing their insulin shots, whatever...you can get away with a less reliable recovery system...as if it doesn't work, you're still OK.
If you wheel where getting stuck is a problem, as in no one will find you before you die, you lose your job, your GF dumps you because you're a loser, etc....then you can't mess around.
Wheeling alone means you should ONLY be in Scenario #1, because you are taking too much of a risk in Scenario #2...lets say you bang your head and are knocked out and bleeding...and, you have one truck, and your passenger can't drive off road well enough to get you to the hospital, etc....or get you unstuck.
If you have a coupla trucks with you, the safety in numbers thing starts to kick in...and you all have options if TSHTF, etc.
Frankly...I'd be sure to have sliders and a hi-lift, and a shovel.
Those will get you out of more jambs than you'd believe.
On Harbor Fright, etc....
Do not buy a used one, unless you get the lifetime warranty.
The reason is that the cheap winches tend to fail more than the better ones...as they cut corners to BE cheaper.
I know guys who use them, and, they fail regularly, and they just as regularly march into HF and get a new one.
If you don't have the warranty, WHEN they fail, you have a paperweight instead of a winch.
A main reason they fail is that they come with a very low duty cycle, and slow speed, as part of the cost cutting measures.
The duty cycle is how long at a time the winch can be used before you need to stop and let it cool down.
The speed is related to gearing...you can get more weight pulled if you shift down so to speak...but, in that low gear, you have power, but, you don't go very fast.
So, they use a weaker motor with a low duty cycle to sell the winch at a low price point....its called "Value Engineering" in the industry.
So, lets say that under load, the HF winch pulls at 2 feet per minute....and its rated to be able to pull for 2 minutes, and then cool for 13 minutes.
(No one tends to read the directions though....)
Lets say you were stuck 100' from where you'd be clear to go w/o the winch....so you needed to go 100'.
At 2' per minute, that's 50 minutes....of PULLING.
Of course, if you pull for 50 minutes, it burns out the motor, because you didn't let it cool.
If you follow directions, you pull for 2 minutes, and went 4'...then wait another 13 minutes....
To round off, that's ~4' every 15 minutes, or, ~ 16' per HOUR.
So, getting stuck and needing to be dragged 100' is an ALL DAY recovery.
If you had a warn for example, under the same load it might pull at 10' per minute, but, NOT need to stop and cool on the way....so the 100' might take 10 minutes TOTAL.
Now, if you're just hi-centered and need to only be pulled a few feet to get clear, sure, it should be fine....but those are the ones the sliders and hi-lift work for well too. (Jack it up so you can throw dirt under the buried tire, lower it down and drive off)