Smittybilt is a well-known name in the off-roading industry. Smittybilt products are known for their performance and for being affordable, but choosing a winch is hard and there are many different options to consider. That’s why I take a moment to look at different Smittybilt options and compare them with other similar products on the market. The in-depth comparison below will hopefully help with selecting the right winch product.
The Smittybilt Lineup
There are several different Smittybilt winches to consider when going to make a purchase from the company, and they are split up into the X20 and XRC models. The X20 is split up into the base model and the X20 Comp model with higher performance ratings and enhanced durability. The XRC is offered in the base model and the XRC Comp version designed for enhanced performance.
The XRC models are modular winches designed for flexibility and to fit in more locations, while the X20 lineup is the more feature-rich package of winches. The Comp version of each is optimized for more rugged performance.
Finding the Right Smittybilt Winch: Comparing the x20 and XRC
The x20 and XRC winches are the two most popular products offered by Smittybilt today. Both are recommended regularly, but which is best. Below is a quick look at their differences to help with the comparison.
|X20||X20 COMP||XRC||XRC COMP|
|Powerful 6.6 HP Motor||•||•||•||•|
|3-Stage Planetary Gear System||•||•||•||•|
|Upgraded Pulling Power*||•||•||•||•|
|Upgraded Line Speed||•||•||•||•|
|Larger Clutch Lever*||•||•||•||•|
|Stainless Steel Hardware||•||•||•||•|
|Oversized Aluminum Crossbar||•||•|
|Wireless Remote Control||•||•|
|Dynamic Braking System||•||•|
|Fairlead||4-Way Roller||Competition Aluminum||4-Way Roller||Competition Aluminum|
|Cable/Rope Type||Steel Cable||Synthetic Rope||Steel Cable||Synthetic Rope|
|Solenoid Mounting Options||2||2||3||3|
|Mechanical Warranty||Lifetime Warranty||Lifetime Warranty||Lifetime Warranty||Lifetime Warranty|
|Electrical Warranty||5 Year Warranty||5 Year Warranty||3 Year Warranty||3 Year Warranty|
|Prices||10k lbs. #97510||10k lbs. #98510||9,5k lbs. #97495||9,5k lbs. #98495|
|12k lbs. #97512||12k lbs. #98512||12k lbs. #97412||12k lbs. #98412|
|15.5k lbs. #97515||N/A||15.5k lbs. #97415||N/A|
|17.5k lbs. #97517||N/A||17.5k lbs. #97417||N/A|
While the XRC models come with a corded controller for winch manipulation, the X20 models feature a wireless remote control for convenient operation from wherever the winch is needed. It’s just one more little feature that sets the X20 models apart.
The X20 models also come equipped with a powerful dynamic braking system designed to slow the line smoothly and to protect the components of the system as well. This offers smoother performance compared to the more abrupt performance of the XRC models.
Both of the Smittybilt winches come with lifetime mechanical warranty protection to help prevent most mechanical failures from occurring. The X20 model comes with an impressive 5-year electrical warranty, while the XRC models come with a 3-year electrical warranty. This difference should be considered for buyers looking for the very best warranty protection.
Different Solenoid Mounting Options
Both the X20 and XRC model winches offer multiple solenoid mounting locations, but it’s the XRC models that prove to be the most versatile. These units allow for solenoid mounting in three different locations, offering more flexibility than the two supported locations available on the X20 models.
Different Water Resistance Levels
The X20 models are designed with an IP68 water resistance level while the XRC models come with an IP67 rating. These two figures might not sound much different, but the X20 model can be submerged an additional half meter compared to the one-meter submersion rating on the XRC model which makes a real difference when driving through deep pools and other harsh conditions.
Efficiency and Speed Differences
Although the figures are close, there are key differences in line speed figures and efficiency levels between the XRC and the X20 models. While the XRC model delivers a higher line speed during regular use, it also demands higher power use and can be harder on a battery and heat up slightly faster. The X20 runs slightly slower, pulls less power and is the more efficient model of the two.
Consider the SmittyBuilt Gen2 X20 vs Warn Zeon Winches
Both Warn and Smittybilt are well-known brands in the winch world and off-road enthusiasts have experience with both. While Warn is recommended more often than Smittybilt is, it’s important to compare models from both brands directly. The charts below look at Ampers per ft draw as well as max pull per drum wrap layer to determine which of the winches is the most efficient and usable for powerful pulling. The results of this comparison are a bit surprising for enthusiasts that push for Warn products. In both data comparisons, the Smittybilt Gen 2 X20 winch comes out on top, with the Zeon models lagging behind.
What do the Charts Mean?
Even though it’s clear that the Smittbuilt product is outperforming the Warn product on these graphs, it’s difficult to see why that is important without knowing more about winch efficiency or how winch pulling power works.
Amps per draw feet is the data point used for comparison purposes on the first chart, and it’s a measure of how much electrical power is used to reel in the winch under different weight loads. The higher the electrical demand of the winch, the more power it uses to turn itself and move the vehicle or whatever the load might be. That means that lower values come on more efficient winches. According to the first chart the Smittbuilt Gen2 X20 can handle the same loads as the Zeon winch while putting less stress on the battery offering the power, this is important for off-roaders that need to make longer pulls.
The next chart looks at pure power generation for each of the different winches. The way that winches are designed, they offer their maximum pulling power when the wire is fully unspooled, and the more they are reeled in, the less pulling force they generate. The chart looks at the power generated by each winch on the first, second, third and fourth layers of wire wrapped around the spool. While all the winches start out around 10,000 lbs. Of pulling force on the first wrap, the Gen2 X20 remains at a higher pulling value on the next wraps than the other model winches do.
It’s these two data comparisons that mark the Smittybilt X20 as the more efficient and powerful tool compared to the Warn Zeon models. Some Warn enthusiasts will exclaim that Warn models are built better and last longer, but by looking at pure performance figures it’s clear that the Smittybilt X20 model is the more capable product when heavy pulling power is needed.
When Buying a Winch the Warranty Matters
Ideally, a new winch will last long past its warranty duration, but this isn’t always the case. That’s why it’s important to look at how long each winch is warrantied for. The warrantied period is the time frame that the winch is guaranteed to run properly for, and models with longer warranties tend to be better built overall.
- Badlands Winches – 90 day mechanical and electrical
- Smittybilt Winches – Lifetime mechanical, 5-year electrical
- Warn Winches – Lifetime mechanical, 1-year electrical
After looking at the warranty coverage that comes with each of these well-known winch brands the Badlands product falls short of the other two products by a fair margin with only 90 days of protection. Warn offers respectable protection for mechanical issues but offers just one year of protection for electrical issues. It’s actually the Smittbilt products that come with the most protection and are guaranteed for up to five years against electrical issues. These results are impressive and should help Smittbilt owners get a bit more peace-of-mind after their purchases.
|Smittybilt X20 10k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt X20 12k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt X20 15.5k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt X20 17.5k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt X20 Comp 10k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt X20 Comp 12k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt XRC 9,5k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt XRC 12k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt XRC 15.5k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt XRC 17.5k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt XRC COMP 9,5k lbs.||Check Price|
|Smittybilt XRC COMP 12k lbs.||Check Price|
Conclusion: Which Winch Brand is Right?
After looking at all the data above hopefully, it’s easier deciding which winch brand is right to purchase for you. This will be different for everyone, but there are obvious options for each type of vehicle owner and offroad enthusiast. For someone looking to spend as little as possible, while still getting a somewhat reliable winch, any of the BadLands products are decent. It’s important to note that these are very light-duty and can overheat easily, but they will get the job done in an emergency situation. For vehicle owners looking for the best performance for the price, the Smittybilt products are the most obvious option. They’re priced in the mid-range and offer excellent performance for most situations without the overheating issues that Badlands models suffer from. Their only downside is that they aren’t made in the USA and sourcing parts can be difficult, but the extensive Smittybilt warranty helps to alleviate these fears. At the top of the range are the Warn models. They are slightly less powerful than Smittybilt models but known for their dependability, they’re made in the USA and getting new parts for them is simpler. They’re the most expensive though and certainly a premium option even though Warn winches perform at lower levels than the Smittybilt X2 does in most tests.