When you have something very heavy that needs to be moved, such as your off-road, all terrain vehicle, lifted or hauled away, you use a winch. Winches are a mechanical device where you attach the object to a chain or cable, which is wound around a large drum, and once secured, the drum is rotated, and with each rotation, the object begins to move. In this Smittybilt winch review, we’ll be looking at two winches: the Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch and the Smittybilt 97512 X2O. Both winches have been designed and developed by outdoor off-road drivers who know what they want out of an automotive product, and always seek to make it better.
A quick look at the top rated smittybilt winches
Smittybilt Winches Reviewed
Off-road enthusiasts know the value of a good winch. When their expensive, weekend off-road vehicle of choice gets stuck knee deep in mud, they’ll only want the absolute best winch for the recovery task. That’s why they choose Smittybilt winches. The Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch is tough, and able to get you out of almost any situation which requires you to lift or haul any heavy object, such as a stalled vehicle.
This winch has a rated line pull of 9500 pounds per single line. Features include a 12 foot lead remote control, universal fitment, and a steel rope cable line type 94 feet in length and 5/16 inches in diameter. All of Smittybilt XRC’s come with a Series Wound 6.6 Horsepower amphibious motor, 2.5 inch drum diameter, and 3 Stage Planetary Gear System for excellence in speed and pull strength. The 97495 XRC has received a protective UV resistant coating in matte black with a waterproof rating of IP67. The locking system is composed of stainless steel, and aluminum crossbars.
The XRC comes with a durable winch controller, tow hook, 4-way roller fairlead, and a versatile, waterproof 500 Amp solenoid box capable of being mounted in three positions. Gear ratio is 161.28:1, sliding ring gear clutch, battery leads, mounting bolt pattern of 10 x 4.5 inches, and automatic in-drum brake. Regarding installation, it is strongly recommended that you only use the components such as supplied wiring, that come with the kit for optimal use.
If you are looking for a heavy duty winch system with massive power, then look no further than the Smittybilt 97512 X20 GEN2 Waterproof Winch with its completely sealed Series Wound 6.6 HP,12 volt amphibious motor, waterproof rating if IP68, and 3 Stage Planetary Gear System, with a gear ratio of 265:1 means you’ll get ultra quick response time. Rated line pull for this winch is 12,000 pounds per single line. The 97512 X20 comes with a 500 Amp, waterproof positionable solenoid box which can be placed in 2 separate locations.
Features include a remote control which can be wired to a winch, or used for wireless operation. If you’re concerned about any hesitation if you decide to switch the remote from wired to wireless operation, don’t be as Smittybilt designed it to operate seamlessly between the two. The gear ratio of 265:1 means you’ll get ultra quick response time. Line pull speeds are: 2000 pounds, 14.8 feet per minute; 4000 pounds, 11.2 feet per minute; 6000 pounds, 9.5 feet per minute; 8000 pounds is 7.87 feet per minute; and 9500 pounds is 6.43 feet per minute.
Additional features include a sliding ring gear clutch which will definitely ensure you’ll have a quick and easy recovery, 2.5 inch diameter drum, automatic out of drum brake, 98.5 foot long synthetic, braided steel wire rope cable 3/8 inches in diameter. with a 4 way roller fairlead. Installation of the X20 winch is via a 10 x 4.5 inch mounting bolt pattern. The entire winch set up weighs in at 99 pounds and has been designed to have a universal fit. You will be required to use a 650CCA battery for winching.
Wound series 6.6 hp amphibious motar
Winches with heavy duty, durable Series Wound Motors have many advantages over those which use permanent magnet motors. Series wounded motors may use more current than permanent magnet motors, but they make up for it with their ability to handle tough jobs.
Wounded series motors also function better than permanent magnet motors in cold environments. Both the winches in our Smittybilt winch reviews use 6.6 horse power amphibious wound series motors, with Amphibious referring to their ability to run dry, even when wet.
Easy to use and install
Smittybilt winches are exceptionally easy to install and use, even for the beginning off road enthusiast. Known for being easy to mount, these waterproof/weatherproof winches often take the beginner only an hour to unpack, setup and install. The remote control makes it very easy to use when recovering a stalled vehicle.
Warranty and customer care
Having a defective winch is an absolute nightmare for off-road enthusiasts, so warranty and customer service is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, warranty and customer care for Smittybilt winches are known to be the best in the business.
You’ll never have to be concerned about wear and tear, as Smittybilt stands behind its products, offering you a lifetime mechanical warranty, along with an added warranty of 5 years for electrical. They also offer extensive customer service via their easy to use website.
Pros & Cons of the products
- Easy to install and use
- 3 Stage planetary gear ensures speed
- Remote controller
- Waterproof 6.6 HP amphibious motor
- Superior customer service and warranty coverage
- Electrical cables might be a bit short for some users
How do I know what Smittybilt winch to buy? : Load capacity is the most important consideration. After all, if your chosen winch cannot recover a vehicle, it’s not much good. There is a quick and sound formula to use when looking to find the winch you need: Multiply your GVWR x 1.5.
Your GVWR is your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. If you cannot find your GVWR online, the use your own car door. Simply open the drivers side door, and read the specs you find on the sticker. Find GVWR, and you’ve got your weight, as the answer is the amount of load capacity you’ll need your winch to be able to handle.
What does IP68 or IP67 mean when I see it in the winch descriptions? : When you read the description of the winches above, you’ll see IP67 or IP68. IP is a code that stands for International Protection marking. The following numbers dictate the type of protection. For instance, a IP rating of IP68 states that the winch is dust tight with the number ‘6’, and ‘8’ represents it is waterproof. Simply look up ‘IP rating’ to see what each number represents.
Will I need to purchase a battery? : Yes. Smittybilt recommends that you only use a 650CCA minimum for your winching tasks.
What does it mean when a winch has ‘universal fitment’ or fit? : This means that the winch is made to be a fit for most vehicles. However, it is still wise to check with your vehicles manufacturer before you make the purchase, just to be sure. Both these Smittybilt winch models well suited to most off-road, all terrain vehicles such as Jeeps.
The Final Words (Summary)
If you love to take your all terrain vehicle out driving through the wet, rocky and muddy terrain of the back country, then Smittybilt winches are just what you need to get you out of tough scrapes. Both the X20 and XRC winches carry a high waterproof rating of IP68 and IP67 respectively, are driven by a tough Series Wound amphibious 6.6 HP motors, come with remote controls, and are easy to install and operate. We like the Smittybilt winches, as they are specifically developed and tested by actual off road drivers, which means that these are winches you can trust to get you out of the tough scrapes without fail.