Quadratec is one of the most affordable winch brands in the market. Another brand that is extremely affordable is Smittybilt. Both brands offer winches for as low as $200. However, which of the two gets you the most bang for your 200 bucks?
In order to compare the two, we’ll look at their similar products. We’ll look at Quadratec’s Q9000 model and Smittybilt’s GEN 2 XRC 9500 lb winch. The Q9000 costs around $330 and the GEN 2 XRC costs around $430.
At a Glance
Let’s first look at the Quadratec Q9000. It comes with an aircraft-grade steel cable. It’s 100 feet long.
The Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC comes with a steel cable that’s 94 feet long. Six feet is quite a difference. It can be the difference between you reaching your anchor point or not.
What’s disappointing about these two is that they don’t have a synthetic line option. There are offroad veterans who prefer synthetic lines over steel cables. To know the difference between the two types of lines, check out this guide.
You can choose to replace the cable with a synthetic line or a longer cable. Here are our recommendations for the best cable winch replacements.
Regarding the line, Quadratec Q9000 wins.
Both models come with wired remote controllers. Both remote controllers have 12-foot leads. However, Simttybilt remote controls can be replaced with wireless remotes. Smittybilt is popular enough that other manufacturers create wireless remotes compatible with Smittybilt products.
As a rule of thumb, wireless remotes are better than wired remotes. Wired controllers run the risk of getting tangled and damaged. It also limits the distance between the winch and the operator. You want to have as much distance between you and the winch when operating it.
For the remote round, Smittybilt wins, but at a literal cost.
This is where things get heated up between the two. Quadratec has no fighting chance in this regard. Not only Quadratec doesn’t have any waterproofing, but its construction makes it very vulnerable to water.
The housing of the Quadratec Q9000 is made of two materials, stainless steel, and aluminum castings. Stainless steel is great – it doesn’t corrode easily. But aluminum casting does. The two materials are essentially on opposite sides of the galvanic series – one end doesn’t corrode and the other does so very easily.
As such, you can expect the Quadratec Q9000 housing to corrode so much in places. This affects the internal parts and mechanisms of the winch. The insides are vulnerable to water. The gears are at risk of getting rusty. The wiring is prone to short circuits due to the presence of water or moisture.
On the other hand, the Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC has an IP67 waterproof rating. This is not the highest waterproof rating among winches, but that’s more than enough to earn the winch a win in this round.
When it comes to protection from water, Smittybilt wins by a long shot.
The Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC can pull 500 lbs more than the Quadratec Q9000. But Smittybilt is also more expensive by $100, so you can say that pulling power should not be the basis of the comparison.
What we can compare the two is their motor. The Smittybilt model runs on a 6.6 horsepower series wound motor. The Quadratec model runs on a 4.8 horsepower series wound motor.
The Smittybilt model features an automatic in-drum braking system. On the other hand, the Quadratec champ boasts a load-holding drum brake. How do we decide which one packs more bang between the two?
Well, the Quadratec model weighs around 98 lbs. The Smittybilt model, meanwhile, weighs only 78 lbs. It’s apparent that Smittybilt carries a lot of power even in its smaller and lighter build.
Beginner offroad enthusiasts may not see the value of a lighter and smaller winch, but such winches are important. A few extra lbs make a vehicle heavier. And in times of emergencies, you want the winch to be able to pull the vehicle as easy as possible.
Also, smaller winches are better for installation. They give you the options as to where to put the winch.
In terms of mechanical power, Smittybilt wins.
Our last category of judging is warranty. The Quadratec Q9000 has a limited lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and a one-year limited warranty on electrical components.
On the other hand, the Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC has a lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and a 3-year warranty on the electrical parts.
Clearly, Smittybiltwins this round. But its win is a lot more well-deserved than you probably realize. Quadratec’s warranty is not enough to support the integrity of the Quadratec Q9000. Remember that its construction makes it vulnerable to water. Both its mechanical and electrical components are at risk of damage.
Smittybilt, however, has a very good design. It’s tough, durable, and protected. On top of that, it has a better warranty. Smittybilt wins this round by another long shot.
Quadratec Winch vs Smittybilt Winch
At this point, it’s obvious that Smittybilt is the better winch manufacturer of the two. The two brands have similar price points, but Smittybilt trumps over a lot of Quadratec’s features.
Smittybilt is more expensive than Quadratec by just $100. But that hundred buck buys you an additional 500 lbs of pulling power; better build with an IP67 waterproof rating; and better warranty – all packed into a smaller and lighter winch.
To help you make a better choice of which winch brand to buy from, here’s our guide on how to buy a winch.