Best Smittybilt Winch Review [Updated 2020]

Are you in a dilemma to choose from the best Smittybilt winches?

You’re not the only one! Thousands of people are looking for the Smittybilt winch review online.

Although this makes it clear that Smittybilt winches are one of the market toppers, a question remains – which one is the best among the available Smittybilt winches?

In this article, I’ve picked up five of the most popular and well-reputed winches from Smittybilt to write this review. After analyzing these five products, I’ll take you through a comparison of those, so that you can easily understand which one will be best for you.

Let’s get going!

Also Read: Best seller truck winches in 2020

Best Smittybilt Winch Comparison Table


Smittybilt GEN 3
  • 9500 lbs Capacity
  • Steel Cable / Synthetic Rope
  • Wired Remote
  • Waterproof (IP67)
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Smittybilt X2O
  • 10,000-17,500 lbs Capacity
  • Steel Cable / Synthetic Rope
  • Wireless Remote
  • Completely Waterproof
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Smittybilt XRC
  • 9,500-17,500 lbs Capacity
  • Steel Cable / Synthetic Rope
  • Wired Remote
  • Completely Waterproof
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Smittybilt 97380 X20-8
  • 8000 lbs Capacity
  • 98 ft Steel Cable
  • 12 ft Wired Remote
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Smittybilt 97204 XRC
  • 4000 lbs Capacity
  • Steel Cable / Synthetic Rope
  • Wired Remote
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Pro Tip: Always pick a winch having at least 1.5 times more load capacity than your vehicle weight. If your vehicle weight is 6,000 lbs then your winch must have minimum 9,000 lbs load capacity. It will help prevent winch overload failure accidents.

Top 5 Smittybilt Winch Reviews

1. Smittybilt XRC 9.5K GEN3 Winch Review (Newest Model)

Key Features:

  • 9500 lb. Load Capacity.
  • Waterproof, IP67 rating.
  • Excellent Corded Remote.
  • Synthetic/Steel cable.
Smittybilt 97695 XRC GEN3 is a recently released new addition to the Smittybilt product line.

If you’re looking for a winch around 9500 lbs capacity, this is the one I would recommend without a second thought. The latest technology, most powerful motor and competitive price; couldn’t find any better winch than this at the moment.

It’s a rugged unit equipped with a heavy-duty steel cable (94 ft), which is substantially long to serve the purpose well. The wire goes through a high-quality 4-way roller fairlead.

If you are a fan of synthetic rope, fortunately, you can go for the readymade 94 ft synthetic line version for this winch too. You can buy it by spending a little more money than the steel cable version.

The steel cable version (Smittybilt 97695 XRC) has roller fairlead and the synthetic rope version (Smittybilt 98695 XRC) has hawse fairlead.

As this winch has a load capacity of 9500 lbs, so, better limit the gross weight of the vehicle you want to recover up to 6333 lbs.

It is equipped with a powerful 7HP series wound motor. Highest rated winch motor HP in the industry. The gear ratio of this winch is 173:1.

The Overall Dimension is (L x W x H)21.7″ x 6.7″ x 8.3″ (546 x 170 x 210 mm) and the mounting bolt pattern is 10″ x 4.5″ (254 x 114.3 mm).

The control box is relocatable. So, you can mount it either over the motor or over the drum.

I must admire the remote control (12 ft corded) that comes with this model. It’s so grippy and easy to operate with some highly useful indicators like power in – power out indicator, load indicator, etc. It has a separate power switch and direction switch. A LED is in place to help you in the dark condition.

This Smittybilt XRC GEN3 winch is the best alternative to the high-end pricey Zeon winches from Warn. For winches around 9500 lbs, this is the best option. If you are looking for winches around 17500 lbs for heavier truck/jeep then you can opt for the Gen2 XRC or the X2O series.


  • It has a load capacity of 9500 lbs.
  • An innovative load indicator warning system is included in installed in the remote control.
  • It’s IP67 rated. Meaning this unit is water-resistant.
  • Easy to use and install.
  • A relatively faster winch. To be specific, it’s line speed increased 12% over the previous Gen2 XRC series.
  • It provides adequate power with low amp draw.
  • This winch has 3-stage planetary gear, automatic in-drum braking, and sliding ring gear free spooling clutch.
  • The package includes all the necessary hardware for installation.
  • It offers excellent value for the money.


  • The instruction manual needs to be more precise.

2. Smittybilt X20 Gen2 Waterproof Winch Review

Key Features:

  • 10,000-17,500 lb. Load Capacity.
  • Completely Waterproof, IP68 rating.
  • Advanced Wireless Remote.
  • Synthetic/Steel cable.
With 6.6 horsepower amphibious motor, the Smittybilt X20 is undoubtedly one of the market leaders in the winch industry. This means you’ll get a pretty powerful motor to get your works done.

Besides, this winch features a wireless remote control system. No more manual operation needed. You can now use the remote to control your winch and get your work done without getting the hands dirty.

The three-stage planetary gear system features a gear ratio of 218:1. This feature will ensure fast and effective pulling. And different versions of this winch model is capable of pulling a massive weight of 10,000-17,500 lbs. Meaning, you can now handle almost everything effortlessly.

If you look at other features of this winch, you would definitely love this product. It features a sliding ring gear clutch, automatic out of drum brake and steel cable/synthetic cable rope.

X2O steel cable version comes with roller fairlead and synthetic rope version comes with hawse fairlead.

Keep in mind that the mounting bolt pattern featured in this winch is of (10 x 4.5) inches. With the dimension of 22.3 inches in length, 5.4 inches in width and 9.4 inches in height, this winch weighs around 67 lbs or 30.4 kgs, pretty decent weight to fit in any average vehicle. A minimum of 650CCA battery is recommended for winching.

Its 17500 lbs (X2O 97517) and 15500 lbs (X2O 97515) versions have only steel cable version. But its 10000 lbs (X2O 97510, 98510, 98510Y) and 12000 lbs (X2O 98512, 97512) comes with both steel cable and synthetic rope option.

You have the liberty to choose the winch capacity and rope that you will need. Everything else is almost the same in different versions except the capacity + rope type.


  • The winch features 6.6 HP motor, 500AMP Solenoid.
  • You get a wireless remote to operate the winch.
  • It has a load capacity of 10,000-17,500 lbs.
  • Gear ratio of 218:1 makes work easier.
  • It features 3-stage planetary gear system.
  • One of the best warranty policy..


  • Few customers said that some features are not up to the mark. This winch being one of the cheapest products, I would say you get what you pay for. Still its quality is one of the best in this price range.
You’ll need some accessories while winching. Check my suggested winch accessories list, these will surely make winching much safer, faster & easier.

3. Smittybilt XRC Gen2 Winch Review

Key Features:

  • 9,500-17,500 lb. Load Capacity.
  • Completely Waterproof.
  • Corded Remote.
  • Wire Rope.
The Smittybilt XRC Gen2 is yet another amazing product featuring 6.6 horsepower amphibious motor. Combining with the 9500-17,500 lbs load capacity, this is one of the top picks by winch users. If you need power and efficiency within an affordable price range, this is probably the thing you should go for.

Although this winch is a bit heavier than the previous Smittybilt X2O Gen2 winch, it won’t be a big issue. The three-stage planetary gear system along with the gear ratio of 161.28:1 will enable you to do the hardest job within its power.

On top of that, you don’t need to worry about the installation wiring. The kit will come with all the wiring you need to install it. And it is recommended that you use the supplied wiring for hassle-free installation.

Like the previous Smittybilt X 2O, this model also features sliding ring gear clutch and remote control system. Meaning, no need of manual labor to operate the winch. However, unlike the Smittybilt 97495 XRC features automatic in-drum brake.

With the dimension of 22.3 inches in length, 5.4 inches in width and 9.4 inches in height, the Smittybilt XRC Gen2 is exactly the same size of the Smittybilt X 2O Gen2. Recommended battery for winching is 650CCA minimum.

Its 9500 lbs (XRC 97495), 15500 lbs (XRC 97415) and 17500 lbs (XRC 97417) version has only steel cable version. But its 12000 lbs (XRC 98412, XRC 97412) version has both steel cable and synthetic rope version.


  • You’ll get a powerful motor of 6.6 HP, 500AMP Solenoid.
  • Its load capacity is 9500-17,500 lbs.
  • You can operate the winch with a wireless remote.
  • It comes with required wiring for installation.
  • 28:1 gear ratio is pretty impressive.
  • One of the best warranty policy.


  • Like other budget products, it has some drawbacks as well. However, the number of complaints are really very few. I would say the price is still worth it if you don’t want to pay premium price for a winch.
Let’s watch the installing video of this smittybilt xrc winch:

4. Smittybilt 97380 X20-8 8,000 lbs Winch Review

Key Features:

  • 8,000 lb. Load Capacity.
  • Waterproof IP67 rating.
  • Remote Control.
  • Galvanized cable.
Now, if you’re looking for a comparatively less powerful winch, you should go for Smittybilt 97380 X20. This winch features a 5.5 horsepower motor. If you’re certain that you won’t be dealing with heavy duty works, this little buddy would just be a decent choice for you.

Like the other two Smittybilt winches mentioned in this article, this winch also features three-stage planetary gear. You’ll enjoy a gear ratio of 180:1 that is pretty workable. Don’t you think so?

Now, the cable is the strongest feature in this winch. It comes with almost 100 feet long cable. And that too is galvanized. The manufacturer assures that the synthetic cable is stronger and lighter than other traditional steel cables.

On top of that, the cable is designed to be heat treated and UV stable as well. Moreover, the rope will come with a protective sleeve that is 10 feet long. You’ll also find that the thimble is made of stainless steel and there is a safety hook along with the connector link.

Don’t worry, you won’t miss out the remote control feature. Within a range of 12 feet, you’ll be able to operate the winch with the remote. In short, although it’s less powerful than the other two, you’ll get all other necessary features.


  • This winch has a motor of 5.5 horsepower.
  • It features almost 100 feet long galvanized cable.
  • The cable is heat treated and UV stable.
  • It can be operated by a remote.
  • The gear ratio is 180:1.
  • One of the best warranty policy.


  • Only one customer complained that the winch is “cheaply built.” Comparing to the money you’re spending, I would say this is a good bargain.

5. Smittybilt 97204 XRC-4 ATV/UTV/Marine Trailer Winch Review

Key Features:

  • 4000 lb. Load Capacity.
  • Corded Remote Control.
  • Synthetic/Steel cable.
Smittybilt 97204 XRC-4 is mainly made to tow vehicles like UTV/ATV or marine trailers.

As it has the load capacity of 4000 lbs, so, to get the best performance, limit the gross weight of the vehicle, you want to recover up to 2666 lbs.

It is armed with a 4.1HP motor, and the gear ratio is 198:1.

This one is a steel cable (32’) version that goes through a roller fairlead.
You can buy the synthetic rope version of this model too. It’s lighter than this but a bit pricier also, which is quite usual in case of a synthetic rope version from any brand.

The synthetic rope version comes with a hawse fairlead by the way (which is quite expected too).

A handy corded (11’) remote control and a handlebar rocker switch come along with this winch to manage the towing from a distance with ease.

Keep in mind; this one is not a perfect winch for using with Jeep. Some users made the mistake of buying this unit for their Jeep.


  • It has the weight capacity of 4000 lbs (enough to pull most of the ATV/UTVs).
  • Mounting this winch is a cakewalk.
  • It pulls fast.
  • This one is a compact and relatively lightweight winch.
  • You will get all the required hardware with the package, including a universal mounting plate.
  • The package includes a high-performance solenoid.
  • This unit is equipped with a 3-stage planetary gear and a free spooling clutch.
  • It’s quite affordable for what it offers.


  • The battery cables could have been longer.

Comparison of Smittybilt Winches

I suppose you already know which one to choose. However, I’ll still try to draw a comparative picture of these five top class winches. A feature-wise comparison will help you better understand the similarities and dissimilarities, helping you make the ultimate choice.


Now, power should be the first priority. And it solely depends on the type of work you’re expecting to do or regularly do. I would say, owning a winch with higher horsepower is a good thing. It allows you to handle any unexpected situation if necessary.

If you look at these products, the XRC Gen3 has 7 hp motor, the Smittybilt X2O and the Smittybilt XRC features 6.6 horsepower motor, while the Smittybilt 97380 X20 features 5.5 horsepower motor and Smittybilt 97204 XRC-4 has 4.1 hp motor. So, choose accordingly!

Load Capacity

Now, the load capacity is yet another important factor you might want to consider before buying a winch. Like the horsepower feature, the type of your work will tell you how much load capacity you need.

The Smittybilt XRC Gen3 has 9500 lbs version only. Smittybilt X20 Gen2 winch has a load capacity of massive 10000lbs to 17500 lbs version, the Smittybilt XRC Gen2 has 9500-17500 lbs load capacity, Smittybilt 97380 X20 8k has 8000 lbs load capacity and the last one has 4000 lbs capacity. You should be wise enough already to know which one you need to buy.


Having a higher horsepower and high load capacity will mean nothing without quality, sturdy and durable cable, right?

The Smittybilt XRC Gen3 has Steel cable & synthetic rope version. Smittybilt X2O comes with steel cable/synthetic rope, the Smittybilt XRC Gen2 with steel cable/synthetic rope, the Smittybilt 97380 X20 features galvanized rope that is heat treated and UV stable. And the last one has both Steel cable/Synthetic rope version too.


Last but not least, gear is the feature you must not forget analyzing. All five products feature a three-stage planetary gear system. However, the SMittybilt XRC Gen3 has a gear ratio of 173:1, Smittybilt X2O Gen2 features a gear ratio of 218:1, the Smittybilt XRC Gen2 features 161.28:1, the Smittybilt 97380 X20-8 features 180:1. The last one has a gear ration of 198:1.

It shouldn’t be a tough decision to make now, right?

Conclusion: Which One to Choose?

At the finishing point of this article, I hope you’re now well capable of choosing the best winch for you. If you’re looking for a powerful winch for heavy truck/jeep alongside having a greater torque, the Smittybilt X2O 17500 lbs version will be the best pick for you.

If you are looking for one around 9500 lbs capacity then the new XRC Gen3 9.5k will be a no brainer for sure. I’d recommend this winch over any other winch model if its capacity is enough for you. Sadly this model doesn’t have a 17,500 version yet.

And if you think, none of these five has all the features you’re looking for, you can read my Warn VR winch review, Superwinch review and X-Bull winch review.

About the Brand Smittybilt

Basil Smith, also known as “Smitty” was a four-wheel-drive enthusiast. He wanted to develop 4WD equipment for jeeps and trucks. In 1956, he started a little machine shop which was eventually named “Smittybilt”.

They are producing fantastic 4WD products for more than five decades. Winch is one of their fantastic products that impressed the offroaders. Nowadays, Smittybilt winch is a popular name in the off-road industry, trusted by thousands of offroaders.

smittybilt winch review

6 thoughts on “Best Smittybilt Winch Review [Updated 2020]”

  1. My brother suggested I might like this website.
    He is totally right.
    You can’t believe simply how much time I had to spend before for this information! Thanks!

    • Actually I’m currently working on Gen3 review. Hopefully, it will be up within this week. Thanks for the reminder though.

      Update: I added the Smittybilt GEN3 winch review on my list this week. Hope this helps.


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