Smittybilt XRC8 Winch – Is it Worth it?

Smittybilt 97281 XRC-8 8,000 lbs Winch

Our Rating

** Dec 2020 UPDATE: This model is out of stock. You might want to check Smittybilt XRC Gen 2 model.

Each major winch brand has their own golden goose, their ace in the hole, the model that is super. Warn has the ProVantage series and Superwinch has the Terra winch lineup. And Smittybilt has the XRC winch models.

The Smittybilt XRC series has many models with different weight capacities. In this article we are focusing on the Smittybilt XRC8 winch model, which has a load capacity of 8000 lbs.

  • Very strong and reliable
  • Easy to install
  • Very affordable compared to other winches of the same caliber
  • Highly durable
  • Easy o use and install
  • Quite slow compared to other winch models

** Dec 2020 UPDATE: This model is out of stock. You might want to check Smittybilt XRC Gen 2 model.

The Smittybilt XRC series has made quite a bit of a noise in the winch industry. Smittybilt is known for providing quality over the decades, and it is good to say that the XRC models did not break the trend. The winch is the perfect combination of toughness and simplicity. And it also does not hurt that the Smittybilt XRC8 winch does not cost as much as 8000 lb winches from other brands.

As for its features, the Smittybilt XRC8 winch packs quite a wallop. It has a whopping 5.5 horsepower series wound 12 volt motor. It has a three stage planetary gear system with 172:8:1 gear ratio. Now, not everyone may understand what that means; not all of us have a working understanding of engineering, but suffice it to say that that gear ratio delivers a reliable power. This winch has muscles!

The winch is very dependable. It is heavy duty, yet simple enough to use and install. A remote control with a 12 foot lead is included as well as a four way steel roller fairlead. It comes with a steel wire cable, and disappointingly, there is no synthetic rope option for the synthetic rope camp. However, you can buy a synthetic rope and use it with this winch, it is perfectly compatible with it. If you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of steel wire cables and synthetic ropes, see this informative and in depth guide.

The winch itself is quite compact. It can perfectly and snugly fit a winch bumper. And the good thing about it is that it is the sort of winch that you can install and “forget”(not totally forget, you still need to maintain it). It is built to last. Although there is no waterproof rating that I can see, I know that a little water can’t stop this winch from performing. It is pretty straightforward and easy to install. A basic mechanical skill in handling wrenches is all that you need.

It has an automatic in-the-drum brake, a rotating ring gear clutch and a 5/16 inch diameter steel wire cable that is 94 feet long. The thing is convenient. With that 94 feet of cable, you need not worry about getting stranded in sticky terrain.

Perhaps the biggest drawback this winch has is that it is not as fast as other winches with the same load capacity. But for the price you can get this winch at, it is not just a bargain, it is a steal. Sure it is slow, but it gets the job done reliably, and you don’t have to spend a lot of dough for it.

Another great “feature” of this winch is that it is backed by a two year limited warranty on the mechanical parts and a one year warranty on the electrical components.

If you want to make the most out of your money, the Smittybilt XRC8 winch is your best bet. It will not let you down.

** Dec 2020 UPDATE: This model is out of stock. You might want to check Smittybilt XRC Gen 2 model.

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