Smittybilt Winch Reviews – 2020 Guide

A winch controller is a device that is designed to pull or let out the tension of a rope and is mainly used for hauling or lifting heavy items. If you’re in the hauling profession, or just a safety freak, and need a Smittybilt winch controller to haul cars, trucks, or other heavy items, then this article is for you

Comparison Chart of the Best Smittybilt Winches


Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch

  • Wireless remote and synthetic line included
  • Completely waterproof
  • 6.6 HP Amphibious motor
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Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch

  • Comes complete with all wiring required for installation
  • 3-stage planetary gear system
  • Waterproof IP67 rating
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Smittybilt 97203 XRC-3

  • Best for the Money
  • Revolutionary planetary gear system
  • 3 000 lbs line rating
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Smittybilt 97204 XRC-4 Winch

  • Best Smittybilt ATV Winch
  • Includes four-way roller fairlead
  • 9HP permanent magnetic motor
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Smittybilt 12000 lb 97412 XRC GEN2 Winch

  • Best Smittybilt 12000 lb Winch
  • Comes with convenient remote control
  • Rated line pull of 12 000 lbs single-line
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Smittybilt 97415 XRC Gen2 Winch

  • Rated line pull of 15 500 lbs
  • 4-way Roller Fairlead
  • Steel rope and hammer-forged hook
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Who is Smittybilt?

Smittybilt was launched back in 1956 when Basil Smitty Smith changed up the off-road parts in his garage workshop. Smitty ran his own shop called Rock-ett Products. It has been more than five decades, and Smittybilt has manufactured accessories as well as high-quality parts and winches for 4-wheelers. The organization developed a very thoughtful and fragile manufacturing process that makes sure that every product distributed is 100% perfect.

Smittybilt is dedicated to developing innovative products that employ the highest-level technology, and are fully operational, functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They have more than 2000 products internationally and are world-renowned for their high quality.

How Does Smittybilt Compare to the Competition?

Before we jump on to the reviews, let’s look over the features that make Smittybilt distinct from its competitors, especially brands such as WARN:

Customer Base

Smittybelt has a large customer base that believes in the quality of their winches. These winches are easy to install and perform very well for longer periods. They also have amazing warranty and customer service and work exactly like they are advertised. This is the reason why their products are well-known and sought after in the market, and they have a loyal customer base.


Smittybilt products are also less expensive and considered to be mid-range in the industry. Brands such as Warn are considered to be high-end as their winches come with a heftier price tag than Smittybilt. However, they are known to be luxurious products as well.

Features and Accessories

Smittybilt winches have many cutting-edge technological features such as wireless remotes. These remote controls are very helpful for operation by a single user. Smittybilt winches are also waterproof, which adds to the longevity and appeal factor of the winches. This is another feature that most brands or competitors do not offer.

Quick Take  - Best Smittybilt Winches

Before you get any further, here are our recommendations for the best smittybilt winches:

  1. Smittybilt (98510) X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch
  2. Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch
  3. Smittybilt 97203 XRC-3

Review of the Best Smittybilt Winches

Now that you have an idea about Smittybilt, let’s dive into its best winch controllers in the market. We’ve devised detailed reviews for each product so that you can figure out if a certain product is for you.  

Smittybilt X2O COMP - Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch - 10,000 lb. Load Capacity


  • 5-year mechanical warranty
  • Waterproof and high-quality design
  • Lifetime coverage for steel-based products
  • 3-stage gear system with great load system
  • Wireless remote and synthetic line included


  • Range of the wireless is less
  • Solenoid mounting is not convenient
  • The hook on the line is not removable

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a great winch that is built with high-quality materials and is very high performing. It is quite sturdy and durable, which makes this winch controller last for a longer period of time. The cable is also super flexible. It can also haul up to 10,000 pounds.

​Why it Stands Out to Us

This product has the best customer service, and it comes with quality features such as water-resistance. It comes with a forged hook and an integrated wireless remote. The matte finish is UV-resistant, and it comes with a large clutch for better and easy control.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great winch for hauling 10,000 pounds of weight and is great for off-road enthusiasts. You can use it on Rubicon as well and is a perfect winch for those who need easy installation as this model comes with all the parts needed for building and is super easy to use.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a winch that is fast, efficient, and easy to install, then this is the one for you. It does everything that it is supposed to do with ease, and the synthetic line works wonders. The wireless remote that comes along with it is super convenient as well.

Smittybilt 9500 lb 97495 XRC GEN2 Winch-9500 Pound Load Capacity


  • Can pull a whopping 9500 pounds of weight
  • Comes with all the wires necessary for installation
  • Compact and lightweight, but also durable and strong
  • Waterproof cable, which makes it harder to get damaged
  • Remote-controlled winch controller makes it easier to use


  • Instructions are not clear
  • Controller tends to break or come apart easily
  • Motor of the remote controller tends to heat up

What Recent Buyers Report

The design of the winch controller is pretty simple and easy to use, which makes it a great product. The magnet that attaches itself to the bumper of the car makes this winch controller very convenient for using it to haul heavy items and load. It is an overall amazing product.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This waterproof winch controller offers stellar performance and functionality. The 3-stage planetary gearing system allows for more speed and pulling power for heavier objects or vehicles. It also comes with a magnetic remote control that attaches itself to metal objects in order to make the pulling process easier.

Who Will Use This Most

We think that this is an amazing controller if you need to pull your truck or small SUVs out of trouble. It is a very powerful device that allows you to do more with less equipment. The materials used in this winch controller are of top-notch quality, and the unit is highly reliable for any kind of vehicle that weighs around 9500 pounds.

Bottom Line

With a lifetime warranty for replacement and a complete kit with instructions given, this winch controller is one of the best ones you can find on the market today. It is versatile, and it is packed with many impressive features that will allow you to pull or haul heavy loads with ease.

Smittybilt 97203 XRC-3 3,000 lbs Winch


  • User-friendly construction and use
  • Easy to install the product into the vehicle
  • Reliable performance and high-quality design
  • Reasonably priced for high-end performance
  • The aircraft cable is galvanized and comes with a replaceable hook


  • Not as durable as others
  • Doesn’t work as fast as the other models
  • End of the spool needs to be locked down

What Recent Buyers Report

Users seemed to be quite pleased with the results of this powerful winch controller. It can lift heavy weights and is designed for heavy-duty purposes, and it is quite easy to install and use. Moreover, it works just as advertised and comes with a replaceable hook and a long cable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The unique features and design of this winch controller make this stand out. The weight capacity that it holds is also super impressive, and for the price, this product definitely provides a bang for the buck. It comes with a powerful permanent magnet motor and a great planetary gear system as well.

Who Will Use This Most

This winch controller has a good weight hauling capacity, which makes it ideal for many types of vehicles. It can be used on trucks, cars, SUVs, and even boats! You can even use it to open doors, and for mountain bikes as well. Overall, this is a high-quality and reliable winch that can be used for various purposes.

Bottom Line

Overall, this winch controller is designed to provide you with excellent performance and use with easy-to-follow instructions. It is a great winch if you want to save some bucks as well. So, if you’re on the hunt for the best value that you can get for your money, then definitely check this one out!

Smittybilt 97204 XRC-4 Winch - ATV UTV Marine Trailer - 4,000 lbs Capacity


  • Comes with a handlebar rocker switch
  • Long galvanized cable is also included
  • Most powerful ATV winch in the market
  • 4-way roller lead and remote control included
  • Equipped with better features and highest quality design


  • Did not function properly for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the customers loved this product and had no complaints. It is easy to mount and comes with a 3-stage planetary gear. The cable built is quite sturdy and durable, which makes this winch controller last for a longer period of time. The cable is also super flexible.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This winch controller comes with a universal mounting plate and an 11-feet remote control. It is made up of high-quality materials and is packed with amazing features such as a long steel cable and 4-way steel roller fairlead so that it is easy to pull heavyweights.

Who Will Use This Most

This is perfect for heavier hauling items such as trucks and other vehicles which need a stronger cable. If you’re a loyal customer of Smittybilt products, then you will love this winch controller. It is a very useful device if you’re road-tripping or shipping a huge shipment in your truck and need a safe back-up in case of accidents.

Bottom Line

Looking for the best winch controller which works on different types of vehicles or for multipurpose use? Then look no further because this is the best winch controller that you can find in the market. With its high-quality materials and impressive features, this is the ultimate winch controller to get.

Smittybilt 12000 lb 97412 XRC GEN2 Winch-12000 Pound Load Capacity


  • 5-year electrical warranty included
  • Waterproof and state-of-the-art design
  • Comes with a lifetime mechanical warranty
  • Can haul up to a whopping 12,000 pounds
  • Comes with a wireless remote for greater efficiency


  • Connector assembly is poorly designed
  • Locknut arrangement needs to be better
  • Mounting piece snapped at the first try for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

This winch controller works great and is highly convenient to use. The remote control’s long-range is also an amazing addition and makes this product far more versatile and flexible for usage. It is also waterproof, which means it stays sturdy and new for longer and doesn’t wear out that easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why this winch controller makes this list is because of the highly advanced technological features that it is equipped with. With a wireless remote controller and a hauling weight of 12,000 pounds, this winch controller is safe to use and packed with high performance and versatility.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a racer or a frequent road-traveler who travels by using a heavy truck or a huge SUV, then this winch controller is perfect for you. It is safe to use, super convenient and does not get damaged easily. Its heavy-duty performance is also stellar, and it can work in long ranges as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a winch controller with fewer hassles and no wires, then this is the one for you. Get ready to be amazed at this advanced piece of technology that lets you get more done in less time. You will find yourself at ease while carrying this safety weapon in your vehicle at all times for emergencies.

Smittybilt 15500 lb. Load Capacity 97415 XRC Gen2 Winch-15500 lb


  • Sturdy design with high-end materials
  • Super easy to install on an aftermarket bumper
  • Comes with a larger clutch lever for making usage easy
  • The hauling weight is 15,500, which means it is quite powerful
  • Wiring diagram with color codes makes the connections easy to determine


  • Instructions are not helpful
  • Side mount bracket is too short
  • Positive cable also needs to be a bit longer

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that this is a great product that is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is well-built and works very well too. It is also super easy to install and looks really sleek and sturdy as well. It is also very powerful and can lift up to 15,500 pounds, making it a real showstopper.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most of the customers found this device to be super easy to use and highly valuable for the price charged. The quality and build of this winch controller are also great, and it has many of the features that you will find in expensive winch controllers. If you’re looking for an impressive model to haul your heavy car, then this is the way to go.

Who Will Use This Most

This winch controller can be used for harbor freight and vehicles such as cars. It can also be used to haul dead cars, as the wireless remote control allows the user to see if the car is being hauled or towed safely or not. The range of this device is also great, which adds to the versatility factor of this device.

Bottom Line

If you’re on the hunt for a reasonable winch controller that performs amazing, then this is one device that you should consider. It can hold a huge amount of weight and can even pick up a car trailer! This device is also weather-resistant and will not disappoint you in terms of performance.

How to Install Smittybilt Winch

Before we wrap up the article, let’s go over the instructions on how to install a Smittybilt winch. You can also look up at the video linked below for a more detailed guide:

  1. Flip the solenoid upside down and put the brackets on. 

  2. Put the brackets on the sides of the solenoid and put the flat pieces on where the wires are. 

  3. Put the spacers below the brackets and put the longer screws in the holes with the lock washer on them. 

  4. With the screws tightened, install the solenoid on top of the winch.  

  5. Grab two Allen screws and tighten them up in the threaded area. 

  6. Connect the terminals for the wiring (they are lettered).

  7. To connect the terminals, unscrew the nut and take the locker and the lock washer off, putting the ring back in there and then tightening it.

  8. Install the nuts and bolts of the winch by using masking tape to hold it in place.

  9. Put some masking tape on the grill and the bumper for protection.

  10. Tighten the square nuts in the housing.

  11. Now you should install the fairlead before you do the wiring. 

  12. Put the bolt in the front and the nut in the back. 

  13. Use an 18mm box wrench to tighten these down. 

  14. With the leads tightened, you can put the clevis hook on the ring. 

  15. Now you’re ready to hook it up to the battery!

How to Use a Smittybilt Winch

Even though winches are quite simple to use, they can be very dangerous if they are not properly used or installed. There are several ways to use a winch controller in different situations, but some basic standard safety rules still apply. Let’s go over the instructions on how to safely use a Smittybilt winch:

  1. Firstly, you need some kind of anchor to attach the winch on to, and if you are in the woods, you can easily use a tree. 

  2. Gloves should be used, especially while handling steel cables. Then plug in the winch in the controller, and then begin spooling. Make sure you don’t unspool too quickly as that can be dangerous. 

  3. You need to hang over a dampener on the winch cable once the winch is hooked to the anchor. 

  4. Make sure that the winch cable is taut, and that your vehicle’s power levels are adequate. 

  5. Make sure that you don’t cause any hastiness, as that could disrupt the process and put you in danger. 

  6. Ensure that everything is fastened properly and that your vehicle produces enough electricity for the winch. 

  7. Pull the spool cable back up when the car is out

Smittybilt vs Warn - Brand Comparison

Both these brands are well-known for their high-quality truck accessories. Both brands also have a loyal customer base, but there are a few differences that set them apart:

Customer Satisfaction

Most of the Smittybelt users are highly satisfied with their products. Their winches are easy to install and perform very well for a long period of time. They also have an excellent warranty and work exactly like they are advertised. Warn products are harder to install, but their performance is stellar. Their products are also more long-lasting than Smittybilt.


Smittybilt products are also relatively less expensive than Warn winches and are considered to be mid-range in the industry. Warn is considered to be a high-end brand, and their products come with a higher price tag but are also expected to last for a longer period of time.


Smittybilt winches have many convenient features, such as wireless remotes. These remote controls are very helpful for operation by a single person. They are also waterproof, which is another great feature that adds to the durability factor of the winches. Meanwhile, Warn winches do not come with remote control, but their modern line of winches is waterproof and a better clutch lever and brace.


Buying a winch controller is a tricky task and should be done carefully as getting the wrong one can be dangerous if it does not match the type of operation you need it for. Hopefully, this article guided in the main aspects of a winch controller and its features and helped you in making an informed decision. Happy Pulling!

People Also Ask

If you have a few queries or concerns, you can go over this portion to make sure that your doubts are answered. Here are a few frequently asked questions by customers with regard to the performance of Smittybilt. You can read on to clear out some of your ambiguities about the brand:

Where Are Smittybilt Winches Made?

Smittybilt products are made by a low bidder in China. They manufacture all the products, and the components used in the making of the winches are also made from China. Warn products, on the other hand, are manufactured in Oregon in Portland.

What Size D Ring For Smittybilt XRC?

You can use a size ¾ pin with a Smittybilt XRC, and you can get this from any hardware store. It works great, and you will not face any issues with this size. You will also not face any issues with pulling or connecting with this D ring size.

Who Owns Smittybilt

Transamerican Auto Parts acquired Smittybilt and has the largest collection of their products in the market. They also sell all of their parts, equipment as well as accessories that are made by Smittybilt, and sell them in their markets.