JEEP LIFE AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
I can't tell you the amount of time I spent researching and trying to figure out what winch to buy for my Jeep. I spent so many hours checking every option out there...probably to much time actually. I know that each brand has their fans base of supporters, but I wanted to find out what the industry actually has in it, and what makes one better than the other. So...here's what I found and this is the choice I finally made.
First, the concept of the winch is pretty basic. Simply defined, it's a motorized spool of cable or rope that is designed to pull. That said...what makes each one so different. Well, nothing in it's core function. It's more about the bells and whistles. Things like the features, power, design and craftsmanship.
Some are very economically manufactured, keeping costs down with the quality of parts and materials being used. Those may not last as long or work quite as smoothly as the higher end winches, but they are cheap. Flip that scenario around and you have the high end of the market.
Ok...high end (for what we would use on our Jeeps anyway), you're talking about a range from $1000 to $1500 bucks. On the lower end...a couple hundreds bucks. I figured I would land somewhere in the middle of that. Remember, most people buy winches like more of an insurance policy than a tool they use daily. So, there probably isn't the need to purchase top of the price range, unless you want to of course. That said however, they are better.
I went into this wanting a few features. I wanted a sealed up, waterproof winch. I wanted a synthetic line, and I wanted it at least rated for 10,000 pound. Those three features cut out all the low end of the market and brought me a starting point of just over $500 bucks. I narrowed it down to a Warn, and a Smittybilt.
Warn obviously stands on its own. They are a cornerstone in the industry and are known for their reliability. BUT...they are three times the cost.
The Smittybilt looks really good, had the features I wanted, cost way less and although they may not have the reputation of Warn, I didn't find any complaints when doing the research. Plus it's a huge benefit to be able to go straight to 4Wheel Parts (which has great customer service) if there's an issue.
I'm sure you can tell the direction I went, right? Yup...I went with the SmittyBilt X20 Waterproof Synthetic Rope Wireless Winch Gen2. This thing is sealed, runs a beautiful synthetic rope, and looks like a beast! I haven't been out to try it yet...but this coming week, should be able to.
Let's look at the specs:
Waterproofing: IP68 Rating
Rated Line Pull: 10,000Lbs (4,545kgs) Single Line
Motor: 6.6hp Series Wound
Control: Remote Switch, 12’ (3.7m) lead
Gear Train: 3-Stage Planetary
Gear Ratio: 218:1
Clutch: Sliding Ring Gear
Brake: Automatic Out-Of-Drum
Drum Size: Diameter 2.5”
Cable: 98.5’ 3/8” Diameter
Cable Type: Synthetic Rope
Remote Control: Included
Integrated Wireless Remote
Recommended Battery: 650CCA Minimum for Winching
Battery Leads: 25mm2, 72”(1.83m)1
Finish: Textured Black
Weight: 67.0Lbs (30.4Kgs)
Mounting Bolt Pattern: 10.0” x 4.50”
Overall Dimensions: (L x W x H) 22.3” x 5.4” x 9.4”
So, for those looking to pick themselves up a winch, I would recommend giving SmittyBilt a look. This is a great product that won't kill you bank account, and for some of us...that's important!
SmittyBilt Wich line up
*SOME SAD NEWS*. One of the things I stumbled across during this little project that was disheartening is that there are a lot of companies priding themselves with there Made in the USA labels, that are not exactly that. Some are assembled in the USA, and some are partially made in the USA. All that is fine with the exception of leading the customer to believe they are actually getting something designed and manufactured here in the USA. Those same items often come at a premium because of that stamp. Customers like myself are happy to pay a few more bucks for something Made in the USA, not what is required by law to be called made here, but actually made here. Just something to keep in mind when spending you're hard earned money.