The winch is one of those devices which really displays the scope of physics. It can weigh about 60 pounds by itself but will have the load capacity of 100 times that. Needless to say, a winch is a very useful device.
It allows you to easily lift and shift very heavyweights between distant locations, often over difficult roads such as muddy or rocky roads.
Being as useful as they are, it is important that you do your research before picking a winch.
This article will be pitting the Rugged Ridge vs. Smittybilt Winch against each other to highlight their individual qualities so that you can pick the right winch for yourself
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Rugged Ridge Winch
Rugged Ridge is a popular brand amongst Jeepers, given that they specialize in producing affordable and quality accessories and parts for Jeep vehicles.
The company also produces equipment for enthusiasts of off-roading. However, their main mission is undoubtedly to carry on primarily serving the Jeep community.
They produce bumpers, tube doors, rocker guards, and of course, winches for Jeep vehicles.
While Rugged Ridge is one of many brands producing heavy-duty accessories for vehicles, it has been able to build a reputation for its products for being relatively affordable and durable.
Their products are definitely up to speed with current times, as well, being of good quality and also fitting the aesthetic of your vehicle.
In terms of winches specifically, Rugged Ridge has a number of options to offer.
Recommended Rugged Ridge Winch to Buy
Now that we are more familiar with the brand itself, it is time to look more into specific winches from Rugged Ridge, which you might consider buying.
Rugged Ridge 15100.05 Nautic Winch
This winch from Rugged Ridge is about 60 pounds in weight, featuring a water-resistant solenoid pack, gearbox, and motor.
It measures 26 inches by 13 inches by 10 inches. The winch’s motor is from the 6.6 HP series and is durable with added pull power.
And the gear ratio of its gearbox (3-stage and planetary) is 161.3:1, which means that it comes with a high delivery power and is also reliable.
The steel cable on this Rugged Ridge winch measures 94 feet (or 28.5 meters) and has a diameter of 8 millimeters. It also features an automatic load-holding braking mechanism.
Its X-braced gearbox compartment and motor cap allow for increased pulling strength.
The winch’s latch hook is also powder coated along with the winch’s hardware being stainless, so it will not wear or rust easily.
Also, this winch is available in a few options. Depending on which one you buy, you can pull weights from 9,500 pounds to 12,500 pounds. The rope itself is available as a synthetic rope or as steel cable.
All winches from Rugged Ridge’s Nautic series are heavy duty and come with a style of fairlead, which makes it easy to mount a maximum of two off-road lights.
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Rugged Ridge Ultimate 10,500lbs Winch
This Rugged Ridge winch also features a 6.6 HP series motor, which is durable and ensures increased pulling power.
It has a 12 strands braided rope (synthetic material), which is 94 feet long with a ⅜ inch diameter.
The rope has a 19,310 pounds worth of braking force. This winch from Rugged Ridge also comes with a handy grab strap, which ensures a solid hold on the tow hook when the winch is being free-spooled.
The cover that this winch comes with is made of long-lasting canvas and has strong grommets at all the attachment areas.
This winch also comes with a recovery kit, which includes a recovery strap, a trunk protector, one pair of D-rings, a snatch block pulley, a line dampener, leather gloves, and of course, a portable storage bag.
And the winch itself will float on water, is protected so that it will not overheat, and will not become splintered.
Smittybilt is yet another brand Jeepers look to when buying parts and accessories for their vehicles. It is also popular in the off-roading community.
Their main appeal is that they provide durable and quality products that are also affordable.
The brand is also always innovating and changing to better serve its customers as per current market trends.
Apart from tow accessories, trail equipment, high-quality tents, and their original ‘nerf bar’ steps and bumpers, Smittybilt also provides an array of winches.
The company’s most advanced winches feature immense pulling power and modern elements (such as a synthetic rope instead of a steel cable) while being affordable.
Pulling power is also a segment where Smittybilt provides its customers with different options.
Their winches not only perform well but are also built to be able to fit much older models of Jeeps and SUVs.
Of course, amongst their sizable collection of winches, there are a couple that must be considered if you are in the market for a new and reliable winch.
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Recommended Rugged Smittybilt Winch to Buy
Let us now look into the various features of two of the newest and most popular winches from the Smittybilt winch line-up.
Smittybilt XRC GEN2 Winch
The XRC Gen2 winch from Smittybilt has a 6.6 horsepower amphibious motor and a 3-stage planetary gear system.
It is entirely waterproof and contains a 500 AMP solenoid. This winch also comes with a corded remote controller, and has a load capacity of 9500 pounds to 12500 pounds, depending on the model you purchase.
And the accompanying kit has all the wiring you would need during installation.
It is a powder-coated product, which means that it comes with a 3-year warranty.
This winch weighs 78 pounds and measures 5.4 inches by 9.4 inches by 22.3 inches. It also has a voltage of 12 volts.
Moreover, the XRC Gen2 is made up of stainless steel hardware. This model from Smittybilt is designed to be flexible, meaning that it fits into various types of four-wheelers.
It has a 4-way roller fairlead, and its rope is steel cable. The XRC Gen2 also has 3 mounting options for its solenoid.
While its mechanical elements come with a lifetime warranty, its electrical components have a warranty period of 3 years.
Though it delivers a high line speed, it does require higher use of power, which may make it heat up fast or affect the battery over time.
Smittybilt X2O COMP Winch
The X2O line is the other popular line of winches from Smittybilt. And the COMP in the model’s name is due to its competition aluminum fairlead.
This winch comes with a synthetic rope, a hawse fairlead with a forged hook, any wires you might need during installation or use, a sleeve for the rope, and a wireless remote.
Though the wireless remote is one of its most appealing features, the winch can also be operated manually.
When traveling, you should keep spare batteries for the remote. The X2O COMP has the same 6.6 HP amphibious motor as the XRC Gen2, as well as the 3-stage planetary gear system, and stainless steel hardware.
Unlike the XRC Gen2, it has a dynamic braking system but only 2 mounting positions for its solenoid.
It does have a lifetime warranty for its mechanical components, but also 5 years of warranty for its electrical components (unlike the 3 years of the XRC Gen2).
Moreover, the X2O COMP from Smittybilt weighs 67 pounds, is 22.3 inches long, 5.4 inches wide, and 9.4 inches tall.
It is also completely waterproof, down to its 500 AMP solenoid. The loading capacity of this winch is 10,000 pounds.
Difference between Smittybilt and Rugged Ridge Winch
Now that we know more about both brands, and are also familiar with the winches they each produce, let us compile the above information to compare winches from both brands and see if one is better than the other, or if both are quite similar.
Range of Products
Both Smittybilt and Rugged Ridge have a wide range of Jeep-specific products.
While Smittybilt also makes products for trucks and ATVs, both brands seem to have a similar range of products.
One may argue that, given this wide range of products, they might be unable to improve on their winches specifically.
However, both brands do, at the end of the day, specializing in products meant for a specific type of vehicle.
Hence, it is safe to say that they will not leave any failings in an important recovery product, such as a winch.
As stated above, one of the key appeals of both these brands is their affordability.
That said, the prices of the winches discussed above do not vary that much amongst themselves.
Though, special features such as a remote controller or a higher load capacity, will add to a winch’s overall price, regardless of its brand.
In fact, all of the above winches are priced between 350 USD to 500 USD.
Rugged Ridge and Smittybilt are both brands that have been around for a considerable amount of time now, with the latter being much older than the former.
Even so, they are still amongst the most popular brands that Jeepers look to for servicing and enhancing their vehicles.
That goes to show that they are still relevant, and hence reliable, sources of Jeep accessories and components.
Their time on the market also means that they have had time to improve on and innovate their winches to fit customer needs.
Though which winch (and from which brand) you go for is up to you in the end, this Rugged Ridge vs. Smittybilt winch article has hopefully given you more perspective regarding that decision.
Taking all of the above into account, you should try to buy a winch that is reliable and will suit your needs, but you should also be sure to care for it well so that it does live up to its warranty, and maybe even longer than that.