Having to deal with a busted tire during a road trip is an experience that almost all of us are somewhat familiar with.
And not having a spare tire in situations like these just make the experience even worse. That is why carrying spare tires with you at all times is very important.
But if you happen to drive a Wrangler, you probably won’t have sufficient space in your vehicle to carry a spare tire and so having a tire carrier is an absolute must.
In the market of tire carriers, Smittybilt and Teraflex are two of the leading companies right now.
If the title “Smittybilt vs. Teraflex Tire Carrier” didn’t give it away already, our goal in this article is to draw up a comparison between these two companies and try to determine which one is better.
Table of Contents
- 1 Recommend Smittybilt Tire Carrier to Buy
- 2 Recommended Teraflex Tire Carrier to Buy
Smittybilt Tire Carrier
Smittybilt is one of the finest companies to be making Wrangler products in the world at the moment. Their tire carrier is no exception.
What Smittybilt offers are a much more budget-friendly alternative to other tire carriers available in the market.
While their objective quality can be questionable at times in certain products, the benefit of these carriers is the convenience and accessibility they provide.
These are tire carriers that are genuinely made for everyone. They are extremely easy to use, very durable, and always have a nice design to them.
If sturdiness is your only priority when it comes to tire carriers, you might find better companies that meet your demand.
But when it comes to convenience, low cost, and solid products, Smittybilt has you covered.
Recommend Smittybilt Tire Carrier to Buy
As we have mentioned, Smittybilt is a great company to buy a tire carrier from. But it is also a company with a wide variety of options.
We have narrowed these options down to 3 products that we believe are the best to come from this company.
Smittybilt 2483 Pivot
This is one of the more expensive choices compared to other products from Smittybilt. But the construction, sturdiness, and convenience make it worthwhile.
Speaking of the construction, this product is made of strong aluminum that makes it sturdy and prevents sagging in the tailgate.
The mounting brackets are made of forged chrome, which actually happens to be stronger than steel by 30%.
The hinge points are very hard, but they can become way too stiff, especially during winter.
However, it completely aces the convenience department. It comes with a mount for the third brake light.
And it’s also very simple and easy to use as the opening and closing are done in single actions.
It can carry a maximum tire size of 37 inches. The highest weight it can carry is 135 pounds, which is quite impressive.
And the installation procedure, however, needs a lot of work. Firstly, the construction is complicated and all over the place.
Secondly, the product doesn’t even come with proper directions to help you set it up, which makes it even more difficult.
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Smittybilt 2743 Oversize Tire Carrier
The “oversize in the name suggests the extra size of tires that it can carry, which extends to 195 pounds.
But the most alluring feature of this product is the price. It costs very little and provides some absolutely amazing features.It is extremely easy to use.
And the cover and the tailgate acts as a single unit when open and closed, and this greatly reduces any sort of complication.
It doesn’t have that strong construction like the previous product, but it still prevents sagging in the tailgate with the use of adjustable arms.
Again, it doesn’t have a complicated design and comes with fairly good directions, making it easy to assemble.
However, there are some issues in the construction, more specifically the attachment lug.
This product doesn’t use wheel lugs and instead uses a two-handed twist to keep the wheel in place. And this may potentially damage your vehicle.
Also, customers have complained that the spare tire often wobbles, suggesting a lack of sturdiness.
Smittybilt XRC Tire Carrier
This product is quite sturdy and durable. It is also quite budget-friendly compared to most tire carriers available in the market at the moment.
The installation process is very simple, and this is owed to the extremely simple design. And the directions could have been better, but that is excusable.
Also, this carrier is very easy to use. The opening and closing happen in single actions, and the cover and the tailgate act as a single unit.
And the cool and unique design also adds to the aesthetic value of the product.
The attached spare tire has been said to be wobbly by some customers, and that is concerning.
Again, it doesn’t have any adjustable arm or especially strong constructions from significantly preventing tailgate sagging.
Related Guide: Warn VR10 Vs VR10S Winch Comparison
Teraflex Tire Carrier
Teraflex is the other noteworthy company that we will talk about in this article. Like Smittybilt, this is also a very popular company for Wrangler products.
This company has a wide range of Wrangler related products, and they are well respected for their firm emphasis on the quality of each product. This applies to their tire carriers as well.
If all that you want from a tire carrier is the sturdiness, there is no alternative to Teraflex. They produce the sturdiest tire carriers in the market.
Because they emphasize on the quality so hard, their products are worth buying less for the aesthetic value and more for the sturdiness, durability, and overall functionality.
The design is mostly kept simple so that the product is easy to assemble and use. However, these products are quite expensive compared to a lot of other carriers, and that may be a deal-breaker for many.
But the functionality, construction, and convenience go a long way to make up for the price.
Recommended Teraflex Tire Carrier to Buy
Just like we did with Smittybilt, we narrowed the best tire carriers from Teraflex down to three and decided to review them.
While these three aren’t all the company has to offer, they are arguably the cream of the crop.
Teraflex 4838150 JK/JKU Alpha Hinged Carrier
Even in Teraflex standards, this product is quite a bit more expensive than your average tire carrier.
While it can be argued that the features of this carrier make up for the price, it is still considered quite an overproduction by many.
The maximum tire size for this product stands at 37 inches. A great feature of this product is the trademark tailgate mounting points.
These make sure that the load of the tire is spread more evenly over a much larger area. This allows the carrier to carry a heavier load.
It is made of strong cast aluminum that makes it sturdy and durable. Like most Teraflex products, the design is quite simple, and so is the construction.
And so, the product is very easy to install. The fact that it is also very lightweight adds to the easy installation process.
But still, the given directions about the installation process could use some improvement as the price of the product is already high enough.
Teraflex JL/JLU Alpha HD Adjustable Spare Tire Mounting Kit
This product is special because it focuses 100% on pure functionality. With tailgate reinforcement, the maximum size of the tire it can carry is 39 inches, which is more than any other carrier on this list. It also adds to your convenience as it comes with a third brake light mount.
Like all Teraflex products, it is strong and durable. But instead of using 100% aluminum construction, it uses aluminum in the carrier and laser-cut steel in the mount.
However, this does add to the overall weight of the product. It can get heavy, which may contribute to making it difficult to install. But thankfully, it is quite easy to operate owing to the very simple design and construction.
As this doesn’t really focus much on design, it might not be aesthetically pleasing, and the paint may wear off eventually.
It is, however, quite budget-friendly compared to other Teraflex products.
Teraflex 4838100 HD Hinger Carrier Kit
A very unique thing about this product is the fact that it is made of very lightweight aluminum.
Thus, it comes with the sturdiness of aluminum while being quite light. Like most carriers, it can carry a tire of 37 inches at max. But it has little to no rattles as it is very sturdy and firm.
It comes with pre-existing mounting holes that make the carrier very easy to install.
You can do it using only common hand tools. It is also very easy to use, like most Teraflex products.
Unlike most Teraflex products, however, this one doesn’t quite deliver on the durability.
The pins become frozen easily after long periods of use, and the tailgate can become quite stiff.
For a company that promised sturdiness and durability, that is quite disingenuous.
While the product does have some interesting features, almost none of them really justify the price. There are better alternatives to this one at a similar price.
Difference between Smittybilt and Teraflex Tire Carrier
Now that you are knowledgeable about the top products of both the companies, it is time to reach a verdict regarding these two companies.
This is arguably the most important feature in any tire carrier.
In this department, Teraflex works much better than Smittybilt.
Teraflex carriers carry the entire weight of the tire in its tailgate while Smittybilt carriers rely on the hinges to carry the weight. This is why the Teraflex products are much sturdier.
While Teraflex products have much stronger construction, the carriers from Smittybilt come with a better and more innovative design.
Teraflex carriers may often be prone to sagging in the tailgate. But most Smittybilt product avoids this fate with the help of adjustable arms. Thus they are usually more long-lasting and durable.
However, Teraflex carriers are still quite durable and will serve you well for a significantly long time because of their strong construction.
This refers to the maximum size and weight of the tires. Both of the companies are actually even when it comes to this as their maximum size usually averages out at 37 inches.
This refers to the installation process and the ease of use. The installation process of Teraflex is much simpler than that of Smittybilt.
Teraflex carriers come with much more detailed directions and have a simpler design. These put it an edge above Smittybilt when it comes to convenience.
The biggest advantage of Smittybilt products is they are price. They offer very good products at a very low cost, and that is something Teraflex simply cannot match. For a budget-friendly option, you should always choose Smittybilt.
When it comes down to pure functionality, Teraflex beats Smittybilt by a narrow margin.
But if you don’t want to spend that much money on a tire carrier, Smittybilt products are your best option. You have to assess your priorities and come to a decision in this regard.
We hope our Smittybilt vs. Teraflex tire carrier comparison helped you in understanding the features and specialties of the two different brands of tire carriers.
Take a good look at all of our recommended products, buy the one that suits you the best, and take your Wrangler out on those lovely road trips with no tension in the back of your mind.