When you’re thinking about building an off-road rig or even take to the backcountry. The need for a winch should be top of your list of must-haves. There are few items that can poise to be such a crucial piece of equipment as a winch system is. However, that said there are numerous brands and models to pick from. Thus we had to create an article to showcase the differences and similarities between Smittybilt vs Warn Winch systems. If you’re someone that is more partial to Superwinch, don’t hesitate to view the Superwinch vs Warn Winch match up.
Company History –
In order to get a better picture of what Superwinch and Warn stand for we first need to take a look at their company history.
Warn History –
When it comes to off-road gear and a legacy of history, Warn Industries has to be the #1. Since 1948, Warn has been trusted by off-road enthusiast, ATV, and UTV owners. Being a leader in making the electric winches, is not easy, as they have been constantly innovating for the last 70+ years. Over time they have been able to expand and create just about every product that pairs with a winch. For example, bumpers, mounting systems, shackles, 4WD hubs, vehicle specific kits, and powersports accessories.
Warn Industries didn’t just stop at the off-road industry. They have a full line of electric and hydraulic winches and hoists for the industrial and commercial sector as well. Therefore, if you’re looking for a brand that is trusted on the back of a tow truck or the front of a military vehicle, Warn is a great choice for a winch system.
The Details –
In 1930, Arthur and Sadie Warn begin a Willys dealership in Southpark, Washington. Willy’s is better known for the design and product behind the military jeeps. That said, in 1948, they founded Warn Industries. The idea was to convert thousands of military surplus Jeeps into useful on-road vehicles. Arthur was an innovator and inventor, beginning his sales door-to-door in Seattle. It quickly bloomed into a mail-order business with the help of some ads in popular mechanics.
By 1954, Warn locking hubs where being offered as an option from the factory equipment in numerous automobiles. They quickly became an OEM supplier for companies such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, KIA, and Nissan.
With the hub sales quickly gaining pace, Warn Industries began to revolutionize the off-road market with electric winches. At a time vehicles had a Power-take-off or more commonly PTO, which are found on tractors. This required an engine to run, however, if you’re stalled on a hill it served as useless. Which is why the Warn electric winch was so captivating by 1974.
Warn quickly began to expand into the ATV and UTV markets as the need for high-quality gear was required. This allowed Powersports owners the ability for self-recovery.
Warn Industries today has over 180,000 sqft of engineering, manufacturing, and office space located in Clackamas, Oregon with over 350 employees. Warn holds over 100 patents and 600 products, continuing to innovate and design leading off-road products.
Smittybilt History –
For over five decades Smittybilt has manufactured some of the best parts and accessories for 4wd vehicles, ATVs, UTVs, and all types of off-road vehicles. Even though Smittybilt started as a small one-man operation today they have created some of the most sophisticated manufacturing processes. Allowing Smittybilt to create some of the most innovative and high-quality parts and accessories.
Smittybilt offers products for trucks, Jeeps, ATV and UTV owners looking to hit the trails, beach, backcountry, and mud. Therefore, from winches, grille savers, to light bars, and racks. Smittybilt has created some of the best off-road products. You can easily equip your rig with a full Smittybilt product line up and have one of the toughest rigs on the trail.
The Details –
Smittybilt started in 1956, with a man named Basil Smith, or “Smitty”. He owned a small machine shop in his garage called Rock-ett Products. He was a large believer in the four wheel drive industry. So much that he began to develop and create drive equipment for SUV’s and Jeeps primarily. His son Tom, began to work in the company and expand their product selection and forming the “Smittybilt” name.
Today Smittybilt has thousands of parts servicing the Jeep market and SUV market. With products such as the original nerf bars and front and rear bumpers for Jeeps. Smittybilt has been able to establish quite the name in the off-road industry.
If you’re looking for industry-leading off-road products and accessories you’re going to have to evaluate Smittybilt. It’s hard to believe that a company this size today started in a home workshop from a guy that saw a vision to make better off-road equipment.
Smittybilt vs Warn Winch Head To Head –
In order to explain the match-up of Smittybilt vs Warn Winch systems, it’s best to compare a few models head to head to see how they match-up. That said, we picked one set of ATV/UTV winches that are comparable in capacity and one set of vehicle specific winches to see how they match up for features and benefits.
Smittybilt vs Warn Winch | ATV UTV Match-Up –
When you’re looking for a new ATV or UTV winch there can be numerous models to choose from. For example, Smittybilt has five models in weight capacity ranges such as 2,000, 3,000, 4,000. Whereas, Warn has four models that are offered in 2,500 – 4,500 lb ratings. With just Smittybilt and Warn you can see you have a lot of options to match your ATV size or capacity. In order to create a far match up we selected two models that match weight capacity and model features to create a fair head-to-head.
Smittybilt XRC 4.0 Winch –
For Smittybilt they wanted a winch that would have no fake marketing to make a winch seem better than it actually is. Instead, they wanted to create a winch that has the best in class motor, line speed, and features that are premium offered as standard. The XRC 4.0 winch is a revolutionary planetary gear system that has a 4,000 lb line rating. Making this one of the best ATV winches in the industry.
- 4,000 lbs Capacity
- 4.1 hp 12 Vot Permanent Magnet Motor
- 17 lbs
- 32′ 1/4″ Steel Rope
- 198:1 Gear Reduction Ratio
- 11ft Hand-Held Remote Switch
- 3-Stage Planetary Drive Gear
- 4.1 Hr Motor
The XRC 4.0 winch from Smittybilt is offered in one of the biggest motors available for an ATV or UTV. As a result, you get a very high-speed line speed with or without load. The motor is matched with a three-state planetary gear system that offers a 198:1 gear ratio. This provides you with the power and torque to pull yourself out of a stuck situation or even use it with a snow plow day in and day out. The XRC has a high-performance solenoid and wire loom, it even has a 4-way roller fairlead to offer an easy line in and out. All Smittybilt Winches are SAE-J706 standard ratings for winches.
Warn VRX 35 Winch –
For Warn, the VRX is offered as a workhouse performance system. If you’re looking for a winch that needs to hit the farm, this winch has the durability to last. However, if you’re more of a recreational rider that needs a high-performance winch for the trail. The VRX is by far the best value in Warns lineup. The VRX is offered in 2,500, 3,500, and 4,500 lb capacities making them very versatile for any size ATV or UTV.
- 3,500 lb capacity
- Synthetic or Steel Cable
- Corrosion Resistant
- 50′ 7/32″ Steel Rope
- Limited Lifetime Warranty (Mechanical)
- 3-Year Warranty (Electrical)
- IP68 Waterproof Rating
- 15.8 – 4.0 fpm
- 20 – 192 amps
The Warn VRX is built with durable all-metal construction that is rugged and durable enough for the ranch or the trail. Inside the construction is a smooth and reliable all-metal three-stage planetary gear train that powers the winch with exceptional pulling torque. The VRX has a load-holding mechanical brake for exceptional control under load. Plus with a Warn VRX you get a great warranty and included handlebar-mounted rocker switch to use your winch while keeping your hands on your ATV. Lastly, the Warn VRX is complete with an IP68 waterproof sealing that keeps mud, dirt, sand, and water out of the mechanicals. This allows you to hit the trail with confidence to hit any trail.
Smittybilt vs Warn Winch | ATV Match-up –
When we decided to evaluate the ATV lineup for Smittybilt and Warn. We looked at the performance and the value of each system. After a close competition, the Warn Winch won over our pick as the best ATV winch in our match-up. Warn offers a much more sophisticated system that easily can meet the demands of every type of ATV or UTV rider or worker. It was a tough decision as the price was important to our evaluation, but for the extra money, you get so much more with the Warn winch system.
Smittybilt X20 Comp Winch –
The all new Gen2 X20 series is updated with the latest heavy-duty features for peak performance. With a 6.6 hp oversized motor, it offers the best torque in the industry with the matched 3-stage planetary gear system. This allows for some of the fastest line speeds and pulling power. We picked the Comp series as it offers the best performance features with an all aluminum fairlead, and lightweight synthetic rope. It even offers an exclusive Dynamic Braking system which helps to reduce drum temperatures by 66%. Which is why the synthetic rope is offered for these models as the top-of-the-line option.
- Wireless Remote
- IP68 Waterproof Rating
- 5 Year Warranty
- 98.5′ x 3/8″ Synthetic Rope
- 31.1 fpm with no load
- 6.6 HP Motor
- 218:1 Gear Reduction
- Oversized Clutch Lever
The Smittybilt X20 Comp is one of the industry leading winch systems, as it’s by far the most affordable. Now it may not have the same aesthetic look as the ZEON, but if you’re going to flush mount your winch, who cares. Because the X20 offers plenty of power and performance for such a low-cost price. The winch can be ordered in 10,000 all the way up to 17,500 lb rating. Whereas, the ZEON is limited to 12,000 lbs. However, we have to mention the ZEON is offered in an 8,000 lb unit.
The outside of the winch is designed with UV-resistant matte black textured finish, and a large clutch for easy control even when wearing gloves. If performance is what you’re seeking and you have a budget to stick to there is no better winch than the X20 Comp Series. With a robust mechanical system and a lightweight synthetic rope option. The X20 is a leading winch that holds it’s own against any type of situation.
Warn ZEON 10-S –
The Warn ZEON was built for the Jeep, SUV, or truck owners looking to reach peak performance from a winch will still be affordable. Designed to handle tough situations with a durable and high-quality construction. Made from an aluminum housing that keeps the weight down and the looks top notch. This winch is almost more of a statement, but yet it stands up to its style with heavy pulling power.
- 12v DC Permanent Magnet
- 3-Stage Planetary Gearing
- 62 – 409 Amp Draw
- 10,000 lb weight
- 28.9 lbs Overall Weight
- 15.8 fpm (no load)
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- 100′ x 3/8″ Synthetic Rope
The ZERO is an all-new design planetary gear train with a series wound motor that is extraordinarily quiet, fast and reliable when you need it. The overall housing is made of high-grade aluminum to protect the system when going over rocks, trees, or rough terrain. This also allows for the winch to be lightweight and keep your overall presence as light as possible for performance. Warn has designed the drum of the ZEON with a large diameter to keep wear down and lightweight. It even has a built-in rope anchor for easy rope installation.
Warn equips the ZEON with a 100′ Warn Spydura and the housing includes a temperature-resistance sleeve and a nylon sliding sleeve. If that’s not enough to protect the rope it even has a polished aluminum fairlead. The ZERO is a versatile system that allows for the controller pack to be attached to the winch or just as a remote. Therefore, giving you options for securing the winch to your vehicle.
Smittybilt vs Warn Winch | 10,000 lb Match-up –
For our evaluation, we decided to look at which winch is the best performance value winch. For the price you have to pay to get the ZEON 10-S, the Smittybilt is by far the better option. It’s almost 3 times cheaper and has numerous standard options that the Warn ZEON winch has as well for much more. If looks are the most important feature then you can’t go wrong selecting the Warn over the Smittybilt. However, for our match-up the Smittybilt X20 is our best pick.