Harbor Freight Apex 12K Comp or Smittybilt X20 10K Comp?

pitsqrd

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After reading a bunch of reviews on this JL Forum, other sources and watching YouTube vids, I bought a Harbor Freight 12K APEX Winch with a 25% off coupon for about $450. When I got it home I realized it only has a 90 Day warranty. I called HFT and they said I could purchase a 1yr extended warranty for $130 and a 2yr extended warranty for $170, within 30 days of original purchase date. If I buy the 2yr extended warranty the price will add up to $620 (excl tax).

The other winch I was looking at before I bought this HBF Apex was the Smittybilt X20 10K Comp. I can get this off of Amazon for $585 or Northridge 4x4 for $580 (both free shipping) and it comes with Lifetime Mechanical and 5yr Electrical Warranty.

So, questions to you more experienced folks are:
- Anyone with a HFT APEX winch that wished they bought an extended warranty?
- Do winches usually fail that I would need to worry about the warranty?
- Go with "proven reliability" of Smittybilt X20 10K winch or roll the dice with HFT Apex 12K winch at the good price of $450 w/out extended warranty?

Thanks in advance
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DanW

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After reading a bunch of reviews on this JL Forum, other sources and watching YouTube vids, I bought a Harbor Freight 12K APEX Winch with a 25% off coupon for about $450. When I got it home I realized it only has a 90 Day warranty. I called HFT and they said I could purchase a 1yr extended warranty for $130 and a 2yr extended warranty for $170, within 30 days of original purchase date. If I buy the 2yr extended warranty the price will add up to $620 (excl tax).

The other winch I was looking at before I bought this HBF Apex was the Smittybilt X20 10K Comp. I can get this off of Amazon for $585 or Northridge 4x4 for $580 (both free shipping) and it comes with Lifetime Mechanical and 5yr Electrical Warranty.

So, questions to you more experienced folks are:
- Anyone with a HFT APEX winch that wished they bought an extended warranty?
- Do winches usually fail that I would need to worry about the warranty?
- Go with "proven reliability" of Smittybilt X20 10K winch or roll the dice with HFT Apex 12K winch at the good price of $450 w/out extended warranty?

Thanks in advance
I'd go Smitty for one reason. I am pretty sure it is lighter. Weight adds up on a Jeep and robs performance and fuel economy. A little here, a little there. I think the Apex is pretty heavy. My brother has one and it felt like around 80lbs.
 

Zandcwhite

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I'd go Smitty for one reason. I am pretty sure it is lighter. Weight adds up on a Jeep and robs performance and fuel economy. A little here, a little there. I think the Apex is pretty heavy. My brother has one and it felt like around 80lbs.
The smittybilt is 68lbs, I doubt 12lbs will make any difference in performance or fuel economy. They are both budget Chinese winches and the apex is rated for 17% more weight. In my opinion the build quality is about the same. There is no way I’d pay an additional 40% for a 2 year warranty. If you want the warrant, buy the smittybilt. Otherwise I’d just run the apex as is.
 

DanW

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The smittybilt is 68lbs, I doubt 12lbs will make any difference in performance or fuel economy. They are both budget Chinese winches and the apex is rated for 17% more weight. In my opinion the build quality is about the same. There is no way I’d pay an additional 40% for a 2 year warranty. If you want the warrant, buy the smittybilt. Otherwise I’d just run the apex as is.
12lbs here, 12 lbs there. It adds up. And most rarely use a winch. I would keep every pound off I could. My XRC is only 46 pounds.
 

Mtenna99

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The apex winch is roughly 58 lbs. I just installed it.

edit* Now that I think about it my scale isn’t very accurate and I can’t remember which direction it’s inaccurate. Lol.
 

DanW

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The apex winch is roughly 58 lbs. I just installed it.

edit* Now that I think about it my scale isn’t very accurate and I can’t remember which direction it’s inaccurate. Lol.
Shipping weight is over 80. So I'd put it at or just under 80. I lifted both, although not back to back, but the Apex was clearly much heavier than the XRC. Mine is the previous gen XRC. I think the newest one is a little heavier than 46lbs.

But it is a great winch, too. If I were frequently pulling big loads I'd probably go for one. It is a beast, for sure!
 
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pitsqrd

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Thanks for the advice and opinions. I asked the same question in my local jeep club and was advised to check out the Warn VR EVO 10. For around $560 (before tax) I hear it's a good winch and 10K is probably all I'm gonna need in hopefully the rare occasions I would use it.

I'm sure there is a whole bunch of threads and posts on this, but is an additional $200 worth the synth cable version of the VR EVO 10 vs the steel cable version? I'm thinking with appropriate care and safety precautions, the steel cable should be sufficient? Any strong alternative opinions?
 

DanW

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Thanks for the advice and opinions. I asked the same question in my local jeep club and was advised to check out the Warn VR EVO 10. For around $560 (before tax) I hear it's a good winch and 10K is probably all I'm gonna need in hopefully the rare occasions I would use it.

I'm sure there is a whole bunch of threads and posts on this, but is an additional $200 worth the synth cable version of the VR EVO 10 vs the steel cable version? I'm thinking with appropriate care and safety precautions, the steel cable should be sufficient? Any strong alternative opinions?
I'd get something with the synthetic rope. It is safer and lighter. Even with precautions, the steel cable is a pain in the butt to mess with. You need gloves, a weight over the cable, and it not only is heavier, but the roller fairlead adds some weight, as well. Once you use synthetic rope, you'd never go back to wired rope. And the Warn VR comes out of China same as the others. I've seen lots of Smittys in our Jeep club and I've not seen one fail. I've got an older Engo and it's never had a hiccup, either. I think most of them are pretty good nowadays, including the Harbor Freight.

Honestly, I'd take the Apex with synthetic rope over the Warn VR with wire rope any day. With equal price and rope, I'd take the warn, though.
 

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I just installed the Apex winch. For the price, you cant beat all you get with the Apex. The Apex, smittybilts, and warn evos are all chinese winches. Budget winches. Not really a big deal to me. As far as weight, I wouldn’t sweat it. These arent exactly great MPG vehicles. Also the “shipping weight” of the Apex includes the hook, wires, fairlead, fairlead plate, license plate bracket, hardware, packaging, etc....
 

DanW

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I just installed the Apex winch. For the price, you cant beat all you get with the Apex. The Apex, smittybilts, and warn evos are all chinese winches. Budget winches. Not really a big deal to me. As far as weight, I wouldn’t sweat it. These arent exactly great MPG vehicles. Also the “shipping weight” of the Apex includes the hook, wires, fairlead, fairlead plate, license plate bracket, hardware, packaging, etc....
Yep, but that weight is still there when you install it on the Jeep. The packaging might be a few pounds. My Smittybilt previous gen XRC weighed 46lbs with all that stuff included. So it was indeed apples to apples when I compared the weight of the two.

I agree, however, that the Apex is a great package. I just offered the weight as something to consider, if that is a priority. But most folks who complain about power or mileage have loaded their Jeeps down with up to a thousand pounds of bumpers, winch, skid plates, wheels, tires, suspension parts, and accessories. They add up. And they cost. And EVERY Jeep I've seen on the trail that has broken drive train or suspension parts were heavy weights. I've never seen a stock Jeep in any of the Jeep clubs I'm with break on the trail. Not one. Now some more good news. The JL has turned out to be a beast. There was an article, I think in Fourwheeler, by a lady who rents Jeeps and she talked about about all the things, especially axle housings, they broke on their JK fleet. They haven't broken any of those kinds of things, including not one single axle housing, on their JL fleet. So it appears that if you do load up the JL, it can take it better than the JK, and probably any other Jeep before it.

You can still do an Apex and keep weight down by looking at other areas. Everything is a compromise. Everything. Heck, even my 46lb Smitty is deadweight 99% of the time I'm on the trail, so it is a compromise just by having it at all.

My brother has the Apex and a heavy (but nice) Bestop bumper on the front of his Gladiator. He stuck with stock wheels and put some 35" Wildpeaks on it and his Jeep still performs well. So
 
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