Warn VR vs VR EVO Winch Review [Updated 2020]

Warn has a lot of winch series. And each of their series has at least two models in them. Though a lot of the models in the same series are very identical except for their cables, some models within the same series are quite different.

In the case of the Warn VR series, there are enough differences that they require a degree of comparison among them.

In this review, I’m going to talk about Warn VR series (VR 12, VR 10, and VR 8) and the new generation of VR series: VR EVO (VR Evo 8, VR Evo 10, VR Evo 12).

You can click on the box below to jump to the specific VR model.

Warn VR Winch Review

Before I go to the specific model let me figure out the common features and benefits of all the VR series winches.

  • Powerful and strong winches.
  • Compact and low profile.
  • Sealed waterproof convertible control pack. The control pack is designed to support upright or low profile mounting configuration.
  • You can mount the control pack separately from the winch or you can keep it integrated. So, you have both options.
  • 12 ft wired remote control that works without any issue.
  • I found the redesigned clutch lever easy to use even when wearing gloves as they claim.
  • All of the VR series winches have got 3-stage planetary gear, 3-segment automatic mechanical cone brake that helps to control the recovery process easily and smoothly.
  • The one-piece tie plate increases the strength than the tie bar/rod.
  • All the VR winches are pre-wound onto the drum.
  • These winches seem durable to me.
  • Instead of being equipped with solenoids, these winches utilize waterproof Albright contractors, which they claim is more reliable, durable and easier to control
  • A cast iron brace plate is used instead of tie rods. This provides better structural integrity, reduces noise and just looks better
  • They are backed by 7 years of electrical warranty and a limited lifetime mechanical warranty

The remote control is not waterproof I guess as I haven’t found any such labeling anywhere.

All the winches come with hawse fairlead no matter if the line is steel cable or synthetic rope. But for steel cable, I prefer roller fairlead to hawse fairlead.

Warn consider their VR series winches as standard duty winches and a good fit for your SUV and Trucks. Price-wise these are cheaper than the Zeon or Zeon platinum series.

Overall, if you are looking for a budget solution for your truck /SUV, I would suggest you go for VR series, otherwise, you better go for either Zeon or Zeon platinum.

Things You Should Know Before Buying a Winch

1. Bigger Capacity Than Needed

Always choose a winch that has got at least 1.5 times more capacity than the loaded weight of your vehicle or utility that you want to pull over.

For instance, if the loaded weight of your vehicle is 4000 lb. You should use a winch that has got the capacity of at least 6000 lb to get the best performance.

The loaded weight of the vehicle = the weight of the vehicle + the weight of anything you are carrying in it during the recovery/towing process.

This is also wise in case your vehicle gets stuck somewhere your vehicle will have an increased weight. For example, mud has a powerful suction force. Your vehicle getting stuck in mud will be considerably heavier than normal.

Another example is when your vehicle gets stuck on a slope and you need to pull it upwards. This requires a winch that has a rated load capacity higher than your vehicle’s gross weight.

2. Synthetic Rope or Steel Cable

Both the synthetic rope and steel cable are good to go in terms of performance. But they have their good and bad sides.

Synthetic rope is lightweight, flexible, doesn’t cause any severe injury if it breaks under load, can float on water.

But synthetic rope requires more maintenance than steel cable. It is also generally more expensive than steel cables.

On the other hand, steel cables require less maintenance, stronger than synthetic rope.

But can cause severe injury if it breaks under load. The amount of kinetic energy it stores under load essentially makes it a damaging force should it snap. So, don’t forget to use a dampener to minimize the risk.

Steel cable makes the winch heavier than its synthetic rope counterpart.

3. Understand Waterproofing Winch

Both IP68 and IP67 rated winches, and other components are waterproof. Meaning water and elements can’t cause any damage to the winches that are rated IP68 or IP67.

However, even though the winch you ultimately choose to purchase is rated as waterproof, it is still not wise to submerge it under water. If there is a necessity to use the winch under water, as much as possible make the situation quick.

4. Quality vs Pricing

The synthetic rope version of the same model from Warn winches makes the winch lighter than the steel cable version. But it costs more.

With that, you should know all you need before purchasing your winch. So let's get to the review now!

Warn VR Winch Review

WARN 96820 VR12 12V Electric Winch

Our Rating​

VR 12 winch has got a capacity of 12000 lbs. That means you will get the best performance if you use it to recover your vehicle weighing up to 8000 lb.

I found VR 12 operates a bit slow but not in any significant amount. I must admire the strength that this winch delivers.

This particular model comes with an 80’ steel cable. Like many other models of Warn, you will get the synthetic rope version (VR 12-S) of this model as well. The good thing is the 12-S comes with 90’ rope, meaning you will get 10’ extra here than the VR 12 version.

VR 12-S is significantly lighter than the VR 12.

All the other important features of this winch are already mentioned above. Those features are all shared by all the models in the VR series.

WARN 96810 VR10 Electric 12V Winch

Our Rating​

VR 10 winch is capable of towing your truck / SUV if it weighs 10000 lb, best if 6666 lb.

Like the other models, this one also comes with a steel cable line (80’) and a synthetic rope version (VR 10-S) is also available, where you will get a 90’ synthetic rope line.

I found both VR 10 and VR 10-S perform similar, not to mention they are speedy and strong.

While the installation process is not any hard job, I wouldn’t mind if the instruction manual was a bit clearer.

As before, the same features are installed in this winch as in the previous model.

Let’s watch an installing video of this warn VR 10 winch:

WARN 96800 VR8 12V Electric Winch

Our Rating​

VR 8 winches are capable of towing your vehicle weighing 8000 lbs. Perfect if your vehicle weight is up to 5333 lb.

This time you will get 94’ steel cable for the VR 8 model and 90’ synthetic rope for VR 8-S model.

Quality wise both the lines are good and perform as per the expectation.

The installation process is not hard either.

The quality of the mounting bolts could have been better I must say.

Warn VR EVO Winch Review

WARN 103250 VR EVO 8 Electric 12V DC Winch

Our Rating​

All the models within the Warn VR Evo series share the same important features, like the regular VR models do. That is, they share all features except the rated load capacity and the cable lengths.

All the models in this series are equipped with the same waterproof Albright contractors like the models in the VR series. This contractor is inside the control pack and can easily be relocated for a more low profile installation. This option, I must say, adds a bit more of a personal statement vibe to the winch.

The winches in the series have a 2 in 1 remote that can either be used wired or wirelessly. They are also rated with an IP68 waterproof rating.

Like the VR series, this series also boasts the same cast aluminum tie plate. A 12v series wound motor and a planetary gear train makes these winches efficiently powerful with low amp draw.

All the winches in this series are backed by 7 years of electrical warranty and limited lifetime mechanical warranty.

All the winches in the series are made for standard duty use.

The VR Evo 8 has a 90 ft steel cable and is rated with 8000 lbs pulling capacity. It also has a synthetic rope option.

This model can be perfectly fitted on 2 door jeeps or light SUVs.

WARN 103252 VR EVO 10 Electric 12V DC Winch

Our Rating​

As explained before, all VR Evo winches share the main features except for their cable lengths and rated pulling capacity.

This model has a rated pulling capacity of 10,000 lbs. It comes with a 90 ft cable wire. Like all Warn products, a synthetic rope option is available.

This model is perfect for half ton pickup trucks, jeeps or larger SUVs.

WARN 103254 VR EVO 12 Electric 12V DC Winch

Our Rating​

With a rated pulling capacity of 12,000 lbs, the Warn VR Evo 12 is the strongest in the series. It offers 85 feet of steel cable length that can either be a steel cable or a synthetic rope. It is meant for trucks weighing 1 and ¾ tons as well as other types of large frame rigs.

Verdict On Warn VR and Warn VR Evo Winch

I agree the price of Warn winches is not the lowest one on the market. Still, I recommend Warn winches if you consider quality over anything else to get the job done. They last longer than any other winches.

Each of the models discussed here are well reviewed. They are of very high quality and are durable enough to be considered a good investment for you. If you are in need of a good strong winch that will last, why not consider any of the winches in the Warn VR series?

Let me know if you’ve anything to ask.

Other Winch Series by Warn:

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