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Warn Zeon 10-S: 12-volt winch test

By Mark Allen, 22 Aug 2017 Recovery

Warn Zeon 10 S main

Contender 1: Is the dearest winch at test the best?

WARN winches represent the best of the best in quality and design – and you pay for that!

Check out more of 4X4's Ultimate Winch Test

The Zeon range is the most advanced ‘looking’ winch available, thanks to the moulded control box fitted atop the winch body and larger diameter motor and gearbox surrounds.

So large, in fact, it was the only winch that wouldn’t fit into our winch cradle without removing the cradle’s carrying arms. If you’re set on buying this winch, check first that it will fit into your chosen bullbar and check the control box will also fit as intended.

Warn Zeon 10-S winch kitWarn have omitted horsepower specs from its winch line-up and, despite all requests, no official results are available. Warn just note that its winches are ‘series wound’ – which all others are, too.

The Warn Zeon’s unique way of attaching the rope is superior to all others. It negates rope damage and offers a strong purchase point, as well as attains a high load, without breaking. The drum isn’t painted or powdercoated as all others are, which affords a better grip on the rope to help avoid rope-slip under load.

A long, red sheath on the drum-end helps to stop too much rope being pulled off, but it rolls more than a full drum and a half to help avoid slippage under load. The Zeon rope was the equal longest (with the Bushranger Seal) by a couple of metres on test, offering 30.5m in total.

Warn Zeon 10-S ropeThe Warn thimble is the only thimble (other than the Warn Magnum) to not crush during winching. It features an extra plate welded into the eye to prevent the loop from crushing during high-load winching.

On the remote handpiece, an easily-understood pictorial explanation of winching in and out gets the message across clear and simple. So too are the pictorial instructions for engaging and disengaging the clutch via the dimpled lever. The rubber cover over the remote plug affords weatherproofing to keep dust and water out.

Warn Zeon 10-S pullingOn paper, the Zeon had a slight advantage over the other winches, as it’s rated at 10,000lb instead of 9500lb, but it made little difference when hauling our sled. It performed faultlessly and pulled fourth fastest overall while drawing moderate to high amperage and excellent low temperatures for both motor and gearbox.

The one drawback of the Zeon is the higher price. Many will argue, “you get what you pay for” or “buy once, cry once”, and while that may be true of buying the best quality winch available, on the day it didn’t perform notably better than many other winches. The only component we can’t test is longevity; perhaps it’ll be pulling strong in five, 10 or more years, while cheaper versions won’t – who knows?

Wired hand remote control; alloy hawse fairlead; open hook with spring-loaded safety catch and removable clevis pin; safety strap.

Price $2163
Warranty Limited lifetime mechanical / limited 7 year electrical
Load rating pound / kg 10,000 / 4536
Motor Hp N/A
Gear ratio 216:1
Gear train type 3 stage planetary
Brake type Automatic mechanical cone
Synthetic rope size (diameter x length) 9.5mm x 30.5m
Solenoid Contactor pack
Clutch Rotating ring gear
Fairlead Aluminium hawse fairlead
Drum size (diameter x length) 80mm x 229mm