The Vuilleumier (VM) cycler was first invented in 1908 and the Vuilleumier-type (VM-type) cryocooler has been developed over 100 years up to now. The VM-type cryocooler is driven by a thermal compressor and it inherits the advantage of compactness and high theoretical efficiency from the traditional Stirling-type cryocooler. It has been a current hotspot in regenerative mechanical cryocooler because the relative studies have proved its great potential to work at liquid helium temperature. In this paper, the research progress of the 4K VM-type cryocooler was showed. The detailed comparison in performance and working pattern between three different types of 4K VM-type cryocooler including VM displacer-type cryocooler, VM hybrid pulse tube cryocooler and VM-type pulse tube cryocooler is carried out. The further application prospect of the 4K VM-type cryocooler has been presented.