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10 Best Snow Tires For Winter Driving [Buying Guide]| AutoWise

The Ten Best Snow Tires to Stay Safe On Snow And Ice This Winter

Jake Starr by Jake Starr
Updated on July 17, 2020. In Car Accessories And Electronics

Snow Tires

When winter weather arrives, the show must go on, which is why you’ll want a set of trustworthy snow tires for your vehicle. With snow tires, your white-knuckle winter drives can be a thing of the past. Snow tires are a worthwhile upgrade for any vehicle that will see some winter driving conditions. When the weatherman calls for wintery conditions, you can have confidence in making it to your destination with a good set of snow tires.

Picking The Best Snow Tires

You should consider a few factors when picking the best snow tires. First, determine your budget. You should also consider what part of the country you live in and how much snow you get. If you have very mild winters, you may be fine with a set of all-season tires. If you see regular snowfall or icy road conditions, you will want to consider upgrading to snow tires. For locations with severe winter weather, you might even want a studded set of snow tires.

Also, it is worth noting that all-season tires are not the same as snow tires. Though you can use an all-season tire year-round, you won’t get the same level of performance on snow and ice as from a true set of snow tires. We’ve rounded up a list of the ten best snow tires you should consider buying before next winter!


Best Overall Choice

1. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Winter/Snow Passenger Tire

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The tire has a new and upgraded hydrophilic coating which helps the tire remain pliable in below-freezing conditions. It also prevents slipping in icy conditions, giving you confidence stopping on snow and ice. The tire has an optimized contact patch to help distribute forces evenly across the tire, giving you better stability in dry, icy, and snowy conditions.

The tread has tiny bite particles that act like microscopic studs to add grip. This gives you effective braking and driving on ice. The tread pattern has larger block edges to help channel snow, slush, and water away from the contact patch. Bridgestone has built one of the best snow tires on the market so you can drive confidently in even the worst snowstorms.

2. Cooper Evolution Winter Tire

Cooper Evolution Winter 205/55R16 94H Tire

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This sturdy winter tire fits both cars and SUVs. It provides great performance in deep snow, ice, and any other harsh elements winter may throw your way. The tires are also studdable for improved ice traction. They are severe weather rated and have a standard limited warranty.

Reviewers have noted that this is a great winter tire that provides excellent traction. The tire has a directional tread pattern that provides better braking and acceleration in winter conditions. No matter how much deep snow you get, you can have confidence in conquering it with the Cooper Evolution.


Best Premium Choice

3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 SUV

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 SUV Studded Winter Tire

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This Nokian tire has a balanced grip for winter conditions and is stable and extremely durable. The tire comes studded for the most extreme winter conditions. You can have confidence while driving on snow or ice. A strong aramid-fiber is used in the tire’s sidewalls to offer maximum durability and add to the longevity of the tire.

The tire has different stud types designed to optimize grip, especially when the conditions get extreme. Reviewers have noted it has first-class handling on snow and ice. Additionally, the strong sidewall helps resist any impacts or cuts, making this a durable and long-lasting winter tire.


Best Budget Choice

4. Sumitomo Ice Edge Snow Radial Tire

Sumitomo Ice Edge Snow Radial Tire

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The tire is certified to work its best in severe snow. It has a versatile ice edge that was destined to meet the needs of drivers in all kinds of winter environments. Whether its a blizzard or icy roads, these tires are designed to give you traction on even the most extreme road conditions.

The tread compound and 3D sipe technology maximize grip even in freezing temperatures. The tire has a wide tread pattern that helps enhance grip in snow and slush. The triangle pattern of the center tread blocks adds stability, helping to improve handling especially when braking.

5. Firestone Winterforce 2

Firestone Winterforce 2 Winter/Snow Passenger Tire

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These tires are designed and built to keep you going through winter, no matter how bad the conditions get. The tread pattern has deep grooves, open shoulder slots, and wide lateral notches all designed to provide the best grip possible. Additionally, the high sipe density tread pattern adds even more traction on snow and ice.

The tires are winter certified and can be studded. When compared to an all-season tire, these will provide a better grip as they are designed specifically for winter weather.  The tire is built with two steel belts on top of a polyester casing for a durable, smooth ride.

6. Federal Himalaya

Federal Himalaya SUV Studable-Winter Radial Tire

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Constructed with a unique compound intended to promote straight-line stability, these tires are built with premium materials to promote wear resistance. No matter how bad the winter weather gets, you can have confidence that these tires will provide good traction and a quiet ride.

These Federal snow tires have an optimal tread pattern to give you efficient control on snow, ice, mud, and wet road conditions. A key factor that helps these tires stand out is they have great water dispersion for when it is wet or slushy outside. As a driver, you’ll feel confident in all weather conditions.

7. General Altimax Arctic 12

General Altimax Arctic 12 Studable-Winter Radial Tire

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These General tires are a great winter addition to any vehicle. They provide excellent traction with a highly directional tread pattern. The pattern has a central rib that gives the tires an on-center feel and an excellent response when turning. They also have improved anti-wear technology, which is an upgrade over previous makes of this tire.

The tread has angled grooves and wide notches to help disperse any water and slush to help ensure the car does not hydroplane. The treads and sipes are designed to provide additional biting edges to give great traction in slippery conditions.

8. Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Radial Tire

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This is Michelin’s third generation of its popular X-ice winter tires. These tires offer the traction needed to outlast all winter conditions. You’ll get added safety and stability for a safe and efficient winter ride. Additional features include their Cross Z Sipes, Micro-Pumps, and FleX Ice Compound all designed to give you the best handling and traction possible.

These tires also come with Michelin’s MaxTouch construction which features a unique contact patch shape to maximize tread life. Another cool feature is the tire is built to be environmentally friendly, meeting Michelin’s Green X standard for low rolling resistance. This helps to reduce your fuel consumption while still giving you excellent grip.

9. Pirelli SCORPION ICE & SNOW

Pirelli SCORPION ICE & SNOW Winter Radial Tire

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This is a stud-less winter tire that excels in all conditions. The excellent tread pattern helps improve the vehicle’s control and handling in the snow, ice, and more. Another feature is an improved composite to give the tire structural soundness.

Also, the composite material provides excellent performance on snow with its enhanced grip. It works well in cold temperatures for optimal safety while driving in winter weather. Lastly, the tires have longitudinal grooves that offer protection against hydroplaning.

10. UNIROYAL Tiger Paw Ice & Snow 3

UNIROYAL Tiger Paw Ice & Snow 3 All- Season Radial Tire

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Uniroyal has been a trusted brand for tires for decades, and this winter tire is another excellent addition to their collection. This tire has a unique tread pattern which helps the tire stay flexible and perform well on the pavement even in very cold temperatures. The directional tread pattern has zig-zag grooves, 3D shoulder sipes, and wide lateral grooves all intended to provide excellent traction in snow, ice, and more.

The tread pattern gives you better traction in deep snow or slush. And the tire has added silica for even better grip than most tires on wet surfaces so you don’t have to worry about wet or slushy roads. The tire is studdable if you want to add even more grip for driving on ice. Finally, it offers a smooth and comfortable ride.

Purchasing Snow Tires

If you live in an area with harsh winters, you should invest in snow tires. Don’t pass up on an opportunity to ensure a safe ride this winter! Here are a few things you should consider when deciding which snow tire is best for you.

Winter Weather Conditions

First, consider where you live. If you live in an area where winters are mild, you may not need a set of snow tires. For places that get a few small snowfalls each winter, you may be able to stick with all-season tires or all-terrain tires. If you drive regularly in snow or ice storms, you could probably use a set of dedicated winter tires.

All-Season vs. Snow Tires

It is a common misconception that if you have all-season or all-terrain tires, then you don’t need snow tires. While all-season tires are designed for year-round use and all-terrain tires work well in elements such as mud and rain, snow tires provide better traction in snowy and icy conditions. Snow tires are built differently. All-season tires have a harder rubber compound, while snow tires have a hydrophilic rubber. The harder rubber of all-season tires works better on hot pavement. The softer rubber of snow tires is designed to be more pliable in cold winter weather. Another factor is tread design. Snow tires have larger grooves to help keep slush and ice from building up in the tread.

Price and Brand

One last thing you should consider is how much money you want to spend. Many snow tires have a relatively similar price point, so you can steer toward the lower-priced options if you are on a budget. Most well-known tire brands have an effective snow tire. If you have a preferred brand of tire, chances are they also make a snow tire that you can purchase for your car this winter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to buy used snow tires?

If you are on a budget, used snow tires are a cheaper alternative. However, you will want to make sure they are lightly used and don’t have too much wear. You’ll want to check the tread depth to make sure the tire has enough life left. A new tire normally has about 11/32nds of tread depth. If getting a used tire, aim for something in the 7-10/32nds range, or more.

Are chains a better option than snow tires?

Chains are effective for snowy and icy conditions, but they are best for mountain driving at slower speeds. If you are planning to drive on the highway in snowy conditions, chains are probably not the way to go. Snow tires are specifically designed to not only drive on snow and ice but also to perform effectively at high-speeds. Chains should not be looked at as a substitute for snow tires, but can be a good option to have on hand in a pinch. Chains can also be used with snow tires in extreme condition cases.

What’s the difference between studded and studless snow tires?

When deciding which kind of snow tire you need, it is important to consider your driving habits. Studless tires work well in slush and on packed snow. They have wide and deep grooves that allow for optimal traction.

Studded tires give you even greater traction on ice. The metal studs are designed to stick into slick surfaces for added grip. One downside is that studded tires can be quite noisy on dry roads.

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Categories: Car Accessories And Electronics

Tags: , Snow Tires, tires

Jake Starr

About Jake Starr

Jake Starr is a rising junior at Penn State and is from just outside of Philadelphia. At Penn State, Jake is the News Director at the school’s radio station. In addition, he serves as a writer for Penn State Athletics, covering multiple sports. Jake specializes in sports play-by-play, hosting, reporting, and feature writing amongst other things. He has an extensive writing background that he will bring to Autowise to provide the best content possible.

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