- Best Winter Tires Overall
- Best SUV & Truck Winter Tires
- Best Performance Winter Tires
- Best Studded Winter Tires
- Best SUV & Truck Studded Winter Tires
Best Winter Tires
When the freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and black ice arrive for the winter season, there is no substitute for dedicated winter tires. All-season tires are a misnomer no single tire can perform well in all weather. Unless you enjoy the idea of sliding into the ditch or barrier for something as simple as an emergency lane change, winter tires are a must on your car. Needless to say, it is not wise to leave winter tires on your car year-round as the warmer temperatures will wear out the soft compound within a matter of weeks.
Best Winter Tires Overall:
Winter tires often sacrifice dry pavement handling in the interest of providing the best traction on snowy and icy surfaces. We've selected the best winter tires overall that are suited for a variety of winter driving needs, from those of the driving enthusiast on cold, dry pavement, to forging through deep snow and ice. Although price per model varies, each of the following picks offer decent ride quality combined with excellent traction and handling in harsh winter conditions.
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 improves upon the excellent Hakkapeliitta R to create one of the absolute best stud-less winter tires available, regardless of price. Though pricey, the excellent traction and handling in harsh winter conditions is priceless when it comes to ensuring safety on winter roads. Read Full Review
These tires might not be cheap, but they’re impossible to beat when it comes to offering performance driving characteristics in a winter tire. The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 winter tires are responsive and provide plenty of traction in most winter conditions. Read Full Review
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The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 offers top-notch snow and ice traction and handling with less sacrifice on made the dry pavement handling than the previous X-Ice Xi2. These tires handle much like an all-season tire when not on snow and ice, while providing confident and competent grip in harsh winter conditions overall. Read Full Review
The Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3 is a great all-around winter tire considering its dry, wet, and snow/ice performance. If your winter tire requirements don't prioritize crisp handling and sporty road feel, the Primacy Alpin PA3 may be a better choice. Read Full Review
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Although the Nokian WRG3 is technically an all-season tire which typically fall flat when it comes to good performance in winter conditions, it’s been designed with a winter bias allowing it to out-perform even dedicated winter tires. These tires offer the type of reliable all-around performance well-suited to unpredictable road conditions. Read Full Review
Best SUV & Truck Winter Tires:
Despite common belief, driving an SUV or a 4WD-equipped truck doesn’t grant you invincibility in all weather. While it is true some SUVs are designed to be extremely capable off-road, that ability often relies heavily on their tires. Driving anything in the winter, first and foremost, requires the proper winter tires.
We've selected some of the best winter tires for SUVs and trucks that are available, thanks to their high levels of traction in harsh winter conditions. These tires inspire confidence with their superior handling and grip, both on snow and dry pavement. Their slush and ice performance is also important, as experienced drivers know the challenges slush can present, even with dedicated winter tires. Although price varies, all of our selections offer tremendous performance for the money.
Although this Finnish tire maker isn't well known North America, they make some of the best winter tires available, regardless of price. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 is available as an SUV tire, providing its excellent grip and handling characteristics to larger vehicles. Read Full Review
Michelin offers the capable X-Ice Xi2 winter tire for SUVs and trucks under the Latitude X-Ice Xi2 designation with all of its renowned performance intact. As expected, the Latitude X-Ice Xi2 is an effective tire for driving through icy conditions and frozen roads, with high levels of snow traction as well. Read Full Review
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The Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow is designed specifically for higher-performance applications, forgoing an aggressive tread pattern in return for superior high-speed stability and responsive handling. This winter tire is favored by Mercedes-Benz and Porsche due to its driving characteristics. Read Full Review
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These might technically be all-season tires, but they can out-perform many dedicated winter tires in slippery conditions. The Nokian WRG3 SUV winter tires are well-suited to erratic and unpredictable winter weather thanks to their ability to handle almost any conditions that they are presented with. Read Full Review
The fact that these truck tires share a strikingly similar tread pattern as the high-performance Pilot Alpin PA2 winter car tire should be a hint towards Michelin's intent. The Latitude Alpin HP is a performance-oriented winter tire that trades deep snow traction for crisper responses. This tire works best in moderate conditions, but can deal with snow, ice, and slush in a pinch. Read Full Review
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Best Performance Winter Tires:
Winter is a tough season to drive in, and if you don’t have the proper equipment, it’s made even worse than it should be. The rough conditions include snow, ice, slush, and slippery surfaces almost everywhere. If you’re the type that likes high-performance driving, you’re going to want one of the performance winter tires featured in this list.
These best performance winter tires strongly resemble summer tires, but feature incredible traction and sharp handling in miserable snow-laden, frozen winter conditions as opposed to bone-dry roads. However, (with the exception of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2), these tires are usually not alternatives for snow tires, as they cannot provide the same kind of traction in deep snow and ice that a more winter traction-oriented tire can.
Michelin has long held the top spot for performance winter tires, and this doesn’t change with the Pilot Alpin PA4. These tires are aimed at driving enthusiasts who want to retain the sport handling and performance of summer tires throughout the winter season. Although this tire isn't well-suited for deep snow or harsh conditions, it excels when facing light snow and ice. Read Full Review
Although the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 can't come close to the speed rating or outright dry pavement handling characteristics of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4, these excellent winter tires are no slouch when it comes to performance. Excellent in both deep snow and dry pavement conditions, these are a great choice for drivers who experience harsh winter conditions. Read Full Review
It might seem odd to find winter tires from an Italian company known for high-performance sports car tires, but the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 have been designed for spirited driving during mild winter conditions. Although these tires won't do as well in deep snow or otherwise harsh winters, they are excellent for those who want performance tires for the winter season. Read Full Review
The large tread blocks found on the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D means this winter tire isn't as suited for spirited driving as stand-outs like the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3, but the clever tread design eliminates the dreaded squishy feeling while bumping up overall performance. Read Full Review
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Best Studded Winter Tires:
When road conditions turn icy and slippery, studded winter/snow tires really start to shine. On glare ice, nothing can beat the traction that a studded tire can provide. However, studded tires have their drawbacks as they create decreased traction when driving on dry or wet roads as well as running noisier when compared to their stud-less counterparts. Finally, the use of studded tires is banned or strictly regulated in many areas due to their tendency to tear up road surfaces.
If you’ve decided to live with these drawbacks or you need studded winter tires because of the harsh conditions where you live, here are some of the best options out there. We've made our selections based on their outright grip and handling in extreme winter conditions as well as their overall performance for the price.
It's difficult to do better than the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded tires when it comes to facing and handling extreme winter conditions. These tires can handle nearly anything thrown at them, making even sheer ice feel similar to driving down a paved road. Read Full Review
The Nokian Nordman 5 Studded winter tire offers the performance of Nokian winter tires at a relatively friendly price. These studded winter tires use the tread pattern first seen in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5s, along with innovative stud design that provides relentless grip even in extreme winter conditions. Read Full Review
The Pirelli Winter Carving Edge Studded tires provides performance-oriented handling and grip in winter conditions. These tires don’t come studded from the factory, but with the addition of studs, they provide excellent traction on snow, ice, and slush. Read Full Review
Although these budget-friendly tires won't match up to the performance of the other tires on this list, the General Altimax Arctic offer excellent value for money. These studdable winter tires are sure-footed and stable in winter conditions, offering good performance for the price. Read Full Review
While sacrificing dry and wet surface performance (like all studded tires), these affordable studdable winter tires offer good traction on snow and ice. If you're on a budget, the Firestone Winterforce Studded tires are worth consideration. Read Full Review
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Best SUV & Truck Studded Winter Tires:
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the raised ride height and 4x4 capability of your SUV/truck makes it impervious to winter. Unfortunately for larger vehicles, there aren’t very many choices for studded winter tires as there's only a relatively limited market for them. When compared to the market for passenger car winter tires, only a select group of manufacturers offer studded winter tires catering to SUVs and trucks. Regardless nothing can beat a studded tires traction in deep snow and glare ice.
Of the slim offerings out there, we've selected the best studded winter tires for trucks and SUVs, based on their overall grip and handling characteristics in harsh winter weather. We've included picks to suit a range of budgetary needs, but these tires are all competent in a variety of conditions from glare ice to water and slush thanks to innovative stud and tread designs.
If you want the absolute best that money can buy for your SUV/truck, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV is just about the only choice. This studded winter tire offers class-leading grip and handling characteristics even in extreme winter conditions. Read Full Review
For those who want confidence-inspiring handling and grip on snow, ice, and slush, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT2 are an excellent choice. These durable tires have been designed to meet the needs of large and heavy vehicles, making them a great choice for your truck or SUV. Read Full Review
The Nokian Nordman 5 studded winter tires offer the ability to have the performance and reliability of Nokian tires on your truck/SUV without the high price of the Hakkapeliitta models. These winter tires are capable of handling extreme winter conditions, making them some of the best available today. Read Full Review
The Firestone Winterforce UV studded winter tires were designed for use on SUVs and trucks. These tires offer excellent traction and a relatively affordable price. Read Full Review
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For those who don't need to deal with exceptionally harsh winters, the General Altimax Arctic studdable winter tire is an excellent budget-friendly option. This sturdy tire offers good traction and handling on snow and ice, while offering longevity and affordability. Read Full Review