Best Car Winter Tires – Reviews and QP Ratings (Winter 2018-2019)Last updated: 18.12.2018
The reality of a winter is that the snow, ice and cold play havoc with our roads and conditions vary greatly across the country. Fortunately, though, over the years, tire technology has come a long way and winter driving no longer needs to be such a daunting experience. There are many options for winter driving these days that can fit any budget, but it’s still helpful to understand a few things about best car winter tires.
Vitour POLAR BEAR S (STUDDABLE) Studable-Winter Radial Tire - 185/65R14 90T
- Directional tread design improved snow acceleration and water evacuation
- High sipe density design increases biting edges for improved ice and wet traction capability
- High-silica, low modulus tread compound adds superior ice, slush and wet grip even in extreme, cold temperatures
The Vitour Polar Bear S stud able snow tire is designed for superior winter performance. This stud able and directional design along with the high silica tread compound is ideally suited for the toughest of all winter conditions.
Sumitomo Ice Edge Studable-Winter Radial Tire - 195/60R15 88T
- Certified with the RMA 3PMSF symbol for severe snow performance, the versatile Ice Edge has been specially engineered to meet the needs of users in a variety of winter driving environments. This tire is loaded with design features that specifically target the unique demands of cold weather driving, such as a specially formulated tread compound tuned to superior performance in low temperatures and Sumitomos unique 3D sipe technology that provides the ultimate bite on snow and ice
- Wide and Serrated tread channels enhances snow grip and speeds evacuation of slush and ice
- Optimized 3D serrated siping pattern maximizes tread bite on winter road surfaces
- Triangular Center tread blocks expands tread contact footprint with road surface for superior stability and handling
- Optimized Stud Pin distribution for the maximum performance capability when studded for winter use
Sumitomo Ice Edge get an Edge on winter with the Ice Edge Introducing the all new Sumitomo Ice Edge winter tire, the tire that gives you the edge on snow, ice, and slush covered roads. Developed with Sumitomos most advanced cutting edge technology, the Ice Edge delivers an outstanding combination of cold weather grip and superior stability, handling performance and smooth ride comfort.
Mastercraft Glacier Grip II Winter Radial Tire - 195/60R15 88T
- High Traction Tread Design
- The intricate tread pattern balances inter traction and a smooth, quiet ride. The deep lateral and notched circumferential grooves provide excellent evacuation of water and slush from the tread contact patch.
- Patented "Snow Groove" Design Technology
- Provides biting edges for excellent snow and ice traction without reducing element stiffness. The snow groove enhances the retention of snow in the outer circumferential grooves to capitalize on the higher traction characteristics of "snow on snow" versus "snow on rubber".
- Mastercraft Tires are made by Cooper Tire Co.
The intricate tread pattern balances inter traction and a smooth, quiet ride. The deep lateral and notched circumferential grooves provide excellent evacuation of water and slush from the tread contact patch. Provides biting edges for excellent snow and ice traction without reducing element stiffness. The snow groove enhances the retention of snow in the outer circumferential grooves to capitalize on the higher traction characteristics of "snow on snow" versus "snow on rubber".
Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT Winter Radial Tire - 215/60R16 95T
- Ice over winter silica tread compound
- Enhanced pitch sequence and block shift
- Stiff tread base platform
- Increased blade density
- Heavy shoulder blocks
Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT is a studless tire perfect for icy conditions. This winter tire features a stiff tread base platform, increased blade density, heavy shoulder blocks and enhanced pitch sequence and block shift. The WRT's reinforced grip enhances tire traction. The tire also has high performance in cold weather situations along with decreased road noise.
Dunlop Winter Sport 3D Radial Tire - 235/50R19 103H
- Ideal balance of Ultra-High performance in wet, dry and light snow conditions with BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S tires
- Accelerate fast, brake short and take control in all seasons
- Bold directional tread provides confident traction in all seasons
- Crisp, responsive control while cornering and at speed
- Even wear and long tread life
With a design that combines the best of both worlds when it comes to quality winter and ultra-performance sports tires, the SP WINTER SPORT 3D is a great choice for drivers who desire performance even when ice and snow stand in the way between them and the finish line. With central block sipes providing pulling action for superior traction and braking in ice and snow, in addition to shoulder area 3D supes for better stability, this tire is everything you'd need for high speeds in low temperatures.The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tire has the mountain/snowflake symbol for severe snow services.
Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 Winter Radial Tire - 225/65R17 102S
- NEXT-GENERATION MULTICELL COMPOUND - Next generation Multicellular Compound with Hydrophilic Coating removes water from the surface of the tire to give you better traction on snow and ice
- INCREASED BLOCK EDGES - Block edges increased by 15% to give you greater control on snowy surfaces
- ENHANCED GROUND CONTACT - Optimized road contact allows more surface of the tire to touch the ground to give you more control in winter conditions
- Improved performance on ice: The Blizzak DM-V2 tire is designed with a next-generation Multi-Cell compound from Bridgestone that dispels water from the surface of the ice. This combats slippage and improves braking
- Increased traction: The tire's newly designed tread pattern has 15 percent more block edges, increasing its snow-shearing force and enabling it to grip the road better in snow and slush
The Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 is our best winter tire engineered for drivers of SUVs, crossovers, and pick up trucks who want confident performance during demanding winter driving conditions. The tire delivers enhanced traction and stopping power on snow and ice and increased handling on snow—and better overall control in winter conditions.* *As compared to its predecessor, the Blizzak DM-V1.
Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Radial Tire - 215/55R17/XL 98H
- This 3rd generation X-Ice winter tire provides the necessary traction to safely overcome extreme winter conditions featuring Cross Z Sipes , Micro-Pumps, and FleX-Ice compound.
- The MICHELIN X-Ice Xi3 tire provides winter performance with MICHELIN MaxTouch Construction which features a unique contact patch shape - maximizing even and longer tread life.
- The MICHELIN X-Ice Xi3 is also designed to be environmentally friendly to help reduce fuel consumption in addition to having excellent winter grip and long lasting tread life.
Provides ultimate winter confidence over many miles, enabling you and your loved ones to fully embrace winter even in the harshest conditions.
265/60-18 Toyo Observe GSi-5 Winter Performance Studless Tire 110S 2656018
- 265/60R18, Speed Index 112 mph, Max Load 2337 lbs, Tire Weight 38 lbs
- Season: Winter / Snow
- Type: Performance, Truck / SUV
The Observe GSi-5 provides excellent performance for demanding winter road conditions.Improved ice and snow capabilities, as well as long wear life, are the benefits of advanced design, technology, and compounding.
General AltiMAX Arctic Winter Tire - 215/60R16 95Q
- Winter tire for coupes, sedans, vans, and SUVs
- Multi-Angle Sipe System
- Directional tread pattern with center stability rib
- Reactive Contour Technology (RCT)
- All-weather dual tread compound
Unique grooves and sipes combine with a modern compound to offer high performance at low temperatures in the General AltiMAX Arctic. Multi-Angle Sipe System provides 270 degrees of sipes with biting edges that enhance traction in any direction of travel. The directional pattern with center stability rib amplify water evacuation and straight-line stability. Reactive Contour Technology (RCT) reacts to different road conditions to maintain optimum contact with road surface throughout the life of the tire. An all-weather dual tread compound delivers exceptional cold-weather flexibility and excellent wet traction.
Cooper Discoverer True North Studless-Winter Radial Tire - 225/65R17 102T
- Size: 225/65R17 102T
- Severe Weather Rated: Severe Weather Rated tires have passed an industry standard certification which tests the tire's ability to accelerate on snow. These tires carry the 3-Peak Mountain and Snowflake Symbol marking on the sidewall
- Superior stopping distance on snow and ice to help keep you safe
- Long lasting with outstanding durability to stand up to snow, ice and freezing temperatures, assuring long-lasting performance winter after winter
- A quiet ride so you can focus on the road and not the noise from your tires
The Cooper Discoverer True North is a premium stud able winter tire for Passenger Cars, Crossover Vehicles, and Sport Utility Vehicles. The Discoverer True North is best for daily commuters who drive on plowed and treated roads, and deal with slush and black ice throughout the winter months.
Winter tires — are tires designed for use on snow and ice. Snow tires have a tread design with larger gaps than those on summer tires, increasing traction on snow and ice. Such tires that have passed a specific winter traction performance test are entitled to display a “Three-Peak Mountain Snow Flake” symbol on their sidewalls. Tires designed for winter conditions are optimized to drive at temperatures below 7 °C (45 °F). Some snow tires have metal or ceramic studs that protrude from the tire to increase traction on hard-packed snow or ice. Studs abrade dry pavement, causing dust and creating wear in the wheel path. Regulations that require the use of snow tires or permit the use of studs vary by state or province in North America. Related to snow tires are those with an M+S rating, which denotes an “all-season” capability—quieter on clear roads, but less capable on snow or ice than a winter tire.
Snow tires operate on a variety of surfaces, including pavement (wet or dry), mud, ice, or snow. The tread design of snow tires is adapted primarily to allow penetration of the snow into the tread, where it compacts and provides resistance against slippage. The snow strength developed by compaction depends on the properties of the snow, which depend on its temperature and water content — wetter, warmer snow compacts better than dry, colder snow up to a point where the snow is so wet that it lubricates the tire-road interface. New and powder snow have densities of 0.1 to 0.3 g/cm3 (6 to 20 lb/cu ft). Compacted snow may have densities of 0.45 to 0.75 g/cm3 (28 to 47 lb/cu ft).
Snow or ice-covered roadways present lower braking and cornering friction, compared to dry conditions. The roadway friction properties of snow, in particular, are a function of temperature. At temperatures below −7 °C (20 °F), snow crystals are harder and generate more friction as a tire passes over them than at warmer conditions with snow or ice on the road surface. However, as temperatures rise above −2 °C (28 °F), the presence of free water increasingly lubricates the snow or ice and diminishes tire friction. Hydrophilic rubber compounds help create friction in the presence of water or ice.
Attributes that can distinguish snow tires from “all-season” and summer tires include:
- An open, deep tread, whose void ratio between rubber and spaces between the solid rubber is comparatively high
- Shoulder blocks—specialized tread design at the outside of the tire tread to increase snow contact and friction
- A narrower aspect ratio between the diameter of the tire and the tread width to minimize resistance from the plowing effect of the tire through deeper snow
- Hydrophilic rubber compounds that improve friction on wet surfaces
- Additional siping, or thin slits in the rubber, that provide more biting edges and improve traction on wet or icy surfaces.
Wet-film conditions on hard-compacted snow or ice require studs or chains.
Many jurisdictions in North America seasonally allow snow tires with metal or ceramic studs to improve grip on packed snow or ice. Such tires are prohibited in other jurisdictions or during warmer months because of the damage they may cause to road surfaces. The metal studs are fabricated by encapsulating a hard pin in a softer material base, sometimes called the jacket. The pin is often made of tungsten carbide, a very hard high performance ceramic. The softer base is the part that anchors the stud in the rubber of the tire. As the tire wears with use, the softer base wears so that its surface is at about the same level as the rubber, whereas the hard pin wears so that it continues to protrude from the tire. The pin should protrude at least 1 millimetre (0.04 in) for the tire to function properly. Snow tires do not eliminate skidding on ice and snow, but they greatly reduce risks.
Studdable tires are manufactured with molded holes on the rubber tire tread. Usually, there are 80 to 100 molded holes per tire for stud insertion. The insertion is done by using a special tool that spreads the rubber hole so that a stud jacket can be inserted and the flange at the bottom of the jacket can be fitted nicely to the bottom of the hole. The metal studs come in specific heights to match the depths of the holes molded into the tire tread based on the tread depths. For this reason, stud metals can only be inserted when the tires have not been driven on. A proper stud insertion results in the metal jacket that is flush with the surface of the tire tread having only the pin part that protrudes.
When studs come into contact with pavements they abrade the asphalt or concrete surface. This can result in creating polluting dust and wear in the wheel path that prevents proper drainage. For this reason, studded tires are banned, at least seasonally, in many jurisdictions.
The compacted snow develops strength against slippage along a shear plane parallel to the contact area of the tire on the ground. At the same time, the bottom of the tire treads compress the snow on which they are bearing, also creating friction. The process of compacting snow within the treads requires it to be expelled in time for the tread to compact snow anew on the next rotation. The compaction/contact process works both in the direction of travel for propulsion and braking, but also laterally for cornering.
The deeper the snow that the tire rolls through, the higher the resistance encountered by the tire, as it compacts the snow it encounters and plows some of it to either side. At some point on a given angle of uphill pitch, this resistance becomes greater than the resistance to slippage achieved by the tread’s contact with the snow and the tires with power begin to slip and spin. Deeper snow means that climbing a hill without spinning the powered wheels becomes more difficult. However, the plowing/compaction effect aids in braking to the extent that it creates rolling resistance.
ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials International) is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. The pertinent standard for snow tires is ASTM F1805 – 16, Standard Test Method for Single Wheel Driving Traction in a Straight Line on Snow- and Ice-Covered Surfaces, which assess tire performance on snow and ice. It measures the traction of tires under acceleration in the rolling direction. Tires that pass this test are entitled to display the 3PMSF (Three-Peak Mountain Snow Flake) symbol.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada allow display of a 3PMSF symbol to indicate that the tire has exceeded the industry requirement from a reference (non-snow) tire. As of 2016, snow tires were 3.6% of the US market and 35% of the Canadian market.
US states and Canadian provinces control the use of snow tires. No state or province (except for Quebec) requires snow tires. They may require snow tires or chains only in certain areas during the winter:
- British Columbia – Snow tires are only required by law in certain “designated winter tire & chain-up routes” in mountainous regions. In these areas, motorists must use winter tires or carry tire chains.
- Alberta – Banff National Park or Jasper National Park require cars to have snow tires or tire chains between November 1 to March 31, or any other period during which the road is covered with snow or ice.
- Quebec – Winter tires or studded tires must be used from December 15 to March 15.
The use of studded tires is regulated in the United States and Canada by individual states and provinces, as follows:
- Unrestricted use – The following jurisdictions allow unrestricted use of studded snow tires; United States: Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Vermont, and Wyoming; Canada: Alberta, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and Yukon
- Prohibited – Studded snow tires may not be used in Hawaii, Mississippi or Puerto Rico.
- Seasonal use – All other states and provinces allow seasonal use of studded snow tires. In Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas, only rubber studs are allowed
Car Winter Tires – Reviews and (Winter 20182019) Prices
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