If you’ve ever had to drive a car on a road covered with snow, you know how important winter tires are. Without suitable tires, your car is not going to have proper traction with the road, which inevitably results in much more complicated steering and unpredictable behaviors. Even cars with state-of-the-art AWD systems and great handling cannot get away with summer tires on roads that are covered with water, slush, snow, salt, and any mixture of those.
Winter tires are important tools that contribute to the safety and well-being of you as a driver, your passengers, and all the drivers around you. As you can see, it is crucial to have a good set of winter tires for your car if you live in a climate with cold winters and drive on a regular basis.
Here are the top 10 winter tires and snow tires.
The Yokohama V905 winter tires are a great choice for a number of reasons. First of all, these tires are fairly affordable, but they provide a great level of performance that can match some of the significantly more expensive products. Second, the W.drive V905 tires are made from rubber that’s high in silica and works really well to reduce the rolling resistance at any speed, thus lowering the amount of fuel consumed by your car. That, in its turn, reduces the amount of CO2 emitted by your car, so you can enjoy driving even more, knowing that your vehicle is a little more environmentally friendly with its new tires.
Finally, these tires also have an internal structure that’s based on two-ply polyester elements that help the tires maintain the right amount of rigidity in all kinds of driving conditions. Overall, the Yokohama W.drive V905 tires are going to work great in many use scenarios, including high-speed driving on winter roads.
While most winter tire models are designed to fit just one type of vehicle, the Goodyear Ultra Grip line includes more than a dozen different tires, so you can find a suitable product for just about any vehicle. Whether you drive a sedan, an SUV, or a minivan, the Ultra Grip line probably has at least one tire model that is suitable for your car.
These tires are made from high-quality rubber that’s soft and flexible, yet durable enough to last you for years. The Goodyear Ultra Grip tires provide excellent traction and allow you to precisely control the car even in the most extreme weather conditions. The vertical serrated band design makes sure that the tires can efficiently pump snow, water, and mud from underneath themselves and offer stability on uneven and icy roads. Also, the Goodyear Ultra Grip tires are really affordable, so you won’t have to worry about emptying your wallet for a set of new winter tires.
Similar to our previous entry, Pirelli Cinturato is not just a single tire model but a whole line of quality winter tires for a variety of vehicles. Designed to deal with European winters, these tires can handle a very wide range of weather conditions that colder seasons can throw at them.
From rain to snow and ice, the Cinturato Winter Performance tires are very well-equipped to deal with all kinds of moisture and slippery, uneven surfaces that may await them on roads in winter and late fall. The deep, angled patterns on the surface of these tires are ideal for quickly removing water and slush from underneath the tire. These Pirelli tires were designed with the risk of hydroplaning in mind, so they offer unmatched stability for mid-sized vehicles on wet and clear roads alike.
The Blizzak tires are solid performers when it comes to providing the best quality for the money. These tires are not the cheapest ones you can find, but they are certainly affordable, and they do offer a lot of bang for the buck. Similar to most other high-quality winter tires, the Blizzaks are made from soft rubber that enables good grip on icy and uneven roads. However, Bridgestone doesn’t just stop at that and adds a layer of hydrophilic coating to ensure better traction and stop the rubber from losing some of its flexibility and plasticity in extremely low temperatures. The 3D Zigzag Sipes technology and proprietary cavity shapes developed specifically for the WS80 line of Blizzaks add a further amount of reliability and durability to an already excellent winter tire.
Our previous picks are great for most everyday use, but what if you want to drive your sports car in winter? Of course, you could just get a set of regular winter tires and even squeeze some decent performance out of them if you’re an experienced driver, but that would not be enough for maximizing your safety and getting the most out of your high-performance vehicle.
So, we’ve decided to include these Michelin Alpin PA4 tires in our review for drivers who just can’t stay out of their sports cars during cold seasons. These are high-end tires that rely on a number of innovative technologies, such as the Stabiligrip and Helio Compound, to make a winter tire as efficient as it gets. The Alpin PA4 winter tires were even approved by Porsche and are currently being tested by several other high-performance cars manufacturers, so you’ll know that you are using a product that was approved by the pros.
Of course, these tires are also going to cost you more than most other entries on our list, but you’ll find the price difference justified if you’re an avid driver who expects nothing but the best performance from their vehicle.
If you’re looking for winter tires that won’t have to be replaced any time soon, we recommend you take a closer look at the Falken Espia EPZ II tires. Their performance might be slightly less impressive as compared to the previous tire models on our list, but these tires are built with durability in mind. If you only occasionally drive in winter or live in a climate where slushy, icy roads are a rarity, you could easily get away with using these tires and still have an excellent amount of control driving your car in winter.
The large block-style ribs and high-density sipes used in this tire model are ideal for isolating water and soft snow from the tires themselves, but they might not be enough on roads that are covered with ice and lots of snow. If that doesn’t sound like something you are going to be dealing with in winter, you can go on to get these tires and forget about replacement winter tires for years to come.
Sometimes, you just need to find a good product that fits into a limited budget, and we can definitely recommend the Dunlop Winter Maxx tires to anyone who’s looking for very affordable winter tires. It goes without saying that you can go even further and find winter tires that are less expensive than these ones, but here’s the thing: you don’t want to save too much on winter tires and get a no-name product from a manufacturer that probably knows close to nothing about winter tires. Your safety on winter roads is not something that should be taken lightly, so it’s better to spend a little more and get a set of tires from a reputable company with years of experience.
Similar to the previous item, these tires are going to work very well on wet, muddy, and mildly slushy roads. Things get more complicated when it comes to ice and half-melted snow that got frozen again, but these Dunlop tires are still going to provide a decent amount of grip unmatched by other tires in this price range.
Several lines of winter tires that we’ve already mentioned in our review include some good SUV tire models, but sometimes, it’s best to go with a product that was specifically designed for your car type. The Yokohama Ice Guard SUV tires are a great match for modern high-performance SUVs that seem to be gaining more popularity every year.
These tires were developed as a response to this trend of choosing SUVs over sedans and coupes, and they consistently get excellent reviews from hundreds of satisfied drivers. These tires can handle slush, snow, dirt, and water extremely well, and they deliver an amazing overall performance thanks to the fact that they were optimized for SUV vehicles.
If you’re ready to invest a little more for specialized winter SUV tires, here’s another model from the Blizzak line of tires we’ve already mentioned. The DM-V2 tires were created specifically for the larger vehicles, such as SUVs, crossovers, and pickups, so you can be sure that every aspect of how a large, heavy vehicle moves as compared to the lighter, more compact sedans and coupes has been taken into account.
The Multi-Cell compound used in these tires makes sure that their surface can effectively dispel water, thus providing better traction and improving braking times. The block edges and unique contact patches of these tires contribute to overall stability and handling on snowy and icy roads.
Last but not least, we decided to mention the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 tires for SUV owners who live in regions that are covered with snow and ice for three and more months every year. If that applies to you, you really want to consider getting these winter tires for your SUV or other large vehicle. The Hakkapeliitta 9 tires come equipped with studs, a simple improvement that can make a lot of difference on a very slippery road.
With these tires from Nokian, driving on most roads covered in snow and ice is going to feel almost as if you were driving on a dry road in summer, and we are not exaggerating. As a bonus, the Hakkapeliitta 9 tires are very quiet as compared to most other studded tires available on the market, especially at higher speeds.
Order the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 Studded Winter Tires for less than $115 each.
What Makes Winter Tires So Different Anyway?
Taking a look at a good winter tire reveals that winter tires are actually a lot more complicated than summer ones. The surface of winter tires has a lot of depth and relief to it, with numerous small cavities and channels that pump the snow, mud, and water from underneath the tire. At the same time, the tires are made from soft rubber that helps the tire change its shape if needed and mold to the uneven surface of the road. On the contrary, summer tires normally have fairly smooth surfaces that would not provide an amount of grip and control that’s safe for driving in winter.
This comparison also reveals why you shouldn’t rely on all-season tires too much if you live in a cold region that gets a lot of precipitation in winter. All-season tires work great for milder climates, but they don’t provide enough grip and stability for safe driving on muddy and slushy roads. On the other hand, winter tires are made from special rubber compounds that are optimized for traction, and their surfaces are covered in grooves, channels, and biting edges to ensure stability and reduce the risk of hydroplaning. Winter tires will make a world of difference when it comes to braking and cornering in extreme weather conditions, as well as improve your overall driving experience in winter.