Savvy drivers swap out their all-weather tires for winter tires to keep up with the harsh conditions of winter. This provides added traction and keeps everyone on the road safe. It can also save you money by limiting your need to replace summer tires that would otherwise get damaged by hazardous roads in colder temperatures.
Snow tires can help your car maintain a better grip on sharp corners, difficult hills and roads covered in snow and ice. Depending on where you live, you might be able to choose studdable tires, which feature removable metal studs that provide added traction on ice. According to Les Schwab Tire Centers, studded snow tires are "like claws on a snowshoe; they dig into slick surfaces." Before adding studs, check your state regulations to learn whether they're allowed. If you don't encounter ice on the road, you can look for studless options with treads designed to grip surfaces covered in slush or packed snow. But first, check out our list of options to find the right snow tires for your vehicle during the winter season.
Best Value: Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02
Proof that performance doesn't have to cost a fortune, Dunlop Winter Maxx tires offer the high performance you'd expect from pricier options. Aggressive treading makes these wheels ideal for driving over ice, slush and snow. Plus, the thick grooves and side notches help prevent hydroplaning in wet weather. The design also provides good performance in dry but cold conditions, which often cause tire pressure to drop. Thanks to its polyamide material, you can still drive smoothly and easily on this tire.
Best Studdable: Firestone Winterforce 2
If you live in an area that allows studded tires, consider the Firestone Winterforce 2 snow tires. Even if you can't add studs to the tire, the full-depth tread and unique rubber compound help provide performance you can rely on for your crossover, SUV or pickup truck for many winters to come. Driving in snow, ice, rain and cold conditions won't be a problem thanks to the aggressive directional tread of these Firestone wheels. Best of all, these winter tires offer premium features and benefits at a great price.
Best for Quiet Driving: Cooper Discoverer True North
For a quiet ride and improved handling in icy conditions, consider Cooper Discoverer True North tires, which have a high silica content for less resistance on the road and an impressive ability to dig into ice. The tread compound is so helpful that you don't need to add stud pins for harsh conditions. They also deliver traction on wet and slushy roads, making them safe for people who drive in different wintry weather conditions daily. This tire is another ideal choice for families with a pickup truck or SUV.
Best for Snow and Ice: General Altimax Arctic 12 Studable-Winter Radial Tire
When you need to drive to work or pick up your kids at school on snowy or ice-covered roads, the General Altimax Arctic 12 Studable-Winter Radial tires will get you there safely. The multi-angled tread grooves help evacuate water and slush, which means less chance of hydroplaning and an improved grip, and the straight sipes at the center of the tread make for an increased traction when it comes to driving over snow. Needless to say, if you’re facing rain, slush or other challenging conditions, these tires will help you drive with confidence.
Best for Even Tread Wear: Michelin X-Ice
Michelin's unique MaxTouch Construction and contact patch shaping enhance tread life and wear on the Michelin X-Ice tires. The tires deliver long-lasting winter handling with a design to improve grip and lower fuel consumption. Available in a range of sizes, these winter tires suit many vehicles, from vans to crossovers. To make sure there’s a set that fits your car, enter your vehicle information on the website.
Best Versatility: Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice
Consumers love the range of sizes that Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice tires come in, making these a suitable option for different vehicles, including SUVs, light trucks and crossovers. These tires provide the best stability and grip in snowy conditions to keep you from getting stuck on the road. They also incorporate features for hydroplaning resistance, quick braking and improved cornering ability. Plus, the Ultra Grip Ice WRT helps you protect your car's rims from potential curb damage.
Best Eco-Friendly: Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c
Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c tires are a solid eco-friendly option made with BluEarth fuel-saving technology and high-silica rubber construction. The multi-layered carbon design moves water away from the treads' surface, while the silica improves contact on dry, wet, slushy, snow-covered and icy roads. These wheels feature sipes for improved traction and a wide center rib with sizable control blocks for steady steering. The iceGUARD iG52c tires are a great choice if you're looking for environmentally friendly tires that will also keep you driving comfortably.
Best 3D Siping: Sumitomo Ice Edge
Certified for high performance in severe snow, Sumitomo Ice Edge tires stand out from the crowd due to their unique design. Three-dimensional siping technology, including a serrated pattern, helps these wheels provide the best bite and grip on wintry roads. They also feature center tread blocks with triangular shaping to improve the treads' contact and their handling on different road surfaces. You can install studs on the tires to enhance their performance for winter use.
Best for Occasional Winter Weather: Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
If you only have to deal with winter's messy conditions once in a while but want optimal performance in dry conditions, Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 tires could be for you. With an excellent grip on dry pavement and great handling in winter weather, this is a superb option for those who need a little extra traction as a precaution. Just like summer tires, these winter wheels provide excellent control and speed, so you can still reach your destination quickly.
Best Overall: Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 snow tires have the standout ability to remove slush, snow and moisture from the spot where the rubber meets the road. The hydrophilic coating and excellent braking response make these the best overall for coupes, compacts, sedans, minivans and some SUVs. Plus, the extra bite edges provide strong tread support similar to studs to keep you confident while driving your vehicle in different winter conditions.