The 5 Best Winter Tires

By Janae Spinato on 8 April 2015 2 comments

There are certain kinds of weather that can really throw any vehicle for a spin, both metaphorically and physically, and one of them is snow. Those winter months can be a dangerous time for anyone who requires a car or truck to go about their daily lives and the kind of tires on your vehicle shouldn’t cause you any more stress than this time of year already brings. Instead of worrying about whether or not your tires are going to keep you safe this winter, make an investment in a spectacular set of winter tires to keep yourself sane and safe whenever snow threatens to fall.

What are Winter Tires?

Unlike their general counterparts, winter tires (also known as snow tires) are better and safer for the snowy months since they have more sipes (the thin slits in the rubber) which are perfect for traversing the rougher terrain. These tires give much better traction on the snow and ice, but not so much on the dry or wet roads. Though it is possible to use these tires all year round, it’s not recommended since the dryer, warmer roads will cause the tires to wear out faster, and don’t provide the same kind of handling that summer tires do in the summer months. Though changing them each time the season changes might be a pain, the extra safety and convenience you get from getting a great set of snow tires is worth the elbow grease. Since tires are specific to cars, the prices listed in this article will be the lowest prices from which the tires are available. This does not mean this will automatically be the price of the tires for your specific model of car, so make sure you are looking at the right size to see the correct price for your needs.             

Top 5 Winter Tires

Michelin X-Ice Xi3

The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is a top pick on Consumer Search and for good reason. It is one of the best tires that performs overall, during harcore snowy conditions and slightly snowy conditions. Though there is some room for improvement on the wet/dry condition performance of these tires, they are an excellent option for anyone who has to deal with severe winter weather for most of the season. Milder winter conditions are probably better handled by other kinds of snow tires, but if you need something heavy-duty, these are the tires for you. These tires have some serious grip on snow and ice, giving you excellent handling on what can be very nerve-wracking terrains.

Though most snow tires don’t come with a warranty, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 comes with a 40,000 mile tread wear warranty that can be collected when the tires get down to 2/32 inches. This, however, is not recommended, as tires should be replaced when they get to 5/32 inches of tread are left on these tires.

Currently as low as $124.98 on Amazon

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Bridgestone Blizzak tires are renowned for their ability in wet surface traction and spectacular performance in snowy or icy conditions. The Blizzak WS80 model takes a step up from its predecessor the WS70 by increasing the stability in handling when driving in dryer conditions. It comes with a Tube MultiCell Compound built into it which really helps during the wet conditions as it dispels water away to help with the handling on wet conditions. Still, some consumers have reported stopping on wet surfaces takes longer than they would like.

The zigzag pattern on the tire isn’t just for show; it increases the effectiveness of the tread by adding many biting edges to create the best traction it can on snow and ice conditions. With the amount of trust behind this brand of winter tire, you can be sure you’re in for a great purchase.

Currently as low as $133 at Walmart

Continental ExtremeWinterContact

The Continental ExtremeWinterContact tires are great for any size car, from compact to SUV to light-duty truck. These tires show magnificent results in traction tests on ice and snow, comparable with even the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. One the tread is 50% worn, an indicator on the tire will let the owner know so that you can keep track of the tires’ level of safety. The breaking for these tires is great on all surfaces except wet ones, but even then it still performs well. This is a studless tire with plenty of void and grip edges in the center to intensify its traction on snow and ice. If you’re looking for a great tire to perform for just about any kind of car, the Continental ExtremeWinterContact tires are worth your consideration.

Currently as low as $80 at Walmart

Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c

The Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c tire is known for being able to fit a variety of car types from compact to van. It is made of a special compound from a combination of silica, multi-layer carbon, and micro bubbles that are coated in resin to give it excellent handling for winter tires in all kinds of cold weather. This is especially true with the Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c’s ability to push away sludge and slush to keep it from being a concern as you drive in melting snow conditions. Since it is a high traction/soft compound combination, some consumers report these tires being pretty noisy, but that they still do a great job of handling on snowy, icy, and even wet surfaces.

The best thing about these tires besides their impeccable performance is that they are eco-friendly, meaning you can help the environment while helping yourself to some amazing tires.

Currently priced around $70, but since it depends on the dealer, please go to the below website and enter your zipcode to find the best price

General AltiMAX Arctic Winter Tire

The General AltiMAX Arctic Winter tire can fit a variety of car sizes. If you’re looking for studded tires this winter, these tires can become studded with the purchase of additional studs to be installed. This tire has a Center Stability Rib to help with direction on dry roads and multiple sipes to help water evacuation from the tires to avoid hydroplaning. The radials on this tire have 270 degree siping that make for great grabbing action on snow and ice to increase traction.

This tire also comes with Reactive Contour Technology that helps it adapt to roads that are wet, dry, and anything inbetween to consistently provide excellent handling experience for the driver. They are the least expensive tires on this list, but the General AltiMAX Arctic Winter Tire provides the same quality safety precautions and driving experience as many more expensive winter tire options.

Currently as low as $66.04 on Amazon

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Guest's picture
Ben

Had the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and I wouldn't buy them again. They are fine in deep snow but horrid on ice offering no more traction than standard tires. I purchased them because they were the top rated tire on TireRack at the time for winter driving but quickly found that most reviewers must not have had other winter tires to compare them to.

Blizzaks are great but only the first 50% is the special rubber compound. After that wears you're left with normal all-season tire material below it.

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice are what I swear by at this point. They're made with similar rubber compound to the Blizzak but the entire tire is made of it. They also last for years (4-5 winters). They work great in deep snow and handle awesome on ice.

As someone with a winter car that's FWD, manual transmission, and 300WHP (read: VERY easy to spin the tires in the winter), having good winter tires is a must if I want any chance of getting where I'm going. Living in Minnesota means plenty of snow. The Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice have been the best of the dozen or so tires I've tried in recent years.

Guest's picture
Guest

Having good tires in the winter can literally be a life saver. If you don't have good tires, driving in snow and ice can be so dangerous. Thanks for sharing these 5 popular winter tires! I've never heard of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 ones. They sound like a perfect fit for my car. How much do they typically cost?
Megan