THESE TIRES GO WHERE OTHERS FEAR TO TREAD
If you live in a region where winters are fierce and snowfalls are measured in feet instead of inches, even the best all-season tires won't handle as well as snow tires can when the weather gets rough. To find the best snow tires Cheapism.com scoured sources nearly to the poles and back, consulting product assessments from Consumer Reports and comparative testing from automotive professionals at sites like Car and Driver and Tire Rack, a well-respected tire retailer known for independently testing many of the models it sells. We also looked at expert winter tire feedback from Canada's Automotive Protective Association (APA) and results from the much-vaunted Norwegian Auto Federation's (NAF) annual testing, which subjects its tires to harsh winter conditions — much harsher than most U.S. drivers are likely to encounter. All of our picks deliver top-safety when the white stuff piles up, at a wallet-pleasing price.
True snow tires have deeper treads and are made of softer materials than all-season tires, allowing them to maintain traction on wet and slippery surfaces. So, regardless of which snow tire you choose, bear in mind that these are not intended to be driven in warm weather or on clear, dry roads; doing so will cause the tires to wear quickly and driving performance could be compromised. Also, the majority of tires in this category do not carry a treadwear warranty. If you're considering studded tires, we'd suggest you seriously weigh the pros and cons; research calls into question whether studs offer any real advantage, except under limited conditions on ice. In addition, many states have laws that either restrict the usage of studded snow tires, or ban them altogether. None of our picks come pre-fitted with studs, but we do have one set of studdable tires. For drivers who live in climates where snow and ice may be only an occasional annoyance, all-weather tires might be a consideration, and we've included a recommendation on our list. They are much better on dry pavement and wet roads than standard snow tires, and better on moderate snow and ice than all season tires, but they're not made to navigate heavy snow cover.
*Prices and availability are subject to change. Starting prices are generally for smallest tire sizes for each line.