Best Studded Winter Tires Review and Buyer’s Guide
February 2, 2023
Cooper, Firestone, General, Michelin, Winter Tires
Are you looking for the best performing and dependable studded winter tire for your vehicle but don’t know where to start? Trail Tire has you covered with our best-selling studded winter tires list. We’ve also included a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you understand studded tires and how to select the right ones for your vehicle.
The Top 6 Studded Winter Tires
Cooper Evolution Winter: Best Overall
The Cooper Evolution Winter is a studdable tire with long tread life, superb traction, and stability for moving safely over most road surfaces.
Cooper’s winter-specific tread on this tire is moulded into a directed pattern, enabling it to provide short stopping distances on ice and snow while remaining flexible in subfreezing temperatures.
Additionally, the high-density rubber layering compounds and needle holes give it exceptionally precise traction, allowing the tire to move smoothly in slick conditions.
The Evolution Winter has excellent ice and snow traction—probably the best in its class.
To achieve this, the tire’s built-in sipes are supplemented with high-density, multi-angle sipes for more traction on hard-packed and unpacked snow, ice, and even slush.
In addition to impressive snow and ice handling, drivers enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride. It is elastic and effectively absorbs shocks, preventing noise from reverberating into the cabin.
- Impressive snow and ice traction, handling, and braking (with and without studs)
- Outstanding performance in slush
- Quiet and comfortable for a winter tire
- Excellent hydroplaning resistance
- Less comfortable on rough surfaces
Michelin X-Ice North 4: Best Premium
The Michelin X-Ice North 4 is the studded version of the already accomplished X-Ice Snow. This tire is truly impressive, particularly on ice and snow, in terms of braking, traction, and handling.
The tire has a directional V-shaped tread design for evacuating melting snow and ice and wide grooves for water drainage. Interlocking sipes increase tire stability and add biting edges, improving dry and snow handling.
It has pre-installed studs strategically placed around the tire to help ensure maximum grip. They’re also triangular, which allows them to dig deeper into the ice for improved traction.
Michelin is well-known for its expertise in areas such as longevity and fuel efficiency, and this tire is no exception. Its low rolling resistance will help you save money on gas whilst serving you for an extended period—it has a life expectancy that is significantly higher than the average.
- It comes with factory-installed metal studs
- Superb snow and ice evacuation
- Performs reliably in adverse weather conditions
- Braking distances are longer than other tires in the category
General AltiMAX Arctic 12: Best Budget
The General AltiMAX Arctic proves that cheaper costs do not automatically equal a lesser quality standard.
The AltiMAX Arctic 12 performs nearly as well without the studs affixed as winter tires from high-end manufacturers, which is commendable. Once the studs are in place, their performance will wow you with its excellent traction, braking, and handling on snow and ice.
The tire drains effectively on wet surfaces, preventing hydroplaning. The spikes substantially improve the AltiMAX Arctic 12’s grip in slick weather on its surface. A solid centre tread improves handling in these conditions, making it more efficient at melting snow.
This highly directional tire performed admirably on abrasive surfaces such as ice. Even when accelerating or cornering, it always maintains excellent grip.
- Outstanding traction and handling in demanding conditions
- Incredibly short braking distances on snow and ice
- Excellent ride comfort
- Dependable traction over snow and ice
- Affordable price
- Excellent performance on wet pavement
- Unsatisfactory steering response
- Noisy on the highway
Firestone WinterForce 2: Best for Traction
The Firestone WinterForce 2 is arguably the best-studded winter tire on the market. It is super-usable without the studs attached, even over snow and ice. Furthermore, the tire performs admirably on dry roads and exceptionally well in heavy rain.
Firestone utilized a unique cold-weather tread compound and moulded it into a full-directional tread pattern. The tread compound keeps the tire pliable in sub-zero temperatures, while the tread pattern has the sipes needed for reliable traction on snow.
In addition to the biting edges, the tread pattern features multiple circumferential grooves, open shoulder slots, and wide lateral notches. All of these design elements aid in removing water from beneath the tread area for better aquaplaning resistance and wet traction.
The Firestone WinterForce 2 stands out from many of its competitors in its class thanks to its dependable handling. You can drive safely in the rain while enjoying excellent traction and consistent braking distances.
- Excellent snow and ice traction
- Short braking distances on snow
- Excellent handling on ice
- Outstanding hydroplaning resistance
- Very good tread life
- Reliable wet and dry traction
- Reasonably priced
- Comfort and noise levels need improvement
Cooper Discoverer Snow Claw: Best for SUVs
Designed for SUVs and trucks, the Cooper Discoverer Snow Claw can confidently handle heavy towing and hauling duties even in the harshest of winters. Its strength is derived from deep spike blocks, flexible rubber compounds, and surface slits.
Cooper designed the Discoverer Snow Claw with an aggressive tread pattern to help it maintain a strong grip on snow and ice. Furthermore, it improves water evacuation, and hydroplaning is almost non-existent, resulting in a reasonably safe ride.
Overall, this is a high-performance tire that will improve the capability of any 4×4 when the weather turns bad.
- Short stopping distance
- Excellent cornering performance
- Consistent grip in all conditions
General Grabber Arctic LT: Best for Durability
The General Grabber Arctic LT is an affordable studded snow tire for light trucks. This tire’s higher-than-average load rating makes it an exciting option for towing and hauling heavy loads on snow and ice.
Despite the Grabber Arctic LT’s affordable price, it offers the driver exceptional grip and braking on snow, ice, and slush, particularly when the studs are attached.
The tire dazzles on dry and rainy roads with its safe handling, excellent braking, and comfort.
The Arctic LT has a tough tire composition that resists cuts and chips and can maintain suppleness in sub-freezing conditions. Additionally, it increases the tire’s toughness, enabling you to use it for five or six winter seasons, or roughly 40,000 miles.
The interlocking siping pattern is a two-for-one deal. On the one hand, it aids this model’s traction on ice, snow, and wet roads. Conversely, it minimizes block deformation for even wear and long tread life.
One significant disadvantage of this tire is that it is only available in a few LT-metric sizes, limiting its suitability for most trucks.
- Excellent grip on ice and snow
- Dependable traction on dry and wet pavement
- Impressive traction and braking on ice, especially with studs
- Prolonged tread life
- Available in limited sizes
- Noisy on the highway
- Might struggle on ice-glazed, hard-packed snow
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Studded Snow Tires
What Is the Difference Between Studded and Studless Tires?
Studded tires have small holes in the tread that allow lightweight metal pieces (studs) to be added. These studs are meant to be installed 1/32″ inside the upper surface of the tire.
As the tires rotate, the studs help break through the snow and ice-covered roads to provide better grip. The sharp edges of the studs help break snow and ice into tiny pieces, exposing the inner surface for the tire to latch onto.
Studless tires, on the other hand, rely on unique tread designs and technologies to provide traction on ice and snow. They have deeper tread depths than traditional all-season tires.
Most tread designs include a plethora of sipes or tiny slits to provide more biting edges as the tire rolls on the ground.
Furthermore, studless snow tires are made from naturally derived or silica-enhanced tread compounds that remain pliable even in extreme cold.
Studded Snow Tires Legality in Canada
In Canada, each province has slightly different rules regarding the use of studded tires.
They are not permitted in some areas or in others during certain months of the year. Here are some of the provincial regulations:
- British Columbia: Studded tires can only be used on BC highways from October 1 through April 30. Studs cannot protrude more than 2 mm from the tread and must be on both the front and back tires.
- Manitoba: Permitted between October 1 and April 30.
- Ontario: Permitted only between October 1 and April 30 in Northern Ontario (Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Temiskaming).
- Alberta and Saskatchewan: Studded tires are permitted during the winter with no restrictions or set dates for use.
Before you consider getting a set of studded tires, be sure to check out the usage rules in your province and area. Even if you live in an area where studded tires are legal, they should only be used in conditions that provide greater traction.
Drawbacks of Studded Winter Tires
Studded tires may be superior in snow, ice, or slush, but they have several drawbacks compared to other tire types.
- They perform poorly on dry and wet surfaces, as the metal studs come into contact with the road before the tire. As a result, you get less traction and grip and worse braking and handling than with studless tires.
- Studs can easily damage the pavement.
- They are significantly less comfortable than standard tires. The studs make a lot of noise, which is audible even at slower speeds.
- Studs also increase tire weight, rolling resistance, and fuel consumption.
If you reside in an area that regularly experiences extreme winter, this list of the top studded snow tires should assist you in finding a type that is appropriate for your car.
For those who live in places that don’t have wintry conditions throughout the year, studless winter tires will do just fine. They work outstandingly well over snow, and they are usable over ice.
Remember to check with your local authorities to see if studded tires are legal in your area.
Shop Studded Tires Online with Trail Tire
Trail Tire offers high-quality tires at competitive prices, including the best-studded winter tires for your vehicle. Shop online or visit your local Trail Tire Auto Center to receive personalized and professional service.Back