Top 10 Winter Tires for 2020
Updated: October, 2019
Driving on all-season tires during the winter can be fine if you live in a more moderate climate that sees very little snow, but for those who see a lot of nasty snow and ice more frequently, having a set of winter tires is a must.
Winter weather brings with it roads covered with snow and slush that induces nightmares as vehicles loose control and are unable to maintain a grip. Winter tires have special design features that allow exceptional performance in snow. The gripping force on offer allows passenger cars and SUVs the ability to power through the elements.
So the question becomes, what are the best winter tires for your vehicle?
Here’s our look at the 2020 Top 10 Winter tires. Our list is not only based on our own experience, but reviews and comments made by other tire owners. All ten tire models make excellent choices.
1. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Featuring the latest in snow tire technology such as its NanoPro Tech Multicell tread compound and 3-D zig zag sipes, the Blizzak WS80 is one of Bridgestone’s highest performing winter tires. Grip on ice covered roads is exceptional among all brands.
The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is designed with biting edges on the tread that allow it to dig into the snow. The tire has an exceptional ability to perform well on dry and wet roads by offering great steering response and stability.
- Nano-Pro Tech compound that improves traction on wet and snowy roads
- Grooves expel water away from the tire footprint
3D sipes that provide biting edges for improved traction
- Excellent traction on dry and wet roads
- Exceptional performance in snowy conditions
- Extremely comfortable driving experience
- Tread life could be improved
2. Nokian WR G3
For sedan and minivan owners, the WRG3 from Nokian makes an excellent choice for an all-weather tire. The Nokian WR G3 resists the effects of hydroplaning to allow for improved performance on wet and slushy surfaces. The tire features a tread design that enables it to maintain grip even while negotiating sharp corners.
This model features a unique Cryogenic Canola Compound and Cryo silane in the silica to deliver outstanding traction in snow and ice.
- Tread design to reduce the hydroplaning effect
- Silica-infused compound that increases traction on snow
- Driving safety indicator that reveals remaining tread life
- Excellent handling on slush and snow
- Impressive cornering ability on dry and wet roads
- Tires generate considerable noise
3. Michelin X-Ice Xi3
The Michelin X-Ice lineup is well known for their high quality winter tires, and the Xi3 sits at the top of the list. It’s Flex Ice Silica-Based Tread Compound provides added flexibility in very cold temperatures, while Cross-Z sipes deliver increased grip on snow and ice.
The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 features an attractive tread pattern with indicators that inform the driver of the remaining tread depth of the tire, after which traction in snow will decline considerably. Smart design features, coupled with GreenX technology that increases the fuel efficiency of the tire, make it one of the best snow tires available in 2020.
- 30,000 to 40,000-mile warranty depending on speed rating
- Silica-based tread compound increased handling on dry and wet roads
- Cross Z-sipes to increase winter traction
- Excellent snow and ice traction
- Stable ride with lots of grip on dry surfaces
- Comfortable driving experience
- Cornering ability on wet roads is average
4. Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip Ice WRT
Goodyear makes the top ten with their Ultra Grip Ice WRT (Winter Reactive Technology) tire. This model delivers excellent deep snow traction, and has a ride that is also comfortable at the same time.
The Goodyear Eagle enables your vehicle to accelerate, brake and corner without fear of the car slipping or unable to maintain traction on slush or snow. The directional tread design with accompanying grooves expels water away from the tire footprint, increasing traction on wet surfaces.
- Winter reactive technology to increase performance on snow
- Grooves expel water to increase wet traction
- 3D Treadlock technology that increases cornering grip
- Excellent grip on snow and ice
- Stable driving experience on both dry and wet roads
- Users have reported that tires become noisy with use
5. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
If you drive a high performance coupe or sedan, the SP Winter Sport 3D from Dunlop is one of the best in class. With a reactive silica tread compound for enhanced performance in cold temps and 3D sipes for increased traction, this is a tire that is built to handle tough conditions while providing excellent dry, wet and winter driving performance.
The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D is a tire worthy of being considered the best winter tire available in 2020. The claim is based on how well the tire performs on slush and even in hard packed snow when most tires suffer from decreased traction.
- Reactive silica infused tread that provides traction in winter weather
- Tread designed to reduce the threat of hydroplaning
- Jointless band technology that doesn’t allow the tire to lose shape, when covering long distances
- Excellent stability while driving on streets and highways
- Snow performance is outstanding
- Provides a comfortable driving experience
- Cornering on wet roads could be improved
- Tire durability is an issue
6. Hankook I*Cept Evo W310
The Hankook I*Cept Evo is a solid performing tire featuring a simple, yet attractive, tread pattern that enables it to provide a stable and comfortable driving experience on both, dry and wet roads.
Hankook’s I*Cept Evo delivers very good all-around winter driving performance. It’s handling and traction in the snow is exceptional among winter tires due in part to unique Polar Bear Claw traction grooves in the tread that provide extra bite on snow and ice.
- Asymmetric tread pattern that offers excellent traction on dry and wet roads
- Ribbed design improves braking ability on all surfaces
- Grooves designed to have a biting effect
- The tire performs exceptionally well on snow and dry surfaces
- Extremely comfortable driving experience
- Cornering very poor on wet roads
- Braking is a problem on slushy and wet roads
7. General Altimax Arctic
The General Altimax Arctic provides tremendous bang for your buck, excellent traction on all surfaces, and excellent steering control even in the harshest of weather conditions.
The Altimax Arctic from General has consistently ranked as one of the best-selling winter tires for several years now. Built to handle the toughest in winter weather conditions, this model features an all-weather dual tread compound and high-density siping, as well as an optional studdable design. This is a spectacular tire to feature as the top 10 winter tires available in 2020.
- Dual tread compound that increases wet traction
- Center ribbed design that increases stability on highways
- Siping that increases acceleration and braking on snow surfaces
- Impressive cornering and stability on snow surfaces
- Excellent braking and acceleration even on hard-packed snow
- Great value for money
- Performance on dry roads could be improved
8. Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
Michelin built the Pilot Alpin PA4 to provide exceptional winter traction to go with summer tire like driving on dry or wet pavement, and this tire does just that. A sunflower oil-enriched helio tread compound combines with variable thickness sipes to give the PA4 outstanding overall performance.
The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 is a slightly expensive tire design perfect for tuner and luxury cars that need to extract the highest performance to function well on ice and slush conditions. The tires have been designed with Michelin’s StabiliGrip technology that improves acceleration, braking, and handling.
- Helio compound improves traction in snow
- Fuel efficient
- Asymmetric tread pattern with grooves designed to offer grip on wet roads
- Excellent handling on even densely packed snow
- Tire allows for impressive acceleration and braking
- Comfortable driving experience
- None apparent
9. Continental ExtremeWinterContact
For drivers of pickups, crossovers, minivans and SUV’s, the ExtremeWinterContact from Continental has a lot going for it. Not only does this tire deliver dependable grip in deep snow and ice, but it also provides a quiet and more comfortable ride at the same time.
The Continental ExtremeWinterContact is priced lower than most other offerings that make up the best winter tires available in 2018. The tire provides precise steering control in dry and wet conditions while boasting of an attractive tread pattern.
- Tread compound with siping to improve traction in snow
- Lateral grooves improve performance on dry roads
- Edged design allows for excellent grip on snow surfaces
- Excellent performance on slush and snow
- Outstanding cornering ability on dry and wet roads
- Comfortable driving experience
- Tread durability is an issue
10. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2
Nokian’s latest winter tire, the Hakkapeliitta R2 offers impressive snow and ice performance while also maintaining fuel economy with its lower rolling resistance tread design. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 has been specially designed with a unique silica-based tread compound that allows this tire to grip onto surfaces.
Braking and acceleration on winter roads is among the best you’ll find regardless of model. The tire provides stability during high-speed cornering and even long highway commutes, making this a perfect tire to purchase for the winter season.
- Low rolling resistance; fuel efficient
- Particles laced in the tread compound offers superior grip in snow
- Claw design to dig into the surface for traction
- Performance in snowy conditions is outstanding
- Stability on dry roads is excellent
- Comfortable and quiet driving experience
- Tire Durability could be improved
Why buy Winter Snow Tires?
Winter weather causes roads to become packed with snow or slush. The road can become hazardous for travel, and normal tires are unable to maintain grip and traction on snow. This causes drivers to lose steering control.
The best winter tires available this year are specially designed with technologies and newer designs, such as, biting edges and grooves that increase the traction on snow surfaces. These characteristics allow vehicles equipped with winter tires to travel safely on snow affected roads, making them the ideal tire for drivers that have to travel in winter weather.
For Temperatures Below 7° Celsius, Get These Tires On!
The matter of safety and minimizing the risks to oneself and other motorists while driving can never be underestimated. Winter tires are essentially designed to work under intense temperatures, ice and snow that make driving hazardous.
The Unique Design Says It All
Winter tires are particularly designed with superior tread patterns and sipes for the purpose of additional grip and traction on snowy routes.
An open, unidirectional tread pattern is what sets winter tires apart and provide a smooth driving experience. For better results, studded or spiked tires are the first choice of global consumers.
And Then, The Unique Tire Material
Comprising of a higher ratio of natural rubber reinforced with specialized high silica materials, winter tires offer much better grip with the treading surface. The soft, pliable and flexible texture makes it an ideal choice for driving during cold, snowy winters.
A Word Of Caution: When you decide to replace your all-season tires with winter ones, you’ve got to replace all 4 tires simultaneously. Changing just the front or the rear pair often leads to uneven wear and tear.
Winter Tire FAQs
Do SUVs Need Winter Tires?
Many SUV drivers believe that they don’t need winter tires as their vehicles are immune to skidding and slipping on snow – this is simply not true. Winter tires are equally important for them because in rough winter conditions, all-season tires are unable to grip ice-clad surfaces, leading to poor traction and maneuverability. Overall, this results in increased braking time and poor control of the vehicle.
When Should I Put My Winter Tires On?
You should consider installing winter tires once the average temperature in your area drops to 7 degrees Celsius or below, regardless of the month or season. As the temperature drops, all-season tire’s rubber starts to harden, making it less efficient in providing traction – and this is exactly where winter tires are built to shine.
How Many Years Do Winter Tires Last?
While many manufacturers claim that their tires can withstand up to six seasons, it all depends on your mileage or the road on which you are driving. For instance, if you frequently drive on freezing road surfaces, then your tires will wear out fairly quickly compared to driving on snow. Similarly, if you cover a lot of distance – no matter on ice or snow – you will experience increased tread wear.
Can I Drive On Winter Tires Year-Round?
As winter tires are specially designed to perform on snow, ice or slush, they are not suited for driving all-year-round. The rubber on winter tires is more susceptible to wear in the summers, leading to faster tread wear. Also, the dry grip and maneuverability of your vehicle is reduced in warmer conditions due to their soft composition.
How Fast Can I Drive With Winter Tires?
Your winter tires are meant to provide optimal performance up to the speed limit mentioned by the manufacturer – this information is usually stamped on the tire itself. Exceeding this can make your vehicle prone to skidding and sliding on snow or other winter surfaces.
Are Winter Tires Noisier?
Winter tires are significantly noisier compared to all-season tires due to their composition and performance requirements. For example, they have wider spaces between the treads for increased grip on snow, a softer rubber composition built to keep the tire sticky during freezing temperatures, etc. Combined, these features provide excellent winter traction – but they also make the tire a bit noisy.