Last updated: July 26, 2020 by Tire Deets
All season tires are by far the most popular type on the market right now. The reason is fairly straightforward – car owners don’t want to pay for summer and winter tires when they can only pay for all season tires. In the past, these tires mostly weren’t up to the task, especially for winter driving, but things are becoming better every single year. In this article, we will observe what are the best all season tires for snow and ice, to see if they are really up to the task of delivering real winter-time traction.
However, not all tires are created equal. You can’t simply put an all season truck tire on your passenger car and vice-versa. The tires you choose don’t only depend on the weather, but also on the type of vehicle, and the type of driver. In other words, you can install comfort-focused tires on your car for better long-distance capability, or high-performance tires for a sharper driving experience.
All season tires are not designed for harsh winter use. In places with severe winters, you should proactively equip your car with snow tires. So, we will try to observe every type of tire here and pass that knowledge to you, so you can easily choose the best tires for your needs. Of course, we will only observe all season tires here and how good they are for snow driving. Below you can find a Top 10 list of the best all season tires for snow and ice, divided into several different categories, so everyone can find a favorite tire. Then, you can also read out buying guide, where we will explain how and why we chose those tires. Let’s do some testing!
- Top 10 List of The Best All Season Tires for Snow and Ice Recommended
- 1. Goodyear Assurance All-Season
- 2. Michelin Defender T+H
- 3. Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack
- 4. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady
- 5. Vredestein Quatrac 5
- 6. Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
- 7. Michelin CrossClimate SUV
- 8. Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS
- 9. Continental TerrainContact H/T
- 10. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar
- Best All Season Tires for Snow and Ice: Buying Guide
- 1. Not All All-Season Tires are Created Equal
- 2. Touring and Grand-Touring Tires are the Best Choice for Most People
- 3. High-Performance Tires are the Best Choice for Fast Vehicles
- 4. Highway Tires are the Best Choice for Towing or Hauling
- 5. All-Terrain Tires are the Best Choice for a Combination of On-Road and Off-Road Traction
- Final Words
Top 10 List of The Best All Season Tires for Snow and Ice Recommended
Best Touring All Season Tires for Snow
Goodyear launched the Assurance All-Season to provide drivers of minivans, sedans, compact cars, and crossovers with real year-round traction.
And, at least when it comes to driving over snowy surfaces, the company largely succeeded. The Assurance All-Season is an inexpensive passenger-car tire, yet it works very well in the winter.
Sure, you can’t expect performance on the level of winter tires, but for an all-season compound and design, the Assurance works surprisingly well. Traction is sufficient, and the braking distances are not overly long. The tire suffers a bit over the ice, but to be perfectly honest, not a lot of all-season tires fare better in this regard.
What irks me about the Assurance All-Season is that it could handle rainy conditions better, especially given the fact that it comes from Goodyear. The tire isn’t bad in the rain – it actually has excellent hydroplaning resistance. That said, I expected the overall traction and braking to be better.
The Assurance All-Season handles dry roads with aplomb, even in freezing weather. Handling feels stable in these conditions, and the braking distances are short.
Finally, the Assurance All-Season is very smooth and quiet in all road conditions. Sadly, though, the 65,000-mile treadwear warranty is shorter than most rivals.
Best Touring All Season Tires for Snow
A Michelin tire has always been a safe choice when it comes to performance in every type of weather, and the Defender T+H is one of the best examples. Thanks to the IntelliSipe Technology of zigzag sipes that interlock below the surface, the Defender provides the driver with ample traction and grip on wet surfaces, as well as in light snow. Handling responsiveness is also very good for a touring tire, while high-speed stability id probably the best in the category.
The Defender T+H is also very quiet and comfortable over bumps and comes with an outstanding 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, one of the best results in the class. That said, the price is also higher than almost every other competitor in the touring category.
Best Grand-Touring All Season Tires for Snow
The Turanza QuietTrack is one of our favorite grand-touring tires right now, especially when it comes to long-distance cruising. Thanks to the ComfortCruise technology, the Turanza is easily the quietest model in its category, and also the one with the best ride quality.
Despite the excellent comfort, the Turanza offers outstanding performance on the road. Responsiveness is top-notch, while traction and grip are among the top in its class. The Turanza also works very well on wet pavement, and it even puts the competitors to shame for light snow driving.
Finally, the QuietTrack has the longest treadwear warranty of any grand-touring tire at 80,000-miles, which is simply outstanding. It is no coincidence then that the price is also one of the highest in the category.
Best Touring “All-Weather” All-Season Tires for Snow
The Assurance WeatherReady is the winter-oriented brother of the TripleTred All-Season. While Goodyear markets this as an all-weather tire, it still belongs to the all-season category. Compared to any all-season tire, snow traction and grip are much better here. Braking in the snow is also very strong, almost on the level of winter tires.
When the weather is warmer, you lose some of the responsiveness of normal all-season tires. However, the Assurance WeatherReady is still completely safe for everyday driving, especially when it rains. We experienced very low noise levels as well, something that can’t be said for most all-weather tires. The only real downside is the 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, but that’s only when you compare this tire to normal all-season tires.
Best Touring “All-Weather” All-Season Tires for Snow
Vredestein is a Dutch tire manufacturer that is known for its design but also for excellent performance on a budget. Their Quatrac 5 model is an all-weather tire, which means that it offers better snow traction and grip than normal all-season tires – it even comes with the 3PMSF symbol. We would go as far as to say that the Vredestein is close to a proper winter tire when it comes to snow performance, which is pretty amazing.
The Quatrac 5 is also fairly responsive in warmer conditions and offers very good grip and traction. Braking is slightly worse than the premium competitors, but not by a wide margin. Comfort levels are very good as well, especially the ride quality. Vredestein offers a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Quatrac 5, which is lower than others, but understandable given the price.
Best Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Tires for Snow
The Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is the most popular choice among SUV and crossover owners simply because it offers a reliable and safe driving experience throughout the year. The only downside od the Dueler is the slightly worse responsiveness, but other than that, you’d be hard-pressed to find any big disadvantages.
The Dueler provides the driver with very good high-speed stability, outstanding traction, competent grip, and strong braking. It also works very well in rainy conditions – hydroplaning resistance in top-notch. Light-snow traction is excellent as far as all-season tires go, while ride quality and quietness are the best in the category. Combine all of that with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, and you have a winner here.
Best Crossover/SUV “All-Weather” All-Season Tires for Snow
Much like the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady, the Michelin CrossClimate offers better snow traction than normal all season tires, albeit for crossovers and SUVs. This tire comes with the 3PMSF rating (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake), which means that it can be used in severe wintry conditions. Snow traction and grip are better than even some budget-oriented winter tires, while braking is sublime.
As expected, responsiveness is slightly worse than on normal all-season tires in warmer weather, but the difference is hard to notice. More importantly, the CrossClimate is extremely good at resisting hydroplaning and provides outstanding wet traction and braking.
Sadly, Michelin only offers a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on the CrossClimate SUV, which is lower than expected for this tire maker.
Best High-Performance All-Season Tires for Snow
The Potenza RE980AS is our new favorite between the ultra-high-performance all season tires simply because it delivers in all categories. Regardless of the weather, dry, or wet, the Potenza will provide you with the best possible traction, grip, and braking. The all-season tread compound even works in colder conditions, and in light snow, something that other competitors can’t brag about.
The Potenza RE980AS is very quiet for an ultra-high-performance tire, but the ride quality still isn’t resolved. On the positive side, the 50,000-mile treadwear warranty is one of the best in this category.
Best Highway All-Season Tires for Snow
The Continental TerrainContact is the newest addition in the highway all-season category, and it is immediately our favorite. Thanks to the Traction Grooves with gripping teeth, this tire provides the driver with surprisingly good traction, grip, and braking on snow, unlike any other highway tire.
The symmetric pattern also provides outstanding wet traction and braking, while the tread compound with +Silane additives improves responsiveness in dry conditions. Like most Continental tires, the TerrainContact is also supremely quiet and comfortable, thanks to the Computer-Optimized Pattern Shifting.
Finally, the TerrainContact also comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, one of the highest among highway tires.
Best All-Terrain All-Season Tires for Snow
The Wrangler is one of the best all-terrain tires when it comes to off-road traction on every type of surface except sand. It is also extremely durable, thanks to the Durawall Technology and long-wearing specialized rubber tread compound. This is a tire that can endure even the harshest terrains and give you a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty for peace of mind.
This tire also works on the road, providing excellent grip and traction and outstanding high-speed stability. Finally, the Wrangler is completely usable in light snow, thanks to the 3PMSF rating.
Best All Season Tires for Snow and Ice: Buying Guide
1. Not All All-Season Tires are Created Equal
Okay, let’s first get the elephant out of the water. Depending on the weather in your area, you might not get the same all season tires as in other areas of the world. For example, the all season tires you’ll find in the USA are more geared towards summer driving, while those in Canada are more geared towards winter driving.
Manufacturers try to differentiate these tires today by giving the winter-focused tires a new name – all-weather tires. These tires are available both in the USA and Canada, but also in other parts of the world with harsh wintry conditions. They have a slightly softer compound that works better in very cold weather and more aggressive tread pattern with larger number of sipes for better snow traction.
It is important to note that there is a difference in Europe as well. The all-season tires that you buy in Italy won’t be the same as all season tires you buy in Finland. More precisely, those that you’ll find in Finland are similar to all-weather tires in North America.
It sounds confusing, we know, but that’s the way it works. For the buyer in North America, we recommend all-weather tires for best-possible snow traction. Sure, you might lose ultimate handling and stability in dry and warm weather, but you also gain in heavy rain situations. All-weather tires also have slightly shorter treadwear warranties, but not by a very large margin.
To help every buyer out there, we will include both all-season and all-weather tires on the list. We recommend going for all season tires if the winters in your area are mild, or for all-weather tires if the winters are harsher.
2. Touring and Grand-Touring Tires are the Best Choice for Most People
Touring and grand-touring tires are what you’ll mostly find on passenger cars in North America today. These tires are designed to offer a safe and reliable driving experience in almost every weather, including dry and wet. Most tires in this category today are also all season tires. As a matter of fact, it is hard to find summer touring and grand-touring tires nowadays.
That said, even when choosing between touring and grand-touring tires, there are some things you need to look out for. Firstly, touring tires (sometimes called passenger tires) are designed for smaller and slower vehicles, including sub-compact cars, compact cars, mid-size sedans, and smaller crossovers. Grand-touring tires are designed for slightly larger or more powerful vehicles, like V6 versions of mid-size sedans or premium sedans from BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. If you own a larger crossover or SUV, you will need Crossover/SUV Touring tires with larger sidewalls and higher loading capacities.
The biggest advantage of tires in the touring category is longevity. Some models today are offered with up to 90,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is amazing considering the price you pay for them. That’s almost twice as much as what you’d get on high-performance tires, mind you. Then, touring and grand-touring tires also offer much better ride quality than any other type of tire, and produce much less noise on the highway. If you cover a lot of miles annually, you’ll need a set of touring or grand-touring tires.
On the road, these tires provide a safe and reliable driving experience. They won’t light your heart on fire, especially when it comes to ultimate grip and traction, but for the average driver, they will suffice. For everyday driving, touring and grand-touring tires will give you more than enough traction, grip, and braking performance. High-speed stability will also be very good. Touring and grand-touring tires are also great in wet conditions, especially in heavy rain, thanks to their excellent resistance to hydroplaning.
With all that said, if you own a more powerful car, like a Lexus IS350 or BMW 335i, then grand-touring tires won’t cut the mustard. Traction will be limited, and grip insufficient. In this case, you need high-performance tires.
3. High-Performance Tires are the Best Choice for Fast Vehicles
As their name suggests, high-performance tires are specifically designed for faster cars, such as sporty versions of premium sedans and sports coupes. Ultra-high-performance tires are another type that is designed for even faster cars, such as BMW M3, while max-performance tires are designed for supercars or racing cars.
Both high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires are available in all-season variety, which makes them a great choice for drivers that want an elevated driving experience throughout the year. Max-performance tires, though, are only available as summer tires and won’t be mentioned here.
Compared to touring and grand-touring tires, the performance variants will give you a much more responsive driving experience. These tires immediately react to the driver’s input and make for a more enjoyable drive. On top of that, these tires provide the driver with much better traction during hard acceleration, higher levels of grip in the corners, better braking, and outstanding high-speed stability.
High-performance tires are also very good in wet conditions, but only in light rain. When it rains a lot, these tires don’t have the same ability to resist hydroplaning as touring tires. Some all-season high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires are also usable in snow as well.
That said, these tires are also much more expensive, come in very large sizes with small sidewalls, and have shorter treadwear warranties. In other words, you will pay more to buy them and do that more often. Performance tires also don’t have the same ride quality as touring or grand touring tires and produce more noise at higher speeds.
4. Highway Tires are the Best Choice for Towing or Hauling
What high-performance tires are for fast cars, highway tires are for large SUVs and pickup trucks. Highway tires are a variant of touring tires, only with the much stiffer sidewall and better load range capacities. That’s why highway tires are a much better choice for drivers that constantly tow large trailers or haul heavy cargo with their pickup trucks.
Highway tires not only can carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, but they also provide the driver with much better highway stability when towing large and heavy trailers. The best highway tires also work in rainy conditions, thanks to the circumferential grooves in the tread pattern, and some of them even work in light snow. Most highway tires today are also all season tires, mind you.
5. All-Terrain Tires are the Best Choice for a Combination of On-Road and Off-Road Traction
Highway tires might be excellent for pickup trucks and SUVs, but they only work on pavement and gravel. For more serious off-road driving, you will need all-terrain tires. These tires are designed to offer a combination of safe and reliable on-road handling performance and upgraded off-road traction when compared to highway tires.
Most all-terrain tires are also all-season tires. Thanks to the deeper grooves on the tread, these all-terrain tires work very well in deep and unpacked snow and slightly worse on packed snow. However, all-terrain tires offer worse wet performance than highway tires, especially in heavy rain. Traction and grip on dry pavement also suffer, as well as braking and high-speed stability. All-terrain tires are also much louder than highway tires.
That said, these tires also come with high load range capacities, which makes them a great choice for towing and hauling. Modern all-terrain tires have very good treadlife – some manufacturers offer a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is pretty amazing given the nature of the tire.
Drivers who want ultimate off-road traction might want to check out Maximum Traction Off-Road Tires or Mud-Terrain tires. However, these tires have even worse on-road performance and are even louder on the highway.
As you can see from the list of the 10 best all season tires for snow and ice right now, we didn’t include very cheap snow tires. The reason is pretty straightforward – cheap tires aren’t safe, especially on wet pavement and snow. The difference between premium and cheap tires is the difference between avoiding or making a crash altogether. For a completely safe and reliable driving experience, especially in the winter, always buy snow tires from reputable and well-known manufacturers.