Last updated: August 31, 2020 by Tire Deets
All-wheel-drive vehicles might not be beneficial to most drivers, but they are still the best choice for driving over slippery surfaces. With an all-wheel-drive equipped vehicle, you will get more traction over things like snow, slush, and ice, but also for off-roading and things like hardpacked surfaces, mud, rocks, and sand.
However, despite the popular opinion, tires are more important to traction over slippery surfaces than an all-wheel-drive system. For example, a front-wheel-drive vehicle with winter tires will have more traction on snow than an all-wheel-drive vehicle with all-season or summer tires. Of course, the combination of all-wheel drive and winter tires will always be the best option.
But, should you always think about installing winter tires if the conditions demand that? Fortunately, no. Many modern all-terrain tires can give you advanced traction over snow, especially deep and unpacked one. Moreover, you will also benefit from better traction for off-roading than standard winter tires, and tougher and more durable construction.
Now, of course, winter and snow tires will always be a better option for harsh wintry conditions. However, for most SUVs, trucks, and crossover drivers, a set of all-terrain tires will do the job just fine. The thing is, not every all-terrain tire is prepared for driving in severe wintry conditions. For that reason, we prepared a curated list of the best all terrain tires for snow on the market.
Our list consists of 11 popular all-terrain tire choices for SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. We will include both premium models and budget-friendly alternatives, but all of them will have one thing in common – they work very well over snowy surfaces. Also, all models must be readily available in North America in the most popular truck and SUV sizes.
For those that want to learn a bit more about all-terrain tires and how they work on snow, we also prepared a detailed buying guide. There you will be able to learn how to distinguish between good all-terrain tires for snow just by looking at the tread pattern. The buying guide is right after our list of the best all terrain tires for snow and needless to say, we recommend reading through it.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the 11 best tires on the market right now.
- The 11 Best All-Terrain Tires for Snow Available in 2020
- 1. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar
- 2. Toyo Open Country AT III
- 3. Falken Wildpeak AT3W
- 4. Michelin LTX A/T 2
- 5. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
- 6. General Grabber AT2
- 7. Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT
- 8. Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 3
- 9. Continental TerrainContact A/T
- 10. Kumho Road Venture AT51
- 11. Sumitomo Encounter AT
- Buying Guide For Best Tires in 2020
The 11 Best All-Terrain Tires for Snow Available in 2020
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The Goodyear Wrangler Adventure is not only the best all-terrain tire for snow, but it is also the best all-terrain tire overall. We are big fans of its off-road prowess, but also the excellent on-road stability. The only fault with this tire is the noisy operation at higher speeds, but that is expected from an aggressive all-terrain tire.
For off-roading, the Wrangler Adventure will provide you with outstanding traction on every surface you encounter, including hardpacked surfaces, mud, and rocks. On the road, the traction and grip levels are very good for an all-terrain tire, both over dry and wet surfaces.
More importantly, thanks to the 3PMSF marking, this tire is already proved that it works in severe wintry conditions, including snow and ice. The multi-faceted symmetric tread design with open shoulder blocks and traction ridges really helps when driving over snow, especially unpacked one.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Wrangler Adventure is also equipped with the Durawall Technology, which makes it the toughest and most durable all-terrain tire around. Goodyear provides an amazing 60,000-mile treadwear warranty to cover that claim.
The Toyo Open Country A/T III has one of the most aggressive tread patterns of any all-terrain tire and a lot of zig-zag sipes. As a result of that, this improved model provides the driver with outstanding traction over snowy surfaces, and very strong braking as well. The 3PMSF rating is just an indication of the excellent winter traction of this tire.
The aggressive tread pattern also works outstandingly well for off-roading. This is one of the few all-terrain tires that work over any off-road surface, including light mud. The Open Country ATIII also features a durable tread compound that enhances treadlife. Toyo provides a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is certainly impressive.
On the road, the tire doesn’t perform as all-terrain tires focused on street performance. However, we still think that it is completely safe, even in rainy weather. The biggest issue is the noise, which can be tiring on the highway.
The Falken Wildpeak AT3W has the deepest and most aggressive tread pattern of any all-terrain tire, which helps immensely for driving over snow. Traction and braking in severe wintry conditions are further improved with the 3D Canyon Sipe Technology and rugged tread blocks, which provide more biting edges.
The aggressive tread pattern also helps for off-roading – this is one of the most accomplished all-terrain tires in that regard. Durability shouldn’t be an issue as well – the Wildpeak AT3W is equipped with internal cooling protection and rugged sidewall protection. Falken provides a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is excellent for the price.
On the road, the Wildpeak AT3W works safely over dry and wet surfaces, providing the driver with high levels of grip and traction. That said, while the tire is comfortable over rough patches on the road, it can be noisy on the highway.
The Michelin LTX A/T 2 is an all-terrain tire that looks like it was designed with snow in mind. The tread pattern is very busy and employs many biting edges, which the company calls Michelin Biting Edges. This technology goes a long way to improve snow traction and braking, which are among the best in the all-terrain category.
Moreover, thanks to the Comfort Control Technology, the LTX A/T 2 is almost as quiet as a highway tire. Right now, there is no other all-terrain tire that is as quiet as the Michelin. Also, the ride quality is superb, especially over larger bumps.
The LTX A/T 2 is also one of the best all terrain tires for on-road driving, both over dry and wet surfaces. For off-roading, it performs excellently over hardpacked surfaces, rocks, sand, and shallow mud. However, we wouldn’t use it in deep mud.
Michelin provides a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on the tire, which is expected given the use of the Advanced MaxTouch Construction technology that slows down treadwear.
The BFGoodrich KO2 is perhaps the most popular all-terrain tire among enthusiasts, primarily because it works outstandingly well for off-roading. This tire has enough traction to get you out of deep mud, let you crawl over large rocks, and give you a responsive drive on dirt and gravel.
The aggressive tread pattern also helps in the winter – snow traction and braking are outstanding. This tire was one of the first models that got the 3PMSF symbol in the all-terrain category as well.
The best thing about the BFGoodrich KO2 is that it also works tremendously well on the road. Highway stability is exceptional for an all-terrain tire, and there is a lot of traction and grip on offer over dry and wet surfaces. The tire is also very comfortable over bumps and rough patches, but like most of its competitors, it is noisy on the highway.
BFGoodrich provides a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on this tire, which is lower than the competition. However, the KO2 is known for its outstanding toughness and durability – the casing is cut- and chip-resistant, and puncture-resistant.
General’s all-terrain tire is very popular among off-road enthusiasts primarily due to its combination of excellent on-road abilities and strong off-road traction. The computer-optimized tread pattern with many blocks and sipes works tremendously well over hardpacked surfaces, mud, and rocks.
More importantly, the tread pattern also works tremendously well over snow and slush, providing high levels of traction and strong braking. Moreover, the tire is awarder with the 3PMSF marking, which signifies its excellent winter abilities.
On the road, the Grabber AT2 performs admirably on dry pavement – handling is precise and safe. Wet traction is slightly worse than the best in the category, though, but still completely safe. When it comes to comfort, the ride quality is exceptional, but noise can be an issue on the highway.
General Tire provides a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Grabber AT2, which is an exceptional result, especially for the price.
The Discoverer AT3 XLT is one of the few all-terrain tires that is designed with light trucks in mind. Cooper offers this model in the most popular LT-metric sizes, which makes it a great option for drivers of pickup trucks that use them for utility.
When it comes to performance, the AT3 XLT is one of the best all terrain tires for driving over hardpacked surfaces – the tread pattern resists shredding from sharp rocks. The tire works on the road as well, both over dry and wet surfaces. Snow traction and braking are exceptional as well, primarily thanks to the zig-zag sipes on the tread blocks.
Interestingly, Cooper managed to make the AT3 XLT comfortable and quiet, something that can’t be said for most LT-metric all-terrain tires. Moreover, the 60,000-mile treadwear warranty is one of the best in the category.
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Bridgestone’s all-terrain tire might not be the best option for off-road driving – it doesn’t work well in deep mud. However, responsiveness and traction over hardpacked surfaces are excellent. Also, the Dueler Revo 3 works tremendously well on the street and highway, providing the driver with high levels of grip and traction, and strong braking.
The Dueler Revo 3 also works over snowy surfaces. It’s not the best winter option out there, but the TractionClaw Technology still helps immensely in deep and unpacked snow. Finally, Bridgestone provides a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on P-metric, and 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on LT-metric sizes, both excellent numbers.
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On the outside, the TerrainContact A/T looks decidedly less aggressive than other all-terrain tires. However, Continental made this decision with a purpose to improve on-road dynamics and they succeeded with aplomb.
On the street, this is one of the most accomplished all-terrain tires. The TerrainContact A/T performs outstandingly well over dry and wet surfaces, providing high levels of grip and traction. The tire is also very quiet and comfortable, something that can’t be said for most all-terrain tires.
More importantly, snow performance is on-par with the best all-terrain tires out there, especially over light snow. Continental also provides an excellent 60,000-mile treadwear warranty.
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The Kumho Road Venture AT51 is an inexpensive all-terrain tire that has enough qualities to compete with the best premium tires. Despite the budget-friendly pricing, the tire is very tough and durable – it comes with a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty and has a cut-resistant casing.
Moreover, thanks to the aggressive tread pattern with zigzag center blocks, the AT51 works outstandingly well on snow (3PMSF marking), providing the driver with usable traction and strong braking. On-road performance is excellent as well, and we can confirm that the AT51 works over hardpacked surfaces and rocks.
That said, the Road Venture AT51 isn’t very smooth on rough patches and over bumps. Also, mud traction is slightly worse than the best in the category.
The Sumitomo Encounter AT is one of the cheapest all-terrain tires that can compete with the best out there. On paper, this tire is unbeatable – despite the lower price, it comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Moreover, the aggressive tread pattern provides the driver with excellent traction over unpacked snow. The Encounter AT even has the 3PMSF marking on the side, which is impressive for the price. Off-road traction is excellent as well, especially over hardpacked surfaces.
On the road, the Sumitomo Encounter AT performs very well over dry surfaces – highway stability is exceptional. However, wet traction lags behind the best in the category, despite the excellent hydroplaning resistance.
Buying Guide For Best Tires in 2020
1. What to Look for When Choosing All-Terrain Tires for Snow?
Modern all-terrain tires almost always come with an all-season tread compound, which is designed to work both in warmer and colder conditions. That said, there are no all-terrain tires with a winter compound available, nor all-terrain tires with a summer compound. That’s good because it makes the choice of tires much easier.
Now that we cleared that out, let’s have a look at other markings on the tire that are important for snow driving.
2. The Difference Between M+S and 3PMSF Markings
Every all-season tire you will find online today has at least the M+S marking on the sidewall. This marking means “Mud + Snow”, which in theory should indicate that the tire will work on those surfaces.
However, this marking can be very misleading because it only signifies that the tread compound is soft enough (at least an all-season compound), and that it has enough tread depth and sipes. All-season tires have this marking by default, but that doesn’t mean that they are usable on snow or ice.
Contrarily, most all-season tires aren’t usable over mud, and only slightly usable on snow. Sure, you can use these tires over mud and snow, and they will have some traction, but not enough for safe driving. Braking will be especially bad, which is much more important than traction when it comes to safety.
Fortunately, many all-terrain tires today come with the 3PMSF marking on the side, which stands for Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake. These tires are tested for harsh wintry conditions and have much better traction and braking than M+S tires.
Now, it’s fair to say that some M+S all-terrain tires will work very well over snow – it’s just that the manufacturers didn’t send them for 3PMSF testing.
3. Tread Pattern and Biting Edges
You can easily distinguish between a tire that’s good for snow and one that isn’t just by looking at the tread pattern. Tires designed for warmer conditions usually have less prominent tread pattern to increase the contact patch with the road. That helps greatly for driving on dry and wet pavement, but it’s worse for driving over snow.
Tires that have a deeper and more prominent tread pattern are better for driving over snow. More precisely, the more tread blocks there are on the tire, the better it bites into the snow. Most all-terrain tires are also equipped with small sipes built into the tread blocks, which further increases the number of biting edges. The busier the tread pattern, the better it works on snow.
Now, all-terrain tires have a more aggressive tread pattern by default, which is why most of them work excellently over snow. However, when choosing a new set, always look for the small zig-zag sipes. Tires with zig-zag sipes will work much better for driving on snow, providing you with extra traction and stronger braking.
With that said, the tread pattern on all-terrain tires can start to wear over time and that’s especially true for the smaller sipes. For dry conditions, that shouldn’t make a big difference, but wet and snow performance will start to degrade. Usually, you need to replace the tires sooner if you want to keep the snow traction and braking on a high level.
Most tires manufacturers provide treadwear warranties in the range of 45,000 to 60,000-miles, but you really shouldn’t wait that long. The warranty only covers tires that are worn-out to 2/32 of an inch of tread depth, at which point the tire will be completely unusable over snow. For best results, we recommend replacing the tires at 30,000 to 40,000-miles, or until the tread pattern starts to degrade severely.
4. What are All-Terrain Tires?
All-terrain tires, as their name suggests, are designed for driving on every type of surface. In other words, they will be better for off-roading than highway tires, and better on the street than mud-terrain tires. You may also view them as a compromise on both ends, but that is expected from a product that is built to work on every type of surface.
The best all-terrain tires today will give you a completely safe driving experience on the road over dry, wet, and snowy pavement. Moreover, these tires are also outstanding for most off-road surfaces, including dirt, gravel, mud, sand, and rocks.
With that said, if you are a hardcore off-road enthusiast, you might be better served by mud-terrain or maximum traction off-road tires. For the majority of SUVs, trucks, and crossover owners, though, all-terrain tires will do the job just fine.
You should be prepared for a tad more noise on the road when compared to touring and highway tires, though. Noise is a thing that every driver and passenger will notice, more so than traction and braking. Be sure to test drive all-terrain tires before making a decision, especially if you care about comfort on longer journeys.
Driving on snow can be fun but also very dangerous. On that account, choosing all-terrain tires that will work greatly over snow will not only make driving safer but also much more fun. Just be sure that you check the tread pattern for wear and tear from time to time and you should be fine.
If you didn’t notice, you can purchase the best all-terrain tires for snow directly from our list of models above. That way you’ll get the best prices on each model, but also help us to keep posting articles like these and help other drivers in the future.