Light trucks are by far the most popular vehicle type in the USA. They are tough and versatile and are literally the backbone of the US economy. Naturally, people love them for the go-everywhere qualities, immense hauling, and towing capabilities, and in recent times, the excellent comfort and luxury amenities they provide.
For most people, a light truck is the only vehicle they will ever possess. This means that people cover a lot of miles with their trucks, which puts a lot of strain on some parts. We are specifically talking about tires here, which you need to replace regularly in order to keep your truck perform at the highest level.
The thing is, tires for light trucks can be expensive, especially in larger dimensions and higher load ratings. And, for sure, not every tire performs are the highest level – some are better than others. The light-truck tires should provide you with excellent performance on every surface you encounter.
Moreover, they should also be tough, especially if you often haul or tow with your truck. Drivers today also expect excellent durability of the tires – nobody wants to replace them after 2-3 years. Also, high levels of comfort and quietness are always a nice bonus, especially because most owners use their trucks as everyday-driving vehicles.
Now, there is a slight issue with all these qualities – there is no single tire on the market that possesses each one of them. There will always be a compromise. For example, a tire might be great for highway driving, but not very good for off-road activities. You can’t have the best of all worlds with tires, sorry.
Fortunately, we are here to help you find the best tires for your light truck. In our list of the best light-truck tires, we will include different types of tires to satisfy the needs of different drivers. That way, every owner can find the perfect tire for his/her needs.
If you don’t understand tires very much, fret not – we also prepared a detailed buying guide on light-truck tires. In that guide, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of tires, so you can find a type that will suit you best. Be sure to check it out – it’s after our Top 10 list of the best light truck tires.
Without further ado, though, let’s have a look at our carefully selected list of the best tires for light trucks on the market today.
- The 10 Best Light Truck Tires Available in 2021
- 1. Michelin Defender LTX M/S
- 2. Cooper Discoverer HTP
- 3. General Grabber HTS 60
- 4. Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
- 5. Continental CrossContact LX25 with EcoPlus+ Technology
- 6. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar
- 7. Continental TerrainContact A/T
- 8. Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar
- 9. Falken Ziex S/TZ05
- 10. Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
- What to look for when choosing a set of tires for your light truck?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The 10 Best Light Truck Tires Available in 2021
Best Highway Tires for Light Truck
From the excellent on-road performance to its tough construction, the Defender LTX is arguably the most polished light-truck tire to date.
On the street and highway, this tire will provide you with excellent traction on dry and wet surfaces, and outstanding highway stability with and without a large trailer attached.
Moreover, the Defender LTX is very comfortable over bumps and quiet on the highway. It also comes with an outstanding 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, and cut- and -chip resistant casing for driving over hardpacked surfaces.
The only area where we would like improvement is snow traction, which is only average.
Best Highway Tires for Light Truck
The Discoverer HTP might not have the qualities to dethrone the Defender LTX, but it comes close. When you consider the price, the Discoverer HTP might even be a better choice.
On the road, this tire provides the driver with safe traction and braking on dry and wet surfaces. Moreover, we found that the highway stability is excellent, both over dry and wet surfaces, and that the tire is comfortable and quiet.
Despite the lower price point, you’re still getting an excellent 65,000-mile treadwear warranty and tough casing. That said, there isn’t a lot of traction on snow.
Best Highway Tires for Light Truck
The Grabber HTS 60 is a favorite tire among light-truck owners thanks to the budget-friendly price and good performance overall.
The Grabber HTS 60 performs safely over dry and wet surfaces, with or without a trailer attached. Heavy-duty versions are slightly worse in the rain, but still completely safe. Snow traction could be improved, though.
In terms of comfort, the ride quality is plush and there is not a lot of noise on the highway. Also, the tire is very tough and durable – it can even take some off-road pounding.
Best Touring Tires for Light Truck
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The Dueler Alenza Plus is another popular light-truck tire, specifically for drivers that don’t use the utility side of things.
Bridgestone’s touring tire provides the best combination of comfort, quietness, and overall performance in one package – it is usable on dry, wet, and snowy surfaces.
The Japanese manufacturer also provides a class-leading 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is certainly impressive. That said, we don’t recommend this tire for heavy cargo or trailers.
Best Touring Tires for Light Truck
The CrossContact LX25 is the closest competitor to the Dueler Alenza Plus in terms of performance. Overall, the CrossContact performs slightly better on dry and wet surfaces, and equally well over snow.
This tire is also very comfortable over bumps and quiet on the highway. Continental also employed a low-rolling-resistance technology for better fuel economy, which is always welcome.
That said, the 70,000-mile treadwear warranty is shorter than its main rival. Also, we don’t recommend towing very large and heavy trailers with these tires.
Best All-Terrain Tires for Light Truck
Goodyear’s all-terrain tire is the best in its category in terms of performance and durability. For off-road duties, it provides the driver with ample traction, even over mud, rocks, and unpacked snow.
Moreover, the tough construction is puncture-resistant and cut- and -chip-resistant, and there is an outstanding 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on offer.
The Wrangler Adventure is safe to drive on the road as well, but we would still want to see an improvement in quietness.
Best All-Terrain Tires for Light Truck
The TerrainContact A/T is an all-terrain tire designed with street performance in mind. Because of that, this tire will give you the safest ride on the road over dry and wet surfaces.
For off-roading, the TerrainContact A/T works tremendously well over hardpacked surfaces but isn’t usable in very deep mud.
Still, what you lose in pure off-road traction you gain in comfort – the TerrainContact A/T is the quietest all-terrain tire.
Finally, Continental offers an impressive 60,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Best Off-Road Tires for Light Truck
Just like its all-terrain brother, the Wrangler MT/R is the forerunner in the true off-road category. This tire will provide you with a simply outstanding off-road traction on every surface, including large rocks and very deep mud.
The Wrangler MT/R is also super tough, which further benefits its off-road credentials. Moreover, the tire is completely usable on the street – highway stability is excellent. That said, we would’ve liked better rain traction and braking, but that is an area where every off-road tire suffers.
Furthermore, the Wrangler MT/R doesn’t come with a treadwear warranty and might be noisy for some drivers. Still, you can expect that from most mud-terrain and maximum-traction off-road tires.
Best All-Season Street/Sport Tires for Light Truck
If you want to improve the street handling on your light truck, look no further than the Falken Ziex S/TZ05.
This tire not only provides all the traits of a true high-performance tire, but it also doesn’t cost a fortune. We found that owners are very satisfied with handling and braking, both over dry and wet surfaces.
The Falken Ziex is even quiet for a Street/Sport tire, which is certainly welcome. That said, snow traction could be further improved.
Best Winter Tires for Light-Truck
Right now, there is no other winter tire that will give you the X-Ice Xi2’s level of performance and a treadwear warranty at the same time.
The Latitude X-Ice Xi2 performs outstandingly well in the winter, especially over snow, ice, and slush. It also comes with a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty – no other winter tire does that.
And, sure, the Latitude X-Ice Xi2 is also expensive, but that’s expected given its combination of qualities.
What to look for when choosing a set of tires for your light truck?
Well, you need to look for a lot of things when choosing tires for your light truck. If you go to a tire shop, the technician will certainly help you, but you should still follow some guidelines if you purchase online (we have a link with the best prices beneath each tire).
Naturally, you should always start with the dimensions – they should be equal to the tires you already have on your truck. However, unlike passenger tires, the load ratings in light-truck tires are equally significant. Let’s have an in-depth look.
1. Load Ratings
Each tire model comes in many different sizes, speed ratings, and load ratings. When it comes to light trucks, the load rating is perhaps more important than the speed rating, as trucks don’t reach high top speeds. Still, you should always choose tires with a speed rating that is higher than the top speed of your vehicle.
With load ratings, it’s a bit more complicated. In this case, you need to make some simple mathematics and see how much weight you carry when hauling or towing with your truck. If you carry smaller and lighter items, then a set of tires with smaller load rating will do the job just fine. If you carry heavier items, then you need to look for tires with larger load ratings.
A great starting point is to look at the sidewall of the tire. Tires with P-metric sizes usually come in smaller load ratings. You can distinguish these tires by no letter on the dimensions, or the letter “P” before the numbers. P-metric tires are good for 1/4-ton and 1/2-ton vehicles, or for light-truck owners that don’t haul heavy cargo or tow very large trailers.
For drivers that want the added capacity, though, we recommend LT-metric (Light Truck) tires. These tires have tougher sidewalls and come with larger load ratings. You can distinguish these tires by the letters “LT” before the dimensions of the tire. LT-metric tires are an excellent choice for people that use their trucks for hauling heavy cargo or towing large trailers, or 3/4-ton and 1-ton vehicles.
With that said, it’s always best to check the load rating of each tire before making a final decision. For example, if the tire is designed to carry 3,000 pounds, that means that the overall weight of your truck must not exceed 12,000-pounds.
2. The Weather Factor
Now that you made the calculations and chose the right dimensions and load rating for your truck, it’s time to move on to the climate.
For most climates, all-season tires are the best choice available. These tires have tread compounds designed to work safely in warmer and colder climates, which makes them an excellent choice for most light-truck owners.
In the real world, all-season truck tires provide safe and reliable traction and braking on dry and wet pavement, both at warmer and colder temperatures. Some of them even work over light snow, but they are still not a great choice for harsh wintry weather.
On the positive side, the tread compound on all-season tires is very, very durable. The best all-season truck tires come with up to 80,000-mile treadwear warranties, which is mightily impressive.
For deep snow, ice, and slush, we recommend going for winter tires. These tires have a softer and more pliable tread compound, which doesn’t become brittle in freezing temperatures. Because of that, winter tires will provide you with excellent traction in the winter on dry, wet, snowy, icy, and slushy surfaces. And, trust us, the difference between all-season and winter tires on snow is pretty huge.
As expected, summer tires are by far the best choice for hot weather. However, not many summer tires are available for light trucks, especially if you want to tow or haul. Summer tires are primarily designed for performance and not for utility.
Still, if you want to make your light truck perform at the highest level, a set of high-performance summer tires is by far the best choice. With those tires on, your truck will be much more responsive and stable, and it will also drive much better through the corners. Sadly, though, summer tires also don’t last very long and almost none of them comes with a treadwear warranty.
3. Touring Tires
In the past, touring tires were mostly used on passenger vehicles and SUVs. However, today they are also available in light-truck sizes and load ratings, especially on some lighter-duty models.
These tires are primarily designed with comfort and longevity in mind. Touring tires have the best treadlife of any other tire type, the best ride quality, and the quietest rolling.
In terms of performance, touring tires perform more than good enough for the average light-truck owner. You should expect a safe ride with tons of grip and traction on the street, good highway stability, and short braking distances.
Nonetheless, touring tires aren’t made for towing large trailers or hauling heavy cargo. That’s why they are mostly installed on trucks that are more used for passenger duties and less for utility. Also, touring tires are almost unusable for off-roading and might get easily damaged.
4. Highway Tires
Highway tires are somewhat similar to touring tires in the way they perform on the road, but they are available in LT-metric sizes. Because of that, highway tires are the better choice for owners that tow large trailers or haul heavy cargo.
On the road, highway tires will perform slightly worse than touring tires when the truck is unloaded. However, they are still more than good enough for street and highway driving. Traction and grip are very good, as is highway stability. Contrarily, highway tires will perform better than touring tires when the truck is heavily loaded, especially in terms of highway stability.
When it comes to comfort, highway tires might have a slightly worse ride quality, but they should be equally quiet. Also, they are a much better choice for off-road driving thanks to the tougher construction overall. Still, don’t expect very high levels of traction – they are only usable on hardpacked surfaces.
Finally, highway tires have slightly shorter treadwear warranties than touring tires, but the difference isn’t very big.
5. Off-Road Tires
Many owners use their light trucks for off-roading, which is why you’ll find a lot of off-road tires for these vehicles.
In our opinion, all-terrain tires are the best choice for truck owners that go off-roading. These models are designed to give you better traction for off-roading when compared to highway tires, especially on slippery surfaces. Moreover, all-terrain tires are very tough and some of them are even puncture-resistant.
With all-terrain tires, you also won’t lose much performance on the street. Overall, traction, grip, and braking will be worse, but still completely fine for street driving. That said, you should expect more noise on the highway.
That said, real off-road enthusiasts will need to step up the game and choose mud-terrain or maximum traction off-road tires. These tires are designed for better traction in very deep mud and over large rocks when compared to all-terrain tires.
However, mud-terrain and off-road tires don’t work very well on the road – you should expect a further reduction in performance and comfort.
6. Street/Sport Tires
Street/Sport tires are similar to high-performance tires for sports cars – they are primarily designed with performance in mind.
These tires will give you by far the highest levels of traction and grip, and the shortest braking distances. They are also much more responsive and give better steering feel.
That said, you can’t use Street/Sport tires for off-roading, towing, or hauling. Also, these tires don’t last as long as touring or highway tires, and only come in larger and more expensive sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the recommended pressure on light-truck tires?
It depends on the model of the vehicle, but also on the weight you put on the tires. Usually, it’s between 30 and 35 psi.
- Can I overload my truck tires?
Yes, if you put more weight than the tires can carry, you can overweight them. We recommend against doing that, as overwhelmed tires aren’t stable, and they might even get damaged.
- How often to rotate light-truck tires?
We recommend rotating the tires every six months, or every 6,000 to 8,000-miles (whichever expires first) for best performance and durability.
We can’t stress that enough, but you should always purchase tires that suit you and your needs. In particular, you need to be sure that the load rating of the tire is good for your driving scenarios, and that the tires work great with the climate in your area. Even if you buy the best tire in a certain category, it might not suit your needs properly. For that reason, don’t just assume that the first tire on our list is the best one for you – it is only the best overall.
After you made sure that the type of tire suits you well, read the detailed review and pick one that catches your eye. By doing that, you’ll ensure years of happy and carefree driving!