What's the Difference Between a Studless Ice & Snow and Performance Winter / Snow Tire?

Monday, November 26, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

When choosing a winter / snow tire, the first step is to determine which type of tire you'll need. There are two distinct categories for winter driving: Studless Ice & Snow and Performance Winter / Snow. Finding the tire that best suits your needs is quite simple and the following options are worth considering to get you through winter's toughest conditions.

Performance Winter / Snow

These tires are designed for high-speed wintertime use. This includes drivers who routinely reach highway speeds in winter weather for their daily commute. Performance Winter / Snow tires have enhanced dry and wet weather traction with better steering response and overall handling when compared to a Studless Ice & Snow tire. However, tires in this category trade some deep snow and ice traction for better high-speed performance. Consider the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3, Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D and Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 as they are highly rated within the category.

 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
 Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60


Studless Ice & Snow 

These are the most high-tech winter / snow tires developed to provide snow and ice traction similar to studded winter tires without using the studs. There is some trade of steering response and handling at highway speeds in order to have a higher gripping tire. So if your dally commute demands the utmost in winter traction or consists of mainly city streets without regular highway travel, the Studless Ice & Snow is the way to go. If this sounds like the category for you, take a look at the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact.

 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
Michelin X-Ice
Xi3
 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
Bridgestone Blizzak
WS70
 Continental Extreme WinterContact
Continental ExtremeWinterContact


For further information on the differences between Performance Winter / Snow and Studless Ice & Snow tires, read "Understanding the Tire Performance Categories for Winter / Snow Tires."

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