Studless Ice and Snow vs. Performance Winter / Snow Tires

As winter approaches, you may be in the market to buy snow tires. When choosing the best winter / snow tires for your needs, it's important to consider that not all winter tires are designed to perform equally.

Studless Ice and Snow tires are designed to provide the best traction in winter conditions. These tires have the deepest tread depth, most aggressive siping and the softest compound. Typically best suited for passenger sedans and coupes, tires in this category are the most common for winter use. Simply put, Studless Ice and Snow tires are the best tires for the worst winter conditions. Popular models include the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70Michelin X-Ice Xi2 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact.

Performance Winter / Snow tires could best be described as a compromise between all-season and Studless Ice and Snow tires. This is due to the improved handling and higher speed ratings of Performance Winter / Snow tires over the Studless Ice and Snows. The trade-off is the winter traction is superior to that of all-season but a step below that of the Studless Ice and Snows. Performance Winter / Snow tires are for the drivers of sport sedans and sport coupes who are looking for good winter traction while maintaining dry handling. Popular Performance Winter / Snow tires include the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3, Dunlop Winter Sport 3D and Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero.

For more information on performance categories of winter tires, read "Understanding the Tire Performance Categories for Winter / Snow Tires."

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3

Shop by vehicle to find the tire that works best for your vehicle.


Thursday, November 3, 2011 by marc chamberlain

Everyone I talk to has a different answer....I have a light car, 86 honda hatchback...I live in an area that gets alot of snow....I have 4 new studless snow tires and everyone says they dont give any traction on ice and that I should get studded snow tires...what do you recommend
Friday, November 4, 2011 by Logan Woodworth

This is a great question. Although studded tires are great in sheer ice and hard packed snow, they lack dry road tracktion that most drivers need. I recommend studded tires if you are rarely on dry roads and where maximum ice traction is critical. For most drivers, a good Studdless Ice and Snow tire such as the Bridgestone Blizzak or Michelin X-Ice are perfect for severe winter conditions and dry roads.

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