The Best All Season Tires for Snow
Winter is fast approaching, and while we always recommend buying a set of winter tires to swap on for the colder months, we understand not everyone will follow that advice. You may be in need of some new all-season rubber and don’t relish the idea of buying winter tires now, only to repeat that spend in 4 months on a set of all-seasons for the summer months.
So what do you do?
Well, one option is to get a set of all-seasons that can help get you through winter. We often refer to all-seasons as 3-season tires. And even the worst winter tires provide better grip than the best all-seasons do in true winter conditions.
Of note, please don’t be fooled by the “M+S” rating on the side of all-season tires. While this stands for mud and snow, it’s not an indication that these are truly snow-capable. For tires that are designed for snow, they will come with a three-peak mountain snowflake symbol on the sidewall. These have been certified by the Rubber Manufacturers Association as a true winter tire.
Another option are 4-season or all-weather tires. More on those later.
The Best All Season Tires for Snow
Michelin Defender LTX MS
These might not always be our number one choice for all-season tires, but if winter grip is important to you, then we highly recommend a set.
The zig-zag sipes and MaxTouch design of the tread deliver more biting edges, which is critical in wet and wintry conditions. With tread blocks that that are more serrated than on a normal all-season tire, driving dynamics in the dry are a bit below average, though grip in the cold and even light snow is better than essentially any other all-season tire on the market.
Michelin has made a few compromises in sporty handling to deliver a tire that offers more confidence and safety in the winter.
You’ll also love the fantastic 70,000 mile limited treadwear warranty (on T, H and S rated tires).
Michelin Defender T+H
A more conventional all-season tire for smaller crossovers and sedans the Defender T+H comes with the sort of heavy siping you only normally see on a true winter tire. As a result, snow grip is quite impressive, though just short of what a tire would require to be certified for extreme winter grip.
Grip in the wet and dry are also quite high, although the real benefit of this tire is it’s long life, with an 80,000 mile tread life warranty.
Ab out the only issue we can find with this tire is the more limited number of sizes it’s available in.
Goodyear Assurance Weather Ready
It’s almost not even fair to include the Goodyear Assurance Weather Ready tire on this list because it’s really breaking a few rules. Rather than an all-season, it’s what is sometimes referred to as a four-season tire. What that means is that it legitimately tackles snow and comes certified with the three-peak mountain snowflake logo on its sidewall as proof.
To achieve this feat, Goodyear makes use of a unique tread compound infused with soybean oil that helps the tire retain its grip in colder temperatures. Plus, plenty of siping allows it to grip snow-covered roads.
Beyond that, it’s actually still quite good in the summer and offers excellent wet weather traction too. Plus it will hold that traction throughout the tire’s life thanks to water evacuation channels that widen as the tire wears.
The tread life is a bit shorter than what you’ll find on comparable all-season tires at 60,000 miles, though the real drawback is the price, which is steep. However, if you consider you don’t have to purchase dedicated winter tires or think about swapping them, well,
Similar to the Goodyear’s above, the Michelin CrossClimate2 offers true winter traction and comes certified with the three-peak mountain snowflake logo on its sidewall. It also looks like no other tire on the market.
The next-generation version of this tire, it includes improvements in noise quality and summer performance. Michelin’s 3-D SipeLock technology means the sipes on the tread do their job to grip snow, while in dry weather those sipes compress and lock together under cornering to deliver a more stable and responsive tread.
It’s also generally about 10 percent cheaper than the Goodyears.
Michelin LTX A/T 2
It’s almost impossible to go wrong with a Michelin tire and the technology infused into the LTX A/T 2 makes that statement even more true.
These all-terrain tires make use of a unique tread design that maintains siping even as the tread wears away. That is a big issue even with winter tires, which can have plenty of tread depth left, but if there’s no siping, they aren’t doing much.
Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2
Like the Michelin, this Bridgestone tire is also a high tech piece of rubber.
The Dueler A/T Revo 2 uses a similar philosophy, with a dual layer tread compound that reveals a more wet-weather capable compound once the initial layer wears off.
This gives it exceptional grip in the wet even after thousands and thousands of miles. As a result, it’s winter performance is well above average.
Firestone Destination A/T
Firestone’s Destination A/T tire is more than capable off-road and those features make it impressive all year round. It’s more of a value tire, so don’t expect winter performance on-par with the Bridgestone or Michelin, but you can certainly do a lot worse.
Also look to the new Destination AT2 version of the tire offering next-generation technology and grip, with 5,000 more miles of tread life and grip that lasts over the full length of the tire.
General Grabber HTS
Another affordable option is the General Grabber HTS 60. A highway terrain tire, it melds the best features of a touring all-season tire and an all-terrain tire. As a result, it has plenty of built-in off-road features that will keep it functioning in winter weather. We also love that as a highway terrain tire it comes with a 65,000 mile limited treadwear warranty.
General Altimax RT
If the Defender LTX M/S is the premium option for crossovers, think of the General Altimax RT43 as the value choice. It has plenty of smaller fitments for compact crossovers and is extremely affordable (tires start at just $69 each).
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
While Continental’s ExtremeContact DW is an ultra high performance summer offering, the ExtremeContact DWS is an all-season option that is surprisingly good in the wet and snow. In fact, it’s wet performance is often rated above that of the summer-only version, while the unique tread design and compound make for surprising capability in the snow and on ice.
The tire’s name has a lot to do with how it performs, particularly over time. With the letters D, W and S stamped into the tread itself, once the S wears away it’s no longer ideal for winter weather. And once the W wears away, it’s now really just a dry-weather tire.
We’d recommend this option for higher-performance luxury SUVs and crossovers. Pricing starts at $138 per tire.
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
For trucks and SUVs, this impressive all-season tire comes with an impressive 70,000 mile tread life warranty, and is both quiet and comfortable. Continental’s Traction Groove Technology includes plentiful amounts of siping across the tread blocks to grip snow-covered surfaces, offering superior winter grip to most all-season tires.
All Continental tires also come with a great warranty package that includes roadside assistance (or a free tow) and a free replacement tire during the first year of tire wear. (Or first 2/32-inch of tread life, whichever comes first).
Nokian WR G3
The final option on our list of the best all season tires for snow is a bit of a cheat. And it’s not alone either.
The Nokian WR G3 isn’t an all-season tire. It’s also not a winter or summer tire. It’s what is often called a four-season or all-weather tire, because it’s essentially an all-season tire that is certified as a true winter tire as well.
We highlight these Nokians because the Finland-based tire manufacturer makes some of the absolute best winter tires. These tire will grip in the snow, slush and even on ice, plus they’ll not only hold up, but excel in summer conditions.
The WR G3 is consistently rated above many ultra high performance winter tires.
All Season vs All Weather (Four Season) Tires
All Weather tires have been around for decades, but only recently have they started to become a lot more mainstream. An all-weather tire, sometimes called a four-season tire, is unique in that it’s actually certified for winter use. While all all-season tires have the M+S (Mud + Snow) symbol on their sidewall, this does not mean they are actually suitable for winter conditions.
All Weather tires, however, include the three peak mountain snowflake logo on the sidewall. This means they have achieved the minimum requirements for severe winter use by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC).
Examples of All Weather tires include: