The Best Mud Terrain Tires
Picking the best mud-terrain tire is not easy. And there are a lot of different reasons to consider different tires. So take a look at our list below where we’ve given you some outright best picks, our number one pick, and a selection of other mud-terrain tires that we highly recommend, depending on your budget and needs.
TOP PICK: Cooper Discoverer STT Pro
This selection might shock a few of you, but we stick by it. Cooper has long been developing fantastic off-road tires and its most recent updates moves the brand oh-so-close to being a Tier 1 tire manufacturer. It’s Discoverer AT3 lineup of all-terrain tires are almost unbeatable and the STT Pro mud-terrain tire brings a new level of innovation to the segment with a totally unique tread compound that delivers outstanding off-road grip with a touch more on-road civility (and performance) than you’d get elsewhere.
With amazing durability and a huge selection of sizes, we just can’t say enough good things about this Cooper Tire.
Priced at roughly $150 per tire to start, this might just be the best reason to opt for the STT Pros. Essentially, they’re a top-tier tire at a more affordable price.
ALSO CONSIDER: BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3
The successor to the amazing KM2, BFG’s Mud Terrain T/A KM3 delivers 5 percent better mud traction, 8 percent better rock traction and, perhaps best of all, is 27% more resistance to punctures thanks to even stronger sidewalls. If there’s any down side to this tire, it’s the price at $177 to start.
A particularly unique feature of this tire are the large slits in the center tread blocks. While many MT tires focus heavily on grip for loose surfaces, the KM3 is exceptionally good at rock crawling too. These divisions allow the tire to grip even better on rocks when the tire is aired down, using more edges to add more grip.
If you don’t believe us about the Coopers above, you can never go wrong with a set of BFGs.
Best of the Rest #1: Falken Wildpeak M/T
There’s not one area that makes the Wildpeak M/T stand out compared to the other tires on this list, which is why it’s in our best-of-the-rest section. It’s still outrageously capable, from a top quality brand, with a big selection of sizes. One way this Falken does help stand out is its civility on-road with very reasonable noise levels.
Best of the Rest #2: Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar
Off-Roading is practically synonymous with Goodyear’s Wrangler brand of tires and this one stands out for its technology. Infused with Kevlar, Goodyear claims the addition of this bullet-stopping material reduces the likelihood of a sidewall puncture by 35%. We can’t verify that, but we can say that owners swear buy it. It is pricey though with tires starting at over $200 a piece.
Best of the Rest #3 Toyo Open Country MT
The Toyo Open Country MT is yet another solid performer. Off-road grip is near the top on this list, with a slight edge in snow over some of its competitors. We really like it’s ability to self-clean with large bars in the void spaces designed to clear out mud and rocks. Perhaps what makes it the most special is Toyo’s commitment to the aftermarket with a huge selection of sizes, many of which are oversized, ranging from 15- all the way to 24-inches. There are also plenty of options for 3/4/-ton and 1-ton trucks. Pricing is a limiting factor, with tires starting at over $200 a piece.
Best Mud-Terrain Tire for Liveability: Nitto Trail Grappler MT
If we can highlight one reason to pick the Nitto Trail Grappler MT over the other’s on this list, it’s the tire’s slight edge in overall on-road performance. Maybe you don’t care about that and will sacrifice every last ounce of livability for extra off-road grip. And if so, good on you. Still, if something a touch more civilized is more your style, Nitto has a tire for you.
Best Mud-Terrain Tire on a Budget: Kenda Klever M/T
An above-average mud-terrain tire at the sort of price you’d expect to pay for a garbage tire. We really respect what Kenda has to offer with the Klever M/T and the value is pretty unbeatable, at just $120 per tire to start. With all the features that make a mud-terrain tire successful, it features huge tread blocks and lots of void space. The shoulder lugs have an alternating pattern to help dig into loose surfaces and are separated by small ribs that work to expel rocks and self-clean the tire.
Best Mud-Terrain Tire on a Budget (Alternative)
Hankook Dynapro MT2
Recently updated, the new Dynapro MT2 is Hankook’s most extreme-ever off-road tire. This tire covers all the bases with huge lugs and plenty of voice space, combined with a center tread section built for both grip and stability, while shoulder lugs easily churn through loose earth.
Stone-ejectors are built into the tread as well, plus the shoulder treads run down onto the sidewall for added protection. And as you’d expect with an MT tire, it comes with a 3-ply sidewall.
It also comes at a very attractive price point!
Best Mud-Terrain Tire With a Warranty: Maxxis Razr MT
Is it the best tire on the list? No, but the Maxxis Razr MT is far from a dud and it offers something none of the rest do: an actual milage warranty. We always point out in our reviews of mud-terrain tires that while they don’t come with a milage guarantee, that’s not surprising as none of them do. Except there is ONE mud-terrain tire that does and you’re looking at it. With genuinely decent off-road grip, and a budget-focused starting price of just $125 per tire, the Maxxis Razr MT gets a 40,000 mile tread wear guarantee.
Alternative: Nitto Ridge Grappler
If you’re thinking perhaps a mud-terrain tire is a bit too extreme for you, there are other options. Nitto has pioneered what they call a hybrid terrain tire (sometimes also called a rugged terrain tire), that combines features of a mud-terrain and all-terrain tire. As a result, it’s a bit less capable than a conventional MT tire but offers vastly improved on-road performance, including both driving dynamics, reduced road noise and wet weather grip.
The biggest drawback is the lack of a 3-ply sidewall, so it’s more likely to suffer from a side puncture and doesn’t hold up as well to airing up and down.
Are mud-terrain tires good on the road?
Generally speaking, mud-terrain tires are not ideal for on-road use. They have come a long way in recent years to offer improvements in noise reduction and wet wether grip. They do, generally, lack deep channels that run the length of the tire, something that can hinder their hydroplaning resistance. They’re designed for off-road use, but are certified as actual street tires. Of note, almost none come with a mileage guarantee and they will wear out quickly if used on-road for prolonged periods of time. And for the price, these aren’t tires you really want to replace more often than you have to.
All-Terrain vs Mud-Terrain Tires
If you’re looking to choose between all-terrain and mud-terrain tires, there’s a long list of differences. Generally speaking, however, mud-terrain tires are best left for off-road use only. They offer the most extreme grip (particularly in loose earth, gravel, sand or mud) and they are also the most robust, with added layers of protection.
Almost all mud-terrain tire come with a 3-ply sidewall, compared to a 2-ply on AT tires. This extra layer of protection will help prevent side punctures out on the trail. It also serves to give the tire a more robust sidewall so that the tire will retain its shape when aired up and down repeatedly. As a result of the sturdier sidewalls, they are usually less-comfortable on the road.
Mud-Terrain tires are generally identified by four rows or tread lugs compared to five rows on all-terrain tires. MT tire lugs are much larger and deeper, and arranged for the purpose of digging into loose earth and tossing it away.
They generally don’t feature any circumferential grooves like on all-terrain or all-season tires, and as a result are generally quite poor in standing water on roads.
The large tread lugs mean fuel economy is impacted and MT tires are quite noisy. And while they are street legal they aren’t designed to be driven on the street regularly. As a result, almost none come with a factory mileage warranty. You’ll be lucky to get 40,000 miles on a set, while all-terrain tires are rated to last 55,000 miles on the low end.
Do Mud-Terrain Tires Affect Gas Mileage?
Mud-Terrain tires are purpose built, and that purpose does not including saving you fuel. In fact, it will have the opposite effect. Switching from highway all-seasons to all-terrain tires can result in a 1-2 mpg fuel economy difference, and you can expect to lose another 1-2 mpg by switching to mud-terrain tires. Many MT owners report significant drops in fuel economy, however, there are additional factors to take into consideration, such as the size of the tires (many owners who opt for MT tires plus-size their new tires) as well as tire weight. Heavier tires and larger tires will both impact fuel economy.