Best Winter Tires Review and Buyer’s Guide
January 19, 2023
As the snow starts to fall, roads become slicker and more difficult to navigate with regular tires. Standard tires tend to lose traction and grip on ice and snow and can be an accident hazard, especially in deep snow. That is why it is necessary to fit your vehicle with dedicated winter “snow” tires.
These tires are specially designed to handle everything the winter brings your way. They have specialized tread designs and other unique features that make them capable of handling sub-zero temperatures. Moreover, winter tires are branded with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake emblem, signifying that they have passed rigorous snow testing and are approved for use in winter.
This article reviews the best winter tires that money can buy. These selected tires offer great performance and value for money and will keep you and other road users safe while traversing Canada’s unpredictable winters.
The 7 Best Snow and Ice for 2022-2023
Michelin X-Ice Snow: Best Winter Tire Overall
The Michelin X-Ice Snow is the newest addition to the X-Ice winter tire lineup. It has a proven record for delivering superb ice and deep snow traction, a quiet ride, long treadwear, and great fuel efficiency.
In cold conditions, the X-Ice remains flexible and provides enough grip and traction. This is partly due to the inclusion of technology and high silica compound, which generate micro-roughness on the tread surface, helping improve snow and ice performance.
Braking distances are also relatively short, and the cornering ability of the X-Ice is quite impressive. Even when braking sharply during acceleration, the tire is not too noisy and provides the necessary reliability.
The continuous V-shaped directional pattern with widely spaced grooves reduces hydroplaning risk and increases snow-to-snow traction to keep you safe even in rainy situations.
This Michelin performer is among the only winter tires with a treadwear warranty of 40,000 miles, which is impressive.
Overall, the X-Ice Snow is a great winter tire for passenger car and SUV owners who often encounter deep snow.
- Outstanding traction on deep snow and ice
- Very good cornering on dry and wet surfaces
- Shortest snow braking distances in the class
- Treadwear warranty of 40,000 miles
- Impressive hydroplaning resistance
- Not the most comfortable option available
Bridgestone Blizzak WS90: Best for Ice Traction
The Blizzak WS90 is designed to give drivers of sedans, coupes, and crossovers confidence in any winter condition. It features a one-of-a-kind directional tread pattern that employs full-depth interlocking sipes to provide excellent snow and ice traction.
Bridgestone’s Next Generation multi-cell compound maximizes the tire’s strength on slippery surfaces, dispersing the water layer between the ice and spikes. As a result, even on the most slippery ice surface, the WS90 will still offer the best grip.
The WS90 is your safest bet for confidently braking on snow and ice. You can easily accelerate on ice and not be afraid of possible incidents.
Additionally, the tire’s hydrophilic coating helps it remain flexible in near-freezing conditions and also gives it better handling in winter weather.
This product offers a reasonably quick steering response and a quite comfortable driving experience.
- Superb braking performance on all surfaces
- Bearable noise and vibration levels
- Reliable handling on ice and snow
- Outstanding ice traction
- Very good aquaplaning resistance
- On the expensive side
- Not suitable for rough terrain
Continental VikingContact 7: Best for Deep Snow
The Continental VikingContact 7 is objectively one of the best options for extreme winter conditions. It is engineered to deliver superior winter traction, reliable wet performance, and reliable dry road handling.
Continental used a specialized Nordic compound containing canola oil. As a result, the VikingContact 7 remains flexible and adapts to snowy and icy conditions, allowing users to move safely.
Active silica enhances the tire’s wet performance and braking. This, combined with an intelligent pattern of open grooves, creates a direct path to evacuate water and slush from beneath the contact patch.
Overall, the wide size range, great price point, and outstanding performance in harsh winter make the VikingContact 7 one of the best tires for most passenger and SUV drivers.
- Great hydroplaning resistance
- Safe acceleration on slippery roads
- Available in many sizes to fit most cars
- Some of its competitors offer better wet-braking performance
- Short tread life
Firestone WinterForce 2UV: Best for SUVs and Light Trucks
The Firestone WinterForce 2UV for SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks is billed as an affordable, long-lasting, next-generation tire that digs into snow and slush and offers reliable grip in winter driving conditions.
The directional tread pattern with deep grooves, open shoulder slots, and wide lateral notches work to channel slush away from the tire’s contact patch to prevent hydroplaning and provide the best grip possible. It also has high-density siping for added traction on snow and ice.
The WinterForce 2UV is studdable and provides solid snow performance at an easy price on your wallet. Moreover, users report good tread life even on dry roads.
- Excellent traction in snow
- Good performance in both wet and dry conditions
- Short braking distances
- Safe cornering in slippery conditions
- Noisy on the highway
Cooper Evolution Winter: Best Value
While winter tires aren’t cheap, the Cooper Evolution Winter is arguably the best value option for people who face harsh winters.
You can fit studs into the Evolution Winter, making it a great option for anyone who regularly encounters ice.
The tread has a wide contact patch and a saw-tooth circumferential design for increased lateral stability.
A center rib combined with multi-angled corrugated siping provides plenty of traction and stability at
- Great hydroplaning resistance
- Works well on ice
- Excellent value for money
- Reliable handling on heavy snow
- High fuel consumption
- Noisy due to a high rolling resistance
- Ride quality decreases on uneven surfaces
Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2: Best for Hydroplaning Resistance
The Blizzak DM-V2 is built for superior ice traction, braking, wet road handling, and hydroplaning resistance.
It utilizes Bridgestone’s adaptive NanoPro Tech multi-cell compound that features a hydrophilic coating and microscopic bite particles. This enables the tire to remain flexible in extremely cold temperatures, wand off packed snow and ice, and provide more grip with improved braking on ice.
Even at cruising speeds, the DM-V2 remains relatively quiet, though, as with most winter tires, it is louder than the average all-season tire.
Overall, this tire maintains a high grip and short braking distance in all conditions. In addition, the product can also limit hydroplaning, providing a safe driving experience.
- Safe and stable handling in wet and dry terrain
- Quiet and comfortable even over rough surfaces
- Balanced cornering
- No treadwear warranty
Toyo Observe GSi-6 HP: Best for Performance
The Toyo Observe GSi-6 HP is a high-performance winter tire designed for crossovers, minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks. It delivers impressive cornering and braking performance and great snow traction.
A new construction, high-grip silica tread compound, and aggressive tread design with advanced sipe technology provide confident handling and capability in snow, ice, wet, and dry conditions.
This high-performance tire is designed to be environmentally friendly thanks to the unique Microbit technology, which incorporates ground walnut shells into the tire rubber for improved traction on snow and ice.
Absorbent carbonic powder offers better contact and increased grip on icy roads, as carbonic powder derived from bamboo helps absorb the thin film of moisture on winter roads.
- Outstanding stability at any speed
- Great hydroplaning resistance
- Maximizes handling and traction
- Noisy on the highway
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Winter Tires
Knowing the best winter tires isn’t the ultimate key to picking the right fit for your vehicle. There are a few factors to consider when making this decision, which includes:
- Winter weather conditions
First, consider the winter weather in your area. Winter tires may not be necessary for people who only experience mild winters with light snowfalls and hardly any ice, as all-weather tires will do just fine.
However, a dedicated set of winter tires is the best option if you regularly drive on snow and ice.
Finally, know how much you are willing to spend on winter tires. Premium tire brands such as Michelin and Bridgestone tend to offer better-performing winter tires but at extremely high prices.
Some mid-range brands offer quality products too, and you can steer towards the lower-priced options if you are on a budget.
Winter Tires FAQs
- What’s the ideal tread depth for winter tires?
Tire experts recommend a 4mm minimum tread depth for winter tires. Below this depth, the tires lose traction and can’t perform well on snow and ice.
- What is the difference between studded and studless winter tires?
Studless tires work well in slush and on packed snow. They have wide and deep grooves that allow for optimum traction.
Studded tires, on the other hand, give you greater traction on ice. The metal studs stick into slick surfaces for added grip.
- Can you drive on winter tires all year?
Winter tires are only designed to perform best at temperatures below seven degrees Celsius. The soft rubber compound will remain pliable at this temperature, providing a superior grip on snow and ice.
However, using them in hot temperatures will wear the compound faster and also increase the likelihood of accidents.
- Should I use two or four winter tires?
Winter tires should be used in four sets for maximum performance, handling, and braking.
- Do 4WD and AWD need winter tires?
Yes, they do, since winter tires optimize grip, handling, and braking on any vehicle. AWD and 4WD vehicles are good at distributing power to the wheels with the least amount of traction, but they do not necessarily provide the ultimate grip required in winter.
So, whichever type of drive system is in play, all of the traction comes from the tires and their capabilities.
If you’re looking for the best set of winter tires for your vehicle and driving habits, consider consulting with your local Trail Tire Auto Center. Already know what tires you would like to buy? Shop online using our tire finder tool.Back