Here are the Tire Reviews best winter tires for the 2020 winter tire season.
As usual, all these tires have been picked based on data from Tire Reviews testing, other tests from around the world, and user reviews - think of this as one big meta-analysis of the best winter / snow / studded tires on the market. This video covers European, Nordic and North American winter tires / tires, and covers cars, SUV's and Electric vehicles (EVs.)
All season VS winter tires is a hotly discussed topic, and while we've done our own test at various temperatures, it sadly didn't include any ice testing, or things like wet handling and rolling resistance testing.
Fortunately, our friends at Vi Bilagare once again have us covered. During their Nordic winter testing in 2020, the magazine included an all season and "european" winter tire alongside their usual selection of Nordic friction and studded winter tires.
As the all-season and European winter tire were being tested from a Nordic perspective, they had a significant testing on ice, which is a rarity for an all-season tire.
The results... well, I’m sure you can guess how each of the four tire types performed on each surface, but it's really cool to see all this data from one source.
Sadly there are very few professional tire tests conducted in North America, however the magazine Consumer Reports does an excellent job of educating the market with a number of huge tire tests every year.
While the public data is limited, you have to be a member to see the full results, we thought it would be important to database the information we have to help our American audience pick the right winter tire.
The 2020 Consumer Reports Winter Tire Test has tested seventeen of the best winter tires on the market in the popular 215/60 R16 size.
For their second winter test of 2020, the excellent Vi Bilagare have tested eight Nordic friction (studless) winter tires.
As with the studded version, Vi Bilagare have performed a thorough test covering dry, wet, snow and ice, and should be considered one of the benchmarks for extreme winter testing in Europe.
This test is particularly interesting as it has the new Michelin X-Ice Snow, Bridgestone Blizzak Ice, Pirelli Ice Zero FR and Nexen Winguard Ice Plus WH43 placed up against the established Nordic winter tires from Continental, Goodyear and Nokian.
For the 2020 Vi Bilägare Winter studded tire test, the Swedish magazine has tested 8 of the most extreme studded winter tires in 205/60 R16.
As this is a studded winter tire test, the testers placed much more emphasis on snow and ice performance, so if you're in a region that sees a lot of compacted snow and ice on the road during normal winters, this is a very useful test.
The 2020 Auto Zeitung has tested fourteen winter tires in 205/55 R16, including new winter tires from Bridgestone, Goodyear and Maxxis, as well as a low cost retreaded tire.
While all the tires were tested in the dry, wet and snow, sadly Auto Zeitung didn't include any handling data, instead just providing subjective feel scoring.
If you're planning on undertaking a massive Nordic friction and studded winter tire test, having the right facilities to conduct the test in is key. Fortunately for Test World, they own one of the best independent arctic testing facilities in the world which is why we're super excited to see this 21 tire test, covering all the key friction studless and studded winter tires on the market.
All tires are in the popular 205/55 R16, and were tested using a VW Golf. There were some interesting new tires in the test, including the first test of the studless Michelin X-Ice Snow.
For the 2020 Auto Express winter tire test, Auto Express tested nine 205/55 R16 winter tires using a VW Golf.
The 2020 ACE / ARBÖ / GTÜ winter tire test has tested nine winter tires in the popular 225/50 R17 size using a BMW 3 Series.
The 2020 Auto Bild SUV Tire test has tested ten crossover SUV / 4x4 winter tires in the popular 225/55 R17 size, with a summer tire included as a reference.
Of the ten tires on test, the top four tires were given the "Exemplary" award, which included the new Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+, the much improved Bridgestone Blizzak LM005, the new Michelin Alpin 6 and the Vredestein Wintrac Pro.
The test winning Goodyear had a good all round performance, with the testers noting the winter tire felt precise and dynamic in all conditions. The Bridgestone LM005 performed well in the dry and wet to secure second place, while the joint third Michelin and Vredestein pair performed well in all tests, but either cost more to buy (Michelin) or used more fuel (Vredestein.)
ADAC tire tests are some of the most influential in the world, and for the 2020 winter season ADAC have chosen to test fifteen 205/55 R16 of the best winter tires for cars, and thirteen 235/55 R17 winter tires for SUV / 4x4.
ADAC tire tests are some of the most influential in the world, and for the 2020 winter season ADAC have chosen to test thirteen 235/55 R17 winter tires for SUV / 4x4 and fifteen 205/55 R16 of the best winter tires for cars.
Following on from the 52 winter tire braking test, the top 20 winter tires in 245/45 R18 have been put through the usual Auto Bild winter tire tests, to discover the best performance winter tire for the 2020 season.
Every year, the German publication Auto Bild selects a tire size, finds as many winter tires as possible in that size, and tests them all in wet braking. The top thirty tires proceed to snow braking, then the top twenty overall to the full winter tire test.
For the 2020 winter tire test, Auto Bild rounded up fifty one winter tires in the rather huge 245/45 R18 size, and a summer tire as reference.
The 2019 Auto Center winter tire test is both good and bad. The positive is that out of ten 205/55 R16 patterns, it only includes two premium manufacturers. This means we get a much better look at the midrange bracket of winter tires, which is great for those of us who want to save a little money, and all ten patterns on test have been tested for ice braking and traction which is now usually omitted from central European tire testing.
For their third winter tire test of 2019, Auto Bild have stepped up the fun and fitted an Audi S5 with eleven sets of 255/35 R19 ultra high performance winter tires, and included the usual set of reference summer tires!
Following on from a win in Auto Express, the new Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+ takes its second win of 2019, once again proving to have a near flawless blend of qualities. Vredestein have also continued their run of good results with a very strong second place for the Wintrac Pro. This tire is significantly cheaper than the premium winter tires in the UK, so is probably the best choice if you need to save a few pounds.
Are cheap winter tires safe? To find out, we travelled to Finland, twice, to do snow, ice, wet and dry testing.
All tests were done using two cars, a VW Golf wearing 205/55 R16 tires, and a heavier, larger Volvo S90 fitted with 245/45 R18 tires.
The 2019 Auto Express winter tire test has tested ten 225/45 R17 winter tires, and included a summer and all season product as a benchmark.
The newest winter tire from Goodyear is shaping up to be an excellent winter product. Thanks to a near perfect all round performance, it wins another tire test, narrowly beating the established king of winter motoring, the Continental WinterContact TS860.
While studded tires don't have much use in the UK, for parts of the Nordic countries they are essential for safe mobility.
To find out which of the latest studded winter tires are worth fitting, Swedish magazine Vi Bilagare have tested seven studded winter tires in 225/50 R17, and included a studless nordic friction winter tire as a comparison.
It's winter testing time, and as always, Auto Bild are leading the way! Following on from the 53 winter tire shoot-out, Auto Bild have taken the top twenty 225/45 R17 tires through to the full test, along with a summer tire as reference. Each set of tires has been tested in the dry, wet and snow using a RWD BMW 1 Series, and Auto Bild are one of the few publications which test for wear. It's an exciting test! (if you're into tires...)
Winter tire buying can be a confusing challenge, as there are now six types of tire you can realistically fit to your car. But which is best? To find out, I test summer, all season, all weather, winter, extreme winter and studded tires in dry, wet, snow and ice testing, covering handling, braking and grip.
Following on from the All Season tire market overview, Auto Bild have published their winter version of the shootout style braking test.
For the winter test, Auto Bild have tested 53 winter tires in 225/45 R17 in wet and snow braking. The two braking distances are combined, and the top twenty tires go through to a full test covering all aspects of a tires performance.
Warning, lots of data ahead! For the 2019 winter, Auto Motor und Sport have tested eleven of the best winter tires in the 215/55 R17 crossover SUV size.
The biggest plus of this test is the sheer amount of data they've produced, as they've rated the tires both objectively and subjectively in a lot of categories.
This year the German motoring organisation ADAC have tested sixteen winter tires in the popular 185/65 R15.
While studded tires aren't suitable for the normal UK winter, Tire Reviews does have a lot of international readers, which is why we're covering this excellent studded winter tire test from the Swedish publications Vi Bilägare.
Why this one? Well, they've used a Volvo V30 to test seven studded tires in the very common 205/55 R16 tire size, and they've also included a friction studless nordic winter tire.
The 2018 Auto Motor und Sport [AMS] winter tire test has tested eleven winter tire patterns in the popular 205/55 R16 winter tire size, using a Seat Ibiza.
For 2018, the German publication Auto Zeitung have tested nine SUV / 4X4 winter tire patterns in 235/60 R18 using an Audi Q5.
The tires on test covered the premium and midrange segments, with a single budget tire included, the Wanli Snowgrip S1083. The Wanli tire was less than half the price of the most expensive tires on test, so it will be interesting to see whether the Chinese manufactured tire can improve on past performances.
The 2018 Auto Bild SUV / 4x4 winter tire test has used an Audi Q5 to test ten 235/60 R18 winter tires, with the Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 SUV proving to be the best tire on test thanks to an excellent all-round performance.
Surprisingly Pirelli edged out Continental to second place, with a brilliant result for the Pirelli Scorpion Winter. This tire has been on the market a number of years now, and historically hasn't tested as well as Goodyear or Continental, so there must have been and update for the 2018 winter season.
The Continental Winter Contact TS850P SUV rounded out the top three, with its only real weakness appearing during the important dry braking tests.
Following on from the 195/65 R15 winter tire test, the excellent German publication Auto Bild have tested ten UHP winter tires in 245/45 R18.
The biggest shock in the test is the winner - it's the brand new Vredestein WinTrac Pro. This new tire from Vredestein proved to have Continental like qualities, displacing the Continental WinterContact TS850 P from it's usual top spot and performing well in the dry, wet and snow tests. The Continental WinterContact TS850 Pl, which has now been replaced by the Continental WinterContact TS860 S, proved that it's still a quality option and finished a very close second place.
The weekly UK publication Auto Express has just published their 2018 winter tire test! This year Auto Express have tested eight winter tire patterns in 205/55 R16 using a VW Golf.
As in 2017, the German club ACE have tested all season and winter tires in exactly the same tests! On test are nine 185/65 R15 winter tire patterns, and three all season tires in the same size, and they used an Opel Corsa as the test vehicle.
All twelve tires were put through identical dry, wet and snow testing, and to further highlight the point that most all season tires are interchangeable with winter tires, the all season tires finished second, fifth and ten places overall.
Following on from the 51 winter tire braking test, the excellent German publication Auto Bild have promoted the best 20 tires to their full winter test, which covers every aspect of the winter tires performance.
As always, an (unnamed) summer and all season tire have been included as reference, and to make a change from the past few years, it isn’t the remarkable Continental WinterContact TS860 taking the top spot overall…
This year the German motoring orginisation ADAC have tested winter tires in 205/55 R16 and 175/65 R14.
Both tests continue Continentals winter dominance, with two win for the Continental WinterContact TS860.
Second and third places were taken by the sisters brand Goodyear and Dunlop, with all three of the leading tires proving to offer an excellent balance of winter performances.
This year AutoBild have placed 51 195/65 R15 winter tires through wet braking tests, with the top thirty tires also being tested for snow braking performance. Only the top twenty have gone through to the full Auto Bild winter tire test!
With the best winter tire on test stopping the VW Golf in 34.3 meters, and the worst tire on test at 49.8 meters, you can see why it's extremely important to judge a winter tires performance as much on wet grip as it is snow grip.
While studded tires aren't suitable for the UK climate, they are the best way of staying mobile in extreme winter conditions. Each tire can have hundreds of studs, which bite into ice with far more grip than a studless friction winter tire can give. There are of course drawbacks to studded tires, they're very noisy, and they give up a lot of dry and wet performance when compared to a European winter tire, but in climates such as Russia and the Nordic countries where you are likely to be driving on ice for weeks at a time, there's little alternative.
We're a little bit late with this one, as it's likely the UK has had most of its bad weather for winter 2017/18, however we can't resist covering a winter ultra high performance tire test, especially when they use a RWD Toyota GT86 as the test car!
For this test, Sport Auto magazine fitted the GT86 with ten different patterns of 225/40 R18 sports winter tires, and put the tires through the normal dry, wet and snow testing.
For 2017, the "All Road" edition of the German publication Auto Bild has tested ten 225/55 R17 winter tires. This size is commonly used by compact crossovers, such as the BMW X1 used in this test.
The biggest interest in this test was the Chinese budget winter tire from Pace. With the most expensive set of winter tires costing 660 euros at time of test, the budget Pace tires were a full 400 euros cheaper, at just 260 euros. Are the savings worth the performance drop? Read on below to find out.
For 2017 the Polish publication AutoCentrum has tested eight studless winter tires in 185/65 R15. As with the other winter tire tests we've featured across 2017, AutoCentrum tests the winter tires in the dry, wet and snow, but also includes ice testing, a first for 2017.
Six of the tires on test are European winter tires which are available to the UK market, and two of the tires (Debica Frigo 2 and Sava Eskimo Ice) are full nordic friction winter tires, so it should give us a good overview of how these two different types of tires perform, and why Nordic winter tires aren't suitable for the UK market.
The 2017 Auto Bild winter tire test started with fifty 225/50 R17 winter tire patterns which Auto Bild tested for wet braking performance, and then dropped the worse twenty tires from the test.
The next phase was testing the remaining thirty patterns for snow braking, which was then combined with the wet braking distances to allow the ten worst tires to be dropped. This left twenty winter tires which Auto Bild regarded as the best winter tires on the market, and deemed worthy enough to take through to the full testing.
As ever with Auto Bild testing, they undertake all the usual dry, wet and snow testing, but also including important factors such as wear and cost per 1,000 km, which a lot of tests are unable to include.
The results as closer than ever, and you'd be hard pressed to classify any of the top 10 tires as bad tires, but three in particular rose to the top.
Sadly there's very little data available for this 235/55 R17 SUV tire test conducted by the European motoring bodies ACE / ARBO / GTU, nor are Michelin featured, but it's still worth a read if you drive a crossover vehicle such as the Ford Kuga or Volkswagen Tiguan which uses this tire size.
This year the German motoring orginisation ADAC have tested winter tires in 195/65 R15 and 215/65 R16.
Unusually for a winter tire test, Continental faulter in this 215/65 R16 SUV tire size, only finishing seventh overall. This leaves the door open for Dunlop to take first place with the Winter Sport 5 which proves to have a very balanced all round performance with no glaring weaknesses.
BF Goodrich finished in a very strong second place, winning the majority of the test categories but missing out on the top spot due to a slightly weak wet performance, where as the third placed Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 proved to be extremely strong in the wet, but a little disappointing on snow.
This year the German motoring orginisation ADAC have tested winter tires in 195/65 R15 and 215/65 R16.
The 195/65 R16 winter tire test continues Continentals winter dominance, with another win for the Continental WinterContact TS860.
Issue 1,495 of the weekly UK publication Auto Express contains their 2017 winter tire test!
This year Auto Express have tested eight winter tire patterns in 225/45 R17 using a VW Golf in the dry and wet, and an Audi A3 in the snow.
Auto Express have previously asked us to keep our coverage of their tests to a minumum, so below is a summary of what went on. The full results can be found on the Auto Express website, which we will link as soon as they're online.
Overall, with just 3.9% covering the eight tires on test, it's getting closer every year at the top.
The first winter tire test of 2017 has been published! The German publication Auto Motor und Sport [AMS] have tested ten ultra high performance winter tires in 225/40 R18. This extremely popular 18" tire sizes is fitted to performance saloons such as the Audi A4, Skoda Octavia VRS, and the 232 bhp BMW 430i Grand Coupe used for this testing.
Winter tires aren't exclusively reserved for two wheel drive vehicles, four wheel drive cars benefit too. This year Auto Bild have tested ten winter tires in the popular 4x4 / SUV / Crossover size of 215/60 R17, which covers cars such as the Opel Mokka, Skoda Yeti, and the Volkswagen Tiguan.
This year Sport Auto magazine have tested six performance winter tires in 235/40 R18.
Due to the limited number of patterns in the test, and no all season or summer comparison, we'll forgo the usual commentry and just present the results below.
While the four wheel drive systems and extra weight of large SUVs can give you a traction advantage in snow and ice over "normal" cars, you have roughly the same braking and turning ability as any other car on the road, which makes winter tires a sensible option for anyone with an SUV requiring safe, year round motoring.
This year, Auto Bild have tested eight winter tire patterns in 255/55 R18 using a BMW X5 in Northern Finland, across the usual array of dry, wet and snow tests, all while looking at the tires comfort, rolling resistance and noise levels.
Issue 1,443 of the weekly UK publication Auto Express contains their excellent 2016 winter tire test! This year Auto Express have tested eight winter tire patterns in 205/55 R16 using a VW Golf, and like other publications have included an all season and summer tire for comparison.
Each year, the German automotive publication Autobild trump all the other European magazines by putting out a huge winter tire test, and this year is no different.
Starting out with fifty winter tire patterns, Autobild tested all the tires wet braking performance. Once the wet braking order was set, Autobild took the twenty seven patterns which stopped the car within 20% of the best through to snow braking, then the top twenty wet and snow braking results combined this, the full tire test.
Using a BMW 3 Series wearing 245/40 R18 tires, Auto Bild placed eight ultra high performance winter tire patterns to the test.
Most magazines look to test around ten different tire patterns each test, with some pushing up to fifteen different tires. Auto Bild like to go a step further and this year, have tested test fifty sets of 205/55 R16 winter tires.
Once again in 2016, the German Magazine Auto Zeitung have provided one of the most exciting winter tire tests we've covered. Testing thirteen of the latest winter tires in 205/55 R16, including the Continental WinterContact TS860, Dunlop Winter Sport 5, Goodyear UltraGrip 9 and Nokian WR D4, Auto Zeitung have also included the Michelin CrossClimate summer-bias all season tire as a comparison.
Testing 10 premium UHP winter tires in 225/50 R17, including three patterns released in 2015, Auto Motor und Sport put the tires through the usual range of dry, wet, snow and environmental tests across Finland and Germany.
Our copy of the 2015 ACE winter tire test is a little thin on details, but we thought it was important to include as it tests many of the new winter tires for 2015, in the popular 225/50 R17 tire size.
This year, Sport Auto have tested seven different UHP winter tires in 235/35 R19, on a VW Golf R.
There's not much we can say about the excellent 2015 Auto Express Winter Tire Test, other than head over to the Auto Express site and check out the full review!
Based on a combined snow and wet braking performance, this year Auto Bild have taken the best eightteen 185/60 R15 winter tires through from their 2015 Winter Tire Shootout, and one all season tire, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season.
From the fifty tires tested, there were some surprise drop outs. The Vredestein Snowtrac 5, Yokohama W.Drive, Toyo Snowprox S943 and Avon Ice Touring were a few of the 32 tires which failed to make the grade. Equally, tires like the Semperit Speed Grip 2, Barum Polaris 3, Gislavel Euro Frost 5 and Viking Snow Tech II were are few surprise inclusions, it will be interesting to find out if they can live up to the established competition in the full winter tire test.
Most winter tire tests cover sizes up to 16 inch wheels, as these are by far the most common winter tire sizes fitted across Europe. Unfortunately, if you're looking to keep your performance car mobile over winter, these tests are largely useless as a reference, as tire patterns and performances can drastically change as the sizes increase.
Luckily Auto Bild Sportscars have us covered with their latest ultra high performance winter tire test. Auto Bild have taken eight UHP winter tires in 225/40 R18 and tested them on a RWD Mercedes C Class across the usual range of snow, wet and dry tests and have included a summer tire as reference.
The 2015 winter tire test season is here, and as usual the German magazine Auto Bild have done an excellent job of giving us an overview of this years contenders.
Testing 51 tires in 185/60R15, Auto Bild put each tire through a wet braking test, then took the top 28 tires through to the snow braking test. Once the snow braking results were in, the magazine combined the wet and snow distances to give an over all result, taking the top 15 tires through to their full 2015 Winter Tire Test.
In previous years Auto Express have been slow to publish their tire tests online, but not this year - Auto Express have done such a great job on their website, there's nothing left for us to add!
Winter tires can be a problem in the UK. Mainland Europe are very good at putting smaller wheels and tires on, but in the UK where even the most modest town hatchback is being fitted with 17 or 18 inch wheels as standard, and performance car now being fitted with 19 or even 20 inch wheels, finding a test covering larger winter wheel sizes can be difficult.
Fortunately Auto Bild Sportscars is there to offer us some guidance for the 2014 season, and have tested 235/35 R19 winter tires on a BMW M135i. Sadly, they only managed to find six patterns to test, compared to fifty in their 205/55 R16 tests, but it gives us a good indication of what winter tires are like in larger sizes.
In 2014 Auto Zeitung have tested eleven 205/55 R16 premium winter tires.
The 2014 Auto Motor Und Sport tire test was carried out in Sweden and Germany, and covered ten winter tires in 205/55 R16.
The 2014 Auto Bild winter tire test tested sixteen 225/50 R17 winter tires across fifteen disciplines, covering snow grip, wet grip, dry grip, rolling resistance and comfort.
Starting with fifty different tire models, Auto Bild put every tire through a winter tires toughest test - wet braking. Auto Bild then took the top twenty winter tires from wet braking through to snow braking, and once it had combined the wet and snow braking distances for the top twenty, it chose the top sixteen tires for this more thorough "full" test.
It's the test we look forward to all year, the Auto Bild winter tire shootout.
2014 sees Auto Bild testing fifty different winter tires in 225/50 R17. As usual, they test all fifty tires in wet braking from 50 mph, then take the top twenty through to a snow braking test from 31mph. The top fifteen from this test then go on to the full winter tire test, where Auto Bild crown the best winter tire of 2014.
Thanks to recent harsh winters, the best tire for the UK roads is a hot topic, and with 2013 predicted to be the harshest winter of recent times, now is the time to be swapping tires.
UK winter tires need a different blend of abilities to northern Europe winter tires, with priority being placed on cold wet driving, rather than all out snow and ice grip. We have no need for nordic “full winters”, or studded tires, and on balance they’d perform worse in our climate.
The European winter tire test is the largest of the year, covering 28 tires in 2 different sizes, 225/45 r17 and 185/65 r15.
This year the tests were more stringent than ever. Not only did the 28 tires have their dry, wet, snow and ice grip tested but they were also scored on their wear, fuel consumption and comfort properties.Read on
Winter tires are a hot subject at the moment, with new tests being released weekly. Usually winter tire tests focus on the smaller tire sizes winter tires are often used in, meaning if you drive a performance car and are interested in ultra high performance winter tires you have to hope the tires tested in the smaller sizes have the same attributes in the larger sizes.Read more...
This year the 2010 winter tire reviews season was opened by Auto Zeitung who put 14 different 195/65 r15 winter tires on a Ford Focus to the test.
The good news for UK drivers is that this years report included a slush test which rates how the tires cope with the road surface when the packed snow is melting and it's a mix of snow and standing water.
It might still be August, but after an unusually snowy start to 2010 talk has already turned to winter tires in the UK.
While we're waiting for the magazines to put together their 2010 winter tire tests, here's one of the more interesting articles from 2009. This test is particularly good as it uses a powerful RWD car (Mercedes SLK350) which wears relatively wide 225/45 r17 performance tires.
Each of the 8 tires were tested in the snow, on wet roads and in the dry with the scoring emphasis bias towards wet weather and snow performance (these are winter tires after all!)