Snow Tires vs All Season

Snow Tires vs All Season Tires (performance comparison)

Choosing the right type of tire will give you the handling and control that you need on the road. If you live in a region with harsh winters, maybe you’re wondering if your all-season tires are enough or if you should put on winter tires for those months of the year. Today, I’ll reveal the differences between these tire types in this snow tires vs all-season tires comparison.

All-season tires will be the best option for most drivers. They’re designed to work all year long, including in snow and rain, and on dry pavement.

While all-season tires have less grip than snow tires, they are more affordable. And if you live somewhere with mild to moderate winters, they’ll probably be appropriate to use all year.

Winter tires are often necessary for drivers in areas with severe winters.

Let’s explore more about the similarities and differences between all-season tires and snow tires to see which one is right for you.

The Differences Between Snow Tires and All-Season Tires

Here’s my quick reference chart showing the differences between snow tires and all-season tires.

Snow TiresAll-Season Tires
Snow tires have more siping to help provide a better grip in the winter and on ice.The siping in these all-season tires will help to dissipate the heat and can offer traction in wet conditions.
The rubber in snow tires will stay flexible and soft in cold weather. All-season tire rubber does best when temperatures are above 45 degrees.
Snow tires have deep tread to give the best traction in ice and snow. The tread on all-season tires is shallower than you find on winter tires. This gives all-season tires more control and comfort in average conditions.
Snow tires do best in temperatures under 45 degrees and in ice, rain, snow, and slushAll-season tires work better in temperatures above 45 degrees. They can perform in dry, light snow, and rain conditions.

Both of these tire types are going to provide you with a great ride in different weather conditions.

RELATED: Snow Tires vs AWD (is one a lot safer than the other?)

Your Driving Conditions are Key

Your region and the current driving conditions are key when deciding on the right tire.

All-season tires are going to be designed for a smooth, quiet ride in most conditions. These tires do well all throughout the year, even in the rain or on bare pavement.

All-season Tires in Summer

They do offer some traction and will be fine in the snow in most areas of the country.

Despite the “all-season” name, all-season tires do have a limitation. They’re not good with deep snow and heavy ice and/or temperatures that stay far below freezing for extended periods.

Snow tires, also known as winter tires, are designed for prolonged winter conditions. They tend to do well in the snow, slush, and ice.

Snow Tires / Winter Tires

The treads in snow tires stay appropriately soft even in cold temperatures. This improves control, handling, and traction when driving around on the ice. The biting edges of the treads will provide even more traction.

Don’t drive on snow tires in the summer. Doing so will make them wear out much faster.

The Key Features of Snow Tires

When you live up north and have to struggle with the ice and snow for a good portion of the year, you know that having the right tire is important.

The Key Features of Snow Tires

Winter roads are very unpredictable and if you don’t choose a sturdy and hardy tire, you will find yourself stuck for most of the year. Good traction is important, but it is just the start of what you will need to look for in a good winter tire.

There are a few features of winter tires that will make them very unique compared to some of the other tires you may choose.

Some of the unique features of winter tires include:

Tread Rubber

The tread rubber on snow tires is designed to handle some of the colder temperatures that are found in some parts of the world.

Specifically, the tread rubber of snow tires is designed to remain flexible, which gives the tire more grip on ice and snow.

Tread Depth and Patterns

Another unique feature of the snow tire is that it has a different depth of tread and some unique patterns to help provide more grip on the road.

Snow Tires Tread Depth and Patterns

The deeper treads will make it harder for the snow to build up within the tire, giving the best traction possible.

In addition, the pattern will help to channel the slush and snow to move water out of the way.

Biting Edges

A good snow tire is going to have more biting edges and high sipe densities, which helps to provide some additional grip and traction when driving on ice.

Snow Tires Biting Edges

All of these features will be nice if you live up north, but you do need to be careful about using these tires on regular, dry surfaces. That is because they’re more likely to wear out on the pavement and in the heat compared to all-season tires.

The Key Features of All-Season Tires

While all-season tires may miss out on some of the neat features that help them excel in deep snow and heavy ice, there are still a lot of things to love about these tires.

The Key Features of All-Season Tires

They’re designed to handle many different road conditions, not just snow and ice. This makes them easier to use all through the year.

Here are some of the key features of all-season tires.

Versatile Traction

The traction is able to handle a wide variety of conditions, including rain.

Rubber Compound Good for All Seasons

The tread compound will stiffen as the temperatures get colder, but they are durable enough to handle hot weather.

All-Season Tires - About Their Rubber Compound

Work on Wet and Dry Surfaces

All-season tires are designed for safety on both dry and wet surfaces.

For most drivers in the United States, all-season tires are the best option. These tires are less expensive and better able to handle the various conditions you’ll face on the road throughout the year.

The Cost of the Tires

Many of us would like to add winter tires for the snowy season, but you’re probably wondering whether they’re worth the cost in your specific circumstances.

Snow Tire Price Compared to All Season Tire Price

The average cost of a set of four winter tires is at least $600, depending on the wheel size and the cost from the repair shop.

There may be some discounts, but this can be a lot to swallow when it is time to put the tires on, especially if you don’t see a lot of snow in your area.

All-season tires are generally less expensive to add to your vehicle. The cost will depend on which set you choose and the size of your vehicle, but you can typically get a new tire for between $50 to $200.

How Do Snow Tires Do in the Summer?

Most drivers don’t want to spend the money on snow tires because they’re expensive and will only be usable during part of the year.

If you have snow tires, you’ll need to take them off and replace them with all-season tires for the warmer parts of the year.

How Do Snow Tires Do in the Summer?

That’s because you shouldn’t use snow tires in warm weather. If you try to drive on winter tires throughout the year, you’ll limit their lifespan.

Snow tires should be saved for the winter and you should pick another tire for the summer, which can drive up the price.

This is a big reason why drivers will choose to work with all-season tires.

These work well in most weather conditions and don’t require the driver to own more than one pair of tires for their vehicle.

Should I Pick All-Season or Winter Tires?

The answer to whether you should go with the snow tires or the all-season tires will depend on where you live and the road conditions.

Should I Pick All-Season or Winter Tires?

If you live up north and get long and severe winters, you’ll probably want to use winter tires during the winter. In fact, it may be mandatory in your state.

In these conditions, winter tires will keep you safer on the road and help prevent accidents.

For drivers in most parts of the United States, choosing all-season tires that are good in snow will be just fine throughout the year. They are able to handle light to moderate amounts of snow and ice, while also doing well in both wet and dry conditions.

The price of these is also much lower than with the winter tires, which makes them a more affordable choice in various weather conditions.

Best Types of All-Season Tires

Here’s TireTim’s list of some of the best all-season tires on the market.

All these tires provide the superior contact and grip that you need on the road. You should take a look at the different options and determine which all-season tire is best for your vehicle.

Final Thoughts: Snow Tires vs All-Season Tires

So, now you know the difference between snow tires and all-season tires.

Unless you live in a region with severe winters, you’ll probably never need to use snow tires. In most weather conditions, all-season tires are the perfect choice.

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