Are you looking for the best tire chains? Preparing to do some severe winter driving?
We often drive on road conditions that change unpredictably. However, driving in snowy conditions, especially when there is too much smooth ice on the surface, can be challenging. Hence tire chains have become very popular with commercial truck drivers as well as passenger car drivers.
Even though the tires of modern vehicles are getting better every year, they still do not offer the necessary traction in harsh snow. However, snow tire technology has developed a lot. Snow chains provide excellent traction when traveling on ice, muddy paths, and snow-covered road.
You can quickly tighten them around the wheels and make them more reliable. That will ensure zero or minor damage to your vehicle.
However, it can be challenging to find the best tire chains when there are many different styles and brands of tire chains. So, after spending a lot of time researching and analyzing, we have brought you this list. Keep reading to find the most reliable and durable tire chains and more insights into what makes them the best.
Security Chain Company Tire Traction Chain
Peerless Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain Set
Best in Budget
Glacier 1042 Passenger Cable Tire Chain
Top 5 Snow Chains For Tires
Not all the chains available in the market are the best tire chains. That is why we have curated this list to help you find the best chains for your vehicle.
Some chains are better for certain terrains and weather conditions, while others are better for different conditions. Hence, you need to carefully pick what suits you best for your and your vehicle’s necessities.
1. Peerless Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain Set
- Easy installation
- Smoother ride
- Superior traction
- Meets requirement for ‘S’ clearance
- Not the most inexpensive choice
- Material may not be sturdy enough
It is our top pick in the list of the best tire chains for many reasons. They offer excellent features at a fairly reasonable price, although not the most affordable choice.
They offer a worry-free self-tightening ratchet. That means it provides automatic centering, which ensures maximum traction and balance.
Also, one of the major pros of this product meets the ‘S’ clearance requirements. It is made of manganese steel alloy, which lightweight as well as sturdy.
Plus, this diamond cross patterned tire chain provides a smoother ride and ensures safety. They also do not require any chain tensioners. It is easy to install as well as remove.
- Automatic lightening: Self Tightening ratchets
- Easy Installation: Can be installed in minutes
- High-quality product: ‘S’ clearance
- Reliable material: Made of manganese steel alloy
- Smoother Ride: Diamond pattern cross-chain design
Peerless Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain is an impressive tire chain. It has multiple features to provide a high level of traction and balance, ensuring maximum safety.
2. Security Chain Company Tire Traction Chain
- High level of durability
- Better overall performance
- Easy installation and removal
- Built-in rubber tensioner
- Material is not sturdy enough
- Not a folding type
This our second pick in the list of the best tire chains for your vehicle for smooth winter riding. It provides excellent traction and balances even in the harshest condition.
It has a built-in rubber tensioner. That means it can provide retightening after installation, and you do not have to get down from your vehicle. Also, this ensures easier maintenance of the tire chains.
It has an excellent overall performance. It is far more functional than the conventional type of tire chain. Also, it more durable than conventional tire chains.
It has better compatibility with anti-lock brakes and AWD (all-wheel drive)
This product also meets the Class ‘S’ clearance requirements. Moreover, it has a lesser potential for damage even under the harshest conditions. Additionally, this tire chain is available in various sizes to fit numerous tire sizes.
- Easy Installation: Excellent design supporting ease of installation
- Retightening of chain tires: Built-in rubber tensioner
- Excellent performance: Better overall traction
- Greater durability: High-quality materials
- Better Compatibility: Excellent engineering of design
This product is an amazing device to secure your tires during winter driving. It has numerous features to provide a great balance and safety.
3. Glacier 1042 Passenger Cable Tire Chain Set of 2
- Affordable option
- Enhanced performance
- Spring rollers to ensure better traction
- Easy to install
- Not the most durable product
- Balancing is not the best
It is one of the best tire chains for various reasons. It is manufactured using case hardened steel rollers. The cable cross members of these materials are highly durable.
It is a type ‘S’ limited clearance product. That means it has one of the best quality materials, and it is safe as well.
It is also suitable for both front-wheel drives and rear-wheel drives. You can buy two pairs of these to ensure a smooth riding experience in snowy weather.
Also, it meets all the state requirements for traction devices. It provides a high level of balance and traction to your vehicle.
It has spring rollers wrappings around the tire. That will ensure sturdiness and balance. Also, it is available in various models to suit many sizes of tires.
- High quality: Case hardened steel rollers
- Clearance: Type ‘S’ limited clearance
- Better performance: Designs ensure high performance
- More options: Available in many sizes
- Better Traction: Spring rollers wrapped to provide better traction
Glacier 1042 Passenger Cable Tire Chain Set of 2 has numerous impressive features. It can be your best choice for a perfect drive in a snowy region.
4. KONIG CB-12 090 Set of 2 Snow chains
- Ease of installation
- Simple and sturdy chain
- Manual tensioning
- Value for money
- Not the most affordable choice
- Not so reliable
KONIG CB-12 090 Set of 2 Snow chains is one of the best tire chains available in the market. Also, it is a product that offers the best value for money. They are also very strong and ensures maximum support even in the harshest regions.
It has a very simple design that ensures easy installation. It is sturdy as well as durable. That means you can use this for many years to come.
It has a manual tensioning chain to ensure more traction. This product also offers excellent balance. It is much better than the conventional type of chains.
Also, it is 12 mm in size from the inside. It has an on-the-thread clearance which means it provides a high level of durability as well as balance.
- Excellent traction: Impressive design for more traction
- Highly durable: Sturdy and strong material
- Easy to install: Manual tensioning chain ensures easy installation
- High clearance: 12 mm on the inside
- Numerous choice: Available in various sizes
KONIG CB-12 090 Snow chains also have Ö-Norm 5117, UNI 11313, TÜV certifications. It ensures that this product is safe and durable.
5. Security Chain Company Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain
- Excellent value for money
- Highly durable
- Enhanced performance
- Available in numerous sizes
- May not give the best grip
- More limits on speed
It is one of the best tire chains by a reputed manufacturer. They have numerous similar product that ensures maximum safety and durability.
It has an excellent design that supports chains for pickup vehicles and SUVs. It is one of the most high-performing vehicle tire chains. Hence, this can be a good option for areas with higher snow concentrations.
It is also very easy to install, and you do not have to move the vehicle for installation. It has a rubber tightening design that ensures no stop installation. Plus, it can retighten on its own after installation.
It is also better compatible with anti-lock brakes and all-wheel drive. Plus, it is compatible with electronically monitored control systems.
- Easy installation: No need to move the vehicle for installation
- Better performance: Built-in rubber tightener
- Enhanced performance: Excellent design ensures high performance
- Better Compatibility: Suitable for all-wheel drive vehicles
- High Durability: Excellent manufacturing
Security Chain Company Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain has higher traction and balance than most other conventional types of chains. It is also extremely easy to install in various vehicle types.
Things to Consider When Buying Tire Chains
Every time you purchase outdoor gear, it is important to pay attention to all the details. It is especially important to choose tire chains since it dictates the difference between a safe commute and the opposite.
Here are some essential things to consider when buying a tire chain. It can help you differentiate between numerous styles of tire chains.
Types of Tire Chains
Generally, there are three types of chains available in the market. They are Cable tire chains, Diamond tire chains, and Alternative chains. You can pick the one best for your vehicle.
Cable Tire Chains
It is a streamlined version of the original chains, invented in 1904. It uses the same steel material and cable design.
Cable tire chains feature a spaced-out metal cable. The cables are linked to the chain that runs over the outer circumference of the tire. With this type of chain, it is easier to break the vehicle by separating the cables.
Usually, cable tire chains have small links that help them remain lightweight. These are some of the best tire chains with amazing optimizing tractions. Also, they are generally smaller with a low profile.
You can find a befitting cable tire chain for the smallest wheel wells. It is mostly preferred for casual use in regions with a medium amount of snow.
Diamond Tire Chains
Diamond tire chains are a traditional chain that features strings of the metal chain linking in a diamond structure. It would be best to choose the angle of diamond vertices in your chain depending on the weather conditions.
If you are in a region with more snow, you should pick a chain with smaller diamond vertices. The diamond pattern engages together to make a mesh that covers the whole tire.
They have higher contact with the road than other types of chains resulting in better traction. Hence, they are one of the best tire chains for places with heavy snow and ice.
Alternative chains are any other type of chains other than the cable tire chains and diamond tire chains. These chains are technically not a single type as the ones mentioned earlier. However, they also improve your vehicle’s grip on snowy and muddy roads.
Cable tire chains and diamond tire chains are generally heavy and awkward to install. Hence, alternative chains can provide an easier to install option. Also, they are usually lightweight.
Some of these types include a textile cover to maintain traction with groud. While others have smaller surfaces are with rugged material that grips the ground.
These are also easy to store. Moreover, this is the best choice for people looking for the best tire chains for medium snow.
Traction is the most important factor to consider when buying the best tire chains for your vehicle. It is the primary area that these chains can improve on. It will enable your vehicle to accelerate, brake, and corner with a high level of control.
Different types of chains provide different levels of traction. You can pick chains that offer a higher level of traction for larger vehicles. On the other hand, you can use medium traction chains for smaller vehicles.
Considering the size of the tire is imperative to purchasing when buying them. No matter the features and style of a chain, if it does not fit, there is no point in using them. They cause more damage than do any good.
Moreover, it is very easy to identify the tire size. You can find it printed on the sidewalls of the tire. It will have information on various tire dimensions such as width, diameter, and the ratio of the height of the sidewall and the width.
Also, many manufacturers provide tore chain models for various sizes.
The tire chains generally bear the weight of the vehicle against the tarmac. That means the chains have to be extremely strong, durable, and reliable. Only a sturdy material can ensure all this.
Typically, manufacturers use hardened steel and alloy materials to manufacture tire chains. Manufacturers usually use materials such as titanium, manganese, and nickel steel alloys. However, some newer models use elastomer and other synthetic woven fabrics.
These materials can be far more lightweight. They can provide the same strength and durability as other metals. Also, they are less expensive than traditional metal tire chains.
Another vital factor to consider is the ease of installation. The best tire chains in the market are extremely easy to install.
However, different manufacturers apply different means of installation. That means they will different chain securing methods. Some require more time, while some can be installed quickly with extra grease. However, some traditional types of chains are very difficult to install.
It is always better to pick a chain for tires that is easy to install. That will ensure you save a lot of time as well as energy on your part.
Tire Chain Size
Once you know the tire size, it is time to find the perfect sized tire chain for your vehicle. Moreover, it is very easy to determine the size of the chain. You can simply click on the size guide if you are purchasing online.
However, if you are shopping in a local store, you can always consult the storekeeper about the chain size. On the other hand, sometimes, the tire chain model you need may not be available in the size that you need. In a situation like this, you may have to compromise on the features to get the perfect chain size.
That is so because if the chains have all the features but do not fit your tires. It can cause damage to your tires, and they can wear out real quick. Hence, prioritize the size of the tire chains before anything else.
Snow chains provide grip in snowy areas while preventing the vehicle’s wheel from spinning under acceleration. You need to equip your vehicle with chains at the points where they are being driven.
On a vehicle with rear-wheel drive, you have to outfit the back wheels with a chain even if you do not fit chains on the front. The same applies if your vehicle is a front-wheel drive. Although it is better to chain all four wheels, you have to chain the power wheels if you choose only to chain two wheels. It will ensure maximum power delivery.
Value for Money
Manufacturers provide tire chains at a wide range of prices. It can start from a price as little as $50 to some exceeding $500.
However, you need to pick a chain that provides you with the maximum value for money. That means it should offer better performance, easy installation, and a longer service time.
The best tire chains are one of the most reliable ways to improve your grip on slippery roads. Hence, a lot of people purchase it during winter and other necessary conditions. Even though they are very popular among drivers, people have numerous doubts surrounding the laws and uses. That is why, in this section, we are answering the most frequently asked questions.
Should I put snow chains on all four tires?
Ideally, it is the best choice to put tire chains on all four tires. That will ensure your vehicle gains the most optimal traction and balance.
However, if you do not want to put on all four wheels, you can put it on the front two tires or rear two tires. That depends on where the control is.
If your vehicle is a front-wheel drive, you must put tire chains on the front tires. At the same time, you must put them in back tires if they are rear-wheel drive.
Also, if you put tire chains on all four wheels, there are lesser chances of facing any problems. If you out chains only on the front wheel, sometimes, the back wheel can react unpredictably. That means they can lose balance and traction during driving and braking. On the other hand, if you put chains only on the rear tires, you may jeopardize the vehicle’s steering ability.
How to install tire chains?
It is very simple to install tire chains. Here are a series of steps you can follow to install tire chains in your vehicle.
You have to park your vehicle and make sure to engage the parking brake. It will ensure your vehicle stays does not move throughout the process.
Lay the chains flat by the car and remove all the twists. Please ensure there are zero twists. After this, you can drape the chain over the tires while holding the top. It will ensure that the tires are even on both sides.
Once draping is over, reach behind each tire to fasten the hooks. The hooks are called J hooks. You will have to secure the third link from the opposite end of the chain. Then, pull the slack outside the vehicle.
You can fasten the rest of the chain by driving your vehicle a few feet forward. Once you ensure it is adequately attached, move your vehicle to 50 to 100 feet ahead and get out of your car.
Retighten the chains to make sure it is properly aligned and fit. You can remove the extra links by using bolt cutters or secure them with zip ties.
Can tire chains ruin your tires?
Tire chains are usually durable and efficient when driving during snowy conditions. Firstly, if you buy a durable chain from a reputed brand, it will not damage your wheels in any way. The best tire chains have designs that can avoid causing any damage to your car.
Suppose you have previously used tire chains and found any damages. It may be because of improper installation. Hence, always ensure the chains fit properly to avoid any chances of damages.
Also, remember to double-check that you have installed them properly and tightly. Furthermore, please ensure not to tighten them too much. You will have to stop the tightening immediately if you hear them making any contact with the vehicle.
For further protection, you can drive them for a short distance and check. That will ensure that they will adjust correctly with the movement.
How fast can you drive with tire chains?
Driving too fast with chains can damage the chains as well as your wheels. Generally, it is recommended to ride 20 to 30 miles per hour with the chains. If you go faster than the recommended speed, you may damage your chains and your vehicle.
Moreover, you find the recommended maximum speeds for the individual chain and vehicle in the manual. However, it is always better for your safety and the chain’s durability to not ride faster than the 20 to 30 miles per hour limit. Plus, remember to accelerate slowly and maintain a steady speed to ensure maximum traction and balance.
How to remove tire chains?
Removing tire chains is a lot easier than most people think. All you have to do is simply reverse the process of installation.
You have to un-link the zip ties if you have them tied. Follow it, reaching behind the tires and unhooking the J hooks.
Now, you can slowly remove the chains from around the tires. If you follow the steps properly, you can unhook them within a few minutes.
Are tire chains illegal?
There are tire chain laws established across the USA. It is for precaution in severe weather conditions. It adds control to the vehicle and prevents it from sliding around in the snow and causing an accident.
However, each state has a different law. Hence, it is important to know where the law allows chains on your vehicle. Some states have date restrictions and tire chain size restrictions. That will decide when you can or can not use your tire chains. For more information, you can check with your state’s transportation department.
Furthermore, some states have specific more specific laws. It is always better to keep yourself updated with all these laws to ensure you stay out of any legal trouble.
Let's Sum It Up
Before using tire chains for your vehicle, always remember that there is at least one-inch thick ice or snow on the road. If the ice or snow is lesser than that, the tire chains can tear up the road surface. Besides, they can damage your wheels and wear themselves out since they are designed for use in snowy conditions.
Snow chains do not only provide adequate gripping, but they also offer safety to you and your vehicle. However, you may need harsh acceleration and strong braking to use tire chains.
On the other hand, if you need a lighter and easier snow chain, you can find it. All the products mentioned above are some of the best tire chains are available in the market. You can pick what suits your vehicle the best. We hope you have a safe winter driving!