This is the best time to buy a new set of winter tires for your car, as you can find them at a cheaper price than the one offered during the winter. In our guide we have compared the currently most sold tires, highly demanded by consumers both for their reliability and for the convenience prices that usually distinguish the products sold online. The Michelin Alpin A4 ranks first in the list of the best winter tires of 2020, according to the opinions of the many satisfied buyers , thanks to their excellent value for money, followed by the Hankook Winter i * cept Evo2 W320 , extremely reliable on the icy roads.
The 11 Best Winter Tires – 2020 Ranking
- Michelin Alpin A4 175/65/14 82T Winter Tires
Michelin Alpin A4 winter tires are at the top of our ranking mainly thanks to their excellent value for money. They are tires intended for small cars and mid-range cars, and are available in a range of sizes ranging from 14 to 17 inches.
Their exclusive compound improves the level of grip even on wet and icy surfaces, ensuring safe driving in all weather conditions. The exclusive tread design also increases traction, stability and braking; compared to their precursors, in fact, the Alpin A4 have reduced the braking distance on wet, snowy and icy ground by a further 5%.
Even if the tire quality is excellent, it is still possible to find better on the market at higher prices. The strength that makes Michelin the best winter tire, on the other hand, as consumers’ preferences show, lies in the convenience of its price.
Excellent price : The cost of Alpine A4 winter tires is only slightly higher than that of economy tires, and this is an aspect that has contributed significantly to their market success.
Excellent quality : Despite the reduced price, they offer excellent quality, as per Michelin standards. They are in class C as regards wet grip and class F for energy efficiency.
Durable : They cover 35% more mileage than the tires of the same category produced by the main competing companies in the European area.
Virtually perfect : Michelin is a historic brand in the tire sector, and in fact no one has reported any defects whatsoever in the Alpine A4. The only recommendation, buying them online, is to carefully check the DOT.
- Hankook Winter i * cept Evo2 W320 225 / 60R17 99H Winter tires
The W320 winter tires are qualitatively superior to the Alpine A4, and in fact are a Premium Made in Europe product of the well-known South Korean brand Hankook, seventh in the ranking of world leaders in the tire sector.
Their popularity is lower than the Michelin previously examined only by virtue of the price, in fact, which is greater than about 65%. On the other hand, the quality is at a much higher level: the tread has an innovative design with lateral ax grooves that increase traction even on snow-covered surfaces, the reinforced belt makes it very resistant and guarantees a rigidity such as to improve handling and steering response. The particular silicon compound, on the other hand, is specifically designed to offer very high performance, especially as regards grip on European roads in winter conditions.
They are especially recommended for BMW and Mercedes cars, for MPVs, SUVs and hatchbacks.
Premium Ultra High Performance : These are very high performance winter tires, produced with cutting edge technologies and first choice materials.
High adherence : The silicon compound, the special tread design with ax-shaped lateral grooves, guarantee a high adherence and an increase in traction on snow, wet and ice.
Wide shoulders : The wide shoulder offers greater stability to the car, reduces steering response time and therefore significantly improves handling, comfort and also driving safety.
Price : The only sore point is represented by the cost, decidedly higher but entirely in line with the level of quality and performance offered by these tires.
- Continental TS 830 P MP 255/45/17 Winter tire
The German company Continental is in fourth place in the world ranking of tire manufacturers, both for quality and reliability and for the number of sales and satisfied customers.
The TS 830 P winter tires in the size 255/45 R17 are particularly suitable for SUVs and cars, they are characterized by exceptional braking power on snow and ice, an increase in traction on snow-covered roads and a long life of the compound. The high performance and structural quality that also distinguish the Hankook tires examined previously, therefore, the TS 830 P combine the higher mileage performance, typical instead of the Michelin.
Among all the winter tires examined in our guide, therefore, the Continental are at the top in everything, even in the price. In fact, they cost more than double compared to the Alpine A4, therefore they are especially recommended for those who live in mountain areas, where the winter conditions are more rigid.
High quality : Continental tires are also a high-end high-performance product, their quality and technology level is even higher than that of Hankook tires.
Tread : sculpted with a complex reticular design, consisting of a large number of blocks and sipes which significantly improve grip on snow and consequently traction power.
Durability : The special tread design also contributes to a uniform distribution of weight, ensuring less wear and greater mileage performance.
Price : Again we are faced with an excellent quality product but with a decidedly high cost, not really within everyone’s reach.
- Nokian WR D4 185/65 / R15 Winter tire
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WR D4 winter tires call attention first and foremost for their cost, typical of the low-priced product range. However, it seems that their quality level, in reality, has absolutely nothing to envy to that of the best known and most reliable companies.
In fact, despite the reduced cost, the WR D4 is a Premium class tire that falls into class A as regards grip on snow and ice. Its high grip performance, stability and driving comfort are guaranteed up to a maximum speed of 270 km / h, performance tested and certified by TÜV SÜD in 2017 on Volkswagen Golf VII and on various roads in Denmark, Austria and Finland.
Many consumers are skeptical, because they are conditioned by the low cost and the still little known brand. However, buyers confirmed its excellent quality, low noise and excellent grip on wet and snow surfaces.
Low cost : These tires stand out immediately for their reduced price, which rightly makes one doubt the premium quality of the manufacturer. However, the buyers were satisfied.
Premium Quality : The people who bought them, in fact, report that Nokian tires have performances that fully comply with those described by the manufacturer, and that the quality is Premium in all respects.
Class A : The level of grip offered in the wet is class A, equivalent to a reduction of the braking distance of over 18 meters compared to the tires of the lower classes.
Finnish brand : Nokian Tires is a Finnish tire manufacturer founded in 1932, its tires are excellent but still little known on the western side of the European market.
- Continental TS 850 P WinterContact Winter tire
After the TS 830 P, the TS 850 P WinterContact could not be missing, in this case the size 195/55 R20, ideal especially for owners of SUVs, sports cars and large-capacity sedans.
WinterContact tires offer the same quality level as the TS 830 P with in addition some specific characteristics to make the best of the class of vehicles for which they were designed, in addition they have the advantage of costing significantly less. Their main feature is the ActiveBand technology, an exclusive patent of the Continental company, which significantly reduces the braking distance on both dry and wet surfaces.
As we have mentioned before, however, it is a winter tire intended for a decidedly niche category of cars, and although it is less expensive than the TS 830 P it has a higher cost than the previously examined Hankook tire, similarly designed for SUVs and large engine cars.
Ideal for SUVs : This tire is especially appreciated by those who own an SUV, or a large-displacement car, both sporty and sedan.
S-Grip : The special design offers a firm grip on both dry and wet surfaces, and maintains high traction on mud and snow.
Driving comfort : The level of comfort and safety they offer is excellent, the response to the steering is rapid and translates into high vehicle handling.
For large-displacement cars : Their characteristics, and also the price to be honest, make them suitable only for those who own large-displacement cars, of any type.
- Pirelli Winter 210 SnowControl Series III Winter tire
The Pirelli Winter 210 winter tires belonging to the Series III, on the other hand, are intended exclusively for medium and low-capacity cars, small cars and city cars.
They are 205 mm wide radial belts, with a 55 section ratio and a 16 inch diameter. The performance is good and proportionate to the price, which is definitely accessible, among other things, they also offer the advantage of being a Run Flat model, i.e. in case of puncture they allow you to continue driving for about seventy kilometers at least with a flat tire.
Despite being in a mid-level performance range, Pirelli winter tires are still satisfactory in all respects, and also very reliable, so they are appreciated by a good number of motorists, especially by those who use the car only to move on short routes and for an urban majority driving cycle.
Value for money : The cost-performance ratio offered is nothing short of excellent, moreover the Italian brand Pirelli is known for its reliability.
Ideal for City Cars : They are designed to offer maximum performance on medium and low-powered cars intended mainly for urban use. So they are ideal for those who live in the city.
Safe : Thanks to the Run-Flat characteristics, they are also extremely safe, and allow you to drive with a flat tire for several tens of kilometers without any problem.
Only for small cars : The Pirelli Winter 210 are suitable exclusively for small cars and for an almost exclusively urban driving cycle, for cars in the medium segment with extra-urban distances it is preferable to opt for other types of tires.
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM 001 Winter tire
The Bridgestone Blizzak LM 001 are low-cost winter tires, highly appreciated by buyers especially thanks to the convenience of their price and the good grip performance offered on wet and snow, where it falls in class C on the relative evaluation table.
They are also advantageous with regard to the noise level emitted; the 72 decibels declared by the specifications, in fact, place the Bridgestone winter tires on par with the higher-end tires produced by the most famous brands. Their limit of economic tires, on the other hand, lies entirely in low energy efficiency, where the classification achieved is E only. The 195/65 R15 size is recommended for medium and large-sized cars, including SUVs.
Bridgestones are TÜV, ADAC, TCS and ÖAMTC certified, so overall, despite being cheap, they are of good quality, the only flaw is the low efficiency in reducing fuel consumption.
Reliable : They are winter tires that have passed the tests and obtained the certifications of the major European bodies, therefore they are reliable and on average performing.
Cheap : Their price is very convenient, especially for those who do not have special needs and usually travel a limited mileage.
Excellent grip : They fall into class C as regards grip on wet and snow, and in this they have nothing to envy to winter tires of more expensive brands.
Low energy efficiency : The energy efficiency class achieved is only E unfortunately, therefore they are not suitable for those who travel many thousands of kilometers per year.
- Firestone Winterhawk 3 Winter tire
If you are looking for where to buy the cheapest winter tires, at least among all those examined in our guide, then you must take a look at the Winterhawk 3 185 65 R15 offered online.
The only gums that you will ever find at a price lower than these, in fact, are the right ones to chew. Firestones are winter tires with good characteristics, like the Bridgestones examined previously, in fact, they offer a good level of performance in terms of grip with class B in the wet and C in the snow, and a noise emission that attests between 70 and 72 decibels.
Like Bridgestone, however, Firestone Winterhawk 3 winter tires have a low efficiency in energy efficiency, whose performance falls only in classes C to F depending on the conditions of the road surface. But the reduced price still makes them ideal for those who make limited use of the car.
Low cost : The price, even if only a little, is cheaper even than the Bridgestone examined previously, the maximum for those who want to save as much as possible on the purchase expense.
Safe : The performance is of good quality and on par with those offered by many mid-range tires, and therefore more expensive, both in terms of grip on snow and wet and for handling.
Low noise : Even in the sound emission they are on par with the superior quality winter tires, with a threshold ranging from 70 to 72 decibels.
Low energy class : The flaw of low-cost winter tires, unfortunately, remains the lower energy efficiency, and therefore the greater fuel consumption.
MICHELIN ALPIN A4 – 175/65/14 82T
The main advantage of the Michelin Alpin A4 is given above all by their excellent value for money. In fact, they offer a medium-high level of performance, but are available at an economic cost; they are also distinguished by a higher yield in mileage.
The Michelin production standard is high and therefore reliable, in this case also the price is convenient so that buyers have nothing negative to report about the Alpin A4
These Michelin winter tires are among the most popular on the market, they cost as much as cheap wheels but offer superior performance.
Hankook Winter i’cept evo2 (W320
The advantage of the Hankook W320 is given above all by the high level of performance. These are in fact Premium tires for SUVs and large-displacement cars, and has been chosen by BMW and Mercedes as the official model for sports cars, sedans and minivans.
The cost begins to rise significantly, but moreover it is a tire intended for a heavy weight and displacement car, regardless of the category, so it is also understandable.
Although the performances are Premium, they are still proportionate to the price. They are suitable for those who do not have particular needs and prefer to save something.
CONTINENTAL ContiWinterContact TS 830 P MO
Even the Continental TS 830 P winter tires are intended for SUVs and large cars but, unlike the Hankooks, these are truly top performance in all aspects: grip on snow, ice, water and mud, greater traction, easy handling and comfort.
At the top, unfortunately, their price also ranks. In fact, they are the most expensive tires among all those examined in our guide, intended exclusively for the most demanding and those who have no expense problems.
Tires with top performance, technology, safety, but also price unfortunately. The latter affects negatively and makes them the preserve of a few.
Guide to buy a winter tire
The period of use
Knowing which winter tire to buy for your car is not difficult, the manufacturers of the sector, in fact, all offer a remarkable quality standard as regards the main grip requirements on wet, icy and snow-covered roads, and in terms of safety and easy handling.
Even low-cost winter tires offer decent performance in this sense, the only real difference is that cheap products make much less in terms of energy efficiency, and consequently involve a greater expenditure on fuel.
To understand how to choose a good winter tire, therefore, you must first make a picture of your needs established on the annual mileage traveled on average and, in particular, relative to the winter period. The regulations of the Highway Code, in fact, prescribe the obligation of winter tires from November until April, in a generalized way and without taking into account the exceptions foreseen by region according to local regulations.
Furthermore, a further feature of winter tires, which makes it preferable to replace them at some point, is that they wear out more quickly if used even in summer. This is due to the particular structure of their tread, in whose blocks hundreds of small metal strips are inserted which, in the absence of snow and in periods when the temperature is higher, overheat and irreparably deteriorate the tread, compromising adherence and driving safety.
The price ranges
In the most economic market segment, the purchase cost can vary from around 50 to 75 euros for each tire, for an overall figure that varies between 200 and 300 euros for the entire set of tires. The medium-high end tires, on the other hand, have a cost that varies from about 100 to 300 euros, therefore they have an overall cost ranging from a minimum of 400 up to a maximum of 1,200 euros, and the difference in price immediately jumps to the ‘eye.
If you use the car only on weekends and during the holidays, you can safely do without spending big amounts and turning to a budget winter tire. As mentioned earlier, in fact, despite having a low classification on the energy efficiency table, the economy-class winter tires still offer good performance and the higher fuel consumption is compensated by the lower use of the car.
Medium-high end tires
If, on the other hand, you use the car on a daily basis and on a regular basis, regardless of whether for work reasons or to take care of family tasks, the annual average of the kilometers traveled rises significantly, and consequently also the need to reduce the consumption of vehicle fuel.
In this case, it is better to prepare to spend something more, not only to ensure lower fuel consumption, but also for the further increase in performance in terms of grip, steering response, handling and mileage performance.
The most demanding will not mind spending on their car, especially if it is a large-displacement model, but the more budget-conscious can find excellent Premium quality winter tires even at a single cost of 100-110 euros.
Winter tires obligation / regulation
The obligation to fit winter tires, according to the Highway Code legislation, entered into force on November 15, 2018 and will only expire on April 30, 2020. However, each region applies special exceptions that are constantly updated, and therefore must be verified. directly online on the official websites of municipalities, provinces and regions.
How to recognize winter tires?
The tires are used to carry symbols and writings to allow you to quickly identify the type and sizes. The winter ones are characterized by the relief symbol of a snow crystal, by a circle that encloses the stylized image of a mountain and a snowflake, or by the letters M + S that stand for Mud and Snow, that is mud and snow .
How to read the abbreviations of winter tires?
The first code refers to the tire size, for example 195/65 R 17 95 H means that the tire has a width of 195 mm and a ratio of 65%, the letter indicates the structure of the tire, in this case the R indicates that it is a radial, while the following number is the diameter of the circle expressed in inches.
Then follow another number and a letter, the first is related to the maximum load index bearable for each wheel, 95 is equivalent to a limit load of 690 kilograms, while H indicates the maximum tolerable speed, which in this case is 210 km / h.
When to fit winter tires?
The obligation for the 2018/19 winter season started on November 15, unless your region of residence has established otherwise. So it is better to check immediately, perhaps directly on the site of the region, and immediately provide accordingly as needed.
When to take off winter tires?
The obligation expires on April 30, 2020, which means that we are almost running out, in any case the same goes for the derogations and exceptions that may vary from region to region, according to local regulations.
Can winter tires be used in summer?
The law does not expressly prohibit the use of winter tires even in summer, but establishes the performance parameters for each vehicle indicated in the respective registration document. If the winter tires comply with the indications in the registration document, then, they can be used safely. The problem, however, is that in summer, the tread of winter tires wears faster because of the sipes in the blocks, which in the absence of snow overheat.
What should be the pressure of winter tires?
The pressure of winter tires varies according to the type of car, the engine size and the weight. The only way to be safe to know what is the ideal pressure to maintain them is to consult the appropriate table on a label inside the car door, or online directly on the manufacturer’s website.
Winter tires: characteristics, obligations and advice
Every year, in the period that usually goes from November to April, the legal obligation to mount winter tires on your car returns. The general regulations of the Highway Code, valid throughout the national territory, however, provide for exceptions that vary from region to region, so before proceeding with the replacement it is always good to have a look at those that affect your area of residence.
The reason for this obligation, of course, is dictated by the need to make roads safe when extreme winter conditions, especially ice and snow, make driving cars extremely dangerous. The latest generation winter tires allow you to solve the problem much more efficiently than chains and nails.
When the time comes, therefore, it is good to have a set of winter tires of the size suitable for your vehicle, and to identify them you will need to know the measurements, the diameter of the rim, the load index, the tire structure and the maximum speed tolerable, examining the codes shown along the shoulder of the tire.
Looking at the codes of the winter tire Hankook W320 examined in our guide, for example, we can see that the wording indicates: 225/60 R17 99H P. this means that the tire has a width of 225 millimeters and a ratio of 60 percent , which makes it a wide and low profile tire. The letter R indicates the type of structure, which in this case is radial, while the 17 indicates the diameter of the circle expressed in inches. The number 99 is the load index, so the Hankook W320 can withstand up to a limit load of 775 kilograms, while the H indicates that the maximum tolerable speed is 210 kilometers per hour. The final P, on the other hand, indicates that it is intended exclusively for cars.
There are also some particular indices, in the case of winter tires, they are precisely those that serve to identify them as such, and these are represented by the initials M + S, which certifies their high grip on mud and snow, and other specific abbreviations or logos .
Again with regard to the identification of winter tires, in addition to the initials M + S, many also report stylized logos that reproduce one or more snow crystals or a mountain profile, and are often even represented together.
The replacement can also be done alone if desired, and it is even easier if you can have a hydraulic jack and a pneumatic impact screwdriver. Keep in mind, however, that a professional, despite being paid, will provide you with a far better service by also performing the correct convergence and balancing of the tires.
After the deadline for winter tires has expired, it is convenient to replace them in any case even if you are not obliged to do so. Given the particular structure of their tread, in fact, in the presence of the numerous metal sipes that guarantee grip on the snow, winter tires tend to deteriorate much faster on dry and red-hot asphalt from the sun’s rays, and therefore last less and drastically drop in performance.