7 Best Tire Chains for Winter Driving
Planning to do some serious winter driving? Snow chains can make a big difference! Here are the best snow chains for you to consider this winter.
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Buying Snow Chains
Tire chains, also called snow chains, are metal or tough plastic coverings for car tires. They improve traction when driving over ice and snow.
If you live in an area where winter driving is treacherous, you should definitely consider installing a set of tire chains on your vehicle. Chains vary in size to accommodate the many wheel and tire dimensions of various vehicles. Besides size, the main considerations when shopping for chains are type, traction, cost, durability and ease of installation. Check out these seven great tire chain options and learn what makes each stand out.
Most chains listed here are sized for tires on a common passenger vehicle, 225/65R17, unless otherwise noted.
Best Budget Cable-Style Snow Chains
At only $38 a pair, these cable-style chains from Glacier Chains are remarkably inexpensive for what you get. They’re sturdy, low-profile (thanks to the cable-style design) and offer a surprising improvement in traction, according to reviewers like this one on Amazon: “They’re really not too expensive considering other options, and I’d say I definitely got a decent traction boost.”
Best Overall Snow Chains
These model SZ143 cable-style chains by Security Chain, backed by more than 2,000 mostly glowing reviews on Amazon, are hard to beat. They offer an amazing traction boost, are extremely fast and easy to install, and come reasonably priced at $82 a pair. Unlike other brands, these don’t need re-tightening after driving thanks to built-in rubber tensioners.
Amazon reviewers praise the massive winter driving performance boost these chains afford. “Fast forward to checking in to the first ranger station where chains were required, in the middle of a snow storm, and I had them on in 10 minutes (quicker than any of the other cars around us),” writes one reviewer. “I immediately felt them grabbing into the ice/snow on the roads, which turned our Odyssey into an all-terrain vehicle!”
Best Snow Chains for SUVs and Light Trucks
If you need a fast, easy and extremely effective way to improve your SUV or light truck’s winter tire performance, check out this set of Series 2300 chains from Peerless. They’re self-tightening and centering, thick, heavy-duty and made from real linked chains. They cost around $107 a pair.
Truck owners like this one on Amazon are extremely pleased with the improved traction these chains offer: “I put these on the two outside back wheels and they have made a huge difference. This truck doesn’t get stuck anywhere now. Great on ice, great in heavy snow, deep snow, everything. Such an easy fix for a great price.”
Easiest to Install/Remove
Many tire chains are effective at improving vehicle traction through snow and ice, but they are prohibitively difficult to install and remove. That’s a problem handily solved by this set of Z-571 chains from Security Chain. They’re light, compact and cost only $80 per pair.
According to Amazon reviewers like this one, they’re easy to work with: “I hate the idea of paying the people who put them on the side of the mountain road when they’re so easy to put on yourself. It took awhile to figure it out the first time but once I did they were easy to get on/off. It was only a little hard for me to pull it super tight since I’m not that strong.”
Best Budget Link-Style Snow Chains
Traditional steel link-style snow chains are often more expensive than other types. One exception is this set of size CB-12 104 Konig chains. At $59 per pair, these chains are a rare combination of rugged, heavy-duty and reasonably priced. Amazon buyer like this one are particularly pleased: “For the price they were excellent…Would be happy to recommend if you are going to need [chains] occasionally, these are very good and won’t break the bank.”
Most Durable Snow Chains
Another product from Security Chain, these chains can take a serious beating and keep giving you the traction you need. Designed for light trucks, these QG2228 chains can handle various common light truck tire sizes, including 265/75.16. They cost just under $109 per pair. Made of thick steel links, they come with a cam tool to give you the leverage you need during installation.
This Amazon reviewer loves these chains: “I was hoping to get something strong enough to do the job but this goes well beyond my expectations. These chains are tough and I have absolutely no worries about breaking a link, and they go on like a charm! I live in the mountains and these are a life saver.”
Best Snow Chains for Small Cars
These SC 1042 size chains allow small vehicle owners to navigate snow and ice with confidence. Their low-profile, cable-style design is great for vehicles with limited clearance between tires and wheel wells. “For a small car like the Focus, they make six or seven inches of snow no problem to navigate,” writes one Amazon reviewer. They’re reasonably priced, too, at only $31 a pair.
All prices and links were current as of publication.