You can now obtain snow tires that will assist you in navigating almost any winter conditions, thanks to the steady advancements in tire technology. No tire, however, performs as well as a decent set of tire chains in the toughest winter circumstances, particularly when there is a lot of slick ice.
When early automobile drivers were forced to battle snow and ice with their narrow, slippery tires, tire chains were first developed in 1904. Chains were the only practical choice at the time, although the outdated chain systems were troublesome.
They may break loose and cause damage to the vehicle as they flop around. They were also difficult to install, especially when on the fly.
Tire chains gained popularity as time passed by, and tire technology advanced among commercial truck drivers who couldn’t quickly switch tires in the winter.
Even while snow tires for passenger vehicles are far better than they formerly were, they still can’t match chains for traction, especially in really heavy snow and on ice. Thankfully, tire chain systems have also advanced recently, leading to the creation of cutting-edge systems that don’t utilize any chains at all.
They are now more dependable and less likely to harm the car or the wheels because they are simpler to install and tighten.
We have seen many cheap, practically identical products, frequently constructed of plastic plates and many gimmicky traction devices. None of these are the ones we advise. There’s no substitute for anything that wraps around your tire, ideally made of metal.
The majority of the market is controlled by Peerless, which also produces the Security brand. Any of their snow chains will work great.
Additionally, we do not advise using any type of chain that needs to be fastened through a wheel’s spokes. It is challenging to do this without risking finish damage to your wheel. With some types of wheels, it can be completely impossible.
Below are the top 6 best tire chains you should check out if you plan to buy one.
#1 Peerless Auto-Trac Self-Tightening Traction Chain
Peerless could be considered the first tire chain business. Harry D. Weed, the creator of the tire chain, sold his Weed Chain Tire Grip Company to ACCO in 1912, and they later acquired ACCO in 2006. Therefore, Peerless has by far the most experience manufacturing tire chains, with 115 years in the industry.
The most modern version of the traditional wrap-around-the-tire tire chain is the Peerless Auto-Trac tire chain. A thick chain is wrapped in a diamond-shaped pattern around the tread and sides. A chain that wraps around the tire’s face, holding all of the primary traction chains against the rubber, is located where this weaving of chains wraps onto the sidewalls.
To complete the circuit, the chain that is within the tire clips to itself. The unique ratcheting auto-tensioner holds the chain system in place on the exterior of the tire. You don’t need to stop to make sure the chain is tight since this tensioner system centers and tightens the chain system on the tire. Because of its snug fit, the Auto-Trac is able to pass Class S clearance standards for vehicles with small wheel openings.
These snow chains for your car are more convenient to attach and have a self-centering, self-tightening function thanks to the self-tightening tensioner system. With a lot of thick chain straddling the rubber tread, the Auto-Trac tire chains for snow provide excellent grip. The drawback of all of that chain is that it weighs roughly five pounds per set, but more crucially, you have to drive at or below 30 mph when using these, much like with most conventional tire chains.
#2 König XG-12 PRO
For pickup trucks and SUVs with large tires and restricted clearance, we recommend the Italian-made KÖNIG. The rugged-looking XG-12 PRO snow chains from König are made for SUVs with wheels that reach up to 21 inches in diameter and tight wheel wells. They are sized for trucks, SUVs, vans, business cars, and RVs that other chains won’t fit, and they just need less than a half-inch (12mm) of clearance.
The König ATC device (Active Tensioning and Balancing), which you put on using a micro-adjustment system, automatically tightens and balances the chains as you drive. They are simpler to attach than some other types of chains because you don’t have to move your car; instead, the chains just glide into place around the ring. The side elements are protected with a particular nylon bumper kit, and any areas of the chains that could possibly get wheeled are constructed of anti-scratch composite material.
With its headquarters in Italy, König is a subsidiary of the renowned manufacturer of roof racks and other accessories, Thule. They’ve been in operation since 1966. The XG-12 PRO snow chains have a solid five-year warranty, but there is only an online form for contacting customer service.
#3 Security Chain Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain
Brand: Security Chain
One of the many tire chain brands produced by Peerless is called Security Chain, and it is made to their typically high standards. Security Chain’s Super Z6 cable-style tire chain features self-tensioning and a finer chain that is lighter than conventional link chains.
The Z6 employs a system of cables covered in tiny steel coils that protrude like thousands of tiny fingers from the snow and ice. This sort of traction material is better suited for tiny automobiles with restricted tire openings since it is lighter than heavy-duty chains and requires less installation space. The coils produce a coarser tool to rip up the slippery surface, but they don’t penetrate as deeply as chain links do.
Installing Super Z6 tire chains is simple. Stretching the cross-sectional pieces over the rubber tread, you drape them over the interior of the tire. The circuit on the tire face is then finished by connecting the coupler.
The rubber tensioner that attaches to the cable circling the tire’s perimeter is the next distinctive feature of the Super Z6. The tensioner tightens the tire chain system around the tire by pulling in on the connecting cable using six clips.
It is unnecessary to stop and inspect the tire chains with this constant-tension system, but it also makes mounting the chain on the tire simpler. You don’t need to relocate the car when installing the chains since the tensioning system centers and tightens the chain system. As soon as the vehicle moves, the tensioner system will form any unusual gaps where the tire is touching the ground.
#4 Glacier 1022 Passenger Cable Tire Chain
Brand: Glacier Chains
These are standard ladder-style cable tire chains that have a torsion connection device and are constructed of steel cable with stamped-on rollers. They aren’t particularly sophisticated, and you’ll probably want tensioners in the shape of spiders to hold them in place, but they are inexpensive and can get you out of a tight spot.
Snow tire chains from Glacier should not be confused with Peerless or König. They are difficult to put on, and you can’t drive with them all winter long without them breaking. However, a set will cost you $250 or more. If you’re purchasing tire chains for an emergency that you might or might not experience in the future, they may be the perfect fit for you at less than half the cost of a premium set of car chains (or, in the case of the König, one-third).
#5 Matte Super-X Snow Socks
An easy-to-use snow sock is produced by the Turkish company Matte. With a more forgiving elastic, Matte’s snow socks are a little more adaptable than some other brands, and only a few sizes are available to fit a variety of tire sizes.
While you do need to roll your car forward and backward to install them, they are all very simple to perform. Snow socks have a propensity to center themselves. Although they perform poorly at greater speeds, they won’t harm your wheels or vehicle while being installed or used.
The Super-X is a mid-range snow sock that is constructed from pretty thick material and ought to last longer compared to other brands. It should only be used on snow as a hard surface, as gravel will quickly eat through it.
Snow socks are an excellent option for folks who don’t anticipate using tire chains frequently because they are frequently permissible when tire chains are not. They may be machine washed to increase their lifespan by removing salt and abrasive grit from the fibers. They are also incredibly lightweight, easy to store, and machine washable.
#6 AutoSock Tire Chain Alternative
AutoSocks are quite user-friendly and effective, but they aren’t very durable. It won’t take much imagination to envision how the product operates, given a name like AutoSock. An AutoSock is a sizable elastic sack that you place over your tire as opposed to fastening chains or cables to it.
After putting as much of it on as you can, you must roll a little bit to the front or back to put the other side on. The straps only help keep it on the tire while you’re traveling and aid in removing it; there’s nothing to tighten. It is possible to attach some tire chains without moving the vehicle.
In contrast to a tire chain, AutoSocks are merely held in place by an elastic band, and you must drive no faster than 20 mph. Additionally, if you spin your tires, they may come off. The fabric is excellent at clinging to snow and ice, but it will soon fall apart if you hit a hard surface, such as pavement or gravel.
We advise using AutoSocks as an emergency tool to help you get out of a bind, and they will do so admirably. If you use chains frequently, they won’t last for a long time.