Studded Snow Tires or Regular Winter Tires: Which is Best (or Required) for You?

Tires-Easy Tire Buying Guide, Tire Financing, Winter Tires

In some areas of the country, snow tires are mandatory due to extreme weather. In others, snow tires are only recommended. And still in others, the weather gives drivers no reason for winter tires. Whether you are on vacation or moving to a new climate, let’s look at laws around the nation when it comes to studded tires, and the differences between the two types of tires.

Snow Tires vs. Studded Tires

First, it’s important to note that if you are going to drive in the snow, you want snow tires. Snow tires have different tread designs from all-weather tires, meant to grip the road better and handle ice and slush. They also have a different type of rubber for the same reasons. We highly recommend using snow or studded tires, such as Nokian tires, in icy or snowy conditions.

There are no restrictions against snow tires, while studded tires are often regulated by individual state or city laws. For example, in Connecticut, studded tires are only permitted between Nov. 15 and April 30. Georgia only allows studded tires for snow and ice conditions; otherwise, they are not permitted. Hawaii, where snow is generally confined to the tops of mountains, does not allow studded tires at all.

Both snow and studded tires grip well in snowy conditions, but Consumer Reports found that studded Nokian tires beat out studless Michelin tires — tires they still called impressive. Overall, they found that Nokian tires were excellent for snowy conditions.

Studded Snow Tires Pros and Cons

The drawback for increased traction? Studded tires are noisy and do more damage to the road surface. If you can handle the clicking of the studs, especially on areas where snow has been cleared, they provide a better ride.

The main reason some states restrict studded tires is that they tear up roads, meaning more work maintaining and repairing roads. While this may not concern you, your own driveway and garage might.

Nokian’s Hakkapeliitta line of tires, however, aim to reduce noise and damage. While studless tires have long held these advantages over studded tires, studded tires are starting to catch up.

In most cases, noise and damage are a con for studded tires, but a pro for snow tires. Snow tires do not do damage while still allowing you to drive in snowy conditions or on ice patches.

As a pro for studded tires, they stop sooner on ice. In mountainous regions with less direct sun, or in coastal regions and near rivers where fog turns to ice on the road, studded tires edge out snow tires. If you are not facing icy roads, just icy patches, or densely packed snow, however, you may only need snow tires.

Can I Afford Winter Tires?

Financing Your Next Tire PurchaseIt may seem unfair that, based on where you live, you may need an extra set of tires just to safely get around during part of the year. And if you buy unstudded and later decide on studded, you will either need to pay to add studs or, if the tire can’t be studded, get yet another set of tires. Thankfully, we can help with financing your tires. On Tires-easy.com we have easy financing options from both Affirm and PayPal. In  any case, the price is worth the safety and driving convenience snow and studded tires add to your drive. Just make sure you understand the winter tire laws in your local area, or on the route of your next road-trip.