Tire Buying Guides

Studded Snow Tires

Last updated 12/08/2022 - Originally published 12/08/2022
Written by SimpleTire

Studded snow tires are designed for winter driving conditions and are typically made from rubber with small metal spikes embedded into them. These spikes are designed to increase traction on snow or ice surfaces so that you don't slip around when driving on snowy roads.

What are studded snow tires?

If you reside at a place that sees a lot of snow or extreme winter conditions, studded snow tires might be something you need or have used before. With large, knobby tread blocks that dig into the road surface plus metal or plastic spikes embedded, studded tires are engineered to enhance grip while driving on slippery surfaces such as ice and snow without causing damage to the rims. Some of the best studded tires on the market today include the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 and Hankook Winter i Pike RS2 (W429) Studded.

How do studded snow tires work?

Studded tires are designed to improve traction during winter driving conditions. This is because studs are lightweight, small metal spikes that are staggered across the tread provide greater friction between the tire and the road surface, which allows drivers to gain better control over their vehicle.

The benefits of studded snow tires

With an unending debate on studded tires vs snow tires, studded tires are always a notch above to improve your driving experience. Additionally, they also grip better on uneven or unpaved surfaces while allowing increased traction, reduced tire wear, and giving a sturdier look to your vehicle as well.

Improved traction

Studded snow tires provide an extra level of grip because they're not just interacting with the road surface conditions; the studs penetrate frozen precipitation, and dig in like miniature anchors.

Reduced braking distance

Braking distance refers to the distance between the car and the obstacle before the driver brakes. A well studded snow tire cuts the brake distances by using studs and tread patterns.

Enhanced stability

Tires provide traction, comfort, and durability while contributing significantly to fuel economy and performance. The quality and performance of studded snow tires increases vehicle handling, braking, acceleration, and road holding.

How to choose the right studded snow tires

When temperatures drop below freezing, it becomes very dangerous to travel on roads because ice forms on road surfaces, making driving extremely hazardous.

Studded snow tires are designed specifically for snowy conditions.

  • Tread Pattern: Tread design of a studded snow tire has larger gaps that reduces skidding and improves control.
  • Tread Depth: Deeper tread depths reduce snow build-up and provide better traction on ice and snow.
  • Tread Rubber: Compounds of winter tires are designed to remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better.
  • Biting Edges - Increased number of biting edges and high sipe densities covering the tread provides great traction on ice.

Before you decide on studded snow tires, be sure to consult local and State laws as studded tires are not approved for use nationwide.

Tire Stud SimpleLegend States branded

Consider your driving habits

How and what you drive will greatly impact which tires are right for you. If you have a sedan or coupe and primarily drive on paved roads around the posted speed limit then you’ll likely want a set of tires that are durable and can handle moderate speeds with some lane changes and hard stopping.

Conversely, if you drive a performance-oriented vehicle and like to push the envelope within reason then you’ll need a set of tires that can handle quicker turns and stops while also offering better acceleration. Keep in mind, the tires that you select have a massive impact on your vehicle’s performance, and fuel efficiency is just one piece of the puzzle.

Consider the type of vehicle you drive

Whether you drive a sedan, SUV, or a work truck, all vehicles have different tire needs depending upon the train and surfaces they are mostly used on. Passenger vehicles, CUVs, SUVs are great when combined with all-season or performance tires. Additionally, light trucks and heavier load vehicles are best paired with highway terrain tires or all-terrain tires.

Be absolutely sure about your tire size and road requirements before you decide to buy a new set of tires.

Consider the climate you live in

Where you live and typically drive also needs to be considered when purchasing a new set of tires. If you live in the Southeast United States and don’t typically see temperatures under 45 degrees Fahrenheit year-round then you might be able to run ultra-high-performance or summer tires without any issues.

If you are thinking about, when can you use studded snow tires read along, areas that receive sustained frigid temperatures and some form of ice, slush, and snow likely need to consider winter tires, are for consistent performance when temperatures are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just remember, if you do decide to purchase a set of winter tires then you’ll need to remove, store, and swap them for another set of tires once temperatures are consistently above 45 degrees so that their rubber compound doesn’t burn out in higher temperatures.

The cost of studded snow tires could vary depending on your vehicle and which brand of tire you select. A studded snow tire could cost as little as $75 per tire or as much as $500 per tire.

Yes, studded snow tires are worth it if you live in an area that frequently sees heavy ice, slush, and snow when temperatures are consistently below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

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