Snow Tyres Vs. Chains Tyres: Which is Better?

03 11,2024


As winter blankets the landscape in a glistening layer of snow and ice, drivers face the challenge of navigating treacherous roads. Therefore, you should always drive with winter tyres in snowy weather. When it comes to preparing your vehicle for winter driving, two options stand out: snow tyres and tyre chains. Both are designed to enhance traction and improve grip on slippery surfaces, but they have distinct differences in performance, installation, and suitability for various conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the differences between snow tyres and tyre chains, helping you make an informed decision on which option is better suited for your winter driving needs. 

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Snow Tyres: Traction for Winter Roads

Features and Benefits:

Snow tyres, also known as winter tyres, are specially designed to perform optimally in cold temperatures, snow, and ice. They feature unique tread patterns, rubber compounds, and siping (small slits in the tread) to provide superior traction on slippery surfaces.

  1. Tread Design: Snow tyres have deeper tread patterns with larger gaps (known as sipes) to grip snow and channel water away from the tyre's contact patch. This improves traction and reduces the risk of hydroplaning.

  2. Rubber Compounds: The rubber used in snow tyres remains pliable in cold temperatures, ensuring flexibility and grip on icy roads.

  3. Enhanced Braking and Handling: Snow tyres offer shorter stopping distances and improved handling on snow-covered and icy roads, enhancing overall safety.

  4. All-Season Versatility: While specifically designed for winter conditions, snow tyres can be used throughout the winter season, providing traction in a variety of cold weather situations

Installation and Maintenance:

  • Snow tyres are installed on your vehicle's wheels just like regular tyres. They are typically installed in sets of four for balanced handling and traction.

  • To maintain their effectiveness, snow tyres should be installed before the winter season begins and removed once winter weather subsides. For more information, you can also check the comprehensive guide to snow tyre installation.

  • When not in use, snow tyres should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent rubber degradation.

Tyre Chains: Extra Grip for Extreme Conditions

Features and Benefits:

Tyre chains, also known as snow chains, are metal chains or cables that wrap around your tyres to provide additional traction on snow and ice. They are ideal for extreme winter conditions where snow tyres alone may not provide sufficient grip.

  1. Enhanced Traction: Tyre chains bite into snow and ice, providing added traction when driving on slippery surfaces.

  2. Compatibility with All Tyres: Tyre chains can be used with both snow tyres and regular tyres, offering versatility for various vehicles and driving conditions.

  3. Affordable Option: Snow chains are generally more affordable than snow tyres, making them an attractive option for occasional winter driving.

  4. Easy Installation: While it may take some practice, installing tyre chains is a straightforward process that can be done relatively quickly when needed.

Installation and Maintenance:

  • Tyre chains are typically installed on the drive wheels of your vehicle (front or rear) for maximum traction.

  • Before installing tyre chains, ensure they are the correct size for your tyres and that they are securely fastened.

  • When driving with tyre chains, it's important to maintain speeds recommended by the manufacturer and avoid driving on dry pavement to prevent damage to the chains and tyres.

  • After use, remove the tyre chains promptly to prevent damage to your tyres and the chains themselves. Clean and dry the chains before storing them.

Snow Tyres vs. Tyre Chains: Which is Better?

1. Snow Tyres:

  • Pros:

    • Superior traction and handling on snow and ice.

    • All-season versatility for winter driving.

    • Enhanced safety with shorter braking distances.

    • Longer lifespan compared to tyre chains.

  • Cons:

    • Higher initial cost compared to tyre chains.

    • Requires installation and removal before and after the winter season.

    • Limited effectiveness on extreme ice or very deep snow.

2. Tyre Chains:

  • Pros:

    • Added traction on extreme ice and deep snow.

    • Compatible with all types of tyres.

    • Affordable option for occasional winter driving.

    • Easy installation and removal.

  • Cons:

    • Limited speed and distance recommendations.

    • Not suitable for driving on dry pavement.

    • Requires careful storage and maintenance.


Watch now: Vredestein Tyres | The Best Performing Winter Tyre: Wintrac Pro!

Choosing the Right Option for Your Needs

When Snow Tyres Are Better:

  • If you live in an area with frequent snowfall and icy conditions, snow tyres are an excellent investment. They provide consistent traction and handling throughout the winter season, enhancing safety and peace of mind.

  • Snow tyres are ideal for drivers who prioritize safety and performance on winter roads. If you have a daily commute or frequently drive in winter weather, snow tyres offer the best balance of traction, handling, and longevity.

When Tyre Chains Are Better:

  • For occasional winter driving or short trips in extreme conditions, tyre chains offer a cost-effective solution. They provide added traction when you need it most and can be easily stored in your vehicle for emergencies.

  • Tyre chains are also suitable for drivers who live in regions with infrequent snowfall or milder winter conditions. They offer versatility and compatibility with various types of tyres, making them a practical choice for occasional use.

Summer VS Winter tyres

Also read: Why You Should Never Combine Summer and Winter Tyres?



Snow tyres and tyre chains each offer unique benefits for winter driving, catering to different needs and driving conditions. Snow tyres provide superior traction, handling, and safety throughout the winter season, making them ideal for daily commuting and frequent winter driving.

On the other hand, tyre chains offer added traction on extreme ice and deep snow, making them a cost-effective solution for occasional winter driving or emergencies. They are versatile, compatible with all types of tyres, and easy to install and remove when needed.

Ultimately, the choice between snow tyres and tyre chains depends on your driving habits, local climate, and winter driving needs. Whether you opt for the consistent performance of snow tyres or the added grip of tyre chains, both options are valuable tools for staying safe on winter roads. Be sure to consider your budget, driving frequency, and the severity of winter conditions when making your decision, and always prioritize safety above all else.


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