Have you already read most publications about winter tyres but still don’t know which ones would be best for you? We have compiled a list of the best products for snowy roads, designed for drivers who thoroughly analyse the parameters of tyres available on the market.
Who chose the winners? The best models have been listed based on driver reviews. The summary presents the three highest rated models from each class. Find out which tyres are safest for winter.
1. Continental ContiWinterContact TS850 – Average rating: 5.5
Recommended for: An advanced sipe system that makes it easier to control the vehicle in difficult winter conditions.
Manufacturer: On average, every third car manufactured in Europe leaves the factory with Continental tyres.
Buy Continental ContiWinterContact TS850
Continental ContiWinterContact TS850 is an option that should be considered particularly by owners of compact cars. Its directional tread with wide grooves perfectly dries the tyre, and the system of sipes and well fitted tread blocks effectively shorten the braking distance on snow or ice. In the case of compact and small cars, it is particularly important to keep the car on the road while cornering, and this is ensured by an increased number of notches on the tyre edge.
“(...) I decided to buy Continental ContiWinterContact TS850. There were no problems in the snow and with slush, the car stuck to the road like a train to a track. There was no aquaplaning in the wet and the braking distance was good. I thought ice may have caused a problem like with other tyres, but I was pleasantly surprised in these conditions. The car braked without any real skidding at 85 km/h (with ABS, yes, but this is still ice). It’s really worth paying the extra 30–40 PLN to have guaranteed reliability.”
2. Michelin Alpin 5 – Average rating: 5.5
Recommended for: Innovative, sharp tread pattern that ensures excellent grip and effective braking on icy roads.
Manufacturer: Michelin is one of the most famous tyre manufacturers in the world, who have maintained their strong market position.
Buy Michelin Alpin 5
Michelin’s Alpin 5 winter tyre was rated very highly by Oponeo users thanks to its reliability in extremely challenging conditions. The sipes distributed across the tread create a so-called ‘claw effect’ which ensures the appropriate snow traction and a high level of driving comfort.
“Michelin 5 are not the cheapest tyres, but after some time I have to admit that my choice was very good. Now, I wouldn’t even consider any other models. The tyres performed very well on a frozen layer of compacted snow as they ‘bit’ into the surface. During heavy rain or snowfall, I could easily drive on a motorway at 140 km/h. The car perfectly stuck to the road and the braking distance was very good.”
3. Pirelli Snowcontrol Serie III – Average rating: 5.5
Recommended for: Increased tyre/road contact, which translates into increased driving precision and a shorter braking distance.
Manufacturer: Pirelli is a brand whose products are present not only on normal roads but also on race tracks.
Buy Pirelli Snowcontrol Serie III
This model by Pirelli is an interesting option, especially for owners of cars with a touch of sporty flair. Modern technology and the special directional tread pattern allowed for the development of a tyre that maintains optimal performance no matter the weather conditions. Its excellent road holding on corners, efficient acceleration and braking (even on snowy or wet roads) are only some of the numerous advantages of that tyre.
“I bought the tyre in late autumn so I had the opportunity to use it on both wet and a snow-covered roads. In both cases, its behaviour was impeccable. The tyre perfectly holds on corners and accelerating was easy. I would especially recommend it to drivers who are more cautious in winter. Snowcontrol III will boost your confidence, even in these conditions.”
It didn’t make the podium, but with a rating only slightly lower (5.4), we have the popular Nokian WR D3 which is well-known for its excellent performance in winter conditions.
Recommended for: Innovative composition of the rubber compound used in the tyre, which maintains its properties even in the most extreme conditions.
Manufacturer: Nokian is an independent Finnish manufacturer who specialise in tyres for snow applications.
Buy Nokian WR D3
Thanks to its modern composition, these tyres are lighter which translates into a lower rolling resistance and fuel consumption. Nokian WR D3 is irreplaceable on trips to areas covered with snow and ice. With its tread pattern, wide drainage grooves and dense grid of sipes, the model ensures excellent grip, even on the most demanding terrain.
“As soon as I bought my new tyres, I noticed slightly better acceleration and lower resistance on straight roads and corners. I’m comparing these tyres to Hankook, which were fitted on my car as standard. Generally, the noise is not much higher and fuel consumption seems to be a bit lower. I’ve already travelled over 13,000 km on my winter tyres and I am very satisfied. The winter was quite mild, but there were also blizzards and thaws. Even during a thaw, I could travel quite confidently in Poznań. I didn’t experience any serious skidding or any trouble in getting up an icy or snowy hill.”
1. Uniroyal MS Plus 77 – Average rating: 5.2
Recommended for: Excellent performance on wet surfaces, no skidding and reduced braking distance.
Manufacturer: Uniroyal is a brand that manufactures the best tyres designed for wet surfaces; there is a reason why their products are sometimes called ‘rain tyres’.
Buy Uniroyal MS Plus 77
Uniroyal MS Plus 77 are known for their unique tread structure, which immediately drains water from the crown ply, thus minimising the risk of aquaplaning. The model is also optimised for its winter properties, which ensure better traction control and driving comfort during the winter months.
“Even though there was not much snow, ice or slush this winter, I managed to test the tyres in winter conditions and they performed very well. There is no problem with pulling away when the car was parked on soft snow. Slush and wet snow are nicely drained aside and the tyres do not skid too easily. On dry surfaces, it’s difficult to skid when pulling away, as the model perfectly grips the surface. It’s the same when braking. I happened to brake in an emergency and the tyres performed great.”
2. Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452 – average rating: 5.1
Recommended for: High steerability, grip and operating costs.
Manufacturer: Hankook is a Korean manufacturer ranked 7th globally. For several years they have been revolutionising their production line, as they want to join the premium class.
Buy Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452
Hankook Winter i*cept RS W452 is the successor of the excellent i*cept RS W442. Compared to the previous model, the company improved key parameters such as braking distance, winter traction and rolling resistance. The tyre performs great both in the city and on more challenging routes. It ranked highly in terms of snow behaviour among the models assessed by our customers.
Its modern tread is provided with oblique and deep grooves, patterned in a V shape. The model uses an innovative edging system which supplies the tread with mode independent 3D components that increase the grip.
“Great tyres. The car goes smoothly and is also very stable on the road, which is not so easy for small cars in winter. I can recommend them with all my heart!”
“The tyres performed well even in the mountains where there was a lot of snow. The road was slippery and I didn’t have chains!”
"The tyres are sensational. My child was travelling with me and the car didn’t bury itself even once and there was not a single skid. I recommend these tyres to everyone.”
3. Firestone Winterhawk 3 – user rating: 5.0
Recommended for: Short braking distance, efficient tread drying and abrasion resistance.
Manufacturer: Firestone is an American group owned by Bridgestone. They started in the town of Akron, which is considered to be the heart of the American tyre industry. This Ohio location is also the home of Goodyear and BFGoodrich.
Buy Firestone Winterhawk 3
Winterhawk 3, supplied by the American manufacturer Firestone, is a great winter tyre for drivers who appreciate safety and a high level of driving comfort. Its directional tread pattern ensures a shorter braking distance regardless of the weather. With its optimised compound, the tyre features a high abrasion resistance and ensures a long useful life.
Users of our website appreciate the excellent quality of the tyre by rating it very high for its behaviour in the snow. Here are their opinions:
“The tyres behave very well in winter conditions. Many times my intuition was telling me that I wouldn’t stay on the road, but these tyres kept me there.”
“When out of the city, I don’t drive slowly and I have to admit that in winter, on access roads to nearby skiing resorts such as Wisła or Szczyrk, which are not cleared of snow so well, I easily dash at 120–150 km/h and nothing happens! The car perfectly sticks to the road with no aquaplaning.”
1. Dębica Frigo S-30 – average rating: 5.2
Recommended for: High durability, driving stability and being economical.
Manufacturer: Dębica is a popular Polish group that manufactures high-quality economy tyres. Their factory, located in the Polish region of Subcarpathia, is Goodyear’s third largest industrial centre worldwide and the biggest in Europe. Dębica started its business during the turbulent time of the Second World War, using equipment exported from rainy England.
Buy Dębica Tyres
Dębica Frigo S-30 performs excellently on passenger cars especially in the city. It is distinguished from other economy-class tyres by its high resistance to damage, which is very common when driving in city traffic or when parking. With its numerous notches, the tyre clings to the snow, ensuring a strong grip and minimising the risk of skidding.
Drivers who evaluated Dębica Frigo S-30 on Oponeo particularly emphasised its remarkable safety parameters. The model turned out to be the economy tyre ranked best for its behaviour in the snow:
“There is nothing better for snow and I am writing from Wisła, where everyone around is testing their winter tyres while fighting against winter conditions. In the lowlands, people don’t have uphills or frequent snowfalls, so maybe they don’t need good snow tyres, but in extreme conditions it is a great tyre.”
“I bought them and now think they are the best winter tyres I’ve ever had. Their tread is very dense and it really looks good when you’re driving with them. Losing grip with these tyres is no mean feat, and the price for such comfort is token.”
2. Sava Eskimo HP – average rating: 5.2
Recommended for: Braking distance, useful life and reliability.
Manufacturer: The group takes its name from the Sava, the longest river in the Balkans. The tyres are produced in factories located in Slovenia and Poland, at Dębica plants. Both brands are owned by the American Goodyear. Sava is one of the largest industrial groups in Slovenia and has a wide range of specialities, from tyre manufacturing, through finance and medicine, to a chain of hotels.
Buy Sava Eskimo HP
Sava Eskimo HP is the second best winter tyre ranked by our users in terms of behaviour in the snow. Their high level of safety is provided by a high-tech directional tread and perfectly selected proportions of the rubber compound. The tyre remains flexible across a wide range of temperatures, caring for the optimum structural stiffness.
“I used the tyre in the winter season and I am positively surprised by its capabilities. The tyre performed great in challenging winter conditions. Its greatest quality is its very good grip on wet surfaces.”
“The tyre is worth recommending, it deals very well with winter conditions. Good cushioning and lateral holding on snow and ice."
“Anyone who’s looking for a great winter tyre must choose Sava. Excellent value at a very good price. Using this tyre in winter, I felt comfortable and safe on the road”
3. Nexen WINGUARD SUV – average rating: 5.1
Recommended for: Adaptation for the SUV segment, low noise level and stable performance.
Manufacturer: ’Next Century’ – the combination of these two words not only forms the name of Nexen but also defines the nature of the entire group. The essence of this brand is the continuous development and adaptation to the changing needs and requirements of customers on all continents. This South Korean brand is also engaged in sports promotion, for example as the naming rights sponsor of the Nexen Heroes baseball team.
Buy Nexen WINGUARD SUV
The last economy-class tyre distinguished by our customers for safety on snow represents the SUV segment: Nexen WINGUARD SUV. The model is designed for large high-power vehicles, which can be noticed in the first few kilometres. The tyre maintains high stability and improves driving comfort. Additionally, it stands out for its very low noise level.
The excellent behaviour on snow was appreciated by Oponeo users, who evaluated Nexen WINGUARD SUV as follows:
“The tyres perform excellently in the city, on motorways and off-road. So far, I haven’t noticed any visible signs of wear after the distance I travelled. They are quiet for winter tyres and I haven’t been disappointed yet on snowy or wet surfaces.”
“A really good tyre. I must admit that it deals surprisingly well in any conditions. I mostly drove on paved roads, where there were no serious problems, whether it was on ice or slush.”
“I am surprised by the tyre quality for such a low price. This winter season, I didn’t have to put on the chains even once! Excellent traction and towing power on snow.”
Choosing a winter tyre is an important decision
You have already learned about the winter tyres which users graded the highest in terms of safety on snow. Hundreds of favourable reviews testify their excellent grip and excellent behaviour on roads during winter.
However, driver recommendations are not the only source of information for safe tyre models. Read our article about the Best 2017 Winter Tyres and get familiar with the results of this year's prestigious tests.
Also see how your tyre size was rated by other Oponeo users:
If you are still not sure, call us! Contact us at: 0800 066 3422 – we will help you make the best decision!