It is madness not to have your car prepared for the winter and thankfully the market brings us many options when it comes to our tires. Here we will talk about the best tire chains available because they are a product which is often times overlooked by vehicle owners.
However, chains will give you excellent traction and will boost your safety when you drive in snowy conditions. Picking the right product is not an easy task, though, and this is why our crew has compiled some tire chain reviews for your convenience. Our goal is to give you peace of mind when you drive in the cold and the information below will sure achieve just that.
Best Tire Chain Reviews – Top Picks
1. KONIG XB-16 245 Snow Chains
It’s winter time and we have to do whatever we can to travel safely. This is why snow chains are always a good idea. The manual tensioning system of these KONIG chains makes them even more special. You get one stop to fit the chain and another one that will tighten it perfectly. This line of snow chains is tested in the Italian Alps so there is nothing to be worried about. With these chains, you not only get from point A to point B safely, but you also get there in style. Thule snow chains are made of hardened manganese nickel alloy steel which is a guarantee that the life of the product is extended to its maximum. You can also see that they have 16mm D-shaped links that are dual-sided and are the reason why you will have excellent traction. All attachment points on the chains are colored which is perfect because you will be able to see them not only during the day but also during the night.
2. Security ZT729 Super Z LT Tire Traction Chain
These tire traction chains have one of the fastest and easiest installations possible. After you have finished with the installation you can drive safely and calmly because you will have no reason to stop and retighten them – the built-in rubber tensioner will make sure of that. These Security Chain Company ZT729 Super Z LT Light Truck and SUV Tire Traction Chains meet S.A.E. Class “S” clearance requirements for vehicles with a limited or low clearance which makes them one of the few to do so. They will give you a perfect all-around traction performance and durability to die for. If you have electronically monitored control systems like anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc., just know that these chains are designed for better compatibility with such systems. You need to be careful, though, with the age and type of the tires you are going to use these on. Fitment could be affected by these factors.
3. TerraGrips Tire Chains
These TerraGrips tire chains are engineered and manufactured in the USA. Their improved traction is perfectly suitable for all conditions. Do you travel a lot and you actually enjoy it but snow and mud always darken your mood? We got your back! It doesn’t matter if it is snow, mud or gravel that we are talking about, these little gadgets will save the day. They feature rubber slats that provide a grip you can’t even imagine. Steel chains often wear the tires, rubber, though, does not only offer incredible durability but also prevents from additional wear. The installation is super easy and you don’t need tools or anything else. The plated steel components are rust-resistant and guess what the best part is! You can use them for other things besides your car. For example, they would be a perfect fit for your mower. You will have some good traction and grass that is not destroyed, sound good right?
4. KONIG XG-12 PRO 245 Snow Chains
The next product on our list is the Konig XG-12 PRO 245 Snow chains. This item will save you from harsh weather conditions during the winter. The durability of the material will give you peace of mind while you are driving. The installation of these chains is straightforward and easy, but you need to make sure that you follow the instructions. Note that the size of your tires is also essential. If the chains fit perfectly well, they will perform as desired. They work with a micro-regulation system to ensure a secure self-tensioning when the weather requires it. These chains might be a bit on the pricey end, but the quality compensates for the cost. The set of two is thicker than snow cables and more compact than other chains on trucks. The design features welded double-traction plates to increase the grip around the tire. If you wish, you can apply anti-scratch nylon bumpers to protect the wheels from the rubbing of the tires when they are tight.
5. Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain
It doesn’t matter if you have a car, pickup or even SUS, these security tire chains are suitable for everything. The installation is also super easy as you don’t even have to move the vehicle. The sidewall clearance that these chains need to operate properly is only 6mm (1/4″), now how isn’t that cool! In order for you to have the finest traction and durability you could imagine, the Security Chain Company has designed a diagonal cross member pattern. The Super Z6 works perfectly with different types of electronically monitored control systems. That means that the chains will in no way interfere with the characteristic your vehicle has. This product is manufactured for tires sized from around 215 to 285 millimeters. The diagonal pattern of the chains offers a constant traction, easy and aggressive start, and most importantly perfect stopping. Don’t forget to use winter traction products on all your four tires unless something else is said in the owner’ manual and do not exceed 30MPH / 50KMH!
6. Grizzlar GTN-524 Garden Tractor/Snowblower Tire Chains
These tire chains are a great option if you are looking for chains suitable for garden tractors or another special vehicle. They will be a perfect fit for tires with aggressive tread. The main goal of Grizzlar is to give its clients excellent traction and durability. That is the reason why they have made this net style chain of manganese steel. The D-shaped links also help significantly with the traction making it even better. The chains are sold in pairs and fit 15×5.00-6 tires. But if those sizes are not the ones you wanted to see, don’t worry the company offers an extension kit with which you can adapt the chain to larger tires. The installation is super easy and if you encounter some difficulties our tip to you is to let some air out of the tires, put the chains on and then re-inflate. This way you will get the perfect fit and your vehicle will be able to move through dirt, snow, ice or whatever, without any problem.
7. KONIG CB-12 090 Snow Chains
When it’s winter time you only want to arrive at the place you are headed safe and sound, without damaging our car or ourselves. But still, if you want to do that while looking fashionable, these chains will not only keep you safe but will also give a fresh and modern look to your vehicle. They have 12 mm inside and on-the-tread clearance and two stops. One that fits the chain and a second one that tightens it. This way the KONIG CB-12 090 Snow chains will keep your wheels rolling through the trip without a hitch. The manual tensioning system makes the installation even easier. Everything that you need to know is explained in the owner’s manual, although, we are not so sure that it is totally understandable. That is why if you choose these chains you will probably have to check some YouTube tutorials on how to properly put them on.
8. Security Chain Peerless 0155505 Auto Chain
Security Chain presents this highly efficient set of 2 auto chains on the market. They will keep you safe while you are driving on snowy days. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the chains fit your tires perfectly well. Once you purchase them, you will discover how easy it is to install them. Follow the instructions, connect the inside cable, and attach the two outside self-tighteners. If you do this correctly, the chains will hug the tires well, and they will not hit the frame of the car. The design is in a diamond-crossed shape. This pattern ensures a smooth ride without worries. The chains operate with a self-tightening system. The ratchets ensure automatic tensioning and centering for a safer ride during the winter. A possible drawback you might notice is the rubbing of the chains which could scratch the tires. However, such damages will occur if the chains do not fit the tires.
9. AUTOLOVER Car Security Chains
The Autolover Car Security Chains provide you with a comfortable, smooth ride without any worries. The chains come in the form of a powerful engineering belt. This design is extremely durable and efficient for the harsh conditions of winter. Made from TPU steel material, the chains will fit tightly around the tire without scratching it. The structure fits standard vehicle types from small vans to normal cars. Make sure that your vehicle matches the size. The manufacturer has taken measure to prevent loud noises and abrasion. Everything comes in one unit. While the car is in motion, the belts will remove snow, sand, and mud to provide a hassle-free ride. The zinc buckle ensures that the grip is tight enough to hold the vehicle stable on all slippery surfaces. With time you will notice how durable the construction is. Another great advantage is the portability of the chains. Install and disassemble them with ease. After that, you can store them in standard vehicle compartments to transport them anywhere you go.
10. Peerless 0232805 Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Chain
If you are looking for a great product and an easy installation these tire traction chains just answered your prayers. You don’t even have to move or jack up the vehicle just put them on following the instructions and Bob’s your uncle, your vehicle’s ready! You also get a patent, self-tightening ratchets that will not only keep you safe but will provide you with tightening and centering that is automatic. These chains meet class ‘S’ clearance requirements exactly because of the incredibly effective tensioning system they have. The cross member links of these chains are made of manganese alloy steel. This way they are shorter and lighter than normal and will give you more gripping points. The low‑mass “D” cross-section of the links is also one of the reasons why these chains are so durable and such a good choice for your vehicle. The best part is that even if you are on a budget these chains are wallet friendly.
11. Security Chain Company QG3829
Have you been looking for some heavy duty chains you can count on for a while now? Good news, you have found them. The fact that they are suitable for cars, SUVs and so much more is impressive. Make sure that you see if they are suitable for the size of your tires, though! These Security Chain Company QG3829 will give you comfort and durability. Without a question you will be one of the few people driving through town in an ice storm, having a peace of mind and being safe. With these Quik Grip wide base link chains, snow, rain, mud or any slippery conditions will no longer be a threat. The installation is super easy as well as the removing process. Still, traction products should be fitted to the tire before actual use is required. Don’t forget to check your owner’s manual for information regarding the use of tire chains!
12. Titan Attachments ATV Tire Chains
We know how hard it is to drive an ATV when your tires are not good or you don’t have the perfect tire chains. Off road is a tricky thing and you need to be prepared for everything from snow to mud. That is why these ATV tire chains are hardened. This way you get incredible traction for maximum safety and durability. The chains come in 4 sizes so that you could choose according to the size of your own tires. The chains are super easy to put on, offering you a gripping power to die for. They are not only well built but also look good. They are suitable even for your mower, plus they are able to climb steep hills with mud and snow on them. The V-Bar tire chains from Titan will make sure that whether you are just having fun, driving through an ice storm or plowing the driveway you are safe and on track.
Best Tire Chains Comparison Chart
KONIG XB-16 245 Snow Chains
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Security ZT729 Super Z LT Tire Traction Chain
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TerraGrips Tire Chains
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KONIG XG-12 PRO 245 Snow Chains
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Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain
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Grizzlar GTN-524 Garden Tractor/Snowblower Tire Chains
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KONIG CB-12 090 Snow Chains
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Security Chain Peerless 0155505 Auto Chain
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AUTOLOVER Car Security Chains
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Peerless 0232805 Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Chain
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Security Chain Company QG3829
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What are Tire Chains and Do They Have Benefits?
If at some point in your life you hear a chain being called “a device” then this would be when we talk about tire chains. These “devices” are attached to the drive wheels of the car in order to increase traction as much as possible.
Without a doubt, this is their main benefit but we will highlight a few more aspects in which tire chains can help you or give you a disadvantage of sorts. So here are the most essential ways in which snow chains work.
- Better traction – we already mentioned this one. The car is somewhat more stable in snowy conditions when chains are wrapped around the tires. This doesn’t mean you are free to drive as fast as you want.
- No need to change tires – you will be able to save some money by not having to buy a separate set of snow tires. You will also save time by not having to take tires on and off each season.
- Braking and accelerating area easier – your car might still not be able to stop in place if you drive too fast but chains will help a lot. The same goes for acceleration. Your tires will not skid and spin in place when you want to start moving.
- Ice is being broken – yes, this is a major problem for more automobiles. Snowy roads sometimes hide blocks of ice which may significantly alter your line of movement as you drive. The most distinguished tire chains for off-road are powerful enough to break those ice blocks and allow you to continue your trip undisturbed.
- Low maintenance – chains are not hard to clean. In fact, if you check our guide on the best tire shines, you can use the same product for your snow chains as well.
- Fuel efficiency – your car will consume more fuel when tire chains are installed. Better traction comes at a price. This especially true if you want to get tire chains for a pickup truck as there’s a good chance this vehicle will already have higher fuel consumption.
- Tires get worn out – the chains will rub on to the tires all the time thus affecting their integrity. Don’t get us wrong, this doesn’t mean that your tires will turn into rags right away. It’s just that their life will be shortened.
- 4×4 vehicles require more chains – did you notice that we said that tire chains are attached to the drive wheels? Well, when you have a 4×4 every wheel is a drive wheel. In that sense, you should buy 2 sets of snow chains instead of one.
Features to Consider When Buying Tire Chains
While there are not so many things to consider about a chain, there are some key points which we would like to highlight. Read below and become familiar with what makes a tire chain good.
This is the feature most people look for. The easiest tire chains to install are often the ones that are purchased the most. It is important to say that the simplest of snow chains rarely have very convenient installation.
The first common install feature is the clamp-on installation and it usually comes with an automatic chain tensioning. These chains are exceptionally easy to put on and off. The second way of chain installation is the drape-over-the-tire one. This type of chain does not require any connections although it is not as effective as the clamp-on chains.
It would have been great if we had a wide array of materials to list and talk about but most tire chains are simply made of alloy. This alloy typically features nickel and steel. You can’t really have it any other way because the integrity of the snow chains will be compromised if they are not sturdy.
- Chain Patterns
The links really matter. Some chains have fewer of those and they cover a smaller portion of the tire. This doesn’t mean that such chains are ineffective. However, those with more complicated chain patterns are somewhat better. The more links you have, the lower the chance the whole chain will come off in the event of an accident.
Lighter chains will give you some better fuel efficiency while heavier ones will definitely be more effective in tough snow conditions. It pretty much comes to that. Of course, heavier chains are more inconvenient to carry around when not in use but how often would you have to do that?
It is true that most people prefer using tire chains instead of cables and there is a good reason for that. In general, chains are more durable. They will give you a longer life and will serve you well for years.
Cables can get deformed easily and will eventually break. You definitely do not want that while you are out there trying to move through the snow. What is good about cables is that they are lighter. Most products of that class are easy to install and take off. When you inflate your tires too much, the chains might become too tight. This is why we recommend that you look into our guide to getting a tire inflator so that you can always be informed about the amount of air in your tires.
Additionally, snow chains will definitely give you better traction. They are harder and tougher than cables and will be able to plow through the snow easily. It is fine if you want to opt for cables but you should do it only if you rarely drive in winter conditions. Chains are good for heavy duty use.
Another minor advantage of the tire cables is the fact that they do not stick out from the tire. Cables stay tight on the tire and if you pass through areas with little side clearance, it might be more convenient to use them instead of chains.
Tire Chains vs Snow Tires
This is an interesting debate and it is definitely tougher than the one between chains and cables. You see, snow tires are a very viable thing and in many countries with mild snow, they might be the better option.
First of all, with winter tires you get an extended use. Most people buy new sets of tires and they can last for 3-4 winters easily. They will give you good traction and pretty decent control over your vehicle.
Of course, in the toughest conditions, chains are a must. But if you see moderate amounts of snow each year, then having your tires replaced is not such a bad idea. Speaking of which, this is a major downside of the snow tires.
If you opt for them, then you must be prepared to actually have 2 sets of tires at all times. You will have “summer” tires and your snow tires. What you will be required to do is change them every spring and fall. Many car owners don’t like this and this is why they simply get chains for their tires.
So to recap – if you have a lot of dry winters, chains are no good. You don’t want to use them on a dry road as they will get deformed and may even damage your tires. On the other hand, if you are forced through a lot of snow each year, then maybe getting tire chains is the way to go.
At the end of the day, you can actually buy both. Using snow tires every day and putting chains on only when needed might be the way to go. Don’t forget to measure the air pressure in your tires every time you take the chains on and off. In fact, the best tire pressure gauges might help you do just that – check our reviews on them.
Putting the Snow Chains On
This guide wouldn’t be complete if we don’t describe the proper way to put snow chains on. So here in this section, we will give you a step by step tutorial regarding how to do it:
- Obviously, you want to take the chains out of the box.
- Inspect the chain and adjust it so that it can be tangle-free. You don’t want your chains to be twisted.
- Once you get down to the wheel, pass the chain behind and around it.
- The plastic coating cable will now have its two ends on each side of the tire. Lift the coating up the tire. Join the cable together.
- In the middle of the chain, you will see a colored hook. Attach it to the other part of the colored chain.
- The loose chain near the bottom of the tire needs to be put through the tightening ratchet.
- Pull hard so that the chain can lay tightened over the tire.
- Start the car and drive it forward a few yards. Adjust the chain again if needed.
Don’t forget to check out where you are allowed to use chains on your vehicle, tips on choosing all-season tires and all-terrain tire buying guide!
This is where we will part ways but only temporarily. You can always check our other guides and be informed regarding many other things related to car care. We hope to have helped you locate the best tire chains out there and have hopefully picked the right product for your needs.
In that sense, feel free to go back to our tire chain reviews and check the specs of some products once more. Let us know if anything’s missing and don’t hesitate to comment on the article. We will be happy if you shared it with others as well. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!