Table of Contents
- View The Best Snow Chains Below
- 1. Security Chain Company Z-575 Z-Chain Cable T
- 2. KONIG XG-12 PRO 245 Snow chains
- 3. Quality Chain Cobra Cable Passenger Tire Chains
- 4. Glacier 1042 Passenger Cable Tire Chain
- 5. KONIG XB-16 247 Snow chains
- 6. TerraGrips Tire Chains
- 7. Security Chain Company SZ127 Super Z6 Tire Chain
- 8. Peerless Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain
- 9. HSecurity Chain Company ZT747
- 10. Generic Twist Link Tire Chain
- Snow Chains Buyer’s Guide
Snow can be incredibly challenging to handle when driving your vehicle across varied terrain, especially if it gets heavier. If you’re suffering from an especially cold winter or live in an area where snow is almost constant, it can become increasingly difficult even to drive short distances safely.
Snow tire chains can solve this problem – they help your car grip the ground more effectively and improve the overall handling. However, like all car accessories, finding the best snow tire chains can take a lot of time and effort.
Buying snow chains can be challenging. From Auto-Trac the Security Chain Company, below are ten of the best sets of snow chains available at the moment, as well as some extra details about what makes them worth using and why they stand out from the rest.
View The Best Snow Chains Below
1. Security Chain Company Z-575 Z-Chain Cable T
These are the best tire chains for improved compatibility with other tire features, such as anti-lock brake designs and traction control, to help them fit in with other upgrades your vehicle might have. Installation is quick; you can do it without raising or moving your car. The multiple manganese alloy steel straps that can offer better traction with no direct risks to your vehicle.
Security Chain Company has also made improvements to the fastening system, making the easy installation even faster. This allows you to quickly adjust or remove the traction chains on short notice if the snow suddenly stops or you’re traveling to a warmer area.
+ Quick and easy to install
+ Use a alloy steel cable-style design for easy storage
+ Made with manganese alloy steel for higher durability
+ Offer improved traction and a smoother ride
+ Work with other tire and wheel features
Why We Liked It – These are some of the best tire chains, mostly due to their adjusted design. Unlike other chains, they’re much easier to use alongside a wide range of tire types and additions.
2. KONIG XG-12 PRO 245 Snow chains
These snow chains are easy to install and work really well on SUVs, combining excellent comfort improvement with a high level of performance. The 12mm clearance makes them suitable for most tire types without scraping against other parts of the vehicle. The optional anti-scratch nylon bumpers protect each tire from harm when moving over the awkward ground.
Konig has also added a self-tensioning system to the design of the chains, removing the need for manual tensioning during long drives through heavy snow. Other than that, the chains are simply effective at what they do. They don’t rely on niche features, so if you’re looking to buy simple snow tire chains, this is the pair for you.
+ Protect your tires from snow and ice
+ Give your vehicle ample traction control
+ Self-tensioning and quick installation
+ Heavier chains for more snow
+ Optionally use anti-scratch bumpers
Why We Liked It – These snow chains are easy to fit and incredibly reliable, giving you great winter traction, regardless of the vehicle you drive. Tackle icy and snowy roads with ease.
3. Quality Chain Cobra Cable Passenger Tire Chains
The excellent quality of these cable chains makes them an extremely convenient option for driving over snowy and icy roads. The simple and effective carbon steel rollers allow for better traction on all kinds of snow without causing harm to your tires. The low-profile construction means they also work well on snow-free roads.
Not only that, but the design of these metal chains reduces vibration and noise on all surfaces, giving you a much more comfortable driving experience. The snow chain metal is galvanized to prevent rusting and natural corrosion from long-term use. They come in a plastic storage box that can easily be reused.
+ Easy to store
+ Work on minimal-clearance tire designs
+ Provide improved traction on snow
+ Very durable
+ Rust-resistant metal chains
Why We Liked It – These are a great set of snow chains for vehicles with specific tire designs that might not allow for clearance or extra adjustment. Turn your traditional tires into snow tires with ease.
4. Glacier 1042 Passenger Cable Tire Chain
The hardened steel roller pieces used on these snow chains make them far more reliable for mixed terrain. They also work perfectly with both front-wheel and rear-wheel drives. In addition, the limited clearance design means they will fit on tires without much free space, and the quick installation also makes them easy to remove as needed.
The metal has been galvanized for extra rust protection, while each snow chain helps to reduce the noise and vibrations made during the average drive. For more valuable vehicles, these snow chains also don’t void a warranty or count as a modification to the tires.
+ Straightforward installation
+ Excellent as winter tires
+ Ideal for low-clearance designs
+ Work with most vehicle types
+ Reduce noise, vibrations, and rust
Why We Liked It – These are excellent snow chains for vehicles that can’t accept larger and higher-clearance designs, providing good traction and comfort on both normal and icy surfaces.
5. KONIG XB-16 247 Snow chains
These snow chains use a manual tensioning system that allows you to quickly adjust how they fit onto your vehicle, making it far easier to get the exact results you want on your tires.
This, combined with the sixteen inches of clearance, makes them much more effective at handling soft and muddy ground while still being great for heavy snow and ice.
In addition, the design of the chains is very simple and reliable, offering incredibly good results without relying on gimmicks or niche features that don’t translate into practical results well.
+ Durable and reliable – heavy-duty chains
+ Easy to use on a range of tire types
+ Manual tension system
+ Closed shortening hooks
+ Offer a good level of clearance
Why We Liked It – These are excellent snow chains for handling soft and muddy ground while still being great for heavy snow and ice.
6. TerraGrips Tire Chains
These tire chains aren’t just winter tires; they also work as traditional chains too. They work well on snow, gravel, mud, mulch, and almost any other surface, offering excellent performance and keeping you moving over any terrain.
The tool-free installation means that you can quickly add or remove them from your vehicle at a moment’s notice. The built-in rubber materials provide far better durability for both the tire chains and the tire itself. These rubber belts also help push traction even further than traditional tire chains normally would, making snow even less of a problem.
+ Use built-in rubber belts
+ Designed for all-terrain types, not just snow and ice
+ Quick and easy to install
+ No tools required
+ Improve traction on all surfaces
Why We Liked It – If winter traction isn’t the only thing your vehicle struggles with, these tire chains will make any car far more reliable on nearly any surface.
7. Security Chain Company SZ127 Super Z6 Tire Chain
These high-traction tire chains are supposed to provide a much higher level of performance and a solid grip in almost all situations. They easily working alongside other tire features and vehicle upgrades to ensure they won’t snag or tangle on anything important.
The simple installation process makes them easy to attach without moving or lifting the vehicle, letting you decide when and where to attach them. Each tire uses traction coils made from a tough alloy steel. This improves the durability of your snow chains while also ensuring they won’t scratch your tires and cause faster wear while driving.
+ Compatible with multiple tire accessories
+ Suitable for restrictive clearances
+ Work on a range of vehicle types
+ Tough alloy steel
+ Easy to install and offers maximum traction
Why We Liked It – These chains work best on any car that might need a quick performance boost. They don’t conflict with other important upgrades or features.
8. Peerless Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain
Thanks to the self-tightening ratchet design, these Auto-Trac tire chains are super easy to install. They offer more traction control, even if you aren’t the best at attaching chains to your tire.
The diamond pattern ensures a smoother ride and even greater traction on specific surfaces, while the simplicity of the tensioning and tightening system means that there are no loose chains to get in your way.
These Peerless Auto-Trac snow chains are also smaller and lighter than other designs. They offer more grip points without weighing down your vehicle, making them easier to use when you’re up against slopes or other slippery surfaces.
+ Very easy to install
+ Self-tightening construction
+ Lighter chains – reduced bulk and weight
+ Use a reliable diamond pattern
+ Reduce the chance of tire or chain damage
Why We Liked It – Sometimes, you don’t need heavy-duty chains. These Auto-Trac tire chains might seem large at first, but the reduced weight and improved focus on traction make them ideal for wet or slippery ground.
9. HSecurity Chain Company ZT747
The great traction offered by these high-quality snow chains means they are perfect for snow and ice. They’re also far more durable than you might expect.
The built-in rubber tensioning system means you don’t have to tighten the chains manually after each installation, and the improved compatibility means they work well alongside other car tire features and control systems.
The cable chain design ensures they will cause less damage to the body of your vehicle or the tires they’re mounted to, helping you stay safe and stable on all terrain.
+ Self-tensioning design
+ Provide better durability and performance
+ Useful for many terrain types
+ Reduce damage to the car
+ Simple installation process
Why We Liked It – Snow chains like this are simple, but they offer ample traction while ensuring your car and its attachments stay out of harm’s way.
The high durability of these tire chains means that they are very useful in harsh weather and on rough ground, giving you proper protection from slips. The chains work properly, even if they are starting to suffer damage from long-term use.
The cross chain design gives you multiple chain straps that improve traction while you are on the move. The CAM links on the site mean that you don’t need a separate chain adjustment product to alter how they fit. Even when used on standard cars and tires, the chain provides far better results on difficult terrain.
+ Made with excellent materials
+ Allows for easy adjustments using the included CAM tool
+ High durability
+ Designed for reliable quality
+ Can work on many vehicle types
Why We Liked It – This set of snow chains is great for people who want raw traction and easy adjustments. If you prize performance over everything else, check out these chains.
Snow Chains Buyer’s Guide
Snow chains aren’t always just meant to help you get more traction on snow. There can be plenty of ways they affect your car tires, from changes in traction and stability to a offering a completely new method of interacting with certain types of terrain.
While it might not seem like it at first, many people forget that your average snow chain design will alter the outer surface of a tire. This can often lead to major differences in performance, even if you’re just moving across regular dry ground. Even then, some chains come with unique features or designs that might be completely different from the designs you’re used to.
Buying snow chains can be tricky, but here are some key features to watch out for, as well as some advice on finding snow chains that will suit your vehicle well.
Snow Chain types
There are multiple types of snow chain and they can all lead to major performance differences even if they are more or less the same on paper. Something as small as a change in the shape of the chains can have a domino effect on how the rest of the snow chain design works. That’s why it’s important to focus on what you’re actually buying and how it might lead to differences in traction, stability and ride comfort. Understanding how different snow tire types work will make it much easier to choose one that suits you best.
Most chains will use metal chains that link around the tire, forming a kind of mesh. The most basic versions will simply wrap around in a cross pattern or as bars.
While a cross-chain and straight chain might differ in terms of their performance, they’re still similar enough to put under the same label. Because they use classic chain link designs, they are much more durable and far less likely to suffer from rust or corrosion. However, they can also be bulkier and harder to use on cars that won’t have much space for attachments like that.
In a way, all tire chains are snow chains. This is because the inclusion of any tire chains will generally lead to added grip and improved traction. A tire traction chain adds some more grip to the surface of each tire, which may be exactly what you need to start dealing with snow and ice more effectively. Many of these tire chains also work well on softer ground, but some may struggle to provide benefits on solid surfaces like a bare pavement. For this reason, some tire chain product designs may have to be removed when there’s no snow, dirt, or icy roads in your way.
The only downside to chains like this is the fact that they won’t always be the best choice for every vehicle type or situation. It’s entirely possible that a certain vehicle won’t have the clearance needed to mount traditional chains. Inconsistent weather can also make a product designed purely for snow much less useful in the long run.
Cable Tire Chain
Different tire chains work differently. Cable tire chains come in different designs, and they’re made with tire cables rather than normal linked chains. Cable chains are less effective when getting a better grip – especially since snow chains are generally seen as the “traction chains”. However, cable tire chains are also far less bulky. This means drivers can easily use them on a vehicle that may not have the space to use a proper set of snow chains. Most cable chains are low-profile and don’t need as much clearance to work correctly.
Because of this, cable chains are sometimes a more desirable option for people who need to handle mixed weather. Regular snow chains work well in winter conditions, but cable chains may be more useful if the weather is constantly changing, and you’re not always faced with heavy snowfall.
For example, passenger cars that act as a taxi service will often have to travel to a lot of distant destinations. There’s no guarantee that these passenger cars will always be handling snowy roads, which means a cable chain design may be more reliable and convenient for them.
Snow tires and chains aren’t the only traction devices available.
Snow socks are one design that often gets ignored, given that they aren’t technically chains. Snow socks (or tire socks) are rare and aren’t always as useful as chains, but they work in the same way. You wrap snow socks around a tire to add more traction on the outer surface. This binds them in a way that keeps them tight around the whole tire.
Snow socks are often thinner and lighter than snow chains. They can also sometimes be cheaper, so if you’re on a budget, a snow sock may be the best choice for you. However, keep in mind that snow socks may offer less traction than actual chains.
A good brand to check out is Isse snow socks.
There are thousands of tire chains on the market and a lot of them come with extra features to stand out. These features can be anything from small design changes to major adjustments to how the chains work, and all of them can be used differently.
When you’re looking at extra features, consider your weather conditions. If you’re surrounded by deep snow, you may need heavier chains and superior traction.
Tensioning is the act of making the chains less slack by putting them into a tighter grip around the tire. While many product designs force you to do this manually, it won’t always be in the same way. For some, you may need particular tools available to do it, while others may use a tool-free system that you can adjust with your bare hands.
Some tensioning systems might even be much simpler than others because of the way the product fits around the tire. It’s extremely important to remember that you usually have to adjust the tension every time you attach the tire chain, so it’s rarely a one-off task.
Some product types go a step further – they may offer a self-tensioning system. The tire chain will automatically adjust its own tension levels to remove slack and give you better performance each time you attach the chains. However, these can sometimes fail and may require manual adjustments, which means they aren’t always the best option. However, if you’re short on time, then a built in tightening system would be perfect for you.
Either way, make sure your chains are tightened properly, since too much slack can damage both the chains and the vehicle they are attached to.
You usually remove a snow chain in the same way you attached it – just in reverse. However, some premium tire chains may have an automatic release option that quickly removes the chains from the tire without disconnecting them in the same way you connected them. This can be a handy convenience, but not everybody prefers it. And it won’t always be necessary if you only need to remove your chains on very rare occasions.
The patterns used by snow chains can alter what they’re best for. However, there can be some outliers. Most patterns fill a particular role or niche. For example, diamond patterns are mostly used alongside traction control to provide a good grip on ice and snow. Square chains improve durability and traction on all surfaces. Ladder patterns are either suitable for all surfaces or restricted to nothing but snow and ice, depending on how they are made and the way the built-in rubber or metal strips are connected to the tire.
Snow chain pricing will differ from brand to brand; there are a few extra things you should consider when purchasing chains.
Higher end chains with a sizeable price tag might not be necessarily best for you, and they might not always deliver the excellent traction you deserve. There’s little point getting snow tires with all the bells and whistles when you only experience light snow or infrequent icy roads. You may even find that a cable or snow sock works better for you!
Compact vehicles with a smaller tire width will a need smaller security chain, which may decrease the price. A good set of tire chains for a smaller car won’t neccessarily cost the Earth.
These are all things to consider before you purchase the most expensive.
Are Chains or Cables Better for Snow?
It all comes down to what kind of product you need and the sort of snow you have to deal with. For example, a UK provider of snow chains might offer different features compared to a seller in some parts of the US, due to the differences in climate and weather. Winter driving will be different in both places, and some chains will have to be extremely durable.
Brands like the Security Chain Company and Radial Chain are well-known for making good snow chains, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t companies making cable product lines of the same quality.
If you’re trying to decide, look at brands on all sides. If you only look at the Security Chain Company and Radial Chain, then you’ll believe snow chains are better. This is because Radial Chain and the Security Chain Company are almost exclusively geared towards tire chain production. However, if you compare Security Chain to a similar brand that makes cables, you’ll better understand how the two will compare. Auto-Trac and Soyond snow chains are also great brands to look at.
If you live in an area where you only get light snow, you might want to consider a snow sock.
What are the Easiest Snow Chains to Put On?
The installation process of a snow chain product depends on the design. Some tire chains slip on easily, while other tire chains may be much more complex. However, consider how often you will be removing and installing your tire chains.
If snowy winter conditions aren’t that common in your climate, tire chains that you can install easily are the best, since you’ll be removing them often. You may also benefit from these type of chains if you drive passenger vehicles. However, if you live in a snowy area, you may not mind tire chains that take longer to install since you may only have to remove and re-attach them once or twice over the entire year.
Do you Put Snow Chains on all Four Tires?
The most important place to put your tire chains is on the wheels that provide the power. Even the best tire chains won’t make much difference if they’re providing traction to wheels that aren’t turning, so be sure to install your tire chains on whichever wheels are involved in the vehicle’s drive system.
For example, if you have a front-wheel drive, put them on the front two wheels. If you have four-wheel drive, it’s usually best to put them on all four wheels, although you can still put them on the two strongest wheels if you only have two tire chains ready to use.
That said, you can still put tire chains on the non-drive wheels too. This prevents slipping and may help you get balanced traction, even if those wheels aren’t powered. If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, then putting tire chains on the back wheels can still prevent it from swinging out of control on ice or slippery snow and can help you if you are trying to brake suddenly.
Do I Need Two or Four Snow Chains?
While we recommend that you use four tire chains, it won’t always be necessary. For example, in light snow that doesn’t affect your driving all that much, you might only need two chains. That is, a chain product on each drive wheel. Still, it’s a good idea to buy a chain for each wheel, even if you don’t install them all at once. You never know when the weather will turn severe enough to need the other chain set, and it’s better to be prepared for super snowy roads.
As a side note, remember that you don’t technically have to use the same chains on the front and back wheels. It’s not always the best idea to do this, but it can be helpful if you only have one set of drive wheels. You might want high traction on the front wheels and improved comfort on the rear ones, for example. If you plan to do this, be sure you know what you’re doing first.
The best snow chains on the market won’t necessarily be the ones that get the best reviews. You never know what the best snow chains for your particular situation will be. Finding the best tire chains isn’t always as easy as looking at the most popular option.
As you’ve seen from the advice above, the best tire chains for you might be completely different from what you were expecting! In fact, the best tire chains for you might not even be tire chains at all – you may benefit more from snow socks or cables.
No matter what product you pick, there are plenty of tire chains out there that to suit your vehicle and current situation. Any tire chain product you use will offer good results, but some tire chains may be superior to others when you consider them with your own needs in mind. All it takes is one missing feature or a small change to make a product much less useful, so don’t settle for second-best if you can help it.