Best Snow Traction Mats: Stay On The Blacktop All Year

Drive your vehicle out of the snow with these top snow traction mats

Best Overall

Maxtrax MKII Vehicle Recovery Board

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Best Value

Portable Tow Truck Tire Traction Mats

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Honorable Mention

MAXSA 2033 Escaper Buddy Traction Mats

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You’re going to get stuck in the snow, especially if you fancy yourself a good driver at the command of a rig that can go anywhere. None of us want to admit it, but it is going to happen. You need to be prepared for when it does. In the old days, a bag of kitty litter on the back seat was your way out. Things are different now, though. Now you can buy fancy traction mats that slide right under your tires, allowing you to get a grip pretty much anywhere. There are different mats for different situations, and you need to know which is right for you if you want things to work out. This guide is just what you need to get started. 

Summary List 

Our Methodology

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to gather up a list of our favorite mats, take our trucks out into the snow-capped mountains, and get stuck to see which worked best. That doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re talking about, though. We took the time to research the market, and each mat discussed to come up with a list we trust has something for everyone. 

Best Snow Traction Mats: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Maxtrax MKII Vehicle Recovery Board

See It

Best Value

Portable Tow Truck Tire Traction Mats

see it

Honorable Mention

Maxsa 2033 Escaper Buddy Traction Mats

see it

Best Roll-Up Mat

EVTime Emergency Devices Tire Traction Mat

See it

Best Value Runner-Up:

Bunker Indust Recovery Boards Traction Mat

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Our Verdict on the Best Snow Traction Mats

Our top pick for the best tire traction mats is the MAXTRAX MKII Vehicle Recovery Boards. They are flexible, durable, strong, and are easily stackable for storage. However, the Portable Tow Truck Tire Traction Mats is a great choice for those on a budget. 

What to Consider Before Buying Snow Traction Mats

Types of Snow Traction Mats

Foldable Tire Traction Mats

As the name implies, foldable mats are those that fold into themselves. However, any traction mat that collapses into itself to reduce its overall footprint in storage can loosely fit under this category. The main draw to this type is that they’re great to keep in vehicles where space is limited, such as a sedan or even a crossover. They might not be as durable or effective as they’re alternative, but they’ll still work in an emergency.

Regular Tire Traction Mats

What we’re calling regular traction mats are more like a board than a mat. They’re a fixed-length design with more of an emphasis on performance than storage. These are usually a couple of feet in length, making storage on the exterior of the vehicle, like on the roof rack or in the bed of a truck, a better choice than the interior. The design is beneficial in that it’s more durable and generally more effective, and the body can double as a shovel to help dig down into the snow for effective placement.

Snow Traction Mat Pricing

As with anything, the level of quality, basic design, special features, and the name attached to traction mats will largely determine how much you pay. As for hard numbers, they can run you anywhere from $20 to well over $100. It’s a good idea to stick to the higher end of that price range because you really do want a set of snow traction mats to perform when you need them to. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Do I need one or two sets of snow traction mats? 

A: You can almost count all four tires getting stuck at once. If money is tight, you can start by buying just one set, but upgrading to two sets in time is a good goal. 

Q: Do you put the mats under the front or back wheels?

A: That depends on the drive type and which tires are stuck. If it’s a 4×4 application with just the front tires spinning, you should place them beneath the front tires. But, again, it’s likely all four tires are spinning if you’re stuck, and you’ll need help on all corners. 

Q: Is it safe to store them permanently on a roof rack? 

A: As long as the traction mats are resilient to UV rays, you shouldn’t have any problems doing so. Otherwise, they might grow brittle over time, and you should keep them covered whenever possible. 

Q: Can you get a flat tire from the protruding knobs on the mats? 

A: It’s extremely unlikely. While nothing is impossible, the knobs on the boards would have a really hard time piercing vehicle tires if they could even reach a vulnerable enough point. 

Q: Is there a mounting system available for the mats? 

A: That depends on the model you’re working with. Some brands have separate mounting systems that you can purchase separately, while others might have mounting solutions built in. 

Q: Are they strong enough to bridge gaps? 

A: No. Snow traction mats are intended to get your vehicle out of the snow or ice. If you need to drive over a gap, you’ll need a bridging ladder instead. 

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Hank O'Hop

Associate Editor, Commerce

Hank is an Associate Editor at The Drive. He may be here to recommend tools and parts, but he’s always happy to dive deep into tech discussions, especially when it gives him the opportunity to display his old Dodge.