Best Mud Tires: Keep Your Grip While Off-Roading in the Mud, Sand, and More
These top-rated mud tires can get through whatever nature throws at you
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PUBLISHED ON July 22, 2019
If you enjoy off-roading, you need a good set of tires. The best mud-terrain tires have big, chunky tread patterns that allow you to plow through deep mud as well as the snow. Most also accommodate rock climbing. Our buying guide will help you select the best mudding tires for your truck, Jeep, SUV, or another type of four-wheel drive.
- Best OverallNitto Trail Grappler M/TSummarySummaryThis tire features Z-groove treads for lateral stability and traction, while stone ejectors protect the treads, reject stones, and clear mud away. The 3D, tapered groove tread provides biting edges for off-road adventures.ProsProsThe Nitto Trail Grapplers perform great on rocks, trails, sand, and mud, and their three-ply sidewall construction provides an extra layer of puncture resistance.ConsConsThe tires will get noisier as the tread wears down and produce a high-pitched hum. They also slip a bit on wet surfaces and can be prone to hydroplaning.
- Best ValueBFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2SummarySummaryThese tires have deep, self-cleaning independent tread blocks and linear transverse flex zones for combating off-road obstacles. They have aggressive sidewall lugs, and cut- and chip-resistant sidewall compounds.ProsProsThey're good, all-around tires that are capable of slinging mud and snow when you need it. They perform very well on rocks and gravel and are difficult to puncture.ConsConsThey can be very noisy on the pavement, and the sidewalls are a little thin. In addition, they tend to spin or skid on wet roads or packed snow.
- Honorable MentionCooper Discoverer STT Pro Mud Radial TireSummarySummaryThese tires feature an aggressive, high-void tread pattern made of a chip- and tear-resistant compound. The three-ply polyester casing makes them puncture-resistant, and they feature anti-stone retention ribs.ProsProsThey're great in the mud and deep snow. They don't get caked up with ice or mud-like other tires sometimes do. In addition, these tires are moderately quiet on paved roads.ConsConsIf you don't rotate the tires on a regular basis, they will begin to cup, and you'll get high-speed vibrations. Also, the tires can dig holes in deep snow and sand.
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Benefits of Mud Tires
- Off-roading. If you frequently drive over fields, on dirt roads, or through muddy and rocky terrain, you'll need the best mud tires for a successful adventure. Otherwise, you may get stuck and require a tow.
- Durability. Aggressive mud-terrain tires are designed with special tread patterns and compounds as well as reinforced sidewalls. They are very strong and tough and can easily navigate surfaces that would incapacitate or destroy other types of tires.
- Safety. The best truck mud tires will give you the confidence to safely traverse rough, muddy roads and terrain without fear of damaging your vehicle or getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Types of Mud Tires
Heavy-Duty Mud Tires
Mud tires, also known as mud-terrain tires, are built for off-road terrain. Standard truck and SUV tires have some off-road performance ability but are largely designed for use on the street. Off-road tires have an aggressive tread pattern with large tread blocks to grip surfaces that other tires can't. Their significant tread depth creates powerful “biting edges," and they often include embedded mud and stone ejectors. They’re designed for mud crawling, rock climbing, and other tough conditions.
Mud Tires for the Street
While hardcore mud tires dig deep for traction and are specifically designed for rough surfaces, some brands have all-terrain performance capabilities, which allows them to be used both on-road and off. If you plan on driving largely on the pavement, consider finding the best mud-terrain tire for highway use.
Founded by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich in 1870, BFGoodrich is based in Akron, Ohio. It was the first American tire manufacturer to make radial tires. The company has 28 victories at the Baja California competitions and has won the Paris–Dakar Rally 13 times. One popular product is the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Radial Tire.
Cooper Tires got its start in 1914 in Akron, Ohio. Its focus is to manufacture quality tires that will perform well and last for thousands of miles. One recommended product is the Cooper Discoverer STT Pro Mud Radial Tire.
Goodyear was founded in 1898 and is one of the world’s largest tire companies with one of the most recognized brand names. It’s based in Akron, Ohio. One top product is the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar Radial.
The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1900. Harvey Firestone was friends with Henry Ford, and the company became the original equipment supplier of Ford Motor Company automobiles. Firestone was sold to the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation in 1988. One popular product is the Firestone Destination M/T2.
Nitto was founded in 1949 and is based in Cypress, California. Its tire sizing, tread patterns, and tire compounds combine modern aesthetics with cutting-edge technology. One popular product is the Nitto Trail Grappler M/T.
Hankook Tire America Corp.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, and established in 1981, Hankook Tire distributes high-performance and ultra-high-performance passenger, light truck, SUV, medium truck, and bus tires. One recommended product is the Hankook Dynapro AT-m (RF10).
Milestar manufactures passenger, high performance, ultra-high performance, light truck, and commercial medium radial truck tires. The company is based in California and is owned and marketed by Tireco, Inc. which was founded in 1972. One recommended product is the Milestar Patagonia M/T Mud-Terrain Radial Tire.
Mud Tire Pricing
- $125 or less: The best mud tire for the money is still going to cost you a few dollars. There are several brands that are available around this price point that can effectively move your vehicle through mud, snow, and other terrains.
- $125-$300 (and up): The best mudding tires typically cost a couple of hundred dollars apiece. If you want a tire with long tread wear that can withstand a variety of off-road conditions, expect to spend a little more.
Mud tires have an aggressive tread design that provides superior grip with large, deep rifts or voids between the tread blocks. Tread thickness can range from six ply up to eight and 10 ply. Tires with deeper ply patterns are more likely to eject mud and stones, which can affect traction. A deep tread also prevents punctures from rocks and other debris.
To protect the interior of the tire and for more durability, look for a product with the thickest sidewalls possible. You want a tire with a rubber sidewall that's three-ply or higher. When you drive through mud and over rocks, sharp objects can puncture both the sidewall as well as other parts of the tire.
Because mud tires are subjected to a lot of abuse, you’ll need a product with a tread pattern that wraps around the tires to the shoulder. This will enable a wider footprint and give you more grip in tighter turns. Some brands of mud tires have elevated tread on the shoulders for even more control and power.
Another important thing you need to determine is whether there's enough clearance between the tire and your vehicle's fender. Trucks made specifically for off-roading generally have enough space to accommodate larger tires, but if you have an average SUV, you may not have enough clearance.
- Size: Wider tires have more contact with the ground. Usually, wider is better, but always check to see if they will fit on your existing wheels. If your wheel width only accommodates a 7.5-inch tire, you can’t use one with a 10-inch width. The same holds true for the wheel and tire diameter.
- Terrain: Decide what type of surface you will be traversing before you purchase popular mud tires. For example, if you plan on driving mostly on dusty trails, you won't need heavy-duty mud tires. They will wear down pretty quickly on pavement, and it will cost you more in the long run.
Best Mud Tire Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Nitto Trail Grappler M/T
This tire is geared towards both rugged off-road performance and on-road comfort. Its Z-groove tread provides lateral stability and excellent traction in mud, while stone ejectors help protect the tread, reject stones, and clear mud away. The 3D tapered groove tread provides biting edges for off-road adventures. It also has a reinforced shoulder groove and a deep center sipe to increase traction on wet surfaces.
The Nitto Trail Grapplers are very aggressive both visually and physically. They perform great on rocks, trails, sand, and mud, yet are fairly quiet and smooth on the road. The three-ply sidewall construction provides an extra layer of puncture resistance. In addition, the tires have great traction in the snow even when you're just in two-wheel drive.
One downside is the tires will get noisier as the tread wears down and can produce a high-pitched hum. It's also a struggle to get traction on ice, and these tires can become very flighty at speeds over 70 mph on the highway. They also slip a bit on wet surfaces and can be prone to hydroplaning.
Best Value: BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2
These tires have deep, self-cleaning independent tread blocks and linear transverse flex zones for combating off-road obstacles. They have aggressive sidewall lugs, cut- and chip-resistant sidewall compounds, and BFGoodrich's TriGard casing (three-ply polyester construction).
These are great mud tires that perform well in snow and mud. They look just as aggressive as they are. They're good, all-around tires that are capable of slinging mud and snow when you need it. They perform very well on rock and gravel and are difficult to puncture, even when airing down to 15 pounds for off-roading and moderate rock crawling.
The biggest problem with these tires is they can be very noisy on the pavement. There have been some complaints that the sidewalls are a little thin and maybe damaged on rocky trails. In addition, they tend to spin or skid on wet roads or packed snow, a problem common to these types of tires. While they're great for off-roading, they aren’t very comfortable for daily driving.
Honorable Mention: Cooper Discoverer STT Pro Mud Radial Tire
These tires feature an aggressive, high-void tread pattern made of a chip- and tear-resistant compound. The three-ply polyester casing makes them puncture-resistant, and deep tread depths with alternating cleats and scoops in the shoulder lugs make them self-cleaning. The tires feature anti-stone retention ribs, wide channels to prevent hydroplaning, and in-block siping for enhanced grip in slippery conditions.
These tires are good-looking, and they're great in the mud and deep snow. They can take on sharp rocks, sand, and mud without any cuts or chunking of the tread. They don't get caked up with ice or mud-like other tires sometimes do. In addition, these tires are fairly quiet and don’t produce too much road noise.
One of the problems with the Cooper Discoverer STTs is the tread can wear noticeably after a few thousand miles. If you don't rotate the tires on a regular basis they will begin to cup, and you'll get high-speed vibrations. Also, the tires can dig holes in deep snow and sand, which can bury your vehicle if you're too hard on the gas pedal.
- Even the best mud tires can change the way your vehicle drives and handles. For example, really large mud tires can affect the gear ratios, which can mess with distance readings.
- Mud tires can be really noisy on the pavement due to their construction and design. Keep this in mind as they will be much louder than your average road tire.
- If you want really large mud tires, you may need to increase the height of your vehicle. Tires with larger circumferences may not fit properly, so you could require a body lift.
- When you buy the best all-around mud tire, you may want to change your wheels too. Larger wheels are better for steering control, but the size of the sidewall may decrease. Smaller rims accommodate tires with larger sidewalls. This increases comfort but may adversely affect handling.
- Even the longest-lasting mud-terrain tires can't guarantee you won't get stuck. Consider investing in some recovery tools, such as a hitch, winch, recovery board, etc., in case you need assistance in particularly difficult terrain.
Q: What’s the difference between mud tires and all-terrain tires?
A: All-terrain tires can get you through many different types of surfaces, but they aren't the best pick for off-roading. However, they'll work fine if you end up on a dirt road after a heavy rainstorm. Mud tires are specifically designed for off-roading. The tread is large and knobby, enabling you to navigate through rocks, mud, and sand. The sidewalls are also thicker than all-terrain tires to protect against sharp, jagged edges.
Q: Can I use mud tires on the pavement?
A: You can use mud tires on pavement, but they tend to be very noisy and provide a bit of a rough ride. Their specialty is mud terrain, so traveling on a paved road is not particularly comfortable. For the best of both worlds, consider an all-terrain tire instead or, alternatively, a mud tire with all-terrain performance features.
Q: Are mud tires good in the snow?
A: Mud tires function rather well in deep snow, which requires aggressive traction. However, even the best off-road mud tire does not work great on ice. All-weather tires are a better pick for icy roads.
Q: Can I tow with mud tires?
A: First, check to see if the mud tires have a high-load range, which appears on the sidewalls. The higher the load range, the better the tire will perform in terms of grip and control when towing heavy loads.
Q: How long will mud tires last?
A: It depends on the brand and what type of off-roading you plan on doing (and how often you do it). The rougher the terrain, the more quickly the tires will wear. In general, a good-quality mud tire should last about 40,000 miles.
Our pick for the top mud tires is the Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires. They have excellent traction in mud and are aggressive performers on rocks, trails, sand, and mud. They're great for off-road exploration but also comfortable when driving on paved roads.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2.