Best All-Terrain Tires: Own Any Type of Terrain, Any Time of Year
Improve your vehicle’s performance in a variety of on-road and off-road conditions with our top all-terrain tire picks.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON April 12, 2021
Having a high-quality set of all-terrain tires is key if you like to take your vehicle off the beaten path. They’re also essential if you live in a climate that gets large amounts of snow, rain, and ice or live in a rural area with lots of dirt roads and not much blacktop. All-terrain tires can make all the difference between rolling effortlessly over rugged ground or having to call your buddy to come to tow you out of the mud.
There is no shortage of diverse choices of all-terrain tires available on the market today. If you’re considering investing in a new set of tires, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive buying guide and in-depth product reviews. We’ll help you weed through the options to choose the set of tires that’s best for you and will keep moving in all kinds of conditions.
An aggressive and beefy all-terrain radial tire that provides comprehensive control while off-roading.
- Superior traction in snow, rain, and mud
- CoreGard technology gives added durability and stiffness to sidewalls
- Optimally blended and specially formulated tread rubber reduces chips and tearing, as well as stone retention
- Not fuel-efficient
- Highway performance is significantly poorer than off-road
- As tires wear, wet traction decreases, and high-speed vibrations increase
A rugged-looking all-terrain tire that offers great grip and acceleration during on- and off-road adventures.
- Great traction in wintry and wet conditions
- Protected from accidental curb damage
- Ideal for hauling heavy loads, such as RVs and trailers
- Poor traction on wet grass, deep mud, ice, and deep snow
- Poor lateral stability
- Road noise and vibrations
The most extreme all-season all-terrain tire that Cooper offers. It boasts excellent off-road traction without sacrificing on-road performance.
- Its aggressive tread pattern delivers sure footing over serious boulders and uneven, rugged trails
- You get maximum traction thanks to deep “Climber Cleats” and “Flex Grooves” built into the sides of the tires that are specifically designed for a tight grip and efficient mud throwing
- Tire gradually develops poorer traction on wet roads
- Increased road noise is also noted as edges of tires begin to wear
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of All-Terrain Tires
- Enjoy off-road adventures. All-terrain tires are for drivers who rarely stay on the highways. Most are designed with reinforced walls and a rubber compound that’s resistant to scrapes, cuts, and punctures. They provide the best off-road traction possible while reducing road vibrations to improve your ride quality.
- Unparalleled traction. All-terrain tires have a large tread and a greater surface area than most tires. For that reason, they maintain an excellent biting edge on the road and barely lose traction even when transitioning from smooth to rough surfaces. They are good for maintaining a comfortable grip on mud, snowy, rocky, and wet surfaces.
- Save money. Since all-terrain tires are designed for on- and off-road conditions, you can use them all year round without having to purchase another set of tires. They offer almost the same performance level as all-season tires and are less expensive than winter tires and exclusively off-road tires.
- Versatility. All-terrain tires can be used by a wide variety of vehicles including SUVs, pickups, and four-wheel-drive vehicles. They can also be used to haul heavy loads in recreational vehicles and travel trailers. Generally, they are suitable for large vehicles and are just as good on the highway as they are on rugged terrain.
BFGoodrich is a U.S.-based, apex tire manufacturer that was started over 140 years ago by Benjamin Goodrich. It was acquired by Michelin in 1988 but continues to grace the automotive industry with some of the best radial tires. It holds the patent for run-flat tires, a useful tire in emergencies, and also makes performance tires suitable for the motorsport world. One of its best-rated all-terrain tires is the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2.
Hankook is a South Korean rubber manufacturer that was founded in 1941 by Cho Hong Jai. The company makes tires featuring the latest rubber technology for a wide range of automotive products, including passenger cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, and buses. The company also designs and sells brake pads, alloy wheels, and batteries. It's one of the best-rated tire brands with popular products such as the Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10.
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was originally founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1900 by Harvey Firestone. The company was a key pioneer in the mass production of tires for automobiles and has been a leading innovator in the tire industry ever since. The company was bought by the Japanese corporation Bridgestone in 1988. They make several popular models of all-terrain tires, including the Firestone Destination A/T and the Bridgestone Dueler A/T.
Goodyear is one of the leading tire and rubber manufacturing companies based in Akron, Ohio. Frank Seinberg founded the company in 1898, and it currently runs other subsidiary tire companies such as Dunlop, Fulda, Bluestreak, Sava, and Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, among others. The company centers its core activities around learning what the consumer needs and producing tires that fit all their demands. It also produces some of the best all-terrain tires such as the Goodyear Wrangler Radial Tire.
All-Terrain Tire Pricing
- Under $200: Most all-terrain tires excel in dry and wet conditions despite their prices. However, the only difference comes with the comfort level and tire quality; the cheaper options often make a lot of vibrations on the road, and the tread life is limited. The tires higher in this price range have minimized or tolerable road-noise, great response, and they handle well in sand, dirt, and snow.
- $200 and up: You will mostly find premium all-terrain tires within this range that sport a long tread life, a highly damage-resistant tread, tough sidewall construction, and long tread life. They often come with all the additional features that improve off-road performance such as rim protectors, stone ejectors, and water evacuation properties. However, most of the high-end tires may feel a bit rough on a standard highway.
All-terrain tires typically have a large footprint with a rugged-looking tread pattern. There’s more space between the raised parts, and the grooves are deeper than most summer or performance tires. The design is intended to increase the tire’s surface area for maximum contact with the ground.
Internal Tire Construction
The strength of an all-terrain tire, with regards to resistance to cuts and punctures, depends on how tough the internal structure is. Most all-terrain tires are reinforced with internal steel bands wrapped in nylon to increase their rigidity and off-road performance. The same construction also makes the tires more durable and heavier than other tire types.
When buying all-terrain tires you should go up a size or two from your factory tires. That will boost your vehicle’s performance in deep mud and other loose surfaces. Look into the size range available for your vehicle’s make and model.
- Stone Ejectors. This feature helps the tires prevent stones from penetrating the treads and damaging the rubber. It keeps the treads clear as clogged treads lead to reduced traction. It also prevents stone drilling damage.
- Noise Level. Most all-terrain tires are noisy on the road due to the rugged or aggressive tread pattern. However, some tires are designed to reduce the noise level by minimizing vibrations that are often transmitted to your steering wheel and make for an uncomfortable ride.
- Water Evacuation. This property increases the tire's self-cleaning capabilities when moving through wet terrain and muddy surfaces. The tires typically drive water out of the treads and keep the tires clean for optimal wet traction.
- Tread Life. All-terrain tires have a shorter tread life than most tires. Most are only good for about 40,000 miles, but some can push beyond 60,000 miles due to the construction quality. Tires that come with treadwear warranties are guaranteed to produce a longer tread life.
Best All-Terrain Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Rotate and align your all-terrain tires after every 5,000 miles to promote even tread wear. Physically inspect your tires for shallow treads, and take note of moments when the driving seems rougher and noisier than usual. It could be an indication of uneven tread wear.
- When going off-roading, ensure that you are 100 percent aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the terrain to avoid unexpected obstacles and other hazards. Also, know when to air down your tires for better grip and when maximum pressure is necessary.
- Clean out sand, mud, and other forms of debris from your tires after every off-roading adventure to prevent degradation of the rubber compound. A simple hose-down should do the trick as all-terrain tires have larger treads that are easy to clean.
- In aired-down situations, ensure that you maintain the correct tire pressure for the driving conditions. Avoid getting the tires too soft and loose so that they risk slipping off the rims or deforming the rim structure.
Q: What’s the difference between all-season and all-terrain tires?
All-season tires are for everyday, paved road driving in any kind of weather. Around town or on long commutes or road trips, these are your tires. On the other hand, all-terrain tires are beefier, more aggressive tires with deeper treads and tougher construction. They’re made for taking your vehicle from the street to the trail. They can easily handle mud, boulders, sand, and snow. They’re less fuel-efficient than all-season tires, and they’re usually a little less comfortable when riding on smooth roads and highways.
Q: Are all-terrain tires good for all weather conditions?
All-terrain tires typically perform well in rainy weather and sunny weather. They can easily maneuver through mud, rain, sand, smooth roads, and mild winters. However, only all-terrain tires that possess the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol are good in winter, and all-season tires are better than all-terrain tires when it comes to wet-weather traction.
Q: What’s the recommended tire pressure for all-terrain tires?
It depends on where you’ll be off-roading. For highway driving, about 30 to 38 PSI is recommended. For rough gravel driving, drop the pressure to 26 PSI. Deep mud driving requires about 22 PSI, while regular mud driving needs about 28 PSI. When driving through sandy terrain, keep the pressure at 16 PSI and about 22 to 28 PSI for rocky terrain.
Q: How long do all-terrain tires last?
A: It depends on the weight of your vehicle and the driving conditions. A heavier vehicle will lead to faster tread wear and so will constant off-roading. Despite that, most all-terrain tires last between 20,000 to 40,000 miles, depending on the tire's construction quality. You should replace the tires when the treads start to appear shallow or when there’s sidewall damage.
Our top pick for the best all-terrain tires are the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Radial Tires. They handle well in almost all road conditions, and they have a tough tire construction that promotes longer tread life.
Our value pick for affordable tires with decent off-roading performance are the Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10 All-Terrain Radial Tire. They have an aggressive profile and a wide footprint that maintains maximum traction in off-road conditions.