In areas where snow is more than a few inches deep, snow tires may simply not cover the ground well enough. Winter brings a lot of snow to some states, and some drivers live in remote areas where snow plows cannot reach them. Tire chains are necessary in these areas.
It isn’t legal in every state to use snow chains or tire chains. Tire chains are allowed in certain states only under strict circumstances. Do some research before you buy a set of snow chains for your car to make sure they’re legal in your state and when they can be used.
It is important to consider several factors when choosing the snow chains you should purchase. When you have snow chains installed on your tires, check to see if they are going to have enough clearance, and how much you can afford. As you will be leaving the chains in your trunk until you are ready to put them on, you will need to have a relatively large trunk.
If you have a passenger car, you have to purchase snow chains that carry an SAE Class S rating. The rating means that these chains are meant to be used by front-wheel-drive cars with low ground clearances. The best snow chains for trucks may not be the same for small cars. Keep that in mind when looking for a set of chains.
Following all of that, here are our top eight picks for snow chains. The majority of the chains on this list will work on pickup trucks and SUVs, too.
Security Chain Company Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain
No matter what kind of vehicle you have, Security Chain Company’s Super Z6 tire chain will fit. They don’t take up much space in the wheel well, only 1/4 inch. The snow chains are also super easy to install, because you don’t have to remove the tire or move the car. Rubber tensioners keep these chains snug against the tires, which means you won’t have to constantly check if they’re on the tires.
Konig XG-12 Pro
It is no surprise that the Konig XG-12 Pro is one of the most expensive tire chains we have reviewed. However, with an extremely high price tag associated with them, these tire chains are somewhat of an engineering marvel. With Konig chains, you do not just enjoy the tension set, you also do not have to worry about the chain slipping off your tires. I noticed that the chains have a very special design on them when I looked at them. It’s for maximum traction in awful wintery conditions. Your wheels will be scratch-free with these chains, too, as they come with anti-scratch nylon bumpers.
Quality Chain Cobra
These Quality Chain Cobra chains are an excellent option for those interested in tire chains on a budget. Cable wheels have low-profile steel rollers so tires are in optimal contact with the road. The steel rollers are galvanized, as well, so they won’t rust in wintery conditions. You won’t have to move your car back and forth when you install the chains either, making them easy to place on your tires. One of the major downsides of these chains is that the rubber adjusters that you need to fit the chains over your tires are sold separately.
Thule CG-9 2-Piece Chain Set
Thorle, founded in Sweden, makes outdoor equipment that consumers who love adventure can take with them. So, it knows a thing or two about helping people cope with heavy snowfall. Thule’s CG-9 snow chains are some of the company’s more popular options, but they’re packing some innovative technology. The snow chains are made out of nickel alloy steel, have an anti-scratch solution for the rims, and feature a self-tensioning system with micro regulation for a precise fit. Thule also provides a kit that includes spare parts, mounting instructions, a kneeling mat, and gloves with the chains.
As opposed to some of Konig’s more expensive models, CB-12 chains are more affordable. With the lower price tag comes a manual tensioning system that requires you to adjust it yourself when attaching these chains to your tires. The screws won’t need to be tightened after you drive a while, though. These have a simple locking device to protect your wheels from scratching that isn’t as fancy as ones found on its more expensive products, but it does the same job. Like most tire chains, these are easy to install. These chains will not fit on every vehicle, so be sure to double-check Konig’s website to see if these will fit over your tires.
Peerless Auto-Trac Chain
Peerless Auto-Trac Snow Chains are the quintessential snow chain. They are equipped with self-tightening ratchets that automatically tighten the chains to their proper tension, reducing the need to continually check them and make sure they’re properly centered. A large-linked radial chain does not offer the traction on snow that a diamond pattern does. This method also provides a more comfortable ride. They’re made out of manganese alloy steel to be relatively light and highly durable. Unfortunately, if you plan on blasting through snow, these aren’t the chains for you. They carry a top speed rating of 30 mph