What Are The Best Tire Chains? – 2020 Edition

Tire Chains

Winter brings snow and low temperatures. But, that’s not all it brings. Every car driver knows how challenging a cold winter can be, and how many troubles it can cause. The snow and ice on the ground make driving harder and dangerous, both for the drivers and the passengers.

In addition to snow brushes and ice scrapers you should use to make your vision clear on the way, you should also make sure to improve the actual driving conditions. In times of snow and ice, your best and only solution for the tires are tire chains.

The selection of snow chains is variable, and there are many companies you can choose from. However, this abundance should never be used as an excuse to pick just any item. As is the case with anything else related to your safety, you should also be cautious about which tire chains to use in winter.

To assist you in this, we made a list of the 10 most popular tire chains in 2020.

Compare The Best Tire Chains

Our #1 Choice
Security Chain Company SZ115 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set...
Runner-up
Peerless 0232605 Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
Honorable Mention
Peerless 0155505 Auto-Trac Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
Security Chain Company SZ115 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set...
Peerless 0232605 Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
Peerless 0155505 Auto-Trac Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
$64.99
$99.95
$109.99
Our #1 Choice
Security Chain Company SZ115 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set...
Security Chain Company SZ115 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set...
$64.99
Runner-up
Peerless 0232605 Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
Peerless 0232605 Auto-Trac Light Truck/SUV Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
$99.95
Honorable Mention
Peerless 0155505 Auto-Trac Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
Peerless 0155505 Auto-Trac Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2
$109.99

2020 Snow Chain Review Guide

1. Security Chain Company Super Z6 Cable Tire Chains

Some snow chains are very difficult to install, but this is not an issue with this product. You don’t have to move your vehicle at all to install the SZ115 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain, and it is versatility in terms of vehicles that can use them makes this a very smart choice.

Pros

  • Simple to install
  • Can be used on cars, pickups, and SUVs
  • Excellent traction

Cons

  • Can pose difficulties when driving uphill
  • Is easily breakable

The biggest reason why this product is at the very top of our list is the installation process. This tire chain can be installed on almost any vehicle and it does not require for you to move it.

SZ115 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain improves the traction significantly, using alloy-steel traction coils that improve the duration and lifespan of the entire product. Moreover, the size of the chains is excellent, allowing you to use it when clearance is limited.

2. Peerless Auto-Trac Light Chains

An excellent product, it’s known for the variety of features and the Automatic Tightening and Centering System. This means that installation is extremely easy, and the chains adjust automatically as you are driving.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Improves the traction significantly
  • Has solid construction

Cons

  • You may encounter some issues with the size
  • The tensioners are weak

In addition to the excellent tightening and centering system that allows for an automatic setup of the chains while the car is in drive, this product is also popular for its snug fit. Once you position the chain on the tire, it cannot be displaced no matter how much you move them.

Moreover, the Peerless 0232605 Auto-Track tire chain can be used on SUV and light trucks, and is very durable because of the high-quality materials used in the manufacturing process.

3. Glacier Passenger Cable Chains

Avoid damaging your vehicle and use easy-to-fit tire chain with versatile options. The Glacier Passenger Cable Tire Chain is extremely easy to install, and can be used on both front and rear-drive vehicles.

Pros

  • More affordable than the remaining options
  • Good for longer drives
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Prone to scratches
  • You may encounter problems with retention

The fear that your tires will destroy the vehicle is now gone. The Glacier 1038 Passenger Cable Tire Chain is not only simple to install, but also has a low profile that prevents the chains from touching your vehicle.

This product is made of case hardened, low carbon steel. Its manufacturers even used this material on the side cables, to make them more durable and long-lasting.

4. Peerless Auto-Trac Tire Chains

The Peerless Auto-Trac Tire Chain also allows for automatic centering and tightening, and can be installed within minutes. In addition, the chains have a diamond-pattern-cross that improves the traction in cases of heavy snow.

Pros

  • Automatic tightening and centering
  • Easy installation
  • Improved traction
  • High versatility in terms of vehicles you can use it on

Cons

  • You cannot exceed 30 MPH when driving with these chains on

Auto-Trac is so simple to install, you don’t even have to jack up or move your vehicle. Its tightening system is patented and allows you to drive safely while the chain is automatically tightened.

All you have to do to install this product is to connect the inside cable and attach the selfighteners. This chain has class ‘’S’’ clearance which means that it can be used on passenger cars, SUVs and pickup trucks.

5. KONIG XG12 Pro Deluxe Snow Chain

KONIG XG12 Pro Deluxe Snow Chain is very popular among SUV drivers, mostly because of its self-adjusting and self-tensioning features. Not having to make adjustments manually is a great relief for drivers who drive in harsh winter conditions.

Pros

  • Highly durable construction
  • Self-adjusting and self-tensioning features

Cons

  • Comes at a high price
  • Could create noise

In addition to the adjustment and positioning feature, the KONIG chain provides an excellent traction that should keep you safe at all times. The product is combined with a special pattern that keeps your vehicle steady in a wide range of surfaces.

If you purchase this item, the manufacturer will give you a 5-year warranty which backs the quality and duration of the chains. However, you should be prepared to pay a higher cost for this product because of it.

6. Thule 12mm CB12 Snow Chains

Enjoy top quality and a higher driving comfort with the Thule 12mm CB12 snow chains for passenger cars. The assembly points are color-coded to make the installation process easier for you.

Pros

  • Improved fraction
  • High-quality steel construction
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Can only be used on passenger cars
  • Manual tensioning system

Purchasing these snow chains will provide your passenger car with a higher driving comfort and safer drive. The installation process is very simple, but the chains have a manual tensioning system. However, this is not hard to set. In fact, the chains’ assembly points are color-coded to make it possible for you to install them faster.

The chain has dual-sided links that are D-shaped, specifically created to improve the traction and increase the durability of the product.

7. Chain Cobra Cable Passenger Snow Traction Chains

Everyone appreciate high-quality at affordable price, and this is exactly what this manufacturer offers. The Chain Cobra Cable Passenger Snow Traction Chains are very affordable and their quality is rather decent, although not the best.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Compatible with a variety of cars
  • Low-profile design

Cons

  • Could be loud at times
  • Not very durable

Choosing this product is a very economical option, but there are also other benefits that come with it. The Chain Cobra Cable Passenger Tire Chains are light wear and can be easily stored in the trunk of your vehicle. Most importantly, they fit on almost every car.

8. TerraGrips Tire Chains

If you’re concerned about traveling in snow and ice or even gravel, these will ensure you get where you have to go no matter what life throws at you.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Rubber slats increase durability
  • Effective long-term solution

Cons

  • Rubber may not offer as much traction on snow and ice

Here are some easy to install tire chains manufactured in the USA. They offer improved traction performance and are functional in all conditions.

The chains offer rubber slats that run over the width of your tires. The bonus here is that these provide incredible durability, and they don’t wear down as quickly as chains. You still get the grip you need on your winter tires without having to worry about checking them every time you get into your vehicle.

Installation is simple and doesn’t require any tools. The plated steel materials resist rust and won’t wear down quickly.

Make sure you refer to the sizing information and chart when choosing which size to get for your car.

The manufacturer recommends that the chains get fitted to the tire before using them. They recommend having two inches of clearance around the tire. If your tires are too close to the fender or frame, the chains may get hung up, causing damage to your vehicle or tires.

When installing, make sure that each rubber slat gets properly worked into place for a snug fit.

During our research, we take the reviews and considerations of others into mind. We noticed that a lot of customers of this product have nothing but good things to say about it. They state that the installation was a breeze, and even after driving in many storms, they say that the chains haven’t worn down a bit.

In addition to driving in storms, there are some situations where a bit more traction is necessary to get up a hill. Many customers use these slats on their lawn tractors and utility equipment to help get up and down muddy hills.

9. Auto-Trac Security Chain Peerless

This option provides elements of security and safety into one. If you’re looking for a set of easy to install tire chains that keep you safe on snow and ice, then you’ll want to take a look at these.

Pros

  • Diamond crossed shape
  • Self-tightening system
  • Simple to install

Cons

  • Two hooks cause rubbing and scraping on the tires

The set comes with two chains, and once you’ve determined which size you need, you’ll be ready to place your order and put them to use.

First, you’ll have to install the interior cable that uses the tightening mechanism. Once you have that installed, you can attach the exterior cables that run across the width of your tires. The chains hug the tires perfectly so they don’t become loose and they never bang off the body of your car.

There is a diamond-crossed shape, and this pattern is essential for a smooth ride without having to experience too much of a difference from the chains.

One of the greatest features that impress us is the self-tightening mechanism on these. There is an automatic ratchet that will tighten the chains by itself once you have everything installed. This cannot possibly make the setup process any easier.

With these, you don’t have to worry about knowing if they’re tight enough because the system takes the guesswork out.

The main downside we see with these chains is the two-part process. Since you’re hooking one set of chains to another set of chains, you run the risk of having them rub or scrape up against your tires. When this happens, you may scratch or damage the tire. During our research, we discovered that the manufacturer says this will not happen as long as the chains fit correctly.

They come in a variety of sizes, so make sure you follow the sizing guidelines, so you don’t run the risk of damaging your tires.

After looking at what some other customers of these chains said, we want to express the importance of measuring and getting the right size. Many customers state that they had issues with these sliding off while driving. They also say that you need to make sure to hang them out to dry after a couple of uses because they will start to rust and corrode.

10. KONIG CB-12 090 Snow Chains

These chains do a great job of giving your vehicle a fresh and clean look. They have 12 millimeters clearance and on the tread clearance with two stops.

Pros

  • Manual tightening system is easy to use
  • Offers plenty of interior and exterior clearance
  • Includes shortening hooks to make up for measuring mistakes

Cons

  • Complicated sizing chart makes it hard to get it right

The most important thing you think about when you’re driving is getting from point A to point B. When we’re dealing with winter weather and ice, this can sometimes be difficult. You want to trust your winter tires to a company that understands your needs and cares about you and your family.

While you’re protecting yourself and your family, you also want to ensure that the chains function correctly and don’t make your car look too ugly on the road.

These snow tire chains ensure that you have no problem getting enough traction to reach your destination. In addition to the chains we’re highlighting here, they offer a variety of different sizes, so be sure to get the right size for your tires.

To secure these chains to your tires, you’ll have to use the manual ratcheting system, which isn’t as easy and convenient as the automatic one, but it’s still simple to ensure you have the right amount of tension. They provide you with red shortening hooks in the event that the chains are too large for your tires. These offer a bit of “wiggle room” when it comes to measurements.

FAQ

What is a Tire Chain?

The other name for a tire chain is a snow chain. This is a very handy, sometimes even life-saving tool you can use in the winter. You can install the chains around your tires to improve the vehicle traction in times when the tire loses its grip on the surface.

Most products of this type are sold in pairs, but you still have to select the one that fits your tires.

What Types of Tire Chains Are There?

There are many types of tire chains. The choices you have are the following:

Entry level tire chains

Suitable for areas with occasional snow.

Standard level tire chains

Suitable for areas with regular ice and snow.

Premium level tire chains

Perfect for areas where it is snowing almost daily.

Alternative traction tire chains

Recommended for vehicles with low profile, and in situations where you need to pass through an area with snow.

What Should You Consider When Buying Tire Chains?

As is the case with any other item for the safety of your vehicle, you need to ensure that your tire chains are fitting to your needs, budget, and size of tires. Here is what you need to think about when choosing the snow chains for your car:

Size

For a tire chain to be installed on your vehicle, it has to have an appropriate size. Choosing chains that are too big won’t provide you with improved traction, and may damage your car. On the other hand, chains that are too small won’t fit on the tires.

Pricing

How much are you prepared to pay for the snow chains? This item may be essential for your safety at some point, so try not to be tempted to choose a product just because it is the cheapest you could find.

Installation

In most cases, you will have to install the chains in a hurry due to extreme temperatures and road conditions. Finding an easy-to-install tire chain is very important, so aim to seek automated chains or comprehensive instructions attached to the product.

Durability

A perfect tire chain is one that is made of quality materials, and is highly durable. If you invest a solid amount in a high-quality product, you should be able to use it for years to come, even if you use it frequently.

Traction

The biggest reason why you’d be placing tire chains on your car is the traction. If a product cannot improve the traction and keep you safe, it is no good for purchase.

Can You Use Something Else as a Substitute for a Tire Chain?

No, there isn’t a substitute for snow chains at this point. In harsh winters when there is ice and snow on the road, you must have snow chains to keep yourself and the passengers safe. In most countries, there is a law that obliges you to have chains stored in your vehicle.

This being said, you should definitely not skip buying tire chains for your car.

How do you Install the Tire Chains on your Vehicle?

The installation process will depend on the type of chains you purchase, and the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some chains are set manually, while others just need to be installed and have a self-automated feature for adjusting while you are driving.

There is a general list of steps you can follow to set the tire chains, but make sure to read the instructions before you start the process.

Step 1

Place the chains on the ground. Lay the cross-link or traction part in a way that it faces the ground. Untwist and untangle the chains.

Step 2

Use the fastener to place the chain over the tire. The traction part should be facing up and away from the tire. The fastener hooks and side chains never come under the tire. In this location, place the excess crosslinks that are loose.

Step 3

Hook the inside fastener and the outside fastener. Pull as tight as you can.

Check this video to learn how to install your winter tire chains on the vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Looking to find the best tire chains is exhausting and at times challenging. However, your safety should always be your priority and you mustn’t take this choice lightly. Do not rush in making this important decision.

Consider all the points we made above and select the most fitting item from the list. Make sure to find chains that fit the size of your tires, are safe for your vehicle and your ride, and provide you with the much-needed traction in times of snow and ice on the road.

Enjoy a safe drive in the harsh winter, and try to look beyond the cost. There are many affordable chains that are durable and of high-quality at the same time. Purchasing an item just because it is cheap can cause you many unnecessary expenses afterward.

Brett Gordon
 

The engine behind writing at DigMyRide.com and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends most of his time contributing to the online world of cars, automotive tech & trends.