If you live in a climate where there’s no snow and ice, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, we’re forced to drive on snowy and icy roads, which not only create traffic jams but also increase the risk of accidents. While snow tires are great for combating the snow, a set of tire chains does wonders for adding traction to otherwise slippery roads.
It can be difficult to find the perfect tire chains, so we reviewed dozens of tire chains to find the best, highest quality, and most durable tire chains based on their prices, Amazon ratings, and functionality. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated tire chains for you.
The Security Chain Company QG1850 Quik Grip Tire Chains were designed to work with a variety of cars, pick-up trucks, and SUVs. They’re extremely easy to install on your tires and fit those with very little clearance. With their superior ability to add traction, you’ll never feel safer as you drive down the snowy and icy roads.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Tire Chains for Snow and Ice
|Best Overall||Security Chain Company QG1850 Quik Grip Tire Chains||4.5|
|Runner Up||Security Chain Company SZ143 Cable Tire Chains||4.0|
|Best Budget Buy||Security Chain Company SC1032 Radial Tire Chains||3.8|
|Best Truck Tire Chains||Security Chain Company ZT735 Light Truck Chains||3.8|
|Best Snow Tire Chains||Konig CG-9 Snow Chains||3.9|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Security Chain Company QG1850 Quik Grip Tire Chains
When shopping for a set of tire chains, you want to make sure they’re durable. The Security Chain Company QG1850 Quik Grip Tire Chains definitely fit the bill. Their durable, carbon steel construction makes them extremely resistant to damage and corrosion, which is why they’re great for driving in rough off-road conditions in addition to on-road.
They provide great traction for all environments, and their design is quite discreet, blending in with your average tire. If you’re the type who doesn’t want to notice their tire chains, you’ll appreciate that. Reviewers appreciate their sturdiness, and despite being a tad difficult to put on at first, they’re highly reviewed.
Security Chain Company QG1850 Quik Grip Tire Chains Key Features:
- Twisted links
- Made with carbon steel
- Work both on- and off-road
- Very durable
Our Runner Up: Security Chain Company SZ143 Cable Tire Chains
The Security Chain Company SZ143 Cable Tire Chains are just what you need to stay safe all winter long. They’re designed to provide the necessary traction for your car, pick-up truck, or SUV. Whether you drive in snowy and icy conditions all-year-round or once in awhile, you won’t regret using these.
Effortless, no-tools-needed installation makes them very simple to use. When installing them, there’s no need to move the vehicle, which some competitors require. And if you need to readjust them, it’s just as easy as installation. There’s a rubber tightener designed into the tire chains, allowing you to tighten them whenever needed.
This type of tire chain is more compatible anti-lock brakes and other electronic control system built into your vehicle, including traction control and all-wheel drive. If you’re looking for a no-fuss set of tire chains, these are for you.
Security Chain Company SZ143 Cable Tire Chains Key Features:
- Fast and easy installation
- Compatible with electronically monitored control systems
- Built-in rubber tightener
- Works with cars, pick-ups, and SUVs
Best Budget Pick: Security Chain Company SC1032 Radial Tire Chains
If you’re not looking to break the bank on your tire chains, you’ll appreciate the affordability of the Security Chain Company SC1032 Radial Tire Chains. They’re substantially cheaper than other tire chains on the market while improving your vehicles ability to stop, start, and navigate corners.
Because they’re so light, these tire chains are simple to put on and take off. In fact, you don’t need to raise the vehicle or move it at all to complete either task. They’re so light because they’re constructed from stainless steel, but don’t let that fool you. They’re still extremely durable, as stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and damage.
Security Chain Company SC1032 Radial Tire Chains Key Features:
- Work with low operating space around tires
- Easy to put on and remove
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Improve stopping and starting
Best Truck Tire Chains: Security Chain Company ZT735 Light Truck Chains
For your truck, there’s no better tire chain than the Security Chain Company ZT735 Light Truck Chains. Like other products from the company, they’re very easy to install. You won’t need to move your vehicle or purchase a separate tool to tighten them, as they have a built-in tension system. Easily tighten them after installation and whenever they come loose.
When driving off-road, you need durability and quality assurance. These tire chains provide better traction performance than competitors thanks to their high quality construction and top-of-the-line materials. Your electronically monitored control systems will also benefit from these chains, as they work to improve the performance of systems like all-wheel drive and traction control.
If you’re worried about tire chains damage your car’s body or parts, don’t. Even if these chains are misused, they have a very low potential for any type of damage. And they fit vehicles with limited clearance too.
Security Chain Company ZT735 Light Truck Chains Key Features:
- Self-tightens thanks to built-in tensioner
- Won’t damage vehicle body
- Effortless installation
- Work well with systems like anti-lock and traction control
Best Snow Tire Chains: Konig CG-9 Snow Chains
For snowy conditions and mountain driving, the Konig CG-9 Snow Chains shine. They’re easy to put on, especially after a few tries, and just as simple to remove when needed. Thanks to the patented self-tensioning system, the chain never needs to be tightened, as it does it itself.
If you have low-profile tires, these chains won’t scratch your car’s parts, as they have a 9 mm clearance. If you have alloy wheels, these chains come with anti-scratch nylon bumpers to keep the chains for rubbing against the wheel, which you’ll want if you want to protect the alloy. These bumpers are plastic, but they’re durable and a lot of replacements are included.
Konig CG-9 Snow Chains Key Features:
- Anti-scratch nylon bumpers
- 9 mm clearance
- High quality material
Who Should Buy Tire Chains
Just about every driver would benefit from using a set of tire chains. Even the budget-friendly sets provide added traction to your vehicle, allowing you to come to quicker stops, pick-up speed faster, and turn more safely. They work with all vehicles, as they come in different sizes, and can be used with both steel and alloy rims.
Where tire chains really shine is when used in snowy and icy conditions. A durable set of snow tire chain can literally save lives, as they allow you to navigate icy terrain without skidding and sliding. If you know you’ll be driving in winter conditions, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor when you install a set of tire chains.
Important Features to Consider
Tire chains should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting tire chains:
- Size. The most important thing to consider is the size of the tire chains versus the size of your tire. Before making a purchase, check the measurements and ensure they’ll fit snugly. Another size-related issue is the amount of room between your tire and your vehicle’s body. You don’t want the chains to touch any part of your vehicle aside from the tires, so measure appropriately.
- Material. The majority of tire chains are made with stainless steel, but the more money you’re willing to spend, the more durable they get. If you spend the money, you can get a set of chains made out of carbon steel. If you know you’ll be using them often in harsh terrain, it’s worth the investment.
- Tension system. The majority of high quality tire chains, at least nowadays, has a built-in tension system that tightens the chains without any hassle. This is a huge plus, as you won’t have to use other equipment to tighten them yourself. This also makes installation much easier.
- Your rims. If you have alloy rims, you probably don’t want the chains to touch them, as they could scratch the alloy. Certain sets of chains come with anti-scratch bumpers.
- Where you’ll be driving. For off-road and icy driving conditions, you’ll want the best tire chains you can afford. If you’re only going to be driving on-road where there’s no snow or ice, you could get by with a cheaper set of chains.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are tire chains and how do they work?
Tire chains go around the wheels of your vehicle to provide added traction, which is beneficial for snowy and icy conditions. They allow your wheels to more easily grip the road so that the wheels can rotate and push you through the snow, as opposed to spinning without moving. Aside from that, tire chains also keep your vehicle from skidding.
When should you use chains on your tires?
You should definitely use tire chains if you drive in snowy conditions, and in some places, they’re mandatory during the winter. They reduce accidents, keeping you and other drivers safe. But they can also be used in normal driving conditions for sharper turning, harder stops, and quicker pick-up.
Do you need tire chains if you have 4-wheel drive?
All-wheel and 4-wheel drive cars are good at getting traction on the snow and ice. While you may have no problem with traction, 4-wheel drive doesn’t do much to help you stop in slippery conditions, which tire chains will help with. To be safe, it’s recommended to use tire chains when driving in snowy conditions, regardless of your vehicle. Also, some cities and states require the use of tire chains. Certain vehicles are exempt from this. Your state’s website will have more information on this.
Do you need snow tires if you have chains?
If you have snow tires (and 4-wheel drive), your vehicle will adequately get traction in most snowy conditions. However, in the most severe, icy weather, it’s recommended to use chains alongside your winter tires.
Other Snow and Ice Tire Chains We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other tire chains. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best tire chains list, they’re the best of the best and each is still a great option for you. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Snow Tire Chains
For emergency situations, you’ll want tire chains that are easy to install and can withstand cold temperatures. This is that set.
- Resistant to abrasions
- Low temperature resistance
- No jack needed to install
This set of tire chains is especially durable thanks to the zinc plated design, making it suitable for all conditions.
- 2 link spacing
- Zinc plated
- Very durable
This set of tire chains has 12 mm clearance, meaning the chain won’t damage your tire, your rims, or the mechanical parts of your car.
- 12 mm clearance
- Fits numerous tire sizes
- Easy to put on and take off
Those looking for heavy duty chains will appreciate the high quality construction of these 2-link chains.
- 2-link chains
- Durable steel
- Perfect for severe weather
Being extremely easy to put on, these tire chains are great for those who only use them on occasion.
- No need to roll the car to put on
- Easy to adjust
These easy-to-install tire chains are universal, fitting all models with a 165mm-265mm tire width.
- Low temperature resistant
- 100% pure Dichotomanthes material
- Zinc alloy fixed buckle
Made with durable carbon steel, this set of tire chains provides excellent traction and is resistant to damage.
- Made with carbon steel
- Class S
- Provides excellent friction
Made to work alongside electronically monitored control systems like anti-lock brakes, these tire chains provide maximum security.
- Included rubber tighteners
- Fast and easy to install
- Compatible with electronically monitored control systems
With the ability to fit almost all tires, these universal snow chains provide no fuss and are quick to install.
- Universal model
- Gum-rubber material
Truck Tire Chains
This set of tire truck chains is dual-threaded, providing excellent traction and durability seated for snow and mud.
- Resistant to low temperatures
- Wide and thick chains
- Dual threaded
The easy installation and self-tightening ratchets that automatically tighten the chains makes these tire chains very efficient.
- Diamond cross patterned chains
- Quick to remove
- Self-tightening ratchets
For those who can’t be bothered with complicated installations, these tire chains are perfect. They’re simple to install and just as durable.
- Quick and easy to install
- Anti-skid nails
- Works with many different sized tires
Meeting Class S requirements, these tire chains won’t damage your tires, rims, or the mechanical parts of your car.
- Durable than competitor link-style chains
- Meets Class S requirements
- Easy installation
These tire chains are made for heavy duty trucks, so you know they’re ready for all of the most serious weather conditions.
- Includes a cam tool to install
- Perfect for cold weather and heavy duty conditions
- Provides great traction
Another set of durable tire chains, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, these wide base link chains will get you where you need to go.
- Durable construction
- Wide base link chains
- Doesn’t include a tightener
ATV Tire Chains
This set of ATV tire chains is easy to install thanks to the 4-link spacing, and they’re made of durable manganese steel.
- Simple to install
- Made of manganese steel
- Can be turned around for double the life span
With universal fit, these tire chains fit a variety of tire sizes and can be used not only for ATVs, but also for cars.
- Fit different sized tires
- Won’t damage your rim or tires
- Work in snow or mud
The heavy duty traction bars and V-bar ladder style make these tire chains exceptionally durable, perfect for the roughest climates.
- Made with heavy duty traction bars
- V-bar ladder style
- Rubber adjusters required to tighten
With zinc-plated chains, this set of tire chains is very durable, withstanding all terrains and providing excellent traction.
- Zinc-plated chains
- 2-link chain spacing
- Provides excellent traction
If you’re going to be driving through black ice, these tire chains will keep you safe and secure with their high quality construction.
- Quick installation and deinstallation
- 4 sizes to fit most ATV tires
- Effective on even the worst ice