The Best Tire Chains for Snow (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Brandon Trenton

Updated on:

Best tire chains 2020
Security Chain Company SZ143 Chain
Konig XG-12 Pro Snow Chains
Sanku 2018 Upgraded Snow Tire Chains
SCC SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set of 2
THULE | KONIG XG-12 PRO 255 Snow chains, set of 2
Sanku 2018 Upgraded Snow Tire Chains,Fits for Most Car/SUV/Truck-Set of 8 (Yellow)
Security Chain Company SZ143 Chain
SCC SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set of 2
Konig XG-12 Pro Snow Chains
THULE | KONIG XG-12 PRO 255 Snow chains, set of 2
Sanku 2018 Upgraded Snow Tire Chains
Sanku 2018 Upgraded Snow Tire Chains,Fits for Most Car/SUV/Truck-Set of 8 (Yellow)

Investing in some good set of snow chains is very important if you are planning to visit or frequently drive in an area that experiences heavy rainfall and icy conditions. This tool, which may seem basic, is something that really helps increase the traction of your tire even in the poor road conditions, making your drive much safer during winters.

Just like any other product, there are many types of snow chains in the market but of course, not all are made alike. All are better suited to different conditions, while others are good for a certain type of vehicle, while some being very frank, are just better than others.

In order to help you drive safe, we have brought the best tire snow chains for you in the market. This product guide begins with a list of ten stellar products, followed by a buying guide and finally the FAQs that shall help you understand snow chains and choose the most appropriate one for yourself and then use them properly.

Best Tire Chains for Snow in 2020:

1. Security Chain Company SZ143 Cable Tire Chain

1. Security Chain Company SZ143 Cable Tire Chain
  • Country of origin : China
  • Designed for cars, pickups, and SUVs with very limited operating clearance around the drive tires
  • Fast easy installation with no need to move the vehicle
  • Designed-in rubber tightener means there is no need to stop and retighten after installation

2. Konig XG-12 Pro Snow Chains

2. Konig XG-12 Pro Snow Chains
  • 10-15, 255/75-15, 265/75-15, 31x 10.50-15, 245/75-16, 255/70-16, 245/70-17, 255/65-17, 255/60-17, 275/55-17, 235/65-18, 255/55-18, 285/50-18, 245/55-19, 255/50-19, 275/45-19, 275/40-20, 235/55-20, 255/45-20
  • The quick fitting snow chain for SUVs, providing superior driving comfort and top performaces.
  • 12 mm inside and on-the-tread clearance.
  • Anti-scratch nylon bumpers protect alloy wheels (optional application).
  • Certifications: Ö-Norm 5117, Ö-Norm 5119, UNI 11311, TÜV.

3. Sanku 2018 Upgraded Snow Tire Chains

4. TerraKing TerraGrips Tire Chains

4. TerraKing TerraGrips Tire Chains
  • NO MATTER THE WEATHER:  TerraGrips Tire Chains are built to successfully tackle anything Mother Nature throws your way. Extensively tested, these chains have proven capable of handling all terrains including snow, mud, mulch, gravel, grass, asphalt, and more. You can drive off the road with confidence knowing TerraGrips will do anything, anywhere. 

  • PROTECTS PROPERTY:  Unlike traditional steel tire chains, TerraGrips are made from multi-ply rubber slats. The rubber base provides superior grip without leaving permanent scratches or marks on asphalt and won’t destroy wet or frozen lawns.  

  • NEXT LEVEL TRACTION:  With TerraGrips Tire Chains, your machinery will be better equipped to plow, snow blow, mow, and till with ease. Our top of the line traction fights against slippage so won’t leave you stranded on a steep incline or stuck in a wet, muddy area. Rubber slats offer exceptional durability and prevent additional tire wear caused by steel chains. 

  • EASY INSTALLATION:  No tools are required to install on your tires. Rubber slats ensure secure fit. Plated steel components resist rust reducing your maintenance time. TerraGrips are available in numerous sizes to improve the traction of a variety of tires.

  • PATRIOTIC AND RESPONSIBLE: Superior Tech’s products are proudly manufactured in the USA. TerraGrips Tire Chains are constructed with environmentally friendly recycled rubber. All too often, damaged tires are dumped in landfills consuming valuable space, leading to the risk of fires, and potentially releasing harmful chemicals, such as methane gas, that will contaminate ground water and local land sources.

5. Security Chain Tire Traction Chain

5. Security Chain Tire Traction Chain
  • Worry-Free Self-Tightening Ratchets Provide Automatic Tightening And Centering
  • Easy Installation And Removal In Minutes
  • Do Not Exceed 30 Mph With These Chains On
  • Diamond Pattern Cross Chain Provides A Smoother Ride And Superior Traction
  • Note-Chains should be fitted to tire before actual use. Fitment can be affected by age of tire, tire manufacturer and/or tread type

6. Konig XB-16 247 Snow Chains

6. Konig XB-16 247 Snow Chains
  • 8.40- 15, 255/70- 15, 30x 9.50- 15, 235/70- 16, 255/65-16, 225/70-17, 235/65- 17, 255/55- 17, 205/75- 17.5, 235/60- 18, 235/50-19, 225/55-19, 275/40-19, 235/45-20, 255/40-20, 275/35-20
  • The manually tensioned snow chain: value for money and reliability.
  • 16 mm inside and on-the-tread clearance.
  • Certifications: Ö-Norm 5117, Ö-Norm 5119, UNI 11313, TÜV.

7. Security Chain ZT735 LT Light Truck & SUV Tire Traction Chain

7. Security Chain ZT735 LT Light
  • Fastest, Easiest Installation Of Any Traction Product
  • Built-In Rubber Tensioner Means There Is No Need To Stop And Retighten After Installation
  • Better All-Around Traction Performance Than Conventional Tire Chains Or Cables
  • Greater Durability Than Conventional Tire Chains Or Cables

8. Konig CB-12 100 Snow Chains

8. Konig CB-12 100 Snow Chains
  • 215/70-14, 195/80-15, 215/70-15, 225/65-15, 235/60-15, 225/55-16, 235/50-16, 245/45-16, 215/55-17, 225/50-17, 235/45-17, 225/45-18, 235/40-18, 235/35-19
  • The simple and sturdy manual tensioning chain.
  • 12 mm inside and on-the-tread clearance.
  • Certifications: Ö-Norm 5117, UNI 11313, TÜV.

9. Quality Chain Cobra Cable Snow Tire Chains

Quality Chain Cobra Cable Snow Tire Chains
  • Sold in Pairs (2 Chains/Covers 2 Tires)
  • Rubber Adjusters Sold Separately (Quality Chain Part# 0212) (Recommended)
  • SAE Class "S" Clearance
  • Not for Use on Trailers

Best Tire Chains for Snow Buying Guide & FAQ

With this, our list of the best tire chains in the market concludes. Given the wide range of products in terms of both features and designs, we have compiled a buying guide for you too look at and identify the key ones of those.

Tire Chains for Snow – Features to Consider

  • Self-Tightening Ratchets – These are little devices that help you in two ways – one, installation becomes as easy as ABC with them, as the chains become lighter due to the wheel’s motion. Moreover, this also keeps the pressure at an optimal level when the vehicle is in motion. This feature is quite important as a very slack chain just won’t provide the kind of traction needed and is in fact very likely to be damaged. Self-tightening rachets are featured in premium models, and while you must naturally be tempted to save some bucks on a cheaper model, but you will regret the decision when you are crouching in the snow trying to tighten the locks on that cheaper snow chain without those self-tightening rachets.
  • Tread – We’re talking about the contact point between the surface of snow/ice/road and chain. There are multiple methods varying between nails and cables to traditional chains. A traditional chain is the tried and tested one among these, that has a lot of surface area to provide that traction. So, look for models having these patterns cut out in the chains which will help provide a tad bit more of traction. Steel cables, though are a newer thing but perform well to create a lot of traction for safe driving conditions.
  • Clearance – primarily, this relates to the thickness of the chain – the thicker the chain, the higher its clearance. This will be discussed in more detail below, but at the very basic level, clearance is the gap between vehicle bodywork and tire. Its chain requires a clearance where the movement of tire won’t be impeded by it. 

Snow Chains & The Law

Just like many other items, the law for snow chains is also different for each state. You may click here to get a handy note of state-wise laws, and when in doubt simply contact your local police department or town hall.

Appropriate Time to Use Tire Chains

Snow chains are most useful during or after a snowstorm, but snow must already be present on the ground, being at least an inch thick. If its anything less than that, the road surface will be cut by the chains and also wear off much quicker. Chains work particularly well on compact, packed ice and snow surface. Besides this, they also work well on muddy surfaces.

Snow Chains and Speed

When driving on snow, a snow chain provides extra grip on the surface but doesn’t add enough to drive as compared to how you could in normal conditions. When using chains, you shouldn’t exceed 30mph, and should also avoid any acceleration or harsh braking, as both of these can damage the chain.

Snow Chain Maintenance

Being chains, snow chains are obviously quite hard. Having said that, they can keep going for many winters to come with just very basic maintenance as well. When done driving, always remove the snow chains and ash them well to remove any dirt and debris. For this, a pressure washer would be a great option. Hang them somewhere high and once they’ve dried, spray them with WD40 or a similar substance to provide some extra protection. That’s about it!

Best Snow Chains FAQ:

Q:  What do I do if the manufacturer of my car says not to use snow chains?

A:  If the manufacturer says so, they must have a good reason to say so which may be related to the clearance around the tire, though some other mechanical issues also make installation of snow tire chains a bad idea. The best thing to do in a case where the manufacturer has advised not to use snow chains is to contact them and inquire about the reason, and then act accordingly.

Q:  Can I use snow socks instead of snow chains?

A:  Snow socks can also be used, but their effectiveness compared to snow chains, especially on hard-packed snow is still debatable. However, for tires with low clearance, they are a good option. If the manufacturer has advised not to use snow chains, a good alternative can be good socks in that case.

Q:  How do I know what size my tires are?

A: have a look at your tire, its sidewall and just over the rim. There will be three numbers, the first one would be a three-digit number which is the tire width, the second one will be a double-digit number and that’s the tire height ratio that expresses the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the total width, while the third number is simply the diameter. These measurements are in inches generally, and with this, you know the tire size.  

Q:  What thicknesses of the chain can my car accommodate?

A:  With this, we come back to the tire clearance, mentioned earlier. The entire chain is outside the wheel, there must be enough clearance between the tire and vehicle body. The best way to inspect this is by keeping your hands on the wheel at the top of the tire and then running hand behind and over the tire. Now reach back and perform a sweeping motion.

If you are able to take your hand all the way around without hitting anything, then there’s enough clearance on your tire. Usually, regular passengers like salon cars have ample clearance available. Others like Minivan, SUV and truck style vehicles often have less clearance, so be a little more alert if you own one of these vehicles.

The least clearance is in the fancy sports cars, that is on a lowered suspension and you will only be able to device similar to a snow sock in them. But well, you don’t even need to drive up the rocks on your Ferrari, anyway!

Q:  How should I drive with chains on?

A:  The answer is simple – VERY CAREFULLY! Your car’s overall traction will get a boost with these but they just don’t allow you to just drive like there isn’t any snow out there, man. They are just an aid to driving and not any cheat on one of your video games.

The best practice is to not exceed 30mph when using tire chains, and any acceleration or harsh brakes must also be avoided. Moreover, the risk of controlling the vehicle, the chains may get damaged or even break!

Q:  How many snow chains do I need?

A: This usually depends on one’s personal preference. Many people just put a single chain on their traction wheels, i.e. the engine stays connected to the wheel which actually moves the car. So, when driving an SUV or a similar vehicle, the chains are required on all the four chains, while on a regular car can go around with just two as well.

Some people usually place chains on all their tires, nevertheless, even on some 4×4 vehicles. The overall traction can be added and in some instances, much better handling is also provided but is however not necessary very strictly.

Unless stated otherwise, all the snow chains mentioned on our list are sold in pairs.  

Q:  If my car has an anti-lock brake system, do I still need chains?

A: Yes, chains are still needed. Anti-lock brake systems are basically designed to just stop skidding in times of rapid deceleration, which is just a fancy way to state that in case of a sudden brake, the car would stop safely without a lot of skidding.

In reality, nothing much is actually done to help with the steering control or traction. In fact, antilock would be quite useless on an icy or snowy road without any snow chains, as the vehicle, just won’t have the required traction to stop itself.

What must be kept in mind is however that, sensors relying on the antilock brake systems can be affected by the snow chains, reducing their efficiency. So, as mentioned earlier, just drive in a sensible manner by keeping your speed down and you’re safe.  

Our Top Pick

We have a lot of remarkable products on our list, but keeping the price tag in mind, the top pick has to be the SZ143 from Security Chain Company. This one is just packed with so many remarkable features, all for a very reasonable price which is very frankly, quite hard to find. It is a light, small and easy to install a product which makes it perfect to simply dump in the trunk, garage or in the store until needed. Once it is on the vehicle, you get an excellent amount of traction paired with rubber self-tightening ring that helps you give the control as needed to drive safely during the worst road conditions as well.