“This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”
Light trucks are by far the most popular vehicle type in the USA. They are tough and versatile and are literally the backbone of the US economy. Naturally, people love them for their go-everywhere qualities, immense hauling and towing capabilities, and in recent times, the excellent comfort and luxury amenities they provide.
For most people, a light truck is the only vehicle they will ever possess. This means that people cover a lot of miles with their trucks, which puts a lot of strain on some parts. We are specifically talking about tires here, which you need to replace regularly in order to keep your truck performing at the highest level.
The thing is, tires for light trucks can be expensive, especially in larger dimensions and higher load ratings. And, for sure, not every tire performs are the highest level – some are better than others. The light-truck tires should provide you with excellent performance on every surface you encounter.
Moreover, they should also be tough, especially if you often haul or tow with your truck. Drivers today also expect excellent durability of the tires – nobody wants to replace them after 2-3 years. Also, high levels of comfort and quietness are always a nice bonus, especially because most owners use their trucks as everyday-driving vehicles.
Now, there is a slight issue with all these qualities – there is no single tire on the market that possesses each one of them. There will always be a compromise. For example, a tire might be great for highway driving but not very good for off-road activities. You can’t have the best of all worlds with tires, sorry.
Fortunately, we are here to help you find the best tires for your light truck. In our list of the best light-truck tires, we will include different types of tires to satisfy the needs of different drivers. That way, every owner can find the perfect tire for his/her needs.
If you don’t understand tires very much, fret not – we also prepared a detailed buying guide on light-truck tires. In that guide, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of tires, so you can find a type that will suit you best. Be sure to check it out – it’s after our Top 10 list of the best light truck tires.
Without further ado, though, let’s have a look at our carefully selected list of the best tires for light trucks on the market today.
The 10 Best Light Truck Tires Available in 2024
Best Highway Tire for Light Trucks
Just a few years ago, when site visitors asked us what the best tire for his/her truck was, we always said the Michelin Defender LTX M/S. Not anymore, though. Ever since Continental launched the TerrainContact H/T, this has been our favorite truck tire.
Without exaggeration, this is the most balanced highway all-season tire right now, with exceptional performance in most categories and almost no real disadvantages. Sure, it is expensive, but you get what you pay for here, whether we are talking about performance, comfort, or durability.
Let’s start with traction and safety because the TerrainContact H/T excels there, regardless of the weather outside. This is especially evident in the rain, where Continental’s latest highway all-season tire wipes the floor with the competition.
And we are not saying those words lightly – the TerrainContact H/T needs stops a few feet shorter than its closest premium competitor when it rains while also providing the highest lateral grip. With a set of TerrainContact H/T tires on your truck, you can rest assured that you will be safe in rainy conditions.
Continental’s tire isn’t impressive just by the numbers – it also feels balanced and surefooted in the rain. Unlike most highway all-season tires, the TerrainContact H/T loses traction progressively through all four wheels, giving you precious time to react. On top of everything else, the hydroplaning resistance is exceptional – just like you’d expect from a German-engineered tire.
The TerrainContact H/T continues to impress on dry roads, where again, it performs better than most competitors. Although steering response isn’t particularly interesting to truck owners, it’s still positive that this tire reacts quickly to the driver’s input. Moreover, it feels very stable in a straight line, thanks to the excellent straight-line tracking.
Grip and traction levels are also immense on dry roads. The TerrainContact H/T stops and accelerates excellently and feels grippy in the corners, even if you drive aggressively. Like on wet tarmac, it feels stable and surefooted when you push it over the limit, even on heavy trucks.
A big bonus is that the TerrainContact H/T also works well when you tow a large trailer or haul heavy cargo. We didn’t have any stability issues when towing a mid-size car with our truck – in fact, this tire felt grippier and generally safer than any other we had before.
The TerrainContact H/T is also one of the few highway all-season tires that you can genuinely use in the winter, thanks to its excellent overall traction and stable demeanor. Namely, the longitudinal traction on snow is among the best in the category, meaning you will never get stuck on light snow, and the stopping distances will be very short.
However, it’s the way that this tire performs in the corners that really impressed us. The lateral grip is again excellent for the category, but more importantly, the TerrainContact H/T is easy to steer and correct when it eventually loses traction. We even had some fun on some snowy trails with this tire!
It is important to note that this tire won’t replace a set of proper winter tires for trucks. Like most all-season tires, the TerrainContact H/T will struggle in deep snow and over ice. So, for truck owners living in very harsh wintry conditions, a set of winter tires, studdable or non-studdable, is still the best choice.
With that said, no winter tire can come close to the refinement of the TerrainContact H/T. In fact, this is one of the most comfortable and quiet highway all-season tires right now, with a smooth ride over any type of road and just a little bit of noise at higher speeds. Your truck will be an even better long-distance cruiser if you opt for these tires – no question about that!
Continental provides a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on P-metric (regular) sizes and a 60,000-mile warranty on LT-metric sizes. Both are excellent for the category and comparable to other premium highway all-season tires, like the Defender LTX M/S.
Lastly, remember that we said that the TerrainContact H/T is “almost” perfect? Well, the only gripe we have is that it isn’t as good for off-roading, but that is to be expected for a highway tire. Not a big gripe, we know, but important to note for drivers that will potentially take their truck off the beaten path.
- Class-leading braking in rainy conditions
- Surefooted handling with predictable behavior at the limit on wet tarmac
- Exceptional hydroplaning resistance and stability in standing water
- Balanced handling and strong braking in dry conditions
- Very smooth ride over good and bad roads
- Imperceptible little tread noise on the highway
- Outstanding treadlife and long treadwear warranty
- One of the most expensive highway all-season tires
- Not really suitable for off-roading (except on dirt and gravel)
Another Excellent Highway Tire for Light Trucks
The Defender LTX M/S is the most popular premium truck tire on the market right now. Truckers swear by its exceptional durability and toughness, excellent overall performance, and luxurious comfort levels.
And while the TerrainContact H/T surpassed it in some areas, the Defender LTX M/S remains one of the best highway all-season tires on the market, especially for drivers that use their trucks for heavy-duty applications.
The main reason for that is the rugged construction of the Defender LTX M/S. Michelin’s tire can easily carry high loads if you opt for the LT-metric sizes. It will remain stable at higher speeds when towing large trailers and give you excellent traction when carrying heavy things in the bed.
Meanwhile, the tread is resistant to cuts, chips, and punctures, meaning you can also carry those heavy items on gravel and dirt roads without worrying about damaging the tire. Sure, the Defender LTX M/S won’t give you much traction on steep off-road inclines, but it should be good enough for most people.
But Michelin certainly won’t be happy with a highway tire that is just good enough on paved roads. The Defender LTX M/S successfully completes its daily-driving duties, providing the driver with ample traction, good braking, and generally a very safe ride.
On dry roads, Michelin’s truck tire performs similarly to its biggest rival, the TerrainContact H/T. It has similar lateral grip and braking traction, making it one of the safest highway all-season tires currently on sale. We also liked the steering very much – it is not quick, but still responsive enough and very precise. In addition, straight-line tracking is class-leading, which translates into easy long-distance rides for the driver.
With that said, Continental’s newer highway all-season tire surpassed its Michelin rival in the rain. The Defender LTX M/S is still a good wet tire in isolation, better than most of its rivals, in fact. However, there is no question that the TerrainContact H/T stops and accelerates better and can achieve higher speeds in the corners.
That is not to say the Defender LTX M/S won’t be safe for daily driving. The handling balance in the rain is still fairly neutral, and on the road, we found that there is more than enough traction, even for more spirited drivers. Moreover, the hydroplaning resistance is exceptional, meaning your truck will always have contact with the road during very heavy rain.
The same disparity between the Defender LTX M/S and its closest rival is apparent in the winter as well. Again, in isolation, Michelin’s tire is excellent on light snow, providing the driver with predictable handling, solid longitudinal traction (braking and acceleration), and reasonably high lateral grip. It is an easy tire to drive on snow and one that will even give you some traction on the ice parts. Still, the TerrainContact H/T takes the cake here with shorter braking distances, quicker acceleration, and higher lateral grip.
As far as traction and grip go, the Defender LTX M/S remains one of the best highway all-season tires right now. Owners are also very satisfied with how it performs in various weather conditions, so there is a high probability you will also be satisfied. However, we thought it would be important to mention that Michelin’s biggest rival currently sells a slightly better-performing highway all-season tire, which is why we compared the Defender LTX M/S to the TerrainContact H/T.
Michelin’s highway all-season tire doesn’t lag behind any rival when it comes to comfort. It rides very well over bumps and remains composed on broken roads without the reverberations usual for this category of a tire. Moreover, the tread noise is minimal – we couldn’t hear the tires on smooth roads, and they were only slightly audible on rough tarmac.
However, the biggest draw for potential customers is the treadlife of the Defender LTX M/S. Michelin provides an excellent 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on T-speed and H-speed rated tires, and 50,000 miles on R-speed rated tires, both par for the course in the category. Still, it’s the real-world treadlife that is impressive, with thousands of satisfied owners claiming that this is the most durable tire they have.
- Best-in-class durability and treadlife
- LT-metric models are very tough and great for towing or driving over gravel/dirt
- Excellent treadwear warranty
- A strong performer in dry conditions with predictable handling and high grip
- Solid wet traction and good drivability in the rain
- Outstandingly quiet and comfortable on any road surface
- It’s not the best wet/snow highway tire anymore
- The most expensive highway all-season tire
Best Budget Highway Tire for Light Trucks
Looking for a highway all-season tire that will give you similar performance to the premium tires but at a lower price? Look no further than the Firestone Destination LE3, a budget-oriented truck tire that successfully competes with some more expensive highway all-season tires.
The fact that the Destination LE3 is an excellent tire didn’t surprise us – Firestone uses Bridgestone technology that the Japanese brand incorporates in its more expensive tires. Besides, apart from the hiccup with the Ford Explorer fiasco, Firestone has always produced capable and well-performing tires.
With that said, this tire will provide you with a safe and comfortable ride throughout the year. On dry roads, it has enough grip to compete with the more expensive premium tires in the category. Notably, the stopping distances are very short, you will have no issues with slipping during hard acceleration, and you can achieve illegal speeds in the corners.
But the Destination LE3 isn’t only good by the numbers – it also feels subjectively good from the driver’s standpoint. The steering is very lively and precise, surprisingly so given the nature of the tire. In addition, the handling balance is neutral, and the tire behaves in a predictable manner without the sudden loss of traction of some cheaper highway all-season tires.
It’s a similar story when it rains. The Destination LE3 feels very planted in the corners, with a gradual loss of traction at the limit. It also provides the driver with excellent traction, close to that offered by its more expensive counterparts, so expect excellent acceleration and braking performance. The lateral grip on wet roads is also pretty good for a budget-oriented highway all-season tire.
Furthermore, thanks to the four circumferential grooves and multiple lateral grooves, the Destination LE3 has excellent hydroplaning resistance. As a result, you won’t have any stability issues in very heavy rain, even when you drive through puddles of water.
But the thing that impressed us the most was that Firestone’s highway all-season tire is that it also works well on light snow. This is a category where cheaper highway all-season tires usually struggle, particularly those that perform well on dry and wet roads.
Notably, the Destination LE3 has solid longitudinal traction on light snow, which translates into good braking and acceleration. The traction isn’t as good as on the Continental TerrainContact H/T, for example, but still enough to give you a safe ride on light snow. Firestone’s highway all-season tires also corner well on light snow. The lateral grip is almost as good as that of its more expensive rivals, but more importantly, the tire feels easy to control at the limit.
The Firestone Destination LE3 is also a reasonably comfortable tire. It rides well on most roads and remains quiet at highway speeds. Still, we found that the ride can feel a bit harsh on broken roads with many repetitive impacts, where the tire loses its composure.
With that said Firestone provides a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty with the tire, which is similar to the Destination LE3’s more expensive rivals. Owners of this tire are also very satisfied with the real-world treadlife, so you shouldn’t have any issues with premature wear.
Overall, Firestone’s highway all-season tire looks like a real competitor to its more expensive rivals in all categories and a tire with almost no real downsides. Thus, I wholeheartedly recommend it to those on a more limited budget.
However, there is an elephant in the room here – you can’t find it in LT-metric sizes. This won’t be an issue for most SUV and truck owners, as some available sizes still come in XL (extra load) ratings. Still, if you plan to tow a large trailer with your truck or carry heavy items in the bed often, you will definitely need an LT-metric tire. Also, an LT-metric tire is better for driving on dirt and gravel, thanks to the tougher casing.
- Short stopping distances on dry roads
- Balanced handling in dry and wet conditions
- Good longitudinal traction and lateral grip in rainy conditions
- Outstanding treadwear warranty for the price
- Long real-world treadlife (according to owners)
- Acceptable performance on light snow
- No LT-metric sizes are available
- Loses its ride composure over repetitive impacts
- Not sturdy enough for off-road driving
Best Touring Tire for Light Trucks
Continental has been killing it lately with pretty much all of its tires. From its regular touring all-season tires to its performance summer tires, the German tiremaker has a winner in every category. And its touring tire for crossovers and SUVs epitomizes Continental’s dominance by beating its rivals in outright traction in almost every category.
The CrossContact LX25 is a very balanced tire that will be a safe companion on every ride. On dry roads, it has excellent lateral grip and longitudinal traction (acceleration and braking), both among the best in the category.
Moreover, the handling balance is pretty neutral, and we were surprised by the responsive and precise steering. Meanwhile, it allows for good straight-line tracking, which makes long road trips a breeze for the driver. The highway stability is also excellent, though you’d want to look at a highway all-season tire if you tow it with your truck.
But like with most other Continental tires, the CrossContact LX25 really shines in wet conditions. The German tiremaker seems to have found the perfect formula for a stable and grippy tire in the rain. Notably, this tire provides some of the shortest stopping distances in the category when it rains and has ample acceleration traction when you exit a corner.
In addition, the lateral grip is excellent, the CrossContact LX25 beats its competition in lateral grip, but more important than that, it is very easy to drive and behaves naturally at the limit. We also didn’t have any issues with hydroplaning – the CrossContact LX25 just cuts through puddles of water and remains in contact with the road.
But what about snow? Well, despite the fact that the CrossContact LX25 lacks the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol, it still provides the best driving experience on light snow in its category. It is easy to drive, predictable, and safe on snow-covered roads, and it even works well on ice – for all-season tires, that is.
Furthermore, it has a very good grip in the corners, accompanied by solid braking and good acceleration. Its numbers might not beat the competition, like the Michelin CrossClimate 2, but the overall performance of the CrossContact LX25 blends very well together. It is really a usable touring all-season tire in the winter.
Continental’s touring all-season tire for SUVs also impresses with its comfort performance. The ride is plush and cushioned and isolates most of the road surface, especially smaller imperfections. It has some issues with repetitive impacts on a broken tarmac, where it loses its composure and can be loud when you go over potholes. Still, we are nitpicking here and doubt most drivers will notice anything bad regarding the ride quality.
There is also almost no noise on smooth roads – the CrossContact LX25 is super quiet. You can hear some tread growl on a rough tarmac, but less than you would on any of its competitors. Thus, this is one of the best tires for long journeys.
Finally, Continental provides a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on H-speed, and T-speed rated models and 65,000 miles on V-speed rated models, both excellent for the category. Still, that is not the best you can get from a crossover/SUV touring all-season tire; if you want a longer treadwear warranty, jump onto the other tire.
- Easy to drive in the rain with excellent traction and grip
- Balanced handling in dry conditions with a strong lateral grip
- Quick and linear steering
- Good to drive on light snow with good lateral grip and braking/acceleration
- Soft and smooth ride over any type of road
- Remains quiet at highway speeds
- Long treadlife and good treadwear warranty
- Noisy when it hits large potholes
Another Excellent Touring Tire for Light Trucks
Bridgestone’s Dueler H/L Alenza Plus was one of the most popular touring all-season tires for crossovers and SUVs. However, that tire was getting old and started trailing its competitors in some key areas, so the Japanese tiremaker launched an all-new product – the Alenza AS Ultra.
The brand-new tire is completely revamped and brings the most advanced technology from Bridgestone’s arsenal, aiming to dethrone the Conti CrossContact LX25 as the best touring all-season tires for crossovers and SUVs.
Looking at the spec sheet, it looks like the Alenza AS Ultra has the upper hand. Namely, Bridgestone provides a class-leading 80,000-mile warranty on the tire and promises the best real-world treadlife in the category. Since the Dueler H/L Alenza Plus was already very durable, we have no doubts that the brand-new tire will last you for a very long time.
But an expensive premium tire like the Alenza AS Ultra will need to do much more to justify its price. And indeed, it does. On dry roads, Bridgestone’s latest touring tire is among the best in the category in terms of traction and our favorite regarding the subjective driving experience.
Namely, the Alenza AS Ultra is a real refreshment in the category with its responsive and direct steering. The front tires changed direction quickly after we applied steering input, and everything felt controlled and precise. This subjective difference between the Alenza AS Ultra and its rivals is not measurable but something that you will experience every single day.
The handling balance of the Alenza AS Ultra is also top-notch. This tire feels playful and agile without being snappy or hard to control. It also provided us with an excellent lateral grip that rivals the best tires in the category and excellent acceleration traction. The braking distances were slightly longer than the class-leading tires, but they were far from objectionable.
Furthermore, the Alenza AS Ultra is an excellent rain tire. It does need a few more feet to stop at highway speeds than its closest competitors, but it still brakes better than 95% of the touring all-season crossover/SUV tires on the market.
Meanwhile, the lateral grip is good, but we were again more impressed by the subjective feel. The Alenza AS Ultra felt playful and engaging in the rain while also feeling very stable at the limit. It is a behavior that only a few tires can match!
With that said, although Bridgestone made improvements in snow traction, the Alenza AS Ultra still can’t compare to the Continental CrossContact LX25 or Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV in outright snow traction. Notably, the stopping distances are a bit longer, and the lateral grip is only average. Still, just like in dry and wet conditions, the Alenza AS Ultra handles naturally and feels confident. In other words, you probably won’t notice the slight traction deficiencies in real-world scenarios.
Do you know what you will notice? The way the Alenza AS Ultra rides over bad roads. Bridgestone’s tire offers by far the smoothest ride in the category, even on a broken tarmac, where the tire keeps its composure and doesn’t transmit harshness into the cabin.
Apart from the luxurious ride, the Alenza AS Ultra is also fairly quiet. Some rivals are even quieter, but we are really splitting hairs here. Besides, trucks and SUVs produce more wind noise, which will cover the slight tread sound anyway.
Bridgestone doesn’t offer the Alenza AS Ultra in LT-metric sizes, but many dimensions still fit popular mid-size and full-size trucks.
- Feels agile yet stable in dry conditions
- Very good dry lateral grip
- Excellent lateral grip in rainy conditions and balanced handling
- Easy to drive on light snow with solid traction
- Buttery smooth ride over good and bad roads
- Reasonably quiet over most road types
- Slightly longer braking distances on dry, wet, and snowy roads than its premium rivals
- Noisier than other premium tires (though only slightly)
Best All-Terrain Tire for Light Trucks
Looking for an all-terrain tire for your truck or SUV? The Geolandar A/T G015 is a model that you should definitely consider, as it checks most boxes without any significant disadvantage to report. It is our favorite all-terrain tire at the moment, and current owners are also very satisfied with their purchase.
And the first reason why people are so in love with the Geolandar A/T G015 is that it performs very well off the beaten track, even though it has a mildly-aggressive tread pattern. We found that it is particularly good on dirt and gravel, where it provides exceptional traction and stability. Not to mention, the casing also seems sturdy enough, meaning you shouldn’t worry about cuts, chips, and punctures.
Naturally, with its less aggressive tread pattern, the Geolandar A/T G015 isn’t at its best in deep mud. Also, you will have issues with rock crawling, particularly on steep inclines. Still, Yokohama’s all-terrain tire is no worse than other similar mild all-terrain tires and will definitely give you higher off-road traction than any highway tire. In fact, we found some traction in shallow mud and over turf. Moreover, LT-metric and flotation sizes will give you solid performance on the sand when aired down.
Okay, so the Geolandar A/T G015 is solid for off-roading, but how does it perform on the street? Pretty good, actually. While its overall performance trails slightly behind Continental’s TerrainContact A/T, it is still very good for the price and enough to give you a safe and relatively comfortable ride.
Notably, the Geolandar A/T G015 provides excellent braking on dry roads, with stopping distances that are very close to mid-level highway all-season tires. This is high praise since all-terrain tires generally struggle for traction on the street. On top of that, the lateral grip is solid for such a tire, and the handling at the limit is very predictable.
Another quality that will be important to truck owners is good straight-line tracking, which can be helpful on long highway drives. The steering is overall pretty quick and direct, too. On top of that, if you opt for the LT-metric sizes, you can expect solid highway stability and grip when towing.
As much as the Geolandar A/T G015 performs well on dry roads, it is even more competitive in the rain. We can’t think of many all-terrain tires that perform better on wet tarmac than Yokohama’s, apart from perhaps the Continental TerrainContact A/T.
Namely, Yokohama’s tire remains planted and easy to drive in the rain, with good front-end bite and lateral grip. It also feels very predictable at the limit, which is not a prominent characteristic in other all-terrain tires. Moreover, the Geolandar A/T G015 provides short stopping distances and good acceleration traction, both excellent for an all-terrain tire.
Like most modern all-terrain tires, the Geolandar A/T G015 has the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol on the sidewall. This means that it was tested by an independent authority for longitudinal traction, i.e., acceleration and braking, on snow and meets the minimum requirements. It’s important to note that the 3PMSF symbol doesn’t measure the lateral grip during cornering or the driving experience on light snow.
With that said, the Geolandar A/T G015 does provide excellent longitudinal traction on light snow. This translates into very short stopping distances and easy acceleration off the line without too much wheel slippage.
However, unlike some 3PMSF rivals, Yokohama’s all-terrain tire performs well in the corners, too. We were impressed with the lateral grip but even more with the way this tire handles. Namely, the front tires grip very well, leading to very responsive steering, while the rear end remains planted and never snaps on you. In other words, the handling is balanced and surefooted, even at the limit.
Regarding comfort, the Geolandar A/T G015 is among the quietest and smoothest all-terrain tires. There is some tread noise that will enter the cabin, sure, but nothing too objectionable, especially considering the type of tire. Also, the ride is comfortable on smooth roads, though repetitive impacts cause the tires to lose their composure.
Yokohama provides a class-leading 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on regular sizes and an equally-impressive 50,000-mile warranty on LT metric and flotation sizes. Also, owners are very satisfied with treadlife, so durability shouldn’t be an issue if you opt for this tire.
- Solid handling in wet conditions for an all-terrain tire
- Short stopping distances on wet tarmac
- Good to drive on dry roads with solid grip and traction
- Responsive handling and planted feel on light snow
- Strong braking and good acceleration on snow
- Remains quiet on the highway
- Excellent performance on dirt, gravel, and turf
- Class-leading treadwear warranty and long treadlife
- Loses ride composure over broken roads
- Not very usable in deep mud or for rock crawling
Best Mild All-Terrain Tire for Light Trucks
Continental isn’t a staple name among off-roaders, which isn’t surprising because the company still hasn’t launched a dedicated off-road tire. However, the German tiremaker wants to change that with the TerrainContact A/T, a mild all-terrain tire that combines durability and toughness with excellent on-road characteristics and solid off-road traction.
On the road, you won’t find an all-terrain tire that performs better than the TerrainContact A/T. On dry roads, Continental’s all-terrain tire performs almost as well as a highway all-season tire, and this is no exaggeration. Namely, it provides the shortest stopping distances in its category, the highest lateral grip, and the best acceleration traction.
But the numbers tell only half of the story. The steering, for instance, is very quick and precise for an all-terrain tire. We were also impressed by how linear the steering felt and how good the straight-line tracking was. The handling balance was also excellent – the TerrainContact A/T felt easy to drive and predictable at the limit, more so than any other all-terrain tire.
Still, while the TerrainContact A/T’s dry traction and handling are very good, the way it handles rainy conditions is outright impressive. Continental’s all-terrain tire simply destroys its competitors on wet tarmac, providing by far the shortest stopping distances and highest lateral grip.
Again, the driving experience is top-notch in the rain. The handling balance is very neutral, meaning your truck will never snap on you, even when you hit the traction limit. There is predictability in the TerrainContact A/T that many other all-terrain tires lack, which makes it the most usable all-terrain tire on paved roads.
You must think that the TerrainContact A/T will suffer on snow-covered roads, but that’s not the case. In fact, this is one of the best all-terrain tires on packed snow, with excellent longitudinal traction (acceleration and braking) and very balanced handling. The lateral grip is also solid, though not class-leading. You will even get some traction over unpacked snow, though aggressive all-terrain tires will perform better in those circumstances.
However, don’t expect great off-road performance from the TerrainContact A/T. Even Continental admits that this is a mild all-terrain tire by stating that it can conquer dirt, gravel, and turf. Indeed, the tire works tremendously well on these surfaces, providing ample acceleration traction, good braking, and solid drivability.
But the TerrainContact A/T simply isn’t designed to tackle deep mud or large rocks. The tread pattern is more aggressive than what you’d get on a highway all-season tire, but still way off some more aggressive all-terrain tires, like the BFGoodrich T/A KO2 and Falken Wildpeak A/T3W. So, if you are serious about off-roading, I suggest skipping this tire, despite its class-leading performance on the street.
We don’t have anything negative to report on the comfort, though. The TerrainContact A/T isn’t the softest tire out there, but it’s still very composed, even over repetitive impacts. Noise is also not an issue, even at highway speeds – the TerrainContact A/T is not only quiet for an all-terrain tire; it’s quiet, period.
Finally, Continental offers a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on all sizes, one of the highest in the category.
- Best-in-class drivability and lateral grip on dry tarmac
- Shortest dry/wet stopping distances of any all-terrain tire
- Predictable and balanced handling in the rain
- Well-controlled ride, even on broken tarmac
- One of the quietest all-terrain tires out there
- Excellent performance on dirt, gravel, and turf
- Long treadwear warranty
- It doesn’t perform well in deep mud or over large rocks (rock crawling)
Best Off-Road Tire for Light Trucks
Having a truck or an SUV expands your world significantly. These vehicles have higher road clearance, which lets them overcome large obstacles, and most of them have off-road-ready AWD systems. However, you can only get so far with the included highway all-season tires on your truck – for real off-road traction, you will need a set of maximum traction off-road tires, also known as mud-terrain tires.
And right now, the best mud tire for trucks and SUVs is the Grabber X3. General Tire is no stranger to producing off-road-specific models and has always known how to combine good on-road manners with extreme off-road traction, but the company outdid itself with the Grabber X3. This is a tire that will not only bring you places that were out of reach before but also perform well as a daily driver.
But let’s first start with the off-road performance of the Grabber X3 because it is really impressive. Thanks to the high void area and sizeable tread blocks, General’s off-road tire is at its best in deep mud. The tire will just churn through the mud like it’s nothing, propelling you forward without too much drama.
Furthermore, the Grabber X3 has excellent rock-crawling capabilities, with outstanding traction when aired down. While we are on that matter, this tire is built like a tank and can withstand quite a lot of abuse, including carrying your heavy truck aired down to very low psi. So you don’t have to worry about cuts, chips, or punctures.
Aired down, the Grabber X3 will also give you solid flotation ability over sand, though perhaps not at the level of the BFGoodrich T/A KM3, which was designed on desert rallies. Still, General’s tire impresses on turf, where it easily churns through and gives you excellent traction.
Unlike most mud tires, though, the Grabber X3 also works well on the road. Road noise is still noticeable on this tire, but it lacks the loud growl of its competitors. You can even drive between 60-70 mph on the highway and still talk to your passengers, which is not something you can do on other mud tires. The ride is also reasonably smooth for the category, with the Grabber X3 dealing well with smaller imperfections and larger impacts.
The Grabber X3 showcases great stability on the street as well. Notably, it provides shorter stopping distances on dry tarmac than its closest rivals and a higher lateral grip as well. It is also fairly easy to control in the corners, though keep in mind that this is not a street tire, and the overall grip will be lower.
Rainy conditions also don’t destabilize the Grabber X3 like they do other tires. Again, General’s product has higher longitudinal traction, which converts into better braking and acceleration. The lateral grip is also higher than its rivals offer, which again proves that General did a great job with the tire.
However, it is the handling balance that really sets the Grabber X3 apart from its rivals. This tire lacks the nervous behavior at the limit usually associated with mud tires and is generally easy to drive in the rain. Notably, the front tires feel responsive, while the rear end feels more stable, even if you apply throttle out of the corner.
Although the Grabber X3 looks like it could churn through the snow with its large tread blocks, snow doesn’t work that way. That is because most of the snow we encounter with our vehicles is compacted, and the tire can’t really dig through it. For that reason, winter tires are equipped with many small zig-zag sipes for higher snow traction, which the Grabber X3 lacks.
With that said, General’s mud tire still performs better than most of its competitors on packed snow and can be usable in the winter. You should still be more careful if the road is covered with snow, as the Grabber X3 will give you less traction than your previous highway all-season tires. However, as far as mud tires go, this is one of the best out there.
Meanwhile, you can have all the fun you want on unpacked snow, the type you encounter on off-road trails. In these circumstances, the Grabber X3’s digging action will give you immense traction and the ability to reach remote places.
Lastly, General Tire doesn’t provide any warranty on the Grabber X3, but that is common for the category. Crucially, owners are pleased with the treadlife and overall durability of the tire.
- Extreme traction in deep mud and over large rocks
- It can be aired down significantly thanks to the tough construction
- Solid performance on sand, turf, and gravel
- Best-in-class traction and drivability in rainy conditions
- Balanced handling and good grip on dry roads
- Good traction on packed snow for a mud tire
- Remarkable digging action in deep unpacked snow
- One of the smoothest and quietest mud tires
- Noise still enters the cabin at highway speeds
- Traction on packed snow still lags significantly behind highway all-season tires
Best All-Season Street/Sport Tire for Light Trucks
Pirelli’s performance all-season tire for trucks and SUVs is installed as original equipment on many vehicles. So, if automakers trust their abilities, the Scorpion Zero All Season must be good, right? Well, it definitely is, particularly regarding driving performance.
However, like any other OE tire, the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus doesn’t come with any treadwear warranty. Owners have mixed experiences with the real-world treadlife, though Pirelli’s tire should still last you for 2-3 years. Still, offering no treadwear warranty on an all-season tire is simply unacceptable in this day and age.
But if you can look past that issue, the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus is an incredible tire, particularly if you are into performance driving. We are fans of the way this tire drives and feels subjectively, thanks to the quick and progressive steering that communicates well with the driver. The handling balance is also very neutral, but the tires still manage to give you an agile and fun ride.
Like most Pirelli tires nowadays, the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus sticks great to the road, too. The lateral grip on dry tarmac is among the highest in the category, and the stopping distances are among the shortest. Moreover, the Scorpion Zero All Season behaves predictably at the limit and loses traction gradually, leaving you time to catch the slide.
We also had no issues with the way Pirelli’s performance truck/SUV tire performs in rainy conditions. The tire kept its neutral handling balance, no matter if the roads were damp or wet. It was easy to drive, even at the limit, making it very secure. In addition, the Scorpion Zero All Season has excellent hydroplaning resistance, meaning no stability issues when it pours rain.
The Scorpion Zero All Season Plus is competitive in outright traction as well. It stops remarkably in the rain, posting some of the shortest distances in its category, and has acceleration traction to spare. Moreover, the lateral grip is outstanding – a clear improvement over any touring or highway all-season tire. The best thing about the Scorpion Zero All Season is that it didn’t lose its agility in the rain and remained pretty fun to drive.
Pirelli’s performance all-season tire was also entertaining on light snow. Thanks to its predictable behavior and neutral handling, the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus makes you feel like you are always in control when driving on snow. It turns quickly after your steering input, and the rear end follows through with solid stability. You can destabilize your truck for some oversteer fun, but you will never feel like losing control.
Still, while the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus is fun to drive on snow-covered roads, it doesn’t possess as much traction as touring or highway all-season tires. This makes it less usable in real-world driving because the stopping distances are longer, and the lateral grip will be average. Hence, we recommend driving more slowly to mitigate these issues. That said, most performance all-season tires for SUVs and trucks aren’t that good on snow, so Scorpion Zero All Season’s average traction wasn’t surprising.
In contrast, the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus hides its performance pedigree well when it comes to comfort. The ride is not soft like on a touring tire, but still very composed, even on broken tarmac. In other words, the tires won’t transmit harshness or vibrations into the cabin. The tread growl is also minimal, even at highway speeds. The noise can be an issue on rough roads, but only at lower speeds; at higher velocities, the road noise will cover everything.
Taking everything into consideration, the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus isn’t a perfect tire, especially with the longevity concerns. Still, it will make your truck more enjoyable to drive and better performing in dry and wet conditions, so if you are into that, Pirelli’s tire definitely deserves your attention.
- Agile handling and excellent lateral grip in dry conditions
- Short stopping distances in dry and wet conditions
- Predictable in the rain with a good lateral grip
- Smooth ride over repetitive impacts
- Minimal noise on the highway
- Drivable on snow-covered roads with good handling balance
- Below-average treadlife for a street/sport truck all-season tire
- No treadwear warranty
- Average traction on light snow
Best Winter Tire for Light Trucks
Most trucks and SUVs are equipped with AWD systems that give them better acceleration traction on snow, and hence most owners just use a set of all-season tires throughout the year. However, while an AWD truck with all-season tires will have no problem accelerating on snow, it will certainly have issues with braking and cornering.
Thus, if you live in areas with harsh wintry conditions, we strongly recommend opting for a set of light truck winter tires. Currently, one of the best such models is the Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV, a tire with almost no disadvantages and balanced performance across the board.
Still, you will be buying this tire for its winter traction, and we are happy to confirm that it does work extraordinarily well on snow and ice.
Namely, the X-Ice Snow SUV has remarkable longitudinal traction on packed and unpacked snow, resulting in some of the shortest stopping distances we’ve ever had from a truck winter tire and excellent acceleration traction. Thanks to its extreme snow traction, the X-Ice Snow SUV was even able to bring us uphill on roads with a significant amount of snow.
But Michelin’s latest winter tire for SUVs and trucks also handles well in the corners. We were impressed with how well the front tires reacted to the steering input and how quickly the truck turned. Meanwhile, the rear end was very stable and obedient to our commands. The X-Ice Snow SUV also starts to lose traction gradually, which not only gives you time to react but also makes any drive on snow more enjoyable.
We can also confirm that the X-Ice Snow SUV won’t suffer on ice as much as some cheaper rivals. Sure, it won’t match the traction of a studded winter tire, but it will still offer you enough to accelerate, brake, and turn with your truck. You will still need to be careful, but at least you’ll have some traction.
An often overlooked yet crucial aspect of winter tires is performance in slush. Thanks to its exceptional hydroplaning resistance, the X-Ice Snow SUV handles slush better than any other competitor, providing you with ample stopping power and surefooted handling.
The X-Ice Snow SUV also works well in rainy conditions. The excellent hydroplaning resistance helps with stability, but Michelin’s tire also has outstanding traction. Thus, it provides some of the shortest stopping distances in the category, along with very good lateral grip and balanced handling. In other words, the tire trumps its competitors in the rain, too.
However, there is one area where the X-Ice Snow SUV isn’t as dominant, and that’s dry traction. Notably, it has slightly longer braking distances than the class-leading tires, and the lateral grip is average. Still, we think that this shouldn’t stop you from buying this tire, as the dry grip is already good enough for a safe daily drive – it is only in closed test conditions that you will notice the differences. Besides, the X-Ice Snow SUV has that surefooted handling that every Michelin tire has.
We have nothing negative to report on the comfort performance of this tire. The sound it produces blends with the wind noise on the truck and isn’t an issue on longer trips, while the ride is smooth on any surface we encounter.
As you might have guessed, the X-Ice Snow SUV is an expensive winter tire, which makes many potential buyers look the other way. However, Michelin is the only tiremaker that gives a treadwear warranty on its winter tires; in this case, the X-Ice Snow SUV comes with a 40,000-mile warranty, which is simply outstanding for a winter tire. This should convert into excellent real-world treadlife, as Michelin’s tires are famous for being the most durable in the industry.
With that said, Michelin doesn’t offer the X-Ice Snow SUV in LT-metric sizes. This means that owners of heavy-duty trucks and those that tow frequently will need to choose between the studless Bridgestone Blizzak LT and the studdable General Grabber Arctic LT.
- Remarkably good drivability on packed and unpacked snow
- Strong braking and quick acceleration on snow
- Excellent ice traction for a studless winter tire
- Best-in-class hydroplaning resistance translates to excellent stability in slush
- Surefooted handling and excellent traction in rainy conditions
- Reasonably quiet and comfortable for a winter tire
- Best-in-class treadlife and durability
- The only snow truck tire with a treadwear warranty (40,000 miles)
- No LT-metric sizes are available
- Dry grip is only average for the category
What to look for when choosing a set of tires for your light truck?
Well, you need to look for a lot of things when choosing tires for your light truck. If you go to a tire shop, the technician will certainly help you, but you should still follow some guidelines if you purchase online (we have a link with the best prices beneath each tire).
Naturally, you should always start with the dimensions – they should be equal to the tires you already have on your truck. However, unlike passenger tires, the load ratings in light-truck tires are equally significant. Let’s have an in-depth look.
1. Load Ratings
Each tire model comes in many different sizes, speed ratings, and load ratings. When it comes to light trucks, the load rating is perhaps more important than the speed rating, as trucks don’t reach high top speeds. Still, you should always choose tires with a speed rating that is higher than the top speed of your vehicle.
With load ratings, it’s a bit more complicated. In this case, you need to make some simple mathematics and see how much weight you carry when hauling or towing with your truck. If you carry smaller and lighter items, then a set of tires with a smaller load rating will do the job just fine. If you carry heavier items, then you need to look for tires with larger load ratings.
A great starting point is to look at the sidewall of the tire. Tires with P-metric sizes usually come in smaller load ratings. You can distinguish these tires by no letter on the dimensions or the letter “P” before the numbers. P-metric tires are good for 1/4-ton and 1/2-ton vehicles or for light-truck owners that don’t haul heavy cargo or tow very large trailers.
For drivers that want the added capacity, though, we recommend LT-metric (Light Truck) tires. These tires have tougher sidewalls and come with larger load ratings. You can distinguish these tires by the letters “LT” before the dimensions of the tire. LT-metric tires are an excellent choice for people that use their trucks for hauling heavy cargo or towing large trailers or 3/4-ton and 1-ton vehicles.
With that said, it’s always best to check the load rating of each tire before making a final decision. For example, if the tire is designed to carry 3,000 pounds, that means that the overall weight of your truck must not exceed 12,000 pounds.
2. The Weather Factor
Now that you made the calculations and chosen the right dimensions and load rating for your truck, it’s time to move on to the climate.
For most climates, all-season tires are the best choice available. These tires have tread compounds designed to work safely in warmer and colder climates, which makes them an excellent choice for most light-truck owners.
In the real world, all-season truck tires provide safe and reliable traction and braking on dry and wet pavement, both at warmer and colder temperatures. Some of them even work over light snow, but they are still not a great choice for harsh wintry weather.
On the positive side, the tread compound on all-season tires is very, very durable. The best all-season truck tires come with up to 80,000-mile treadwear warranties, which is mightily impressive.
For deep snow, ice, and slush, we recommend going for winter tires. These tires have a softer and more pliable tread compound, which doesn’t become brittle in freezing temperatures. Because of that, winter tires will provide you with excellent traction in the winter on dry, wet, snowy, icy, and slushy surfaces. And trust us, the difference between all-season and winter tires on snow is pretty huge.
As expected, summer tires are by far the best choice for hot weather. However, not many summer tires are available for light trucks, especially if you want to tow or haul. Summer tires are primarily designed for performance and not for utility.
Still, if you want to make your light truck perform at the highest level, a set of high-performance summer tires is by far the best choice. With those tires on, your truck will be much more responsive and stable, and it will also drive much better through the corners. Sadly, though, summer tires also don’t last very long, and almost none of them comes with a treadwear warranty.
3. Touring Tires
In the past, touring tires were mostly used on passenger vehicles and SUVs. However, today they are also available in light-truck sizes and load ratings, especially on some lighter-duty models.
These tires are primarily designed with comfort and longevity in mind. Touring tires have the best treadlife of any other tire type, the best ride quality, and the quietest rolling.
In terms of performance, touring tires perform more than well enough for the average light-truck owner. You should expect a safe ride with tons of grip and traction on the street, good highway stability, and short braking distances.
Nonetheless, touring tires aren’t made for towing large trailers or hauling heavy cargo. That’s why they are mostly installed on trucks that are more used for passenger duties and less for utility. Also, touring tires are almost unusable for off-roading and might get easily damaged.
4. Highway Tires
Highway tires are somewhat similar to touring tires in the way they perform on the road, but they are available in LT-metric sizes. Because of that, highway tires are the better choice for owners that tow large trailers or haul heavy cargo.
On the road, highway tires will perform slightly worse than touring tires when the truck is unloaded. However, they are still more than good enough for street and highway driving. Traction and grip are very good, as is highway stability. Contrarily, highway tires will perform better than touring tires when the truck is heavily loaded, especially in terms of highway stability.
When it comes to comfort, highway tires might have a slightly worse ride quality, but they should be equally quiet. Also, they are a much better choice for off-road driving, thanks to the tougher construction overall. Still, don’t expect very high levels of traction – they are only usable on hardpacked surfaces.
Finally, highway tires have slightly shorter treadwear warranties than touring tires, but the difference isn’t very big.
5. Off-Road Tires
Many owners use their light trucks for off-roading, which is why you’ll find a lot of off-road tires for these vehicles.
In our opinion, all-terrain tires are the best choice for truck owners that go off-roading. These models are designed to give you better traction for off-roading when compared to highway tires, especially on slippery surfaces. Moreover, all-terrain tires are very tough, and some of them are even puncture-resistant.
With all-terrain tires, you also won’t lose much performance on the street. Overall, traction, grip, and braking will be worse but still completely fine for street driving. That said, you should expect more noise on the highway.
That said, real off-road enthusiasts will need to step up the game and choose mud-terrain or maximum traction off-road tires. These tires are designed for better traction in very deep mud and over large rocks when compared to all-terrain tires.
However, mud-terrain and off-road tires don’t work very well on the road – you should expect a further reduction in performance and comfort.
6. Street/Sport Tires
Street/Sport tires are similar to high-performance tires for sports cars – they are primarily designed with performance in mind.
These tires will give you, by far, the highest levels of traction and grip and the shortest braking distances. They are also much more responsive and give a better steering feel.
That said, you can’t use Street/Sport tires for off-roading, towing, or hauling. Also, these tires don’t last as long as touring or highway tires and only come in larger and more expensive sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the recommended pressure on light-truck tires?
It depends on the model of the vehicle but also on the weight you put on the tires. Usually, it’s between 30 and 35 psi.
- Can I overload my truck tires?
Yes, if you put more weight than the tires can carry, you can overweight them. We recommend against doing that, as overwhelmed tires aren’t stable, and they might even get damaged.
- How often to rotate light-truck tires?
We recommend rotating the tires every six months or every 6,000 to 8,000 miles (whichever expires first) for the best performance and durability.
We can’t stress that enough, but you should always purchase tires that suit you and your needs. In particular, you need to be sure that the load rating of the tire is good for your driving scenarios and that the tires work great with the climate in your area. Even if you buy the best tire in a certain category, it might not suit your needs properly. For that reason, don’t just assume that the first tire on our list is the best one for you – it is only the best overall.
After you made sure that the type of tire suits you well, read the detailed review and pick one that catches your eye. By doing that, you’ll ensure years of happy and carefree driving!