Studded Tires vs Winter Tires – Why to Get Which One?

Whenever we decide to change to winter tires during the season, it is easy to get confused about which one to buy from various options of tires, suitable for winter.

The answer lies in the location of your residence, the weather of your locality during the winter season, and the amount of time you spend driving through the icy streets.

It is, however, also important to know the difference between the two types of tires suitable for cruising through all the snow, studded tires and winter tires.

If you know how the two types of tires differ, you will know which one to get and why. Below is an account of studded tires vs. winter tires. Read on to learn.

Studded Tires vs. Winter Tires

Although both the tires are suitable for winter, they are different from each other in some ways. They are given below.

  • Presence of Metal Studs

This is the main difference between the two tires. As the name 'studded tires' suggests, these are equipped with metal studs. And as a result, they allow for more traction and better handling, which is a big requirement if you are driving through icy roads.

Wet roads and snowy roads in winter are slippery, and decreased friction between the vehicle and the roads, account for many road accidents. These can be avoided if the car has a better grip, more traction, and less breaking time.

The metal studs allow the tires to deliver all of these qualities, making it safe to drive through the slippery surfaces. Winter tires, on the other hand, are studless.

As a result, they have a somewhat lower grip and provide less traction than the studded tires. They make up for these through other qualities, making them a good choice for winter.

  • Tread Profile 

Both the studded and non-studded tires have an aggressive tread pattern. But the non-studded tires have a tread pattern with deeper grooves.

This allows the winter tires to have more traction and tackle the roads through all the snow. Moreover, they are also given sipes. Sipes are the tiny linear spaces you will notice in the tread pattern.

The sipes increase the control in icy conditions so that it is easier to speed, slow down, and ultimately leading to a faster and safer brake.

  • Noise

Studded tires will give you a noisy driving experience, due to the presence of metal studs and aggressive tread pattern. The metallic studs dig into the snow or ice while driving, and given the tire's aggressive built, produces much noise, in both wet and dry conditions.

Winter tires also produce noise, but they are much quieter when compared to the studded tires.

  • Changing the Tires

Both the tires wear out quickly if compared to all-season tires, but due to the metallic studs, the studded tires are prone to damage the roads as winter ends.

As a result, some states have passed laws, making it mandatory to change to all-season or other tires as soon as winter ends. Some states, like Washington, imposes a fine of about 150 dollars if anyone continues to use these tires after March.

With the winter tires, you don't have to face such issues, though you should change the tires after winter to prevent them from wearing out too quickly. After all, they are costly.

Pros and Cons 

Now that you know the basic differences between the two tires let's take a look at the pros and cons to make our decisions easier.

Studded Tires 

Pros

  • Equipped with metal studs, which allows for more traction and greater handling in icy conditions
  • Have an aggressive tread pattern to increase traction
  • Made of rubber compounds such that they remain soft and pliable in extreme temperatures

Cons

  • You will have to change the tires when winter is over
  • You will have to pay a fine if you don't change the tires
  • The tires produce a noisy drive
  • The tires are harmful to roads in non-winter conditions

Winter Tires 

Pros

  • They have an aggressive tread pattern with deeper grooves and sipes to provide the required traction and handling in snow
  • They remain soft and so can survive the harsh temperatures of winter
  • Changing to other tires after winter is not mandatory by law
  • They provide a much more quiet and smoother drive

Cons

  • They don't have metal studs, so provide less traction in icy roads

Conclusion

To summarize, both have good performances in sub-zero temperatures, the answer to the question of which one to get depends on you. And if you live in a place where you have to deal with icy winters, have to drive around a lot, and don't mind the noise, then studded tires are the safest choice.

And if you have a problem with the noise and you don't have to drive around as much, then you can make do with the winter tires.

On the other hand, if you live somewhere, where the winter is not as relentless, and you don't have to deal with a lot of ice and snow, then the winter tires are for you.

Leave a Comment