All Season Off-Road Tires vs. Winter Tires: Which is Better?

No matter how strong your off-road tires are, they will definitely wear out sooner or later. However, there are many things to consider before buying brand new tires. One of these factors includes the off-road conditions you like or you often travel to.

Although most off-road tires are designed to handle all kinds of off-road conditions, many brands today manufacture different designs and varieties. If you are not certain which is better between all-season off-road tires vs. snow tires, then you have to settle it out yourself as you read on.

Find out the answer as you discover more about the characteristic of all-season off-road tires vs. snow tires, as well as their best uses below.

All-Season Off-Road Tires

The all-season off-road tires are designed for all-year-round longevity during winter, spring, summer, and autumn. This term is generally given to tires which are good enough for the muddy and rocky road as well as snow.

They are the jack-of-all-trades but they are not the best choice in summer nor winter conditions. One example of all-season off-road tires is the all-terrain tires you always see on trucks and SUVs.

There are a lot of all-terrain off-road tires available in the market and all of them vary in sizes, tread compound hardness, siping, and tread voids. This is because manufacturers made them according to what they think is more important.

Sometimes you will get an all-season tire that will excel in the summer seasons but perform poorly in the winter. And sometimes you will get all-season tires that will perform better in winter than summer.

Tread Compound Traits of All-Season Tires

Although it is true that all-season tires can get you through the winter terrains with decent traction, they might not be able to always grip on snow and ice like the snow tires. But at least you do not have to buy new tires when you go for an adventure in summer.

They have all-season compound traits that are designed to balance both winter and summer duties on the same tires.

Siping and Tread Depth of All-Season Tires

In terms of the number of sipes, different brands and types of all-season tires have different siping abilities. Some got more siping but harder tread compound to reduce distortion, while others have less siping with a softer compound for slippery surfaces such as rain, snow and ice.

As for the tread depth of all-season tires, they are somewhere between 9/32 and 12/32s of tread depth when they are new, which is actually expected for both kinds of passenger car tires.

Snow or Winter Off-Road Tires

If you are to choose what tire to use between all-season off-road tires vs. snow tires during the winter, the answer is obvious. Snow tires are dedicated to run at low temperatures of 45 degrees Fahrenheit and lower.

It is designed to be the best choice for all winter off-road adventures, giving you a smoother and safer ride than all-season tires promise to provide. These tires are available for cars, trucks and SUVs. They should be added to a vehicle in a full set of four to get the best winter off-road driving experience.

Tread Compound Traits of Snow Tires

The snow tires have a tread compound that performs well in cold or slippery surfaces such as snow, ice and rain. But they are also designed for dry pavement. They have softer tread compound that enhances traction and makes the snow tires pliable in cold climates.

However, these are the same traits that make snow tires a poor choice in summer. When used in places with higher temperatures, the tire compound becomes softer, which can result in poor handling and rapid wear.

Siping Differences and Tread Depth of Snow Tires

Snow tires have more sipes, thus have more biting edges for rain, snow and ice. But having more siping also means more tread squirm that reduces handling stability. Therefore, a good snow tire has a balanced siping and tread compound that allow it to excel in all slippery surfaces.

Just like with all-season tires, the snow tires have 9/32 to 12/32s of tread depth. Some snow tires also include snow studs that keep them in place when running on ice. On the other hand, they are not advisable on the snow surface.


The question which is better between all-season off-road tires vs. snow tires is rather incomplete. None of the two choices is perfect but they are the best if you know where to use them.

If you are an occasional off-road driver, then an all-season off-road tire would be adequate for all your adventures. In case you live in snow regions, of course, the snow tires are your best option.