Driving off-road takes more than buying a vehicle with four-wheel drive and finding the nearest rock-strewn trail. You also need all-terrain tires that are up to the challenge of digging through mud and crawling over sharp rocks. And if you use your truck or SUV for everyday driving, you may also want reasonable comfort for paved roads and highways. That sounds like a lot to ask of one tire, but you’d be surprised how many products there are that live up to that complicated compromise.
The best all-terrain tires boast a bold tread pattern that wouldn’t look out of place on a monster truck. Others work in characteristics that aim to provide good traction on slippery or loose surfaces while also minimizing the tread noise that can be frustrating in highway driving. Regardless of an all-terrain tire’s design, most are also suitable for winter driving.
No matter whether you drive a high-riding pickup truck or SUV, or a crossover with only a little more ground clearance than a family car, a good set of all-terrain tires can make all the difference when you need traction for off-road driving. Read on for our picks of the best all-terrain tires.
For more information on the best all-terrain tires, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor’s Pick: BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
- 2. Best for Occasional Off-Road Use: Mastercraft Stratus AP
- 3. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure Kevlar
- 4. Hankook Dynapro AT2
- 5. Mastercraft Courser AXT2 All-Terrain Tire
- 6. Cooper Evolution M/T All-Season Tire
- 7. Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus
- 8. Lexani Terrain Beast All-Terrain Tire
- 9. Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail All-Terrain Tire
- 10. Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 All-Terrain Tire
- What do the numbers in an all-terrain tire’s size mean?
- What is stone drilling?
- What does the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol mean?
- Why do some drivers reduce tire inflation pressures in off-road driving?
1. Editor’s Pick: BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
If you want a tire that does what it says it will do, you would do well to try out this BFGoodrich model. After all, it has “all-terrain” right in its name. The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 boasts interlocking treads to give you the best possible traction on- and off-road, while a serrated shoulder generates grip in mud and snow and when traversing rocky surfaces.
These features, along with CoreGard technology, are derived from BFGoodrich’s experience making the T/A KR2 tire, which has regularly won desert races. Thicker rubber and tougher sidewalls help deflect sharp objects on the trail to keep them from causing punctures. Meanwhile, you also benefit from locking 3D sipes that promise better tread block stability to promote long tread life and uniform wear. To keep the tread grooves clear, the T/A KO2 uses stone ejectors and raised mud-phobic bars to keep the tread from getting clogged with debris.
And if you live in a region of the U.S. that regularly sees cold temperatures and snow, the T/A KO2 is rated for use in winter conditions.
2. Best for Occasional Off-Road Use: Mastercraft Stratus AP
For the number two spot on our list of the best all-terrain tires, we’re going to take a detour to look at one that we think capably blends off-road traction with on-road comfort, an assertive appearance, and an attractive price. If you know you will only occasionally venture into territory where you’ll need all-terrain tires, consider the Mastercraft Stratus AP.
The “AP” in this tire’s name stands for “all-purpose,” so you can count on this tire to provide comfortable, quiet on-road performance while a blocky tread promises enough grip to get you through light to moderate off-road situations. Mastercraft says the Stratus AP has full-depth sipes that boost traction in snow and wet conditions, plus wide side grooves that evacuate water to help prevent hydroplaning. The Stratus AP’s zig-zag pattern isn’t just about off-road traction; it also helps impede airflow through the tread to reduce noise.
The Mastercraft Stratus AP comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear guarantee.
3. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure Kevlar
Our next recommendation comes from Goodyear, another well-known tire manufacturer. Among this tire’s key features is its use of Kevlar. A spiral layer of that legendary bulletproof material wraps around two high-strength steel belts to provide more structural strength. You also get Goodyear’s Durawall technology for good cut and puncture resistance, which is useful in extreme off-roading where you may want to use reduced tire pressure to boost traction on rough surfaces.
Goodyear says the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure is made of a specialized rubber compound that gives you more chip and chunk resistance when fitting this tire to a high-torque vehicle. The aggressive-looking tread pattern is about more than keeping up appearances: the symmetrical design gives you good on-road comfort, while the wide-open shoulder blocks and ridged grooves help keep the tread clear of mud and snow.
Finally, the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tire is certified for severe winter use so you can be confident driving on it year-round. Goodyear warranties this tire for 60,000 miles or six years of tread life.
4. Hankook Dynapro AT2
At first glance, the Hankook Dynapro may not look like an all-terrain tire due to a tread pattern that appears less aggressive compared to other tires on our list. But Hankook says that’s by design: the company wanted to create a tire that gives you good off-road traction combined with comfortable on-road performance. The Dynapro AT2 has multi-directional grooving and siping conceived to generate improved grip in any direction. Those combine with biting block edges and locking shoulder lugs so you can be more confident driving in snowy and muddy conditions.
If you’re also looking for a quiet ride on paved roads, Hankook promises that with step-block edge technology that helps reduce road noise. Meanwhile, block chains between the tire’s shoulder tread blocks improve comfort and handling by adding stability that improves your truck’s cornering feel.
Underneath the rubber are an undertread gauge and nylon-reinforced belts that make the tire stronger and promise to prevent punctures that could force an early end to your off-road fun. If you tend to reduce your tires’ air pressure for added off-road grip, Hankook’s jointless bead wire helps prevent bead separation when the tire is under heavy stress.
5. Mastercraft Courser AXT2 All-Terrain Tire
The Mastercraft Courser AXT2 is one of the more aggressive off-road members of the Courser light truck tire family, and aims to bridge the gap between Mastercraft’s all-out all-terrain tires and those designed primarily for on-road driving. By putting the Courser AXT2 on your truck or SUV, you benefit from its modern five-rib tread design, and stone armor ribs between the tread blocks that help prevent stone drilling—a phenomenon that can destroy a tire (which we explain more at the end of this list).
The Courser AXT2’s tread has jagged cleats to grip rocks and mud for extra off-road traction, and toothy tread block edges that promise better acceleration and braking performance in snow. And when you’re on the highway, Mastercraft says the Courser AXT2 has noise barrier walls that reduce noise caused by air flowing through the tread, which means less cabin noise for you and your passengers.
Mastercraft tires are manufactured by the U.S.A’s Cooper Tire company.
6. Cooper Evolution M/T All-Season Tire
If your goal is to equip your truck or SUV with as much all-terrain traction as possible, the Cooper Evolution M/T is a good option. While Cooper labels this as an all-season tire, it truly is an all-terrain design with a tread pattern that wouldn’t look out of place on a piece of construction machinery. Among the Cooper Evolution M/T’s features are deep and wide mud-slinging trenches that work to continuously clear mud and dirt out of the tread so you can maintain traction and keep going. This tire’s tread blocks also sport alternating mud scoops at the tire’s shoulders that dig forcefully into loose dirt, sand, or mud.
Stone barriers help prevent the damage that driving over sharp rocks can cause, helping you avoid the need to change a tire on the trail or, worse, go home early. Finally, the Evolution M/T’s sidewalls have climbers molded into the rubber that help your truck crawl up onto and over tall rocks while helping to resist rubbing.
Cooper gives you a 45-day test drive period to help you make up your mind.
7. Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus
You may know Italy’s Pirelli brand mostly for high-performance tires designed to match the handling abilities of high-end sports cars, but the company is also well-established in the all-terrain tire market. The All-Terrain Plus is Pirelli’s most aggressive all-terrain tire, and while it aims to give you a balance between on- and off-road performance, it boasts a number of features that make it a capable off-road product.
Pirelli used its new-generation rubber compound for these tires, molding it with deep grooves that give you clawing grip action in loose terrain. In between the tread blocks are conical stone ejectors that help prevent punctures caused by small, sharp rocks that can get squeezed into the grooves. A reinforced sidewall helps the All-Terrain Plus stand up to the uneven surfaces you will inevitably encounter on the trail.
Pirelli says the Scorpion All-Terrain Plus incorporates sipes that improve grip on slippery surfaces, along with wide side-to-side notches and open shoulders that help force water out from under the tire to keep you from hydroplaning at highway speeds. These tires are also rated for snow traction.
Pirelli makes the Scorpion All-Terrain Plus to fit a range of rim sizes that includes the 20-inch wheels found on many upscale SUVs.
8. Lexani Terrain Beast All-Terrain Tire
Lexani’s aggressively named Terrain Beast is another tire designed to fit a wide variety of truck and SUV models, including upscale and uplevel models with 20-inch wheels. This is the starting point of the brand’s line of all-terrain tires, so while it’s not ideal for all-out off-road driving, it promises you generous trail performance with good highway driving characteristics.
There’s a unilateral center rib that Lexani says enhances stability in all driving situations, while the Terrain Beast’s tread pattern is designed to dig into loose or rough surfaces to get you to the other end of the trail. Engineered full-depth sipes and grooves promise useful grip on slippery surfaces and good water and mud evacuation for continuous traction and hydroplaning resistance.
Lexani’s aggressive pricing scheme makes this a good choice if you’re looking for an attractive tire for an upscale SUV model but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend. The Terrain Beast bears the mountain-and-snowflake symbol that indicates suitability for winter driving.
9. Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail All-Terrain Tire
Falken says its Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tire is designed for drivers who are looking for adventure and rugged off-road capability without compromising open-road performance. The Wildpeak A/T Trail is not the most aggressive all-terrain you can get from Falken, but it promises balanced performance in the variety of situations you’re likely to encounter if you enjoy driving off-road but also use your truck or SUV for everyday transportation.
Falken says this tire is a good fit if you own a light-duty SUV or crossover and want to enhance its ability to get across rough ground without compromising the on-road comfort that crossovers are designed for. Two-ply polyester construction provides structural strength to help maintain your crossover’s on-road handling and protect you from punctures caused by sharp rocks.
You can trust this tire in severe winter driving conditions thanks to a tread design that sports 3D canyon sipe technology and deeper treads than traditional all-season tires, cues that enhance winter traction. If you live in a snowy region of the country, you’ll benefit from a silica-enriched rubber compound designed for long treadwear at all temperatures. This tire is rated for severe winter driving conditions.
Falken warrantees the Wildpeak A/T Trail for 65,000 miles of tread life.
10. Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 All-Terrain Tire
We end our list of the best all-terrain tires with one of the field’s more recognizable names, the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015. The design of these Yokohama tires begins with the company’s triple polymer rubber compound, which boasts enhanced chip and tear resistance. It’s molded into a symmetrical tread pattern with variable-pitch blocks to reduce noise levels in on-road driving. That compound was conceived to maintain the tire’s flexibility in cold weather to give you reliable grip no matter the temperature.
Typically, a tire provides its best traction when it’s new, but Yokohama’s triple 3D sipes actually change shape as you wear this tire down to help it maintain a biting edge when traction is limited. Underneath the treads are two steel belts layered with two-ply polyester cords plus a spiral-wrapped nylon reinforcement, so you can count on this tire for highway stability and good support for heavy loads.
The Geolandar A/T G015 meets the winter driving standards needed to bear the mountain-and-snowflake logo. Yokohama warranties this tire for up to 60,000 miles of treadwear.
What do the numbers in an all-terrain tire’s size mean?
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Most tire size designations are a mix of metric and standard units and look something like this: 265/60R18. In this instance, 265 is the width of the tread in millimeters, 60 refers to the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the tread width, and 18 is the size of wheel the tire is designed to fit.
If a tire size has “LT” in front of it, that means it is optimized for light truck duty and can carry heavier loads.
Some tires are sold in sizes with all standard measurements, which look something like 31×10.5R15, where 31 is the overall diameter of the tire, and 15 is the rim size.
What is stone drilling?
Stone drilling is a phenomenon where rocks and stones can get stuck in the grooves between a tire’s treads. In certain conditions, the rock can actually be forced through the rubber and puncture the tire. Some tires are built to resist stone drilling punctures with reinforced rubber or structure and, in the case of one tire on this list, Kevlar. Some tire manufacturers have also developed tread designs that naturally resist stone drilling.
What does the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol mean?
The three-peak mountain-and-snowflake symbol appears on tires that are designed and rated for winter driving conditions. Many of the all-terrain tires here meet the standards required to bear that symbol because their aggressive tread patterns are good at digging through loose snow and provide more grip in snow than a comparable all-season tire. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a tire is suited to the harshest winter driving conditions.
Most tire manufacturers make all-terrain tires designed specifically for winter driving. These are typically made of softer rubber that stays flexible at lower temperatures and improves grip on icy surfaces.
Why do some drivers reduce tire inflation pressures in off-road driving?
While vehicle manufacturers publish recommended tire inflation pressures for their cars and trucks, many experienced off-road drivers will let some air out of their tires when driving over rough terrain. This is because the lower air pressure allows the tire to flex and gain more traction than it might be able to provide when inflated to the vehicle’s recommended level. However, with standard-type tires, you can only let out so much air before you risk the tire’s bead—where the tire mates with the lip of the wheel—breaking away from the wheel and deflating completely.
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