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The Best Tire Chains to Add Some Traction

  1. Thule 9mm CG9 Premium Passenger Tire Chain
  2. Security Chain Company Super Z6 Tire Chain
  3. Thule CB12 Tire Chain
  4. AutoSock Standard Snow Tire Chain
  5. Security Chain Company Radial Chain
  6. Buyer's Guide

In extreme winter conditions, “all-season” tires will not provide dependable traction to get you to your destination. While dedicated winter tires are the best solution to this problem, it may not make sense to many people to buy a new set of tires for a weekend up in the mountains (some areas also require the use of snow chains).

As a temporary way of getting around this problem, tire chains are an option. Simply put, these metal chains wrap around your tires in order to ‘dig’ through slippery surfaces in a way that all-season tires cannot. However, it’s recommended that you drive slowly to avoid any problems with the chains becoming dislodged.

We've chosen a variety of the best tire chains in 2022 available. Performance and durability are very important, as the chains need to effectively allow for driving through snow and ice while not being at risk of falling apart mid-drive. Tire chains have a reputation for being difficult to install and remove, which is mostly well-earned. However, some of our more expensive picks feature installation systems that make the process quick and painless. We've also included budget-friendly options that might not include these features, but make for a good option when you're only likely to need snow chains on a rare occasion.

What are the best tire chains of 2022?

Thule 9mm CG9 Premium Passenger Tire Chain - Best Tire Chain Overall

Although most snow chains require considerable effort to install and remove, the Thule CG9 is designed to make the process as painless as possible. This is thanks to the self-centering and self-tensioning system which eliminates the need to jump in and out of the car to get the chains on, while the brightly-colored assembly links are easy to use and provide added visibility in poor conditions.

The 9mm chain offers good clearance (allowing these to be used on smaller vehicles) and makers for better ride quality. Despite the smaller size of the chain, the high-quality steel construction makes for excellent durability. The Thule CG9 is expensive, but offers top convenience and excellent performance.

Security Chain Company Super Z6 Tire Chain - Runner Up

As you’ve probably assumed from the name, the Security Chain Company (SCC) specializes in snow chain applications for cars and trucks. The Super Z6 is one of SCC’s highest-spec snow chains available, utilizing a state-of-the-art design that does away with the conventional link-type chain. Instead, the Super Z6 comes with a unique cable-type chain that allows for tight-clearance applications.

The Super Z6 is simple to install, and doesn’t require moving the vehicle or fitting extra chain tighteners. The alloy cables provide superior all-around capability than competing link-type chains and the only drawback are their relatively high price when compared to less capable options.

Thule CB12 Tire Chain - Honorable Mention

If you don’t see the point of spending big bucks on a piece of equipment that’s used rarely, if ever at all, consider the Thule CB12. Unlike its more expensive siblings, the CB12 forgoes the frills in exchange for functionality and affordability. Though not equipped with an external quick-release device, this asymmetrical chain is no more difficult to install than the average snow chain (which requires moving the car backwards and forwards).

The chain links provide traction in both deep snow and glare ice, and can be counted on to get you to your destination. When shopping for the Thule CB12, be sure to take into consideration the size that you will need for your particular car or truck.

AutoSock Standard Snow Tire Chain - Consider

Invented as an alternative to bulky tire chains, the Autosock is a fresh take on the snow traction enhancing device. Rather than using hard-riding, noisy chains around the tire, the Autosock uses a flexible, specially-designed textile cover that wraps around the whole tire. The surface is full of traction-enhancing fibers that can gain traction on snow and ice, much like conventional snow chains.

For those concerned about long-term durability, the Autosock is fully reusable and can be machine-washed after use to clean off the dirt lodged into the textile. Best of all, the textile-based Autosock can be folded up and stashed out of the way once it is not needed anymore.

Security Chain Company Radial Chain - Best Tire Chains

For occasional use, the Security Chain Company Radial Chain is a good option. These snow chains feature a simple design and basic functionality; there's no fancy self-tensioning installation system here. Although this does mean that installation and removal is more difficult that some more expensive options, it is always a good idea to practice installing and removing snow chains at home, before you're in an emergency situation. Installation is no more difficult than any other standard snow chains. Overall, for the rare occasion when you might need to use snow chains, these are an affordable option. They might not be the best chains that money can buy, but they are certainly some of the cheapest.

Buyer's Guide

Tire chains are a must-have for those who live in snowy places. These not only protect the tires from damage but also ensure that you can drive your vehicle without much of an inconvenience. However, with so many options available on the market, you might end up buying the wrong type of tire chains. For this reason, we have curated a list of some critical aspects to keep in mind before making a purchase.

Which type of tire chains will work for you?

Diamond tire chains

The conventional tire chain consists of strings of metal chain links arranged in a diamond pattern. If the ground is covered with heavy snow, you should reduce the angles of the diamond vertices for more traction.

The diamond chains create a mesh pattern that spans the whole tire. Because this chain form has a greater surface area in contact with the ground, it provides the highest traction. Thus, if you reside in a place where you experience frequent snow, diamond tire chains are a great choice.

Alternative chains

While they are not strictly a form of snow chain, they accomplish the same thing: increasing tire traction on snow-covered roadways. Chains may be cumbersome and difficult to install. You can choose an alternative to conserve space and make setup easier.

Popular alternative chains include a textile cover made of dense cloth that maintains contact with the ground. Others emphasize a smaller surface area and rely on a thin yet robust substance to grasp the ground.

These are great if you live in a region that does not receive much snow and just want to be prepared for unpredictable circumstances.

Cable tire chains

The cable design is a simplified version of the original tire chains created in 1904 and it utilizes the same steel material. This type of tire chain is comprised of spaced-apart metal cables that connect to a chain that goes around the perimeter of the tire.

It is easier to stop the car when the cables are separated. Typically, these chains feature tiny links, which aids in their weight reduction while maintaining optimal traction.

Because they are often smaller and have a lower profile, they are suitable for casual use in places with moderate snowfall.

Which features of tire chains should you consider?

Configuration of the chain tension

The chain must be very taught to maintain a firm grip on your tire while still grasping the road. Historically, tension had to be applied manually. Self-tightening technology, on the other hand, is a very recent invention.

Ratchets are positioned around the circle of the chain. These evenly placed tools tighten the chain when the car is moved. By removing the slack, you increase traction and save yourself the trouble of tightening them after a few minutes of driving.

Bear in mind that, being a moving component, ratchets are the most prone to breaking and can be difficult to repair. Consider the convenience vs. the risk of chains snapping on the road.

Release mechanism

If you turn into a cleared road, you must remove the chains. Tire chains with an automated release allow for more efficient removal, but know that the quick-release function does not engage on its own.

Typically, you will come across two types of release mechanisms: a lever or a pull mechanism. Both should be concealed and unlikely to be triggered accidentally. This function, when used properly, significantly simplifies dealing with tire chains.

Design of links and chains

Traction varies according to the chain's configuration, whether diamond, ladder, or rectangular. If your car features an anti-lock braking system, diamond patterns and diagonal patterns are ideal choices. Rectangular layouts are more suited to ice and snow-covered roads, but the ladder design is more popular on off-road vehicles.

For links, lighter snows in locations with low humidity benefit from smaller individual chain segments. Heavier snow (such as the sort used to produce snowballs) need bigger individual connections. Assessing this feature requires knowledge of both your vehicle's make and model and the local climate.

Which other factors regarding tire chains should you consider?


When looking for the best tire chains, it’s critical to look at the size first. Consult your owner's manual or conduct an internet search to determine the specifications of your tires.

Moreover, determine the height, breadth, and radius of your tires to ensure they fit properly. Once you've established that the chains are compatible, you may examine further variables.

Clearance of the wheel-well

Another snag is balancing the steel chain's size with the available area for installation. Heavier-duty tire chains are significantly heavier and bulkier.

Certain wheel wells are insufficiently large to accommodate these tires. The chain size that you will usually find on the market is 12 millimeters. However, you can explore the tire chain options in smaller sizes as well.


You will come across chains made of rubber and steel. Rubber is the preferred material to drive vehicles on a dry road, but they are, however, less popular and frequently less effective.

Metal chains may cause damage to dry roads but are best for heavy snow. However, if you remove them when not needed, the tire chains function better. Choose nickel-heavy steel — preferably stainless — to prolong the life of the chains.


Whether you choose rubber, metal, or a chain substitute, you will not leave them on always. Be on the mission of hunting for tire chains that features a conveniently accessible fast-release mechanism to allow you to remove them more quickly.

Choose chains that can be installed without removing the tire and have self-tightening functions. It may seem insignificant, but for a season, you'll appreciate the added ease.


While tire chains are very inexpensive, if you have to replace them every year, the cost may add up. Therefore, while selecting chains, consider their durability.

Chain alternatives, particularly the textile variety, are prone to break the quickest. On the other hand, even with minimal upkeep, metal snow chains may last several years.

How much do best tire chains cost?


A few cables and chains cost around $40. They frequently require manual assembly and may be less durable than more costly items.


If you are planning to buy tire chains for typical passenger cars, you should look for semi-automatic self-tensioning tire chains. However, as the installation process will be less troublesome, you should expect to pay $40 and $100.


Tire chains for SUVs and pickup vehicles are often more expensive due to their size. Additional heavy-duty chains are required for trucks, which can cost up to $200.

Best Tire Chains FAQs

Q: Can you use traction devices rather than tire chains?
A: While alternative traction devices are often less expensive and quicker to install than snow chains, they are more susceptible to breakage on dry pavement or gravel.

Q: At what speed should you drive the vehicle with tire chains on?
A: Avoid excessive speeding while utilizing snow chains under already difficult driving conditions. You should ideally not cross a speed limit of 30 mph to avoid any issues. Chains make braking more difficult, especially on dry surfaces. Slower speeds assist in avoiding problems or accidents.

Q: Do all four wheels of your vehicle require tire chains?
A: Tire chains should be placed on all four tires of all types of vehicles. Utilizing four tire chains ensures the finest possible traction and balance. Problems might arise when just one axle is chained.

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