When you live in an area that gets significant snow fall, you also have winter on the mind. You're either in the winter season, or you know winter is coming in a few months.
With winter you have to worry about a few different things. You need to keep your home warm, you need emergency rations available in case you get snowed in, and you have to prepare you best for trying to get out and about when possible.
If you drive, that means you might want to consider getting some quality snow chains for your car or trucks as that will make your life much easier.
But, which ones should you choose?
What to Look for in Quality Snow Chains
If you've never bought a set of chains for your tires before, it's going to be very beneficial for you to have an idea of what to look for. And, to do that, knowing how they works is step one.
Tire chains are exactly what you think they are. They are a set of chains that wrap around your can or truck's tire and make them look like they're wearing a medieval set of armor.
However, while armor's prime function is to protect what it's on, the chains' prime function is to improve your automobile's traction. They do so by punching through snow to try and make contact with the road.
When a naked tire is sitting on too much snow, or snow that's densely packed, and you hit your accelerator, your tires spin because they are actually making any contact with the asphalt. That's the difference between tires with and without chains.
Next, you have to decide what product is going to be right for your individual needs as not all the option out there are going to be a good choice for you. You'll have to choose between options like chains or cables, and deciding if a 1-year warranty is important or perhaps a 90-day warranty is good enough.
You'll also want to make sure you find something that matches the body style of your automobile. A set that's great for SUVs and trucks might not be so good on a compact.
Reviews of Our Top Picks
There are a lot of options out there, but here are tho choices we feel are the best buys. They offer both quality and value.
Security Chain Company Super Z6
These are never going to steer you wrong. Of all the models that we reviewed, this model from Security Chain Company ticks all the boxes of what you would want: well-made, does the job, and budget friendly.
What's not to like?
About the Super Z6
First things first, you'll notice that these are actually cables and not chains. Some people prefer chains due to the fact there's some limited information that they hold up better against corrosion. But, most of that seems to be antidotal.
Cables's main advantage is that they are very slim, so they're great for automobiles that have minimal clearance between your tires and your car or truck's body.
Please keep in mind that these are sold in different sizes and sets of 2, so for AWD vehicles you'll need 2 sets of the correct size.
Pros & Cons
A more standard type of tire chain is this model from Konig. It's easy to see how they work, and there's nothing fancy here. It's just a design that is tried and true.
About the CB-12
This is a basic chain link model that comes in 12 different sizes, so you should be able to find a set that matches what you need.
They are fairly simple to put on your tires, and you can actually get them on in only a couple of minutes. But, they instructions can be a bit lacking in detail.
However, you can see how easy it is to put these bad boys on here:
If you're looking for a quality manufactured traditional chain link model that's about as hassle free as it gets, the CB-12s are for you. And remember, they come in sets of 2 not in sets of 4.
Pros & Cons
Security Chain Company Radial Chain Series
Another model from SCC, the radial series offer a serious bang-for-your-buck model. If you are on a tight budget, these are something worth taking a good hard look at.
About the Radial Series
This is another cable model, and it's a rather simple design as you can see in the image above. Due to the design, you don't need much clearance between the tires and automobile.
They aren't super simple or quick to put on, but they aren't difficult either. You should be able to have then on and be back behind the wheel in about 15 minutes.
All-in-all, there's not much more to say than they will help you get moving, steer better, and slow down on snowy roads and won't break the bank in the process.
Pros & Cons
Glacier Chains V-Bar Twist Links
When you are looking for something a little more heavy duty, this model from Glacier Chains is a solid choice. Note, these are not going to be something for your Toyota Camry. These are meant for heavier vehicles like vans, SUVs, and trucks.
About the V-Bar
These are not just snow chains. They'll help with all sorts of surfaces like ice, mud, and even sand. That means if you need something for your 4WD off-vehicle, these will more than do the job.
They are touch and 100% chain. There are no cables or plastic to be seen making these ideal for taking a beating.
They are fairly easy to get onto your tires, and they fit like a charm as long as you follow the manufacturer's sizing chart.
Pros & Cons
If you're not 100% sold on the Glacier Chains option above, Konig makes a set that's also good for heavier vehicles. They are on the higher end of what's out there, but they're worth every penny.
About the XB-16
The XB-16s are some serious hardware. They are a bit lighter than the above model. but they are still touch as nails.
But, like the other Konig model, though they are fairly easy to put on, it might take a little time to figure it out the first time. That being said, once you know how, you'll be putting them on and taking them off in a matter of minutes.
Like all the others on here, they come in sets of 2. So, 4x4's and AWD vehicles will need 2 sets.
Pros & Cons
When properly attached, almost any chain or cable is going to improve your automobile's traction. The above picks are what we feel are just a solid combination of decent manufacturing and fair pricing.
However, no matter which you choose, there are a couple of things to remember. For instance, just because you're going to get a little extra traction doesn't mean you should drive like it's a perfectly warm and sunny day with snow on the road. You will still have to drive slowly and cautiously.
Many manufacturers suggest not driving any fast than 30 MPH. To be extra caution, you can cap your speed at 25 MPH.
Additionally, even if the chains or cables you choose are supposed to fit your make and model car or truck, use common sense. If at any time while driving you hear them connected with your undercarriage, stop right away. Something is not right and continuing to drive in that circumstance is very dangerous.
Lastly, driving in unfavorable conditions is dangerous no matter what precautions you take. Be careful out there.