The fundamental problem with slippery surfaces is that the tires spin because they cannot find the necessary grip on the ground. It can result in skidding, slipping sideways, or stopping the vehicle because it cannot move due to the spinning tires. Snow chains provide a remedy here and ensure that even on very slippery and smooth surfaces, such as those that are present after heavy snowfall or when the road is iced over, sufficient traction is available to move the vehicle reliably and safely.

Best Tire Chains For Snow

These are designed for passenger cars, pickups, and SUVs. It comes with a pair of tire chains, and these are easy to assemble. It is equipped with a self-adjusting cable for vehicles and little sidewall clearance. It weighs 5 pounds with dimensions of 16.8 x 5.4 x 5.3 inches. 

Its cable chains offer excellent grip on snow/ice roads. It is effortless to put them on a tire, and it locks and unlocks in 3 points. Disassembly is also easy as installation. The chains can be reused and are durable enough. It comes with rubber strap tensioners that help with easy tightening.

Key features:


  • Cable construction for low clearance

  • Easy to install and remove

  • Built-in tightening device

  • Good traction

The Konig XG-12 PRO is a chain for SUVs, vans, and caravans that tensions itself when starting. The Konig XG-12 Pro was specially developed for 4x4s and SUVs. It has a 12 mm clearance between the inside of the wheel arch and the tread. 

This snow chain is self-tensioning and easy to assemble with just one handle. The micro control system ensures perfect chain tension and a high level of driving comfort. With an innovative track cross design with 2 carbide chainstays, you have optimal grip and improved driving characteristics on snow and ice.

You can also attach nylon bumpers to protect your alloy wheels. They are designed to minimize the contact of the chain with alloy wheels and keep abrasive metal away from them to avoid damage.

They are not cheap, but all the features available in them justifies the price tag.

Key features:


  • Self-Tensioning

  • Quick assembly

  • Nylon bumpers to avoid damage

This product comes with a built-in tensioner, so there is no need to stop and retention the chains manually. Also compatible with ABS, traction control, and AWD systems. They also fulfill SAE class S clearance requirements.

These chains provide excellent traction and are easy enough to use. Due to built-in tensioner, they remain tight, and that’s why it makes very little noise. They can be installed on the tires without moving the car.

One drawback associated with them is that they tangle easily, so you have to untangle after unboxing.

Key features:


  • Built-in rubber tensioning device

  • Easy to install

  • Low clearance design

These are economical tire snow chains available and come up with a self-tensioning device that tightens and centers the chains. They offer excellent traction and smooth driving due to their crossed chain of diamond pattern. Driving on these chains is more comfortable as compared to large linked radial chains.

They satisfy class S clearance requirements. It is effortless to install and remove. They are light in weight as they are made of manganese alloy steel.

But, they are not suitable for large tires and may not sometimes fit due to incorrect chart size.

Key features:

  • Automatic Tensioning

  • Economical

  • Lightweight

They are designed for passenger cars. For light trucks, Glacier Chains Light Truck Tire Chain is also available. Glacier Passenger Cable Tire Chain are SAE class S chains with ladder style chains equipped with a roller made of carbon steel for better traction and durability. These can be used on both FWD and RWD with limited clearance. These are protected against rust with electro-galvanized coating.

They offer less noise and vibration with enhanced stability due to steel rollers that offer better tire to road contact. They are easy to install on a tire and do not loosen after use. So it works perfectly and the steep path is covered with snow.


Drawbacks include less traction as compared to a diamond pattern and are designed for light use. Sometimes it’s not easy to adjust them.

Key features:


  • Less Noise

  • Easy to install

Snow Chains - You Need To Know


The snow chains were invented in America. Harry D. Weed received the patent for his invention in 1904, and today these are still used in extreme winter road conditions. Also, they are used in muddy or sandy terrain to give the tires more traction, because snow and ice were not the primary reason for the patent application, which was made in the summer month of August and in which snow and ice were not mentioned at all. Instead, the inventor Harry D. Weed was looking for a way to move vehicles safely on muddy, muddy surfaces and unpaved roads and prevent them from getting stuck.


Traction is the ability of a vehicle to convert the engine driving force into propulsion. It is done via the wheels of the drive axle and how high the traction depends on various aspects. One of them is the nature of the surface. It is usually not a noteworthy topic on a dry and firm road. However, traction is lacking on slippery surfaces such as ice or snow, or even on muddy or sandy surfaces, and the driving force cannot be converted or can only be insufficiently converted into propulsion. If the vehicle is already moving forward, the lack of traction can also cause it to slide away, break out, or skid, thus increasing the risk of an accident. The use of snow chains increases traction, and the vehicle can be moved well and safely, even on slippery surfaces.

Types of Snow Chains


These are the most commonly used chains that consist of metals chain connected to make a mesh that covers some parts of the tire. Chains provide excellent road traction and last longer. They are designed to use frequently. Here are fewer chances of corrosion as compared to cable chains.


Tire cable chains are steel pieces that make a chain to cover the tire by making webbing. They are lighter, smaller, and low profile compared to metal chains and sometimes come with metal rings to provide better rings. They are not designed to use frequently and offer less traction.

How Snow Chains Work

Especially on uphill and downhill slopes with ice and snow on the road, the wheels spin, the vehicle does not come out of place, or the vehicle that is already moving slips or begins to skid. Snow chains prevent this because they give the tire a better grip, which ensures sufficient traction even on slippery roads.


These are usually attached to the drive axle of the vehicle. They have to fit the respective vehicle and, of course, the tire size. The mounted chains form a network on the tread of the tire, which often runs crisscross the tread. The chain pieces prevent the tires from spinning, giving the vehicle more grip on slippery surfaces. The snow chains are usually made of resistant steel, but there are also chains made of plastic or textile on the market. The chain links are generally very angular and, in some models, have additional gripping bars with ice edges, which ensure particularly high adhesion. Some chains are also equipped with loose, round chain links, the task of which is to free the chain from snow build-up and clumping. Similar to, for example, Shoes with spikes, therefore, develop their effect by helping the vehicle to better grip and grip and avoid slipping away.

In these road conditions, you need snow chains.

Snow chains are especially needed when there are heavy snow and icy roads. If uphill and downhill gradients come into play, the vehicle often cannot move forward without these chains.

Although it must be assumed that due to the winter tires requirement, all vehicles are equipped with appropriate tires that can cope with normal winter road conditions, especially in mountainous regions, winter tires are far from sufficient.

How fast can you drive with snow chains?

There is a permissible maximum speed of 30 mph, regardless of the speed that is generally permitted on the route. This regulation should be observed in any case, since snow chains can have a powerful influence on the vehicle’s behavior. Therefore you should not exceed the permissible maximum speed, but instead, drive slowly and carefully. It is also essential to keep a sufficient distance from other vehicles because the braking distance is extended by the winter road conditions and the type of chain.

The vehicle reacts differently than in normal road conditions when driving with snow chains. On vehicles, with the front-wheel drive, there is a risk of oversteer, with the rear breaking out because the front wheels have more grip due to the snow chains. Vehicles with rear-wheel drive can cause understeer, whereby the vehicle is pushed straight ahead by the rear-drive wheels despite the steering movement. If the speed is too high, the snow chains may break.

How to assemble snow chains?

Those who have never installed snow chains mostly have fears or concerns about it. However, there are no reasons for this because they usually come with a very detailed instruction manual. The assembly is generally completed within a few minutes. You can also get excellent and essential information on this topic from the Internet.

The snow chains are also only mounted on the drive wheels. For a 4WD vehicle, the experts and professionals recommend mounting on all four tires. If you need more information about the snow chains, you can also get information from specialist dealers. If you are unsure whether snow chains are required in the respective country, you should still carry chains for safety reasons.

As mentioned, the acquisition costs are not very high, and the bottom line is that the snow chains also reduce the risk of accidents. So when it comes to the health or even the life of the vehicle occupants, you should put on snow chains instead of taking an unnecessary risk.

How many snow chains do you need, and where are they attached?


As a rule, the snow chains are mounted on the wheels of the drive axle. So you need two snow chains, which you mount on the front tires on a front-wheel-drive vehicle and the rear tires on a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. If the snow chains are to be mounted on an all-wheel-drive vehicle, there is no fixed regulation on whether they should be attached at the front or rear.

If the snow chains are mounted on the front of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, the rear may swing-out. Mounting on the rear tires prevents the tail from swerving, known as oversteer, but can lead to understeer. You may even achieve the best effect with a four-wheel-drive vehicle with four snow chains.

What are mounting systems for snow chains?


With the mounting systems, a primary distinction must be made between snow chains with a rope ring mechanism and snow chains with a bracket system. The snow chains with the rope ring mechanism have the advantage that it is a stand assembly, and the vehicle does not have to be maneuvered during assembly. The chains are often closed behind the tire in the wheel arch by a rope ring, which can sometimes be dirty.


Snow chains with a bracket system generally only need to be pulled over the tire, and the spring bracket closes automatically in the wheel arch. However, it is often necessary here to maneuver the vehicle a bit forward and backward during assembly so that you can put the chain on correctly.

Manual re-tensioning or retightening yourself?

After fitting, the snow chains usually have to be re-tensioned. With snow chains with a rope ring mechanism, this re-tensioning often has to be done manually. Snow chains with a bracket system have the advantage that they are mostly self-re-tensioning and ensure the optimum tension by themselves.

What to look for when buying snow chains?

Size: The selection of snow chains is varied, and certain things should be considered when buying. It is important, of course, that the snow chains have the correct size. Which size you need depends on the size of the tire. If you cannot find this information on the tires, a look at the vehicle registration will also help. In addition to the exact name of the vehicle (make and model), you will also find all the tire size information.

It is, of course, important in winter that you are always on the road with winter tires. In many countries, assembly over a fixed period is required by law. 

Especially in mountain regions (ski regions), there may also be an obligation to fit snow chains. If you are going on a skiing holiday, you should take snow chains with you. You can get these from specialist retailers, online shops, or possibly from a discounter.

Snow chains come in many different designs and price ranges. However, occasionally, if you only need the snow chains, you do not necessarily have to resort to the luxury versions. The various snow chains have already been tested in many tests, and even the inexpensive versions can convince with excellent quality.

As a rule, you will only need snow chains in extremely wintry road conditions. In most cases, it is necessary to attach it on slopes. Since these sections of road are usually not very long, you can also use cheaper snow chains with a clear conscience.

Equipped with right winter tires and snow chains, you will be able to drive up and down on any slope. Whether in Germany or Austria, winter tires are often no longer sufficient on winter roads. However, snow chains are essential to keep the vehicle on track.

Other Considerations


Check your tire’s width, height, and diameter before purchasing snow chains for your vehicle. The snow chain size is crucial because you want to ensure that it fits appropriately and isn’t too large or too small for your tires. The wrong size will only cause frustration and inefficiency.


This is the distance between the tire and the body of the vehicle. Some of the best tire cables are thick and durable. The thicker they are, the higher the clearance. Snow chains need to be able to move with the tire without hitting the body of the vehicle.


For a passenger car, select snow chains that are rated SAE Class S. This means they are intended for newer, front-wheel drive vehicles and lower ground clearances. Chains with other designations are for higher ground clearance. They will not work properly on your daily driver and could damage it.


Rubber chains do not damage roads, and they don’t typically damage a vehicle. They often feature metal fasteners and can work on both trucks and passenger vehicles. Rubber chains aren’t slippery; however, they may reduce clearance. Metal chains tend to give drivers more control, but they can damage roads.


The most popular snow chains are those that are easier to install. They typically include clamp-on installation, which usually involves automatic chain tensioning, as mentioned above. Another type allows you to drape the snow chain over the tire. It does not require connections but may not work as well as clamp-on chains.



Some snow chains are lighter than others. The heavier ones are typically better in severe snow conditions but won’t be as good on fuel economy. Also, heavier chains are less convenient to store or transport in your vehicle. If you keep them in your garage, this may not be a problem.

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