Planning to buy new tires? Choosing quality tires means more than just finding the best tire prices online. Experts say choosing the right all-season tire depends on the kind of automobile you own, how aggressively you drive, and the climate where you live:

  • General all-season tires are fairly cheap. You’ll spend about $65 each to buy tires that will get you through the daily commute in all weather.
  • Specialty tires cost more. You’ll spend anywhere from $100 to $150 or more to buy tires for winter driving or sports cars.
  • Tire packages, which bundle 2 or 4 tires plus worthwhile extras like a road hazard warranty, can sometimes be more cost-effective than buying tires individually.
  • Prices for new tires can vary widely online, so if you see a good deal don’t hesitate.

If you drive a full-size pickup or other large vehicle, see our review of the best truck tires and ATV tires for more recommendations. Our review of winter tires provides picks for drivers in regions that are prone to cold weather, snow, and ice.

See full Buying Guide

Our Top Pick

General Tire Altimax RT43
Our Picks
General Tire Altimax RT43

Pros:

  • Good performance under all driving conditions.
  • Better-than-average snow traction in tests.
  • Strong performance in comparative Tire Rack testing; among the top in its category in other independent tests.

Cons:

  • Driver reviews, while positive, are a bit more mixed than with other models.
  • Ride is a little noisy, some drivers complain.
  • Wet braking could be better, but about typical for an all-season.

Takeaway: You can find all-season tires that might last longer, but according to professional tests and owner reviews of cheap tires online you'll still get your money's worth with these General Altimax tires. The ride is comfortable, though a touch noisy at times, and performance is excellent when compared to other options in this price range; in Tire Rack testing they handled better than more expensive models. Snow traction — an issue with most all-season tires — is also better than the norm. Experts like this tire a lot, with some saying the General Altimax RT3 definitely gives our top-runner, the Michelin Defender T+H, a run for its money, especially since a full set comes in at a fraction of the cost. Treadwear is warrantied to 75,000 miles, but several owners say they got only about 50,000 to 60,000 miles before the tires reached their limit. Still, most insist that they're very satisfied with the ride and handling of these all-seasons.

Michelin Defender T+H

Pros:

  • Long treadwear warranty and even better tread life, according to independent tests.
  • A top all-season tire recommendation by Consumer Reports.
  • Responsive handling.
  • Relatively low road noise.
  • Named best in category by Tire Rack customers.

Cons:

  • Doesn't test as well as some other all-season tires on wet roads.
  • Less comfortable ride than some tires.
  • Only so-so fuel economy.

Takeaway: It's not the cheapest all-season tire, but if you need to buy tires, the Michelin Defender T+H is one of the best for the money, according to both consumer product experts and tire professionals. Its 80,000-mile treadwear warranty is one of the longest around, and long-term road tests suggest that these tires can go even longer before needing to be replaced. While some experts have some quibbles with this Michelin's performance when braking on wet roads, owner comments don't indicate that this is an issue in real-world driving. It's an exceptionally quiet tire and provides a ride that has been described as "athletic" by Tire Rack testers, but at the expense of some ride comfort compared to other tires in its class.

Continental PureContact LS

Pros:

  • Outstanding tread life, according to owners.
  • Very good handling in wintry conditions.
  • Low road noise.

Cons:

  • Won't satisfy drivers looking for a true performance tire.
  • Pricier than standard all-season tires.

Takeaway: A grand touring tire splits the difference between a standard touring tire and a performance tire, and reviewers say the Continental PureContact LS is the best tire for those who want an upgraded driving experience. This tire carries a V speed rating, meaning it can travel as fast as 149 mph, and professional testers generally find no shortcomings in key criteria under different driving conditions. The PureContact LS performs above average (for an all-season) in ice or snow, and durability is top-notch, too — it carries a 75,000-mile treadwear warranty but was able to go 90,0000 miles before needing replacement in one long-term test. Because this is a newer model, owner reviews are fairly limited, but what feedback exists is mostly good, and the model it replaces earned positive marks from both experts and owners. While diehard driving enthusiasts may not get the thrill that a true performance tire delivers, less aggressive daily drivers should be quite pleased with this luxury tire's capabilities. Continental tires also come with upgraded service perks, like 3 years of complimentary flat-tire roadside assistance and replacements should tires be damaged on the road within the first 12 months.

BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S

Pros:

  • Outstanding handling under all road conditions, according to professional testers.
  • One of the better performers in this class on snow and ice.
  • Strong reviews from experts and owners alike.

Cons:

  • Not great for fuel economy.
  • More road noise than some other tires in this category.

Takeaway: If you're looking for cheaper specialty tires, experts and drivers say you won't sacrifice too much by opting for the BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S. Like other quality  performance tires, the Goodrich carries a W (168 mph) or Y (186 mph) speed rating depending on size, and handling is strong and controlled under all weather conditions, including wet and winter driving. The 45,000-mile treadwear warranty is typical for this class, and reviews indicate it should easily meet or even beat that mark. Testers at Tire Rack say "some noticeable tread growl is always present," but, as long as you don't mind road noise that's a little louder than the norm, the bang that's offered for the buck — and the balance of responsiveness and grip — is pretty impressive.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+

Pros:

  • Solid traction, handling, and braking under all conditions.
  • Strong winter performance.
  • Best in its class in Tire Rack track tests.
  • Good tread life.
  • Exceptionally positive owner reviews.

Cons:

  • Ride is too firm for some drivers.
  • Most costly tire we recommend.
  • Fuel efficiency is not the best.

Takeaway: The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is the most expensive model we reviewed, but it’s the best tire a performance-oriented driver could need, including W and Y speed ratings in different sizes. In professional closed-track tests, handling and braking is at the top of the charts on dry pavement and nearly as good in wet and wintry conditions. And this tire should have no issues meeting or even exceeding its 45,000-mile tread life warranty, according to long-term tests. Drivers adore the Pilot Sport A/S 3+, rating it tops in Tire Rack's large consumer survey, with professional testers there saying it "sets the bar for performance from an all-season tire." In fact, experts across the board struggle to find anything bad about these quality tires.

Atlas Force HP

Pros:

  • Very low price, especially for a performance tire.
  • Good handling in all weather conditions.
  • Designed for low rolling resistance and better gas mileage.

Cons:

  • Noise and ride comfort is middling.
  • Limited driver feedback.

Takeaway: Professional reviewers of cheap tires online say the Atlas Force HP performs well, especially considering its low price. These are high performance tires with a V speed rating, meaning they have a top limit of 149 mph and are designed for aggressive driving. The tires are responsive under wet and dry conditions, slightly less so in wintry weather but still decent. The 40,000-mile treadwear warranty is standard for performance all-season tires, and long-term road testing indicates that these Atlas tires should exceed that. The biggest drawback is that owner reviews for this tire are relatively few, as is the case with many cheap all-season tires, but expert assessments suggest most users would not be disappointed with this deal.

Buying Guide

Choosing an All-Season Tire

For most drivers, all-season tires are the best choice because they perform well under a variety of conditions. You can buy new tires online for less than $60 apiece for a set of quality tires or more than four times that amount for high-performance rubber. Although some experts recommend buying the same kind of tire that your vehicle had when new, many say that's not essential — especially if you can find a better-rated replacement by a different manufacturer for less money. Virtually every tire maker offers all-season tires. That includes major tire brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, BF Goodrich, Continental, and Pirelli, as well as lesser-known monikers like General, Cooper, Hankook, Ironman, Atlas, Federal, and GT Radial. You can buy tires online at retailers such as Discount Tire or TireBuyer.com.

If you drive an SUV, crossover, minivan, or light truck, some of the tires in this review will fit your vehicle, as well. However, a better choice may be a truck tire, especially if you have a full-sized or four-wheel-drive model or you haul heavy cargo on a regular basis. If you like to venture off the blacktop, you'll also find all-terrain and off-road tires in our truck tire report. If you live in a cold-weather region and need a tire that can keep you safely on the road when snow is at its worst, see our separate review of winter tires.

Standard or Touring All-Season Tires

If most of your driving involves the daily commute, shuttling kids, and an occasional weekend road trip, experts say discount all-season tires are all your car needs. While tire prices on major tire brands sit at the lower end of the spectrum, they offer excellent safety and reliability under a variety of driving conditions. They do trade off maximum dry road grip, however, in exchange for better performance when the weather isn't ideal. Nowadays, many use long-wearing rubber compounds that provide excellent durability and have low rolling resistance — meaning they're designed to reduce friction where the rubber literally meets the road — for better gas mileage. These tires are found in T and H speed ratings, meaning that they'll provide plenty of oomph for typical (and some not-so-typical) highway driving. See below for more on speed ratings.

Performance All-Season Tires

If you've got a sporty coupe or drive aggressively, you'll want tires designed for performance. Things do get a bit dicier on snow and ice, and drivers with performance tires are advised to tread more carefully on wintry roads. Performance tires generally carry higher price tags along with their higher speed ratings, up to Z, and they also have shorter lifespans than all-season tires; whereas treadlife warranties for standard tires to run as high as 100,000 miles, performance tires typically top out at 80,000 max. If you're not sure if a standard or performance all-season tire is right for you, another alternative is a grand touring tire. These tires have characteristics of both types of tires. You'll find higher speed ratings than on standard tires, but tread life is comparable for major tire brands. Their overall handling splits the difference, more or less, under most driving conditions.

Run-Flat All-Season Tires

If you drive a newer car that lacks a spare (as some models do), a run-flat tire is pretty much a requirement. Run-flats are built in such a way that they don't deflate when punctured, and can be driven for limited distances — usually about 50 miles — until they can be repaired or replaced. Unfortunately, expert and owner feedback for run-flats from most major tire brands fall below that of other types of tires, but if your car came fitted with run flats and you're searching for viable replacements we do recommend a Bridgestone tire that is among the better choices.

Ultra-High-Performance Tires/Summer Tires

Sports cars and some luxury vehicles need to buy tires that maximize grip and braking at high rates of speed. Ultra-high-performance (UHP) all-season tires, are designed to withstand the abuse that powerful engines can dish out while keeping drivers safe in wet or dry conditions, with at least minimal capabilities when facing the wintry mix. However, if you own a sports car or a high-end sedan and live in an area that never gets snow or ice — or you're prepared to change to winter tires religiously before snow hits — a three season, or summer tire, is another option. Since they don't have to make design compromises to factor in handling on snow and ice, tire manufacturers can craft these products to offer peak performance on dry and wet roads. But, again, these tires should never be driven in winter weather. Period. Not surprisingly, price tags tend to be higher on both ultra-high-performance tires and summer tires (although we were able to find some quality options that won't break the bank); also, both carry lower treadlife expectancies than the average all-season tire, typically as little as 40,000 miles.

What We Considered

Tires look pretty much the same from the outside, regardless of brand, and it can be hard to tell one tire from another. Differences are hidden behind the rubber in the tires' construction and in the invisible compounds used to build them. Tread patterns and other external markers are unique to each model, as well, but most drivers would be hard-pressed to distinguish even these features. Marketing for nearly every all-season discount tire lays claim to the same performance qualities: tight grip on wet, dry, and light to moderately snowy surfaces; excellent water evacuation to resist hydroplaning; responsive and confident handling; and quiet riding comfort.

To get at the full story on the best cheap all-season tires and tire prices, we first consulted expert assessments. Without question, the most comprehensive source of testing for all-season tires is Consumer Reports. While only subscribers have access to the detailed information behind the paywall, the site often publishes free articles that reveal the top finishers in recent testing. Another good source for hands-on quality assessments is Tire Rack, a reputable retail site that conducts rigorous, well-documented tire tests. The only significant downside is that their tests are limited to brands that they carry (although that still encompasses the majority of the discount tire brands sold in the United States). We also consulted reviews for cheap tires online by automotive industry experts, including Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Auto Guide, and others.

Driver feedback completes the picture when it comes to the performance of these tires over the long-term. Tire Rack has by far the most comprehensive database of user feedback and tallies ratings to identify which tires rank at the top in their categories based on these scores — which often represent impressions drawn after tens of thousands or more actual driving miles. We also turned to online consumer reviews at major retailers, like Amazon, Walmart, Simple Tire, Tire Buyer, Discount Tire, and Tire Test, as well as on manufacturers' websites. Repeat purchases are a good marker of buyer satisfaction, and we read many all-season tire reviews for the models on our list from drivers who had replaced worn tires with the same model or an updated version. Many also report buying a set for every car in the family.

Sizing

Advertised tire prices generally reflect the smallest size for each line. Choosing the right tire means first and foremost making sure you get the proper fit. Fortunately, that's as simple as looking at the tires you have currently. All tires carry a size code on their sidewall that indicates the three primary factors by which they are rated. For example, if a tire size is stamped 175/70R13, the first number indicates the width in millimeters across the widest part of the tire. The second number represents the ratio of sidewall height to tire width, while R denotes radial construction (which rules the road these days). The final number is the wheel's diameter in inches. Optionally, some may carry prefix before the tire size, either P for tires intended for passenger car use, or LT, indicating that they are designed for light trucks. Manufacturers specify the recommended tire size for each vehicle on a printed decal located on the doorframe on the driver's side. You can also upsize tires (for better looks or performance) or downsize them (for cost savings), but only within strict limits.

Load Index and Speed Rating

In addition to size, all tire sidewalls carry a second rating immediately after the sizing code comprised of a number and a letter. For instance, a tire might be marked 82T, and the number stands for the load index and the letter represents the speed rating. Load indexes for most passenger cars and light trucks range from 70 to 126, indicating a maximum passenger and cargo weight of from 739 to 3,748 pounds. Tires are rated for speed according to a letter system. For example, L signifies a maximum speed of 75 mph — most applicable to light trucks and off-road vehicles — and as the alphabet goes on, the maximum speed threshold increases. T-rated tires, which are designed for most family cars and vans, have a maximum sustained speed of 118 mph and Y-rated tires, indicating a tolerance for 186 mph, are a fit for high performance cars. (Oddly, the maximum speed for H-rated tires, 130 mph, places that letter between U and V.) A higher speed rating generally suggests better handling, but high-performance tires (rated V, W, Y, or Z) typically manage those higher speeds at the cost of less effective performance in wintry conditions and, as noted above, shorter tread life.

Treadwear

How well a tire grips the road is largely a function of its tread design and materials. Elevation and climate affect a tire's life expectancy, as do the speed rating, individual driving style (do you corner aggressively or take it slow and steady?), and maintenance (are those tires properly inflated and rotated/aligned on schedule?). Regardless, drivers rightly expect tires to last for thousands and thousands of trouble-free miles. Manufacturers provide a limited treadwear warranty for each of their tires, which is a rough estimate of how many miles a tire can roll under optimal conditions before the tread wears down. It's worth paying attention to the tire's estimated tread life, because a slightly pricier model could yield savings by lasting longer than the cheaper alternative. Keep in mind also that while replacements may be offered (on a pro-rated basis) for tires that don't meet the thresholds specified, collecting on these warranties is often a tricky business: Most manufacturers specify that the tread must have worn down to 2/32 of an inch prior to reaching the warrantied mileage, and the driver must prove the tires have been maintained according to manufacturer guidelines.

Handling, Traction, and Braking

To evaluate car and truck tires, professional automobile reviewers put vehicles through rigorous maneuvers on test tracks specifically designed to mimic real-world driving conditions in dry, wet, and wintry weather on a variety of surfaces, ranging from pristine four-lane asphalt highways to bumpy single gravel lanes. Experts assess how responsive a car is in emergency situations, such as avoiding obstacles that suddenly appear in the driver's path, emergency braking from 50 to 60 mph, and how well tires resist hydroplaning — or losing contact with the pavement — when you hit a patch of water on the road. They also test how well the vehicle clings to the pavement when taking turns at high rates of speed. All of the tires we recommend earn top marks from pros for handling under typical driving conditions.

Particularly concerned consumers might also look to the UTQG grades embossed on a tire's sidewall for an "official" assessment of its abilities. The Uniform Tire Quality Grading System (UTQG), established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a system that comprises three measures of tire quality: treadwear, with a baseline of 100; traction, with a scale of AA, A, B, or C; and temperature resistance, with a scale of A, B, or C. The grades, are determined by the manufacturer based on specific test criteria. Critics of the system argue it lacks precision and fails to provide consumers with truly meaningful information. Still, UTQG ratings can be helpful when comparing the relative strengths and weaknesses of different all-season tires from the same manufacturer. For example, the useful life of a tire with a treadwear rating of 400 theoretically should be twice as long as a tire with a rating of 200.

Fuel Economy

A tire's rolling resistance influences gas mileage. All tires create friction where the tire tread meets the road surface, largely based on how large the contact area is, the tread design, and the tire materials. As a result, a vehicle must expend a certain amount of energy to overcome this friction as the car travels, affecting fuel economy. Many hybrids and some sedans come equipped with special low rolling resistance tires, and manufacturers are now making a point of designing tires to increase mileage per gallon. Some testers assess tires' fuel efficiency by measuring fuel usage over a test period using the same vehicle outfitted with different tires on identical test courses. Others, such as Consumer Reports, measure it using test equipment, such as a dynamometer.

Road Noise and Ride Comfort

No matter how well insulated your vehicle is, the tires will transmit some noise from the pavement to the passenger compartment. How much you'll hear depends not only on the materials used in the construction of the tire but the road itself and whether it's made of concrete or asphalt. Likewise, some tires are better than others at absorbing the vibration and bumps from uneven road surfaces. The better they are, the smoother your ride will be. Both of these factors are highly subjective.