Come with us on a ride through the harsh Canadian winter on the best winter tires in Canada.
Canada has some of the harshest winter conditions in the world. This means Canadians need quality winter tires to make it home safely. It also means there’s a myriad of choices on the market. Navigating your way through this maze and coming up trumps isn’t a feat for the faint-hearted.
Therefore, in this article, we will review the best winter tires in Canada as well as go through what to look for in a winter tire.
Now, let’s slide down this slippy slope..
The Best Winter Tires Canada
- Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 (Our Top Pick)
- Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Radial Tire
- Nexen Winguard Sport Performance Winter Radial Tire
- Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter Tires
- Nexen Win-Spike Winter Radial Tire
1. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2
Our top pick and first cab off the rank is the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2. I have personally used the Blizzak DM-V1 for years, and it had been an excellent winter tire. Yet, in this one, Bridgestone’s engineers have improved one thing that the others on our list are lacking. The tread block biting edges are, on average, 10 percent more than the others mentioned below. This gives much higher control and a lot of traction.
When I tested the tire, it was one of the driest days in the whole winter; so, I had the opportunity to see it in dry winter conditions. It was not the best experience I have ever had. I felt the brakes were a bit loose and did not feel too comfortable when turning. Yet, it is still better than a lot of tires on average. I guess the only tire that was better than the Blizzak was the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, which is the second one on our list.
In addition to that, the Blizzak DM-V2 goes a very long way. If you consistently take long trips in winter, you will miss your tire dealer. The durability is outstanding here. The only one that is as good as the Blizzak is the Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter Tires.
Lastly, I would like to talk a bit about its hydrophilic coating. You might have asked why the number of treads is essential to a winter tire when we talked about it. The unique coating allows the water to be kept into the cells and gives much higher control while driving on slushy roads or rainy days.
Overall, it has been one of the best winter tires available in Canada. It has excellent control, durable, and a unique coating. Once you hit the roads in winter, you will not worry about your tires.
- Outstanding traction
- Highly durable
- The hydrophilic coating works awesome
- Problematic dry driving
2. Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Radial Tire
Michelin’s X-Ice Xi3 model is a perfect snow tire that is good for people who want nothing but security. Its traction is almost excellent while giving great control. During our tests, we noticed that the bumps and potholes on an icy road do not affect the tire’s traction and control, which is excellent.
The second point we would like to talk about is its performance on dry or wet roads. As we had a few days to test drive the tire, we noticed that Michelin Xi3 has the best performance on the dry roads, as we mentioned before.
If you drive on a black frost day, Michelin is the go-to tire. However, the lateral stiffness is much higher than the other tires on our list. Consequently, you will feel the potholes harsher than the others. When it comes to the stiffness and driving comfort, it beats the high-performer number 1 choice Blizzak and the number 3 choice, the Nexen Winguard.
The next point is its durability. Michelin is famous for its durable tires. However, due to its technology, the wearing rate is a bit higher than some tires on our list. For example, Blizzak and Goodyear will surely last longer than Michelin, while the Nexens have a bit lower durability than this one.
Lastly, the stiffness allows aggressive drivers to use these tires in multiple winters, while the technology behind it makes it a master in handling and control. Michelin, as a company, has Green X Standard, and the X-Ice Xi3 passes this test. It means it saves your fuel and our mother Earth by decreasing CO2 emission.
All in all, Michelin’s X-Ice Xi3 model is a great winter tire. It is secure thanks to its traction and improved handling. It beats other tires with its dry road performance. Yet, its durability is a bit low when we compare it with others.
- Exceptional dry road performance
- Questionable durability
3. Nexen Winguard Sport Performance Winter Radial Tire
Nexen has been one of my favorite tires, both for its dry tires and winter tires. The Nexen Winguard Sport Performance Winter Radial Tires are of high-quality, quite comfy, and problem-free. So, it is no surprise we have chosen two of their tires on this list.
Just like the others on our list, the Nexen Winguard is a studless type of winter tire. The studless tires are deeper when it comes to their treads. So, it gives much better control in harsh winter conditions. As the roads get slushy or icy, the Winguard’s treads do what it promises to do.
On our tests with all the tires of our mini-list, Nexen beat all the others with its dry braking and wet braking performance. Yet, it performs below average with its wet handling, which might be the case for the good chunk of Canada. The braking part gives you good confidence as you know it will stop in time. The sense of security boosts confidence.
On top of that, slippery road performance is quite the average thanks to its average traction. Its handling and traction are the two things that need improvement here. However, it is much better than the other Nexen, the Win-Spike. For example, the Blizzak had a much better-wet handling performance, and the average driver would go with 1.3 miles per hour faster than the WinGuard driver.
To sum up, we believe the WinGuard entirely deserves its place. It is not the best winter tire you can buy for sure; yet, you can maximize your sense of security with its outstanding braking performance.
- Leading in dry braking
- Awesome durability
- Lower speed in wet conditions
4. Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter Tires
The number four on the list is the Goodyear Ultra Grip, and the name explains it all. This excellent set of tires is worth every penny. There are two things that this tire excels at: Durability and control.
Even though the traction is not the best as this one has the least number of treads on the list. The highest is the Blizzak, and it has about 20 percent more treads than this one. It slows down the car; it makes it harder to save yourself if you get stuck in a muddy pothole.
However, when it comes to durability, Goodyear is top-notch. Just as a comparison, Michelin X-Ice Xi3 has a guarantee of 25,000 miles while the Ultra Grip can go more than 35,000 miles. So, there is absolutely no tire better than that. If you use it in better conditions, only Blizzak can be on par with this one. Durability is a big plus.
Additionally, braking is the Goodyear Ultra Grip’s specialty. Even though it performs worse in handling in every condition, its wet, dry, and snow braking performance is spotless. For damp braking performance, Nexen WinGuard stops in 111 ft while going in 50 mph. On the other hand, Goodyear stops in 108. Even though it is quite close, every foot might matter in some conditions. Its dry braking is just a bit worse than the WinGuard.
As a winter tire, Goodyear specializes in gripping performance while extending its life-time. Its wet handling might not be the best, and control is less than stellar, though.
- Top-of-the-line braking
- Incredible durability
- Low level of traction
5. Nexen Win-Spike Winter Radial Tire
Here comes our second Nexen choice, the Nexen Win-Spike Winter Radial Tire. We think it is better to list why it ranks lower than its fellow WinGuard. The thing with the Win-Spike is that it focuses less on security but more on handling. So, if you want to go faster, Win-Spike is the better Nexen here. However, the handling performance still cannot beat many tires on the list.
When it comes to the traction, it is relatively good, sitting at number 3 on the list. However, rolling resistance is good thanks to the unique technology that Nexen engineers employed. The braking performance, contrarily, is below average.
Let me break it down for you. The snow braking performances of the tires on our list are close to each other. So, we do not think of it as a big thing. Yet, the Nexen Win-Spike has the worst results in ice braking and lateral stability on the ice. This is something you would not expect from a good winter tire.
Lastly, we have seen that dry handling and wet handling are not problematic for this tire. You can go quite fast without losing control, and that is why it made our list.
The Nexen Win-Spike is an excellent tire for its dry and wet handling; yet, if you attach more importance to your security, stability, comfort, there are better options on our list.
- Good dry handling
- Nice traction
- Perfect wet handling
- Overlooked stability
- Less secure than others
First time buying a winter tire? Here is a buyer’s guide for you!
First and foremost, it is the size. You can check the optimal size by looking at the sidewall of the tire. They are in the form of letters and numbers. For example, when you are buying a set of winter tires, we recommend you think of narrower treads. The reason is that they provide better traction and control on icy roads.
Seeing the Tires
If you have time, you had better go on a tire store to see the tires yourself. It does not mean you have to buy them in the stores as they generally have higher prices. However, seeing the tires and touching them will give you a vague idea of its lateral stiffness and flexibility. So, ride to a store and see it yourself.
Snow tires are usually better than the ice tires. They give you higher control and excellent traction. Ice tires are good if you are driving on the highways. However, depending on your budget, you might consider buying a set of reinforced snow tires for maximum control when taking a turn.
Mixing the Tires
So, you have a flat tire in the whole set of tires, and you want to change only one of them? That would surely be a bad idea. Do not mix unless you want to decrease your handling, More importantly, the differential will have to endure more stress, and it might cause more significant problems in the long run.