As seen in:
Security Chain
Super Z6
Thule
12mm
Glacier Chains
V-Bar Twist Link
GudCraft
Size 60 Pair
Peerless
Auto-Trac
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Good

An extremely stable product that suits everything from smaller cars to minivans.

Exceptionally easy to install. Great for passenger vehicles. Durable and long-lasting.

Designed for larger vehicles. Sturdy traction in icy or snowy driving conditions.

Reputation for easy installation. Affordably priced.

Suitable for sedans, trucks, and SUVs. Loose chains are rarely, if ever, a problem.

Bad

Manufacturer recommends a speed limit of 30 MPH.

Stated limit is 30 MPH, but these chains work best when you drive less than 20 MPH.

Installation takes time and can be confusing. Chains are known to loosen over time.

Tightening these chains can be tricky. Grip might not be as good as some other products.

Recommended speed limit of 30 MPH.

Bottom Line

The best on the market. An excellent chain from a stellar company. Chain tightness is auto-adjusted and grip is assured.

Best value for your money. Durability and installation ease are on par with the best. You won't find a better option at this price.

Sturdy and durable. Best suited for larger vehicles. More expensive than others on our shortlist.

An affordably priced, quality package. However, grip does not compare to higher-priced models.

A dependable product that works best if you have ABS and all-wheel drive and travel under 30 MPH.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
48
Hours Spent
1
Experts Interviewed
202
Consumers Consulted

Best Snow Chains

The best snow chains on the market fit securely over your tires and provide the perfect amount of traction and grip on slippery surfaces. It's important to check with your state's regulations before buying snow chains, as they are restricted (and even illegal) in some locations. Our list of top-notch snow chains includes the following contenders, all of which have been rated highly by consumers:

Products we Considered

Security Chain
Super Z6
Thule
12mm
Glacier Chains
V-Bar Twist Link
GudCraft
Size 60 Pair
Peerless
Auto-Trac

Considerations

Type

Whether you're plowing through deep snow or driving over thin ice, the type of grip and traction you get from snow chains varies widely. Four types of snow chains are available for purchase: entry-level, standard, premium, and alternative traction. Entry-level, standard, and premium devices fit passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs. Alternative traction devices are for passenger cars only. Keep in mind the area you live in and the type of driving you do when selecting snow chains for your vehicle. Entry-level chains are optimal in geographical locations that experience occasional snow and ice. Standard snow chains offer a well-rounded traction solution for regions with regular snowfall. Premium snow chains excel in grip and braking performance on ice, making them ideal for daily driving. Alternative traction devices cater to drivers with relatively short exposure to winter elements or who have a very low-profile vehicle. Note: it's best to buy two pair of snow chains at a time (as opposed to one) for optimal handling.

Ease of Use

Most snow chains, also known as "alternative traction devices," are relatively simple to install and use. Premium snow chains tend to be the easiest to install. Standard and entry-level chain installation can be a bit more challenging. Some chains require extra rubber tighteners to keep them securely adhered to the tires.

Link Pattern

Link patterns cater to specific vehicles and/or driving surfaces. Diamond link patterns work in tandem with ABS and traction control systems. Square link patterns promote better traction and durability. Ladder-style link chains vary quite a bit: some are designated for use on snowy/icy surfaces, whereas others excel at gripping on and off-road surfaces. Diagonal link patterns dig into slippery surfaces more readily than conventional chain systems. In general, most chains work best under 30 MPH. However, some can handle speeds of up to 100 MPH, making them ideal for highway driving.

Price

Most chains fall within a range of $40 to $80. However, you'll also find options for under $40 and over $100. These prices often reflect the number of chains being sold (most are sold in sets of two) along with quality and type. Entry-level devices generally cost less than higher-level chains.

Considerations

Type

Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Chain

The Security Chain Company Super Z6 is designed for passenger cars, pickups, and SUVs. More specifically, this product suits vehicles with limited tire clearance. From small cars like the Toyota Prius to larger trucks and minivans, the Security Chain Company Super Z6 easily powers through several inches of snow, ice, and even mud. One owner told us that this product is much more stable than the snow chain product offered at his dealership -- and at a much nicer price, too.

Thule 12mm CB12 High Quality Snow Chain

The Thule 12mm CB12 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chain is a premium product designed for passenger vehicles. You can expect solid results from this traction-focused chain, which serves standard fleet cars just as well as it does family passenger vehicles. Most of the owners we surveyed use this product on sedans, although a handful have successfully used them on minivans and smaller ATVs. Thule chains are exceptionally simple to install and use, making them a great choice for people who are new to snow chains.

Glacier Chains H2828SC Light Truck V-Bar Twist Link Tire Chain

The Glacier Chains H2828SC work best for trucks, vans and SUVs. Unlike other chains that can accommodate many different types of vehicles, Glacier chains are meant for larger vehicles only. As with most chains on the market today, this product provides sturdy traction and enhanced control on snow and ice-covered roads. However, a few owners have cautioned that Glacier installation can be a bit challenging and time-consuming -- at least on the first go-round.

GudCraft Size 60 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chain

GudCraft Size 50 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chains are intended for general sedan use. This product's low operating weight promises exceptional grip in inclement weather without weighing down the vehicle. Owners can use GudCraft chains on a variety of vehicles, from station wagons to compact cars, with excellent results. Of all the top-notch snow chains on our shortlist, this product is one of the easiest to install. It is also one of the most affordable.

Peerless 0153005 Auto-Trac Tire Chain

Peerless 0153005 Auto-Trac Tire Chains cater to a wide range of tire sizes, making them a good fit for sedans, trucks, and SUVs. If you live in a snow-prone area, we recommend that you try out these chains before the season's first snowfall. Peerless chains might initially feel too loose or too tight; several owners told us that they thought they purchased the wrong size because of this. However, after a few trial sessions, these same owners told us that the chains were indeed a good fit and relatively easy to install (as long as you follow the instructions.)

The Thule 12mm chain package includes a hard case, pair of gloves, installation mat, and spare links.
Considerations

Ease of Use

The Security Chain Company (called SCC by loyal customers) has a reputation for selling products that are remarkably easy to install, and the Super Z6 cable chain is no exception. In fact, you don't even have to move your vehicle to properly outfit your tires with this product. Once the chain is on the tire, built-in rubber tighteners take over -- this means you won't have to stop later to re-tighten the product. Newbie owners tell us that, even as beginners, it generally takes them under three minutes to correctly position and install the Super Z6 chains on each tire. If you're a bit more experienced, it should take you even less time -- about two minutes per tire.

Thule 12mm snow chains are exceptionally easy to install, thanks in large part to the color-coded assembly points that make the process simple and efficient. Once you've installed the chains snugly around each tire, simply move your vehicle slowly to complete the process. Moving the vehicle brings the Thule chain's self-centering, auto-tensioning system to life, tightening the chains properly around each tire so you don't have to make adjustments later. For your added convenience, the Thule chain package includes a hard case, pair of gloves, installation mat, and spare links. Most users tell us that it takes five minutes maximum for successful installation. The only negative we found regarding the installation process is that fact that, for some owners, the instruction booklet can be a bit unclear at times.

The installation process isn't as fast or user-friendly with the Glacier Chain H2828SC as some of the other products on our shortlist. Owners tell us you can dramatically reduce your installation time by using the included lever-end fastener, which makes mounting much simpler. Locking side cams ensure a proper fit. However, chain tighteners would be a worthwhile additional investment if you intend to buy this product, as Glacier Chains frequently loosen over time. Because installation can be a bit tricky, you might want to make a dry run -- or two -- to make sure the chains are installed right before relying on this product in foul weather.

Most customers we surveyed told us the GudCraft's strongest suit it its simple, straightforward installation. A convenient, self-centering and self-tensioning system does all the hard work for you, acting quickly to tighten and secure the chains once the vehicle starts to move. Although the majority of users in our survey mentioned that these chains are easy enough to install, it often takes a couple of tries to tighten them just right. One owner confided that for this reason, he would not want to be stuck trying to place these chains on his car's tires in dark, cold weather.

The Peerless Auto-Trac Tire Chain comes with worry-free, self-tightening ratchets that ensure automatic tightening and centering. If you detest stopping on the side of the road to secure your tire chains, we think you'll appreciate the lasting tightness of this product. In fact, this efficient system eliminates loose chains altogether. Experienced users should be able to put these chains on in a matter of minutes. Although the majority of owners praise this product's easy setup and installation, they tell is it's still helpful to perform a few practice runs during good weather to get a handle on the process.

Thule 12mm CB12 chains are exceptionally simple to install and use, making them a great choice for people who are new to snow chains.
Dale
Expert Consultant
Dale
Automotive Super-User

Dale brings over 40 years of automotive industry experience to the BestReviews table. An avid DIY guy, he has worked with, rebuilt, and led maintenance on a variety of vehicles. He’s also well-versed in fleet management and operation. Dale’s past experiences include distinguished service as an officer in the US Army.

Considerations

Link Patterns

Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Chain

The Security Chain Company's Super Z6 diagonal crossmember pattern provides better grip and traction on snow and ice-covered surfaces than conventional snow chains. This SCC product works best with vehicles equipped with anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive, and traction control. Its unique design ensures lower potential damage to your tires "even when abused," according to the manufacturer. From sedans to minivans, owners rave about how confidently these chains grip icy and snowy surfaces without damaging the tire area -- even with minimal clearance. Owners have successfully used these chains on snow-covered mountains and while navigating un-plowed back roads during inclement weather. The Super Z6's chains flawlessly sync with ABS and traction systems to ensure safer driving and aggressive braking when needed. Potential buyers should note that a speed limitation of 30 MPH makes these snow chains best for local driving.

Thule 12mm CB12 High Quality Snow Chain

Thule 12mm snow chains feature dual-sided, D-shaped links that keep your vehicle secured to the road while simultaneously promoting enhanced traction and a longer product life. This unique chain design is known for its longevity and durability, especially when compared to straight or Z cables. Specifically, Thule chains do not seem to rust or wear down as quickly as other types of snow chains. It's best to travel at a speed below 30 MPH with this product. One owner we spoke to was actually troubled by a loud banging sound when he approached 20 MPH. Our conclusion: the slower you drive, the better off you'll be when you use these chains.

Glacier Chains H2828SC Light Truck V-Bar Twist Link Tire Chain

Glacier Chains stick to slippery surfaces like glue thanks to their carbon steel construction, twist link cross chain, and welded V-bar. If you're looking for a durable wintertime solution, we think you'll agree that these chains get the job done on ice and snow-covered roads. These truck-oriented chains work best on vehicles equipped with ABS or traction control.

GudCraft Size 60 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chain

This budget-priced GudCraft chain package has a lot to offer, including a low operating weight and long service life. Unlike most lower-priced chains that feature only a lateral cross, the GudCraft 12 mm chain features a criss-cross design for added stability and assurance on snow and ice-covered roads. The side-to-side pattern is another benefit that helps keep vehicles from sliding in virtually any direction. However, the GudCraft's grip might not be as top-notch as some of the other snow chains on our shortlist. One owner cautions that these chains should be reserved for emergency situations only, as they lack the stronger grip of some pricier products.

Peerless 0153005 Auto-Trac Tire Chain

Owners enjoy smoother rides on rough surfaces and superior traction thanks to the diamond pattern cross chains on the Peerless 0153005 Auto-Trac. These durable chains show minimal signs of wear and tear even after several seasons of consistent use. One happy owner raved to us about how easily his Peerless chains bite through tough layers of snow and ice without pausing or slipping -- even when he's navigating his steep, uphill driveway.

From sedans to minivans, SCC Super Z6 owners rave about how confidently these chains grip icy and snowy surfaces without damaging the tire area -- even with minimal clearance.
Considerations

Price

Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6 Cable Chain

At a cost of $66, the SCC Super Z6 chain falls solidly within the middle of our price range. Content owners praise the fast, easy installation and superb traction of SCC chains. If you'd prefer not to have to stop and adjust/tighten your snow chains in uncomfortable winter conditions, you'll greatly appreciate the Super Z6's built-in rubber tightener, which automatically adjusts the chains after installation. During our research of this product, we often heard phrases like "Exceeded my expectations!" "Handles beautifully in the snow!" and "Peace of mind!" from satisfied owners.

Thule 12mm CB12 High Quality Snow Chain

A price of $76 makes the Thule 12mm chain a slightly more affordable choice than the SCC Super Z6. More than one customer admittedly bought these chains based on high brand-name expectations (Thule has a great reputation for quality), and they were not disappointed. Owners really like the simple installation, longevity, and secure traction you get in deep snow with this product. If you stick to lower speeds, you'll probably agree with owners who enjoy a fairly low noise level on most road surfaces. However, if you choose to drive faster than 30 MPH, you may experience an excessive, annoying vibration.

Glacier Chains H2828SC Light Truck V-Bar Twist Link Tire Chain

With a price tag of $109, Glacier Chains are one of the most expensive options on our shortlist. Is the higher cost worth it? That depends on how important features and ease of installation are to you. This product's features are great: a welded V-bar and road-hugging, twist-link cross chain design promote less stressful travel on roads covered in snow and ice. A lever-end fastener for easy mounting is also included. Other highlights of this product include its heavy-duty construction and tight, secure fit. However, when it comes to ease of installation, owners find that it often takes a bit of trial and error to figure out how to properly install these chains. Performing one or two dry test runs before driving in inclement weather is our recommended course of action.

GudCraft Size 60 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chain

The budget-priced pair of GudCraft chains on our shortlist will set you back a mere $24. Notable features (especially for the price) include a self-centering and self-tensioning system (which automatically ensures a proper fit as the vehicle begins to move), a low operating weight, and a long service life. The chains are easy in install -- another point in GudCraft's favor -- but results are mixed regarding overall quality. To be on the safe side, you might want to consider using these low-priced chains only as backup, or emergency, snow chains.

Peerless 0153005 Auto-Trac Tire Chain

With a price tag of $79, the Peerless 0153005 Auto-Trac Tire Chain is a solid contender on our shortlist. Worry-free, self-tightening ratchets and easy installation top the list of product highlights. Appreciative owners praise the smooth-riding, diamond pattern cross chain design and the traction control it provides. A few of the people we surveyed took these snow chains on mountain trips and were highly satisfied with their driving expedition, noting that they felt very safe and experienced minimal vibration and road noise.

If you'd prefer not to have to stop and adjust/tighten your snow chains in uncomfortable, wintry conditions, you'll greatly appreciate the SCC Super Z6's built-in rubber tightener.

Best of the Best

The Security Chain Company Super Z6 for Passenger Cars, Pickups & SUVs is a well-rounded product that provides excellent traction for a price that isn't over the top. Installation is easy; even beginners can successfully install these chains in a matter of minutes. Regardless of your experience level with snow chains, we think you'll agree that this product is the "Best of the Best."

One of the Super Z6's most charming features is its built-in rubber tightener. This technology conveniently adjusts and re-tightens your chains following installation so that you'll never have to brave the elements to do it manually. In addition to the promise of better traction than conventional tire chains, these SCC chains provide smooth synchronization with anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive, and traction control. Whether your ride is a Toyota Prius, a Ford F150, or something in between, you'll appreciate this versatile design.

These aren't the most expensive snow chains on our list, but they are definitely the best. After conducting deep research on the chains with the highest consumer ratings, we've concluded that the $66 you pay for this product is money well spent. Whether you're driving to school to pick up the kids or taking the family on a weekend getaway in the mountains, we confidently proclaim the Security Chain Company Super Z6 to be the best snow chain on the market today.
Best of the Best
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Whether your ride is a Toyota Prius, a Ford F150, or something in between, you'll appreciate the versatile design of the Security Chain Company Super Z6.

Best Bang for your Buck

It's not the cheapest product on our list, but the Thule 12mm CB12 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chain is the best deal for the price. What sets it apart from the competition? Aside from the fact that it's backed by Thule's five-year warranty (which you probably won't need), this product boasts a top-notch steel construction and smaller gauges that yield a smoother, more comfortable ride -- even on dry surfaces.

If you want snow chains but you've never used them before, do not fear: the Thule's color-coded assembly points make installation a breeze, even for beginners.
Dual-sided, D-shaped links promise better traction on ice and snow, as well as a longer product life. Whether using these chains to plow through residential snow, conquer snowy mountain roads, or carve a path through mixes of slush and dry pavement, owners tell us that these chains really do hold up well over time. If you live in a wintry climate, you'll find the tensioning system especially useful. This system automatically adjusts and tightens the chains over time so that you don't have to suffer from cold hands (and frustration) trying to make the adjustments yourself.


Some less expensive snow chains have similar features, but none offer such a well-rounded package when it comes to performance and reliability. Thule's exceptional reputation and high-ranking status among customers is an added bonus. If you're searching for affordable snow chains that will get you through treacherous winter conditions, Thule 12mm CB12 High Quality Passenger Car Snow Chains are the perfect choice.
Best Bang for your Buck
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Some less expensive snow chains have similar features, but none offer such a well-rounded package when it comes to performance and reliability.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Adrian
    Adrian
    Senior Engineer