Best Overall
Security Chain Auto-Trac

A high-quality tire chain for passenger vehicles and pickup trucks alike.

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Runner-Up
König XG-12 PRO 255

A heavy-duty tire chain that doesn’t require an owner’s manual to install.

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Best Alternative
AutoSock 697 Snow Socks

A traction device that’s lighter and easier to install than most tire chains.

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Best
Cable Chains
Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6

A cable-style tire chain that requires little clearance to operate effectively.

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Best Value
Glacier 1046 Passenger Cable Tire Chain

A tire chain that meets requirements for cable traction devices.

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If you live in an area that experiences severe winter weather, then you know that winter tires or snow tires will only get you so far. While winter tires or snow tires will undoubtedly serve you better than using all-season tires in snow, winter-specific tires need to be paired with tire chains to be most effective.

The best tire chains are easy to install and have protective features to shield your car from damage. However, non-traditional tire chains have developed over the years and are a viable option. Following extensive research, we believe the traction devices below are the highest-quality and most effective on the market.

#1 Best Overall: Security Chain Company Auto-Trac

The Security Chain Company Auto-Trac meets Class S clearance requirements, even on light trucks. Class S tire chains are designed to be used on passenger cars with restricted wheel well clearances and are deemed to be regular, non-reinforced passenger tire chains. This snow chain is easy to install and can be removed in mere minutes.

A diamond pattern cross chain provides a smooth ride and traction in the worst winter driving conditions. Self-tightening ratchets automatically tighten and center the chain links on the tire. The chain links themselves are made from manganese alloy steel, which ultimately reduces the chance of fly-off during usage. It should be noted that chain tensioners are not necessary and that you shouldn’t exceed 30.0 mph with these chains on your snow tires.

Our Rating: 5 out of 5

Key Features

  • Meets Class S requirements
  • Self-tightening ratchets
  • Made from manganese alloy steel

What Customers Are Saying

Over 2,300 customers have left reviews on Amazon, giving this tire chain an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Many reviewers speak to how easy these tire chains are to install and remove. One customer claimed she managed to install these chains on the side of a mountain in the dark without much issue. Many reviewers credit these tire chains for keeping them safe on the road during the winter months.

#2 Runner-Up: König XG-12 PRO 255

Quick to install, the König XG-12 PRO 255 is designed to fit SUV tires. These snow tire chains feature anti-scratch nylon bumpers that protect alloy wheels. The winter tire chains themselves offer 12.0 millimeters of inside and on-the-tread clearance. This tire chain also comes in a variety of tire sizes, so you won’t have a problem finding a chain size that fits your truck tires.

A patented self-tensioning chain system and micro-regulation system make fastening these tire chains quick and easy. The chain itself features a specially designed pattern with welded double-traction plates to give your car traction off-road and in the snow.

Our Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Key Features

  • Anti-scratch nylon bumpers
  • Patented self-tensioning system
  • Welded double-traction plates

What Customers Are Saying

Nearly 500 customers have left reviews on Amazon for these tire chains. Many are quick to point out that these chains are incredibly easy to secure to a tire thanks to the self-tensioning system. Several reviewers also note how heavy-duty these tire chains are.

#3 Best Alternative: AutoSock 697 Snow Socks

The AutoSock 697 Snow Socks are the best alternative to tire chains on the market, as they offer the same functionality while also being significantly lighter than a traditional tire chain. As tire chain laws vary from state to state, there’s no guarantee that you’ll legally be able to use them in your area. However, the AutoSock 697 is approved for use in all 50 states by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

This specific model of snow sock is designed for SUVs and lightweight pick-up trucks – however, other models are available for a variety of other automotive vehicles, such as ATVs. The snow sock itself is made from a lightweight and high-grade woven fabric with an elastomer that resists damage from constant pressure and temperature changes. It should also be noted that this traction device is compatible with advanced braking systems.

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Key Features

  • USDOT approved in all 50 states
  • Made with an elastomer
  • Compatible with advanced braking systems

What Customers Are Saying

Customers rave over this traction device, as it’s notably lighter and less clunky than traditional tire chains. Some customers even claim that these snow socks are easier to install than cable-style tire chains. One reviewer notes that these were a magnet for confused older men trying to understand what in the world was on her wheels. Negative reviews complain the snow socks ripped to shreds in deeper snow.

#4 Best Cable Chains: Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6

Without requiring any movement of your vehicle, the Security Chain Company SZ143 Super Z6 is easy to install due to a split outside cable with two fastening positions. This tire chain is compatible with anti-lock brakes, traction control, and various other electronically monitored control systems. The Super Z6 is also incredibly low-profile, as it needs only roughly half the amount of operating space as typical Class S products.

A built-in rubber tightener means you won’t need to pull over to retighten the chains on your tires while a diagonal crossmember pattern provides optimal traction in snow. Traction coils are manufactured from alloy steel to increase the lifespan of this product.

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Key Features

  • Meets Class S requirements
  • Built-in rubber tightener
  • Compatible with electronically monitored control systems

What Customers Are Saying

Upwards of 4,600 customers on Amazon have left reviews for this tire chain, totalling up to an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. One reviewer notes his family had to be escorted to their cabin due to a snowstorm and that these tire chains, on his Honda Odyssey, had his car outperforming the AWD vehicles in their convoy. Negative reviews complain about the chains breaking after little to no use.

#5 Best Value: Glacier 1046 Passenger Cable Tire Chain

The Glacier 1046 Passenger Cable Tire Chain is made from alloy and carbon steel. An electro-galvanized coating is featured on the cable to make it resistant to rust. The steel rollers increase tire-to-road contact, providing less noise or vibration and offering optimal stability in wintry conditions. It should also be noted that this tire chain meets Class S requirements.

This ladder-style cable chain meets all 50 states’ requirements for cable traction devices, meaning regardless of where you live in the U.S., you will be able to legally use these tire chains. These lightweight and easy-to-install cable tire chains are compatible with both front- and rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

Our Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Key Features

  • Meets Class S requirements
  • Electro-galvanized coating
  • Made from alloy and carbon steel

What Customers Are Saying

Hundreds of customers have left reviews for the Glacier 1046, with the reviews being overwhelmingly positive. Many reviewers speak to how low-profile these tire chains are and how necessary they are if you drive a Subaru. One reviewer notes that his two-wheel-drive truck can drive in conditions his AWD truck can’t when he uses these tire chains. Negative reviews forewarn others that the fit and sizing is off with these chains.

Tire Chains Buyers Guide

Where and when you use tire chains depends on what state you live in. Several states have similarly written tire laws that allow tire chains or snow tires to be used by any vehicle when required for safety due to snow, rain, or other slippery conditions. These states include:

AlabamaLouisianaOklahoma
ArizonaMaineRhode Island
DelawareMichiganSouth Carolina
GeorgiaMississippiSouth Dakota
IowaNew JerseyTexas
IllinoisNew MexicoWest Virginia
IndianaNorth CarolinaWisconsin
KansasNorth Dakota

Keep in mind that some of these states have restrictions on when you can use tire chains, restrictions on the size of the tire chains, and even restrictions on the type of vehicle you may use tire chains on.

States Without Tire Chain Laws

There are a few states and a district within the U.S. that don’t have any written laws concerning the usage of tire chains. These states include Florida, Hawaii, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington D.C.

Our Review Standards

To select the five tire chains in this review, our team searched Amazon and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors like customer ratings, prices, superlatives, and Prime shipping eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

*Data accurate at time of publication.