The Most Satisfying Tire Brands

CR's exclusive survey covers 38 brands, from BFGoodrich to Yokohama

Person with hand on tire tread in store Photo: Getty Images

There are substantial differences between the most and least satisfying tire brands, according to our recent survey of more than 15,000 Consumer Reports members who reported on tire purchase and/or installation experiences at walk-in chains, online retailers, independent tire retailers, and car dealerships between fall 2019 and fall 2020.

Tires that live up to their promise of performance or longevity tend to have higher satisfaction ratings—much like we’ve seen from our surveys on car owner satisfaction.

The CR members we surveyed also revealed two considerations that were most important to replacement-tire shoppers: all-weather grip (54 percent) and brand (43 percent). Tied for third place, at 40 percent, were handling and manufacturer treadwear warranty.

Grip and handling are difficult to judge in a store based on sales staff advice and marketing taglines. However, the Consumer Reports’ tire ratings make it clear. Our yearlong tire testing process includes a number of grip-related evaluations, including wet and dry braking, handling, and snow traction. The ratings, based on that extensive testing, can take the guesswork out of shopping.

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“Our extensive testing reveals how tires compare in every category based on several key measurements,” says Gene Petersen, tire program manager at Consumer Reports. “But how happy customers are when they buy the tires provides an interesting and useful complement to findings from our track.”

With our latest survey, we focused on satisfaction by tire type, whereas in the past we looked at satisfaction across all types. This provides more targeted guidance that can help shoppers.
Below we present the brand satisfaction ratings among all-season, all-terrain, and summer tires.

All-season tires are by far the most popular. In this survey, 84 percent of CR members who purchased tires bought all-seasons. Nine of the 36 all-season brands we rated claimed our highest satisfaction rating, and they come from just a handful of corporations: Centennial, Continental, General, Michelin, Nokian, and Vredestein.

Almost every brand in the all-terrain tire category received our top satisfaction mark. Uniroyal was the only outlier, but even its satisfaction was rated as above average.

Satisfaction runs high in the winter/snow category, with three-quarters of the 28 tire brands getting high marks. (We’ll cover this in more detail in a future article.) The others were above average, excluding Uniroyal, which had an average score.

The summer tires category had more differentiation, with 10 of 25 brands earning the highest rating for satisfaction. The four lowest-rated brands were judged to be average.

Some of these satisfaction ratings are in line with our test findings. It’s no surprise: Well-performing products tend to satisfy. However, satisfaction may be influenced by perceived value, whether the product fulfills a marketing promise, and brand characteristics such as grip in different conditions, noise, and tread life. These are all elements that aren’t part of our tests.

The rating for some specialty brands can be better understood when looking beyond their satisfaction scores. Tires that focus on a particular niche, such as off-roading or value, may be seen as more satisfying for fulfilling their advertised mission.

The tire brands we list below are presented in order of how they rate for overall owner satisfaction, starting with the top-rated brands. Detailed test results can be found on the tire model pages.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.