Whether you’re venturing down paths less traveled or living on a rural dirt road, all-terrain tires are a must.
Not to be confused with all-weather options, all-terrain tires are designed to withstand the rigors of off-road travel. Instead of worrying about getting stuck in less-than-stellar conditions, you can drive on most surfaces confidently.
All-terrain tires are a worthy upgrade for any truck or SUV. But, it’s not a cheap investment by any means!
These tires are ultimately going to keep you safe on your adventures, so it’s important to take some time choosing the right ones.
Luckily, we’re here to help!
In this guide, we’re going to help you find the best all-terrain tires for 20-inch rims. Take a peek at our comparison chart below to see some of our top picks.
Top 5 All-Terrain Tires for 20-Inch Rims 2020
1. Falken Wildpeak AT3W
2. Nitto Terra Grappler G2
3. Nexen Roadian AT Pro RA8
4. Toyo Tire Open Country M/T
5. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
- Top 5 All-Terrain Tires for 20-Inch Rims 2020
- 1. Falken Wildpeak AT3W – Best All-Around Choice
- 2. Nitto Terra Grappler G2 – Best for Light-Duty Trucks
- 3. Nexen Roadian AT Pro RA8 – Best for Inclement Weather
- 4. Toyo Tire Open Country M/T – Best Product for Mudding
- 5. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 – Best for Sidewall Protection
- What Makes All-Terrain Tires Different?
- Key Features to Look For
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Falken Wildpeak AT3W – Best All-Around Choice
The treads on these tires are a lot more aggressive than what you’d see on standard models. But, it’s not so over-the-top that it causes performance issues on the road. The treads do a good job of channeling moisture and debris away from the contact point. They even extend to the side. The sidewalls are capable of gripping onto rocks without any issues. Thanks to the lower sidewall design, they’re primed to help you get out of sticky situations.
These Falken tires are a good option for most half-ton trucks. They look great and perform well in any driving condition.
2. Nitto Terra Grappler G2 – Best for Light-Duty Trucks
There are a few subtle details worth mentioning. First, these tires have sizable sipes. They’re quite noticeable even from a good distance. But, the design of the sipes does wonders in inclement weather. It improves traction on smoother surfaces and can even provide grip on icy roads.
Pair that with the staggered shoulder lugs, and you have tires that work great on off-road paths. Overall, the tires offer respectable performance capabilities. They might not work well on heavy-duty vehicles, but they’re a good choice for light-duty trucks.
3. Nexen Roadian AT Pro RA8 – Best for Inclement Weather
The treads on this tire are deep and strategically placed. As you’re driving, the treads help to redirect water away from the force of impact on the road. This maximizes the surface contact area, which enhances grip.
As if that weren’t enough, every single tread surface has a sipe. There aren’t as many sipes on this tire as there are on some other models. But the sipes can do a lot to create more bite on snowy or icy roads.
If you’re looking for tires that can handle some inclement weather, this option may be for you. The tires have some great features that can give you a bit more confidence behind the wheel.
4. Toyo Tire Open Country M/T – Best Product for Mudding
The treads are very deep and considerably wider than what you would find on a traditional passenger tire. As a result, mud can easily travel through the grooves as you drive. This helps to prevent and grime from accumulating and causing slip.
That’s not all. You’ll notice that the treads are sharp, too. There are no curved edges. This creates some extra bite to get over rocks and other terrain challenges.
The only downside of these tires is the performance on smooth roads. They’re built well for off-road adventures, but the rugged nature can make normal travel feel a bit uncomfortable. They are on the louder side and can produce a bit of shake.
Even still, these tires are worth your consideration. They do not disappoint in off-road environments.
5. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 – Best for Sidewall Protection
There’s a lot to like about the tread design for these tires. Not only are you getting aggressive treads on the parts of the tire that make contact with the ground, but you’re also getting some on the sidewall. Traction bars on the upper portion of the sidewall give you an enhanced grip when you’re in soft conditions. The bars even taper down to create a serrated edge on the shoulder of the tires. This can prove to be useful when you’re driving through soft soil or snow.
With that rugged tread design comes some lasting durability, too. The sidewalls are heavily protected with thicker rubber. They resist bruises, punctures, and abrasive damage. The tires are a good investment that can last.
What Makes All-Terrain Tires Different?
Did you know that there are several tire varieties out there? If you’re like most people, you probably never gave it any thought. But when you need a bit more grip, the shortcomings of standard tires start to be more noticeable.
To see how all-terrain tires are different, let’s look at two of the most common options drivers use. These include touring tires and all-weather tires.
Typically, high-end vehicles come standard with touring tires. These are the tires you’ll see on rides coming straight from the manufacturer. There are some exceptions and upgrades available. But for the most part, touring tires are the norm.
These tires are specifically designed for driving on smooth roads. They have reasonable traction in wet and dry environments. The treads are modest. You won’t find any special features on these models, but they’re good enough for your standard driver.
Now, there are some sub-categories in the larger touring tire umbrella. We won’t get into detail about those. However, they look similar to standard touring tires and offer a couple of extra benefits based on your climate and needs.
Many people confuse all-terrain tires for all-weather tires. That’s because they’re both designed to provide more traction. However, the two options go about the task very differently.
Also known as all-weather tires, these models have a slightly more aggressive tread design. But it’s still not enough to withstand the rigors of off-roading. Instead, these tires are meant to provide better grip in rain, shine, and snow.
The best way to look at all-weather tires is to think of them as beefier touring tires. They provide that extra security while still giving you a smooth and quiet ride on standard paved roads.
How All-Terrain Tires Differ
All-terrain tires are not hard to miss. They’re considerably beefier than the two previous options. Just from first impressions alone, these tires look like they mean business! Luckily, they have the capabilities to back that up, too.
As the name would suggest, all-terrain tires are meant to give you a safe ride in any environment. This includes rocky gravel, soft sand, wet mud, and so much more.
Contrary to popular belief, all-terrain tires are delegated to off-roading only. They work just fine on smooth pavement. You could use all-terrain tires as year-round tires to give you more driving confidence wherever you go.
Key Features to Look For
Don’t take manufacture labeling at face value. All-terrain tires have a bevy of unique features that make them suited for off-road driving. Here are some of the most important that you should be paying attention to before you buy.
Large and Deep Treads
One of the hallmarks of an all-terrain tire is the deep treads. The treads refer to the design of the rubber that makes contact with the ground. On standard passenger or touring tires, the treads are relatively shallow. This is great for making contact with smooth roads. But, they fill up with grime pretty easily. This could ultimately create issues with wheel slip.
Manufacturers incorporate deep open treads into all-terrain models. The open treads are interlocked, creating a tight grip on rocks and uneven surfaces. Even with the larger treads, these tires perform great on smooth roads.
You’ve probably encountered your fair share of rock damage during your off-road adventures. Small pebbles are notorious for bouncing up as you drive. They often get lodged into the open treads. When this happens, all that new traction you’re getting goes out the window!
That’s why many manufacturers incorporate stone ejectors. This little design quirk is embedded inside the treads. They loosen those rocks as you drive, ensuring that they don’t get stuck for too long.
Reinforced sidewalls are a must with all-terrain driving. Your tires are going to be exposed to damage from all directions. That extra reinforcement increases the tire ply significantly. Plus, it adds great load-bearing capabilities. It’s a win-win all around.
There are a few different materials used to add reinforcement. Some brands utilize steel textile, while others take advantage of ultra-strong materials like Kevlar. Some just use reinforcing rubber compounds. Whatever the case may be, you’re getting a lot more protection compared to standard tires.
Like stone ejectors, the goal of self-cleaning channels is to keep those treads free of debris. You’ll often see all-terrain tires with lateral tread grooves that run all the way to the sidewall. With the help of centrifugal force, mud and dirt are expelled efficiently.
A Biting Edge
Also referred to as a sipe or kerf, this design feature is meant to provide some extra traction on smoother surfaces. Basically, the biting edge is tiny slits on the individual tread surface. They’re ideal for inclement weather and can also help you get over smoother rocks without any issues.
Size and Compatibility
The last thing you should be paying attention to is the size! You should have no problem finding tires if you already have 20-inch wheels. But if you’re looking to increase the size of your wheels, you’ll need to take a few additional steps before you can swap out your tires.
The chassis needs to be compatible with the wheels, so pay close attention to size measurements before buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between mud and all-terrain tires?
The biggest difference between mud tires and all-terrain tires is where you can use them. All-terrain tires have the added benefit of working well on and off the road. Meanwhile, mud tires are more suited to off-roading only.
They’re a bit more robust than all-terrain tires. But, they can be uncomfortable to use on the road. They’re loud and don’t usually perform well on slick surfaces after a rain. Mud tires are great for dedicated off-road vehicles. However, they can be more of a hindrance on multi-purpose rides.
2. Do all-terrain tires affect gas mileage?
There is going to be a bit of a sacrifice when it comes to fuel efficiency. All-terrain tires are bigger. Thus, they add more weight to the vehicle and require more work to turn. On average, all-terrain tires decrease gas mileage by about 3 percent.
3. What are all-terrain tires good for?
All-terrain tires are good for trucks and SUVs that need a bit more traction than what standard tires offer. They do well in rougher conditions and can withstand the wear and tear caused by off-roading.
They’re also suitable for those living in rural areas. If you have to drive down dirt roads often, all-terrain tires can decrease your chances of getting stuck.
4. What is the difference between all-season and all-terrain tires?
All-season tires have a road-focused design. While they do provide more traction than standard passenger tires, they don’t have the robust design that all-terrain tires do. They are meant to keep you safe in snow and rain, not uneven surfaces.
All-terrain tires are a must-have upgrade for anyone who likes to put their truck through the wringer. These tires are built to hold up well in environments that standard tires just couldn’t handle. They’re built to keep you safe and moving no matter where you go.
Tire design is continuing to evolve. They’re becoming safer and more capable than ever! Some big-name manufacturers are putting a lot of money into designing groundbreaking models that are poised to change the way we travel. With airless 3D-printed tires on the horizon, there’s a lot to be excited for in the future of all-terrain driving.