Are Studded Snow Tires Actually Better? Ice Testing!


Studded vs Studless Snow Tires - Do You Really Need Studs For Grip?
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How Much Better Are Studded Winter Tires? Comparing studded vs studless winter tires on a Subaru WRX STI. Two completely stock STIs, with the exception of wheels and tires, will be put head to head to see the differences between studded and studless winter tires in braking, acceleration, and handling on a frozen lake.
Our studded tire is a Lappi Winter Tire, 225 millimeters wide, a 40% aspect ratio sidewall, and mounted on 18” method race wheels. This tire has 414 studs per tire, the studs have a full length of 12.5 millimeters, but the effective length is 4 millimeters, the distance that sticks out past the rubber of the tire. These are extremely aggressive studded tires, on a road car, the studs could protrude from the rubber less than half as much, and road tires might have between 130 to 250 studs per tire, rather than over 400. Having more, longer studs, means even better traction on ice.
Our studless tire is a Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 tires, in the exact same size 225/40R18 as the studded tire. I specifically chose these as they are one of today’s best performing studless tires. The WS90 is the successor to the WS80 tire, one of Tire Rack’s highest rated winter tires, so it should be able to perform even better. I’ve personally ran WS80 tires through many winters, and in my experience it has provided excellent traction, much like Continental’s Viking Contact 7, Michelin’s Ice-X, or Nokian options.
Ultimately, we’ve got a very good studded tire, versus a very good studless tire. The studless tire gets its grip from a clever compound that remains flexible in very cold conditions, has deep tread depth for capturing snow - you might be surprised to learn that snow on snow traction is actually pretty decent, so these treads hold snow to improve traction, and also through the use of sipes, the small slotted zig-zags in the tread block, which create an additional biting edge to help the tire find grip on slippery surfaces. The studded tire will use many similar principles, but add on top of it metal studs to punch into the ice and ideally, provide additional traction.
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  • mewimi
    mewimi9 dager siden

    Subaru, the car brand most likely to be seen in a ditch, off the side of a road :P

  • Danny Murphy
    Danny Murphy17 dager siden

    Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9s on a subaru forester XT would be unstoppable.

  • Taekwondo Time
    Taekwondo Time19 dager siden

    Cool comparison. Only one problem: Studded tires are illegal in most areas because they damage the road.

  • Ohrflecktaube
    Ohrflecktaube21 dag siden

    I've been using studded tires myself for 20 years and I appreciate it when they are discussed. If everyone were to use studded tires instead of normal winter tires, it would save many lives every year. But whenever people hear that you drive studded tires, they just laugh at you. This shows that most of them are not even aware of the dangers. But here in Austria, only 110 spikes may be used for rims under 13 inches and only 130 spikes for rims larger than 13 inches. The spikes must not protrude more than 2mm above the running surface. To make it short... the tire in the picture is clearly not street legal in Austria. That is mentioned, yes, but what is this test supposed to prove then? Also, don't forget that Subarus always have 4-wheel drive - which I advocate - but the average car on the road doesn't have. It would have been more interesting if two normal cars had been used with legal tires in everyday driving situations, even though I appreciate the contribution to road safety of Subaru by insisting on 4-wheel drive.

  • Peter Koopman
    Peter Koopman23 dager siden

    I see lots of people saying on forums that studded tires will damage the awd system is this true ???

  • ben schumacher
    ben schumacher24 dager siden

    Why were 225mm tires chosen instead of the stock 245mm?

  • JustinDOzone
    JustinDOzone27 dager siden

    I have Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 studded winter tires on an all wheel drive SUV. Should I air down when on packed snow or broken floor covered pavement? Are they more effective in deeper snow covered pavement if they are highly inflated?

  • Nekros
    Nekros27 dager siden

    I imagine a WRX with CVT transmission would be a more consistent test, since shifting is completely thrown out of the equation. But then again, you have a professional rally driver doing the shifting.

  • Claudio Matricciano
    Claudio Matricciano28 dager siden

    Thank for the video but this is almost useless for the 99% of the population. What's the point to use those studded tires instead of the read legal ones?

  • Luigi 1955
    Luigi 1955Måned siden

    I've used both studless and studded and I find that studded tires are superior on ice which causes the most serious accidents in our winter conditions, and they last longer too. The very soft compound you have to use on a studless tire does not last much more than 3 winters, yet I've been able to use studded Nokians and Generals for twice as long.

  • Edward Nigma
    Edward NigmaMåned siden

    Thanks for your life story nerd. I just wanted to know about the tires

  • Lelele dj focus
    Lelele dj focusMåned siden

    meanwhile in sweden pretty much everybody has studded winter tires

  • Jack Black
    Jack Black2 måneder siden

    kph!!! Gimme a break. Muppets! k stands for one thousand, NOT kilometre p means divide by, though / would be preferable h does NOT stand for hour (hr stands for hour). h is the symbol for Planck's constant. Useful when calculating the electrical power output from solar panels. Kids today, what would you do with um!

  • Jack Black
    Jack Black2 måneder siden

    The usual metric/USCS mishmash.

  • Jack Black
    Jack Black2 måneder siden

    Here in the Japan Alps, some 20 years ago, studed tyres were declared illegal. You want to dump those low-profiles, though. Can you still get those Dunlop SP44 Weathermaster?

  • ski vermont
    ski vermont2 måneder siden

    Studded tires are terrible unless you have a super steep driveway and need them. 99% of people just need regular winter tires. You suffer all winter with studs when you don't need them most of the time

  • papa bits
    papa bits2 måneder siden

    Blizzac ok but don’t perform like when there new for very long. You want the best get hakpillettas, studs good for very cold places we’re salt doesnt work .

  • Ralf Risberg
    Ralf Risberg2 måneder siden

    Only idiots drive on those lappi tyres on city roads, there are much better tyres out there!

  • CA Refugee
    CA Refugee2 måneder siden

    Dude test is garbage . You didn’t use the same tires !!!! You used off road , extra studded tires ..... this video needs to be the consumer tires not racing or “off road extra studded tire”

  • Scizz Ayo
    Scizz Ayo2 måneder siden

    My doctor told me I have an STI but I drive a RAV4 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • Jacob Brunberg
    Jacob Brunberg2 måneder siden

    What lake was that looks like the one in my town.

  • Danish Moonrock
    Danish Moonrock3 måneder siden

    they should post new comments first not not popular you can tell they are all yt trolls

  • 32 Snowbound
    32 Snowbound3 måneder siden

    we need driving like normal people in everyday situation

  • Michael Rau
    Michael Rau3 måneder siden

    It would have been worth a mention on how these tires would behave on cold dry pavement. Some RCMP( police) members did an unofficial test and found studded tires performed worse on dry pavement then non-studded on ice. Other than that very enjoyable to watch.

  • dhovey22
    dhovey223 måneder siden

    When you're on a frozen smooth road studdless tires are great but if you try them on a frozen gravel road they are junk. Studded tires handles frozen gravel roads just fine. 🙂 👌

  • Ivan J
    Ivan J4 måneder siden

    letting ABS do the work does not provide the best breaking distance.

    BRAAPPEX4 måneder siden

    In sweden studded tires are legal 😊😊

  • Ari P
    Ari P4 måneder siden

    This should have been done with a tesla model 3 awd. Your times would have been much lower and your differences would have probably been less dramatic between studless and studded.

  • AutoBez 313 Tv
    AutoBez 313 Tv6 måneder siden

    Coolest channel on you tube 🚗 🚘

  • The1stFishBone
    The1stFishBone6 måneder siden

    When your tires are slipping under hard acceleration you are digging a hole into the snow and increasing the contact area of the tire.

  • Chuck Voss
    Chuck Voss6 måneder siden

    Another big argument is the performance of studded tires on bare asphalt, which happens a lot during winter, and how traction can decrease significantly in such conditions.

  • Chuck Voss
    Chuck Voss6 måneder siden

    You could of done legal studded vs race spec studded. I think it would of been more relevant. Or as many suggested, legal studded vs non-studded.

  • celeroon89
    celeroon896 måneder siden

    Spoilers, the studded tires are better

  • Jeremy Phillips
    Jeremy Phillips6 måneder siden

    I had Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70's on a LeSabre, and experimented whenever I had the chance. Just as much ability to start on a slope as a 4wd Yukon XL with Firestone Destination LE that were at least half worn. I also found that on a slope I could not start on going forward, I could in reverse. 62.4 % on the front on that vehicle. I think a 50/50 rwd car would start better going forward, as I am thinking force / weight transfers toward the downhill part of the car. Really interesting and fun to learn. I got 3 seasons out of my Blizzaks and still have 9/32 (I'll throw out at 6/32) but, I had a set of all seasons on separate rims and only ran the winters when there was snow on the ground.

  • WattsRacing
    WattsRacing6 måneder siden


  • HitechProductions
    HitechProductions8 måneder siden

    Damn he was consistent! Good choice in someone to drive.

  • Steve Colburn
    Steve Colburn8 måneder siden

    Great stuff, Studley Do-Right; fun too! Many comments show interest in learning how streetable studded tires might compare with both the studless and the non-streetable studded ones you used. Would you be able to estimate the performance one might expect from a streetable studded tire (4 actually) under these conditions? BTW, Spell-check played havoc with this comment.

  • Pascal Baens
    Pascal Baens9 måneder siden

    I'm jealous of you driving this subaru on the icy track :-)

  • vijay sain
    vijay sain9 måneder siden

    Have you tested older tires? 3,5 or 7 year old. Thanks Vijay

  • Panther Platform
    Panther Platform9 måneder siden

    I use Bridgestone Blizzaks on my 95 Lincoln Town Car. I've driven it through several inches of snow and even drive it on the ice. I live less than 20 minutes away from where you shoot this video. Snowed 12" Sunday and Monday. Winter only lasts 9 months here...

  • Dowker Net
    Dowker Net9 måneder siden

    ABS on ice..? That’s we have have ABS off mode

  • Timmy Nightstalker
    Timmy Nightstalker9 måneder siden

    You can use studded tires on public roads in a lot of places.

  • Vyt Bbb
    Vyt Bbb9 måneder siden

    try to drive that on asphalt... im sure you wont buy them...

  • KitMellow
    KitMellow9 måneder siden

    Do studded tires help with offroad in general other than snow and ice? What about mud and dirt?

  • broncokonco
    broncokonco9 måneder siden

    This is why traction control on snowy/icy roads is annoying to me. Sometimes you need excessive wheel spin to really get moving in those conditions.

  • Peter Konrad Konneker
    Peter Konrad Konneker9 måneder siden

    Stuff like this is what brings me back to this channel over and over.

  • FS
    FS10 måneder siden

    so full reverse would brake faster than brakes

  • jubuttib
    jubuttib10 måneder siden

    FWIW though, I don't exactly buy that Lappi is a particularly good representative. Their marketing is based on "better grip for less money", and their published testing results are against Nexen's studded tyres, which were the worst performing studded tyres in a recent test by Tekniikan Maailma magazine. So they might not be utter garbage, but they still have a long way to go to prove themselves against Nokian etc. Of course that's their road legal tyres, not these ones, but still.

  • IceInMaWeiner
    IceInMaWeiner10 måneder siden

    Great video! I always thought studs were the way to go up here in Canada. Just wondering though, would it not have been better to use the same tire (Bridgestone blizzaks can go studded OR unstudded) for each test? Different tires have different rubber compounds that affect grip depending on temperature.

  • Jason smith

    Jason smith

    2 måneder siden

    Blizzaks can’t be studded.

  • Per Nicolaisen
    Per Nicolaisen10 måneder siden

    I live in Greenland. Studded tires are a law requirement.

  • Ignas G
    Ignas G10 måneder siden

    I think it should've been mentioned in the video that studded tires, when used on roads with no ice or snow, are destroying the upper asphalt layer. Awesome video tho!

  • jaycoleman11
    jaycoleman1110 måneder siden

    The Nokian Hakkapelitta 9 would have been the best tire to try as it’s one of the best winter tires on the market which can be run studless and studded.

  • SubVersa
    SubVersa10 måneder siden

    It would be cool to see maximum icy & snowy grade each tyre can climb, adding road legal in to the mix.

  • Michael E
    Michael E10 måneder siden

    Love your videos... I opted for my first set of (road-legal) studded tires when I needed new winters last fall, and am running them now on a '15 Impreza in QC. Definitely convinced of the benefits after the amount of ice this winter has had.

  • Opera


    4 måneder siden

    Michael E thanks, yes: i using Studs her in Helena B Valley, to both vehicles, the Nokaina Hamkapaleit are great.. Interestingly, moved from snow Belt in North Indiana: not near the icing, black, etc. there.....

  • Brady Dobson
    Brady Dobson10 måneder siden

    I just came for the sti

  • Randall Pearl
    Randall Pearl10 måneder siden

    Not a fair comparison at all. Use street legal tires.

  • Agent Smith
    Agent Smith10 måneder siden

    As someone who lives in Norway, I need good winter tyres on my car and I can honestly say that studless is great on all conditions other than thin ice on freezing rain or black ice conditions. In that case, I preter studded tyres. But those conditions are rare where I live, and it's also annoying to listen to the sound the studded tyres make on dry asphalt.

  • Opera


    4 måneder siden

    Agent Smith ps; love my NOKIAN HAKKAPALIETS AS, HERE IN helena Valley, MT .

  • Jon Kadela
    Jon Kadela10 måneder siden

    I would be curious to see how studs compare with studless on wet and dry pavement as well

  • Antics Omaze
    Antics Omaze10 måneder siden

    Alright here's a question how does wheel size affect engine management? Understanding traction and fitment not an issue as far as engine wear and optimization.

  • Petter !
    Petter !10 måneder siden

    In Sweden I run studded tires during winter since it is way better for ice conditions.

  • big5astra
    big5astra10 måneder siden

    Talking about tyres (yes that's how we spell it in the rest of the world), what about doing an "engineering explained" video on the effects of fitting larger tyres on your car/ 4x4 and how it effects acceleration, weight, fuel consumption etc so people don't just go fit large tyres to "look good" and suffer the consequences they did not keep in mind.

  • Frank Huber
    Frank Huber10 måneder siden

    Man, those stopping distances suck. Is there some way to improve those?

  • Master Debater
    Master Debater10 måneder siden

    Yawn 🥱

  • Fat Bastardo
    Fat Bastardo10 måneder siden

    I'd like to see it done without ABS. I think the distance would be shorter.

  • TheExegetic
    TheExegetic10 måneder siden

    Well, non-street legal studded tires. What about street legal studded tires? Which is most relevant to actual use.

  • Ross X
    Ross X10 måneder siden

    What Wisconsin lake is that?

  • Rabid Kitten Apocalypse
    Rabid Kitten Apocalypse10 måneder siden

    Kitten claws are superior to even the carbide studs in snowmobile tracks. It is a fact.

  • Spinks
    Spinks10 måneder siden

    other than road noise no...yeah it works...That's the Asian's man and how they Engineer they continually Train/school for yearss like 7 years of Engineering and Design...we don'tttt do thatttt in America lol.

  • Tim Burton
    Tim Burton10 måneder siden

    Can you do a video on twin or multiple engine hotrods and tractor pullers? Does 2 or more engines mean twice the power?

  • Ecospider5
    Ecospider510 måneder siden

    Dry pavement is the reason not to use studded tires. At least that is my understanding. So if that is true why don’t they show this in any testing. Here in western Washington you have snow tires on for 3 months but only 2 weeks of snow. So the wet and dry traction is actually more important than the ice traction. If you will be on snow 100% of the time start looking at NOKIAN HAKKAPELIITTA

  • Vinny
    Vinny10 måneder siden

    can you do a myth busted where you see if letting your gas tank go close to empty is bad for the car? some people say its bad for the car. but i do it all the time. what do you think about this?

  • Jack Kello
    Jack Kello10 måneder siden

    After seeing the koenigsegg jesko absolute. You have to calculate the top speed of it!!!

  • James Byrd
    James Byrd10 måneder siden

    That looked like a ton of fun. Studded tires are legal during certain months where I live, so I run them when I can. After my first year without them, I swore I'd never go back to studless for winter driving. I've pulled many other drivers who didn't have studs back onto the road!

  • Steve Wilson
    Steve Wilson10 måneder siden

    I put studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT3 winter tires on my Toyota Tundra this year. I feel safer&have had excellent results on glare ice, slushy, snow-packed&on fresh snow covered roads. I can also attest to their off-road excellence. Even when pulling a 30 foot snowmobile trailer. I feel I am qualified to judge because of a lifetime of driving on Wyoming's winter roads. If the road is open, we go. If the road is closed by WHP or others, we find a way around. They were not inexpensive. But the best I have ever used.

  • Ian Mills
    Ian Mills10 måneder siden

    1) what was the air temperature during these tests? 2) how do road legal studs perform?

  • Oblithian
    Oblithian10 måneder siden

    I want to see video of different braking techniques on ice now. Aren't you curious what the difference in stopping distance between slamming on the brakes, pulsing the brakes, and gradually increasing braking pressure?

  • William
    William10 måneder siden

    As a Canadian who lives where it actually gets cold for extended periods, studs are less desirable. Those who have had the pleasure of skating outside in the winter will know that the ability of steel to grip ice drops off considerably as the temperature falls well below freezing. Skate edges no longer bite the ice and braking hard with studded tires can result in the dreaded skating tire syndrome, one incidence of which negates all other advantages of studded tires.

  • latuman
    latuman10 måneder siden

    Studless are a joke compared to studded. My current car has studless and you really need to drive well below the speed limit in certain situations and you still are going sideways quite often. At least the crashes aren't high speed I guess.

  • snipera39
    snipera3910 måneder siden

    Another interesting video. I have a tire question though. If you are looking for comfort which is more important the aspect ratio or the actual sidewall height? For example 195/60R15 vs 215/55R15. While 215/55R15 has 5% less aspect ratio than 195/60R15 but the actual sidewall is 118 mm which is 1 mm more (195 sidewall is 117mm). So theoretically which one will it be better if i am looking for comfort?

  • harold veatch
    harold veatch10 måneder siden

    One problem with these tests is that they all ways test new tires. Most people run new tires for a couple months. Then they are not new anymore. I have used studded snow tires for years and in my opinion they are better than stud-less in my use case. My commute is about 30 miles and the speeds are 55 mph or less. I tried Blizzaks once and I am very glad I did. That winter I had a hundred mile commute at 75 mph speeds most of the way. Studs would have been nerve wracking in that case. The Blizzaks were great (as good as the studs) in the first season. The second season they were not as good as studs but better than all season tires. The third season they were no better than all season tires. I used them as summer tires after that. If I am careful not to spin or skid on pavement, my studded tires will perform well for at least three maybe four seasons. After that the studs get worn down to the point where they are no longer effective.

  • David Hernandez
    David Hernandez10 måneder siden

    @EngineeringExplained 12:43 it seems that it is locking wheels with still a lot of speed (>10kph). unacceptable. :P

  • Logan Huwe
    Logan Huwe10 måneder siden

    there at least good for one thing. making more noise

  • Kemal Keza
    Kemal Keza10 måneder siden

    Can you do a video comparing the exact same vehicles with abs on and abs off with various tyres, in full lock emergency braking, want to see if expensive tires without abs can stop quicker than abs with budget tires, on both dry and wet roads.

  • pbalerig
    pbalerig10 måneder siden

    11:20 absolutely hilarious

  • Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan10 måneder siden

    I'm glad you did this test in conjunction with a car manufacturer rather than a tire manufacturer. It makes the tests more authentic, less conflicting of interests.

  • Andy Cyr
    Andy Cyr10 måneder siden

    Now Studless vs studded on asphalt.

  • Tanner Anderson
    Tanner Anderson10 måneder siden

    I run blizzak ws90s on both of my vehicles. Crazy good tires.

  • Michael Russo
    Michael Russo10 måneder siden

    I would have liked to see a street studded Vs Blizzak comparison instead. Jus sayin.

  • Bruno Panzero Schechter
    Bruno Panzero Schechter10 måneder siden

    I would've loved to see chains added to the mix.

  • deadall127
    deadall12710 måneder siden

    I'm a simple man, I see an impreza, I click

  • Alias SmithandJones
    Alias SmithandJones10 måneder siden

    I suspect that in heavier vehicles the 'stud advantage' would be proportionately greater.

  • Wayne Gowland
    Wayne Gowland10 måneder siden

    What I learned from this; cars on snow have better traction if they are sliding :)

  • Cédric Pomerleau
    Cédric Pomerleau10 måneder siden

    Do you mean they are illegal to use even in places where studded tires are legal ?

  • no avail
    no avail10 måneder siden

    What lake is that? Looks similar to that little lake in the SE Wisconsin area with the bar right on the shore.

  • Stormtrooper 2323
    Stormtrooper 232310 måneder siden

    You should do a video on the new 2020 civic si but specifically the on the shorter gear claims faster acceleration but so far none been able to and Honda doesnt show numbers

  • Mike
    Mike10 måneder siden

    Studded tires are illegal here so no interest in the topic. But once again Jason made it interesting and enjoyable.

  • bobo2186
    bobo218610 måneder siden

    My first experience with studded tires on ice was with ice racing studs which were more like bolts sticking out than these studs. It was a Grand Cherokee and he said "I'm just going to warn you, it feels like it's going to tip over, but I haven't tipped it over yet". Completely terrifying, but satisfying at the same time. Would love to see this more aggressive comparison. Ice racing is a blast!

  • Shiver2002
    Shiver200210 måneder siden

    I think another valuable point would be how studded tires perform on dry/bare pavement. I live in Canada, and although we do get icy conditions, the majority of driving is done on near bare pavement.

  • supaapple
    supaapple10 måneder siden

    All tests in sport, not sport#? Diff setting?

  • Jonathan B
    Jonathan B10 måneder siden

    I cannot find those wheels for the life of me on Method's website. I can only find the 17s not the 18s.