Not your average "Who makes the best AT?" thread. This is an above average one!
1) Consumer Reports ranks Cooper AT3 as number 1. Several 4x4 magazines tested the top ATs and ranked Cooper AT3 best. Price is medium. Good value, IMO. The AT3 has a 55,000 mile tread warranty.
I have Cooper AT3 and love them. I like them much better than the BFG AT and General Grabber AT2 I previously owned. Cooper AT3 is much better on road than BFG AT and Grabber AT2; and Cooper AT3 is better off road too. The Cooper AT3 even has decent mud ability off road!
1, 10, or in between?) Tire Rack ranks Firestone Destination AT as number 1, but Consumer Reports ranks it as number 10. There are numerous 4x4 magazines who tested it and liked it, one loved it. So I'm sure it's reasonably good. I think its ranking belongs somewhere around # 5. Price is good.
2) Tire Rack and Consumer Reports both rank Michelin LTX AT2 as number 2. Price is expensive. It is great on dry and wet roads, and Winter roads. Those are high priorities with Tire Rack and especially Consumer Reports. However, I doubt it has any self cleaning ability for mud.
3) Consumer Reports ranks Hankook Dynapro ATM as number 3. Petersons Offroad ranks Hankook Dynapro ATM number 3. Price is expensive, but worth it, IMO.
3 or 5?) Tire Rack ranks Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61 as number 3. Consumer Reports ranked it as number 5. ConsumerSearch.com ranked it the best value priced AT. Price is very very good. Excellent value.
4) Consumer Reports ranks Kumho Road Venture AT KL78 as number 4. Tire Rack ranks it as number 13. I personally like this tire for its exceptional Winter snow AND ICE traction. The only question is how many miles would it last? Price is very good. Good value.
4) Tire Rack rates Goodyear Silent Armor as number 4. Consumer Reports didn't test it or include it in its rankings this time. Price is expensive. I don't know much about this tire, but many professional reviewers and http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f15/n...e-1527835/user reviewers love this tire.
5) or last place?) Tire Rack ranks General Grabber AT2 as number 5, but Consumer Reports ranks it poorly (far below top 10).
I previously owned this tire. IME, it's a great performing aggressive AT, except that it rides ROUGH. Every bump hits hard. Otherwise a great tire. Is is an exceptionally tough tire with strong, thick sidewalls. Price is good. Good value. It's a great tire if you don't mind a rough ride.6) Consumer Reports ranks Bridgestone Duelor AT Revo-2 as number 6. I don't know much about this tire, but many professional reviewers and user reviewers love this tire.
7) Tire Rack rates BFG AT as number 7. Consumer Reports didn't test it or include it in its rankings this time. It's no longer the best, but is still good. There are better tires (IMO) that cost less, but don't count out BFG AT. It's still good and very popular. The fact that there are other tires ranked above it is because those other tires are excellent. Rankings reflect tire performance, not popularity. BFG is still the most popular. i.e. - more people buy it than any other.
The on road performance differences are very slight between the top 4. All the top 4 ranked tires are the best, IMO. All the top 7 are excellent, IMO. You can't go wrong with any of the top 7 choices, IMO.
I personally think Cooper ATW, Nokian Rotiva AT, and Toyo Open Country AT2 are also among the best ATs., but they didn't get tested, reviewed, or ranked by any major professional reviewers because these tires are new. I think it's likely they will be highly ranked after next year's testing. I suspect the new Cooper ATW might be number one ranked tire after next year's testing.---
Is Winter traction important to you? Some top rated ATs are RMA snow flake rated Winter traction devices. I believe the best for Winter road traction are Kumho Road Venture AT KL78, Nokian Rotiva AT, Michelin LTX AT2, Hankook ATM, Hercules AT2, and Cooper ATW. The Kumho is a good, low cost, value option; the Nokian Rotiva, Michelin LTX AT2, and Hankook ATM are expensive, highend options. The Hercules AT2 is a mid-price option. I prefer Nokian over Michelin because I think the Nokian would be better off road and equally excellent on road. The Hankook ATM and Hercules AT2 are comparable to Nokian and Michelin for Winter traction, but the Hankook and Hercules have more off road ability in regard to traction and toughness. However, the Hankook ATM makes more noise on road. The others mentioned in this paragraph are exceptionally quiet on road. The Hercules AT2 shares same carcass and tread compound as Cooper AT3, and same soft ride as Cooper AT3, but different tread and more sipes than Cooper AT3. The Cooper ATW is to new to have been tested or ranked by reviewers yet, but I think over the next year's time it will prove to be one of the best AT's for Winter traction.
My personal favorite ATs for combination on and off road, and Winter roads, are Hankook ATM and Hercules AT2.
Those are your best AT choices for traction on snow AND ICE. Several other top ranked ATs are rated excellent on snow, but only fair on ice (Cooper AT3, BFG AT, and Firestone AT for examples).
Is mud traction important to you? My Cooper AT3 have taken me uphill in 4" deep mud in 2wd (open diffs) without spinning. I never intend to go mudding. I like trail riding, but in a rain forest trail riding usually involves some mudding. I usually do it in 2wd. Occasionally I need 4wd, but not often. I haven't even needed to air down the tires because they ride soft enough and have good traction at street pressure.
It's not yet known how the Cooper ATW will do in mud. I suspect it might do well since it's essentially a Cooper AT3 modified with a slightly softer tread compound, more sipes, and slightly smaller voids. The smaller voids won't be helpful in mud, but even though the ATW voids are smaller than AT3 voids, the ATW still has larger voids than most other ATs. So I'm hopeful the ATW will be reasonably decent in mud. It will certainly be an improvement for Winter conditions.
Observations... I notice most highly rated ATs have 5 rows of tread blocks. Silent Armor is an exception with 6 rows of tread blocks. Kumho Road Venture AT KL78 is an exception with 4 rows of tread blocks. I suspect more rows of tread blocks might be more stable at high speeds, and might hydroplane less (more rows = more circumferential grooves.)
Edited in Later: Later in this thread, respect for Hankook ATM rises, and Hercules AT2 and Mastercraft AXT (cousins of Cooper AT3) are introduced. The Hankook ATM and Hercules AT2 are reputed to be exceptionally good on Winter roads. Also introduced later is Hercules Avalanche Xtreme LT, which is an excellent Winter tire that's rated for year round use. The Avalanche might also serve as an AT year round, which will be discussed.
Edited in Later: I just saw an XJ with new Multi-Mile Wild Country XTX Sport LT that looked like really good AT to my eye. A great mix of large and small treadblocks and large and small voids, and lots of sipes for wet pavement and ice traction. Looks like a great AT to me, but I haven't seen any reviews of it. For what it's worth, I'd buy it.
Edited in Later: Later in thread we look at specific sizes. Sometimes the best tire in a given size is NOT the best in another size. Choose your favorite tires and sizes, then compare their weights, heights, load rating, tread depth, and other attributes in each size you are interested in. You may find you prefer a certain tire best in one size, but prefer another tire best in another size.
Edited in Later: Don't get a load E tire for a Jeep. The thing I don't like about Hankook is not enough load C choices. Personally, if I couldn't get a Hankook ATM in a size I want and load C, then I'll look for another brand that offers that size in C. Load E and D are to much for a Jeep - ruins gas mileage and ride quality. P are fine for on road and gravel roads, but aren't tough enough when you start doing trails or tougher. C are the right amount of toughness for a daily driver that does off road. C are intended for a 1/2 ton truck. Your Jeep is a 1/4 ton truck. So C is the right amount of overkill to give you some insurance against flats when you go off road. Also, LT tires in C (or D or E) have deeper tread than P tires. The deeper tread helps traction off road, especially in mud and snow, and it helps prevent hydroplaning on wet highway. If you're forced to choose between P or E, get the P, but C would be a better all purpose choice if you go off road.
Edited in Later: I noticed at Cooper's website in the Sport Utility section in ATW section that there are new load ratings called STD and XL. I'm not sure what those mean. I think they're something in between the old P and C ratings. If so, that provides some additional good options for a daily driver that goes off road. My impression is the STD and XL offer toughness in between P and C. The STD and XJ have the same tread depth as P rated tires, from what I've read in the specs. At this point, it seems to me that STD and XL may offer more tire options for daily drivers that sometimes go off road.
However, those two new load ratings (STD and XL) are new to me. So if anyone has more info on them, please post it.
Edited in a year later:
Consumer Reports has substantially changed it's AT rankings a year later. See post 967 for new rankings.
P.S. - you might notice the Duratrac wasn't mentioned in the AT rankings. That's because it wasn't included in the AT tests that made the rankings. Why? Probably because it's not really an AT. It is more aggressive than an AT. It is between AT and MT, IMO.
Consumer Reports list Duratrac as "Commercial Traction" tire.
While the Duratrac beats most (perhaps all) ATs off road, the reverse is true on road. Most (perhaps all) ATs beat Duratrac on road. Yes Duratrac is light per size and well designed in that regard, but it's knobby outer treads increase rolling resistance and noise, and decrease gas mileage (compared to most AT).
Duratrac is really a hybrid tire - part AT and part MT. The center treads are classic AT, and the outer treads are classic MT.
Before someone points out that Goodyear calls it an "aggressive AT", I will point out that their advertising people chose to call it that. I'm calling it what I think it really is. IMO, it's a hybrid tire (which is what Consumer Reports was saying when they classified it as a Commercial Traction tire). It is one of the best hybrid tires made, but it's not really an AT, and it isn't as good on highway as ATs.
Duratrac excels at beating ATs off road in severe mud, and beating MTs on road. Duratrac is great at those things. It's an all purpose tire.
Another good hybrid is Mastercraft Courser CT. It's tougher than Duratrac, but rides rougher and is heavier. The Duratrac is the most civilized on road of any hybrid tire I know of. The Mastercraft CT are Cooper ST are the toughest hybrid tires I know of. Mastercraft CT is a good hybrid tire. Cooper ST is a good hybrid if you add extra sipes to center treads. Like Mastercraft CT, the Cooper ST is tougher, but heavier, noisier, and rides rougher than Duratrac. The Mastercraft CT, Cooper ST, and Toyo MT are favorites of loggers, and power line and phone line crews, for their pickups and utility trucks. There's many at this forum who use them on Jeeps. Who else makes hybrids? Hercules makes one or two good hybrids. FYI - Mastercraft and Hercules are subsidiaries of Cooper. So technically, all hybrids (that I know of) are made by Cooper (and its subsidiaries) and by Goodyear. It might be argued that the Goodyear MTR is an aggressive hybrid.
Duratrac is a great tire if its attributes are what you are looking for. If you want a tire that beats ATs off road, and beats MTs on road, and rides more comfortably (softer riding and quieter) than other hybrid tires and MTs, then Duratrac is your best tire for those things. However, on highway most brands of AT are better than Duratrac (or any hybrid).
I made this thread because I keep seeing the same questions every week (almost daily). "Who makes best AT?", "Help me choose a good AT.", "Please help me choose a tire for mostly street and some off road." Etc...
So I thought maybe posting this thread might help provide some assistance in one location and prevent myself and others from going insane retyping the same answers each week in various threads.
Yeah, people never bother to research, and they ask the same questions over and over and over....and that's why this was a colossal waste of your time, Charley3. Because no one searches, they'll never see this thread either, and the repeat threads will continue to come. That's why I just copy and paste a standard response, and if the OP is genuinely interested in learning more, I THEN respond to specific questions.
It's not a waste of time because I gathered and organized this info for my own benefit. So I may as well share it.
When those threads asking about ATs come up in future, I'll post a link to this thread. Likewise when threads come up asking about some AT vs a Duratrac, I'll post a link to this thread.
I can't stop new people from asking same questions every week that prior new people asked, but I do have my response pretyped now. I'll just refer them to this thread.
This thread has the most info about AT rankings of any I've seen. :thumbsup:
I have learned over the years that if the dweebs at Consumer Reports like it, it will undoubtedly be a POS. I can't tell you how many CR top rated vacuums, blowers, toasters, pizza sauce, or TV's I have bought that were the worst products I ever owned. If anything, a top rated CR recommedation is the first item off my list.
And the Cooper AT3 was the top pick of several 4x4 magazines, as well as Consumer Reports.
The only thing wrong or right with Consumer Reports tire reviews is the put heavy emphasis on street performance.
33 x 10.5 R15
For those looking for an AT in this size, there is BFG AT.
General Grabber is also available in this size. It's not a traditional AT or MT. It's not a traditional hybrid either. I don't what category it belongs in. I know it's popular for prerunning.
Note: this is the Grabber, not the Grabber AT2.
30 x 9.5 R15 is a great daily driver tire size for XJ, ZJs, and TJs, but there is a perception that there is a shortage of brands available in this size because allegedly this size is being phased out. Who started that rumor? Probably tire stores who didn't carry a brand in this size. My own tire store tried that bull poopery on me, and then I gave them a list of tires in that size. Now they carry a few tires in this size and I have since bought 2 sets of tires in this size (two different brands) from them.
30 x 9.5 R15 is stock size tire for most TJs.
For XJs and ZJs it's an easy, affordable, and effective size upgrade that greatly boosts off road ability without losing any on road ability.
It's the largest size that fits a stock XJ. I think also fit a stock ZJ, not sure.
I have compiled a list of all brands-models of 30 x 9.5 R15 tires in this other thread:
I use Firestones Destion MT's as my street tires to save my Goodyear MT/R K's for offroad.But then again 35" AT's just look stupid anyways.
I just wanted to say thanks to Charlie. I posted one of the standard "beating a dead horse" posts about which AT to buy... and Charlie immediately directed me to this thread and then continued conversation through PM with me. Incredibly helpful and I really appreciate it.
It's sad that when someone posts something like this (on any kind if forum) you get the Flamers claiming "waste of time" this... and "Noobs need to search" that... It's like they don't understand not everyone uses forums extensively or always has the time to research.
I personally do know how to use the advanced search, when I made my post I was pressed for time, but I was able to in 30secs make a thread, let it sit, and check it for replies a few hours later. Just because "you" aren't willing to help, doesn't mean everyone else isn't too.
If repeated forum posts bother you, don't open them. It's simple. I just find it obnoxious because those of you that take the time to write "learn how to search noob" a lot of times have the knowledge and experience to just respond to the OP's actual question. Sad you go out of your way to be an ***, because the fact remains no one made you open the thread to begin with. Do us all a favor and ignore it the next time.
Sorry for rant, I'm a member of a few fitness forums, this one, and a straight razor forum, and I see these Flamers on all of them. It's pathetic.
Anyways, thanks again Charlie. I found this thread helpful. I read it. Had a better direction as to where I needed to put my focus. And I've decided to go with a set of BFG AT's. I think I'll be grabbing the 12.50's over the 10.50's... The 10.50's better suit my current driving needs (mostly highway) but I have 6inch xenon flat flares installed and aesthetically I think the 12.50's will sit better.
You're welcome Josh, and thank you. Glad to help.
BTW - I used to have an LJ with Warn 7" flares and BFG AT 33x 10.5 R15 on 15 x 8 with 4.5 BS and it looked unique in a good way. I had all kinds of people (off roaders, on roaders, children, young men and women, grandpas and grandmas) approaching me in parking lots to tell me how awesome it looked. While driving down city streets, kids used to point and wave at my Jeep like I was in a parade. :wave::2thumbsup:
Also, cops would follow me around town (as they do all lifted Jeeps here) hoping to write a ticket for tires out past flares. They looked surprised and disappointed when they saw my flares 2" out farther then my tires. :p
When on gravel roads or off road, no gravel or mud hit the sides of my LJ.
It was awesome. So if you did put 33 x 10.5 R15 tires on your TJ with 6" flares, it'd look awesome, IMO. Different, but awesome.
Anywho, get whatever size you want. It'll look good either size.
Some small tire companies tires have the potential to be excellent, but never get reviewed by Tire Rack, Consumer Reports, or 4x4 magazines (possibly because they don't pay for advertising in those publications, or don't advertise much).
There are many examples: Falken, Hercules, Definity, Mastercraft, Nexan, Kenda, and Nokian come to mind. Some of these have excellent user reviews on Web. I have seen some positive reviews from users of these tires.There are some great tires that don't get reviewed or ranked by Tire Rack, Consumer Reports, or 4x4 magazines.
My personal favorite all purpose ATs are:
Cooper Discovery AT3
Hankook Dynapro ATM
Toyo Open Country AT2 (P and LT versions)
Nokian Rotiva AT (replaces Nokian Happilita AT)
Possibly also Mastercraft Courser AXT, Dakota Definity AT2, Hercules AT2, and Hercules Terra Trac RS. I don't know for sure because I can't find any professional reviews on them, but their treads look good to me and they are 1st cousins of Cooper AT3 because Hercules and Definity are made by Cooper.
My favorite ATs for snow AND ICE are:
Nokian Rotiva AT
Michelin LTX AT2
Hankook Dynapro ATM
Kumho Road Venture AT KL78
The Hankook Dynapro ATM is the only AT that is BOTH a top ranked all purpose AT, and a top ranked Winter traction AT for snow AND ice. It's a fantastic-ideal AT tire for Northern climates.
It's only weak areas are it rides slightly less smooth and slightly less quiet than Cooper AT3, Firestone AT, and Michelin LTX AT2. So it's not the smoothest or quietest, but is still good in those areas. It's smoothness and quietness are average for ATs, which is really pretty good.
The Hankook ATM is arguably the best AT made. However, I still prefer my Cooper AT3 because Cooper AT3 Winter traction is almost as good, and Cooper AT3 is smoother riding (I have a bad back) and quieter. The Cooper is very good in mud (for an AT). So for mud, Cooper AT3.
So I still prefer my Cooper AT3 for my needs, but the Hankook Dynapro ATM is my other favorite.
The Toyo Open Country AT2 might be good in Winter conditions. To early to know yet. We'll know within a year, after more tests, reviews, and rankings.
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