Give your car the best grip and total traction with our top 11 tyres.
Tyres are some of the most important features for making your driving experience both comfortable and safe. Without great tyres, it almost doesn’t matter what a car’s technical specs are, the quality is going to go down. If you use inadequate tyres, you could even be risking your own safety.
While budget tyres might seem appealing compared to the higher end brand names, there’s a good reason to go for the gold standard. If a brand claims to be the best tyre company, like many of those on this list, they will have years of experience and research behind them that allows them to bring car owners the most technologically advanced tyres possible. You might not associate these four pieces of rubber with advanced technology straight away, but these experts have found countless ways of making tyres safer, sturdier, and more aerodynamic. That isn’t to say, though, that price is everything. There are a handful of cheaper tyre brands that do deliver on their promise and can even offer better value than the premium manufacturers, without a huge gap in grip and handling.
Whether it is improving the traction in difficult weather, or making them more reliable and study so that they last for longer, all of the tyres on this list are going to offer you something more than generic, budget tyres. Read our guide to find out which tyres are best and what makes a terrific tyre.
What qualities do the best tyres have?
Rubber compound and structure
First of all, the type of rubber compound used is essential for having a good tyre. Tyres need to have a compound that allows them to perform well in wet conditions as well as in the dry and have a decent longevity. Big brands are constantly tweaking to see how the materials they use in these compounds, and in the tyre overall, affect the performance. To give you an idea of how complicated this is, an average Goodyear tyre contains around 30 kinds of synthetic rubber, 8 kinds of natural rubber, 8 kinds of carbon black, polyester and nylon fibre, steel bead wire, and 40 different chemicals, waxes, oils, pigments, silicas & clays. So when you hear someone talk about smelling burning rubber at a race track, you know that actually it is the smell of a lot more than just that. Things you might find in all tyres, but especially high-quality tyres, are going to be zinc to make the tyres tougher, carbon black to make them last longer, and nylon threads to help seal the tyre to the wheel. A good internal structure and materials used inside the tyre are also going to make sure that the contact patch stays even and on the road.
As well as the material used, the pattern of the tread is really important for the quality of a tyre. It is the tread pattern that helps determine how much traction the tyre will have on the road and companies have developed a lot of different styles for different conditions. Like the bow of a ship, a good design should cut through the water, allowing the rubber to make contact with the road. The grooves need to channel the water away from the contact patch, because failure to do so results in aquaplaning.
There are four component elements that make up the tread of a tyre: ribs are the raised section of the tread pattern, made up of tread blocks; grooves are deep channels that run circumferentially and laterally around the tyre; tread blocks are the raised rubber segments that make contact with the road surface; sipes are small, thin slots moulded into the tread blocks. All of these different elements work together to create the right balance between grip, stability in different conditions, and reduced resistance to allow for a smooth and quick ride.
Since the best tyre brands often design their own treads, they all have subtle differences and idiosyncrasies. We can generalise tread types, however, into a few rough types.
Symmetrical tyre tread patterns are very common and feature ribs and tread blocks across the tread face where both halves of the tyre feature the same pattern. They make driving smooth, have high directional control, and low rolling resistance.
A directional tread pattern is designed to rotate in only one direction and usually incorporates v-shaped type tread blocks. These patterns are efficient at ejecting water and have good wet grip. They offer extremely high protection against aquaplaning, excellent handling on snow and mud, and very good road-holding at high speeds.
Asymmetric tyre tread patterns offer almost a combination between directional and symmetrical, with excellent handling, high stability when cornering, and great grip in wet conditions.
The 11 best tyre brands
Gearing itself towards the upper end of the tyre market and gaining exposure in Europe through its partnership with Formula Renault and other major racing series, it offers a whole range of tyres from winter, all-season, and low-rolling-resistance tyres for excellent handling and improved fuel economy.
Goodride tyres can be found all over the world and this universal brand focuses on making products that don’t damage the environment, while still maintaining a great performance, and their state-of-the-art facility has won awards from the US Department of Transportation and the Economic Commission for Europe.
Offering high-performance tyres at budget prices, Rotalla provide a good option if you are looking for replacement tyres but don’t want to to be shelling out for the brand name. They have a whole array of tyres including winter specific and low-noise tyres.
Exceptional value for money is also something that Nanking, the largest tyre manufacturer in Taiwan, tries to combine with high quality products. Their motto is “Integrity, Pragmatism, and Innovation” and they pride their tyres on the research and development that goes into them.
You can’t think of tyres or racing without thinking of Goodyear. Named after the scientist who invented vulcanized rubber and with over 100 years in the field, all Goodyear tyres are technologically advanced and offer high-quality. From UltraGrip 8 tyres for winter to the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tyres for high-performance, they have it all.
They might be known now for a man made of white tyres or exquisite cuisine, but Michelin are a serious tyre brand. For more than 125 their technology has made them renowned for their reliability and quality. Their products are all designed with road safety in mind and they stock everything from budget to high-performance tyres.
Since 1872 Pirelli have been designing and making innovative tyres. With a set of these on your car you can count on their safety, reliability, and overall excellent driving performance. With tyres tailored to off-road driving, sporty performances as well as eco-friendly tyres, Pirelli cater for all needs.
Recognised around the world for their tyres for a variety of vehicles (cyclists may be using continental tyres or inner tubes too!), they are also known for their quality and performance. Their range includes the ContiEcoContact 5, an eco-friendly tyre, the ContiPremiumContact 5 for comfort and ContiSportContact 3 for high performing vehicles.
From high performance tyres, or simply tyres for everyday use, Bridgestone have everything you need. Whether you are driving a 4×4, car, van, or even riding a motorcycle, your needs can be met to the highest standards and to suit your budget.
Neven are a Korean tyre brand who were founded in 1956. Their forward thinking approach is shown in their very name, which is a combination of ‘next’ and ‘century’ in Korean.
Due to their commitment to quality products, friendly service and exceptional value, Nexen’s domestic market share has increased from 8% to 20% and they export to 120 countries. Their tyres must be doing something right!
Forget tennis balls and rackets, Dunlop are also a serious tyre manufacturer. Their focus is clearly on sport and they provide a ´comprehensive range of tyres for all seasons and sizes. Their tyres aim for maximum grip and are made to be robust and last; some are even develop in tandem with DuPont Kevlar.