[5 items]Thorough comparison of tire chains! From price/difficulty of installation to ride comfort | MOBY [モビー]

Tire chains are broadly classified into three types

metal chain

metal tire chains

The tire chain is made of metal and has a high grip, so you can drive safely even on snowy or icy roads. Many of them are inexpensive, and the fact that they are not bulky makes them easy to store. On the other hand, it is troublesome to install and it is easy to break due to frictional heat, and there is a risk of breakage when driving on dry asphalt.

non-metallic chain

tire chain

Non-metal chains refer to chains made of materials other than metal, such as rubber and urethane resin. Many of them are easy to install and have excellent quietness, so you won’t feel any stress when using them. It has the disadvantage of being more expensive than metal chains and not being able to be stored compactly. In addition, the service life of non-metallic chains is about 5 years even if the mileage is short.

Cloth chain (auto socks, tire socks)

fabric tire chains

A cloth chain made of synthetic fibers is characterized by covering the entire tire. Overseas products such as auto socks are famous, and the advantage is that they can be easily put on and taken off. It can be stored compactly, so it does not take up much space and is not suitable for long-time driving.

The metal chain has two patterns

There are two types of metal chains: “tortoise shell type” and “ladder type”.

tortoiseshell tire chain
©Jaroslav Moravcik/stock.adobe.com

Tortoiseshell is the shell of a tortoise. Tortoise shells have a regular hexagonal pattern, and a chain attached to a shape similar to this pattern is called a tortoise shell.Tortoise shell typeis a tire chain that exhibits strong grip in both the vertical and horizontal directions and provides stable driving. Compared to the ladder type, it is less likely to skid sideways, so use a tortoiseshell type chain when driving on roads with many sharp curves or deep snow. However, the tortoise shell type tends to be more expensive than the ladder type, and the disadvantage is that it is more difficult to put on and take off.

ladder type

ladder type tire chain

Ladder chains are characterized by their simple shape, relatively easy attachment and detachment, and excellent wear resistance. Since it digs into the ground firmly, it is strong on slopes and can be driven safely even on snowy roads. On the other hand, compared to the tortoise shell type, it is easier to skid, so be careful of spinning on frozen roads. Many of them are easy to transmit vibrations while driving, so the choice will change depending on whether comfort is important or not.

JIS metal chain

Metal tire chains certified by the Industrial Standardization Law are marked with the JIS mark. JIS is a common Japanese standard for steel industry products, and serves as a standard for judging whether the quality of products is guaranteed.

The advantage of JIS is that consumers can easily determine whether a tire chain meets certain standards. If you want to buy a tire chain for the first time, but you don’t know which one to choose, we recommend choosing a JIS metal chain.

mainstream metal chain

Currently, the mainstream of metal chains is the tortoise shell type. A sense of stability due to high grip power supports running on all snowy roads. By using a tortoiseshell chain, you can reduce the risk of skidding.

Since there is a peculiarity in how to attach it, it is necessary to practice putting on and taking off after purchasing a tortoise shell type. It’s important to know the basics of how to install tire chains beforehand so that you don’t have to panic when you need them.

Non-metallic chains come in two material types

Non-metal chains are divided into two types: rubber and resin. Both are characterized by durability and ease of putting on and taking off.


rubber tire chains

This type uses rubber with excellent flexibility and elasticity, and is used in many non-metal chains. It is easy to install and has a high grip. However, since it is made of rubber, it may become damaged over time.


resin tire chain

This tire chain is made of resin such as urethane, and features the same ease of attachment and detachment as rubber and high grip. It’s durable, but it’s hard to put together compactly, and you need a certain amount of space when storing it.

If it is a JASAA-certified product, high quality is guaranteed, so if you are unsure which one to buy, it is better to give priority to the one with the JASAA label.

Cloth Tire Chains (Autosocks/Tire Socks)

When shopping for fabric tire chains, look no further than Autosock, which originated in Norway. It is quiet and easy to put on and take off, and is useful when driving on snowy roads in an emergency.

Cloth chains like Autosock are easier to handle than other chains, so it’s convenient to keep them in your car just in case.

Comparison based on ease and difficulty of installation

1st place: Cloth tire chain

A fabric tire chain that can be used by simply covering the tire is the easiest material to put on and take off. Cloth chain requires less force than other tire chains, and installation procedure is less than other tire chains, so it can be installed in a short time.

2nd place: non-metal chain

Attaching and detaching the non-metallic chain is relatively easy, and anyone can install the chain smoothly. Slip the chain into the back of the tire, fix it with the attached belt or hook, adjust the slack and distortion, and keep it in place. Finally, starting from the connection part of the metal fittings, hang the rubber band or spring evenly and turn the hook of the band outward.

3rd place: metal chain

Metal chains are the most difficult to install among various chains, so prior practice is required before using them. First, take out the chain, spread it on the ground, and check the direction. Position the tire so that it is centered on the chain and wrap the chain around the tire. After winding, run the car a little so that the tire and chain fit together. A flat ground is required, so it is important to secure a place to install.

Compare by durability

1st place: resin chain

Chains made of resin such as urethane are the most durable. It is hard to be damaged and can be used for a long time.

2nd place: rubber chain

Resin chains and non-metallic rubber chains are also very durable. The flexible material not only allows for long-term use, but also avoids the risk of damaging the vehicle body during installation. Non-metallic tire chains certified by the Japan Automobile Traffic Safety Goods Association are durable for driving distances of 600 km or more.

3rd place: metal chain

Metal chains are products with excellent grip performance, so they are inferior to non-metal chains in terms of durability. Since it is weak against frictional force, if it is used on dry asphalt, it may cause problems such as damage or coming off while driving.

4th place: Cloth chain

Cloth chains, which are positioned for emergency use, are inferior to other chains in terms of durability. However, since it is durable enough to withstand normal use on snowy or frozen roads, a cloth chain can be used for infrequent use.

In the case of light use that is only used on a little snowy road, it may be more durable than a metal chain.

Compare by storability

4th place: metal chain

Metal chains are relatively easy to struggle with in terms of storage. There are few products that take up a lot of space, but since they are made of metal, they are vulnerable to rust and will quickly deteriorate if proper maintenance is not performed. Be careful not to leave it wet with snow or store it in a poor environment. When storing, it is important to wipe off moisture and dry, and to check frequently for scratches.

3rd place: resin chain

Resin chains, which tend to be large and bulky, are also difficult to store. Since folding is difficult, it is essential to check how much storage space you will need in advance. It is a point to purchase after securing space for storage in a garage or the like. Resin chains also require maintenance when stored, so they need to be properly cared for at the end of the winter season before being put away.

2nd place: rubber chain

Rubber chains are also difficult to store like resin chains, but some products come with a special case for storage. You can save space by purchasing products that can be stored in a case when not in use.

1st place: Cloth chain

The most excellent tire chain in terms of storage is by far the cloth chain. Since it can be put together compactly, it can be stored sufficiently if there is some space. Maintenance is also relatively easy, and when you do not use it, remove the moisture and check if there are any holes. If you don’t plan to use the chain that much and want to save as much storage space as possible, consider purchasing a cloth chain.

Comparison by comfort and noise

1st place: Cloth chain

If you want to choose a tire chain with the best ride comfort, cloth chains are the most recommended. Due to the nature of the special fiber that creates a grip on the frozen ground, it does not repel the ground due to extra unevenness.

Therefore, it is difficult to make noise when it contacts the ground, and it is difficult to generate vibration. It naturally improves ride comfort, so it is convenient when you want to drive comfortably even on snowy roads.

2nd place: rubber chain

Rubber chains made of soft materials are also excellent tire chains in terms of ride comfort. Since the spike pins etc. bite into the snowy road, it realizes relatively quiet driving. In addition, this tire chain is easy to put on and take off, reducing stress.

3rd place: resin chain

As with rubber chains, resin chains are also highly flexible, making them more comfortable to ride on snowy roads. It is ideal for long drives and supports constant noise and vibration-free driving.

4th place: metal chain

Metal chains are inferior to other chains in terms of ride comfort and quietness. The metal itself makes a certain amount of noise, and when it comes in contact with the ground, the noise and vibration are amplified.

Compare by price

1st place: metal chain

When choosing tire chains by price, metal chains tend to be cheaper. You can buy it in units of several thousand yen, so if you want to prepare for snowy roads for the time being, a metal chain is good. Due to the low price, durability is sometimes a concern, but proper maintenance can extend the life of the chain.

2nd place: rubber chain

If you want a tire chain with excellent cost performance, rubber chains tend to be cheap. The price rises slightly compared to metal, but it is a material with many inexpensive products.

It is highly durable and hard to break, and as a result, it is not uncommon for it to last longer than metal chains and compensate for the price difference.

3rd place: Cloth chain

Cloth chains with excellent simplicity are tire chains that are a little expensive in Japan. Since it tends to be used less frequently, you may feel a little dissatisfied in terms of cost performance. However, if you use it infrequently, it will last longer, so you can consider using it for a long time with a single purchase. There are few types of fabric chains, so there are few cases where you have to worry about the price.

4th place: resin chain

Among the many tire chains, non-metallic chains made of resin are the most expensive. High-end brands such as Yeti are quite expensive. However, there are large price differences between products, and there are some resin chains that are relatively inexpensive.

Recommended tire chain by point

The products introduced below have been carefully selected by the MOBY editorial department and can be easily purchased online.

If you choose by ease of installation and degree of difficulty

If you want to choose a tire chain for ease of installation, “MASTORE NTC-QE2019” is perfect. Easy installation without jacking up is possible, realizing smooth attachment and detachment. Since it is a non-metallic chain that covers the whole, it is also an advantage that it is difficult to slip while driving. The price is also cheap, so if you want to buy a tire chain for the first time, check it out.

Choose for durability

As a highly durable tire chain, “HNVEY-9”, which uses polyurethane, can be mentioned. It has excellent wear resistance and cold resistance, and is a genuine tire fitted to domestic vehicles that is also resistant to corrosion. Easy to carry and easy to install, no need for items such as jack-ups or rubber bands.

If you choose for storage

If the storage surface is the most important, fabric chains cannot be excluded from the candidates. Autosock is a very easy-to-use tire chain that is particularly attractive for its high stability and ease of attachment and detachment. The compact size of 15.2 x 30.5 x 15.2 cm can be stored in a small space.

If you choose for comfort and low noise

LEADNOVO’s non-metallic tire chain is one example of a tire chain that provides a comfortable ride when driving. Compared to metal chains, its quietness is extremely high, making it ideal for long hours of operation. The use of multiple alloy nails provides excellent stability and durability, so it can be used safely even on snowy roads. A storage pack is also included, so you can compactly store the product when not in use.

If you choose by price

A metal chain is best if you are conscious of the price. Among them, “SEIKOH KNO30” is a cheap tire chain. The tortoise shell-shaped metal chain is resistant to skidding and ice burns, and the use of 12 special alloys makes it highly durable. It is easy to install without jacking up, and overcomes the disadvantages that metal chains tend to have.

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