Are you having an itch to visit remote places, and you are finally ready to upgrade your SUV or truck to all-terrain tires? That would be an excellent improvement that will allow you to go further off the beaten path and experience nature firsthand.
All-terrain tires are becoming increasingly popular nowadays, with young people wanting to get out of the urban jungle and visit more serene, natural environments. They are so popular, in fact, that owners even put them on their trucks and SUVs for the rugged looks, and not for the higher off-road traction they provide. Regardless, all-terrain tires are becoming a thing, and there is seemingly nothing that will stop them.
But upgrading to all-terrain tires also brings some compromises, and the most noticeable to the average driver is the added noise. Most trucks and SUVs are equipped with highway/touring all-season tires from the factory for a reason – they perform very well on paved roads and remain quiet on the highway. All-terrain tires, not so much.
Still, I can confidently say that all-terrain tires are becoming quieter, with some models exceeding my expectations of what is possible. This is especially true for some mild all-terrain tires, which are only slightly louder than highway all-season tires of the same size and load rating. With that said, in my testing, I have even found some more aggressive all-terrain tires being unobtrusive on the highway.
Whether you are into buying milder all-terrain tires to slightly improve your truck’s off-road traction, or you are going all-in and opting for some more aggressive options, my list of the ten quietest all-terrain tires will have you covered.
In my list, I included every all-terrain tire that didn’t bother my ears on the highway; however, every model listed below also has numerous other qualities. In other words, all of the tires included are quiet but don’t compromise on other performance aspects.
So, without further ado, let’s have a closer look at the quietest all terrain tires currently available on the market and make your truck/SUV silent!
- Best Mild All-Terrain Tires for a Quiet Ride
- Best Aggressive All-Terrain Tires for a Quiet Ride
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 1. What makes an all-terrain tire quiet?
- 2. How do tread design and rubber compounds influence tire noise?
- 3. Do larger or smaller tire sizes contribute to noise levels?
- 4. What is the significance of siping and pitch sequence in reducing tire noise?
- 5. Can tire pressure affect how quiet an all-terrain tire is?
- 6. How do a tire's sidewall construction and tread depth impact its noise output?
- 7. How does tread block stability correlate with tire noise?
- 8. Do temperature and road conditions affect the noise levels of all-terrain tires?
- 9. How does speed influence the noise generated by quiet all-terrain tires?
- 10. Can the vehicle type or model play a role in how much tire noise is perceived?
- 11. Can off-road terrains damage the noise-reducing features of these tires?
Best Mild All-Terrain Tires for a Quiet Ride
1. Continental TerrainContact A/T
Many tiremakers launched mild all-terrain tires lately, aiming to provide a perfect balance between good on-road comfort and a higher off-road capability than regular highway all-season tires. However, at least when it comes to comfort, only a few tires can match Contintal’s TerrainContact A/T.
True, it might not be the definitive choice for those roughing it out on hardcore trails, with its milder tread pattern not exactly cut out for challenging off-road terrains. And, admittedly, its performance on snow and ice is somewhat middling, with many competitors edging ahead in these conditions.
But the TerrainContact A/T truly stands out where it matters for daily drivers: the highways. There's a serene hush when cruising at speeds of 60-70 mph, a testament to its engineering that keeps tire noise largely at bay. This is truly a silent tire – I would go as far as to say that it is quieter than some cheaper highway all-season tires, despite its more aggressive tread pattern.
And should the roads turn unfriendly, with patches of broken tarmac, this tire proves its mettle by delivering a refined and composed ride. Unlike most rivals, the TerrainContact A/T goes over sharper and deeper imperfections with a refinement that is closer to a touring tire rather than an all-terrain one. Thus, even when you drive on bad roads, you will enjoy the harshness-free ride that feels more luxurious.
What's more, the TerrainContact A/T brings to the table remarkable stability at high speeds. Whether you're on a solo journey or towing a trailer, the tire remains resolute. The lateral grip is commendable, offering a reassuring hold while cornering. And whether you're accelerating away or braking hard, its performance is right up there with the best.
Notably, Tire Rack measured that it only needs 83.9 feet to stop from 50 mph on dry tarmac, which is one of the shortest in the category. The lateral grip, at 0.81 G, is also in the higher echelon when it comes to all-terrain tires.
One aspect that truly took me by surprise was its steering response. Sharp, linear, and incredibly precise, it gives you the confidence you'd expect from a premium highway all-season tire. Sure, this might not be a deal-breaker to you, but trust me, it makes every drive more enjoyable.
However, it’s during those unexpected rain showers where the TerrainContact A/T truly shines. Wet roads, often a concern for many drivers, are tackled with aplomb. The tire boasts unrivaled traction on damp tarmac, with braking capabilities that are simply top-notch. Even when pushing the tire to its limits on wet roads, it ensures a surefooted and controlled experience.
Tire Rack’s tests also show that the TerrainContact A/T is the best wet tire in the all-terrain category. It needed only 125.4 feet to stop from 50 mph in rainy conditions, which is easily the best in its class. The lateral grip, at 0.59 G is equally impressive, and among the top three in the category.
But the cherry on top has to be its longevity. With Continental throwing in a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, it's evident that this tire is built to last. The German tiremaker provides the same warranty on both P-metric and LT-metric sizes, unlike most of its rivals. That means, even after years on the highway, the tire's performance and aesthetics shouldn't wane noticeably. Oh, and owners seem to be ecstatic with the treadlife of this tire, though that is not surprising for a product that comes from Continental.
I must mention that while the TerrainContact A/T isn’t among the best all-terrain tires on snow-covered roads, it still feels easy to drive. Where it really lacks traction is unpacked snow – the type you encounter when off-roading in the winter. Still, that is something that most mild all-terrains suffer from – you need a more aggressive tire to handle those conditions.
- Dominant dry-surface grip for its all-terrain category
- Dependable wet surface handling, even at maximum performance
- Top-notch wet surface braking
- The steering feels intuitive and immediate
- Surprisingly silent during highway journeys
- Delivers consistent comfort, even on imperfect roads
- Performs admirably on dirt and gravel paths
- Durability is a highlight, backed by an impressive treadwear warranty
- Falls short in snow and ice grip compared to competitors
- Struggles on intense off-road terrains like mud and rocks
2. Michelin LTX A/T2
Michelin’s all-terrain tire isn’t interested in the most challenging off-road terrains, which is evident when you look at its tread pattern. Sure, it is more aggressive than on a regular highway all-season tire, but it lacks the aggressive tread blocks, particularly near the sidewall, of some of its competitors.
Indeed, you will struggle with grip on challenging terrains, like mud and large rocks. I found that the LTX A/T2 doesn’t propel you as easily forward on those surfaces, and more than that, it moves quite a bit from one side to another.
That said, I was pleased with how it works on hardpacked surfaces, like dirt and gravel. The traction is there, and the casing seems very tough and durable. Michelin knows that most drivers will only encounter such off-road terrains, and designed the LTX A/T2 to work there almost perfectly.
But you will feel the real benefit of the milder design when you hit the road, as the LTX A/T2 is one of the most comfortable all-terrain tires out there. Notably, it produces only a slight hum when it rolls down the highway, which you probably won’t hear because the wind noise will cover it. This is a seriously silent all-terrain tire, similar to its greatest rival, the Continental TerrainContact A/T.
Michelin’s all-terrain tire also deals with bumps very well. The ride is soft and very refined, a real refreshment for an all-terrain tire. Even on bad roads, the LTX A/T2 glides over with refinement that is reminiscent of a highway all-season tire, which is a very big praise.
The LTX A/T2 doesn’t disappoint when you push it hard, either. On dry roads, it is one of the best all-terrain tires, with lateral grip and longitudinal traction that rival a road-focused highway all-season tire. I was also impressed by the linear and responsive steering, which is the total opposite of the truck-ish behavior of most all-terrain tires.
The same holds true in rainy conditions – the LTX A/T2 feels very stable and surefooted, while also being agile. The longitudinal traction on wet tarmac is outstanding, among the highest in the category, and the lateral grip is also excellent. I was also impressed at how the LTX A/T2 handled at the limit, as it felt predictable and easy to correct, unlike most other all-terrain tires.
With that said, the LTX A/T2 isn’t as good on snow as some of its newer rivals. On packed snow, it is good enough for a safe ride, as it provides reasonably short stopping distances and good lateral grip. It also handles predictably and feels surefooted. Still, some newer all-terrain tires with the 3PMSF (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake) symbol perform better, i.e., they provide generally higher traction.
The performance disparity is even greater over loose and unpacked snow. The Michelin LTX A/T2 lacks the deep and wide grooves of its more aggressive competitors, which hurt its ability to traverse off-road terrains during the winter.
On a more positive note, the LTX A/T2 is one of the toughest and most durable tires in its category. Thanks to its ruggedness, it handles high loads exceptionally well and keeps your truck/SUV stable, but more importantly, it won’t get easily punctured or cut.
Michelin also provides an outstanding 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is among the highest in the category, though truthfully, the LTX A/T2 is also one of the most expensive all-terrain tires.
- Holds its own with stellar dry road grip and balance
- Exceptional stopping power on dry roads
- Unwavering performance during wet conditions
- Maintains trajectory and remains stable on highways, even when towing
- Noise levels are minimal, rivaling regular highway tires
- Ensures a comforting journey
- Showcases superior performance on dirt and gravel roads
- Constructed robustly and promises longevity with a remarkable warranty
- On snowy terrains, it's outperformed by its top-tier counterparts (particularly over unpacked snow)
- Falters on intense off-road terrains like mud and large rocks
3. Vredestein Pinza AT
The European favorite, Vredestein, may not ring familiar to many North American drivers. However, for decades, this Dutch titan has been outshining several renowned rivals in the tire world with its top-notch offerings.
The Pinza AT stands as a testament to Vredestein's commitment to quality. Immediately evident is its impeccable comfort quality. Rolling on the Pinza AT feels almost like riding on highway tires, ensuring every journey remains serene and pleasant.
Even when tackling rougher terrains, the tire manages to cushion the blows, offering an incredibly smooth experience. Its hushed demeanor, even at highway speeds, positions it as one of the most silent all-terrain contenders in the market.
When it comes to performance, the Pinza AT doesn't falter. It rivals the steering precision of highway tires, ensuring linearity and a natural feel. Loaded or not, the tire maintains commendable lateral grip, and when it's about halting power, it ensures some of the shortest braking distances in its league. When you push it beyond its comfort zone, the Pinza AT still manages to hold its own, allowing drivers to control its behavior seamlessly.
What I found in my testing was also mirrored in Tire Rack’s tests of the Pinza AT. Namely, Vredestein’s all-terrain tire needed only 86.10 feet to stop from 50 mph on dry roads, only 2 feet longer than the class-leading all-terrain tire, the Continental TerrainContact A/T. But the Pinza AT actually bested its Continental rival in the corners, achieving 0.84 G for some of the best lateral grip in the category.
Rain or shine, this tire also doesn't disappoint. Its prowess on wet roads is noticeable, outdoing several competitors with its remarkable traction. Not only are the stopping distances impressively short, but the tire also showcases agility and control in the corners, making rainy drives feel safer and more enjoyable.
Again, Tire Rack’s testing shows that the Pinza AT needed 134.9 feet to stop from 50 mph on wet roads, about 9 feet more than the class-leading TerrainContact A/T. Moreover, it achieved a commendable 0.58 G while cornering.
However, it's essential to acknowledge its few shortcomings. Even though the Pinza AT proudly sports the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol and is peppered with multiple sipes, its snow performance slightly lags behind its top-tier counterparts. While it remains manageable and reliable in snowy conditions, it doesn't handle high-speed cornering in such environments as confidently as some may wish.
Off-roaders might find the Pinza AT's capabilities a tad limiting when faced with deep mud or formidable rocks. But on terrains like dirt and gravel, this tire is a star, delivering a performance that might even make you favor it over some of its more aggressive counterparts.
Vredestein provides a class-leading 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on regular P-metric sizes, which is similar to some premium highway all-season tires, and frankly, impressive.
LT-metric sizes come with a lower 50,000-mile warranty, but that is impressive in its own right as well. Crucially, owners seem to be very happy with the real-world treadlife, which is a testament to Vredestein’s focus on producing high-quality durable tires.
- Strong performance on compact terrains like dirt and gravel
- Dry roads see excellent traction and lateral control
- Remains poised during dry conditions, even when pushing boundaries
- Handles wet conditions adeptly, ensuring secure traction
- The steering feels immediate and accurate for its class
- Road noise is hardly a concern, even at highway speeds
- Delivers a plush journey for an all-terrain variant
- Accompanied by a standout treadwear warranty
- Could enhance its light snow traction to match top competitors
- May not be the first choice for extremely demanding off-road scenarios
4. Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015
Yokohama’s Geolandar A/T G015 isn't just another all-terrain tire; it stands as a testament to comfort and quietness, blending the ruggedness expected of off-road tires with the serenity of highway ones.
One of its standout attributes, especially when considering it belongs to the all-terrain category, is its whisper-quiet ride. Even though there's a slight low-pitched hum, it's minimal and never becomes irksome. This makes it a prime choice for those embarking on extended trips, offering a tranquility not easily matched by other all-terrain competitors.
Complementing its quiet nature, the Geolandar A/T G015 ensures a pleasant journey even at high speeds. Apart from a bit of firmness on rougher terrains, it promises consistent comfort on the streets. The ride is overall very smooth, even on bad roads, where the Geolandar A/T G015 doesn’t produce a lot of vibrations or harshness.
And while some all-terrain tires tend to falter in wet conditions due to the limited footprint, this Yokohama marvel exhibits commendable wet traction. Whether you're braking hard or accelerating on a rain-soaked road, it grips with assurance.
TireRack was able to confirm this via its testing with advanced instruments, measuring that the Geolandar A/T G015 only needs 141.8 feet to stop from 50 mph in rainy conditions, a whopping 19 feet better than the popular BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A mild all-terrain tire. The Yokohama was slightly worse than the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail, which needed only 138.4 feet to stop, but these are small differences we are talking about.
Even during spirited drives in the rain, it closely rivals the prowess of dedicated highway all-season tires. I had no issues driving fast through the corners, as the Geolandar A/T G015 felt very stable and predictable at the limit, without the erratic behavior of most other all-terrain tires.
Its prowess on dry roads is no less impressive. The Geolandar A/T G015's responsiveness and grip echo the performance of highway tires. It feels stable on the road, with good lateral grip and strong braking. Moreover, if you're towing a bulky trailer with your SUV or truck, the tire's robust casing ensures minimal wandering, guaranteeing excellent highway stability.
TireRack also confirmed Geolandar A/T G015’s excellent dry grip – in its testing, it measured that this tire needed 86.4 feet to stop from 50 mph on dry roads, which is one of the best results in the category.
Venturing into snowy terrains, this tire offers promising performance on light snow and even some grip on unpacked varieties. However, icy terrains might be its Achilles' heel. It does provide some traction on ice, but I won’t call it usable.
Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate its capability on gravel, dirt, turf, and sand. Although not a very aggressive all-terrain tire, the Geolandar A/T G015 still manages to drive confidently over those surfaces, and will even give you some traction in shallow mud. Still, deep mud and large rocks do pose a challenge for this tire, which isn’t equipped for the most challenging off-road terrains.
In terms of longevity, Yokohama is confident in its offering. A warranty of 60,000 miles for P-metric sizes and 50,000 miles for LT-metric and flotation sizes reinforces its standing in the market. Both of these are among the best in their respective categories.
Real-world usage also shows that the Geolandar A/T G015 is a very durable tire – owners are very satisfied with the treadlife. That said, while the Geolandar A/T G015 is resistant to punctures, it isn’t as tough as some more aggressive options in the category.
- Delivers consistent performance on dirt and gravel roads
- Exhibits a solid on-road presence, marked by potent braking and grip
- Wet roads are managed effectively with assured handling and braking
- Offers reliable traction on light snow
- Maintains a low noise profile for its category
- Extended treadwear warranty is a definite plus
- The ride can feel jarring over consecutive impacts
- Mud traction leaves room for improvement
5. Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S
In the world of all-terrain tires, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S has garnered quite a reputation, especially in North America. Its popularity isn't unfounded. Priced competitively, it punches above its weight in several key performance areas, making it a favorite among budget-conscious off-road enthusiasts.
But the Discoverer AT3 4S should also be your favorite if you dread the hum and roar often associated with all-terrain tires. Namely, The Discoverer AT3 4S is one of the quietest tires in its segment. Whether you're cruising on the highway or navigating city streets, tire noise remains unobtrusive. Unlike some all-terrain tires, Cooper’s model even remains relatively quiet on bad and rough roads, which is a testament to its excellent refinement.
Ride quality is another strong point of the AT3 4S. Its plushness is particularly noticeable during off-road adventures, where it absorbs most bumps and imperfections, ensuring a relatively smooth journey.
However, when it comes to repetitive impacts, especially over rough and broken tarmac, there's a slight secondary motion that some might find unsettling. This is not too dissimilar to other similarly-priced all-terrain tires, but some might still find it a bit irksome.
The Discoverer AT3 4S also positively surprised me with its safe road behavior. I found that whether you're driving on sun-baked roads or wet highways, the AT3 4S remains tenaciously grippy. Its performance on dry surfaces is commendable, with the tire offering consistent traction, ensuring you're always in control.
The highway stability and straight-line tracking are also excellent. However, I wouldn’t recommend this tire to drivers who frequently tow or haul heavy cargo in their trucks, as it doesn’t come in LT-metric sizes. Fortunately, Cooper offers a ‘Light Truck’ version of the tire, which has the added robustness necessary to carry heavy loads and large trailers.
But where the Discoverer AT3 4S genuinely shines is in wet conditions. Even when the heavens open, you can count on this tire for solid traction and impressively short stopping distances.
For instance, in Tire Rack’s testing, the Discoverer AT3 4S needed only 137.2 feet to stop from 50 mph on wet tarmac, a full 12 feet shorter than the General Grabber APT and 11 feet shorter than the Kumho Road Venture AT52. The Discoverer AT3 4S also excels with its lateral grip at 0.57 G, which is higher than most of its rivals.
However, not everything is shiny. In my testing, I found that if you push the Discoverer AT3 4S hard in a corner, it understeers heavily. It's something that seasoned drivers can easily manage, but it definitely hurts the driving experience.
Also, in terms of steering feedback, don't expect the pinpoint accuracy of a performance tire. It's a bit on the slower side, lacking in immediacy, but that's a common trait in many all-terrain tires.
Fortunately, for those who frequently encounter light snow, the AT3 4S won't disappoint, as it boasts one of the class's top traction levels. It also drives very well in the corners, where it feels predictable and easy to correct.
Cooper provides a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Discoverer AT3 4S, which is one of the highest in the category. Owners also seem to be happy with how long this tire lasts, though it is important to mention that the Discoverer AT3 4S doesn’t have the same puncture resistance as an LT-metric tire.
- Effective performance on compact surfaces
- Reliable grip on dry roads
- Ensures safe traction during wet conditions
- Handles light snow commendably, making for confident driving
- Delivers a plush ride – suitable for off-road adventures
- Maintains a relatively quiet ambiance on highways
- Slight disturbances observed over repetitive impacts
- Steering feedback could be sharper and more direct
- Wet road cornering could be more refined
6. General Grabber APT
Upon hitting the roads with the General Grabber APT, it didn't take long for me to realize where this tire stands in the pantheon of all-terrain options. Much like some of its pricier competitors, the Grabber APT isn't without its limitations, particularly in light snow and challenging off-road terrains. However, it would be unfair to label this tire just by its limitations.
Driving on hardpacked surfaces, I felt quite confident. The Grabber APT adhered well to the terrain, offering a sense of stability that one might not expect at its price point. However, in my testing, the Grabber APT suffered traction in mud and over large rocks. Put simply, this is not the best tire for driving on very challenging terrains.
Also, while its snow performance didn't match up to the industry's heavyweights, it's worth noting that it only seems subpar when pitted directly against the category's top performers. Namely, it drives well on snow and feels predictable, but the overall traction is lower than what you’d get in some of its closest rivals.
In Tire Rack’s tests, the Grabber APT needed 89 feet to stop on snow from 25 mph, a full 15 feet longer than the Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S. Not to mention, some premium tires with the 3PMSF symbol would make that disparity even higher.
With that said, highway driving, I must say, is where the Grabber APT truly shines. If you've ever been annoyed by the loud hum that some all-terrain tires make, you'll be pleasantly surprised here. The journey was whisper-quiet, and the tire's ability to smooth out even the roughest patches was commendable. Thus, for those of you who prioritize highway driving, the Grabber APT is the perfect companion.
Furthermore, the tire’s traction in dry conditions was reminiscent of what I've experienced with premium brands, offering an excellent grip that inspired confidence at every turn.
Moreover, its highway stability was beyond reproach, standing its ground even in challenging situations. That was true even when I attached a boat trailer – the Grabber APT tires followed every direction obediently.
Now, while I could confidently say that the Grabber APT doesn't match the prowess of the TerrainContact A/T in wet conditions (few tires do, in fact), it would be a disservice to label it as weak in this department. In fact, for its price range, the Grabber APT delivers strong performance in the rain. The steering felt assertive, acceleration was competent, and braking was reassuring. The overall wet traction was indeed noteworthy.
And for those concerned about longevity? The Grabber APT's 60,000-mile treadwear warranty should put your mind at ease. Given its price bracket, such a warranty is genuinely commendable. Also, the Grabber APT is made from a robust, cut- and chip-resistant tread compound and the tire also seems very resistant to punctures.
- Handles gravel and dirt trails impressively well for its category
- Demonstrates excellent lateral grip and forward traction on dry tarmacs
- Wet traction is commendable, even if not the best in class
- Provides a peaceful and even ride, ensuring comfort even on less-than-perfect roads
- Offers one of the best treadwear warranties in its category, ensuring value for money
- Snow enthusiasts might be left wanting a tad more in terms of light-snow traction
- While good in wet conditions, it doesn't quite match its top competitors
- Those seeking adrenaline-pumping off-road adventures might find it a tad limiting
Best Aggressive All-Terrain Tires for a Quiet Ride
7. Falken Wildpeak A/T3W
I don’t hide that the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W is currently one of my favorite all-terrain tires with a more aggressive tread pattern. This tire is so well designed, that it has almost no glaring disadvantages when compared to similar all-terrain tires, and crucially, offers excellent off-road traction and won’t leave you stranded on your next overlanding adventure.
In fact, the only real downside of the Wildpeak A/T3W is that it feels quite sluggish on paved roads. This characteristic might amplify the already vague steering feel of trucks and SUVs, and make them drive like the trucks of yore. But this minor hiccup aside, there's a plethora of aspects where this tire truly shines.
For starters, the Wildpeak A/T3W boasts an aggressive tread pattern characterized by deep grooves. But surprisingly, this doesn't compromise its road performance. Whether it's the dry grip, quick braking, or highway stability, especially when towing with your truck or SUV, this tire impressively ticks all the boxes.
Don’t trust my unscientific testing? TireRack measured that the Wildpeak A/T3W needed 85.8 feet to stop from 50 mph on dry roads, shorter than both the Mickey Thompson Baja A/T and Toyo Open Country A/T III. Moreover, the Wildpeak A/T3W was able to achieve a higher cornering acceleration at 0.81, compared to 0.8 for the Baja A/T and 0.79 for the Open Country A/T III.
Rainy conditions? No sweat for the Wildpeak A/T3W. Its prowess in wet terrains is especially commendable, with stopping distances that rival even the top players in the aggressive all-terrain segment. Lateral grip doesn't waver, ensuring confident handling even when approaching its limits. The gradual loss of traction further enhances predictability, a crucial factor during spirited drives.
Again, TireRack confirmed these results in its scientific tests. The Wildpeak A/T3W destroyed the competition when it came to wet braking, as it needed only 127.3 feet to stop from 50 mph, a whopping 21 feet less than the Baja A/T! It also achieves one of the highest lateral accelerations in its category on wet tarmac at 0.62 G.
Snow-covered terrains further exemplify the tire's mastery. Equipped with myriad sipes across its tread blocks and boasting the prestigious Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification, the Wildpeak A/T3W impresses with its short stopping distances and formidable acceleration on both packed and unpacked snow. This is complemented by agile steering and poised cornering, making snowy drives a breeze.
Off-road? The tire's design comes to life. The pronounced and aggressive pattern ensures top-tier performance, offering robust traction on varied surfaces like dirt and gravel. Its capabilities aren’t limited there; it excels even in muddy terrains and over large rock formations. The availability of flotation sizes further broadens its off-road prowess, enabling deflation for enhanced grip on rocky terrains or sandy expanses.
Diving into the comfort domain, Falken has meticulously crafted the Wildpeak A/T3W. The ride quality is smooth across a myriad of surfaces, ensuring a serene driving experience. While the tire does produce some noise, it remains within acceptable bounds, though road-centric all-terrain options like the Continental TerrainContact A/T might have an edge in this regard.
To round it off, Falken offers an enticing 55,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Wildpeak A/T3W, a testament to its durability, particularly for such an aggressively styled all-terrain tire.
- Excels on compact terrains like dirt and gravel
- Manages muddy and rocky terrains competently
- Shows prowess on dry roads, especially in lateral grip
- Maneuvers wet conditions with commendable handling and braking
- Ensures firm braking and balanced handling on snow-covered paths
- Delivers a well-cushioned ride that keeps cabin disturbances at bay
- It remains relatively quiet on the highway, despite its aggressive design
- Built to last with an emphasis on durability
- Falls short in on-road agility – feels more like an off-road variant
- Steering feedback could be sharper
8. Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T
The moment you lay your eyes on the Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T, you understand why Mickey Thompson holds a special place in the hearts of off-road enthusiasts. It certainly looks the part, with an aggressive tread pattern, militant sidewalls, and 3D-embossed writing. It is a tire that would look great on any SUV or truck, but particularly those with other off-road-specific upgrades.
Having had the chance to put the Baja Boss A/T through its paces, I can also confidently assert that it truly stands out in challenging terrains. Off-road trails with shallow mud and rocks? No problem. The Baja Boss A/T doesn't just cope – it excels, offering traction that's nothing short of remarkable.
I've tried a good number of all-terrain tires over the years, but few have demonstrated the capability this one has in unpacked snow. The aggressive tread pattern plays a significant role in its superior performance, ensuring that you're not left wanting.
The aggressive tread blocks also make the Baja Boss A/T capable of traversing off-road trails with unpacked snow. This is a tire that won’t get stuck easily in deep snow, which is an important thing for off-roaders. Moreover, it performs reasonably well on packed snow, which is surprising for such an aggressive all-terrain tire.
Now, for those wondering how such a rugged tire performs on regular roads, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Despite its aggressive demeanor and robust construction, the Baja Boss A/T manages to offer a quieter ride than you'd expect.
Moreover, the ride is very smooth over most surfaces, without the harshness you mostly associate with all-terrain tires. In fact, considering the aggressive design and robust construction, the Baja Boss A/T is stunningly comfortable on longer journeys.
But the Baja Boss A/T isn’t without its quirks. While it is comfortable and refined on paved roads, it can’t compete with its closest rivals regarding performance. On dry roads, the Baja Boss A/T suffers in the corners, as the lateral grip is lower than most rivals. It’s not bad – there is still enough grip to keep you safe, though its competitors will give you a better overall experience.
It’s the same story on wet roads – the Baja Boss A/T lags behind its competitors in both longitudinal traction and lateral grip. In other words, you should expect slightly longer stopping distances and more slipping while cornering. From a subjective perspective, the Baja Boss A/T drives pretty well in rainy conditions, though, as it feels very predictable at the limit.
Mickey Thompson provides a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on P-metric sizes and a 50,000-mile warranty on LT-metric sizes. Both are great for the category, though the Baja Boss A/T isn’t only good in terms of treadlife – it is also very robust.
Thanks to the rugged cut and chip-resistant casing, the Baja Boss A/T won’t get easily pierced by sharp rocks, making it one of the most durable all-terrain tires for drivers who often go off-roading with their trucks or SUVs.
- Dominates on compact terrains
- Excels in muddy conditions
- Holds its ground on rocky landscapes
- Unpacked snow traction is a highlight, especially for off-road enthusiasts
- Braking and handling on compact snow are consistent
- Remarkably quiet for its aggressive design
- Built sturdily with a focus on longevity and puncture resistance
- On-road responsiveness leaves room for improvement
- Wet road traction and braking are satisfactory but not leading
- Lateral grip on dry surfaces could be better refined
9. Firestone Destination X/T
There are some tires that just evoke the spirit of off-roading, and the Firestone Destination X/T is undoubtedly one of them. The first thing I observed was how it wore its off-road heart on its sleeve – the traction it offers on trails is truly commendable, handling everything from dirt, and gravel, to turf with admirable grit.
The versatility it displayed on lighter mud terrains and medium-sized rocks was particularly striking. It might not be as good in deep mud as the Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T, but better than most other tires in the category. And thanks to the grippy rubber compound, the Destination X/T grips larger rocks well and doesn’t leave you stranded.
However, on paved roads, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. There's a bit of unresponsiveness in its steering, particularly in the on-center position, which took some getting used to. This is not something that many truck or SUV owners will complain about, but important to note, especially since other tiremakers have already sorted out the steering in all-terrain tires.
Furthermore, the Destination X/T didn't quite match up to some of the leading tires in terms of acceleration and braking on dry roads. Subjectively, the tire feels pretty stable and surefooted, but there is no question that most of its competitors provide shorter stopping distances and higher lateral grip.
With that said, the Destination X/T redeemed itself on wet surfaces. I was pleasantly surprised by the confidence with which it handled wet tarmac, ensuring solid traction throughout. Notably, it provided short stopping distances, along with good lateral grip. Moreover, the tire was easy to control in the corners, with predictable behavior at the limit and agile handling.
Now, for all the adventurers out there worried about compromising comfort for capability, here’s some good news: the Destination X/T is surprisingly quiet and smooth. No matter where I took it – highways, city roads, or rough terrains – the ride quality remained consistently impressive. So, for the regular motorist who dabbles in occasional off-roading, the Destination X/T strikes a lovely balance between capability and comfort.
Yet, there is one thing I need to bring to the fore: Firestone has chosen to offer this gem only in LT-metric and flotation sizes. That essentially limits its application to larger vehicles like full-size and heavy-duty trucks. A bit of a bummer, especially when you consider the broader appeal it could've had.
With that said, it is hard to complain about the 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is excellent considering the Destination X/T only comes in LT-metric and flotation sizes. Also, the Destination X/T has a very tough casing that resists punctures and cuts, which further adds to its toughness.
Finally, the snow performance of the Destination X/T is a mixed bag. Namely, the tire is easy to drive in the corners on packed snow, but it lacks the bite of most of its competitors, which offer higher traction. Also, while the Destination X/T provides some traction over loose and unpacked snow, it can’t compete with the class leaders.
- The traction on trails is genuinely praiseworthy, conquering dirt, gravel, and even turf
- It's competent in light mud and medium-sized rock terrains
- On regular streets, the dry tarmac handling is pretty decent
- Wet surfaces? It's got you covered with balanced handling and assured traction
- Be it highways or back roads, the ride quality is top-notch
- For an all-terrain beast, it's astonishingly silent
- It boasts a rugged build, reinforced by a generous treadwear warranty
- Steering feedback can be a tad vague, particularly when you're aiming straight
- In dry conditions, its braking and acceleration prowess could use some fine-tuning
- Its size availability, limited to LT-metric and flotation, might not cater to all
10. General Grabber A/TX
As an adventurer at heart, I always look for tires that can both conquer the rugged terrains and provide a seamless experience on city streets. With the General Grabber A/TX, I feel I found a tire that closely fits this bill.
This isn't just another all-terrain tire; it leans more toward off-road enthusiasts without alienating the average driver. During my rides, I was thrilled to see how well it performed in shallow mud and how effortlessly it traversed larger rocks. For those wondering – yes, a dedicated off-road tire might yield better results, but for an all-terrain option, the Grabber A/TX truly stands out.
Moreover, the Grabber A/TX is also one of the best all-terrain tires for traversing hardpacked surfaces, like dirt and gravel. Sure, most all-terrain tires provide excellent traction on those terrains, but this tire pushes things even further with its super-rugged casing that has excellent cut and chip resistance, as well as puncture resistance. Thus, you won’t have to worry about changing tires in the middle of nowhere.
Transitioning from the trails to the tarmac, the A/TX doesn't skip a beat. It delivers commendable on-road traction in both dry and wet conditions. Furthermore, there's an innate comfort that comes with this tire. Whether you're talking about the quality of the ride or the noise, it scores high.
The ride feels smooth, even when the road gets a bit unruly, and the noise, while present, stays at a low pitch and isn't intrusive. I think you will have no issue covering miles with a set of Grabber A/TX tires on your truck.
However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. While driving, I did notice that the steering felt somewhat vague. Yet, it did redeem itself with a good on-center feel, ensuring the truck stayed its course without much hassle. But if there was one area that left me wanting more, it was its performance on packed snow.
Against the heavyweights in its category, the Grabber A/TX's snow traction felt just about average. In other words, the tire feels good on snow in isolation, but put it against some of its rivals, and you will notice that the Grabber A/TX can’t compete in terms of traction.
General provides a 60,000-mile warranty on P-metric sizes and a 50,000-mile warranty on LT-metric sizes. Both are great for the category and reports from owners about the real-world treadlife match with the warranty provided by the manufacturer.
- It shines brilliantly on hardpacked surfaces, ensuring optimal traction
- Built tough and rugged, it’s ideal for those prolonged off-road escapades
- From turf and medium rocks to shallow mud, its performance remains consistent and impressive
- It ensures a firm grip and balanced handling on dry terrains
- Even in wet conditions, the A/TX offers confidence-inspiring traction and handling
- The ride is plush, absorbing both minor and significant road imperfections with ease
- It's heartening to note that the noise levels stay subdued and never bother the cabin
- With an excellent treadwear warranty, it promises durability in its category
- Its performance on light snow could definitely use some fine-tuning
- The steering, while manageable, feels a bit indistinct
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What makes an all-terrain tire quiet?
The quietness of an all-terrain tire is primarily influenced by its structural and compositional attributes, i.e., the tread pattern and rubber compound.
The biggest contributor to tire acoustics, though, is the tread pattern. All-terrain tires designed for a quieter ride often have a symmetrical, non-aggressive tread pattern. Such patterns distribute acoustic pressures uniformly, reducing the emanation of peak noise frequencies. This ensures that while the tire maintains traction across various terrains, it doesn't produce excessive noise on smoother surfaces like highways.
Moreover, tires with well-optimized groove widths and depths can significantly reduce air cavitation, a major source of tire noise. By preventing the trapping and compressing of air between the tire and road surface, these grooves minimize the loud air-pumping noise.
Premium tiremakers are also increasingly using varied pitch sequences, which are basically different sizes and shapes of tread blocks. By distributing tire noise across various frequencies, the overall noise is less noticeable to the human ear, almost like active noise-canceling headphones.
Some premium tires also come with foam inner linings or noise shields that help absorb the tire cavity noise, further enhancing acoustic comfort. This design is mainly present in touring or highway tires, but it has become increasingly popular in all-terrain tires as well.
Like with most things implemented in tires, they work best when combined with other technologies. Namely, a quiet tire would have well-optimized groove widths with varied pitch sequences, a pattern that distributes the acoustic pressure across the tread, and noise shields under the tread.
2. How do tread design and rubber compounds influence tire noise?
Tread patterns play a pivotal role in noise generation. Aggressive tread patterns with large, open tread blocks tend to produce more noise due to amplified air cavitation and increased tread block movement.
Tires designed for high-speed, on-road applications often use continuous center ribs which reduce tread block movement and subsequently lower noise. However, continuous center ribs aren’t as present in all-terrain tires, as there, numerous blocks are necessary to aid with off-road traction. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons why all-terrain tires are noisier, and manufacturers often have to employ different design tactics to minimize noise.
Additionally, the tightness of the sipes and their layout can influence the harmonics produced during tire rotation. Most premium tires have tread blocks with cleverly designed sipes that don’t hurt their structural integrity, though cheaper tires aren’t as good in that area.
But the tread pattern isn’t the sole contributor to noise – the rubber compound is as important. Namely, a softer rubber compound can absorb more vibrations, thus reducing transmitted road noise.
However, softer compounds aren’t often used in all-terrain tires, because they wear out faster. That is particularly true when off-roading – sharp rocks and dirt can easily cut and chip soft rubber, which is why manufacturers often opt for harder compounds.
Premium tire manufacturers often use a blend of natural and synthetic rubbers with specific additives to optimize the balance between wear, grip, and noise. The inclusion of silica in the rubber mix, for example, can reduce rolling resistance and, in turn, mitigate noise generation.
3. Do larger or smaller tire sizes contribute to noise levels?
Tire size can indeed influence noise levels, but it's essential to consider both diameter and width. Namely, Larger-diameter tires generally have longer contact patches with the road. This can sometimes mean more vibrations and hence more noise.
However, the effect of diameter alone isn't profound enough to be the sole determinant of noise. In fact, the tire’s width has a more profound effect on acoustics. In my experience testing hundreds of different tires, wider tires are always noisier. That is because they have a larger contact area with the road, leading to more air being trapped and compressed - a significant source of noise.
It's also worth noting that other factors, like sidewall stiffness, play a role. A taller sidewall can absorb more road imperfections, potentially reducing noise, while a shorter, stiffer sidewall may transmit more road noise.
That said when it comes to all-terrain tires, sizes with taller sidewalls usually have more reinforcements inside to also make them stiffer. The general idea is to increase structural integrity so the owner can use them at lower pressures for higher off-road traction.
However, this also reduces the sidewall’s ability to minimize vibrations, resulting in higher noise. As a result, most flotation tires that have very tall sidewalls are quite loud on the highway, where the small imperfections cause the tire to produce quite a lot of buzz.
4. What is the significance of siping and pitch sequence in reducing tire noise?
Sipes are small slits cut into the surface of the tread, usually inside the tread blocks. Sipes are great at improving water dissipation, but also significantly improve snow traction as they provide additional biting edges to the tread. Surprisingly, though, they can also significantly reduce tread noise, particularly if they are carefully designed.
Namely, each sipe acts as a micro-damper, absorbing vibrations caused by the tire's contact with the road. This dampening effect reduces the overall vibration transmitted through the tire, leading to quieter operation. Moreover, sipes can help scatter and break up the tire's harmonic noise frequencies, making the overall noise less noticeable.
Premium manufacturers use computer-aided technologies to design sipes that can minimize the amount of air being trapped, (and subsequently compressed) between the tread blocks, thus reducing the loud air-pumping noise.
Meanwhile, the pitch sequence is essentially the size, shape, and arrangement of tread blocks on a tire, aimed at reducing noise. The idea is that each arrangement type produces a different frequency, so as a whole, the tread produces a combination of multiple frequencies. Varying the pitch sequence scatters these frequencies, ensuring that no single frequency dominates, leading to a more balanced and less noticeable tire noise.
It is essential to note that the pitch sequence on a particular tire might work on one type of road, say rough asphalt, but won’t be as good on smooth asphalt. All-terrain tires, in general, vary quite significantly in the noise output on different roads, with some models handling rough tarmac quite poorly.
5. Can tire pressure affect how quiet an all-terrain tire is?
Oh, absolutely! Underinflated tires have more of their surface area in contact with the road than properly inflated tires. This larger contact patch can transmit more vibrations, thus potentially increasing noise.
Moreover, an underinflated tire would flex more, leading to increased heat generation and altered tread block movement, both of which can influence noise output.
You must be thinking that overinflated tires will minimize noise due to the smaller contact patch. However, while that plays a role, overinflated tires are also stiffer overall, and won’t be able to absorb as much vibrations from the road. As a result, they tend to produce a high-pitched noise that is even more tiring at longer trips than the low-pitched noise underinflated tires produce.
For those reasons, I highly recommend sticking to the manufacturer-recommended tire pressure. Carmakers decide on that pressure after testing the vehicle for thousands of miles, using specialized equipment that can measure how much noise they produce, among other performance-related stuff.
6. How do a tire's sidewall construction and tread depth impact its noise output?
Most tires on sale today have a radial construction, which ensures low noise and high comfort. However, there are quite big differences in the stiffness of the radial plies, which directly affect the hardness of the sidewalls.
In all-terrain tires, manufacturers usually opt for stiffer sidewalls, i.e., more plies in the casing. The idea is to give the tire robustness, which comes in handy when driving on surfaces with a lot of sharp rocks that could puncture the tire. Moreover, stiffer sidewalls allow driving at lower pressures, increasing traction over large rocks and sand.
Some more aggressive all-terrain tires even include additional layers or reinforcements in the sidewall for durability, puncture resistance, or improved handling. These added layers can also impact the tire's acoustics by altering its vibration transmission characteristics.
Overall, a stiffer sidewall will transmit more road noise to the vehicle's interior because it's less able to absorb road imperfections.
But all-terrain tires also have more aggressive tread patterns with deeper grooves and more tread blocks, resulting in more tread movement. While this can be advantageous for traction, it can also lead to more noise as each block contacts and leaves the road surface.
The deeper treads of all-terrain tires will also trap more air, leading to increased air cavitation and, consequently, noise. Premium tiremakers often counteract this by designing the grooves and sipes in such a way that they minimize trapped air, thus reducing noise.
It is important to note that as the tire wears down and the tread depth decreases, the acoustic properties of the tire will also change. And while it might be logical to think that it will become quieter, the reality is that frequencies the tire emits can shift, usually to higher pitches.
This change can sometimes make the tire seem louder, even if the overall noise output might have decreased (when measured by instruments). Since people usually react worse to high-pitched sounds, this change can make the tires less comfortable over long journeys.
7. How does tread block stability correlate with tire noise?
It is a very big factor in the amount and quality of noise all-terrain tires produce. Remember, all-terrain tires have large tread blocks accompanied by deep grooves, meaning they will move more than the stiffer tread blocks of on-road-focused highway or touring tires.
That is because unstable tread blocks can vibrate or wiggle as they make contact with the road. This rapid, repeated vibration can generate noise. A tire designed with greater tread block stability, often achieved through tie-bars, interlocking designs, or specific rubber compounds, will vibrate less, thus producing less noise.
Stable tread blocks maintain a more consistent contact with the road. Inconsistent contact, such as what you might find with more flexible tread blocks, can cause varying noise frequencies which might be perceived as louder or more bothersome to the human ear.
8. Do temperature and road conditions affect the noise levels of all-terrain tires?
You might have noticed that your tires change their acoustic quality during freezing or very hot environmental conditions. That is particularly true if you use tires that aren’t designed for the temperature you are encountering, like using winter tires during the summer and vice versa.
Namely, as the temperature increases, like during hot summer weather, the tire rubber softens, potentially leading to less noise in summer tires. That is because they are designed from harder rubber compounds that work well in those scenarios.
However, winter tires will become very noisy during hot conditions, because the compound will be too soft, almost jelly-like, greatly increasing the contact patch.
Meanwhile, as temperatures decrease, tire rubber becomes less flexible. A stiffer tire can lead to increased transmission of road imperfections, resulting in more noise. This is mainly true when using summer tires in very cold conditions; for winter tires, you will get the quietest ride in freezing weather, because the rubber compound works optimally at those temperatures.
Road quality also plays a crucial role in noise generation. Logically, smooth roads, like freshly laid asphalt, tend to produce less noise when compared to rough or textured roads, like concrete highways with grooved patterns.
Furthermore, gravel or rocky roads, often encountered by all-terrain tires, can cause increased tire noise due to the physical interactions of the tire tread with the road debris.
Interestingly, wet roads or roads covered in snow can act as dampeners, reducing noise levels. However, the sound of tires displacing water or slush can add to the overall noise perception, and in fact, make the ride noisier.
9. How does speed influence the noise generated by quiet all-terrain tires?
Tires will become louder as you increase the speed because the frequency of tread block contact with the road also rises. This leads to an increase in the rate of vibration, which translates to increased noise levels.
Moreover, the simple fact that tires need to cut through the air at higher speeds makes them louder. In fact, wind noise around the tires and your car’s body is the biggest contributor to noise at higher speeds.
One lesser-known fact is that every tire has its “resonate frequency” when it hits a certain speed. This is where the natural frequency of the tire matches with the induced frequency, leading to a significant spike in perceived noise.
However, in most premium all-terrain tires, engineers design the tread pattern so that it hits the resonate frequency at very high speeds, which are out of their typical operational velocities.
Still, I have noticed this weird behavior in some cheaper all-terrain tires – they are loud at 50 mph, but settle down at 70 mph.
10. Can the vehicle type or model play a role in how much tire noise is perceived?
Absolutely! Both the type of vehicle and its interaction with off-road terrains can influence tire noise perception and the integrity of noise-reducing features.
For instance, the design of the vehicle, including its insulation and the materials used, can either amplify or dampen external noises, including those originating from the tires.
Some luxury vehicles, for instance, emphasize superior soundproofing to offer a quieter cabin experience, thereby reducing the perceived noise from tires. A good example is comparing Chevy to GMC trucks – both are built on the same platform and share the same engines, but GM trucks tend to have better sound insulation, leading to lower tire noise.
The suspension system of a vehicle plays a significant role in noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics. A softer suspension may absorb more road imperfections, leading to a quieter ride, while a stiffer, sportier suspension might transmit more road noise. For example, Ram trucks with air suspension are not only smoother over bad roads, but they also tend to be quieter.
However, the design of the wheel well is the most significant contributor to road noise. Luxury trucks and SUVs usually have sound-absorbing tires around the tire, which greatly minimize noise by reducing the echo and making even loud tires quiet.
11. Can off-road terrains damage the noise-reducing features of these tires?
Off-roading can have a profound effect on your tires, and this includes changing their acoustic qualities.
Namely, rugged off-road terrains, like dirt and gravel, can expedite tread wear, especially if the tire isn't specifically designed for such rigorous conditions. As the tread wears, the characteristics of the noise generated by the tire can change, often becoming louder.
Meanwhile, sharp rocks and deep ruts can physically damage the tire’s tread, altering its acoustic profile, as the designed pitch sequence, siping, and tread block stability might be compromised.
All-terrain tires, even those designed with stone/mud ejection in mind, will often trap objects inside their grooves. These will inadvertently affect the tire’s noise characteristics, and make it louder.
In my list of the quietest all terrain tires, you can see that I included both milder and more aggressive models. The reasoning is that every driver has a different requirement – some only occasionally drive off the beaten path, while others spend most of the time there.
With that said, it is important to note that mild all-terrain tires will be quieter on average, so if your aim is to get the most serene driving experience, I suggest skipping the more aggressive all-terrain tire options.
I’m Ivo Gievski, the content writer for Tireer. We built our website with over 15 years of experience and extensive research in the automotive and technology sectors. My dedication to delivering high-quality content is unwavering, and I strive to continuously hone my skills to stay ahead of industry trends and provide readers with informative, engaging, and valuable insights.