One cannot simply talk about off-road fun, without talking about ATV vehicles. These vehicles are often not street legal (there are models that are), even though they provide the driver with excellent drivability on almost every terrain, including public roads. And while they can be driven on the road without too much fuss, they are still geared more towards off-road driving.
Why is this important to mention in this article? Well, ATV enthusiasts simply don’t use slicks on their vehicles. In my experience, they mostly use real off-road or mud tires, or in some situations all-terrain tires. That’s why, in my list of best ATV tires, expect most of them to be able to tackle some serious terrain. Of course, performance on the road will also be a factor here, because safety is always the number one priority.
In order to help you with choosing the best set of tires for your ATV, I’ve created a Top 10 list of the best ATV tires in my opinion. There you can find great all-terrain and mud tires, but also great tires for trail riding and snow. The complete package if you like.
Then, you can find a buying guide where you can understand what to look out for when choosing ATV tires, and in the end, answer some FAQs.
Here is my top picks for best atv tires on the market for 2021:
Top 10 Best ATV Tires in 2021
1. ITP Mud Lite AT
Best all terrain ATV tires
This tire is not only my favorite in this category, but it is also the most-loved ATV tire by almost everybody.
The reason why ATV enthusiasts love it so much is because it offers excellent performance across the board. It is especially good for trail riding, due to the responsiveness and precise steering control on grass and gravel, and very good traction in mud.
In other words, this is not only a tire that you can use when the conditions are perfect, but also one that you can freely use when it’s raining, or near rivers and lakes. ITP achieved this with the computer-aided design and engineering, that really gives it an edge over its competitors.
The ITP Mud Lite AT is primarily designed to be used for trail riding, but ITP raised the bar compared to other companies by giving it very good mud traction.
Sure, for serious mud-terrain driving you’ll still need a proper mud tire, but for most folks, a set of ITP Mud Lite’s will do an excellent job, thanks to the ¾-inch lugs. On dry surfaces, like grass, gravel or sand, it simply shines and you should have no problem tackling tight corners with speed and accuracy.
The best thing about this model is that you don’t lose too much in other areas, like drivability on the road.
This is the only tire in the ATV category that provides traction in mud, while also giving the driver confidence on the road. There are two reasons why it’s so good there – it is the lightest tire in its category, which means that it extracts more performance from your ATV, and it has a continuous center tread contact area for a smooth ride, close to radial tires.
Despite that, don’t for a second think that the ITP Mud Lite is not durable. It is still a bias-ply tire rated at 6-ply, which means that it can withstand a lot of abuse in off-road conditions, while the extended-wear rubber compound means that it can withstand a lot of abuse on the road too. ATV riders around the world agree that this is one of the most durable tires for their vehicles, and I have no reason to suspect otherwise.
For the versatility it offers, the ITP Mud Lite is pretty inexpensive as well. Best price on ATV tires that you can get on the market.
When you add to that the long-lasting tread compound and durable construction, it certainly looks like a real winner, even for budget-minded buyers.
Check out Dirt Trax Television’s review of it too:
2. Carlisle All Trail ATV
Best ATV tires for trail riding
If you don’t often ride your ATV in mud, or other wet conditions, the Carlisle All Trail ATV is the best bet.
In my opinion, this model provides unparalleled traction on hard-packed terrains, like a construction site for example. Forest trails can also be tackled with this tire, but beware of sand or soft surfaces.
The tightly grooved tread design is the thing that gives the Carlisle All Trail ATV excellent drivability on hard surfaces. In those conditions, I find it to be extremely responsive on driver inputs, with excellent precision in tight corners and high levels of grip and traction. In other words, fast and sporty riding is where this tire excels.
I also love the comfort it offers for the rider – you’ll have no problem riding several hours with the Carlisle All Trail on hard trails, like sharp rock terrain for example. Despite that, the low and wide profile minimizes soft wallowing when driven hard, something that most all-terrain tires in this category often fail to do.
On the road, the Carlisle All Trail ATV is one of the best tires as well. Even when driven hard, it provides the rider with above average handling responsiveness and stability and very good grip. It is much better in those conditions than the ITP Mud Lite if you’re into comparisons. On the other hand, you lose mud-terrain capability here. While you can still tackle damp trails without a fuss, very wet conditions are not its forte, especially mud.
Durability should not be a concern, wherever you use the Carlisle All Trail ATV. It is rated at 4-ply, which means that it is not as hardcore as 6-ply tires (it is easier to puncture). For most ATV owners out there though, the difference is negligible. The rubber used for the construction of this tire is also specifically designed for long tread life, so you can expect thousands of carefree miles with this tire.
With all that said, the price is a bit higher than most competitors on this list. You need to really value its strengths in order to shell out that amount of cash, especially because it’s not an all-rounder like the ITP Mud Lite. Still, for buyers that want the most precise, stable and comfortable ride on hard surfaces, it’s in a league of its own.
3. Kenda Bearclaw K299 ATV
Best ATV snow tires
For ATV riders who want great control in both warm and freezing conditions, the Kenda Bearclaw K299 is one of the best choices out there.
As its name implies, it can grip most trails with the ferocity of a bear, even snowy ones. That’s obvious the first time you look at it. The aggressive tread pattern with widely spaced lugs has excellent cleanout capabilities, very important for mud and snow riding. It is also specifically designed to withstand a lot of abuse in off-road conditions with bias-ply construction and 6-ply rating for great puncture resistance. The maximum load capacity is excellent 155 kg, while the rubber hardness is 62 on the IHRD scale.
In almost every off-road condition, the Kenda Bearclaw K299 provides the rider with excellent grip due to the angled knobs, while the center lugs offer surprisingly precise steering control. The aggressive tread pattern is at its own in very demanding conditions, such as mud and sand, while the rubber compound designed to work in freezing temperatures provides the needed grip in snow. This is one of the few tires on this list that can really provide the rider with safe and fun cornering in deep snow. Just don’t forget your warm clothes.
Despite the excellent off-road performance, on-road handling is still very good, albeit not perfect. In my testing, the Carlisle All Trail is much better on the road, and the same can be said for the ITP Mud Lite. Highway riding is also not its forte – the Kenda Bearclaw K299 is not even rated for highway use, so keep that in mind.
There are also no small lugs that will help on hard trails, like rocks for example. This tire is specifically made for soft surfaces, not for long sessions in the forest or rocky deserts. For those situations, go for the Carlisle All Trail.
Still, the Kenda has a very low price for the added snow performance it offers, and it’s one of the most durable ATV tires out there. Sadly, it is not available in as many sizes as its competitors are.
4. SunF A033 "Power I"
Best ATV mud tires
Mud is not an exceptionally fun matter for most people, but ATV riders find the sticky and soft matter one of the best for exploring the capabilities of their vehicles.
If you’re one of the mud junkies out there, there is no better tire than the SunF A033 “Power I”.
While the manufacturer says that this tire works on every type of surface, I find it best suited to soft and wet surfaces, such as sand or mud.
This is very obvious the first time you take a look at the SunF A033 “Power I”. The directional knobby tread design offers excellent traction in mud, and it can clean itself as well. The aggressive shoulder blocks only add to the capabilities in very deep mud – even if the full tire is submerged, they will still bite into the sticky substance. This design also adds protection to the rim and sidewall.
SunF built this tire out of premium rubber that’s very strong and durable. It can also withstand “racing conditions” as they say, and I can confirm that. Ride this tires hard and they will never show weakness. Well, that’s unless you use these tires on hard surfaces. They are not bad by any means – as a matter of fact, they are pretty adequate.
However, if you don’t ride your ATV in mud, there are much better options out there. On-road use is also not the bet out there, even though most riders will find it adequate. Anyway, the SunF A033 “Power I” is not designed for the highway and I strongly recommend against using it for long stints on the road.
These words may look less harsh when you take a look at the price – the SunF A033 “Power I” is one of the least expensive ATV tires out there.
It is also available in a lot of different sizes (22-inch to 30-inch) for vehicles such as ATV, UTV, Side by Side (SxS), Go Kart, Golf Cart, Lawn Mower etc.
Durability is still pretty great – owners are very satisfied at how much this tire lasts. Thanks to the bias-ply design and 6-ply rating, you can freely use this tire in the most demanding conditions, without fear of puncture.
5. Carlisle HD Field Trax
Best ATV tire for long treadlife and durability (
If there was a prize for the best-looking ATV tire on the market, this one will certainly be my favorite.
Put it on a stylishly designed modern ATV and the Carlisle HD Field Trax will shine, but is it only looks or does it provide good performance?
This is Carlisle product after all and in my experience, this company produces one of the highest-quality tires for ATV and UTV vehicles.
Sure, prices are a tad higher than most competitors, but with the HD Field Trax, you at least get an extremely durable tire that will not only last you for a long time but one that is not easily susceptible to puncture.
The Carlisle HD Field Trax is first and foremost a hard-trail and intermediate-trail tire. This means that it’s not the best choice if you seek mud or sand adventures, and that can be seen on the tightly-packed tread design. Where this tire loses on soft surfaces, it really gains on hard surfaces. Handling is as precise as it gets, the grip is excellent across the board, while steering feel is almost unparalleled. High-speed stability is also very good thanks to the wide footprint – great for long stints into the wild.
The best thing about this tire is that the party never stops. Made from blended tread pattern with self-cleaning capabilities, and rubber material that resists cut, chips and abrasions, the HD Field Trax takes care of everything – you just need to take care of the driving. And when I say everything, I also mean comfort – long stints on very hard surfaces are not hard on your hands or buttocks like with some other hard-trail tires.
Durability is also one of the main advantages of this tire. You can expect to use it longer than almost any other tire on the market, which mitigates the somewhat higher price. Carlisle made this tire available in six different sizes for ATVs, UTVs, side by side, and fun carts, but some ATV riders may not find the right size for their rims. That’s a shame because the HD Field Trax is really one of the best tires on the market right now.
6. Sedona Mud Rebel
Another great option for mud and heavy off-road terrain
Mud-terrain is probably the most popular type of surface for ATV enthusiasts, and that’s why I’ve put a second pair of mud-terrain tires on this list.
The Sedona Mud Rebel is for the most extreme mud-terrain driving.
With a set of these tires, you can attack the most demanding conditions and still be in control. The directional tread pattern not only looks good, but it simply eats into the mud. The specifically designed pattern can clean itself as well, which means that you should only care about your riding technique.
By now I think it is obvious that the Sedona Mud Rebel will provide you with excellent traction in mud (and sand for that matter), but it’s how this tire handles in those conditions that impress. Handling is very precise with excellent steering control, even when things get very slippery. The low weight also plays its part here, giving the rider extra performance at his/her fingertips. In short, this is a tire that you can bring to competition any day.
Durability is also very strong here. The Mud Rebel is 6-ply rated, which means that it can withstand a significant amount of abuse (read: a lot of weight and uneven terrain). Sedona even tells us that it designed this tire specifically with that in mind and that the increased sidewall strength helps with impact absorption. Sure, puncture resistance is here too. From what I’ve heard, ATV riders also report excellent treadlife with the Mud Rebel, which is the cherry on the top.
Despite all the superlatives for mud-terrain performance, the Mud Rebel is not the best choice for hard-packed terrain, even though I certainly won’t say that it is bad. Where it suffers mostly is the road, but you already expected that from a specialized mud tire. It’s loud, doesn’t have a lot of grips, and the performance of your ATV will also suffer.
In the end, the price may be a tad higher than some other mud-terrain competitors, but here you really get what you pay for – excellent performance and legendary durability.
7. Wanda ATV/UTV Tire
Best ATV tire for budget-conscious buyers who want great off-road performance
The first thing that Wanda tells you about their ATV tires is that they have a deeper tread than all of their competitors. Around 0.5-inch deeper to be exact.
They are still budget-oriented tires that you will find at places like Walmart, but nevertheless, offer excellent performance in demanding conditions.
I find them to be very good in mud and sand, and also adequate on hard-packed and intermediate off-road terrain.
Their price is very low, but they only come in a set of four. In other words, if one of your tires is damaged and can’t be repaired, you will need to ask the seller if he/she can sell one piece to you.
But, let’s get back to the deep treads – they simply eat into any soft material you will encounter, helped by the additional shoulder lugs (which will also protect the sidewall and rims).
Traction and braking performance are very good, and you can expect decent straight-line stability. They are not the most precise tires out there, but for the money, you really can’t argue much. The deep tread also means that durability is very good too – these tires are not very easy to puncture. Treadlife is also excellent for a tire this cheap, and not because of the good rubber material, but again, because the tread is very deep.
With all that said, you surely lose somewhere with a tire this cheap, and that’s a performance on the road. The rubber compound is nothing to write home about and loses grip quickly on the road. Performance of your ATV will also suffer due to the added weight of a set of the Wanda tires. Comfort is also not its forte, and noise can be an issue even at smaller speeds. Suffice to say, you shouldn’t use the Wanda tires on the highway at all, and you should also think twice about driving fast in urban surroundings.
On the bright side, there are 15 different sizes to choose from, so you can easily find the right one for your ATV or even UTV vehicle.
8. Carlisle Knobby ATV
Best knobby ATV tire for all-round performance
Knobby tires are a great choice for people who ride their ATV vehicles on many different surfaces. They are not the best choice for either, but they work everywhere. If your idea of fun is first visiting turf, then riding through some mud, and in the end visit some hard-packed terrain, a knobby tire is a great choice.
In my opinion, the best knobby tire is Carlisle Knobby ATV.
The reason why I rate it so highly is due to the traction it offers. It comes with a lot of knobs, more than its direct competitors. This makes it much better on hard-packed terrain, due to the bigger contact patch, and better on soft terrains, such as mud and sand, due to the sheer number of biting edges. The result is a tire that won’t disappoint anywhere you try it – from the grasslands to the deserts, this is the one to have.
Despite offering excellent performance in every off-road scenario, the Carlisle Knobby ATV is excellent on the road too, as much as an ATV tire can be. The lightweight design means that performance will not suffer and that handling will still be precise and responsive. Sure, I don’t suggest using it on the road all of the time, but it’s good to know that you have a tire that can do seemingly everything.
Durability is always one of the most-loved features of every Carlisle tire and the Knobby certainly doesn’t disappoint here. It is puncture resistant, of course, and has a long-lasting tread. This is very important because the knobby tread is one of the most important features of this tire.
One thing that I also like very much is the price, which is one of the lowest in this category. Carlisle is known for high-quality products, and that’s why the price here is especially important. Still, I would’ve liked more than 5 models to choose from – some buyers may not find the right dimensions. Also, it would’ve been great if a model with higher than 2-ply rating is available for some bigger ATV or UTV vehicles.
9. Kenda K284 Max ATV
Best ATV tire for the front wheels
Real ATV enthusiasts will tell you that in order to extract the most performance out of your vehicle, you will need a different pair of tires for the front wheels and the back wheels.
The reason is simple – the rear tires need to have better grip and more traction in off-road conditions, while the front tires need to provide the driver with a better feeling, easier handling, and more precise steering control.
It can be very hard to find the right combination of tires for your ATV, but if you’re looking for excellent front tires, then the Kenda K284 Max is a great choice.
These tires are specifically designed to be used only on the front wheels, something that becomes obvious when you look at them.
The vertically arranged lugs give excellent straight-line stability on a variety of terrains. They also improve steering precision – with a pair of these tires upfront, you will feel like driving a go-kart on a racing course.
As a whole, handling can be improved greatly with the K284 Max, especially if you pair it with a high-quality rear tire that will provide excellent grip and traction.
And the best thing about these, when compared to other front tires, is that they work on every type of terrain – mud, sand, grass or hard-packed terrain. A lot of people find them irreplaceable on their ATVs.
Despite being lighter-weight than rear tires, the Kenda K284 is still a very durable product. It is made out of puncture resistant casing. The tread is also long-lasting. Given the fact that the Kenda K284 ATV is a front tire, you can expect it to last longer than your rear tires, regardless of the brand.
That said, for a pair of front tires, these can be expensive for some people. You really must appreciate the added handling abilities this tire offers in order to shell that amount of cash on them. If you still want them, they are still available in 8 different sizes, so everyone can find the right one for their ATV vehicle.
10. Kenda Scorpion K290
Best ATV tires for the back wheels
After presenting you with the best front tires for ATVs, you know that a pair of rear tires will follow. Here I played safe and chose the Kenda Scorpion K290 due to their excellent performance in almost every condition and the fact that they combine with the front K284 to form a formidable set of tires.
The reason why they are better for the rear wheels is that they offer much better traction and grip, but be advised that they will not work as front tires. Sure, you can install them, but you’ll lose precision and have a hard time attacking the tight corners.
When you install them on the rear wheels though, you can expect excellent performance across the board. Traction is very good both on hard-packed terrain and soft surfaces, such as mud. They are even usable on grass and won’t tear it up like other mud tires out there. Durability is also one of the high points, like with every Kenda tire out there. The Scorpion K290 is puncture resistant and has a tread that lasts longer than most competitors, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them soon.
Despite the strong showing in off-road conditions and the durable rubber compound, the Kenda Scorpion K290 is very light and can be used on the road as well. Sure, performance suffers, but you can do much worse with other tires. Kenda also says that they are “easy rolling”, which means that performance will not suffer as much as with other knobby tires. This is good to hear in a category where traction and grip are the kings.
When paired with the K284 Front Max on the front wheels, the Scorpion’s provide the driver with one of the best possible cornering performance you can have on an ATV. They may not win this list only by themselves, but together they are a real winner. As with the Front Max, the Scorpion is available in 11 different sizes, so everyone will find the right one for their rims. The price is also not very high for what you get, especially considering the durability and long-lasting treadlife.
ATV Tires - Buying Guide
By now I’m sure that you’ve found your favorite tire depending on the type of rider you’re, but choosing the best ATV tires sometimes requires more insight into the matter. To help you understand why some tires are better than others for you, I’ve created a short buying guide. Here, we will talk about the type of ATV tires, how are they designed and why some of them will serve you much better.
Radial vs Bias-Ply
The first thing you should ask yourself is how hard will be the terrain you will be riding on. Then, you should choose the next set of tires accordingly – radial for light off-road use, and bias-ply for heavy off-road use.
Radial tires are more common in passenger vehicles due to their excellent on-road performance.
They have softer sidewalls and weigh less than their bias-ply counterparts, which makes them excellent for on-road use. In other words, your ATV will handle much better, achieve higher velocity, and be more comfortable while doing that.
However, radial tires aren’t as puncture resistant, and the sidewalls are too soft for serious off-road use. In those circumstances, they may get easily damaged, and it’s not very easy to repair them as well. However, if you use them mostly on the road, their treadlife is superior when compared to bias-ply tires.
Bias-ply tires, on the other hand, have much stiffer sidewalls and can handle even the most demanding off-road conditions without breaking a sweat.
They can also carry much higher loads and are 6-ply rated. Needless to say, they will last much longer than radial tires in demanding off-road conditions, but don’t have the same treadlife on the road and shouldn’t be driven on the highway. They are also heavier and less comfortable.
Types of ATV Tires
You’ve probably noticed by now, but even for ATV vehicles, there are many different tires available. Some promise that they can do everything, while others are made specifically for some conditions, and less for others. Here are the most-known ATV tire types:
- All-terrain ATV tires – made for use on every possible surface, including off-road and on-road conditions. Performance may vary between models, as some are more geared towards soft terrain and other towards hard-packed terrain, but generally, they are adequate for most off-road conditions. These are also adequate for riding on the road, something that can’t be said for most ATV tires;
- Mud-terrain ATV Tires – made specifically for use on mud-terrain, these tires offer excellent traction and can tackle very deep mud. They can also work on sand, but not as good as specialized sand tires. They will suffer on hard-packed terrain and rocks, and are almost unusable on the road;
- Sand ATV Tires – the name is pretty self-explanatory here. These tires are the best choice if you want to tackle sand dunes, offering an unparalleled level of grip and traction. They are recognizable by the horizontal straight paddles, but there are V-shaped models available as well. The former offers better traction for deep sand, while the latter offers better handling in the fast sections. Combinations are available as well;
- Hard-terrain ATV Tires – best for use on hard-packed terrain. These offer a great combination of grip and precise handling. These tires have a less aggressive tread pattern, which means that they can’t be used in demanding off-road conditions, such as mud and sand, but on the other hand offer better performance on the road;
- Intermediate-terrain ATV tires – mostly similar to hard-terrain tires, but these offer better traction on rocky terrain. They also work on hard-packed terrain, giving very good traction, but not the responsive steering feel of hard-terrain tires;
- Turf saver ATV Tires – if you mostly ride your ATV on grasslands you can get great results by all-terrain or mud-terrain tires, but the grass will be destroyed afterward. If you care about the turf, I suggest going for a set of turf saver tires. These will not only save the turf from damage, but they can still offer very good traction and drivability. They are also very good for lawnmowers;
- ATV Sport & Racing Tires – these tires are often much more expensive than normal ATV tires, but for some drivers, the added cost is definitely worth the investment. As the name implies, these offer significantly better traction and performance than other ATV tires. They are recommendable for riders who want to extract every last bit of performance from their ATV, and especially for those who use their vehicles in races or want to compete. There are several different options of Sport & Racing tires available, such as mud tires, hard-terrain tires, sand tires etc.
Other things to consider when choosing a set of ATV Tires
After you’ve learned the basics of ATV tires, I think you’re ready to venture into spending money on a new set. However, for that added confidence, I suggest taking a look at some other things to consider when choosing a set of ATV tires (or for every set tires for that matter).
- Tire Size and Dimensions – you want to choose tires that will fit your rims in diameter. Then, you can choose the width of the tire and the height of the sidewall. Generally, the wider the tire, the more traction it offers, which is great for demanding off-road conditions, such as mud. However, wider tires are less responsive and agile. The higher the sidewall, on the other hand, means better drivability on rocky or uneven surfaces, while the lower the sidewall, the better the handling performance;
- Weight – some tires are made of higher-quality rubber that weighs less, despite still being very durable. Less weight means better performance and fuel economy;
- Flat or round – flat tires offer much better traction and grip on every type of surface. However, they tend to be harsh-riding and that’s why I would recommend them to riders who want the best possible performance and don’t care about comfort. Round tires are much more comfortable on the other hand but nowhere near as good in the corners.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are ATV Tires tubeless?
Most modern ATV tires are tubeless, if not all of them. This was made with performance and fuel economy in mind. However, ATV riders often spend a lot of time far from populated areas and for them, a tube may be a good idea. That way, when your tire is punctured, you only need to change the inner tube and continue exploring the wild.
How are ATV tires measured?
ATV tires are measured a bit differently from tires for passenger vehicles. The first number is the overall height of the tire when inflated, the second number is the tire width, while the third number is the diameter of the wheel. Every dimension is represented in inches.
Can ATV tires be patched?
You can patch an ATV tire, but this can be very cumbersome, especially when you’re in the wild. Much better option is a tubeless tire plugger, which works much faster and is easier to use. There are a lot of kits available online and most of them work as advertised.
Can you put ATV tires on a car or mower?
Some people put ATV tires on their vehicles, but that doesn’t mean that you should do that. These tires are designed for smaller wheels and lower speeds and are absolutely not safe to be used on cars. However, they can be used on mowers. As a matter of fact, most ATV tires are advertised for use on mowers as well.
Choosing the best tires for ATV in 2021 is certainly not an easy task. However, if you follow this article closely, I’m sure that you will have knowledge that’s deep enough to know the basics. At the end of the day, buy a set of tires from those on the Top 10 list and I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed. In the end, always be sure that you inflate them properly before you venture in the wild, and replace them with a new set of tires when they start losing their properties. And of course, have fun!
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