With the ongoing popularity of activities like desert safaris and sand racing, sandy terrains have become one of the most “in demand” terrains for driving. Due to this, there has been a considerable demand for sand adapted tires in the market. However, when trucks and SUVs are taken into consideration, there are no specific “sand tires” for these kinds of vehicles, hence, drivers are left with no option but to choose between varieties of all-terrain, multi-terrain, or mud-terrain thus making the choice extremely confusing.
Which tires are best for sand?
The importance of picking the right kind of tire cannot be further stressed upon. This decision can mean the difference between actually sinking and floating in the sand. It can completely destroy your experience or make it a productive one.
With sand tires one needs to be careful and choose tires that accommodate good performance upon deflation and a moderate level traction as too much can actually cause them to sink further. This is because these factors promote flotation, something which is a key for sand driving. Moreover, a suitable tread pattern can be a lifesaver when it comes to maintenance costs. In order to ease this laborious task, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best sand tires for trucks as of today.
Top 5 best truck tires for sand:
- Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure w/Kevlar Street Radial Tire-LT275/70R18 125R (Editor’s choice)
- Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 All- Terrain Radial Tire-265/75R16 114T
- Nitto 205-700 Trail Grappler M/T All-Terrain Radial Tire -35X12.50R18/10 123Q
- Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3 All-Terrain Radial Tire – 35X12.50R20LT 121Q
- Toyo OPEN COUNTRY R/T All Terrain Radial Tire – 35/12.5R20 121Q
1. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure w/Kevlar Street Radial Tire-LT275/70R18 125R (Editor’s choice)
The best sand tire on the list, hands down…
Goodyear tires have earned their repute due to their outstanding wear, sturdy grip and handling. These 18 inch tires have been built with an improved tread compound which incorporates a layer of Kevlar that increases the tires resistance to damage and tear. Along with aiding strength the layer of Kevlar also allows a firm grip over sand and gravel. There’s also an addition of a more symmetric tread pattern that provides good sand traction without sinking the truck. Lastly, the internal construction comprises two belts of steel which boost durability as well as increase tire life.
Despite all that, the load capacity of this tire is not at all on par with the best options available today. Also, a lot of users complained of diminished tread life which is not at all what we would expect from a top tier brand like Goodyear.
- Great value for money
- Excellent traction in sand and mud
- Smooth and comfortable ride
- Great in snow as well
- Progressive deterioration of ride quality with time
- Rapid complains of vibration and noise
2. Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 All- Terrain Radial Tire-265/75R16 114T
Most capable, best looking…
Yokohama tires are best known for their all season durability. Not only do these tires maintain their strength but they also allow a consistently good performance. For this reason, these Geolandars are also deemed as popular amongst customers. These versatile tires use a particular oil and high tech polymer which boosts sand traction as well as tread life. Moreover, they are also enhanced with large grooves in order to get rid of the debris. The grip and handling have also been rated as “remarkable”. This tire is known for its eerie quietness and silky smooth ride which is practically a luxury considering the price point. Also, this tire is good enough for the occasional off-road experiences one may encounter. Despite being an all-terrain tire, it handles the wet roads amazingly as well.
On the downside, there is not much to say really, as this tire is an almost perfect all-rounder. Puncture resistance was, nonetheless, compromised on some of the test tires.
- Quiet and smooth on road.
- Excellent sand & snow/ice traction
- Good value for money
- Long lasting tread
- The mud clearance is not as good as other options
- Not for hard-core muddy terrain or rock climbing
3. Nitto 205-700 Trail Grappler M/T All-Terrain Radial Tire -35X12.50R18/10 123Q
The most affordable of the bunch…
The Nitto Trail Grappler is an excellent choice for drivers who constantly engage in both, off and on road activities. This 18 inch tire is built with a stone ejector that helps protect the tread, by elimination of stones and clearance of mud. It is also equipped with large tread blocks that allow remarkable traction in sand and prevent sinking. The tread compound is also enhanced to be puncture resistant which maximizes tire life. Moreover, the noise levels are impressively low thanks to the regular use of sound analysis equipment during its designing. This tire is also a customer favorite due to its optimized tread design, which provides a uniform print (on sand driving) and prevents irregular wear.
Since this tire prioritizes ride comfort over, durability, tread life could be a turn-off for many people. But this is typical for most of the soft tires out there and certainly no deal-breaker at the price point at which this tire is offered.
- Excellent traction on sand
- Good fuel mileage
- Sink and deflation resistant
- Low price
- Soft tread which can cause easy wear off
- Not the best for wet traction
4. Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3 All-Terrain Radial Tire – 35X12.50R20LT 121Q
Most reviewed and highest rated…
This tire is a unique blend of All Terrain and Mud terrain capabilities, and for this reason these were rated as the best tires for sand driving by a lot of consumers. In spite of the already amazing combination, these tires further surprise us with their uncanny ability to perform exceptionally well on both the highway and off-road terrain. These 20 inch tires are built with a silicon rich compound as well as higher sidewalls which boost strength even on deflation. Furthermore, the tread is symmetrically patterned which promotes traction and allows for a smooth ride and also accounts for the amazing visuals. According to the users, these tires are regarded as perfect for both loose sand and deep mud. They also scored surprisingly well for on road driving and wet traction.
Since this is a huge and heavy tire, alignment can get incorrect more frequently than others.
- Excellent sand traction and sink resistance
- Very good tread life
- Bifunctional , optimal for both on and off roads
- Smooth ride and beautiful looks
- Require constant balancing
- Bad snow traction
- Increased noise with time
5. Toyo OPEN COUNTRY R/T All Terrain Radial Tire – 35/12.5R20 121Q
Just have a look at that tread pattern… please!
This highly diverse product is well known for its off road performance. It is equipped with an aggressive tread pattern that provides good traction and outstanding road performance. Along with a smooth ride, the noise levels on these tires are almost “next to nothing” compared to a typical mud-terrain tire. These tires have also been aided with a 10-ply construction which provides a greater handling, grip, greater resistance to punctures and not to mention, huge load capacity. Another feature worth mentioning is the large shoulder blocks which allows the tire to self clean. Lastly, the tread compound is customized in order to decrease the rolling resistance thus fuel usage. This tire comes in a big range of sizes.
There is not much negative to say about this tire other than the fact that it is quite heavy. With such a heavy tire, suspension components have to take more beating and the braking distances could be increased despite the overall increase in grip.
- Attractive look
- Quiet and comfortable ride
- Good tread wear
- Not the easiest to balance
How to pick sand tires for your truck?
Here are a number of things to keep in mind before buying sand tires:
1. Check for performance upon deflation
Deflating sand tires allows for a greater float on sand. When driving in sand, it is advisable to deflate the tires from the recommended in order to reduce your chances of sinking. Since tires tend to be stressed upon deflation it is important to confirm if your tires can match up to the standard regardless of it. Also, Should all tires have the same pressure?
2. Choose Wider Tires
A choice of wider tires will help distribute net force across a bigger area hence preventing sinking. Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that wider tires do provide a larger rolling resistance which will slow you down!
3. Check for Load Ranges
Ensure the tires have a large carrying capacity. Doing so lessens the chances of sinking and allows a tire to be deflated easily, without causing damage to the tire itself.
4. Choose tires with bad Snow/wet traction
Normally, good sand tires tend to compromise the snow and wet traction for their sand traction. Therefore, when buying a pair for yourself, one must overlook wet/snow traction ability. It should be kept in mind that sand tires do not accommodate hydroplane resistance as well, thus driving on wet surfaces must be strictly avoided.
Alternatively if you’re looking for optimal rain performance, check out our article: Best truck tires for rain
If you’re looking the best performance over mud and snow, read: Best truck tires for mud and snow.
5. Prioritize All Terrain Tires
A fully eligible Mud Terrain tire has a more aggressive pattern, which is not the best for loose/deep sand as it could cause sinking or getting stuck in the sand. All terrains, however, tend to perform better and also help reduce noise.
6. Tread pattern
When buying tires, check for ones which have larger blocks and minimal slippage. The less aggressive the pattern, the better ability to float over sand. Ensure that they allow a larger contact patch too.
However, some tread patterns tend to wear faster eg: all terrains. For more on that read Do all terrain tires wear faster?