Winter vs All-Season Tyres in the UK: What are they & are they worth it?

Winter vs All-Season Tyres in the UK: What are they & are they worth it? Header Image

Winter Tyres vs All-Season Tyres - The Pros and Cons

Even with some of the most advanced material engineering in the world today, tyres don't come in a one size fits all. In-fact Tyre Runner tracks over 10,000 tyre variants for the UK market alone - and you thought buying jeans was hard? With so many different variants, like anything, compromise is required when buying tyres to know you have the best set of tyres for how, and where, you use your car. Even within the UK we see polar opposite weather conditions (winter pun intended) on a daily basis between the north and south of the UK, so knowing your local micro-climate is just as important as what type of roads you mostly drive on, your driving style, and your vehicle, when choosing tyres.

Summer Tyres: The 7 degrees rule

Otherwise known in the UK as simply "Tyres", summer tyres are actually intended for, you guested it, summer driving. Or if we are getting technical about it, summer tyres operate and stop the car optimally when the temperature is consistently above 7° Celsius. This is simply due to the compound used in the tread which can become brittle and lose its grip when the temperature drops, which is why summer tires are not recommended for use in winter. Just like concrete, steel or wood, tyre compounds act differently in different temperature conditions and 7° Celsius is considered the tipping point for where a specialist tyre will become safer and more optimal than a summer variety... in the UK that generally means mid November to mid March but temperatures can vary as much as 3° Celsius in average from north to south according to the Met Office so always consider your local conditions.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres, unlike there summer tyre cousins, are designed to provide superior traction and handling in cold weather conditions below 7° Celsius - not just for snow and ice as some may think. However, if it does snow they have a special tread pattern that allows them to dig into snow and ice, and a different mix of compound, usually with more natural rubber, that remains flexible even at low temperatures. While many northern EU countries mandate by law that drivers change into Winter tyres before the worst of winter hits, currently there is no such regulation in the UK. There can be no doubt that winter tyres are best places for dealing with extremes and this makes them the best choice for driving in snow, ice, and slush as well as general winter temperatures.

Compare our recommended Winter Tyre for 2022, the Pirelli Cinturato Winter 2, from £70.98 at over 5,000 UK Retailers over at

All-Season tyres

However, with the UK climate seemingly getting milder some drivers question the affordability of running two sets of tyres for the handful of days per year that they need the extremities of specialist tyres. For that reason the tyre industry has come up with a compromise. All-season tyres, sometimes also called all-weather tyres, as the name suggests, are designed to provide good performance in a wide range of weather conditions. They have a tread pattern and rubber compound that is a compromise between summer and winter tyres, which means they are not as good as either in extreme hot or cold/snowy conditions but for the rest of the time offer a great middle-ground, and are still better in winter than their summer tyre cousins.

Compare our recommended All-Season tyre for 2022, the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 H750, from £49.48 at over 5,000 UK Retailers over at

Are they worth it and what's our independent advice?

So, to sum up, summer tyres are best for warm weather, winter tyres are best for cold weather, and all-season tires are a good all-around option for moderate conditions.That being said, the UK weather varies greatly between north and south, and winter road treatments by your local council can vary wildly between rural and urban environments.

So here is our controversial take:

If you live in the North of England in a rural context or outside the big cities in Scotland, winter tyres are still most likely going to be your best all round bet if you really need to get out for work, family or health reasons 365 days per year. There is a reason the emergency services still run them. However, if budget is of concern, you live in an urban environment, are not dependant on your vehicle daily, or you live in the south east of the country where snow is a once in 5 years event... then All-Season tyres may be a year round option worth considering.

But remember, no matter what kind of tyres you have, it's always important to drive carefully and safely - being late or taking that meeting virtual from home is always better than not arriving at all!