Things have become quite expensive in the last year or so, so we are all paying more attention to the money we spend. As much as we try, there are some unavoidable expenses, like tires, for example.
Even though car owners won’t need to change them each month, you may be in the category with an old set that needs to be replaced in this period. Many argue that tires are expensive nowadays, and they’re probably right. While there are some cheap Chinese tires that you can go for, I wouldn’t quite take that road. You may be saving a few bucks, but you’ll also sacrifice a lot in terms of performance, so try to avoid those. So this leaves the premium ones as your only option? Not quite.
Even though tires from the premium manufacturers tend to be better than the rest, they are also the more expensive option in most cases. With that said, there are plenty of situations where a premium tire isn’t the best approach. So, mid-range ones are the best, right? Again, not quite.
Mid-range tires are a good balance and are an excellent choice if you’re after some budget tires. Even though I categorize them as a good option, keep in mind that you can find a set of premium tires at a very affordable price.
Speaking of affordability, if you clicked into this article, you’re probably looking for an affordable option for your car, and you’re in luck.
This list includes 10 of the best budget tires you can get. Despite these all being budget-friendly options, I won’t include any of the cheap, unsafe tires that I wouldn’t put on my own car.
#1. Cooper CS5 Grand Touring
You probably expected to see the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring, but I wasn’t overly impressed by its performance. Instead, I believe that the CS5 Grand Touring is a much better option.
The levels of performance that the CS5 Grand Touring can deliver are excellent for daily driving. Under normal conditions, the tire won’t exhibit any slip when accelerating or understeer in the corners. With that, you’ll also get short braking distances, meaning it’s a safe tire. There are some drawbacks in the handling department, though. Responsiveness isn’t its strongest side, and you won’t have a nice time pushing it past its limits.
As a mid-range tire, the CS5 Grand Touring is a solid performer in wet conditions. The grip and traction levels on damp roads are excellent, and like in dry conditions, you get short braking distances. In harsher rain, things remain positive, as the tire’s tread pattern does an excellent job with aquaplaning resistance.
All-season tires are designed to be usable in light winter conditions, and the CS5 Grand Touring gets a pass. It’s not on the same level as the premium manufacturers, but you can use it in lighter conditions without too many issues.
Refinement is an area where the CS5 Grand Touring delivers excellent results. The noise levels are on the lower side, making it among the best in its class. Comfort is also very good, as the tire irons out minor imperfections and doesn’t feel as spongy as its big brother, the CS5 Ultra Touring.
On the warranty side of things, the CS5 Grand Touring does pretty good. With an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, it’s near the top, offering more than some of its premium competitors.
- Long treadwear warranty
- Quiet and comfortable
- An excellent performer for daily driving
- Winter performance is average
- Not as responsive as some of its rivals
#2. Nexen N Priz AH5
Another prominent name in the mid-range segment is Nexen. The Korean manufacturer has plenty of options, and the one I’m going for today is the N Prix AH5.
Nexen managed to make a very solid tire that will satisfy most drivers. The N Prix AH5 delivers very good levels of grip and traction, meaning that you won’t find it lacking if you’re driving normally. With that said, it’s a tire that shouldn’t be pushed. The limits aren’t as high as the premium competitors, and it can overheat quite fast in those situations. On the other hand, it’s pretty good in the handling department. It’s decently responsive and will provide some feedback through the steering wheel.
Wet is another area where the N Prix AH5 can offer some good performance. On damp roads, the traction is pretty good, and as long as you don’t floor it on every traffic light, you won’t notice any slip. In the corners, the grip is a bit limited, so you should be a bit cautious of that. Safety is an area where Nexen worked a lot, and that’s noticeable from the short braking distances and excellent aquaplaning resistance.
Like the previous tire, the N Prix AH5 isn’t a class-leading winter performance option. The tire is acceptable in light conditions when the snow is unpacked and will struggle a bit over packed snow.
When it comes to refinement, the N Prix AH5 does pretty well for a mid-ranger. The noise levels around town are excellent and go a bit up when you get on the highway. On the comfort side of things, it does a good job at softening things up, and the vibrations are decently muted except for when you hit a larger pothole.
The weakest point of the N Prix AH5 is the warranty. Unlike the previous tire, this one comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is average even for the mid-range segment.
- Well refined
- Dry performance is pretty good
- Short braking distances, especially in wet conditions
- Will struggle over packed snow
- Handling isn’t as good as the premium competitors
#3. BFGoodrich Advantage T/A
Premium manufacturers and affordability don’t go hand in hand, except when talking about older models. A good example of this is the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A. Despite being a tire from a premium manufacturer, it’s an older model, meaning that you can get it for a similar price as the mid-range ones.
In daily driving conditions, the Advantage T/A is a tire that will offer high-performance levels. It will handle daily driving conditions with ease, thanks to the high levels of grip and traction. Also, the braking distances are very short, making the tire a very safe option. The tire is also a solid performer in the handling department, offering decent responsiveness, backed with good feedback.
Wet conditions is where the Advantage T/A offers a bit of mixed results. Performance on damp roads is excellent, so you can rely on the high levels of grip and traction. In addition to that, you also get short braking distances, which is the positive side. On the negative is the aquaplaning resistance, which, despite being good, I’d categorize it as average even in the mid-range segment.
Winter performance is the weakest part of the Advantage T/A. The tire has decent traction in lighter conditions, and that’s as much as you can ask of it. It will start to struggle a bit over packed snow and will struggle a lot in harsher conditions.
As a touring tire, the Advantage T/A offers very high levels of refinement, considering its age. The comfort levels are pretty good as the tire can smooth out road imperfections and eliminate most vibrations from getting to the cabin. On the noise side of things, the tire does pretty well and remains quiet in most cases. With that said, as it wears down, the noise levels will increase a bit.
Since we’re talking about budget-minded tires, the Advantage T/A isn’t too bad in terms of the warranty. Depending on the speed rating, there is a 60,000-mile and 75,000-mile treadwear warranty.
- Affordable premium tire
- Very good performance in dry and wet conditions
- Refinement levels are high
- Struggles with stability in heavy rain
- As the tire wears down, the noise levels increase slightly
#4. Hankook Kinergy PT
Hankook has made plenty of excellent tires at an affordable price, and the same can be said about the Kinergy PT. Despite being a mid-range model, it can offer some good performance which is why it found its way on this list.
The performance you’ll get with the Hankook Kienrgy PT in dry conditions is excellent. There are loads of grip and traction, making it an excellent choice for daily driving. Even though we’re talking about a touring tire, you can still push it a bit before it starts to give up. In the handling department, the tire struggles like most of its rivals in this class. The responsiveness is average, and even though there is some feedback, it may feel a bit muted at times.
Wet roads are another area where the Kinergy PT manages to deliver very good performance. On damp roads, the tire will deliver more than enough grip and traction for daily driving. In the harsher conditions, the grooves and sipes do an excellent job at evacuating water, making the tire stable in heavy rain.
The biggest surprise the Kinergy PT has is in winter. Performance on snowy roads is more or less as you’d expect. The tire is usable in shallow snow and can offer decent traction thanks to the sipes. With that said, the tire seems to do decently well on ice. I wouldn’t compare it to a winter tire, but it’s not as useless as some of its rivals.
Refinement is another area where the Kinergy PT offers very good results. The tire can absorb and smooth out road imperfections and eliminate most of the vibrations. Noise levels are also very low, and the tire is almost wisper quiet around town. The noise increases at highway speeds, but even then, it’s far from the loudest of the bunch.
When compared to some of its premium rivals, the Kinergy PT is an excellent choice for a long treadwear warranty. Hankook has you covered for 90,000 miles, which puts this tire on top.
- It has some traction on ice
- Traction on dry and wet roads is excellent
- High refinement levels
- While it’s decently responsive, some premium models are better
- Deeper snow can be a problem
#5. Hankook Kinergy ST
While I’m talking about Hankook, I should also mention the Kinergy ST. In direct comparison, it may not be on the same level as the Kinergy PT, but it’s a decent performer and, most importantly, affordable.
Driving in dry conditions is something that the Kinergy ST does very well. It can offer good levels of grip and traction, as well as short braking distances, making it an excellent choice for daily driving. It doesn’t take being pushed, so the limit isn’t particularly high. This means that you also shouldn’t expect it to excel in terms of handling.
In wet conditions, the Kinergy ST is again a very solid performer, but not in every aspect. The grip and traction levels are excellent on damp roads, meaning it won’t struggle as long as you’re not overly aggressive. A slight drawback is the braking distances, which are average for this class. On the other hand, the tire has excellent aquaplaning resistance, making it very stable in heavy rain.
Snow performance is where the Kinergy ST falls behind some of its competitors. The traction in shallow and unpacked snow is acceptable but far from exceptional. Once you go to packed or deeper snow, you’ll notice the tire struggles even more.
Regarding refinement, the Kinergy ST is a tire that won’t disappoint. It can smooth out a good amount of road imperfections, and apart from jolts from larger potholes, you’ll have a smooth experience. In the mid-range segment, this is a tire that is considered a quiet one. You will hear some roar on the highway, but it won’t be overly intrusive.
The Kinergy ST is a step-down from the Kinergy PT, but is still a solid option in terms of longevity. With a treadwear warranty of 70,000 miles, it’s near the top of the mid-range class.
- Short braking distances in dry
- Plenty of grip and traction for daily driving
- The aquaplaning resistance is excellent
- Braking distances on damp roads aren’t the shortest
- Snow performance is limited
#6. Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus
Let’s be honest, the only way you can get your hands on a premium tire is either at a discount or if it’s an older model. Bridgestone has one that may work for you, and it’s the Turanza Serenity Plus.
The performance of the Turanza Serenity Plus in dry conditions is excellent. You’ll get high levels of grip and traction, making it a very good performer for daily driving. Sure, you can give it the beans, but don’t expect it to outperform a UHP tire. A very positive side of the tire is the braking distances, which are quite short. As far as handling goes, it’s a touring tire, and the responsiveness is just as you’d expect.
Wet performance is an area where the Turanza Serenity Plus shows its age. While the grip and traction levels are acceptable for everyday driving, the limit isn’t too high, so it may begin to struggle if you push it. Despite that, the tire still manages to deliver short braking distances. On the other hand, the aquaplaning resistance is still excellent and better than most of its similarly priced competitors.
Once it starts snowing, the Turanza Serenity Plus will perform like most of its rivals. There’s a decent amount of traction in light snow conditions, so it won’t struggle with acceleration. The grip levels aren’t as good, and you won’t have the confidence to drive it on a daily basis.
Refinement is one area where the Turanza Serenity Plus is still relevant. The noise levels are very low, competing with modern premium models. You’ll also get high comfort levels, as the tire can soften up almost anything. Even with larger potholes, you’ll have no vibrations transferred into the cabin, in most cases at least.
Bridgestone sells the Turanza Serenity Plus with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is more than many mid-range and some premium tires.
- Excellently refined tire
- Superb aquaplaning resistance
- High levels of grip and traction on dry roads
- Not ideal even in light snow conditions
- The handling won’t satisfy any enthusiast
#7. General AltiMAX RT43
General is known for making excellent bang-for-the-buck models, and the one I’ve chosen for this list is the AltiMAX RT43. Like most of the tires I mentioned, it won’t win any awards in terms of performance, but it also won’t drain your wallet.
Dry performance with the AltiMAX RT43 is something that most people would be fine with. There’s a good amount of grip and traction for getting around town or driving on the highway, and as long as you’re not pushing it, you’ll be happy. Safety is another area where the tire does pretty well, thanks to the short braking distances. The handling is something that won’t disappoint too much as a touring tire, but don’t expect plenty of feedback from it.
In rainy conditions, the AltiMAX RT43 continues to deliver very good results. The sipes do an excellent job of providing grip and traction for daily driving while keeping the braking distances short. Thanks to the tread pattern, the tire will also have excellent aquaplaning resistance.
It’s rare to see an all-season tire with good performance on snow, and the AltiMAX RT43 isn’t one of them. The traction and grip levels are usable in lighter conditions, while the tire will begin to struggle in the harsher ones.
The highest praise for the AltiMAX RT43 is the refinement levels. The noise levels are very low for a mid-range tire. You may hear a hum at highway speeds or on rougher roads, but it’s not extremely terrible. The comfort levels are also excellent, offering a soft ride with no vibrations. You may notice a jolt and a bit of vibration only when you hit a larger pothole.
Treadwear warranty is another area where the AltiMAX RT43 gets some high grades. With a 75,000-mile warranty, it offers more than some expensive premium models.
- The refinement is excellent
- Dry and wet performance is more than enough for daily driving
- Short braking distances
- Almost no feedback from the tire
- Snow performance is average
#8. Falken Sincera SN250
The last all-season touring tire you’ll see on this list is the Sincera SN250 from Falken. While the tire won’t win any awards for being the best in a certain category, I believe it balances performance and price nicely.
Like most of its mid-range rivals, the Sincera SN250 is a solid performer in dry conditions. While it won’t be the best option for a track day, it’s an excellent one for daily driving. The grip and traction levels are solid, and you won’t notice it struggling too much. Handling, on the other hand, is a different story. While the responsiveness isn’t terrible, you won’t be getting a lot of feedback.
Wet doesn’t seem to be a massive problem for the Sincera SN250, as it continues to deliver very good performance. On damp roads, the traction and grip are good for daily driving, giving you a bit of a breathing room in terms of limits. The grooves and sipes also do an excellent job at evacuating water, providing you with excellent aquaplaning resistance.
As a mid-range all-season tire, the Sincera SN250 does pretty well on snow. In lighter conditions, the tire delivers pretty good traction and is easy to control. Packed snow is a bit of a problem, but the performance is still there.
In the refinement department, the tire tells two stories. The first one is the comfort, which is pretty good. It does well in softening up smaller bumps or holes to a point where you may not notice them. Noise is the second one, and it’s not a very good one. Around town, it’s not too bad and remains quiet, but the noise increases on the highway, making it average.
Falken aimed to make the Sincera SN250 competitive and achieved that in the longevity department. With a treadwear warranty of 80,000 miles, it’s right up there with some of the premium rivals.
- Decent snow performance
- Very comfortable
- Plenty of performance for daily driving
- The handling is average
- Noise levels increase at highway speeds
#9. Cooper Evolution Winter
You may remember the Cooper Evolution Winter from my list of the best tires for older cars. The reason I included it here is that it’s an excellent winter tire, and you can fit it with studs for the harshest conditions.
Despite being a winter tire, the Evolution Winter is a good performer for driving on dry roads. In normal driving conditions, the grip and traction levels will be fine, and the tire won’t struggle unless you start to push it. Keep in mind that the limits aren’t exceptionally high, so you can get it to slip if you get a bit aggressive. Winter tires aren’t known for being the most dynamic, and that’s the case with this one. It’s not terribly unresponsive but far from the best in this category. The worst part of it is that you won’t have a lot of feedback from it.
On damp roads, the Evolution Winter seems to do an excellent job at putting the power down. Slip when accelerating or understeer in the corners are almost non-existent unless you start to push it. In addition to that, the stability at higher speeds is excellent, thanks to the superb aquaplaning resistance.
The Evolution Winter is designed for winter conditions, and with that, it performs very well. It has absolutely no problem with traction on packed or unpacked snow and won’t struggle even in a deeper one. You can drive on ice without the studs and still get decent performance. Putting the studs on delivers even better performance regardless of the conditions.
Refinement is an area where the Evolution Winter doesn’t do so well. The comfort is decent, and the tire does a decent job at smoothing things out and eliminating a good amount of vibrations. With that said, the noise levels are not the lowest, making the tire average even within its class.
- Superb performance on wet roads
- Excellent traction in all winter conditions
- High comfort levels
- Performance in dry conditions is a bit above average
- Not the quietest winter tire
#10. Firestone Winterforce 2
The last tire I’ll talk about is the Winterforce 2. This model is a direct competitor of the previous one, meaning you’re getting excellent winter performance in an affordable package.
Performance in dry conditions is something that the Winterforce 2 isn’t known for. While the grip and traction levels are good enough for daily driving, there isn’t a lot of room for pushing. Sure, the tire is safe, and you won’t struggle too much with it, but the premium models can offer more. In terms of handling, it’s similar to the previous model – acceptable responsiveness with not a lot of feedback.
Things improve in wet conditions, as the Winterforce 2 seems to be able to deliver more. The tire will have no problem accelerating and going around a corner even if you get a bit carried away. With this tire, you’re getting relatively short braking distances and excellent aquaplaning resistance, making it a safe performer.
Snow and ice is what the Winterforce 2 does best. Regardless if we’re talking about shallow or deep snow, this tire won’t have a problem with it. You may notice it struggles just a bit in deep snow, but it’s not something that will cripple the performance. Even at the limit, you won’t be fighting it, and you can get it under control without too much effort. Since it’s a studdable tire, you can get a massive performance boost with then, which will get you one of the best mid-range winter tires on the market.
Things take a turn for the worse in the refinement department. The Winterforce 2 isn’t impressive in terms of noise, but almost no winter tire is, so that’s not something new. As for comfort, while it’s not overly harsh and manages to absorb some of the bumps, some of its rivals can do better.
- Superb performance with and without the studs
- High grip and traction levels on damp roads
- Excellent aquaplaning resistance
- Average performance in dry conditions
- Refinement isn’t the best