Studded vs non-studded Nokian LT2/3 - calling fellow northerners & Canadians


The search function didn't really pull up much....

Northern folks with yrs of experience using true winter tires and studded on HD vehicles (not sedans/cars) I would like your use experience and opinion on choosing studded vs non-studded of same model. For example Nokian offers several models in both versions. I have used the LT2 studded a couple seasons and in the narrow 245/75-17 it provides incredible tracking through the slop as well as great traction on hard pack due to the increased ground pressure from it's narrow width.

I am considering a new set and am biting on the marketing of their even better new stud tech in the LT3. Now they are also making it in an almost ideal size of 265/70-18 though it would be giving up some of the narrow benefits of the above profile. 1" on width while gaining ground clearance but honestly, the clearance is not an issue because there's so much to begin with and when the snow is deep, it's generally just too deep regardless.

As for the idea of super wide tundra type flotation, I don't think that's going to happen on my 7400 lb lr3 with it's inability to fit a huge width tire anyway. Plus, in the US you're not out on Iceland type terrain anyway.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT3 - Peace of mind for winter work / Nokian Tires
The new Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT3 winter tire offers exceptional winter grip and driving stability combined with strong structure and superb durability. Designed for demanding winter use, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT3 is reliable and safe on icy roads and snow-covered worksites alike.

Main question here is studs vs not.

I have the luxury of using different vehicles for different outings such that a the studded vehicle wouldn't need to be used to go out around the low lands on daily basis and would be left parked for use only when traveling into the mtns and/or during storms or on a north/winter specific trip. For people who live somewhere less fluctuating that can be hard to understand. In Seattle area you can stay out of snow all winter honestly unless there's a freak lowland storm or you can drive in it every weekend or the whole time on a trip north/inland to BC, Idaho, etc.

If you want to post that you love Blizzacks or don't see the need for studs because you've never spent much time driving where they are useful, then maybe word it differently. I am not interested in Blizzacks or some other brand, etc.


Well-known member
Go studless, todays winter tires are soo good studs will rarely add traction and will often give worse traction.
And go skinny, not wide. The last thing you want thru slush or standing water is floatation.

And that Nokian is one of the best.


The last thing you want thru slush or standing water is floatation
Yes, this is obvious as I mentioned. 255 would be ideal but the offerings are either 245/75-17 or 265/70-18 section 9.8 vs 10.7 which puts the tread width around 7.4 vs 8.3


It's a nuanced answer that I just navigated through on my Ranger. There are not a lot of good, skinny NON-studded tires out there in 16 - 18". So I started researching which led me into probably the same rabbit hole you are in now.

I'll caveat this with my experience with my last (3) cars, 2012 VW Sportwagen, 2016, Audi Allroad and 2018, Audi SQ5. All had Blizzaks and the Audi's were downright unbelievable in the snow and ice, all had narrower tires that stock also. I thought my FJ40 and Tacoma were good with the BFG ATs until I went down the winter tire going back now.

With that said, I wanted some skinny tires on my 2019 Ranger that were not significantly shorter than the 32 x 10's I have on it now (255/75R17). I didn't want any wider because I wanted clearance for Chains. With these requirements in mind options are limited, for the most part, to LT tires in load range E. Most E rated tires are obviously for HD pickups, HD pickups eat up super soft Blizzak type tires which I believe is why you won't see exceptional studless LT tires. Based on my research, none of non-studded LT got great reviews and were truly more of an "all season" tire with winter emphasis vs a truly dedicated soft compound tacky Blizzak or Nokians R3's.

Even the Nokian LT3's are not the same, again based on my research, as most of their tire line when it comes to compound or the amount of siping. They seem to be a harder compound than a true studless winter, but are certainly more pliable that a traditional all season. They have a fair amount of siping but nothing compared to the Blizzaks I had.

I ended up with 235/85R16 studded Nokian LT3's, got them put on this past Tuesday. Don't know how they'll work but they get good reviews. This is my daily driver, here in the Portland metro we rarely get snow, but when we do it's an absolute disaster...and I live in the hills. So fingers crossed!

My expectation is they won't be as good as the studless....but seem to be the best option based on the sizes we need for our 4x4 rigs. I also carry chains when up in the hills, just in case.


Well-known member
Now they are also making it in an almost ideal size of 265/70-18 though it would be giving up some of the narrow benefits of the above profile.
and yet this is "an almost ideal size".

I'd change rims and get 235/85R16s , if 16s fit