Best Tire Chains For Semi Trucks – 2021 Round-up

Don
| Last Updated: February 6, 2021

If you get excessive snow where you live, you are probably familiar with the problems it brings, especially when it comes to driving. 

Driving any vehicle without chains in the snow is extremely dangerous. Whether you are driving a bike, a car, or a truck, tires need traction against the wet and smooth snow.  

Semi-trucks are part trucks and part trailers that are used to transport goods. Handling a big semi-truck can be difficult, and it is made more difficult when driving on a wet road; therefore, a tire chain is necessary. Here is everything you need to know about the best tire chains for semi-trucks, along with the top models you should definitely consider getting. 

Our Top Picks for Tire Chains For Semi Trucks

  • Very durable
  • Very versatile
  • Semi truck suitable
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  • Long mileage alloy
  • Cam-style
  • Versatile
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  • Best for the Money
  • Chain ladder cables
  • Cross member eyelets
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Comparison of the Best Tire Chains For Semi Trucks

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Durable quick grip link chain
  • Can be used on and off road
  • Suitable for semi trucks
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  • Available in long mileage alloy
  • Cam-style truck service chain
  • Suitable for various tire sizes
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  • Best for the Money
  • Radical chain ladder cables
  • Features cross member eyelets
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  • Medium duty twisted link
  • Includes cam and cam tools
  • Can be used on and off road
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  • Durable quick grip link chain
  • Heavy duty twisted link
  • Suitable for on and off road use
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When is it Time to Replace My Tire Chains For My Semi Truck?

Tire chains can last for several years, depending on the material quality, frequency of use, and maintenance. If you live in a very snowy or dirty area, you will have to put more time into its maintenance. You should remove any stones stuck within the chains and also properly clean it to avoid rust.  

Tire chains help improve the life of the tires as well. The more you use the chains and the more weight they have on them, the faster they will wear out. But if you buy a high-quality product, it should last you for several years.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to replace the tire chains as soon as you start to notice signs of wear and tear. 

What Size Semi Tire Chains Do I Need? 

A tire chain should perfectly fit your tire if you don’t want problems with fitting the chain on. If it is too loose, there is no point in using it, and if it is too tight, it will be difficult to put on and might even damage the tire. Check the width, height, and diameter of the semi truck’s tire before you buy the chain. The chains should come with a list of their dimensions and compatible vehicles. 

If you want to check your tire’s size, look at its sidewall. The first three numbers after the first letter are the width of the tire in millimeters. The next number is a ratio between the tire’s height and width. After the letter ‘R,’ the two numbers are the diameter of the tire.

What to Look For When Buying Tire Chains For Semi Trucks

As we have established before, buying a perfect chain for your tire is very important. The purpose of these chains is to protect your tires and help you drive safely. If they are not up to the task or of good quality, buying them is a waste of money. Therefore, you should do your research. 

Some things to look out for are:

Type of Chain

There are two major types of chains you put on your tires: tire chains and tire cables. The former is made for people with frequent use because they are the most durable. They consist of a mesh of metal chains that cover the entire tire and are heavy and durable. 

The latter is lighter and mostly used in areas with less frequent and less heavy snow. They are made of steel cables and are less durable, but they are easier to install and the better choice if you only use them occasionally. 

Ease of Installation

Tire chains can be frustrating to install. People are always looking for chains that are the easiest to put on. The simplest of these options are clamp-on chains. They come with an automatic chain tensioning. Another easy-to-install chain is the one that you can drape over the tire. Such chains don’t have any connections, but they are not very effective compared to clamp-on chains.  

Link Patterns

The patterns of the chain are not just for show; they determine the use. If there are a lot of links in the chain, they will cover more of the tire and hence be better at protecting it. You should use them for heavy snow areas and frequent driving. 

There are four types of chain patterns: diamond, square, ladder, and diagonal. Diamond links are used on vehicles with anti-lock braking systems, while square chains provide a lot of traction and are very durable. Ladder chains are either for snow driving or for on and off-road driving. 

Material

Tire chains are either made of metal alloys or rubber. Rubber chains don't damage the road or the vehicle, but they reduce the clearance between tire and vehicle. Metal chains are sturdy and give you more control over the driving.  

Quick Take - Best Tire Chains For Semi Trucks

Before you go any further, here are the best tire chains for semi trucks:

  1. Security Chain QG2448
  2. Quality Chain 2247QC
  3. Security Chain TA1939

Review of the Best Tire Chains For Semi Trucks

Keeping in mind all the important aspects of tire chains, we reviewed a list of the best ones you can get for semi-trucks. 

Security Chain Company QG2448 Quik Grip Truck Mud Service Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2

PROS

  • Highly durable
  • Good for on and off-road driving
  • A quick grip link that is easy to install
  • Compatible with commercial as well as passenger vehicles

CONS

  • Not suitable for use on snow
  • Does not come with a tightener

What Recent Buyers Report

This product is very sturdy and fits tires very well. It lasts very long and can handle rough roads. The chain tools included in the package work well, and installation is not too difficult either. It is bulky, which makes these chains ideal for heavy use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

These are mud service chains that are good for both on-road and off-road driving. Whether you are driving on rough, uneven roads or smooth ones, they are highly durable.

While driving in snow, you can lose control easily, especially while turning and applying brakes. However, this chain gives good braking and driving control to you as it is very stable. It is also very easy to install. You can use it in all types of vehicles like SUVs, trucks, ATVs, forklifts, and garden tractors.  

Bottom Line

You need a chain that is stable and will last you a long time, and this product is the ideal pick. It comes with tightening tools that make installation easier and ensures that the chains grip the tire very well. It is heavy-duty and long-lasting.

Quality Chain 2247QC Truck Highway Service Cam Style Chain

PROS

  • You can buy them in pairs
  • Cam style chains are very tight
  • Available in various different sizes
  • Long mileage alloy variation also available for highway use

CONS

  • Not suitable for tow trucks, forklifts, and plows

What Recent Buyers Report

Easy installation is a top priority for many users, and these tire chain pairs promise just that. According to users, they have a good grip, and if you choose the right size for your tire, they fit perfectly. These chains are thick, and they cover the tire well and handle heavy snow and rough roads well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a single mount cam-type tire chain. Such chains have a lever that pulls the chains tighter around the tire. All you have to do is turn the lever. This makes the chain secure and stable.

They come in six different chain sizes and hence are compatible with various vehicles. They also have a 30-day warranty for greater peace of mind. One of the plus points of this product is its budget-friendliness. The price is worth the safety and stability you get by using it.  

Bottom Line

With this tire chain made for trucks, you get good highway use. It is not suitable for vehicles like forklifts and tow trucks but is the ideal option for semis. Plus, given the fact that they are suitable for highway use, you can’t go wrong with them.

Best for the Money:
Security Chain TA1939

Security Chain Company TA1939 Alloy Radial Heavy Duty Truck Singles Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2

PROS

  • Legal to use in every state
  • Easy to install and remove
  • High durability and traction
  • Meets the clearance requirements
  • All-steel construction for greater durability

CONS

  • Not suitable for large trucks

What Recent Buyers Report

For people with limited budgets, this is a good option. These chains are very low cost, yet they are of good quality. The spiral chains are very easy to install. Users also state that they are very easy to handle because they are lightweight. They are also very versatile and are compatible with many vehicles. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like that these are ladder-style chains made for semi-truck use. They are made of magnesium alloy steel, which has a very high impact strength and corrosion resistance. This also improves the traction of the chain. 

The latch is placed on the outer side to make installation easier, and the low weight also helps with the installation. This chain is also legal to use in every state, which means it meets their requirements and is safe to use. 

Bottom Line

Available in 43 different tire sizes for both single and double axles, this is a good alternative to the heavy tire chains. These chains are highly durable and offer superior traction, and are easy to handle and put on.

Editor's Pick:
TireChain.com 2245

TireChain.com 11-22.5, 11 22.5 Cam Tire Chains, Priced per Pair.

PROS

  • Promise good protection
  • Thick and have tighteners 
  • Zinc-plated for rust protection
  • Comes with its cam and cam tools

CONS

  • Not for heavy-duty use

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, these twisted tire chains are sturdy and can be easily tightened around the tire. They are very stable and provide good protection. They also have good clearance and offer good control. Buyers further stated that they last for several seasons.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This chain measures 0.312 inches and has plenty of clearance, which means it will not get damaged when the tire is turning as it will not touch the body of the vehicle. It comes with both cam and cam tools to tighten the grip and make sure everything is stable and not too loose. Loose chains are not safe.

These chains are made for medium-duty trucks and can hold up to rough conditions, and are also zinc-plated to protect against rust. The recommended vehicles for this chain are over-the-road and semi-trucks. 

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a sturdy, thick, and reliable snow chain within a reasonable price range, then this is the product to go for. It has a simple design and has tensioners that make the grip better.  

Honorable Mention:
Security Chain QG2839CAM

Security Chain Company QG2839CAM Quik Grip V-Bar Truck Single CAM RS Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2

PROS

  • Has quick grip links
  • Heavy-duty chain for semi-truck use
  • Can be used on passenger vehicles as well
  • Suitable for on and off-road and highway use

CONS

  • Not for heavy snow areas

What Recent Buyers Report

A perfect fit is important for tire chains, and these fit the tire perfectly without damaging it. Buyers state that they are not too difficult to put on and are low-profile. They are a little pricey, but they make up for it in quality and durability. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Security Chain is one of the oldest companies that makes tire chain products. They have made a name for themselves over the years for durable and dependable chains, and this model is no different.

This black quick grip cam style chain is made for heavy-duty applications. It can handle both on and off-road use. They offer a lot of steering and braking control to the driver, so you don't slip when taking a difficult turn or stopping suddenly. They are also easy to install.

Bottom Line

Semi-trucks drive mainly on highways, and they are heavy, so you need tire chains that can handle that. This cam style chain is made for this purpose. It has a good grip and traction and is very sturdy.  

Aspects to Consider Before Buying 

There are several things to consider before buying a tire chain. Keeping in mind the features of the most popular and user-friendly tire chains, we have made a list of the top aspects to consider. 

Weight

The weight of the chain depends on your use. If you want better fuel economy and the snowfall in your area is not too heavy, then a lightweight tire chain will do the job. On the other hand, difficult snow conditions require a heavy and sturdy chain. Just choose the one that best suits your conditions.  

Clearance

The clearance of a tire chain is the gap between the tire and the body of the vehicle. A thick chain has high clearance. You need good space between the tire and the vehicle for the chain to be able to turn easily with the tire. It should not hit the vehicle body because that can cause damage.

Automatic Release

The automatic release feature makes taking the chains off very easy. As we said before, installing a chain is difficult. The same goes for taking it off. Automatic release helps with this.  

Self-Tightening 

A self-tightening snow chain is more expensive than a normal tire chain, but it has many advantages. The radial motion of the tire automatically tightens the chain even as you are driving. Loose chains damage the tire and are not effective; therefore, self-tightening chains are important. A normal tire chain will have to be tightened manually after every drive.  

Types of Tire Chains For Semi Trucks

Tire chains are classified into four categories. These depend on the area you drive in and the vehicle you drive.

Entry Level

Entry-level tire chains are just as the name suggests. They are made for areas with low snow and ice. They are best for occasional use because they are not the most stable.

Standard

Standard chains are one level up. They have better traction and are more durable than entry-level tire chains. They are used for areas with regular snowfall and are more stable.  

Premium

Premium snow chains are the most durable and will last for several years. They are the only way to go for heavy snowfall areas. They also give you more control and hence make it easier to apply brakes on ice. They are also the most expensive. 

Alternative Traction

Alternative traction chains are made for low-profile cars. They are lightweight and used on tires that cannot handle normal snow chains.   

How Do You Put Chains on a Semi Truck?

Installing chains is difficult. If you don’t do it properly, it can damage the tire and the chain itself, which is why you should look at the proper instructions before doing anything. Here is a simple installation guide:

  1. Untangle the chains and lay them out on the ground vertically with the hook side facing up

  2. Make sure the tensioners are open

  3. Clean the hooks at the ends of the chain of any snow, water, or dirt

  4. Drape the chain over the tire with the hooks facing out

  5. You will need to reach the back of the tire to tie the hook and then do the same at the front

  6. Make sure the number of links is the same on both sides of the tire

  7. After hooking the chain, drive the truck a little to bring the hooks up 

  8. Take the tightening ratchet and tighten the chain using the tensioners on the chain

  9. They should be tight enough that only one finger can slide between the chain and tire

You should also watch the video below for more help about installing and taking off the chain.

Conclusion 

Not putting on tire chains is a safety issue. For commercial vehicles, it’s not just that; you are legally obligated to have a tire chain on the tire when driving in snow for your’s and everyone else’s safety. We have reviewed the best tire chains for semi-trucks that you can buy. Just remember to consider your driving environment before you buy it. 

People Also Ask

There are a lot of different types of tire chains, and they all work best in their own areas. They are an important accessory to have, so if you have any more questions about them, have a look at the following questions. 

How Many Sets of Tire Chains for Semi?

You need to have one set of tire chains or two chains. They only need to be added to the front axle. 

Do You Need a Special Tool for Installing Semi Truck Tire Chains?

You don’t need any special tool to install a tire chain on a semi-truck. They often come with tightening ratchets. They are the only thing you will need.

Which Axle Should You Chain up on a Semi?

You should add chains only to the front driving axle of a semi-truck.

Can You Use Cables on Semi Tires?

Cable chains are not recommended for semi-trucks. If they are made of steel that is 0.4 inches or more, you can use them, but you should go for tire chains.

Don

After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.