Nitto Ridge Grappler Vs toyo Open Country AT3

All-Terrain tires are built for combined on-road and off-road experience. Although, both the tires are All-Terrain, Toyo Open Country AT3 was built keeping in mind off-road performance while Nitto Ridge Grappler is designed to target better on-road driving performance. The three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rating and a stronger built give AT3 an edge over its competitor.

Find more about the interesting characteristics of both tires below.

Detailed Comparison: Nitto Ridge Grappler With Toyo AT3

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Toyo designed an aggressive symmetrical tread pattern for AT3 with S-shaped staggered tread blocks featuring wider grooves. Smaller tread blocks and higher tread voids hinder its on-road performance due to lower contact patch. The lower contact patch causes the tire to lose grip hence overall dry traction on-road. There are multiple wave sipes embedded in tread blocks and shoulder lugs providing exceptional traction during wet road conditions and avoiding hydroplaning. It has sharp and well-defined tread block edges to hook and grip the terrain that’s underneath it especially when air-down. The massive voids between the treads do very well to evacuate the snow, mud, sand, gravel, or any kind of loose debris to keep the tire moving. It also has strong stone ejectors to protect the bottom of grooves from stone drilling. The raised angle side biters on shoulders provide extra protection to sidewall from trail damage like cuts or punctures and provide extra traction on ruts, mud and even when air down. It’s built with more capable tread compounds which increases the treadwear resistance of the tire, which in turn increases its mileage and durability. This tire is a three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rated giving it extra confidence in winter weather driving conditions. Wider grooves do produce louder noise when traveling on-road but allow smooth driving while off-roading since its large grooves act as shocks.

Nitto Ridge grappler has a dynamic hybrid tread which is a mixture of mild-tempered on-road variable pitch design patterns with deep tread voids combined with aggressive off-road shoulder lugs and sidewall. Narrower grooves allow better on-road traction due to higher contact patch and reduce noise levels. The wet traction of tires is reduced due to the lower void ratio and fewer sipes as very less water is able to pass through them. The mud, soft snow, and loose debris traction is also poor due to inefficient evacuation of mud and soft snow through the grooves. The shoulder grooves are also smaller compared to its counterpart which doesn’t allow efficient passing of mud through them. It has stone ejectors to avoid stone/pebble from getting stuck inside the grooves, but its built quality and design optimizations are not that great.  More contact patch and deep voids however really help traction on icy roads since they help to grip better on them. Weaker built quality along with lower treadwear resistance leads to lower durability and mileage.

On-Road Traction Comparison

AT3 has massive tread blocks with higher voids which puts it at a disadvantage on the road as there is not enough tread patch in contact with the road. This causes the tire to have reduced traction due to loss of grip. Wide grooves and numerous sipes do perform well in wet conditions as they allow more water to pass through the tire, avoiding hydroplaning and allowing the vehicle to move confidently during the rainy season.

Ridge Grappler has treads closely packed around the center of the tire resulting in narrow voids causing a greater patch of tread in contact with the road, increasing grip and overall dry on-road traction of the tire. Narrow voids and fewer sipes however don’t allow easy passing of water through them and will not perform well while hydroplaning.

Off-road Traction Comparison

Mud Terrain

AT3 has wide grooves to easily evacuate the mud through its voids allowing the tires to keep moving through muddy terrain. The larger shoulder studs also help in the faster cleaning of grooves by allowing the mud to easily pass through them. It is the more preferred option for a mud terrain.

 Narrow grooves and smaller shoulder studs of Ridge Grappler don’t allow good traction in mud due to their inability to evacuate the mud through the grooves efficiently. It’s more likely to cause its grooves to get packed full of mud creating a tire that turns into a slick.

Snow Terrain

AT3 soft snow traction capabilities are great due to wider grooves allowing the snow particles to be thrown out of grooves allowing the tire to move forward. However, on icy roads and hard snow, the depth of grooves comes into play since its groove’s depth is shallower compared to its competitors, therefore, allow great traction neither on ice nor on hard snow causing the tire to slip on ice and get stuck in hard snow.

Due to the narrow grooves of Ridge Grappler, its soft snow traction is poor as the lower voids don’t allow efficient removal of snow through grooves, making it vulnerable on soft snow. Due to deep grooves and sipes, its performance is better on icy roads. The deep grooves and greater contact patch allow good traction and avoid slipping of tires on icy roads. Hard snow traction of the respective tire is also not sufficient since it doesn’t have a three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rating.

Rock Terrain

Strong shoulder-built and bold stone ejectors make AT3 a favorite in rocky terrain. The optimized stone ejectors don’t allow stones and pebbles to get stuck inside the grooves. The wide grooves and strong shoulders built allow great grip on rocks with good traction from any angle of approach.

Ridge Grappler however lacks in rock traction as it does not have bold strong ejectors like its counterpart nor allows good grip due to lack of wider grooves. The shoulder built is weak and its design is not highly optimized enough to withstand the harshness of rocky terrain.

Which tire provides better driving comfort?

The high void ratio of AT3 leads to massive gaps between the treads that will fill up with air when the vehicle travels on road at high speed. Air after getting trapped inside the wide grooves starts striking its wall back and forth which produces loud noises, decreasing the comfort of tire on-road. While off-roading the massive tread blocks with high voids act like suspension and allow smooth drive over uneven and rough surfaces.

The lower void ratio of Ridge Grappler allows a lesser amount of air to get trapped inside grooves, decreasing the noise, therefore, increasing its comfort while traveling on-road but when it comes to off-roading the closely packed tread blocks are not sufficient to absorb the shocks while traveling on uneven or rough terrain.

Durability and Treadwear Differences

The smaller area of AT3 in contact with the road decreases the rolling resistance of the tire as lesser force is required to move it forward. Lower rolling resistance led to a lower treadwear which in turn increases its mileage. It is made up of strong material that makes it puncture resistant as well. The high built strength along with lower treadwear makes the tire more durable and reliable. It is more likely to last longer than other tires giving mileage up to 65,000 miles.

Grappler’s larger contact patch of tread leads to a higher rolling resistance which is the force needed to roll the tire. Higher resistance of tires impacts the treadwear resistance negatively hence increasing its treadwear and decreasing its durability. It consists of a three-ply sidewall along with reinforced block construction which does not make its high resistance against punctures and other trail damages while off-roading. The lower build strength makes these tires averagely last for about 50,000 miles which are significantly lesser compared to AT3.

Price Differences

AT3 is a higher-priced tire due to its stronger built, higher durability, lower treadwear, bold stone ejectors, higher mileage, Three-peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) rating, and better mud and soft snow traction compared to its counterpart. Ridge Grappler meanwhile offers greater on-road and ice traction along with better noise comfort within a much lower price range.

Quick Summary

  • Both tires are All Terrain (A/T) tires.
  • On-road dry traction of Ridge Grappler is better.
  • AT3 performs better in mud and rocky terrain.
  • AT3 produces good traction in light snow while Ridge Grappler performs better on icy roads.
  • AT3 is more durable than its competitor.
  • AT3 is more expensive compared to Ridge Grappler.