Nitto Recon Grappler vs Toyo AT3

With these newest tire offering, Nitto is able to bridge the gap between the Terra and Ridge Grappler. So, they come right in the middle in terms of aggressiveness. But how would these tire perform against the famous Toyo Open Country AT3?

Nitto Recon Grappler is a hybrid tire where its a combination of Nitto Ridge and Toyo RT. (Both are a part of a same company, and it really makes sense when you look at their design – link is added). Here the Toyo AT3 is an A/T tire.

So does that mean the less being an A/T makes Toyo AT3 less aggressive here?

Well, to understand this we have to dig deep in to their designs.

Design of these tires:

Recon Grappler on jeep
BTW, Recon looks really cool (but the design of the tire is not for looks).

Starting off with Toyo AT3, the tire features serrated shoulder blocks which have more prominent scoops in comparison. (Or in other words you can say they are more scalloped).

Here, the shoulders offer a very blocky/squared design without any kind of notches/incisions on them. But 3D wave pattern siping is present.

Between these blocks there are ridges (instead of stone ejectors). Which limit the blocks movement.

Shoulder blocks Toyo AT3

These shoulder blocks then join together and form a sidewall design (which is less aggressive comparatively).

In the middle of Toyo AT3, the tire is prominently separated by 2 wide zig-zag circumferential channels. Here, the it features a S shaped blocks surrounded by other “F” shaped blocks.

Central area of Toyo AT3

These blocks show sharp edges and are further surrounded by others with incisions in them. These incisions or cuts whichever you prefer, face in all directions allowing this tire to grab the surface its on, firmly.

On the other hand, the Nitto Recon Grappler has a similar looking shoulder design. Where they are also staggered and form stepped edges.

Recon Grappler Shoulder and sidewalls

Same blocky design is offered here as well but the tire offers very less siping. Other than this, 2 small cuts/notches can also be seen on the edges of these blocks.

These blocks again have ridges in between them (but they are a little smaller) so the positions of these blocks are somewhat locked.

These blocks are again missing with stone ejectors and have foundations underneath (which restrict block mobility further) and these form sharp edges.

Side Note: These foundations also aid in dampening the tire noise. The lesser noise has to do with various angles of these blocks which generate different frequency of tire sounds and they cut each other, or in other words dampens them. A fancy word for this is variable pitch technology.

The Recon Grappler also presents with 2 different sidewall designs on each side of the tire, and they look more aggressive in comparison.

If we look at the middle area, the tire is less boring here. (Again separated by prominent longitudinal grooves).

The middle section of the tire exhibits a versatile tread pattern with a combination of sharp lateral grooves and sipes. Its basically a mixture of thin and wide sipes.

Again 2 different styles are seen, but you really have to look for it. One block has a cuts on sides and the other has a proper stepped edge to it making these shoulders serrated.

Recon Grappler Central Area
Both these central blocks are mirror images of each other.

The central part shows 3 different blocks (colored) which make a triangular shaped (barely) larger block.

The cool design is basically made by differently shaped blocks. (We have colored each of them).

These blocks join to form larger triangular shaped (if you will) blocks and form zig-zag lateral grooves.

Let’s see how the design of these tires help them perform.

How are they on road?

Okay so on road, there are a lot of factors to consider. There’s wet/dry condition, hydroplaning, there’s noise/comfort levels, mileage/fuel efficiency and how these tires wear. Let’s discuss all of these.

In wet conditions, Toyo AT3 overall has the upper hand. The tire offers more 3D wave like siping which vacuum in the water underneath the tire and expel/wipe those water particles away as tire rolls over. Here on the contrary, the Recon offers very minimal siping especially on the shoulders.

But the Recon Grappler does perform better on standing water, as the tire is capable of more float speeds. This is because the tire offers more channels. Why? Well…

Although both tires are prominently separated by 2 outer circumferential grooves, the Recon also connects these grooves together as the triangular shaped central blocks form a zig-zag lateral groove pattern. So the tire is able to expel more water in comparison. (See image below to see what this means).

Nitto Recon channels
Recon’s Aqua channels

On dry asphalts, both tires however are great and there’s only a negligible difference between them.

They are great when it comes to on road handling, where the tire’s shoulders come in to action. Here both tires offer a very minimal side design with less notches/cuts (so more contact with the roads) and they feature ridges between the blocks which restrict their movement and maintain grip especially while cornering.

That’s why even with wider gaps between blocks they are still able to perform great here.

Other than this the Recon Grappler is quieter on road as they offer variable pitch technology (discussed in their design).

And the Toyo AT3 is better suited on streets when it comes to mileage and wear. The tire offer less softer compound which wear lesser in comparison and with less weight, it also consumes less fuel.

Nitto ReconToyo AT3
Available Sizes17-24″15-22″
Average weight65 lbs48 lbs
Average Tread Depth16/32″15/32″

How are they off road?

Off Road, things really get interesting. Both tires offers unique features which allow them to be better than one another on various terrains.

On Snow:

On snowy terrains, with more sipes the Toyo AT3 performs better. The tire offer more biting edges here with sharp blocks and notches facing in all directions which trap in the snow.

And snow sticks better on snow. (Snow particles basically have an interlocking pattern so they get mingled with each other).

The tire is also branded with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, which also means that they provide great acceleration on snow.

Side Note: 3PMSFR is not a test of braking/handling on snow. This symbol tells that the tire is 25% better acceleration than all season tires.

Nitto Recon on the other hand, are also not too bad. And although the serrated shoulder also help this tire (with scooping the snow), the minimal siping on shoulders doesn’t allow the tire to perform so well.

That’s why they don’t have the mountain symbol on them as well.

On Mud:

Mud is A/T tires biggest enemy. So you can’t expect too much out of these tires as they would simply get packed and loose traction.

Still with better channels the Recon Grappler would be a little bit better here. The numerous zig-zag lateral and circumferential channels provide more pathways for mud to escape, while the sharp blocks with notches and reinforced shoulder blocks cut through the soft surface.

The tire also offers more tread depth as well so more volume of mud can be expelled out.

On Rocks:

Rocks have many different variants on its own. There are bigger rocks, then there’s gravel, stones dirt and so on.

On bigger rocks, although both tires provide efficient biting edges but with softer compound, the Recon Grappler would provide better traction overall. As these tires would “stick” on rocks better.

On small rocks, again the Recon Grappler has an edge as these tires are more durable in comparison. They offer inner construction of 3 ply polyester casing covered with 2 layers of high tensile steel belts which is then wrapped with 2 layers of nylon.

So this means that the tire provides you with 3 ply sidewalls protecting the most vulnerable part of the tire from sharp unwanted objects.

On the other side, the Toyo Open Country AT3, with its weaker sidewalls is more prone to get damaged here. In fact a lot of LT sizes have this complain of their sides getting punctured.

Note: As both tires don’t have designated stone ejectors both of them are prone to stones sticking in their tread (when they are running on gravel/dirt filled roads).

So what’s the Verdict?

Both tires are great on road. Here Toyo offers you with greater fuel efficiency, lesser wear and better wet handling, while the Recon provide you with more comfort.

Off road, Toyo AT3 with 3pmsf rating provides better snow traction. And these tires are also great in other terrains as well. But if you live in a more southern state and winter is not a concern for you, Recon Grappler can be considered here, given how durable these tires are combined with their incredible performance.

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