Firestone Winterforce 2 vs General Grabber Arctic 12

Two winter tire heavyweights, the Firestone Winterforce 2 and the General Grabber Arctic 12, each known for distinctive performances in handling, comfort, and durability. The stage is set, let’s find out who steals the winter tire crown!

Firestone Winterforce 2
Firestone Winterforce 2

Info on Sizes

The General Altimax Arctic 12 (review) comes in 14 to 19 inches with following.

  • Speed ratings: T only.
  • Load ratings: XL only.
  • Tread depth: 12/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 16 to 35 lbs.

On the other side, the Firestone Winterforce 2 (review) comes in 14 to 18″ with following.

  • Speed ratings: S on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 12/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 15 to 35 lbs.

Wet Traction

Wet traction is primarily influenced by two factors: tread design and rubber composition.

And although both tires here are pretty impressive, with ample siping and soft tread rubbers, the General Grabber Arctic 12 still manages to stay slightly ahead in this category.

This is because the tire features a more aggressive network of straight and interlocking sipes, which exhibit superior water absorption capabilities, leading to better grip in wet conditions.

On the other hand, the Firestone Winterforce 2, with its single siping design that is also less angled, fails to provide equal overall traction, resulting in longer wet braking distances and handling times.

Though its wider grooves, does allow for better float speeds, resulting in superior resistance to hydroplaning, nonetheless.

Snow Performance

When it comes to proficiency in fluffy snow conditions, both tires exhibit impressive performance, but still the Firestone Winterforce 2 is what you really want, and a closer examination of its construction and design reveals the reasons behind this advantage.

The tire basically features interlocking tread voids, with lugs having snow vices. And both of these work in combination to skillfully trap snowflakes, improving the contact between snow particles. As the tire rolls, the trapped snow makes contact with the ground, enhancing grip since snow adheres better to itself than to rubber.

Furthermore, the tire’s greater weight (on average), facilitates the pushing in of snow, making it easier for the snow to lodge in the treads.

This feature also helps the tire at displacing heavy snow, and this results in forward propulsion as the thrown snow clears the path for the tire’s roll, marginally improving acceleration times.

On the other hand, the General Grabber Arctic 12 demonstrates slightly less effectiveness in braking and handling on snow, with its more enclosed structure, missing with as prominent of the in-groove notches as seen on its counterpart.

So its taking the backseat here.

Fuel Economy

The fuel efficiency of tires is closely related to their grip on the road and their overall weight. In this aspect, the Firestone Winterforce 2 could use some improvement.

The tire’s substantial weight and broader tread voids increase its rolling resistance and friction with the road surface, resulting in reduced fuel economy.

On the other hand, the lighter General Grabber Arctic 12 exerts less pressure on the road, reducing overall friction.

Its longitudinally aligned tread ribs streamline with the tire’s direction, minimizing obstacles to movement, saving energy, and improving fuel economy.

Ice Performance

On icy terrains, you need a lot of smaller biters all over the tread, and looking at both tires, it makes sense why the General Arctic 12 features better overall ice gripping values.

The tire’s intricate features, such as varying-width slanted incisions, combined with dual siping (patterns), and highly angled biters, all aim towards providing a superior performance, relatively.

On the other hand, the Firestone Winterforce 2’s wider tread voids fail to grip ice as effectively. The lack of notches and multi-angled siping on both central and shoulder lugs leads to longer average braking distances and handling times.

Dry Traction

Efficiency in dry grip largely depends on the tire’s contact area with the ground, with directional grip and lateral traction playing key roles. In this regard, the General Grabber Arctic 12, with its wider and more streamlined continuous central rib, holds an advantage.

The central most section of the tire is where it gets most of the directional grip from, as when rolling straight, that area gets to have the most weight concentration on itself.

That’s why directional grip gets measured with braking distances.

In a similar way, the shoulders define handling, as weight shifts towards them on corners.

Now, the Firestone’s tire although only lacks 2 feet in terms of stopping efficacy, its lateral traction could use some help.

Tread Life

Tread life is heavily influenced by a mixture of tire’s rolling resistance, and rubber compound, and considering both, the Winterforce 2 takes the lead.

Sure the tire features larger frictional values, and with it fuel usage, but its stiffer rubber compound still takes longer to wear down to replacement levels.

On the other hand, the Grabber Arctic 12 lacks here with its comparatively softer rubber compound.

But note that, you can’t except too much out of winter tires, and it makes sense why both of them, don’t offer any treadwear warranties.

Comfort Levels

The comfort of a tire largely depends on elements such as road noise and vibration dampening. These characteristics are influenced by the tire’s construction, materials used, tread pattern, and sidewall design, which all work in harmony to determine the ride smoothness.

Regarding noise, the General Grabber Arctic 12 takes the lead with its less voided tread design. With fewer air particles colliding with the tread walls, there is less noise generation.

Moreover, the tire also features a superior tread rubber, featuring better thermal adaptability. So with this, its able to soak up the bumps with greater efficacy.

And yes, since the tire also features smoother turning, and faster response times, if further adds to its overall superiority.

In Conclusion

Let’s summarize everything here now.

When considering snow performance, the Firestone Winterforce 2 shines with its distinctive tread design and higher count of tread voids, providing superior snow grip and clearance.

However, under icy conditions, the General Grabber Arctic 12 excels due to its complex biters, angled cuts, and multi-angled sipes that deliver enhanced traction and handling.

On wet surfaces, the General Grabber Arctic 12 dominates in terms of grip, while its competitor stands out for hydroplaning resistance.

Moreover, the Grabber also features superior comfort performance, and gives you superior fuel economy. And Firestone on the other hand, does better in the treadwear department, lasting longer.