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A Winter Legend – The Bridgestone Blizzak

If you have ever shopped for winter tires, then you have probably heard of the Bridgestone Blizzak. Widely considered one of the best, if not the best, studless winter tires you can buy, the Blizzak has been around since 1988––remarkable longevity when tire branding changes seemingly every year. However, if you’re interested in getting a set of Blizzaks for your car, truck, or SUV, you will quickly discover that the Blizzak is less of a tire and more of a tire family. Bridgestone currently advertises no fewer than seven different Blizzak models on its website, which can make finding the right tire for your vehicle confusing. Counting discontinued models and tires designed for specific vehicles, there are a dozen or more Blizzak models floating around the tire market. So to clear up the confusion, here are some of the major members of the Blizzak family that it pays to be familiar with.

Blizzak WS90

The flagship product in Bridgestone’s winter tire family is the Blizzak WS90. This studless snow tire is designed for sedans, hatchbacks, and other smaller vehicles, and is generally considered to be the best tire in its class for control in snow and ice. Unveiled in 2019, the WS90 is one of the newer winter tires on the market and is filled with cutting-edge technology. Not only does this mean it provides superior traction, but Bridgestone also engineered the WS90 to be more durable, advertising that it provides an extra season of useful life.

Available sizes for the WS90 range from an absolutely tiny 185/65R14 all the way up to a 245/45R20. However, the majority of the options fall in the 15-inch to 18-inch range, where you will find the majority of sedans and some smaller SUVs. In general, if your vehicle fits a WS90, it’s the Blizzak to get. If not, then Bridgestone has plenty of other options for you.

Blizzak WS80

Launched in 2014, the Blizzak WS80 is the predecessor to the Blizzak WS90. Although it has been discontinued in favor of the newer winter tire, you will still occasionally find the WS80 in stock. While it may be tempting to go with the older tire and save some money, remember that the WS90 provides more grip in winter conditions and is designed to last long. If you do decide to purchase the WS80, make sure to check the date codes on the tire sidewalls to make sure they haven’t been sitting in a warehouse for the better part of a decade.

A close up of tire treads covered in snow are shown.Blizzak LM005

Do you have a sporty car that you drive through the winter? Then the Blizzak LM005 is probably the tire for you. Launched in 2019 alongside the Blizzak WS90, the LM005 features less aggressive tread for sharper handling and better dry-road performance. This does mean that the sportier tire lacks some of the snow and ice capability of the WS90. However, if you aren’t planning on driving through blizzards and don’t want to give up any more handling than you have to, the LM005 is a good choice. Because it is designed for sporty cars, the LM005 also comes in larger sizes, focusing on the popular 18-inch to 20-inch range and going all the way up to a massive 285/40R20.

Blizzak LM001

Launched in 2014, the Blizzak LM001 is the predecessor to the Blizzak LM005. It hangs around in the Blizzak lineup mainly because it is offered in a wider variety of sizes than the brand’s new performance winter tire. This includes a number of 16-inch and 17-inch options, so you might consider this tire if you have an older performance car with smaller tires. However, winter tire tech advances fairly quickly, so it doesn’t make sense to choose the LM001 if you have the option of the LM005. You may even want to consider the WS90 over the LM001 because you will get dramatically better bad-weather performance at the cost of some dry-road handling.

Blizzak LM-32

The Blizzak LM-32 is another older winter tire option that predates even the LM001. It was originally aimed at luxury vehicles and other sporty cars, replacing the LM-60, but has been superseded by newer options and discontinued. There are a few reasons to choose this tire over the LM005 or even LM001, and it will likely disappear from the Bridgestone website soon.

Blizzak DM-V2

So far, all the options we have covered are designed for smaller vehicles. But if you are among the countless Americans who prefer to drive a larger SUV, then the Blizzak DM-V2 is the winter tire for you. Introduced in 2015, the DM-V2 is the second generation of the “Dueler Multicell” winter tire. Bridgestone has actually already rolled out a DM-V3 for the European market, but there is no word on when the new tire will make its way to the American market, so it isn’t worth waiting for it to arrive.

The DM-V2 is available in a wide range of sizes, from 215/65R16 up to 285/45R22, and will fit nearly any SUV, from subcompact to full-size models. Not only does the DM-V2 cover offer larger tire sizes than the WS90, it also offers higher load ratings. While the WS90 tops out at a 104 load rating, the DM-V2 goes all the way up to a 117 rating. This means that it is a much better fit for heavier vehicles and makes it the ideal choice for most SUVs.

The side of a grey vehicle parked on a snowy driveway.

Blizzak LT

The Blizzak LT is the largest tire in the Blizzak family, aimed at light trucks and smaller commercial vehicles. Unveiled in 2018, it is one of the most modern and capable winter tires available for trucks, and load ratings go up to 126, so it can fit fairly large vehicles safely. However, the available sizes are still somewhat limited, focusing on 16-inch, 17-inch, and 18-inch options. If you can find an LT that fits your truck or full-size SUV, then this is the tire to go with, but you may have to shop around and consider your options.

Blizzak W965

If you have shopped for winter truck tires before, then you might have heard of the Bridgestone W965. This tire dates back to the early 2000s and was the go-to option for many years. However, it is an example of older tire technology and has been superseded by the new Blizzak LT. This means that the W965 might be worth buying if you can’t find an LT that fits your truck, but don’t expect it to offer the same level of performance as the newer members of the Blizzak family.

Pick the Right Winter Tire for Your Car

While every member of the extended Blizzak family is an excellent tire in its own right (although some may be beginning to show their age), it always pays to pick the right winter tire for your vehicle, your driving style, and the roads you travel. Most drivers will be best off with either the Blizzak WS90 for cars or the Blizzak DM-V2 for SUVs. If you drive a larger truck, then the Blizzak LT will likely be your best bet, and if you are one of the few who pilots a sporty car year-round, then the Blizzak LM005 is worth considering. However, every rule has an exception, so be sure to consider your specific circumstances and compare all of your options before picking a tire for the winter.