Nitto Ridge Grappler Review: Are They a Good Choice in 2021?

Tough, most capable, unrivaled, and all-terrain. These are sample phrases of tire pitches that announce the arrival of new entrants in the tire industry. The Nitto Ridge Grappler was not shy either to make assertions and bold proclamations to announce its arrival.

Among the proclamations made included a delicate balance between two extreme terrains. Mud –terrain, and all-terrain. Even more bold were the perks that it guaranteed its users, “it will be the best of both worlds.”

Now if you are an enthusiast like me, you definitely know how draining it can be to get a well-rounded set of tires (check our A-Z guide on how to get the best tires). Will the hybrid be the magic “best of both worlds” bullet tire?

That is the very question we seek to answer in our detailed Nitto Ridge Grappler review. The Nitto Ridge is a hybrid tire that is a product of Nitto, a company that got bought by Toyo. Nitto has been in the manufacturing business for decades now, and Ridge Grappler is one of its latest inventions.

Nitto Ridge Grappler All-Terrain Radial Tire | TireAmerica

The Nitto Ridge Grappler features a revolutionary dynamic hybrid symmetric tread pattern with alternating shoulder grooves that clear mud and staggered shoulder lugs that provide dependable grip in off-road environments.

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Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires

The Nitto Ridge Grappler tires belong to a tire market segment called hybrids (skip to types of tires). These tires offer users the best of both worlds. That is, they combine the quietness (is not equivalent to silent) and road management of all-terrain with the traction and capability of mud terrain.

Hybrids are generally tires that have a great all-round value (see all-season car tires), have an aggressive mud tire look, and have the performance of an all-terrain tire.

The hybrid’s market niche kind of popped up to meet the diverse needs of modern vehicles that will gladly heed the beckon of urban highway cruises. And even more gladly take on the rugged off-road driving characterized by rocks, deep sand, snow, gravel, and even water.

Here is how the Nitto Ridge Grappler fairs on different fronts;

Off-Road Optimization

Off roads are characterized by loose gravel chippings, deep sand, noise, snow or even water. The gravel and small rocks especially get stuck in between the threads resulting in reduced traction, noise, and difficulty in steering. Among the key features that optimize it for off-road cruises include:

High –Void Tread Pattern

To cancel and neutralize these unpleasant off-road experiences, Nitto Ridge Grappler makes use of a high-void tread pattern to deliver that aggressive grip for off-road cruises. The high void tread is ingeniously engineered to continuously allow the tires to bend and adapt to changing road conditions.

Additionally, the voids effortlessly channel water from beneath the tire minimizing hydroplaning.

Nitto Ridge Grappler

Alternating Shoulder groove for noise reduction

The one complaint most drivers have regarding their tires is the noise levels. It is why the Nitto Ridge Grappler set out to manufacture a quiet tire that is versatile and can handle different terrains smoothly. Using 3D computer simulation, the engineers were able to systematically adjust the size, shape and position of tread blocks.

This was meant to counter and cancel out the noise produced as the tread meets the road. The end result is a Nitto tire featuring a variable pitch design with alternating shoulder grooves. The alternation in the shoulder groove together with the Z-shaped treads give the tires their zigzag pattern.

Stone Ejectors for better traction and Maneuverability

In between the high tread, voids are stone ejectors that will continuously eject gravel and rock chirpings that your vehicle picks along the way. This works to keep damage to the bottom grooves (skip to how you can maintain your tires) to the minimum.

Complementing the stone ejectors are lateral zigzag and shoulder grooves of different sizes that dig and toss slush and mud to enhance traction, grip and maneuverability.

Tapered edges for enhanced grip and Bite

To better the bite and grip, Nitto infuses alternating tapered edges to the tread pattern.

Flexible or rigid tread, they got you

Vehicles are purposed to serve different functions. To better function, the tires require to be inflated differently. For heavy trucks that are heavy-duty, high inflation pressure serves them best. Such vehicles are best served by the F-load rated Nitto Grappler that are stiff and rigid.

For light family vehicles rated E-load, such rigidity may require additional foundational reinforcement to reduce tread flexing. And this is why the Nitto Grappler reinforces the tires so as to serve both heavy-duty and family vehicles.

Step Block Edges

To deliver that optimal off-road performance they promise, the sides sport a step block edge that provides better traction on loose rocky gravels and uneven terrains.

This makes cruising or driving on gravel, sand, mud, relatively large-sized rocks or any other obstacle smooth and comfortable.

Made to go the miles (Durability)

With the ever-present friction between roads and the tires, the tires are bound to wear, tear and require replacement soon. And this could have been fun, were they not so costly. So as to give you value and keep you safer for longer, Nitto Ridge Grappler took durability an inch higher.

Nitto Ridge Grappler Review

To minimize tread flexing when the vehicle bears heavy loads, the tire foundation is reinforced so as to make it easily absorb and dissipate the weight load over a larger surface area. Plus, it has a 3-ply sidewall that makes it heavier and more resistant to puncture.

Additionally, the material they use in constructing the tire comes from a high polymer tread compound. This makes it withstand wear but still offer the best traction in both dry and wet roads.

Quiet and Smooth on the Road Drive

After a thrilling and exciting off-road adventure, the Nitto Ridge Grappler tires are always ready to chop miles off the highway as you speed home. The comfortable yet smooth ride on the interstate is quiet enough to allow you to hold a conversation as you drive home. Rain or snow is more than welcome as they are designed with snow and water in mind.

For handling, they compete fairly with similar all-terrain tires but with the added advantage of being less noisy. The almost absent noise is courtesy of the variable zig zag tread pattern. The pattern was expertly designed by use of the most up to date sound testing technology.

The traction and grip is superb and can almost be termed flawless. The traction is enhanced by the alternating tapered edges and higher tread voids that they feature. The boldness of these patterns is aesthetically done meaning it gets a few heads rolling as you drive by. But all this does come at a cost.

Above-average speeds significantly reduce the handling capabilities of these tires. This however is common in most all-terrain tires.

Bold Sidewall Pattern

The Nitto Ridge Grappler blends the traditional styles with modern and advanced technology. This makes the tires to sport a look that is conspicuously different from all their competitors. One such notable departure is the sidewall pattern.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler sports a bold, modern and aggressive sidewall that is a sharp departure from its traditional Grappler tires.

The traditional sidewall design (Baja style) brings the familiarity of tires that we have grown to be so accustomed to, while the modern sidewall design (stylish angular cuts) breathes in the new technology making the tires edgier, durable and more versatile.

Nitto Ridge Grappler All-Terrain Radial Tire | TireAmerica

The Nitto Ridge Grappler features a revolutionary dynamic hybrid symmetric tread pattern with alternating shoulder grooves that clear mud and staggered shoulder lugs that provide dependable grip in off-road environments.

Check Price Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Size and Fitting

Nitto Ridge Grappler has over 80 different sizes that are suited for trucks, SUVs, heavy-duty trucks and any other vehicle you are driving. The only range of tires that they don’t have yet is for models below the 16-inch mark. For other vehicles, there is a wide range to choose from all the way up to 24 inches, and they come bearing a loading index of between C and F.

For each load capacity, the tires feature varying ply count. For instance, C-rated tires – have the smallest ply-count – have a 6- ply rating. The others, D, E and F have 8, 10 and 12 ply-ratings respectively. This wide array of alternatives ensures that all vehicles can find a perfect fit for their vehicle, purpose and terrain.

Traction and Stability

The high void and varied tread pitch of the Nitto Ridge Grappler feature provide optimal support to the lateral zigzag grooves and tapered edges that the tires rock. This pattern is further strengthened with a block foundation.

This simple yet cutting-edge design together with increased hydroplaning and siping significantly enhance traction and stability on both dry and wet surfaces.

This versatility makes them provide optimal performances from season to season, off-roads to suburban roads and even to uneven terrains.

Load range, towing/hauling capacity

Most Nitto Ridge Grappler tires have an XL and LT size (see our guide on what tire sizes mean) specifications. This makes them slightly heavier than most other tires.

The reinforced foundation blocks and rugged design of the hybrid, which have seen it qualify as one of the best off and on the road darling, are the same ones that make it an efficient hauling and towing tire.

Main Features

  • Variable Pitch Tread Pattern
  • Lateral Z grooves arranged in a zig-zag pattern for enhanced bite and traction
  • Dual sidewall design – outer new aggressive block design and inner traditional pattern
  • Reinforced block foundation for better rigidity and reduced tread flex
  • Stone ejectors to prevent damage to bottom tire edges
  • Staggered shoulder lugs for better off-road traction
  • Has alternating tapered edges enhanced biting and traction
  • Shoulder grooves arranged in alternating widths and lengths to toss mud and maintain traction
  • Comes six different sizes ranging from 16-inch to 24-inch wheels

Pros

  • Has superb all-terrain traction
  • Protects the bottom of the groove from stone drilling
  • Has unmatched in class towing performance
  • Has amazing off-road stability and can roll over gravel, rocks, and sand
  • Has durable tread life compared to similar standard tires
  • Wide range of alternatives to cater for different vehicles
  • Two bold sidewall designs that make them classy
  • Adds rigidity to tread blocks to reduce flex

Cons

  • Not made suitable for use on deep muddy terrains
  • They are costly
  • Are relatively heavy

Reviews

Most users noted that they won’t hesitate recommending it to other users noting that it had quiet road manners, has powerful off-road capabilities, is durable and handles well in both snow and rain.

The disappointment most people note is the financial dent they will leave in your pocket and almost average on road handling experience.

Alternatives to Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires

Toyo Open Country R/T

Toyo Open Country

If you fancy SUVs, Jeeps, crossovers and pickup trucks, or even Subarus (skip to how to buy Subaru tires for your Subaru outback), and are out for a tire with aggressive and excellent traction combined with above par on-road performance, then Toyo Open Country R/T is beckoning.

The Open Country R/T is a hybrid tire, produced in the same plant as Nitto Ridge Grappler, that boasts of the traction capability of an off-road tire plus noise, and the comfort cruise that rivals all-terrain tires.

For durability, the hybrid uses an all-terrain compound that is expertly designed into a high void pattern. This aggressive yet functional design is built to handle the toughest terrain conditions that may prove problematic for on-road tires.

But to strike a balance of both on and off-road optimal traction and performance, the design ingeniously balances the void pattern so that the hybrid transitions into a comfortable and quiet on-road performance.

For maximum traction in loose gravel and sand, and unlike the staggered shoulder lugs of its sister Ridge Grappler, it rocks open shoulder blocks with a scalloped design. For continuous tossing of stones and mud, it sports ejectors that minimize stone drilling of the bottom treads.

Toyo Open Country R/T All Terrain Radial Tire | TireAmerica

Extreme durability and grip in mud, sand, snow and other off-road conditions.

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To comfortably handle wet conditions, it features deep wide grooves that easily eject water from the footprint significantly enhancing hydroplaning resistance. And for snow and slippery conditions, it sports sipes and block edges that increase traction making for a steady steer.

Its design features two wide high-strength steel belts that are strengthened with nylon cap plies. 3-ply polyester casing with a high turn-up built to make the sidewall resistant to puncture. A sidewall compound that is rugged and optimized to resist off-road penetration, cuts and snags. Plus, an upper sidewall design that is focused at increasing traction in deep loose terrain.

Just as the Nitto Ridge Grappler, the Toyo Open Country R/T have a dual sidewall.

Kumho Road Venture AT51 Tire

Kumho Road Venture AT51 Tire

Kumho Road Venture AT 51 tires rank as one of the quietest, pocket-friendly and all-terrain wheels on the market. It sports a number of features that make it best suited for on/off-road performance.

Among the key features it sports include bridged blocks and heavy sipping in the center of the tread for maximum traction. To compete fairly with other tires on matters of noise, it rocks an extra row of perimeter tread blocks to the inside of its shoulder.

The speed reduction is systematically engineered to be uniform across different speeds and terrains. For aesthetics, to rival the angular cuts and Baja designs of Ridge Grappler, it rocks a Chevron-shaped mud biter.

The efforts that have gone into the design has seen Venture AT 51 rated 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake, which is no mean feat for an off/on-road tire. Their quiet and safe handling of icy and snowy roads is a testimony of how deserving they are of the 3-Peak Mountain snowflake rating.

So if you are looking for an all-terrain tire that is affordable, has aggressive off-road performance, and superb on-road manners, then Kumho Road Venture AT 51 is your go-to tire.

Kumho Road Venture AT51 All-Terrain Tire | TireAmerica

Quiet, efficient evacuation of rain and snow for enhanced traction. Outstanding performance in the mud and snow.

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We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires

Question: When Should I Replace my Nitto Ridge Grappler?

Answer: The frequency of replacement (see when do you need new tires) is mostly determined by the frequency of use and terrain. However, the tread life of Nitto Ridge Grappler is capped at between 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Frequent off-road use however might drastically shave some few miles off this thread life.

Question: What’s better Toyo or Nitto?

Answer: Nitto is definitely better. Nitto is a subsidiary of Toyo. The signature Tire of Nitto is the Ridge Grappler while the signature tire for Toyo is the RT. When the two are compared, Ridge Grappler has always shown superior performance, especially on matters traction on wet surfaces, snow, sand and gravel.

Final Thoughts: Is Nitto Ridge Grappler Worth It?

The definition of a tire is often hinged on three main components. That is the tire casing, tread pattern, and sidewall wall. The tire casing material greatly influences the noise and durability of the tire, the tread pattern determines the traction and handling while the sidewall contributes both to damage resistance and aesthetics.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler performs pretty well on almost all these fronts. The tread pattern features a zigzag pattern that is courtesy of the z lateral grooves that alternate with the shoulder grooves that vary in length and width. To reduce noise, it features a high tread void that is systematically designed by the use of 3D audio technology.

Nitto Ridge Grappler All-Terrain Radial Tire | TireAmerica

The Nitto Ridge Grappler features a revolutionary dynamic hybrid symmetric tread pattern with alternating shoulder grooves that clear mud and staggered shoulder lugs that provide dependable grip in off-road environments.

Check Price Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The tread pattern has a significant role in enhancing bite and traction, while the stone ejectors constantly toss gravel hitchhikers picked along the trail. The tapered edges also constantly work to reduce drilling and consequent damage to the treads.

While the outer shoulder blocks and center tightly packed tread pattern work to better off-road performance and reduce noise respectively.

For the sidewall, they blend the traditional Baja side wall with aggressive big blocks, and the modern classy angular cuts affording the user customization options.

The downside to these tires is their difficulty in handling on road at high speeds, cost and weight.

They, however, counter this with increased tread lifespan, off/on-road performance, reduced noise, and appealing aesthetics. So overall, Nitto Ridge Grappler is a good buy.

David Borgogni

David has been working with cars for over 10 years and is a freelance writer who specializes in automotive technology. He covers the topics that matter most to the consumer. Anything new in the automotive industry? David will likely be able to tell you about it.

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