Get the most out of your UTV in the sand

If your UTV spends any serious time in the sand, you’re going to need a set of UTV sand tires to get the most out of it. Sand tires are more specialized than most other types of off-road tires, typically featuring tall, vertical “paddles” on the back tires to help your UTV’s power delivery in the loose stuff, and longitudinal ribs on the front to help transmit steering input. Where mud-terrain and all-terrain UTV tires have treads that suit a range of different terrain types, UTV sand tires are really only suitable for one thing – sand.

That makes UTV sand tires a bit mysterious to many of us UTV riders; they’re less likely to come up in the course of regular tire shopping than all-terrain, mud-terrain, or turf tires. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of great options out there, from well-known, respected manufacturers. They all follow the same basic formula – rear paddle tires for power delivery, ribbed front tires for steering – but that doesn’t mean that all sand tires are created equal.

Here, we take a look at the best sand tire options available for today’s UTVs and ATVs.

GMZ Sand Stripper

Developed primarily for high-performance, high-powered machines, the GMZ Sand Stripper is more heavy-duty than most UTV sand tires on the market, with 4- and 6-ply-rating options for puncture-resistance and as many as 16 “deep cut” paddles on the rear, depending on the exact model. That’s the most paddles of any tire on this list, and more paddles means more traction with superior hook-up and acceleration. Front Sand Stripper tires feature multiple “concaved tread ribs” for super-responsive steering, and a “TT” version made specifically for AWD UTVs features traction blocks to give the front tires a hand in transmitting power. That’s an option you won’t find from most manufacturers, and it makes the GMZ Sand Stripper an essential entrant on this list.

CST Sandblast

If you’re looking for lightweight UTV sand tires with plenty of flotation, the CST Sandblast is an excellent choice. The tires feature a 2-ply rating for superior flotation and agility with minimal rolling resistance, and they offer a good mix between hook-up and wheelspin. The rear tires feature 12 full paddles and a big contact patch, with supplemental traction from shallower tread blocks between paddles, while the fronts utilize a unique dual row arrangement of deep, staggered blade-shaped lugs to carve out a path of travel. Best of all is the price tag, which is among the lowest of all tires on this list, making the CST Sandblast an uncommonly high-performance value proposition.

Skat-Trak Extreme

Winner of our Best UTV Sand Tires for 2018 comparison, the Skat-Trak Extreme is a no-compromises, high-performance sand tire for heavier and higher-powered machines, from a company whose paddle tire expertise is just about unparalleled. The Extreme borrows its paddle profile from Skat-Trak’s most popular tire, the Hauler, adding 1/8” of thickness at the base for more strength and better stability – a must for today’s high-powered turbo UTVs. The carcass is buffed to make it coarse like sandpaper, which gives it the best traction possible in loose sand, the end result being a tire that can hook-up, accelerate, and steer with the absolute best of them.

Pro Armor Sand

Better known for its safety gear and other accessories, Pro Armor is also a top-notch tire manufacturer, and the company’s Sand series is among the best UTV sand tires you can buy. The tires are 4-ply-rated for a good balance between lightness and strength, with a combination of low rolling-resistance and excellent puncture-resistance. The front tires boast a three-tiered rib design for maximum steering control, and the rears boast 12 sturdy, durable paddles that can stand up to some abuse while they transmit your UTV’s power to the ground. And, with the Pro Armor logo stamped directly onto the carcass, they look pretty slick, too.

STI Sand Drifter

No list of UTV sand tires is complete without mentioning the STI Sand Drifter. The Sand Drifter delivers solid performance with its three-rib front tire design, its 14 one-inch paddles on the rear, and its lightweight 2-ply rating, which gives it excellent flotation and low rolling-resistance. Need more float? The sidewalls are reinforced so that you can air-down safely for a broader contact patch, without risking excessive tire roll or puncturing. Deep integrated rim guards work to protect the lips of your wheels and keep sand out of the beads. Taken altogether, the STI Sand Drifter is a well-balanced, moderately priced staple in the paddle tire world.

Quadboss QBT346

The Quadboss QBT346 stands out among the UTV sand tires listed here for its unique “spider web” design on the outside of the carcass and its radial construction, which gives the tire excellent ride and handling. Don’t let its radial construction fool you into thinking you’re giving up strength; the Quadboss QBT346 is 6-ply-rated for exceptional durability and puncture-resistance. The front tires feature a deep three-rib design for excellent steering control, and the rears each boast 13 or 14 paddles, depending on the tire size, for superior hook-up. Best of all, the tires are backed by Quadboss’s excellent reputation, earned over nearly two decades of catering to discerning ATV and UTV enthusiasts.

Tusk Sand Lite

The Tusk brand of ATV and UTV tires offers consumers affordable tire options that don’t lack in quality. That continues with the 2-ply Tusk Sand Lite, which are designed to be lightweight while offering solid floatation. The front tires feature a center rib design for improved directional control, while the rear meats offer an array of ¾” paddles for impressive hook up in loose sand.

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