When choosing between low profile versus high profile tires, you need to take into account a lot of things, as both tires serve different functions.
This article explores those functions in detail, comparing the two profiled tires, and providing an answer to the question; which tire is better?
The main difference between low profile and high profile tires is that low profile tires work better on dry roads, giving better cornering and braking performance, whereas high profile tires are quieter and provide a more comfortable riding experience. High profile tires are also considered safer than low profile tires because of their proximity to the ground.
Continue reading to learn more about both tire profiles!
Low Profile vs. High Profile Tires: Comparison Table
Before diving into the detailed explanation of each feature and specification comparison, we’ll highlight the features of low profile and high profile tires using a comparison table.
This table can be used as a reference for you to take in all the specifications first before we start elaborating them in detail.
|Low profile tires||High profile tires|
|Performance||Perform well on leveled out surfaces, poorly on normal roads||Perform better on rough roads and dry/rocky surfaces|
|Flexibility||Lack of flexibility||More flexibility|
|Durability||Lower tire life||More tire life|
|Handling||Better handling and steering performance||Poor handling and steering response|
|Braking||Good braking performance||Bad braking performance|
|Usage||Sports cars||Daily use cars|
Low Profile vs. High Profile Tires: Detailed Analysis
Deciding between low profile and high profile tires can be tricky, especially since both of them have their pros and cons.
Your preference may differ according to your usage, for example, if you use a sports car or a normal one.
The following detailed specifications provide a feature-by-feature comparison of low profile and high profile tires, their pros and cons, and what usage they are fit for, elaborated from the specifications mentioned in the table.
Sidewall height is the height between the rim (wheel) and the tread. Also known as the section height (aspect ratio), this height determines whether a tire is high or low profile.
Tires with a low sidewall height (50 or less aspect ratio) are low profile and vice versa.
A high or low sidewall height can determine a tire’s flexibility and ability to absorb shocks should it come into contact with a pothole or a speed bump, elaborated more under another feature.
Low profile tires have a larger section width (measured in mm) than high profile tires, section width being the literal width of the tire.
Thus low profile tires have more contact with the ground because of the large section width compared to low profile tires.
Section widths determine performance-based features such as flexibility, steering performance, and braking performance.
Price can determine whether or not you purchase a specific type of tires for your vehicle.
Low profile tires cost more than high profile tires because of the differences in their functionality and the purpose they’re manufactured for, as such low profile tires are more exclusive and cost more.
A regular low profile tire costs around $50-$100 for all-season tires and $100-$300 for season-specific tires.
Compared to this, high profile tires cost less since they’re more commonly used.
Low profile tires generally perform better than high profile tires, but that too depends on the terrain.
Low profile tires perform better than high profile tires on a smooth terrain with no ridges or potholes, whereas low profile works better when working with a dry, rough, on uneven surface like city roads and can handle it better.
Low profile tires allow the vehicle to speed up quicker because of the tire’s section width and sidewall height, which isn’t possible with high profile tires.
They’re generally used to give a vehicle control over rough terrain and ensure a smoother ride.
Flexibility and Durability
Low profile tires have less flexibility on the road because of the tiny amount of rubber used on the tires and low sidewall height.
Hence they’re more prone to not handling shocks (potholes, speedbumps) very well.
Compared to that, high profile tires have better flexibility as they have more rubber in their design, leading to better shock absorption.
While low profile tires provide a better grip, they also wear out quicker and have a smaller life than high profile tires.
Their rubber doesn’t last very long, and they need to be replaced more often than high profile tires, which have a higher durability and last for a longer time.
Vehicle Stability, Handling, and Braking
High profile tires have a high sidewall height, and while this improves their flexibility, it comes at a price of stability.
High profile tires give a vehicle poor high-speed stability, which isn’t the case with low profile tires as they have rigid sidewalls and function more stably at higher speeds.
Larger section width of low profile tires gives it better handling, response, and steering performance as it can now take sharper turns with more agility without losing force.
High profile tires cannot do so because they have a small section width and struggle to take sharp turns.
Lower flexibility of low profile tires may be a con, but it can prove to be beneficial where braking performance is concerned.
Low profile tires increase friction between the road and the tire, which improves braking performance, compared to high profile tires with disappointing brake performance because of less contact area with the road.
Low profile tires absorb less shocks, which make for a highly uncomfortable ride, whereas high profile tires are made to provide better riding comfort because of their increased flexibility.
Because of their wide contact patch area, low profile tires may be louder than high profile tires which don’t have that wide of a contact patch area.
The more friction of tire to the road is, the louder the sound, hence why low profile tires are noisier.
Vehicles with high profile tires get more mileage than those with low profile tires, and because of the low friction of high profile tires, the car uses less fuel and proves to be more fuel-efficient than a vehicle made with low profile cars.
If low profile tires are used in normal cars, it’ll lead to a damaging of suspension parts, hence the reason why they’re normally only found in sports cars or racing cars and high profile tires in normal cars.
If you’re looking to upgrade your car with low profile tires, it’ll cause more damage to your car’s infrastructure upon usage as the vehicle isn’t built to handle low profile tires.
Which Type Is Better?
In general, high profile tires prove to be better for your vehicle if you’re looking for an inexpensive purchase with more flexibility and fuel efficiency for your daily routine and don’t live in an area that has sharp turns.
Otherwise, low profile tires would be more preferred because of better steering performance, for which you’d have to give up fuel efficiency, flexibility, durability, and riding comfort.
By now, we hope the decision between which type of tires to purchase for your vehicle has become more apparent, and we hope you choose the better option.
Last but not the very least, use this information wisely!