Nitto Ridge Grappler Review [2023 Updated]

By Tire Expert, Joe Steffen
By Tire Expert, Joe Steffen

Who says you can’t find honest, unbiased tire reviews anymore? If you hear anyone saying this, send them here, where I will give you a completely unbiased and fair review that you can trust.

I have worked in the tire industry for nine plus years. I have done it all, from installing tires to selling them. I know what people like, don’t like, and genuinely want when searching for their cars next set of new tires!

Today I will do an in-depth Nitto Ridge Grappler tire review, it is a rugged hybrid terrain which means that it’s a mixed tread design between an all-terrain and mud-terrain tire. It was built by combing tread patterns from Nitto’s mud-terrain and all-terrain products. Utilizing both tires in their construction provides increased durability and off-road performance.

Hybrid tires are newer to the tire market and becoming more popular with manufacturers like Cooper following suit.

Now let’s see where this excels and some of the drawbacks!

Feel free to jump to any sections below if you want a specific review of this tire.

Wet Traction:
Dry Traction:
Snow Traction:
Ride Comfort:
Ride Handling:
Ride Noise:
Tread Life:
Value For $$$:

Traction - Nitto Ridge Grappler

Hybrid tires are fun to review because when it comes to off-road traction, their capabilities are unmatched by the rest of the all-terrain market. Since this tire is built up from the mud and all-terrain tread designs, you will get fantastic dry traction and off-road capability.

When driving in dry road conditions, you will notice that it offers excellent traction, some of the best I have seen in off-road tires. The most consistent feedback I hear from consumers who have these tires on their vehicles is that stopping capability is unmatched compared to conventional all-terrain and mud-terrain tires.

I can’t begin to tell you how often I have seen customers come in and be upset at how these perform in the snow.

Ridge Grapplers are not comparable to their sister tire, the Toyo Open Country R/T, which says a lot since the R/T is not great in the snow. It can be dangerous in heavy snow since they do not come with a three peak mountain snowflake. The rubber compound is not designed to stay soft and pliable in sub-forty-degree weather.

The shoulder and lateral Z grooves help you in clearing mud, dirt, and sand out of the tread. The Z grooves are pattern built into the tread design, and if you look closely, you will see the gaps between the tread blocks resemble a zig-zag pattern. 

These Z grooves do not help in snow traction, even though Nitto claims it does. I had a customer tell me these tires caused him to run into a tree when he pulled into his driveway when it was snowing outside. His Ridge Grapplers were only six months old.

If you purchase these tires and live in heavy snow conditions, make sure you have a set of winter tires!

For wet weather use, they are safe and will do a reasonable job kicking out water from under the rubber. This somewhat makes up for the fact their snow traction is horrendous.

However, I have seen customers take them to local tire shops that provide siping services to add extra sipes, drastically improving their wet weather traction.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler was designed for extreme off-road conditions, including stone ejectors in the bottom of the tread to prevent stones from puncturing the tire.

If you’re looking for a great off-road tire, this could be the tire for you, providing excellent dry traction and safe wet weather traction with unmatched off-road capability.

However, when searching for a tire that provides off-road capability and year-round weather performance, I recommend the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac. I had these on my Toyota 4Runner and found that when it came to snow, I couldn’t have felt any safer.

Traction Rating: 3.0/5

Ride Comfort - Nitto Ridge Grappler

The Nitto Ridge Grappler is one of the heavier passenger/light truck tires you will find. A reinforced block foundation adds extra weight via the stiffer/heavier rubber compound.

Since this tire is so heavy, it does not help provide on-road comfort. The downside of a more rigid silica compound makes it prone to sending road vibrations through the tire and up to the steering wheel/seats.

While driving on this tire, you will feel everything in the road, every bump, dip, crack, etc. If you are an avid user of off-road tires, this may not bother you, but beware, as it is much worse than your typical all-terrain tire.

I have installed countless sets of these Ridge Grapplers and have had many customers return for ride vibrations.

Nine times out of ten, the tire would be correctly balanced, but since they have such a heavy construction, they are likely to have high points and should always be road force balanced.

A high point is where more weight is centered at a certain point, throwing off the tire’s rotation and causing vibrations.

The P-metric tires are not as rough on the road due to their lighter weight and lower ply construction, and it is designed for vehicles such as Toyota Tacomas and half-ton trucks(Ram/Chevy 1500s or Ford F-150s).

While there are benefits to having a more rigid tread compound, I recommend staying away from the hybrid category for a more comfortable ride.

Ride Comfort Rating: 2.5/5

Ride Handling - Nitto Ridge Grappler

The benefit of having such a thick, heavy construction provides responsive maneuvering and handling. I mentioned the reinforced block foundation, and while it won’t help with ride comfort, it will have a much stronger steering response.

Due to the rigid tread blocks, there is no flex, meaning that when you turn the wheel, it will respond quickly and reduce body roll as you cruise through a turn.

Body roll can make your vehicle feel like it will tip over, especially while making fast, tight turns. Thankfully this will not be something to worry about on these tires, but it doesn’t mean you can drive like a bat out of hell.

It gets even better when they hit the trails. I have heard nothing but great things from consumers saying how well this tire handles on their trucks/SUVs.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler has staggered shoulder lugs. Since each shoulder tread block has alternating tapered edges, these biting edges grab any terrain and rip over or through it. While at the same time offering you control behind the wheel.

I recommend this tire when looking for a superior handling off-road tire.

Ride Handling Rating: 4.0/5

Ride Noise - Nitto Ridge Grappler

This is one of my nit-picky categories to review, as there is nothing more I can’t stand than loud tires. My hearing is bad enough as it is. I don’t need another reason not to be able to hear my wife talk on long road trips.

To my surprise, the Ridge Grappler has the quietest ride out of rugged hybrid terrains. 

Combining a mud tire and all-terrain tire seems to provide a quieter ride. Nitto uses variable pitch tread patterns and used actual sound equipment while developing the tread design to provide the most silent ride possible.

Similar patterns are used on the Toyo Open Country R/T, which makes sense given that Toyo owns Nitto Tire. However, the Nitto is far superior in road noise.

Typically when you have a tread design of the Ridge grapplers caliber, it will be very prone to cupping. Cupping can generate so much noise you can hear the vehicle coming from a mile away.

Tire Cupping will not be an issue with this product unless you have serious suspension problems.

I recommend these Nitto tires if you like to go out hunting or hit the trails on the weekends. They offer a quiet ride and an excellent balance between traction for off-road conditions, with good handling when driving around town or at higher speeds on city streets!

Ride Noise Rating: 4.0/5

Hydroplaning - Nitto Ridge Grappler

Hydroplaning can be extremely scary and unsafe, especially in more oversized vehicles, which are the majority of what I see these tires on.

Offering a deep open tread depth and heavyweight allows these tires to cut through thick pools of water when brand new. I have had a few consumers tell me of experiences leading vehicles to lose traction in deep water.

This could be from them not using safe wet weather driving habits, as I have also heard consumers tell me they have no problem.

When these tires start to wear down, they lose some of their hydroplaning resistance. They have minimal siping that disappears with tire wear, preventing them from adequately evacuating water when worn.

Due to the mixed feedback on hydroplaning resistance, I gave them a slightly above-average rating.

I recommend the Nitto Terra Grappler G2 for a much safer hydroplaning-resistant tire.

Hydroplaning Rating: 3.0/5

Tread Life - Nitto Ridge Grappler

There are not many tires like the Nitto Ridge Grappler, but compared to the competition, you will see that they offer the worst tread life. 

I have seen these tires get as little as ten thousand miles and as much as fifty thousand, which technically exceeds the treadwear warranty of zero miles.

Due to the wide range of miles I have seen on this tire and the fact that nothing is guaranteed, I gave it a low tread life rating. How many miles you receive out of this tire will heavily depend on what fitment they go on and your driving habits.

Regarding how well the rubber compound holds, I would expect five years on this tire before seeing signs of dry rot. More commonly, they wear out before they have a chance to age.

This tire offers a lot of benefits. However, if you were looking for better tread life, I would recommend the Cooper Discoverer Rugged Trek.

Tread Life Rating: 2.5/5

Value For Money - Nitto Ridge Grappler

Nitto can have pretty pricey rubber, especially their Trail Grappler M/T. This Ridge Grappler is no exception. I found this tire not to be as expensive as the Toyo counterpart being around thirty to seventy dollars more than the Nitto.

While comparing this tire in terms of off-road traction, I found it to not be the worst in comparison to the Toyo Open Country R/T and Rugged Trek tires. Overall traction was very similar, with these Nittos having the respective categories they do well in.

With all other factors combined, I believe you are getting above-average value, with the price being lower than a Toyo but higher than the Cooper.

The only way I see you getting the best bang for your buck is if you use this tire for what it was built to do, hitting that beaten path unknown.

Value For Money Rating: 3.0/5

Final Verdict - Nitto Ridge Grappler

The Nitto Ridge Grappler tire offers aggressive sidewall designs, a big lug tread pattern, and extreme overall durability, making them great for towing and trail exploring. Putting these tires on your Jeep Wrangler will surely make it Rubicon-ready.

We saw where it had opportunities and where it excelled. The opportunities are snow traction, tread life, and ride comfort. If those things aren’t a concern for you, this could be a great tire choice.

To say these are the best tires out there would be an overstatement. Due to their high price and lack of lasting tread life, you will be spending a lot of money to replace them if you drive many miles.

I gave this tire a very average rating because of everything I talked about, but that’s not to deter you from purchasing this if you are looking for a strictly off-road performance tire.

While comparing it to the Toyo Open Country R/T, Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac, and Cooper Discoverer Rugged Trek, I found that where one was lacking, another excelled. 

Due to no clear best option, I recommend you check out my reviews on these compared tires to see what is best for you!

Meet Your Tire Expert

Nitto Ridge Grappler
OVERALL rating:
Updated May 17, 2024
Quick Facts
  • Warranty 0 Miles
  • Typical Price $222.00 - $860.00
  • Treadwear Rating 500

Tire Recall Information

I found no active recalls on the Nitto Ridge Grappler or the tires used to design this tread pattern. Nitto tires do not frequently have recalls on their products. However, I did come across one recall from them.

The Nitto Dura Grappler was recalled in various tire sizes manufactured in Japan from 2010 to 2012. The Dura Grappler is their highway terrain and not on that I would recommend for a smooth highway ride.

Since this recall is over ten years old, it does not affect their quality and should not be a reason not to purchase the Ridge Grappler.

Warranty & Tire Sizes

Frequently Asked Questions

The Nitto Ridge Grappler has a limited warranty covering any defects in the first 1/32nd of the tread. It does not offer any tread wear, ride satisfaction, or road hazard warranty.

All tires should be rotated (if possible) every five to eight thousand miles, and the Nitto Ridge Grapplers are no exception.

No, the Nitto Ridge Grapplers will not come with a three peak mountain snowflake rating. Without this rating, the rubber compound will stiffen in temperatures below forty degrees, making them a tire I would not recommend for heavy snow climates.

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