Sumitomo Encounter A/T vs General Grabber A/TX

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The General Grabber A/TX is known for its impressive off-road capabilities, while the Sumitomo Encounter A/T excels on highways. Let’s see how both of these tires compare next to each other.

General Grabber A/Tx
General Grabber A/TX provides amazing sand traction, though Sumitomo isn’t going to disappoint either.

Being a tire engineer, from my perspective, the General Grabber A/TX although lacks on highways, comparatively, it’s dry performance is not so far off, yet same can’t be said about it’s wet traction. Though its a compromise for enhanced rugged terrain capability. The Sumitomo A/T on the other side, offers an on-road oriented tread, that brings comfort, fuel economy, and enhanced traction, yet it can’t handle deep mud and rock crawling like the Grabber ATX.

Detailed Review of Sumitomo A/T:

Detailed Review of Grabber A/TX:

Tire Sizes

General Grabber A/TX provides 60 total sizes with 14 to 20 inches. They have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: Q, R, S and T.
  • Load range: SL, XL, C, D and E.
  • Tread depth range: 14 to 16/32″.
  • Weight range: 28 lbs to 75 lbs.
  • Warranty: 50k miles for all sizes.
  • Winter Ratings: 3PMSF and M+S

Sumitomo Encounter A/T comes in 15 to 20 inches (wheel diameter). They have following specs.

  • Speed rating are available in Q, R, S and T.
  • Load Ratings: SL, XL, C, D, and E
  • Weight varies form 34 to 84 lbs.
  • Tread depth varies form 13 to 20/32″
  • Warranty: 60k for all sizes
  • Winter Ratings: 3PMSF and M+S.

Tread Design

The Sumitomo Encounter A/T features 3 ribs in the center and wide shoulder lugs on sides.

Sumitomo Encounter A/T
Sumitomo Encounter A/T

Let’s start off form its edges.

Here, although it’s M shaped sidewall lugs aren’t thick enough for superior off road bite, with them covering larger area, they get to provide good enough footprint, with lowered air pressure.

The shoulder lugs of the tire are not conventionally staggered, like you mostly see on other tires, including Grabber A/TX, though each lug is still staggered on itself, you might say.

Also, note how these lugs are pretty huge compared to the ones in the middle, they basically cover a majority of the tread.

Between them, and the central lugs, you see wide circumferential grooves, and they are biggest channels on the tread.

Moving towards middle, the lugs are smaller there, and they have very different siping on them, though still interlocking.

Furthermore, they also carry small biters on them as well, and have foundational supports underneath (for lateral stability).

The General Grabber A/TX on the other side, has properly staggered blocks on sides.

General Grabber A/TX
General Grabber A/TX feature stud-able lugs on its outer ribs.

And these extend down towards sidewalls, forming thicker lugs in comparison.

The shoulder blocks are also pretty fat, and carry wider spacing in between, along with bold stone ejectors (missing in Sumitomo).

They also make wider longitudinal grooves, dividing the central area of the tread, in a similar fashion.

In the middle, you have 3 main ribs, where the outer two are stud-able (just like the shoulders).

And the inner ones just carry the rest of the features, including full depth siping, and notches.

These sipes go all the way deep and split open the lugs, to provide superior off road bite.

Moreover, although not visible in the provided image at the very top, this tire features white letters on sidewalls, though you can hide them by flipping the tire towards other side, as it offers symmetric design.

Highway Performance

Now that we have closely monitored their tread, let’s check out how they are both on dry and wet environments.

Wet Traction

Usually when it comes to wet traction, all-terrain tires aren’t that famous, but still I think the Sumitomo Encounter A/T is about to change that.

As this tire is so good, it almost feels like an average all season passenger tire. It does not lack at all, even if you intend to, on sharp turns (saying from experience).

It’s superior wet road response has to do with it’s shoulder lugs (which cover a majority of the area of tread), with well optimized rubber (neither too stiff, nor too soft, right in the goldilock zone).

And it interlocking siping there really puts it ahead of the crowd.

On the other side, the General Grabber A-TX is does not meet your expectations. As good a tire is on dry, it really lacks when things get wet, where its lateral traction suffers the most.

It basically comes up with a stiffer composition, and with that, it’s lugs don’t get to flex as much as needed, so it’s sipes can’t wipe off water effectively.

Though with interlinked grooves, it’s hydroplaning resistance is above average.

Dry Traction

On dry highways, the Sumitomo Encounter A/T with it’s more streamlined design produces better results.

It basically provides a closed up arrangement of lugs in all it’s ribs, and although, they have softer composition (with higher silica density), it’s foundational supports underneath still allows it to have better directional, and lateral traction.

In comparison, the General Grabber A/TX is also not too far off, as it brings very satisfactory on road mannerisms.

Although a lot of it’s rubber to road contact is compromised with larger/wider grooves, it’s stiffer composition keeps it’s lugs firm, and its less tread depth (on average, in comparison) enhances stability.

For Your Info: The Grabber A/TX balances really well, and stays balanced for a good amount of time. (It’s also helps it with wear, but more on that in it’s section).

Fuel Consumption

The fuel usage of a tire is influenced by its rolling resistance, which is affected by factors such as the tire’s weight and tread composition. Tires that are harder to roll, or stickier, tend to have higher rolling resistance, and use more fuel (its not rocket science).

The General Grabber A/TX although offer less weight in comparison, the larger grooves of the tire still allow each lug to still carry more weight. In other words, each tread block has to carry more weight.

So this promotes greater rolling resistance and as a result fuel usage.

On the other side, the Sumitomo Encounter A/T has a more streamlined design, and its weight is very well distributed across its closed up lugs, so with even pressure on all, it eats away less fuel to roll.

Winter Traction

The amazing thing about General Grabber A/TX is that, even with it’s harder skin on top, it does great with snow, meaning it does not get hardened up with the freezing winter temperatures.

This is basically a feature of winter tires, that’s why they remain soft.

So, with this, it performs in an amazing way. Its interconnected grooves are also very efficient at trapping snow particles as well.

And for ice, you get stud-able lugs, which also tells, how focused is this tire for snowy terrains.

On the other side, the Sumitomo Encounter A/T is also great and does better with lighter snow, but with less biters, it’s not able give better results, though its also branded with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating just like the General Grabber A/TX.

Tread Life

When it comes to Sumitomo Encounter A/T, it’s higher silica density (of tread) wears slightly faster, but as the tire is equipped with tread depth reaching up to 20/32″, it still lasts a good amount of time with better wear life

But its still not able to outperform General Grabber A/TX, as it simply ranks on top, when it comes to wear resistance, that’s why I mentioned it for that in my list of all-time top A/T tires.

It’s stiff cut resistant rubber is basically composed of aramid nanofiber reinforced polymers, and Kevlar, which allows it to have a lot of elasticity, so with that, it’s very resistant to wear.

So with this tire you can do 60k miles easily (even if you keep it 50% on and 50 off roads).

Also the tire has heat diffuser on sidewalls, so while towing and with heavier weight, less heat gets generated which also indirectly helps in fighting the wear.

Off-Road Performance

Some off-road terrains, like mud, can be particularly challenging and may require specialized tires, while others, like gravel and dirt roads, can be navigated through with much more ease. That’s why I decided to discuss all of them separately.

Muddy Tracks

Balder tires with a highly voided design do great on mud. So, it makes sense why General Grabber A/TX, with wider tread voids, does a better job here.

The tire technically, makes a web of grooves in the middle which connect the outer “wider” circumferential channels, so mud can easily leave out in a wide range of directions.

Sumitomo Encounter A/T on the other hand, has a very “on-road design” and it’s lugs are joined together from underneath. That’s why the tire even though offers 20/32″ of tread depth (max), is still not able to outperform its competitor.

Moreover, it’s also missing the sidewall lugs, where on Grabber A/TX those combined with staggered shoulders, provide efficient digging, taking out the tire, even from tougher situations.

Sandy Dunes

Sand requires a tire that is lighter in weight and has smooth edges to avoid digging in (which is major cause of getting stuck).

And here both tires are lacking.

On one hand, we have Sumitomo Encounter AT with it’s thicker rubber going up to 20/32″ gets to have a lot of weight, so even though it’s sides are not staggered, it still is quite prone to digging, on deeper terrains.

While on the other, the General Grabber A/TX although coming in at 10 pounds lighter structure, has sharper sides, so it’s equally as digging.

So I am going to rate these tires equal here.

On Rocks

Climbing on rocks can be challenging, but here tires with softer tread, ample biters and stronger sidewalls do much better.

That’s why Sumitomo Encounter A/T, providing thinner lugs on sidewalls, (which are also not covering a lot of bead area), and less overall biters, don’t get to provide ample gripping.

The General Grabber A/TX in comparison, does better, as it offers stronger rim locks for lowered air pressure stability, thicker lugs, for footprint, and interlocking design for gripping in all directions.

So this tire is able to chew with stronger force.

Dirt Filled Roads

On dirt filled roads, you need powerful stone ejectors, otherwise sharp dirt particles can get stuck in, and cause damage while reducing traction abilities.

Having said that, the General Grabber A/TX with it’s bold ejectors on sides, provides better grip overall, though both tires have chip resistant tread rubber.

Sumitomo Encounter A/T in comparison, not only have any kind of ejectors, its closed up tread voids don’t let go off the invited dirt.

Tread Noise

Noise is produced by moving air, and here the overall structure of the tire influences it a lot, as the tread voids, composition, and weight decide how much groove resonance is made.

Out of both tires, with open design the General Grabber A/TX is not able to provide a good enough acoustic tread, that’s because air has a lot more space here to move around and hit tread walls, producing unwanted sound waves.

The Sumitomo Encounter A/T, on the other hand, provides a much more silent ride, as there inst too much air coming, in the first place, and the little that does, is dealt with variable pitch tread.

Where different lugs (when air hits them) produce different sound waves, and they try to cancel out each other to minimize noise.

Though still if you are going with Grabber A/TX, make sure you get the lower rating, as that’s better (if noise is of great concern for you, but you still need an aggressive tire).

Driving Comfort

Do you know that General Grabber A/TX has a dedicated layer just under its rubber for dissolving the imperfections of the road?

Yes, the tire is actually stiff, so in order to make it comfortable, they did that, and its much better, though still not that effective in comparison here.

That’s because the Sumitomo Encounter A/T offers a much softer composition and a very thick rubber layer (I mean its super thick, it feels like an overkill here).

Side Note: It’s tread depth goes up to 20/32″, that’s even greater than Falken Wildpeak AT3w, and that tire claims to have the deepest tread in the category.

So, with that, its no surprise that its able to do better with overall ride comfort, comparatively.

Winding Up

Both tires are overall pretty great, but with more on-road aligned structure, the Sumitomo Encounter A/T does better on roads, whereas, the General Grabber A/TX is better suited for rugged tracks.

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