Nitto Nomad Grappler vs Falken Wildpeak AT Trail


If you’re in the market for a new set of all-terrain tires, both, the Nitto Nomad Grappler and the Falken Wildpeak AT Trail are worth considering. These tires are packed with innovative tread compounds and are designed to deliver a great balance of performance and comfort, making them the perfect choice for any truck or SUV owner.

Falken Wildpeak AT Trail
Falken Wildpeak AT Trail is one of most sporty All-terrain tires, you can get.

Available Sizes

The Nitto Nomad Grappler (review) comes in 32 total sizes in 17, 18 and 20 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H, T and V.
  • Load ratings: XL only.
  • Weight range: 28 to 46 lbs.
  • Tread depth range: 12.5 to 13.5/32″.
  • Treadwear Warranty: 60k miles.

Falken Wildpeak AT Trail (review), on the other side, gives 16 to 20 inches, with following specs.

  • Speed ratings of H and V.
  • Load ratings of SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10 or 11/32″.
  • Weight Range: 25 to 42 lbs.
  • 65k miles warranty.

Tread Design

Let me start off with Nitto Nomad Grappler.

Nitto Nomad Grappler
Nitto Nomad Grappler central lugs look like “S”.

The tire gets divided very prominently into the central lugs and outer shoulders.

The middle area consists of S shaped lugs, though you only would see that form this angle (consider the image).

These lugs are equipped with multiple off-set edges and in groove notches, providing bite in all directions.

They are also seen with full depth sipes, which allow these lugs to flex, creating off-road bite, though their primary function is gripping on wet.

The shoulder lugs are smaller in comparison and more packed up.

They sit on a secondary rubber layer, providing reinforced foundational support, and stability along with lateral traction.

Moreover, the outer edges of these lugs are quite aggressive, providing with notches, multiple biters and thick sidewall lugs, connecting to them.

Note: Make sure you check out Nomad Grappler vs Nitto Terra Grappler G2.

On the other side, you get a less aggressive design with Falken Wildpeak AT Trail.

Falken Wildpeak AT Trail
Wildpeak AT Trail has better longitudinal lug arrangement.

This tire makes conventional 5 rib design, making somewhat, very tough passing 4 longitudinal channels.

So here you see 3 ribs. And on each, there are lugs running in pairs.

These central most lugs are angles, have in groove notches and rectilinear sipes. While the surrounding ones come with additional steeped edges, along with those biters as well.

Though most wet grip comes form efficient water evacuation thanks to the multiple interconnected grooves these lugs make linking with outer circumferential channels.

Moving towards shoulders, the blocks here, like seen on it’s competitor are very closely packed up, though the siping on these lugs, is much more efficient, forming an interlocking design which basically wipes off water particles in a better manner.

Tread Noise

Noise is just air flowing in the tread (mostly through shoulder voids), and hitting the tread walls. And so to address this, the Wildpeak AT Trail incorporates Whisper Grooves, (which is actually a term, made by Cooper tires). And in simple words, its nothing ore than blocking of the shoulder gaps.

And with this, air gets restricted to flow inwards, and the source of noise gets limited.

So does that mean, its a quieter tire here after all?

Well not really, our testing show, that both tires here are on par, producing similar decibels on noise, (averaged across multiple tracks).

The Nitto Nomad Grapple may allow more air to come in, and hit around, the tire still dampens that noise with its pitch sequencing technology.

This concept involves varying the tread block geometry to generate different sound wave frequencies that can potentially cancel each other out. Nitto calls its “variable pitch technology”.

Dry Traction

When evaluating an all-terrain tire’s dry performance, it’s vital to assess its 2 key elements, grip, and handling. Let’s start with later.

Handling and Steering Feedback

During cornering, the tire’s handling relies, heavily, on the interaction between the outer shoulder lugs and the ground. (This is because of inertia. As the tire turns, the vehicle’s entire weight shifts towards the outer edges).

And so upon observing the tread pattern on both tires, it’s evident that the Falken Wildpeak AT Trail offers superior lateral traction, thanks to its compacted lugs.

These blocks on this tire, ensure a more consistent rubber-to-road contact without interruptions from grooves.

Whereas, on Nitto Nomad Grappler, although lugs have very impressive foundational supports, allowing for good enough steering responsiveness, they still lack, wit their relatively limited road connectivity.

Dry Grip

The term “dry grip” refers to a tire’s traction performance on of course, dry, and straight roads. And as its a directional metric, its also called directional or longitudinal grip, and is measured with braking distances (for the most part).

And since the bulk of a tire’s weight concentrates in the central tread during “straight rolling”, that area tells more about the overall gripping efficacy.

In this respect, the Falken AT Trail outperforms its peer, with its wider, longitudinally aligned central blocks, which yields larger contact patch with the road.

While the Nitto Nomad Grappler with laterally oriented lugs, carrying bigger gaps in between, (with its U shaped lugs) aren’t able to do that very effectively.

Nonetheless, the difference here is pretty marginal, as you get to see an average of only 2 feet of shorter braking distance of the A/T Trail.

Wet Traction

Wet traction relies heavily on effective water evacuation, which form 2 key components, wet grip and hydroplaning resistance.

And while the hydroplaning resistance between the two tires is pretty similar, the main difference is seen when it comes to gripping.

Wet grip primarily derives from sipes, as these slits contract and expand to create a vacuum, that draws in water particles, effectively wiping the surface.

Having said that it makes sense here why Nitto Nomad Grappler lacks overall, with it’s less number of total sipes, which also lack in providing a good enough design as well.

Whereas on Falken Wildpeak AT Trail, you get dual siping structure, with the rectilinear sipes in the middle aiding to the tire’s wet braking, and interlocking sipes on the shoulders, providing the tire with efficient handling capabilities.

(These sipes are a exact copy of what’s seen on it’s Falken Wildpeak AT3w model, which is one of the best in wet traction, when it comes to A/T tires).

Tire Toughness

Off-road tires demand exceptional durability, given their exposure to harsh terrains and frequent encounters with sharp objects.

And to maintain their efficacy, these tires employ cut-resistant rubber and deep tread voids. However, the robustness of a tire, still, largely depends on its internal construction, particularly on the sidewalls.

And considering that, it can be seen that both tires do okay here, I mean, they aren’t tougher per say, they still go by, having a minimal construction of a 2-ply polyester casing with 2 steel belts above and a single cap ply of nylon.

But what do I mean by “minimal”, well, that this type of construction suffices for milder terrains, it still falls short of instilling confidence on rougher terrains, especially rocky ones.

Mud Performance

In muddy conditions, a tire’s performance hinges heavily on its tread design, particularly the width of its grooves.

That’s why narrow grooves lead to mud accumulation which means complete loss of traction.

That’s why both tires are pretty lacking here, though still, since you get comparatively wider tread voids on Nitto Nomad Grappler, you can still expect some traction out of this tire. Though that’s only on paper, as in real time, both tires are equally lacking, subjectively.

Traction on Rocks

For rocky terrains, the ideal tire should offer multi-directional gripping abilities along with durability.

And since durability is out of the window (as its the same on both), the Nitto Nomad emerges better with it’s better combination of lateral and longitudinal tread voids, supplying grip in almost all angles.

Moreover, the tire also features dual sidewalls, which basically enhance some gripping elements including climbing abilities (sidewall lugs basically broaden up and biters on them, get loose, with lowered air pressure).

In contrast, the Falken AT Trail, while featuring decent central biters, lacks sufficient shoulders, so it can’t offer as much traction.

Sand Traction

Driving on sand typically necessitates reduced tire air pressure to improve the contact patch and facilitate tread flotation.

But there are certain features of the tread that aid to that as well, which includes, having a softer rubber, and good enough sidewalls.

And since all these features are better seen on Nomad Grappler, the tire takes the lead here. It’s features sidewall lugs pasted on quite some area, and those spread out with lowered air pressure in a much better way, compared to Wildpeak AT Trail (where sidewall lugs can be improved a little).

Fuel Consumption

A vehicle’s fuel consumption is significantly impacted by the rolling resistance of its tires, with weight and tread composition being key determining factors here.

And so its not surprising to see Falken AT Trail, with its lighter built, being more efficient here.

Conversely, the Nitto Nomad Grappler, with its lugs surrounded by wider grooves and marginally heavier construction, imposes more weight on each lug. And that results in greater force on the road, ultimately decreasing overall fuel efficiency.

Moreover, it also explains why the tire lacks a little when it comes to treadwear as well (though it only gives 5k less mileage warranty in comparison).

Winter Traction

While both tires possess the 3 peak mountain snowflake and M+S ratings, we get to see some mixed results in terms of overall performance.

And for the sake of not complicating things, here, Nitto Nomad Grappler outperforms in terms of directional grip, while the Falken AT Trail excels in handling.

Let me explain why. So snowflakes with their unique arms, really lick to stick on one another. And so these tires grip on snow with the snow lodged in their treads.

But since the Wildpeak AT Trial carries better snow holding abilities on shoulders, it comes out with shorter handling times, whereas with the U shaped interlocking central tread voids, the Nomad Grappler provides superior baking.

Key Takeaway

When evaluating off-road traction across diverse terrains, the Nitto Nomad Grappler consistently outperforms its counterpart, with its greater biting edges and dual sidewalls.

Whereas the Wildpeak AT Trial with its closed up tread pattern and superior siping structure deliver much better grip on both dry and wet roads, along with steering responsiveness.

Moreover, the tire also features superior fuel economy and tread life too.

Though in terms of on-road comfort, its performance is on par to Nitto’s.

12 thoughts on “Nitto Nomad Grappler vs Falken Wildpeak AT Trail”

  1. Question about Fuel economy — and these tires —
    I have compared same size (255/50/20).
    The Nomad Grappler is 35 lbs vs. 39 lbs for the Falken AT Trail.
    It seems like the extra 4 lbs of rolling weight per tire – would negatively effect the Falken’s fuel economy / compared to the Lighter Nomad Grappler. Am I missing something ?

  2. I am torn between these two as a replacement of the stock tires on my upcoming 2024 subaru crosstrek wilderness purchase. I see pros and cons for both everywhere. I don’t off-road but i do see snow here in the northeast.

  3. I love the use of a VW Alltrack in your first photo!

    I need tires in the spring and have been contemplating getting 26in rims and buying the Falkens. Do that Nittos fit on that Alltrack with 17 inch rims without a lift?

  4. I know you gave the nod to Nitto for sand, but is it that much different then Falkens ? I live in Texas and do a lot of highway traveling, but also spend a lot of time on Padre Island and PINS. Driving 2022 Subaru Outback Onyx XT, which would you pick?

    • Driving a 2022 Subaru Outback Onyx XT in Texas, both on highways and sandy terrains like Padre Island, makes tire choice crucial here. Now to simplify, Nitto Nomad Grappler shines on sandy terrains, while the Falken Wildpeak offers better highway traction.
      But since difference in sand in low, comparatively, I’d say, you should consider AT Trail here.

  5. I’ve ran both tires, 225/60r18 Wildpeak Trails on my ’19 subaru forester sport, and 235/65r17 Nitto Nomads on my ’22 Subaru Forester wilderness, and had pretty much the same findings.

    The Wildpeak trail to me seems like a street tire masquerading as an AT, absolutely fantastic street tire, but the Nitto Nomads really do shine as a true crossover oriented AT, not as good on pavement as the Wildpeak Trails, but far better than those in all conditions off road, especially mud, or even just slick dirt which is why I decided to not go with the Wildpeaks on my ’22.

  6. Nice analysis!

    Which one would seem better for the land of 6 month winters? I see you figure one stops and goes better, and one turns/handles better. I have been on KO2’s which handle about as well as a decent snow tire, but these are about 2/3 the price. Any further thoughts?

    Thank you.


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