Nitto Nomad Grappler vs Terra Grappler


Both the Nitto Nomad Grappler and the Terra Grappler are decent all-terrain tires that are designed to deliver a favorable driving experience, no matter what terrain you’re navigating. These tires are a great choice for any truck or SUV owner.

Nitto Terra Grappler
Nitto Terra G2 features dual sidewalls just like the Nomad Grappler.

Being a tire engineer, form my perspective, the Nitto Terra Grappler although lacks on roads, relatively, it really makes up for it off-road on almost all types of (mildly) challenging terrains. Whereas the Nitto Nomad Grappler keeps things cool on pavements, delivering better grip, along with comfort, fuel economy and tread life. Moreover, both tire have 3PMSF and M+S ratings, and supply on par winter traction.

Understand 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.

Speaking of Nitto Terra Grappler G2.

  • It comes in 17 to 24 inches rim sizes.
  • They have speed ratings of R, S, T and H.
  • Load Ratings available: SL, XL, D, E, and F.
  • The weight of the tire ranges from 30 to 80 pounds.
  • Tread Depth range: 12 to 17/32 inches.
  • LT sizes have 50k miles warranty, while non LT have 65k.

Both tires come with Tri-Peak ratings along with M+S.

Tread Design

The Nitto Terra Grappler features a less aggressive design, comparatively.

Nitto Terra Grappler
Nitto Terra Grappler could use help in the siping department.

Let me start here form the middle.

So the tire’s tread is seen with 3 ribs here, and the middle most contains slightly thicker/wider lugs, so they can provide grip on highways.

And while providing grip on roads, these lugs also offer off-road bite as well, with chamfered edges and notches see everywhere.

Moving towards shoulders, you get to see similar pattern of notches and sipes, though its outer margins are staggered having thicker mud scoops.

Despite having dual sidewalls (pattern), the lugs on each side aren’t that thick compared to it’s bigger brother.

Speaking of which, the Nitto Nomad Grappler is a more aggressive tire here.

Nitto Nomad Grappler
Nitto Nomad Grappler has lugs arranged laterally.

There are two parts of the tread, and they are very clearly divided up with wide circumferential grooves.

The central area contains S shaped blocks with in-groove notches and off-set edges rendering grip from multiple angles.

Moreover, they are also equipped with numerous full depth sipes providing flexing to these lugs and with it off-road bite, especially on snowy terrains, though they primarily provide wet traction.

Moving on shoulders, these lugs are the least aggressive. They aren’t too self cleaning but supply ample steering response on pavements.

Though their outer margins have notches and sharp serrated edges. And as mentioned, they form thicker sidewall lugs on each side (the tire features dual pattern, just like the Terra Grappler).

Dry Grip

Dry grip is actually the directional grip of a tire, as it gets measured on the straight path with braking distances.

And with running straight, since the middle section of the tread connects with the surface the most. The Nomad Grappler with it’s closed up U shaped lugs offer better efficacy.

The Nitto Terra Grappler on the other hand, takes (2 feet) longer to stop (measured on a same size, and other conditions).

The tire although has longitudinally aligned ribs, they still feature wider tread voids, not making ample contact with the ground.

Dry Handling

Where directional grip depends on the middle area of the tread, the shoulders come in to action, in case of handling and lateral traction.

And with Nitto Nomad Grappler again featuring much closed up lateral tread voids, comparatively, it shows up with faster lap times (on tests).

The Nitto Terra Grappler on the other side, not only has a spacious lug section, but its lugs also features a lot of tread depth, and don’t have foundational supports. This causes great lug bending, which reduces the steering sensitivity, and with it handling effectiveness.

Wet Traction

Wet traction is influenced by two critical aspects, wet grip and hydroplaning resistance. Both of them are in charge of clearing water out of the tread, so the tire can bite in, without slipping. Lets take a look at them both.

Wet Grip

The wet grip depends on the micro cleaning of water particles (I’ll talk about the other in hydroplaning section below).

And it depends on sipes, and flexibility of the tread as well, as sipes have to “flex” to soak up water particles in their slits (that’s how they work, by the way).

Having said that, the Nitto Terra Grappler with both of these key features missing, can’t keep up with it’s counterpart.

It’s sipes are not interlocking (they may seem so on the newer tire, but with wear, you’d see that siping slits are very smaller and don’t have interlocking “4” shaped structure).

The Nomad Grappler on the other side, comes with a lot more siping all over the tread, and they are although rectilinear as well, at least they keep their structure that way as the tire wears.


The inability of the tread to quickly remove water off, causes hydroplaning, so the faster the evacuation capabilities, the most resistant the tire to it.

With wide enough groove, both tires features multiple pathways for water to leave out. (While the remaining left over water is wiped off with sipes).

During testing both tires showed similar float speeds.


To endure the tough conditions of off-road driving, both of these all-terrain tires, are given with a solid rubber, and layered polymers inside (internal construction).

Though still overall, you get a better durability on the Nitto Terra Grappler, as the tire comes with greater tread depth, with a harder compound, and one extra cap ply.

It’s inner construction consist of 2 ply polyester carcass with 2 belts on top (made out of steel), and 2 cap plies of polyamide.

In comparison, the slightly weaker Nitto Nomad Grappler features similar 2 ply polyester and belts, but only has a single cap ply.

Rugged Terrain Traction

I studied tires in all rugged path terrain variations to see how well they perform on each type of terrain.

Mud-Filled Tracks

Mud has to do with evacuation capabilities of a tread, and with a more voided structure, it’s seen better on Nitto Terra Grappler G2.

The Nitto Nomad Grappler on the other hand, features very packed up shoulder voids, not allowing the mud to leave out laterally.

And it’s shallower tread depth can’t escape out as much volume of mud at a given time as its counterpart.

One more thing, also has “mud scoops” on it’s staggered shoulders, and they further enhance the overall traction values.

On Rocks

Both tires although offer decent biting efficacy, I would still go with Nitto Terra Grappler, mainly because of the fact that the tire is available in LT sizes, unlike the Nomad Grappler.

Rocky terrains require tires with powerful durability, as its the sharpest terrains out there, and Nitto Terra offers better protection.

Moreover, the tire also features bigger groove mouth and notches in all directions, and these account for grip in both lateral and longitudinal directions.

Sandy Dunes

On sand you need tires with lower overall density, so weight and tread composition is a factor here.

Nitto Nomad Grappler has sidewall lugs pasted on a greater area, so they flex and offer greater rubber to sand contact.

Moreover, the tire also features a lighter structure.

The Nitto Terra Grappler features a harder compound, that is more digging, and it’s sharper edges and greater weight is nt helping it at all.

Fuel And TreadWear

Measuring both tires in the XL load range (as Nitto Nomad Grappler in only available in that), it can be seen that the Nitto Terra Grappler features greater tread depth and weight on average.

So it makes sense why the tire lacks in overall fuel economy. It’s deeper tread voids, account for larger lug movement, and with heavier weight, the lugs are more forced against the road, generating larger rolling resistance values.

On the other side, the Nomad Grappler with firmer lugs (having foundational supports), show up with greater fuel economy.

Moreover, with the tire’s lighter structure putting less pressure on the lugs, the overall tread life is also greater, even with sizes having speed ratings up to V.

(Greater the speed rating, higher the rolling resistance, and faster the burning rate), I talked about it in more detail here:

Winter Traction

The tire’s suitability for snowy conditions is judged based on its performance on various snow and ice terrains, including grip, acceleration, lateral traction, and stability.

And although both tires have severe winter ratings, the interlocking U shaped lugs of Nitto Nomad Grappler still offers superior traction, as they are better at lodging snow particles within the tread voids, and making contact with them on the ground.

This generates greater frictional forces as snow sticks on other snow particles more compared to rubber, that’s why we have a phrase, the snowball effect.

The Nitto Terra Grappler on the other hand, is also not too far off, and is actually on par to it’s counterpart when it comes to slightly deeper terrains, as it offer staggered shoulders, which help the tire with scooping the snow.


Overall the Nitto Nomad Grappler proves to be a better pick when it comes to highways. The tire supplies superior grip, handling and steering feedback on both wet and dry environments, and supplies superior comfort, fuel economy and tread life.

The Nitto Terra Grappler on the other hand, features superior traction on mud, sand, and gravely roads.

2 thoughts on “Nitto Nomad Grappler vs Terra Grappler”

  1. Hello! I was curious how you feel the Nomad compares to the Hankook Dynapro AT2 Extreme? specifically in regards to on road performance of all weather types.

    Thanks so much!

    • Well, there’s a lot to consider here. But to save you time, the AT2 Xtreme is better on dry, while Nitto Nomad Grappler does better, when it comes to overall wet performance.


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