Toyo Open Country RT Trail vs Nitto Ridge Grappler


In the realm of rugged terrains, Toyo Open Country RT Trail faces off with Nitto Ridge Grappler, a duel of durability and grip, on all types of terrains. Let’s find a better tire for you.

Ride Grappler on Sierra.
Ridge Grappler on Sierra.

Main Takeaway

Overall, the Toyo Open Country RT Trail excels in:

  • Better overall handling, particularly in high-speed stability.
  • Superior performance in sandy conditions, especially on deeper dunes.
  • Greater tread longevity in P metric sizes, due to its tougher rubber blend.

Review Toyo RT Trail here:

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler excels in:

  • Enhanced dry performance with superior directional grip and effective braking.
  • Superior wet traction, with effective siping and better aquaplaning resistance.
  • Excellent performance in rock climbing, thanks to its grippy, soft compound and robust design.
  • Slightly more comfortable ride in terms of noise comfort and road smoothness.

Review Nitto Ridge Grappler here:

Key Differences in Design

Between the two, the Toyo RT Trail stands out with its spacious design.

Toyo RT Trail
Toyo RT Trail notches point in all directions, providing multi-directional grip.

Its tread pattern distinctly separates the central region from the shoulder ribs through wide circumferential grooves.

The shoulder blocks are notably squared-off, offering a straightforward design, mainly characterized by merely linear sipes.

Despite this simplicity, they are effectively equipped with prominent mud scoops and well-crafted sidewall lugs.

While these sidewall lugs are efficient, they still need to improve, for better off-road performance.

Moving towards the middle, the central lugs of Toyo RT Trail form an intricate web of grooves, linking the tread’s voids (everywhere), and enhancing the tire’s ability to evacuate dirt and mud, providing off-road traction.

These lugs are multi-directional, with notches and linear siping, and like the shoulder areas, are under-laid with a stiffer secondary rubber layer, lending substantial on-road stability to the tire.

Moving towards the Nitto Ridge Grappler, this tire comes with a more crowded lug pattern.

Ridge Grappler
Nitto Ridge Grappler comes with very similar shoulders, compared to Toyo RT Trail.

Its tread is deeply segmented by X-shaped grooves that interconnect the outer circumferential channels.

At the center, four triangular blocks with numerous biting edges, saw-toothed designs, notches, and adequate linear siping form the core of its structure.

These lugs, too, sit on a reinforced base, contributing to the tire’s stability on the road.

Moving towards the edges, here the tire features very squared-off shoulder blocks with minimal design features, which are very similar to Toyo’s tire.

And although their mud-scoops (staggered edges) are also similar, the Nitto’s tire has smaller voids in between, and fewer stone ejectors, comparatively.

However, the tire still makes thicker sidewall lugs, which are different on each side on the tire, as it also offer dual sidewall design.

This means, you can choose, which sidewall to show out. Though make sure you do the same for all tires, to avoid performance issues.

Struggling to choose from so many all-terrain options? Let me assist you. Check out this A/T tire page.

Sizes and Specs

The Nitto Ridge Grappler offers 98 total sizes, in 16 to 24 inches, with following specs:

  • Total sizes: 98.
  • Load range: SL, XL, D, E and F.
  • Speed ratings: Only T and Q
  • Weight range : 36 lbs to 91 lbs
  • Tread depth range: 13/32″ to 18/32″ (Most common: 16.4/32″)
  • UTQG: 500 A B (on non LT sizes).
  • Sizes have no mileage warranty

The Toyo Open Country R/T Trail comes in 16 to 24 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Total sizes: 47.
  • Speed ratings: Q, R, S and T.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, C, D, E and F.
  • Tread depth range: 13.5 to 16.9/32″.
  • Weight range: 43 to 98 lbs.
  • Tread warranty: 45k miles.
  • Not rated with 3PMSFR.
  • UTQG: 600 A B (on P metric sizes).
  • LT metric sizes have 3-ply sidewalls, while P-metric come with 2-ply. (Same is the case with Nitto’s tire here).

Both tires are missing with 3PMSF ratings, but have M+S.

Side Note: You can check out other aggressive A/T tires I’ve reviewed here:

Winter Performance

So, here’s the thing about rugged terrain tires, they aren’t so great with slick roads, mostly because they don’t have a lot of those siping slits on their tread.

But why most of the off-road tires are missing with those sipes? Well, simply put, this design provides the the tire with greater tread life and chip resistance on aggressive terrains.

Because of this, it’s no surprise that both tires we’re looking at don’t come with 3 peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) ratings, which affects their acceleration and grip, especially when it gets colder than 45°F (or 7°C).

But, if you had to choose one, the Nitto Ridge Grappler has a bit of an edge.

The tire provides a lot more biters, in the form of in-groove notches, and off-set edges, which provide superior snow to snow contact, picking up snow particles and retaining them in their slits/voids.

This type of contact provides superior grip, as snow sticks more to itself, than rubber.

Overall Dry Performance

The dry surface performance of an all-terrain tire hinges on two critical factors: longitudinal grip and cornering capabilities, both of which deserve a closer examination.

Directional Grip

Directional grip is the measure of tire’s braking abilities, and it highly depends on the tire’s central contact patch, and on center feel (how long the tire centers after cornering).

Now, this is where the Nitto Ridge Grappler comes out slightly better, where it largely excels due to its superior rubber-road contact. It achieves this with densely packed lugs in the central area, which enhance the tire’s grip.

Moreover, its lugs have a lot more edges (comparatively), that really bite into the road.

Plus it’s construction weight is also lighter, (comparing all sizes), which means it doesn’t take as much to stop. This makes braking a whole lot easier and safer.

Overall Handling

Overall handling of a tire is determined by its lateral grip and cornering stability.

Now, the part of the tire that really gets a workout during turns, is the shoulder, because it bears most of the weight due to the forces at play. It’s like being on a merry-go-round, where the outer edge feels the most force.

But the thing is, although both tires offer almost similar shoulder design (which makes sense as they are sister companies), the overall handling is still better on Toyo RT Trail.

And that’s because Toyo offers better handling stability overall, (backed up by how these tires perform in Slalom and Moose tests).

When you’re speeding down the highway, especially with heavy-duty, high-torque vehicles, you might have felt your vehicle kind of “float” while taking a fast turn. Well, this floating feeling is relatively greater on Nitto’s Ridge Grappler.

On the other hand, the RT Trail nails it. Thanks to its stiffer sidewalls, it stays steady and reliable in turns, putting it ahead in the game of overall handling performance.

A side note here: Nitto also puts similar (to both these tires here) shoulders on Recon Grappler, (review). This tire now comes with 3pmsfr.

Wet Performance

Wet performance comes form tire’s water clearance abilities, which is done by sipes and grooves.

Grooves basically take out the majority of water, and define the tire’s hydroplaning resistance. While sipes tackle the remaining left over water particles, providing wet grip.

Let’s discuss both these elements in details.

Wet Traction

Sipes are these tiny cuts in a tire’s tread that are super important for dealing with water.

Imagine them as little vacuums for water. The water that’s left-out by the grooves, coming under the tire’s lugs gets pulled up by these sipes. And these sipes work more effectively, if they are more flexible.

So, if you want a tire that’s great in wet conditions, it needs to have plenty of these sipes, and they’ve got to be flexible too.

That’s where the Nitto Ridge Grappler has the upper hand here. The tire has slightly better no. of sipes, even though both tires could use some extra siping, especially the ones with full-depth structures.

On the other side, the Toyo RT Trail not only lacks in siping, but also has a stiffer rubber composition, so it doesn’t allows sipes to properly contract and expand, limiting wet traction.

Aquaplaning Resistance

Hydro, or aquaplaning, is what happens when water gets trapped under the tire and the road, making your tires lose contact and sort of “float” or “hydroplane”, (same thing).

Now, the key to avoiding this is how well the grooves in the tires can get rid of water.

Now, both tires featuring two wide enough circumferential grooves interconnected with each other, and wide shoulder voids provide pretty decent water evacuation capabilities.

But, the Nitto Ridge Grappler has a bit of an edge in this department. It’s mainly because it’s got deeper tread, and a relatively more pliant rubber composition, with greater silica density.

Deeper treads mean more room for water to escape. While the softer compound helps the tire press down harder, squeezing the water from the center towards the edges.

On the flip side, the Toyo Open Country RT Trail doesn’t chuck out as much water through its grooves. And less water going out, in the first place, puts more burden/reliance on its sipes. So it’s not just hydroplaning, but the whole wet traction, that gets compromised with this.

Off-Road Traction

Off-roading can throw all sorts of challenges at you, from super sticky mud to gravel paths. So, I took a close look at how each tire handles different terrains.

And here’s what I found.

Handling Sand

Handling sandy terrain in off-roading isn’t just about your driving skills, as here, your tires play a huge role too.

To really ace sandy surfaces, your tires need to be up for the challenge. They should be light, have features like paddles or scoops, a footprint that’s just right, and a bead lock that holds tight.

The whole idea is to keep the tire “floating” on the sand, because once you start sinking, well, it’s pretty much game over.

Now, here, the Toyo Open Country RT Trial takes the upper hand, especially when it comes to deeper dunes. The tire’s offers a “more covering” sidewall design, where lugs expand out better with lowered air pressure.

I mean, it’s lugs there expand out much better, giving you better control, even though it’s the heavier of the two.

But hey, that’s not to say the Nitto Ridge Grappler is bad by any means, as it also offers solid traction and has these sturdy rim locks, which means you can safely lower the air pressure for better grip.

Though remember to adjust your air pressure the right way. I’ve put together a guide on how to do it for all-terrain tires. You can check it out here:

Traction on Mud

Mud is the toughest of all terrains, so naturally A/T tires face a really hard time here. Though these two tires here aren’t your typical all-terrain types.

They fall into this “hybrid terrain” category, which means they’ve got some of the perks of “mud tires”, like those beefy shoulder blocks, which gives them a leg up in thick muddy trails.

But out of both tires here, the Toyo RT is the one you would want, still. It’s got a more open structure, making it better at slinging mud out of its way.

Plus, its central, chunkier lugs, which are more laterally arranged, are like mini mud paddles, helping it push through and maintain momentum.

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge although also provides a decently voided structure with Z-shaped grooves, its overall design is a bit more crowded up.

So it doesn’t quite match up to the Toyo’s performance, even though the difference is very marginal.

Climbing Rocks

When it comes to rock climbing, you need tires that are tough, and super grippy.

Here, the Nitto Ridge Grappler shines here, (its my personal favorite for rocks actually). The tire offer a lot of biting lugs, and softer sticker rubber compound, that clings to rocky surface pretty easily.

It’s design offers thick triangular ribs with zigzag teeth and notches, providing grip in all directions. Plus, it’s got these dual sidewalls with sturdy lugs that really help when you drop the air pressure for climbing.

Side Note: It’s sidewall lugs (on the more aggressive side), are actually better optimized for rocky terrains.

Though durability-wise, both tires hold their own with 3-ply sidewalls, and chip resistant rubber.

Overall Ride Comfort

When we talk about ride comfort in tires, it’s all about how well they can smooth out the bumps on the road and keep things quiet for a comfy ride. Let’s take a look at both these aspects.

Noise Comfort

Here’s the deal with tire noise: it’s mostly about how bald the tire is. A higher void-to-lug ratio means a noisier tire. Rugged terrain tires, while better than mud terrain tires in terms of noise, are still not super quiet.

Now, when you line up these two tires, the Nitto Ridge Grappler and the Toyo RT, it’s pretty much a draw. But let’s be clear.

Neither of these tires are going to be your go-to for a quiet ride.

With the Nitto Ridge Grappler, as you speed up, you’ll notice it starts making multiple tones that really stand out. And then there’s this thing called “cavity noise.”

Pump these boys up to the max, and you might hear sounds that remind you of a basketball thumping on the ground.

On the other hand, the Toyo RT has its own sound profile. There’s this repeating hum accompanied by a deep rumbling sound. Plus, when you’re cruising on smooth roads, you’ll hear a subtle, echoing vibrations.

It’s a pretty unique combo, in my personal opinion.

Road Smoothness

Ride smoothness depends on the tire’s ability to absorb road imperfections. And considering both boys, the Nitto Ridge Grappler comes out on top.

It features a softer compound that really smooths out those bumps. Plus, its lugs are packed in a way that doesn’t let air whoosh around and create noise. So, it’s a bit more comfier.

On the other hand, the Toyo RT Trail, with its slightly balder look and a stiffer rubber mix, isn’t so effective here, overall.

Though its P metric sizes are much better, as they don’t have stiffer sidewalls, which is the main culprit here, actually, lowering overall comfort performance scores (evaluated from my subjective testings).

Tread Longevity

Tire’s life depends on a bunch of stuff, where the few very significant factors include, how much resistance the tire has, when rolling, what it’s made of, and how deep the tread is.

Now, here, the Toyo Open Country RT Trail takes the upper hand, which is all thanks to its tougher rubber blend.

Even though the tire has a greater weight, relatively, pushing down on lugs, its equipped with a rubber composition, that’s better at resisting chips, cuts, and general wear and tear.

But here’s the thing: this mainly applies when you compare the P metric sizes. In the LT sizes, especially where the Nitto Ridge Grappler has deeper tread, there’s not a huge difference between them.

Side Note: Out of both tires, only the Toyo here, comes with a 45k mile warranty.

To Sum Things Up

In wrapping up this extensive comparison, it’s clear that both boys bring a lot to the table.

The Grappler takes the lead in dry performance, particularly in directional grip and wet traction, owing to its superior rubber-road contact, more effective siping.

However, the Toyo RT Trail outperforms in overall handling, especially in high-speed stability. Moreover, the tire also offer better tread longevity, even though it’s less economical, in terms of fuel consumption.

In winter conditions, while the Nitto’s tire provide better grip on packed up snow, its counterpart does better with deeper terrains.

And off-road, the Open Country dominates almost all the terrain types, well except for rocks, where Ridge Grappler shines.

3 thoughts on “Toyo Open Country RT Trail vs Nitto Ridge Grappler”

  1. I have to point out, not all Toyo Trails have 3 ply sidewall. Potential customers please exercise caution with all brands there, some of them don’t offer this info on their websites, which is mindboggling to me.

  2. I have the RT Trails on my Gladiator and the Nitto Ridge Grapplers on my Wrangler. The difference is night and day. The RT Trails are hands down better in every area. The Nittos ride like bricks on road, hydro-plane like crazy in rain, and are ok off road in dirt/mud trails or sand. The Toyo’s out perform them in all arenas. The Nittos have chunks of tread blocks missing after running moderate trails as well. Replacing them shortly and would never buy a Nitto tire again.


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