The question of Falken Tires vs Michelin comes up frequently on forums and in minds. It’s a fair concern; both are well-known and well-reviewed brands.
We’re going to figure out, once and for all, which company creates the better tire. Or are they both terrible, and should you go with something like Accelera instead?
The short version: Falken is mid-range, and Michelin is premium, but some of their similarly priced tires are of equal quality and performance. Upon review, performance ties in some areas with equal wins for both brands in others.
What Do Customers Think?
Many customers state that Falken tires are excellent but can’t live up to Michelin’s premium status or similar brands. We’ll challenge this later on.
According to Consumer Reports, it’s a similar story. Trusted sources state that Michelin ranks higher than Falken.
The tires were ranked in 2015, and the above still applies as of April 2020.
Forum users weighing in on the Falken Tires vs Michelin debate have mixed views.
One user, who has used both Falken and Michelin for years, vouched for Michelin as the better of the two. However, many still vouch for Falken and describe them as excellent, especially at their price.
One user loves Falken tires so much that they went to three stores on the hunt for them, although they weren’t in stock at any of the locations. The user states they’re still hoping to obtain their chosen Falken tires.
On the other hand, when looking at Quora, the scales tip in Falken’s favor for a while. One user praises how well they hold up in hot climates. The user has had both Falken and Michelin tires and still thinks Falken comes out on top.
Other users say Falken tires perform just as well as Michelin, but it’s model-dependent.
So. looking at all the customer opinions, it’s safe to conclude we won’t determine anything concrete from feedback alone.
All About Falken
For those of you who aren’t in the know, what’s Falken all about anyway?
Falken tires are inexpensive tires but are certainly more well known than tires we’ve gone over in our Lionhart tires review, for example.
The company produces a range of tires for cars, trucks and SUVs in stores across the USA and Canada.
Falken considers its tires high-performance and makes a range of models for use on and off the road.
Pricing varies across the web, but buying at the regular retail price will cost upwards of 200 dollars per tire for some models. Clearly, these aren’t your average budget tires selling dirt-cheap and manufactured in some mixed-brand warehouse across the world.
Falken tires are made in several factories, many of which are in the US. Although, it’s a brand native to Japan—a country known for Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda and more. It’s safe to say you can trust Falken’s origins and current manufacturing processes.
Overall, Falken tires are a trustworthy, mid-range brand, standing high above the other “affordable” tires on our site but not quite the premium standard of Michelin’s reputation.
All About Michelin
Michelin tires are also for cars, trucks and SUVs, but they come at a higher price. The company also manufactures tires for more obscure vehicles, like airplanes.
The cost of the tires is warranted, though, as sustainability is essential to the company. It wants the tires to last long, and the manufacturers are dedicated to improving the tires with each new release.
With over 9 million sales in the US in 2018, the brand is one of the leading tire manufacturers in the world.
On top of the tires, Michelin provides maps and guides for your travels to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Thanks to its reputation and services, it’s clear that you’re paying in part for the brand name Michelin.
With that said, the tires are number one for a reason and are in high demand. They’re manufactured in several countries, including:
Regardless of the country of origin, Michelin ensures there’s never a compromise on quality. That’s part of what makes this brand a premium.
Falken Tires vs Michelin: Direct Comparison
Although Michelin is the clear leader where brand history and popularity are concerned, it doesn’t matter. The real question is whether the products match the promise and live up to the expectations for each.
We’ve picked a tire from each brand to compare based on a list of criteria.
Let’s examine the Falken Wildpeak AT3W All-Terrain Radial Tire and the Michelin Premier LTX All-Season Tire. To keep things fair, we’ve chosen similarly priced tires, both of which are all-season tires, too.
This Falken tire has two standout features in the sidewall: an outer apex and an aggressive upper sidewall. If you’re no tire tech-head, this basically means there’s a second bead apex making the tire more durable.
Also, the feature makes the tire heavier and more stable. This leads to an incredible performance on dry terrain of all types. Plus, the ultra-durable tires handle bumps and debris like they’re nothing, leading to easy handling.
The tires also use tech that makes them wear-resistant from high torque, and the tires diffuse heat. Since dry roads can get hot and wear down tread, these features are excellent for durability and perfect performance for longer on dry roads.
Our pick for Michelin also handles well on dry roads. They’re highly responsive to the lightest touch—well, depending on how well your vehicle responds, too.
There’s no fancy tech that causes this smooth handling; that’s just the Michelin standard. The fancy tech comes in other areas, keeping Michelin tires durable on the corrosive surface of dry tarmac.
Although not reinforced like the Falken, the sidewalls are beefy and difficult to wear down. The tread is similar in the latter respect but couldn’t be more, unlike the tough sidewall in another.
The tread is functional but soft. The tires contain a compound of sunflower oil to ensure this is the case. Thanks to this soft nature, the tires have more grip than something harder and smoother.
An excellent grip adds stability and fills in any gaps on uneven road surfaces, making your drive feel more like socks on a wooden floor.
Except, with better braking.
If you’re worried that the soft tread gripping rough terrain will wear the tires out, don’t. As the tread wears down, the tire’s tech ensures the grooves will widen, so the tread is essentially regenerating. It won’t last forever, but it’ll extend their lifespan on dry roads.
Although the fancy tech adds little to wet road performance, some more standard manufacturing tricks do. The tires contain a silica compound, helping them grip wet roads and stay steady even when driving through puddles.
The tire’s treads are also deeper than average, adding more friction and preventing hydroplaning.
You can have equal confidence on dry and wet terrain with these tires.
Michelin’s wet performance technology is a little fancier, making it clear why they’re considered the premium tires.
As most tires wear with time, their wet performance lessens. Thanks to the widening grooves mentioned above, the wet performance only improves here. As the treads widen and deepen, it becomes easier to stop them from becoming slick and coated with moisture.
Meanwhile, the sunflower oil compound in the wheels adds grip here too—but silica in them helps preserve the grip’s lifespan.
In the end, you get a tire performing equally well on wet and dry terrain for its entire lifetime.
Falken’s tires work excellently on snow and ice thanks to the rough tread made for off-road driving. The treads are deep, and the blocks knobbly, creating a combination that pushes snow aside and grips ice like it’s nothing.
These Falken tires allegedly have some of the market’s deepest treads on tires of this type. Who could beat that?
Here’s where we see Michelin start to fail. Although they’re all-season tires, these Michelins aren’t winter-perfected.
They’ll handle the basics: chilly temperatures and some light snow. But if you live in an area where snow falls harshly and black ice rampages on the roads, invest in some winter tires. These aren’t the ones for you, and Michelin doesn’t try to pretend they are.
Don’t get us wrong—the silica and sunflower oil compound on the wheels ensure they’re strong yet flexible. The strength helps the tires stay stable on normal ice, where the sunflower oil keeps them pliable enough to handle some cold.
In the end, the cold will get the better of the tires and firm them up. This makes them unsafe on the roads thanks to reduced handling and longer braking distances.
Comfort and Noise
Despite easy handling, this Falken’s ride won’t be as smooth as alternative tires. They’re made for road and off-road driving, with enormous tread, so there’ll be more vibration than with other tires.
However, they’re so large that small debris will make no impact on the comfort of your drive.
Noise won’t make much of an impact, either. Customers describe the noise as mild or minimal, depending on the road you take.
We’ve already expressed the smooth feel of Michelin’s tires, so let’s reiterate: the ride is smooth as butter. The silica and sunflower oil create a blend that allows the tires to absorb impact with ease.
On the inside, the tire’s steel belts are situated below a polyester casing ply for stability and noise dampening.
However, the noise is still evident when driving—but it sounds more like a hum than your typical tire rattle and crunch.
- 55,000-mile limited tread life warranty.
- Workmanship and materials 50-year warranty—from the time of production, not purchase.
- 60,000-mile tread life warranty.
Ask your vehicle and the tire’s manufacturer if the tires are the right fit for you. It’s our understanding that the Michelin tires are compatible with a lengthier list of vehicles than the Falken, though, giving them a win in this department.
With all these criteria in mind, here’s who we designate the winner of each category:
It’s a tie! Both tires use a unique blend of technology and expertise to create high-performing tires that customers have few complaints about.
But when it comes to longevity on dry roads, Michelin has to win—although some customers have complained they wear faster than expected.
It’s another tie here. Despite the differences, both tires have ingenious ways of mitigating the issues that water causes.
Falken comes out on top here, but you have to remember these are all-terrain tires. Would any other model work so well?
Comfort and Noise
Michelin wins comfort, but noise? That one’s too subjective as both tires have some level of non-offensive noise.
Falken wins here as the tires are covered by two types of warranty rather than one. Michelin wins the tread life warranty in miles, but there’s no huge difference between the brands in this.
It’s our understanding that Michelin wins here—but the list of compatible vehicles we’ve seen online is incomplete.
Due to the balance of two ties and two wins each… is it even possible to pick a clear winner here?
You should also consider that Falken is a mid-range brand and has a tire model on-par with the premium Michelins. But also remember, these are similarly priced tires. Would a more expensive Michelin come out on top?
We can’t say for sure—there are too many models to examine them all—but what we can be sure of is Falken’s equality with a premium-brand Michelin tire.
Both Michelin and Falken are excellent brands with a range of comparable tires. There’s no saying which is the better brand; it’s up to preference, at least with the models we reviewed.
In the end, the best brand is the one that’s comfortable and high-performing for you. This will depend on where you live, the roads you drive on and how well you treat the tires.
Shop around and figure out what works best for you.