There are worse places to be than deciding between Nitto’s Ridge Grappler and the BFGoodrich KM3. Both tires represent the apex of modern 4x4 tire technology, and with their imposing design features, are proper “bling” for 4x4 enthusiasts, too.
So, which one should amplify your ride? Here’s a breakdown and comparison of how the Ridge Grappler and KM3 stack up in the performance categories of most interest to 4x4 enthusiasts.
With its prominent mud-terrain design traits and aggressive features, you probably wouldn’t know it at first glance, but the Ridge Grappler is what Nitto terms a “hybrid” mud-terrain and all-terrain tire.
“Featuring a revolutionary dynamic hybrid tread pattern, the Ridge Grappler provides a quiet and comfortable ride while the deep, aggressive sidewall lugs and tread pattern provide capable off-road performance” – NittoTire.com
The Ridge Grappler takes off just enough of the edge of extreme mud-terrain tread features to make it the all-around friendlier tire on-road.
While the KM3 isn’t disqualified from regular road use, it’s definitely more at home attacking boulders and terrain than pavement. The Ridge Grappler sets out to and more effectively balances on- and off-road performance, especially when it comes to on-road comfort attributes.
“I’ve put 60,000+ miles on these tires and am finally looking into a new set. These have done everything from helping pull a stuck truck, to hauling horse trailers and campers up and down the west coast, on and off-road. Traction is great, and I can even get my 2500 up rainy San Francisco streets in 2WD with no issues. That’s impressive.” – TireBuyer Nitto Ridge Grappler customer review
Among experienced mud-terrain users, the KM3 has been lauded for its lack of road noise relative to competitors.
But here again, the hybrid tread design of the Ridge Grappler wins out. Its variable pitch tread pattern dampens traditional mud-terrain road feedback.
If you’re concerned about noise, particularly at higher speeds and on road trips, the Ridge Grappler is the better match. Keep the pressures dialed in and mind your tire rotations, and the Ridge Grappler can deliver tens of thousands of quiet road miles. That’s a unique attribute for a tire that’s seriously capable off-road.
“Extremely quiet on the road. Extremely capable off road. These are the best overall tires I have ever purchased. Every Jeep owner should have these on their short list. TireBuyer was quick to deliver them as well.” – TireBuyer Nitto Ridge Grappler customer review
In terms of focused off-road performance, the Ridge Grappler slots in under some of Nitto’s more extreme, off-road-focused options.
On the other hand, the KM3 is a top of the food chain mud-terrain tire from BFGoodrich, infused with decades of off-road torture testing and development, and just about every functional off-road design feature known to mankind.
Across the full range of extreme off-road conditions – mud, sand, rocks, boulders, roots, you name it – the KM3 is the and more complete and purposeful off-roader.
"I’ve had these tires for a few weeks and so far, I love them. I was driving around the hunting club last week after a heavy rain. The place turns into a giant mud hole and I normally wouldn’t be taking my truck down any of the trails. But with these tires, no worries. I never had to put it in four wheel drive." - TireBuyer.com BF Goodrich KM3 Customer Review
You’ll be hard-pressed to puncture either tire, but the KM3 draw anti-puncture technology direct from its substantial off-road racing experience.
The KM3 also borrows sidewall specs and tech from the non-DOT, off-road championship-winning BF Goodrich Baja T/A KR3. Racing through the desert requires serious puncture resistance.
The mudslinging capabilities and tread technologies of both tires can come in handy in deep, heavy snow and dense wintry precipitation.
The KM3 features a Traction Armor Sidewall Sculpture which includes a notched shoulder design to boost mud and snow traction.
The Ridge Grappler’s Alternating Shoulder Grooves work to clear mud and heavy snow as well.
Reinforced sidewalls and immense off-road durability tend to translate well to load range and towing/hauling capacity, and the Ridge Grappler and KM3 both deliver the goods in this area. The Ridge Grappler has an added bonus of being available in a hefty F/12-ply rating.
Find LT specification and E/10 ply ratings throughout the range of available sizes for the both the Ridge Grappler and KM3. Look for these indicators of uprated load ratings in the “Available Sizes” tab of any TireBuyer product page.
In most equivalent sizes and specifications, the Ridge Grappler edges the KM3 in the pricing and affordability department. On a related note, the Ridge Grappler is available in substantially more tire sizes – 85 sizes in wheel diameters from 16-24-inch whereas the KM3 offers 45 sizes in wheel diameters from 15-20-inch.
In a straight-up off-road dogfight over extreme terrain, the more dedicated BFGoodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain bests the Nitto Ridge Grappler. If you spend a lot of time off-road at the traction limit, you’ll likely appreciate the extra capability of the KM3.
The Ridge Grappler counters with a more well-rounded performance approach and immense versatility. Very few tires offer the Ridge Grappler’s combination of on-road comfort and off-road prowess.
These videos might help you solidify your choice:
Still can’t decide which way to go? Our 4x4 tire specialists can be the deciding vote. Give us a call at 866-961-8668.