Michelin Premier Vs Defender: Which Is Better

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You’ve gone to the market to make an order for a pair of tires to install on your newly acquired Jeep Wrangler or Chevy crossover. There, the seller presents you with two choices. Right in front of you, there are Michelin Premier tires and Michelin Defender tires. Which of these should you go for? Tricky, right?  Especially, if you don’t know the differences between these two, you can be there for a long time. Worse still, you may end up with the wrong tire for your vehicle. And the consequences can be damning to our car.

Known for its world-class tires, Michelin is no doubt a formidable leader in the tire manufacturing industry. They spare no cost in making top-notch tires that rival the best of the best. The Michelin Premier and Michelin Defender are no different. They are both excellent all-season tires that come in similar sizes and seemingly cover the same types of vehicles.

But, make no mistake. This is where the similarities end. There are quite a few differences between the two. But both are good options. You can’t go wrong with either of them. You can also entrust your safety and comfort with these tires.

The Premier and Defender both have a range of versions designed for different types of vehicles, seasons, terrain, and purposes. And in this guide, I will give an in-depth comparison of these tires. At the end of this article, you will know everything about the Michelin Premier and Defender. Let’s dive in.

Michelin Premier Vs Defender: Thorough Comparison

The Michelin Premier and Defender are two of the company’s most popular tires and for good reason. These tires pack a punch. There are several areas to compare these great products. But I will look at them from the point of view of types, tread compound, wet and dry traction, durability, price, and UTQG system. Let’s see how these tires compare.


First things first, both tires have different types. The Premier is available in two types: Michelin Premier A/S and Michelin Premier LTX. Both are all-season tires with standard technology and optimum standard while driving.

The Premier A/S model boasts EverGrip Technology, which improves road grip in dry conditions. It also features Comfort Control Technology that helps to reduce road noise. Michelin went over the top with the Premier LTX, fortifying it with the Michelin Total Performance Package. These technologies deliver outstanding braking, all-weather traction, and fuel efficiency.

The Defender comes in two types: Michelin Defender T+H and Michelin Defender LTX. Both are also premium all-season tires that promise superb performance.

The Defender T+H is one of the longest-lasting tires among its peers. It features an EverTread Compound for more durability, and Comfort Control technology for minimized road noise. The Defender LTX goes above and beyond. It has the longest tread life in its category. It provides consistent all-season performance, good handling, and a smooth ride.

Tread Compound

The Premier AS tread features sunflower oil and silica. Sunflower oil gives the tire flexibility, helping it provide optimal traction in wet conditions. Silica improves the tire’s strength and prevents flexibility from going too far. The sunflower oil and silica combination ensures reliable traction in extremely cold weather.

The Premier LTX tread also features sunflower oil and silica. But, the LTX sets itself apart from the A/S with steel belts reinforced in polyamide and encased in polyester.

The Defender T+H also features silica. It helps the tire maintain its grip by expanding on slippery surfaces. This ensures that the tire maintains maximum traction on wet roads.

Despite the absence of silica in the tread compound, the Defender LTX performs no less admirably in wet conditions. This is all thanks to the tire’s 3D active sipes. The sipes help ensure safety on flooded roads.

Wet Traction

The Premier lineup is well known for its superb wet-weather performance. The A/S has expanding grooves placed strategically to expel water from the tires. It is outstandingly resistant to hydroplaning. It delivers excellent stopping power and cornering grip. But compared to the Defender, it has a slightly slower braking distance. The Premier LTX comes with Emerging Grooves and Expanding Grooves to expel water, strengthening its aquaplaning resistance. Thanks to these features, the LTX will continue to deliver excellent traction in wet road conditions.

Thanks to the IntelliSipe technology, the Defender T+H has a wonderful wet performance. It prevents hydroplaning while allowing perfect grip and control of the vehicle.

The Defender LTX comes with IntelliSipe Technology as well. Its wet weather performance is even better thanks to the circumferential and lateral grooves. They help remove water from the tread area and prevent hydroplaning. However, it has overall grip and traction.

Dry Traction

The A/S offers a comfortable riding experience. The EverTread Compound ensures safety despite tire wear. It offers excellent short braking distance and seamless cornering on dry roads. You thought the A/S was good? The Premier LTX is even better. It provides outstanding handling, grip, and traction at high speeds.

One thing I can say about the Defender lineup, they are fantastic on dry roads. While both are outstanding, MaxTouch technology fortifies the Defender T+H which allows better acceleration and braking at higher speeds.


This is where things take a drastic turn. While the Premier lineup is built for performance and comfort, the Defender line is built with cost and durability in mind.

For treadwear warranty, the Premier A/S comes with a 60,000-mile warranty and a six-year tread life span. The LTX also has a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty. The Defender T+H comes with a whopping 80,000-mile treadwear warranty with at least six years of tread life span. The Defender LTX on the other hand has a little difference of a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty.


Considering its top-notch technologies and luxury, the Premier lineup is a bit more expensive than the Defender. With a significant 20% difference in price, the Defender takes the prize for affordability. I have to say that the difference in price doesn’t mean that Michelin compromises the quality of its Defender lineup.

UTQG System

The Uniform Tire Quality Grading System (UTQGS) is a federal system of grading passenger tires. The winter tires are not included in this grading. The system looks at your tire’s treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance. The treadwear category has different grade ranges for each tire type and lineup. The Premier has 620 for its treadwear which means it can last up to 60,000 miles or 6 years, depending on which comes first. The Defender, on the other hand, has a UTQG treadwear grade of 820 because it has a treadwear warranty of 80,000. The UTQG rating temperature resistance can be A, B, and C, with the A being the best and C the worst. The Premier has an A while the Defender has a B. The UTQG traction grading system, from best to worst, is AA, A, B, and C, with both the Premier and Defender having A.

Comparison Chart Summary

Michelin Premier Michelin Defender
Overall rating Overall best Runners-up
Surface Application Better performance on a wet road all-season highway tire
Tread block More blocks Lesser tread blocks
Rubber Density Higher density Lower density
Vehicle compatibility Designed for all-season, on-road SUVs and crossovers Designed for heavy-duty trucks and off-road SUVs
Load rating Can’t withstand heavy-duty loads Higher load rating and great for heavy-duty work
Fuel economy Products are not fuel-economical Increases fuel efficiency
Price Costlier (20% difference in some instances) Relatively affordable
Activity under pressure Works fairly with puncture Works excellently when  punctured
UTQG temperature A B
Wet Traction and handling Relatively lower wet grip and traction Relatively better traction and grip on a wet surface
Dry traction and handling Better traction Lower traction
Speed rating Has a slightly higher speed rating (H) Lower speed rating (H)
Treadwear warranty 60,000 80,000
UTQG Treadwear 620 820
UTQG traction A A

Michelin Premier Vs Defender: Similarities

Despite the disparities between the Michelin Premier and Michelin Defender, they are quite similar. Well, for one, they are great all-season options. Both lineups will serve you well on dry roads as well as wet, snowy, or icy roads. Both tires deliver excellent traction, handling, and grip on dry roads. They also offer outstanding hydroplaning resistance and impressive handling on wet roads.

Albeit there is a slight difference, both tires have similar warranties and guarantees. They also cover similar types of vehicles: crossovers, minivans, coupes, and family sedans.

They both come in similar sizes and are relatively quiet. Road noise is at an all-time minimum with these tires. Michelin is reputed for making high-quality tires and the Premier and Defender do not disappoint.

Michelin Premier Vs Defender: Which Is Better?

To be honest, both are splendid tires. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and work for different sets of people. But here is what I can tell you.

The Michelin Premier offers premium quality. It has a higher speed rating and better overall performance. If you value performance and enjoy speed, the Premier is for you. But I must warn you, these tires don’t come cheap. And they are less durable.

The Michelin Defender, on the other hand, trades speed and performance for safety and durability. And it is more affordable.

Best Michelin Premier Tire

MICHELIN Premier A/S All-Season Radial Car Tire

From my research and experience, the best Michelin Premier tire is the Michelin Premier A/S Radial tire. It is an all-season grand touring tire with outstanding performance. It has impressive technology that only adds to the luxury of the tire.

The EverGrip Compound ensures that the tire remains safe even when it is already half worn out. It is designed with sunflower oil that keeps the tire flexible and soft in low temperatures. Fortified with EverGrip built-in wet-braking technology, the tire can cover shorter braking distances on wet roads. Its Comfort Control Technology reduces road vibrations, reducing road noise to the barest minimum.

  • Excellent dry and wet traction
  • Impressive grip and handling
  • Minimum road noise
  • Luxury performance
  • Long tread life
  • Outstanding technology
  • Expensive
  • Snow traction can be better
  • Not so durable

Best Michelin Defender tire

MICHELIN Defender T + H All-Season Radial Car Tire

The best Michelin Defender tire is no doubt the Michelin Defender T+H. It is a regular all-season tire with points for durability and safety. The tire is built with IntelliSipe technology to ensure optimum grip and control in all seasons. Like the Premier A/S, the Defender T+H also has Comfort Control Technology for a quiet and comfortable ride.

The EverTread Compound ensures more durability. The tire distributes contact force evenly to maximize the tread life with its MaxTouch Construction. It comes with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty and a six years standard limited warranty.

When it comes to wet and dry braking, this tire performs well whether you’re at minimum or top speed. As an A-rated tire, the Michelin Defender T+H has a maximum sustainable speed of 112 miles per hour. This speed isn’t impractical for this tire as it provides quality handling at the legal speed limit. When cornering or maneuvering, or swerving into the left and back to your rightful lane, the steering feeling or responsiveness is massive.

  • Very durable
  • Long tread life and mileage warranty
  • Excellent wet and dry performance
  • Affordable
  • Snow and ice traction can be better

Michelin Premier Vs Defender: Which Is Better In The Snow?

To answer your question, let me refer back to the UTQG system. The UTQG traction grading system for passenger tires means the capacity of tires to stop in wet conditions, including snow, rain, and ice. The grading system comes in the order of AA, A, B, and C, from best to worst. The Michelin Premier and Defender both have the same A rating. From this point of view, I can tell you that both tires will do well in snow.

They will provide quality wet braking. You can rest assured your vehicle will get the needed stopping power and distance when you hit the brake pedal. However, regarding specific versions of these Michelin tire lineups, the Defender outshines the Premier in terms of performance in snow. It produces incredible traction on wet terrain than its counterpart.

Is The Michelin Defender A Good Tire?

Absolutely, yes! The Michelin Defender tires are reliable and good, enabling you to drive safely and comfortably without any hassle. It is fortified with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty. The Defender scores good points for safety and practicality. It’s available in a wide range of sizes. In terms of the UTQG temperature, the Defender belongs to the B class, which means that the tire has a strong resistance to heat build-up when subject to test conditions. It is an A-grade tire in terms of UTQG traction, meaning it can provide a quality stopping power in wet conditions. It is popular for its quality traction, treadwear, and temperature absorption ability. Overall, it is a good all-season tire, but it could do better.

Michelin Premier Vs Defender: Which Is Costlier?

Generally, the Premier is slightly costlier than the Defender. The Premier A/S is a bit more expensive than the Defender T+H. In our general consideration, the Premier standing on the more costly side is because of the better performance it offers. Overall, the difference in cost is slightly in the region of 20% or so. But you have to look at the product specifications and the seller. Some Defender tires can be crazily expensive in some auto stores and offered at a lower price in some others. The market forces sometimes determine the price zone of each product. In the end, if you get any of the two product lineups, you won’t regret investing your money.

Does The Michelin Premier Last Long?

The direct answer to your question is yes.  The Michelin premier has a 620 UTQG treadwear rating which means it can guarantee up to a range of 60,000-70,000-mile treadwear warranty. We have tires with more mileage and a manufacturer’s warranty. But a tire with this mileage warranty range isn’t bad after all. You can have this guy on your vehicle for up to six years before you think of changing it. But don’t forget that the durability or longevity of a tire depends ultimately on your driving style and conditions. If you’re a reckless driver who steps on the brake pedal suddenly, the life of your tire will reduce significantly. Careful driving means you will prolong the tire’s tread life warranty.

Premier Vs Defender: My Final Verdict

The natural question to ask as I conclude this article with you is ‘which is better, the Premier or the Defender? I will say without batting an eyelid that the answer lies with your preference. Again, the surface on which you want to tread also matters. Your driving condition is a factor you shouldn’t overlook, either.

While we can now all agree that the Michelin Premier is a bit on the high side, its offer of vintage luxury is unrivaled. It is a premium all-season tire with high-speed ratings. However, it is expensive and has less tread life.

The Michelin Defender is not as luxurious but it certainly makes up for it. It is highly durable, thanks to its long-lasting mileage warranty. For its safety features and other technology, the price is definitely fair.

So, which is it going to be? Well, if you want luxury and fun, the Premier is your best pick. But if you want practicality and affordability, I would recommend the Defender. There you have it. I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. Have a safe trip!