December 8, 2022 | By Derek Mau & Bryon Dorr
Tackle even the roughest terrain with our picks for the best off-road wheels out there. M12 High Tensile Bolts
When it comes to taking the road less traveled, having the best off-road wheels — along with a solid set of tires — is a basic necessity. We’re committed to helping you find outstanding off-road wheels. Outfitting your adventure rig with a set of sturdy off-road wheels will give you added protection and confidence for all your off-roading adventures.
Off-road wheels are designed to tackle the roughest terrain and boost your vehicle’s overall performance when far from the homestead. And, of course, they can improve the appearance of your truck or SUV if you’re going for that rugged off-road aesthetic. Adding a sleek center cap is also a subtle way to elevate your trail rig’s look.
While steel wheels are sturdy and typically the most budget-friendly option, aluminum is the best material if you can afford it, thanks to its strength-to-weight ratio. Cast, forged, or flow-formed — it’s all good when working with aluminum. Moreover, wheel design isn’t only about the cosmetic appeal, but also how it influences the qualities that maximize strength, durability, and functionality.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best off-road wheels on the market today. Along with that, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding off-road wheels. For each rim, we’ve highlighted all the essential details you need to make the right choice for you and your sweet ride.
And to finish outfitting your truck or SUV for all your off-roading adventures, add the best mud-terrain tires or all-terrain tires to get out exploring with confidence.
ICON Alloys is a subdivision of ICON Vehicle Dynamics, a premier manufacturer specializing in aftermarket suspension components for trucks, SUVs, and off-road vehicles for sport and racing rigs. Its off-road racing and rock crawling experience led ICON to develop a patented non-beadlock system strong enough to hold onto a tire under extreme conditions without the usual hardware and frequent maintenance associated with a beadlock.
The Rebound Pro series, engineered with the company’s patented Innerlock technology, is a DOT-approved off-road wheel that keeps the tire from shearing off by using a series of O-ring-sealed, hardened alloy pins positioned radially on the inner side of the tire bead.
The pins create a physical boundary that holds the tire in place under extreme side loads. Unsprung weight is significantly lighter than a traditional beadlock wheel, and the pins don’t require retorquing.
Note that you can’t use your stock lug nuts with the Compression wheels. ICON Alloys call for 60-degree acorn-style lug nuts to seat correctly, readily available at auto parts stores or tire and wheel dealers.
Pro Comp Rock Crawler Xtreme Series 51 steel wheels are budget-friendly while still being able to handle demanding off-roading conditions. In terms of finish, you can get the Series 51 in either a flat black or gloss black powder coat finish.
There are lots of options for getting the right fitment. Applications to choose from include 15-, 16-, or 17-inch diameters in a five- or six-lug bolt pattern. You can also pick the width and offset to fit your vehicle.
These wheels have a load capacity of 1,600 pounds. Reviewers note that they had no issues when mounting and balancing the wheels. It is important to note that you will need to purchase lugs separately. And if you want some fanciness to these steel wheels, you can add a Pro Comp center cap.
EVOCorse has a long, respected heritage with rally racing. Their products are manufactured in Italy and undergo testing in the demanding and extreme conditions faced in the Baja 1000, Dakar Rally, and other brutal rallies. Subsequently, the DakarZero can withstand the harshest conditions these types of races will throw at you.
The Italian-designed off-road wheel, which has a clean look, is the low-offset version of the DakarCorse and is designed to fit aftermarket big brake kits. Construction is a low-pressure cast from A356 aluminum alloy with T6 heat treatment for enhanced durability.
The triple-layer powder coating protects the wheel and looks slick. Our minor gripe is that the vinyl logo isn’t as rugged.
You’ll need a set of extended thread 60-degree conical seat lug nuts to go along with your purchase.
Coming from the well-known wheel manufacturer KMC, this burly matte bronze and black cast aluminum wheel is sure to elevate the performance and look of your adventure ride. KMC makes the KM535 in 16-, 17-, 18-, and 20-inch diameters, although the 17×8 is the most common option. The wheel comes with a five and six-lug pattern.
The “Grenade” features a split eight-spoke design and simulated beadlock with surface bolts along the outer rim. A KMC center cap finishes off the look. KMC wheels are covered under a lifetime structural warranty and a one-year warranty on the finish.
With these undeniably sleek-looking wheels, your off-road truck or SUV will look brand new — until you take it out for a spin in the dirt. Standard finish choices include ORE and Tarmac, or you can specify one of 17 custom colors from the HRE palette.
The thoughtful design is compatible with Brembo big brake kits. Sizing is limited to 17- and 20-inch diameters with specific bolt patterns based on fitment. Along with the wheel, you also get a stylish snap-in center cap.
The HRE FT1 is a flow-form cast aluminum wheel protected by a thick powder coat layer. When seen in person, the FT1 is a work of art. The powder coating has a smooth, uniform feel with zero visible defects. Not only are they spectacular to behold, but HRE’s FlowForm casting process also produces a beautiful wheel with strength and resilience on par with forged aluminum.
The FT1s are load rated for mid-size and full-size trucks. Available in five- and six-lug applications for popular vehicles such as Toyota Tacoma/4Runner, Jeep Wrangler/Gladiator, Ford Raptor, and the new Ford Bronco, plus half-ton Chevy, RAM, and Ford trucks.
HRE manufactures their FlowForm wheels in Japan under tight quality control. The factory offers a limited lifetime structural warranty and a 3-year finish warranty. You’ll need to purchase aftermarket lugs separately.
The Method Race Wheels 700 series features the company’s patented Bead Grip technology. This crucial component allows airing down for off-road and rock-crawling excursions without worrying about the tire de-beading and slipping off the wheel. The bonus is that Method Race Wheels are street-legal, don’t have the maintenance associated with a beadlock wheel, and cost less.
Quite often, it’s all about curb appeal. Color selections for model 706 include bronze or matte black, both of which look dapper. The 17- and 18-inch diameters with differing widths and offsets cover a wide variety of common fitments. A stylish snap-in center cap comes with each wheel purchase.
Method Race Wheels offers a lifetime structural warranty to the original customer with each purchase. You will need to purchase aftermarket lugs separately.
American Racing makes some of the most popular off-roading rims out there. With these AR172 Baja aluminum wheels, you can decide on either polished aluminum or painted black.
These wheels are ideal for light-duty SUVs and trucks. To get the perfect fit, the sizes range from 15-, 16-, and 17-inch diameters with varying bolt patterns, widths, and offsets.
This wheel also comes with a sleek branded center cap that will make your rig look like it is meant for the tallest mountains and the most intense mud roads. And if that’s where you plan on taking it, you can rest assured that these sturdy wheels are up to the task.
American Racing offers a lifetime structural warranty and a one-year finish warranty for the painted finish option. Lug nuts with a conical 60-degree seat will fit the AR172 Baja wheels and must be purchased separately. Reviewers like that the simple design makes cleanup easy.
The Nomad, a division of RaceLine wheels, projects a minimalist vintage vibe. The Convoy aluminum wheels are elegant in their simplicity but are all business when it comes to off-roading.
It’s incredible how these aluminum wheels stand up to the thrashing when taking your vehicle off the beaten path. All Nomad wheels use the company’s Formlite flow-forming process, yielding a lightweight, strengthened wheel that resists heavy impacts. Integrated into the design is a reinforced lip for sturdiness.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose from either salt white, utility gray, or a satin black finish. A color-matched snap-on center cap with debossed Nomad logo comes with each wheel.
These wheels have a lifetime structural warranty.
Check Price at Nomad Wheels
Fuel has long been known for building some of the most aggressive, durable wheels out there — two features you absolutely want when looking for an off-road wheel to take you to new places.
New for 2022 is the Flame cast as a one-piece aluminum alloy. Go big or go home because the new design comes in three different diameters starting at 20 inches. Five- and six-lug bolt patterns are available, each with a load capacity of 2,500 pounds.
Fuel backs its wheels with a limited lifetime structural warranty to the original owner/purchaser.
American Expedition Vehicles is known for its platform-specific wheels that deliver the optimum balance of tire clearance, scrub radius, and handling. And expect nothing less from AEV’s 12-spoke Salta XR cast aluminum wheel, which is precisely designed for the Jeep Wrangler, Gladiator, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevy Colorado.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose from either an onyx or satin black finish. A molded center cap with debossed AEV logo comes with each wheel. The face of the wheel features laser-engraved SALTA XR lettering.
These wheels have a lifetime structural warranty. The oversized lug pockets will fit OEM lug nuts and don’t require a thin wall socket.
We get that people want the best value on gear before spending their hard-earned money. Our expert team carefully selects the products we cover and vigorously researches (and tests) our top choices.
Bottom line: The GearJunkie staff is dedicated to exhaustive analysis and helping our readers make informed choices.
It’s crucial to consider the following when searching for the best off-road wheels to pick the best match for your tires, vehicle, and use case.
When it comes to getting the appropriate size of off-road wheels for your truck or SUV, paying attention to the diameter and width of the rim is essential.
With diameter, it comes down to both preferences and the best fit for your vehicle. If you decide to go with a larger diameter rim, you may need to lift your truck or SUV to accommodate the larger wheel size.
It is also crucial to ensure that you don’t purchase wheels too small in diameter, as they probably won’t fit over your brake calipers. We recommend sticking with your OE wheel dimensions or size up as your current modifications or clearance will allow.
If a big brake kit was installed, check with the manufacturer to determine if the design will accommodate larger calipers.
The width of your rim will determine what size tire you can safely run. Most tires should have a recommended rim width range, measured in inches, that identifies the narrowest to the widest rim widths on which you can safely mount the tire.
To determine the correct fitment, check the specifications of your tires of choice. If you cannot find the information, contact the tire manufacturer. Alternatively, you can purchase your new off-road rims first and then find a set of tires to fit them.
When shopping for the best off-road wheels for your ride, pay attention to the bolt pattern specified in the product description. The bolt pattern needs to match your vehicle.
This spec is the number of lugs on the vehicle’s wheel, along with the diameter of a virtual circle formed at the center of the lugs themselves. Before purchasing off-road wheels, know the pattern and size of your vehicle’s bolts.
The offset is the distance from a rim’s hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. The measurement is in millimeters and classified as negative, positive, or zero offset.
A negative offset means the mounting surface is closer to the inboard side of the wheel. A positive offset means the mounting surface is nearer to the outboard or street side of the wheel. If an offset is zero, the mounting surface is located exactly at the wheel’s centerline.
Offset is essential because it determines whether a wheel will fit your vehicle, clear your brakes, and accommodate any suspension or other modifications you have made to your adventure rig. If you plan to upgrade to a larger rim and wider tire, you will need to make sure you purchase a wheel with the proper offset.
If you are sticking with a stock rim and tire size, purchasing a similar offset to what your vehicle is currently running is fine. If you have a modified ride or are planning to run a larger rim, speak to a trusted tire and wheel shop to determine what offset will work best for your vehicle before making your purchase.
Another great resource is this simple video on how to measure your wheel offset from Driftworks.
It’s best to know your vehicle’s maximum load capacity to match or exceed the correct load rating before purchasing a set of aftermarket off-road wheels. Generally, steel rims will have a higher load rating than aluminum, although aluminum wheels should be more than sturdy enough to handle the weight of most standard trucks and SUVs.
The finish of your off-road wheels mostly depends on preference. The most common finishes include painted matte or shiny black, chrome, bronze, and silver. Pick the color that will best complement your adventure rig.
For painted or matte finishes, note that they may show wear or scratches more obviously than polished chrome. Look for a corrosion-resistant finish to help prevent premature wear.
Aluminum is the most common material used for off-road wheels. The properties of aluminum are ideal for creating a robust, lightweight, and highly durable rim. Aluminum is overall non-corrosive and hearty enough to withstand rugged off-roading conditions.
Steel is another relatively common material for off-road wheels. It is generally more budget-friendly and still of excellent quality. Most steel wheels will have some kind of paint to prevent rust, but it is important to note that since steel is not corrosion-resistant, you will need to maintain this protective coating in the case of any nicks, chips, or scratches to prevent the wheel from rusting.
Off-road wheels are generally more durable than other wheels in order for them to maintain strength even on the roughest terrain. You won’t find one specific wheel type for off-roading, but there are numerous options, styles, and sizes to fit the specific needs of each vehicle and off-road use case.
Off-road wheels are either made of aluminum or steel. The more aggressive and robust off-road wheels will have beadlock technology.
In terms of off-road wheels, there are three common lug or bolt patterns — a five-lug wheel, a six-lug wheel, or an eight-lug wheel. The bolt pattern must match your vehicle’s bolt pattern for the wheel to fit. With that, it is necessary to know the lug (or bolt) pattern.
A wheel’s bolt pattern consists of two numbers. For instance, a potential bolt pattern could be 6×135. The “6” accounts for the number of lugs. But you still need to figure out the second number. The second number is the circle’s virtual diameter formed by the wheel’s lugs measured in either millimeters or inches.
For a five-lug wheel, measure from the middle point of one hole to the center of the hole across from it. In the case of a six-lug wheel, measure from the middle point of two holes that are across from one another. And for an eight-lug wheel, you can do the same thing.
It’s also meaningful to remember that some wheels may seem to fit more than one pattern. Keep in mind that accuracy matters. That means you’ll want to find the correct pattern whenever possible.
The most common rim size is around 17 inches. Nonetheless, larger-diameter wheels have become increasingly popular, especially for trucks. There is no clear-cut answer for the best rim size. Instead, it depends on your preferences in terms of performance and aesthetics.
The smallest wheel that will fit your vehicle properly and the tallest tire combo will offer the largest sidewall possible and usually result in the best off-road performance.
There are benefits to both aluminum wheels and steel wheels.
Overall, aluminum wheels are the most popular. Their properties result in a strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant rim. The lightweight nature of aluminum helps with performance and gas mileage and looks fantastic.
Steel wheels are generally heavier and cheaper. Fundamentally, steel wheels outperform aluminum in colder temperatures. While they’re not as aesthetically pleasing as aluminum wheels, they are often a more budget-friendly option. They are also much easier to field repair if a failure does happen.
A beadlock is a mechanical device that clamps the tire to the wheel. It does this using a deadlock ring that bolts around the outside of the wheel.
This arrangement provides extra protection from the tire detaching from the wheel, especially if you are running a very low tire pressure for added traction. That is why they’re used in extreme off-roading conditions.
With that said, beadlocks can pose a few safety hazards. Improper maintenance can result in a loose bolt that falls off and can cause damage to surrounding cars or the road. Check your current state rules and regulations to determine if beadlocks are street-legal for your area, as many beadlock wheels are allowed only off-road.
Beadlock wheels have an extra ring that fits along the perimeter of the wheel face. When installing, you slip the tire lip between the bead and the beadlock ring and tighten it with a series of heavy-duty bolts. The additional locking force allows you to safely run lower tire pressures, which isn’t possible with a conventional wheel.
On a standard rim, your tire would fit on the inner lip lines of the wheel, known as the beads. Then, the air pressure of a properly inflated tire secures it in place alongside the beads. The physics are straightforward and relatively safe because:
Off-roaders use the practice of deflating tires to lower air pressure levels, which allows the tire to conform better to irregular obstacles. It also gives the tire more surface area for more traction.
However, you also risk a tire’s bead losing its grip if not inflated to the recommended pressure. An underinflated tire is always bad news, but it’s dreadful if you’re miles from civilization where there’s no emergency road service.
Beadlock wheels, typically used for off-roading, allow you to run safely at ultra-low tire pressures than a conventional wheel that uses a bead grip system. A beadlock wheel uses an elaborate bolt and ring system where upward of 30 individual high-strength bolts are torqued to a specific tension to ensure that the ring applies equal pressure on the tire bead, keeping it clamped in place.
Most beadlock wheels are not DOT-approved for street use, and their cost is higher. Plus, they require special tools and routine re-tensioning of the bolts. The beadlock hardware accounts for additional unsprung and rolling weight, which negatively impacts acceleration, puts more load on the brakes, and affects ride quality.
An off-road rim engineered with new bead grip technology has additional design elements for low psi scenarios that keep the tire pressed to the inner lip lines of a wheel known as the bead.
For example, Icon Alloys uses a series of sealed pins placed radially along the rim to hold the tire in place under extreme lateral loads. Method Race Wheels have extra grooves and humps on both the inner and outer bead sets, providing a stronger hold under severe side load.
When inflated, the air pressure keeps the tire in place alongside the beads. The industry standard bead grip system is fantastic for most practices. There are no moving parts, it involves minimal maintenance, and properly inflated tires will stay on the rims with no problems.
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