Comparing Michelin Defender LTX M/S vs Bridgestone Dueler HT 685

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If you’ve been keeping up with my articles here, you might already know that trucks aren’t exactly my thing. I get why they appeal to some, especially if you’re into off-roading or need to haul big loads. But for someone like me who doesn’t do either, they don’t really hit the mark. However, professionalism comes first, and that’s why I’m diving into the world of trucks and SUVs today, including a head-to-head comparison of two noteworthy tires.

You might think that light trucks or SUVs could get by on standard tires, but that’s not quite right. While we’re still talking about the kind of tires you’d pick up at any shop, there’s a twist. These vehicles are bulkier, meaning their tires need a special design to support the extra weight and their specific uses.

Navigating through the tire options for these vehicles can be a bit of a maze, given the variety out there. With so many models on the market, choosing the best fit can feel overwhelming. Today, I’m here to make that choice a little easier by comparing two top contenders.

I’ve previously shared my thoughts on the Michelin Defender LTX M/S, highlighting its suitability for CUVs and SUVs. Pitting against it in today’s discussion is the Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685, another excellent choice for similar vehicle types. Which one comes out on top? Let’s delve into that.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Michelin always aims high, packing its tires with top-notch technology and features. Their tires often set the standard, and the Defender LTX M/S is no exception, earning high praise.

This tire sports a symmetric tread pattern, which might not be everyone’s favorite. However, Michelin has enhanced the stability of the tread blocks. This means you can expect better handling without the tire feeling unstable.

The Defender LTX M/S benefits from Michelin’s MaxTouch construction, which spreads out the forces on the tire. This leads to longer tire life due to even tread wear. Plus, it boosts stability, particularly in corners where tires typically struggle to maintain an even footprint.

Durability is further boosted by the EverTread rubber compound, Michelin’s all-season solution that promises reliable performance year-round. This compound, in combination with the tire’s construction, helps ensure it lasts as long as possible.

But what’s longevity without performance? Michelin has equipped the Defender LTX M/S with full-depth 3D sipes and zig-zag sipes. The former enhances wet surface traction, while the latter improves snow performance, making the tire versatile for all seasons.

Bridgestone Dueler HT 685

Bridgestone’s answer to the Michelin model is the Dueler H/T 685, a heavy-duty all-season tire designed for balanced performance throughout the year, aiming for durability.

This tire is built to handle various seasons, using an all-season rubber compound for flexibility in colder temperatures. It’s designed to perform well in winter conditions too, though it’s pliable in the cold.

For wet performance, the Dueler H/T 685 includes sipes and grooves throughout the tread for effective water evacuation. This design promises excellent traction on wet surfaces and resistance against aquaplaning.

While all-season tires might not be the first choice for heavy snow, the Dueler H/T 685 should handle light winter conditions well. Bridgestone has optimized the tread pattern for snow traction, offering a decent grip that extends its usability into the colder months.

With longevity in mind, Bridgestone has focused on optimizing the tire’s footprint for even wear. This approach ensures a longer life for the Dueler H/T 685, marking it as a reliable touring tire.

The Main Differences

Let’s dive into the comparison between the Michelin Defender LTX M/S and the Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685. This head-to-head matchup will help you decide which tire is the right choice for your vehicle.

Comparing Off-Road Performance

While highway tires are versatile, off-roading is a challenge they’re not quite cut out for. The Defender LTX M/S and the Dueler H/T 685 are no exceptions, particularly in more demanding conditions.

Winner: Tie

Comparing On-Road Performance

How do they hold up in dry conditions?

The main purpose of these tires is to offer safety and solid performance. Expect them to meet your daily driving needs efficiently.

Both the Defender LTX M/S and the Dueler H/T 685 excel in everyday scenarios, whether it’s school runs or grocery shopping, thanks to their design as touring tires.

When tested to their limits, we noticed a slight difference in performance. Although not groundbreaking, the Michelin model edges out with superior grip and traction when compared directly.

It’s important to note that these tires are not intended for sports cars or track use. However, on winding roads, the Defender LTX M/S showcases greater capability than the Dueler H/T 685, marking a significant advantage for Michelin. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely that many will push their trucks to these extremes, so this shouldn’t be seen as a significant drawback for the Bridgestone tire.

In terms of safety, measured by braking distances, the Defender LTX M/S slightly outperforms the Dueler H/T 685. Yet, both tires are reliable and perform well in this aspect, with the Michelin tire having a slight edge.

When it comes to highway stability, or how well the tire maintains performance at higher speeds, both tires are comparable. However, if we’re splitting hairs, the Defender LTX M/S is slightly superior.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

How They Perform on Wet Roads

Driving on wet roads is not ideal for any tire, but manufacturers strive to optimize their performance under such conditions. The Dueler H/T 685 and the Defender LTX M/S stand out as strong contenders, with a few differences worth noting.

On wet surfaces, cautious driving is common, making most tires seem adequate. This holds true for both the Defender LTX M/S and Dueler H/T 685, as they provide the necessary performance for a secure drive. They manage acceleration and cornering smoothly, with braking distances being impressively short for their class, an important feature for heavy trucks. Notably, the Michelin tire tends to offer marginally shorter braking distances.

While it’s rare for drivers to push their SUVs or trucks to the limits on challenging roads, testing both tires to their limits revealed their limitations in such extreme conditions. Aggressive acceleration leads to slipping in both cases, with the Defender LTX M/S showing slightly better traction. In cornering, the Michelin tire demonstrates enhanced grip, allowing for somewhat higher speeds. Though the difference isn’t stark, it’s perceptible.

Aquaplaning resistance is crucial, and both tires perform well in evacuating water and maintaining stability. The Defender LTX M/S, however, allows for a bit more speed before showing signs of instability. At high speeds, both tires can become unpredictable and unsafe.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Are They Good in the Handling Department?

Given that both tires are designed primarily for highway use, they fall into the touring category and are not the top choice for those seeking exhilarating handling.

For everyday driving, such as navigating through town, both tires excel and facilitate handling, especially important for larger vehicles. The Defender LTX M/S edges out with slightly better responsiveness, offering a sharper feel than the Dueler H/T 685. It’s worth noting that neither is suited for track use, but in situations requiring a bit more from them, the Bridgestone tire’s sidewall tends to flex more than Michelin’s.

Feedback is another aspect where Michelin’s tire slightly outperforms, providing a bit more communication to the driver, though not at the level of a UHP (Ultra High Performance) tire. The Dueler H/T 685, while not as communicative, is still better than some other models in this regard.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing Performance on Snow

When it comes to driving in winter conditions, many opt for all-season tires for their versatility. The Dueler H/T 685 and the Defender LTX M/S both excel in lighter snow and cold temperatures, staying flexible and maintaining performance—not quite summer levels, but definitely sufficient for most.

However, differences emerge with snowfall. The Defender LTX M/S proves more stable on snowy surfaces. While the Dueler H/T 685 holds its own on unpacked snow thanks to its biting force, it struggles a bit on packed snow. Here, the Michelin’s sipes edge out, offering better traction by effectively gripping into the snow.

Ice presents the clearest performance gap. The Dueler H/T 685 falls short when compared to the Defender LTX M/S, which offers marginally better usability in icy conditions, despite both being all-season tires.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing Treadwear and Durability

The warranty terms highlight a significant difference. While it’s not fair to label the Bridgestone as inferior outright, the Michelin’s warranty suggests it will last longer.

The Defender LTX M/S comes with a 70,000-mile warranty for T and H-rated versions, and 50,000 miles for R-rated ones. The Dueler H/T 685 offers a uniform 50,000-mile warranty across all its models.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing Comfort

Designed for a smooth drive, both the Defender LTX M/S and the Dueler H/T 685 aim to deliver comfort, whether on highways or urban roads. Despite both being notably comfortable, absorbing shocks and smoothing out road flaws, they differ in their approach to bounciness. The Defender LTX M/S strikes a balance, providing softness without excess bounce, whereas the Dueler H/T 685, while absorbing impacts slightly better, tends to be bouncier.

Noise levels for both tires are commendable, maintaining quietness on various surfaces and at highway speeds, with only a modest increase in noise on rougher roads.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing Price

Michelin tires come at a premium, and this is where Bridgestone gains an edge, albeit a small one. For a 16-inch LT size comparison, the Michelin is just above $300, with the Bridgestone model being about $30 less expensive.

Winner: Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685

Pros and Cons

While both tire options share some common ground, they distinctly diverge in several aspects.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S Pros & Cons


  • Offers slightly better overall performance.
  • Handles more responsively.
  • Comes with a longer warranty for treadwear.


  • More expensive.
  • Limited selection for light truck (LT) models.

Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685 Pros & Cons


  • More wallet-friendly.
  • Performance is close to that of the Michelin, not significantly inferior.
  • Provides superior options for light trucks and heavy-duty uses.


  • Challenges arise on tightly packed snow.
  • Can feel somewhat bouncy during rides.

Which Tire Should You Choose?

In our comparison, I’ve pointed out a few times that the Michelin tire might have the edge in certain areas. However, this doesn’t mean the Bridgestone tire falls short in performance.

When we look at how they perform, the Defender LTX M/S by Michelin takes the lead in specific conditions, like on snow, where it shines. The Dueler H/T 685 from Bridgestone is a bit behind, yet it’s a tight race. This detail might tilt some towards choosing the Michelin option. But, considering the price difference, Bridgestone emerges as a strong contender too.

Both tire choices are dependable, but they come with their own set of trade-offs. Opting for Michelin means enjoying superior performance but at a higher cost. Choosing Bridgestone, on the other hand, means saving some money at the expense of not having the top performance. Ultimately, both tires excel in their primary role – ensuring your safety.

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Lucas Liam

Hi, I'm Liam, the enthusiast behind Off Road Genius. With more than 10 years of conquering diverse terrains, my experience with Jeeps extends beyond the ordinary. I've mastered the intricate details of these off-road champions, pushing their capabilities to the limit. Through this platform, I share my profound knowledge and lessons learned from countless miles on the trail. I'm here to inspire, educate, and guide you through the thrilling world of Jeeps. So, buckle up for this adventure-filled ride!

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