A little extra traction can go a long way when you are riding in icy or otherwise slippery conditions. Carbides are an excellent way to cut through ice and snow to help keep your sled under control.
I like to use carbides on my snowmobile in early and late winter when there often isn’t as much good snow, and slippery tracked out trails are more common. I’ve used several different lengths and angles over the years to get a better grip.
The Executive is a higher-end carbide that will work well for riders who hit the trail often and demand excellent performance.
There are other options to examine that will deliver added handling and performance. In this article, I’ll show you what are the best options.
Snowmobile steering improvements are only a few bolts away, so let’s get started.
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Top Choices for Best Snowmobile Carbides
Carbides will give you longer-lasting performance and handling than regular runners. They also provide you with a boost of steering in icy conditions and can prolong the life of your skis if you run into rocks, dirt, or ice along the way.
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Comes in a pack of 2, compatible with many skis, ½” round mounts, durable, excellent grip
- Dimensions: 27” X 4” X 7”
- Construction: ½’ round mounting, carbide runners
- Angle: 60-degrees
The Ski-Doo Woody Executive sits on top of the list. These are a great set of carbides that will give your sled excellent grip and increased handling in ice and hardpacked snow.
These are my favorite option because they are designed for aggressive use, making them focused on high-performance. This becomes very apparent out on the trail with better handling noticeable right away.
If you like to push your sled to the limits and don’t want to sacrifice speed on an icy day, these carbides will allow you to dig in and get after it.
The 60-degree angle offers an excellent cut into the snow and will allow your skis to stay stable and balanced as you ride. They are also highly durable for reliable performance, and you can expect these to remain precise for a few seasons of heavy use before resharpening.
½” round mounting points make them compatible with a variety of skis and sleds, but as they are more intended for Ski-Doo machines, make sure to double-check that they will fit before purchasing.
For superior traction, durability, and all-around excellent performance, the Executive is the way to go.
- Best for: 6-inch option
- Key features: Aggressive performance, excellent bite, and digging power, easy install, durable, comes with wear pads, wide compatibility
- Dimensions: 36.5” X 5.5” X 0.5”
- Construction: ½” host bar, hard weld filler
- Angle: 60-degrees
A 6-inch carbide is the standard size for all-around performance and the recommended length for most purposes.
The SnowStuds 6” Round Bar is the best option to use at that length because of its durable nature, extended-wear use, and all-around performance.
This is another aggressive option that is built with the needs of a seasoned snowmobiler in mind. You can expect high performance out of these carbides under any condition, and they will give you superior steering capabilities in slick and icy snow.
Another stand-out feature is just how tough these are. They can take a beating and keep on ticking. And on top of that, they come with front and rear wear pads that extend their life even further.
They are brazed on four surfaces to reinforce the already solid construction, and the ½’ host bar makes them easy to install on a wide variety of machines. These will work on nearly every type of ski.
They can be a bit too aggressive for a casual rider and decrease your darting ability as your skis will not slip and move quickly as the runners dig in. While that gives you good handling, it can limit some freestyle fun.
- Best for: Durability
- Key features: Wide design allows four parallel traction lines, multiple sizes available, extremely durable, increased darting ability
- Dimensions: Not specified
- Construction: Wider built, 7/16” runners
- Angle: 60 and 90-degrees available
If you want an incredibly durable set of carbides, look no further than the Woody’s Dooly.
These are wider than your average option, making them stronger and longer-lasting than the competition. This wide design gives your four parallel traction lines for increased handling and performance in icy conditions.
The wider nature does mean that these won’t dig into the snow as deep as a single carbide type of runner. So these are not the best option for superior traction.
But less bite means you will experience quicker darting and maneuverability, making these a good option for the rider who wants a little extra carbide traction without sacrificing too much fast action potential.
They are also available in several different lengths and either 60 or 90-degree cuts. This makes the Dooly a very versatile option that you can easily match to your preferences and conditions.
Wider isn’t always better, but if you are looking for a very durable option that is a lot of fun to use, these come highly recommended.
- Best for: All-around performance
- Key features: Extra-long studs, wear pads included,
- Dimensions: 35.25” X 5.25” X 0.5”
- Construction: Full-length hardweld surfaces
- Angle: 60-degrees
Sometimes carbides can be a little too aggressive for softer snow conditions, but if you don’t have them, you’ll slip and slide when things turn to ice.
The Woody’s Extender Trail III Flat-Top provides an easy solution to this problem by giving you excellent all-season performance that can dig in when you need it without being too aggressive to limit powder handling.
These are a very popular carbide for that reason and are used by many different riders in all sorts of conditions and terrains.
A sharp 60-degree angle gives you plenty of digging power to maintain control on hard surfaces, while the 4-inch length keeps things modest so you can still turn quickly in softer conditions.
Durability is made possible by full-length hard weld surfaces between the inserts. This offers reliable performance that will have you covered season after season.
Extra-long studs make the Extender Trail III easy to install, and they will work on a variety of different sleds. However, this long length can make them somewhat prone to bending if you hit a rock or stump.
If you want reliable performance in any condition, these all-season carbides are worth exploring.
- Best for: Budget pick
- Key features: comes with wear pads, performance options in a budget package, affordable, easy install
- Dimensions: Not specified
- Construction: 4-inch length, hard weld construction between pads
- Angle: 60-degrees
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to get a quality carbide on your sled.
The EPI Polaris Carbide Runners will give you decent performance out of a budget option. They are highly affordable but still provide increased steering and handling capabilities across the board.
These are another 4-inch length option that is versatile and effective in changing conditions. A 60-degree angle adds excellent traction and grip. These can wear down a little quicker than some more expensive options, however.
The hard weld design makes them reasonably durable, but I wouldn’t expect more than about a season of regular wear out of these, which hurts their value just a bit.
They are compatible with many OEM skis but might not fit aftermarket options, so be sure to check for compatibility before you purchase.
For a quick, easy, and affordable set of carbides that will give you versatile performance, the EPI Carbide Runners are great.
What to Look for in Snowmobile Carbides
Be sure to take these considerations into account when getting new carbides for your snowmobile.
Carbides come in different angles, which plays a big part in how much grip they give you. Depending on the conditions you ride in and the handling improvements you are looking for, you’ll want to choose an angle to match.
The most common angles that carbides come in are 60-degrees and 90-degrees. I usually use a 60-degree as this gives you more bite into the ice and boosts handling. But the extended cut will wear out faster.
90-degrees is a good angle for the average rider who doesn’t do anything too aggressive and wants to avoid replacing their carbides very often.
Length is another important consideration when choosing a snowmobile carbide. Longer lengths will provide you with increased handling and steering because the extra material gives you a deeper cut and extended edge hold.
Shorter lengths won’t provide as much control but are generally cheaper. The most common length of carbides is 6-inches. You could use a shorter or longer option depending on your needs and budget.
After a season or so of heavy use, your carbides will start to dull and won’t be quite as effective as they once were. You can sharpen or recondition these to get them close to new again. It’s kind of like sharpening a knife.
If you have never done this on your own before, I would suggest taking your carbides to a snowmobile shop to have them sharpened. But you can also do it yourself with a few tools and the proper sharpening stone. Check out the video below for more on that.
The Ski-Doo Woody Executive is my choice for the best snowmobile carbides. These are strong, durable, and will give you an immediate boost in steering and control on the trail.
Any carbide will give you better performance on ice and hard-packed snow than runners made out of other materials. And either of those is a definite upgrade over just running your skis bare.
All of the options here, and any carbide really, is a great way to give your sled an easy performance boost to have a better bite when you need it.About Chaz Wyland