BSW vs OWL Tires

BSW vs OWL Tires: An In-Depth Comparison to Enhance Your Driving Experience

The right set of tires can transform your journey, providing safety, performance, and grip on the road. As you search for the best, you come across these two sidewall champions – BSW and OWL tires.

So, BSW vs. OWL tires, which is truly supreme? The answer lies in the nuances of your driving needs and preferences. BSW tires, with their sleek black sidewalls, exude timeless elegance. On the other hand, OWL tires make a bold statement with their outline white lettering, adding a touch of personality and nostalgia to your ride

This article compares BSW and OWL tires in-depth, delving into their features and considerations. 

An Overview of BSW vs OWL Tires

Here is an overview of the features of these tires in the table below.

BSW TiresVsOWL Tires
BlackSidewall ColorWhite
NoneLettering StyleOutline
Sleek and understatedAestheticsBold and eye-catching
Less prominent lettering blends with sidewallVisibilityProminent white lettering stands out
A wide variety of tread patterns and styles are availableDesign OptionsLimited design options
Less prone to showing dirt and grimeMaintenanceWhite lettering requires more cleaning and maintenance
Generally more affordableCostHigher price due to branding and limited availability
Generally durable and resistant to sidewall damageSidewall DurabilityProne to scuffs, scratches, and discoloration due to white lettering
Commonly used as original equipment on various vehiclesOEM ApplicationsLess commonly used as original equipment
The preferred choice for daily driving, commuting, and general useUsage ConsiderationsThe preferred choice for those seeking a distinct, eye-catching appearance

Understanding BSW Tires

BSW is a short form for Black Sidewall tires. These tires are distinguished by their solid black sidewalls, without any visible markings or designs. They have the following characteristics:

  • Timeless elegance: BSW tires offer a versatile, timeless aesthetic that complements various vehicle styles and colors. The black side walls provide a classic and sophisticated appearance that can enhance the overall look of your vehicle.
  • Low-key presence: BSW tires are known for their subtle presence on the road. Their understated nature allows other aspects of your vehicle, such as the body color or wheel design, to take the spotlight.
  • Customization options: These tires typically come in a solid black sidewall design. However, they can be further customized with tire stickers, decals, or even colored wheel inserts if desired.

Understanding OWL Tires

OWL stands for Outline White Letter Tires. These tires are characterized by white lettering or designs that outline the raised portions of the tire sidewall. Here are the characteristics of OWL tires:

OWL Tire
  • Eye-catching appearance: The prominent white lettering or designs on the sidewall of OWL tires create a bold and attention-grabbing look. The white outline contrasts with the black background of the sidewall, making the lettering or designs eye-catching.
  • Personalization and branding: OWL tires provide built-in personalization options. The white lettering allows for showcasing the tire brand, model, or other unique designs. This provides a sense of individuality and branding for the tire and the vehicle.
  • Nostalgic appeal: OWL tires are nostalgic, as they were particularly popular during the 1950s and 1960s. Their classic and retro style can evoke a sense of vintage charm and pay homage to the golden era of automotive design.
  • Increased visibility: The white lettering or designs on OWL tires enhance their visibility, especially in low-light conditions or on dark-colored vehicles. This increased visibility can contribute to safety by making the tire sidewalls more visible to other drivers on the road.

An In-depth of the Differences Between BSW vs OWL Tires

Here is how these two tires differ:

1. Sidewall Color

The most apparent difference is their sidewall color. BSW tires have a black sidewall, which gives them a sleek and understated appearance. 

On the other hand, OWL tires feature a white lettering outline on the sidewall, creating a contrast against the black rubber.

Here is a video illustrating this clearly:

2. Lettering Style

As the name suggests, BSW tires do not have specific lettering on the sidewall. Instead, the emphasis is on the black sidewall itself.

OWL tires, however, showcase prominent lettering outlined in white on the sidewall. This white lettering provides a visual contrast against the black rubber and serves as a means of personalization and branding for the tire.

3. Design Options

BSW tires offer various design options regarding tread patterns and styles. Numerous choices are available, from all-season tires for every day driving to performance tires for enhanced grip and handling and off-road tires for rugged adventures.

On the other hand, OWL tires often have limited design options as the focus is primarily on showcasing white lettering. However, they can still be found in various tread patterns and styles with fewer choices than BSW tires.

4. Durability and Maintenance

BSW tires are generally resistant to sidewall damage and withstand typical road conditions. The black sidewall is less prone to scuffs, scratches, and discoloration, maintaining a cleaner appearance over time. 

OWL tires require more maintenance in terms of sidewall appearance. The white lettering on the sidewall can be more susceptible to scuffs, scratches, and dirt accumulation. Therefore, regular cleaning and maintenance may be necessary to keep the white lettering crisp and vibrant. Also, compare between Nitto Ridge Grappler Vs. BFG KO2

5. Cost and Availability

BSW tires are more affordable than OWL tires. The pricing difference can be attributed to various factors, including production costs, branding, and demand. BSW tires are widely available and offered by multiple manufacturers and brands. The price starts from as little as $90, depending on size.

OWL tires have a higher price tag double that of BSW. You need $200 and above to purchase this tire depending on the size and style you need. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between BSW and OWL Tires

Here are some considerations and guidance on when to choose BSW or OWL tires:

1. Tire Aesthetics

Consider the overall appearance you desire for your vehicle. BSW tires offer a sleek and understated look that complements various vehicle styles. And OWL’s white outline adds visual contrast against the black sidewall, creating a more eye-catching and distinctive appearance.

2. Personal Style and Expression

Think about your personal style and the image you want to project with your vehicle. BSW tires are versatile and can suit various personal styles. But OWL tires can be a great choice if you want to showcase your unique personality and express your individuality through your vehicle. Know about the biggest tires that fit chevy express van

3. Driving Conditions and Performance

Evaluate the driving conditions you typically encounter and the desired performance characteristics. All-season BSW tires provide good traction and handling in various weather conditions, making them suitable for everyday driving. 

OWL tires, while also available in different performance levels, may have a more limited range than BSW tires. If performance is not a significant concern and you prioritize the visual impact of your tires, choose OWL tires. They can still provide adequate performance for everyday driving needs.

4. Maintenance and Cleaning

Think about the level of maintenance and cleaning you are willing to commit to. Regular cleaning with mild soap and water is usually sufficient to keep BSW tires looking their best. 

OWL tires, with their white lettering, require more attention to maintain their crisp appearance. And remember to wash these at a car wash or on the grass to protect waterways.

5. Cost and Value

Consider your budget and the value you expect from your tires. The pricing difference between these two can be attributed to various factors, including production costs, branding, and demand. However, weigh the cost against the desired features and benefits to ensure you get the best value for your investment.


Here are answers to some common questions about these two tires:

Q: Can OWL Tires Improve the Resale Value of My Vehicle?

Yes, but as the visual appeal of OWL tires can enhance the overall appearance of your vehicle, it is difficult to determine their direct impact on the resale value. Factors such as the vehicle’s overall condition, maintenance history, and market demand are significant in determining the resale value. 

Q: Can OWL Tires be Customized with Different Colors for the Lettering?

No, OWL tires typically feature white lettering on the sidewall. The lettering color cannot be customized to different colors. The white outline is a distinctive feature of OWL tires and adds to their unique appearance.

Q: Can I Switch Between BSW and OWL Tires on My Vehicle?

Yes. This is as long as they are compatible with your vehicle’s specifications, such as tire size, load rating, and speed rating.


The comparison between BSW vs OWL tires reveals distinct differences in sidewall color, lettering style, and aesthetics. The two also have different visibility, design options, personalization, performance, maintenance, cost, etc. 

BSW tires offer a sleek and understated look, making them a versatile and popular choice for drivers seeking a timeless and refined appearance. On the other hand, with their white lettering, OWL tires provide a bold and eye-catching style.

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