The major comparison between 19-inch and 20-inch wheels is their physical and mechanical features. They have minor differences in fuel consumption, smoothness of the ride, grip, and traction.
From my experience, 20” wheels are stiffer than 19” wheels. However, 19-inch wheels offer a better ride than 20-inch wheels due to a thicker sidewall.
But that’s not all. I will tell you between 19- and 20-inches wheels, which one is generally better and why.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel? What’s Better?
The 19-inch wheel is better than 20-inch because of its strength, reduced rotational mass, and tire choice size. The weight size, rigidity, and functionality of 19-inch wheels make it the choicest among auto owners who want to enjoy a great ride at lower maintenance cost.
20” wheels are more prone to damage and rarely last longer than 19” due to their stiffness and weight, unlike 20 inches. The 19-inch wheel is better due to its flexibility and lighter weight size.
19’’ tires also have taller sidewall than the 20” and are therefore more compliant and less harsh. 20” wheels are large, so they have low profile meaning that the sidewalls will be less than the sidewall of 19”.
The sidewall of a tire is the smooth vertical area between the edge of the tread and the tire’s bead. A tire whose sidewall fits perfectly to a wheel is the best.
19-inch wheels are better than the 20-inch wheel in terms of weight. The 20-inch is heavier than the 19-inch, hence a lower performance and decreased acceleration.
20-inch wheels are costlier than 19-inch wheels because of the cost of additional alloys needed to increase their thickness, weight, and strength.
However, understand the workable tire pressure that’s okay for the wheel and vehicle before deciding what wheels to buy. For most vehicles, running on a full-load normal pressure can cause a harsher experience than operating under the full-load normal pressure.
The downside to lower pressure in both 19- and 20-inches wheels, respectively, is from poor gas mileage, reduced top speed, and shortened trade life of the tires.
Also read: 18 vs. 19-Inch Wheels: Full Comparison
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Fuel Consumption
A 19-inch wheel will conserve more fuel than a 20-inch wheel. The 20-inch can consume more fuel than the 19-inch wheels because they are heavier and has lower sidewalls.
The size of a 12-inch wheel is always a barrier to its acceleration. Hence, its speed can be slower than a car with 19-inch wheels when the acceleration of 20-inch vehicles isn’t efficient. It’ll consume more fuel.
In essence, a 20-inch wheel has a poor fuel economy compared to a 19-inch wheel. In the same way, the cost of maintaining the larger wheels will increase. There is also a tendency that 20-inch wheels automobiles may produce more carbon.
Remember that the smaller the wheels, the faster the vehicles, and the more fuel is conserved.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Smooth Ride
20-inch wheels are known to offer poorer comfort compared to 19-inch wheels. Larger wheels use low-profile tires having a smaller sidewall. By implication, there is less pressure in the tire which provides less cushion and comfort, especially against cracks and potholes on the roads.
Using 20-inch wheels on a bad or cracked road is a horrible idea because gallops always produce dangerous impact forces on the body.
Unlike in 20-inch wheels, the adequate air in smaller wheels and tires helps cushion the road’s feeling while driving over bumps. The additional cushion in 19-inch tires and wheels also help to reduce noise in the cabin.
When the smooth road, 20-inch wheels are OK, but not on fractured roads with potholes because all the road disturbances and impact forces will be transmitted to the cabin.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Grip and Traction
20-inch wheels provide more traction and grip on the road than 19-inch wheels. A typical 20-inch wheel will have a larger tire surface that runs on the road’s surface and provides.
A 20-inch wheel is recommended when driving on an oily or damp road. It’ll provide a safer and easy-to-control ride.
Summarily, go for a 20” wheel if you live in areas prone to ice and oily surfaces with a possibility of the road being slippery. A 19-inch wheel will perform terribly in such a place and provide a low or zero grip and traction.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Off-Road
20-inch wheels with good grip and traction and grip on muddy, rocky, or oily terrains will do better than a 19-inch wheel. 20-inch wheel combined with perfect 20-inch off-road tires can help a driver navigate boulders, rocks, sand, and even snow.
A serious adventurer knows that solid and rigid 20-inch wheels are essential parts of a good trip. It gives the rider a sense of security and confidence even when climbing rubbles and tracks with uneven surfaces.
Tires attached to 20” wheels often have specially designed sidewalls, tread patterns, and grooves. The strongly reinforced sidewalls and strong tread patterns help it to resist punctures.
While 20-inch wheels and tires are recommended on rough and uneven surfaces, they are terrible on tarmacs and tarred roads. Instead, they would produce noise and discomfort to the driver. I need to mention too that while 20-inch vehicles can conserve fuel on rocky tracks, their fuel efficiency is poor on smooth expressways.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Braking and Acceleration
20-inch wheels have lower acceleration and braking than 19-inch wheels due to the extra size and weight of 20-inch wheels. The engines of 20-inch vehicles will have to work harder to turn the wheels effectively.
This means that a smaller (19 inch) wheel makes it easier for the driver to control at any point. While the enormous size and giant look of 20-inch wheels can improve the car’s beauty, it kills the speed and affects the braking system.
Most vehicles running on 20-inch wheels are like tractors and bulldozers. They are hard to control down a slope because the larger the wheel, the heavier the tires. Trying to apply the brakes can badly affect the braking system.
Also, when brakes are forcefully applied on 20-inch vehicles, the friction is always intense and results from wearing and tearing.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Appearance
Many vehicle owners choose 19-inch wheels because of the visual satisfaction it gives and the sense of visual fulfillment that comes with them. But generally, the choice is always individual.
Many auto owners would go for large wheels because they look presentable and aesthetic? Some would run away from small 19-inch wheels because they can look lost under wheel arches.
People who prefer visual appeals of auto parts over and above quality will always go for 20-inch wheels and tires over again. Also, note that the higher the friction, the faster the mechanical aspects of the brake wear off.
19-inch wheels are always better in acceleration and braking, though you might not quickly notice the differences until you make a switch.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Tire Wear
A 20-inch wheel will wear off quickly despite its grip and traction, while 19-inch wheels may wear slowly. Therefore, 19-inch wheels are used in racing cars.
First, note that the more the metal, the heavier the wheel. The heaviness of a wheel can determine the wear and tear per hour.
19-inch tires and wheels can last longer than 20-inch wheels and tires, which means cost-efficiency and extended lifespan and mileage.
19 vs. 20 Inch Wheel: Price
The prices of 20-inch wheels are higher than those of 19 wheels depending on several factors such as the terrain where it’ll be used, climate, economic conditions, and market choice.
19-inch rims are usually cheaper, but the tires can be costlier than 20 inches rim tires. However, this trend is not permanent as a change in market values, and innovations in wheel technology can influence the prices of 19” and 20” wheels.
People buy the type and size they want; they can pay for the brands, quality, size, and designs.
In icy Scandinavian and arctic regions such as Finland, Norway, Denmark, Russia, and Iceland, drivers prefer 20 inches to 19-inch wheels. As a result of this high demand, the prices of the 20-inch wheels will be higher than the 19-inch brands.
This is because only 20-inch wheels can overcome ice, rough terrains, rocky, and slippery topography common in those parts of the world. Here, 19-inch wheels cannot be used efficiently or at all.
Between 19-Inch and 20-Inch Wheels, Which one is the Best?
19-inch wheels are suitable for smooth rides with no bumps and impacts because they provide cushion; 20-inch wheels with poor sidewall tires aren’t good.
Though 20-inch wheels do exceedingly well on rocky and icy roads where the track is not smooth, a 19-inch wheel is perfect for attaining high acceleration and better fuel efficiency only on slippery roads.
Looking for quality and durability, spend your money on 19” wheels. If you’re out there interested in aesthetics, opt-in for 20” wheels, but be sure to check if the brand matches your speedometer.