17 vs 20 inch Wheels off Road – Which One Better? 

Do you want to buy new wheels for your off-road vehicle? Can’t you decide between 17 vs 20 inch wheels off road for your vehicle? Most off-road riders get confused about making the right choice, just like you. Luckily you have found the right article to solve your dilemma. 

There is no specific answer to this question about the right wheel size between 17 vs 20 inch wheels. That’s why here we designed this article with all the necessary details about the difference between these two wheels.

After reading through the following parts, we hope you can get the right wheel size for your off-road vehicle. Let’s start with the quick table below to know their dissimilarities at a glance.

17 vs 20 inch wheels off road – Comparison Table

17 vs 20 inch Wheels off Road
Features 17″ wheel20″ wheel
Tow ratingHigherLimited 
Weight LighterHeavier 
Handling Rough handling Improved handling  
Sidewall Higher tire sidewall Stiffer tire sidewall 
Price Less expensive Expensive 

17 vs 20 inch wheels off road: Detailed Discussion

17 vs 20 inch wheels feature some noticeable dissimilarities between their characteristics. Please check the following parts to get detailed information about the differences between these two wheels. 

Wheel size

The first difference between these two wheels is their sizes. One wheel comes in 17″ size while the other one is 20″ in size. You can easily see the difference in their physical appearance as well. Both of them are suitable for off-road vehicles, and they offer maximum stability against challenging off-road obstacles. 

Weight

These two wheels have a clear difference in their weight as well. For example, a 17″ wheel can weigh around 25 lbs each. 17-inch wheels add less additional weight to your vehicle. On the other hand, a 20″ wheel can weigh around 40 lbs each. As a result, 20″ wheels add extra weight to your vehicle, impacting overall fuel efficiency.

Sidewall

17″ vs 20″ wheels have a slight difference in their sidewall height. It definitely has a great impact on the overall performance of your off-road vehicle.

As we know smaller wheels offer increased sidewall than bigger wheels, similarly a 17″ wheel comes with a taller sidewall height than a 20″ wheel. Furthermore, 17″ wheels are more flexible than 20″ wheels for off-road obstacles.

Ride quality

If you compare the riding performance of both 17 vs 20 inch wheels off-road, there is a clear difference between these two wheels. A 17″ wheel comes with extra sidewall height that offers a smooth ride for challenging obstacles.

You can air down your tire to get the flexibility that ensures better traction against off-roading objects. In contrast to that, a 20″ wheel is stiffer; that’s why it offers a rough riding experience in off-road rides. 

Handling

If we compare the handling performance between 17 vs 20 inch wheels, they differ. For example, a 17″ wheel comes with a taller sidewall. It will face cornering a little bit more challenging.

On the other hand, a 20-inch wheel is stiffer, that’s why it offers increased cornering ability for your vehicle. 

Tow rating

It is a common matter that while wheel size increases, its sidewall height automatically goes down. 17 vs 20-inch wheels feature different towing capacities because there is a 3″ difference in their sizes.

A 17-inch wheel comes with a taller sidewall height that offers flexibility on off-road rides. In addition, it offers you the most stable, durable, and safe towing performance. 

On the contrary, a 20″ wheel comes with a shorter sidewall height than a 17″ wheel. As a result, it can’t provide the same or better towing performance than a 17-inch wheel. 

Price

Both 17 vs 20 inch wheels are suitable for off-road vehicles, but they come in different price ranges. The 17″ wheels are less expensive but offer great traction, stability, durability, and towing capacity for off-road terrains.

Opposed to the 17″ wheels, a 20″ wheel features an attractive look and comes with an expensive price range. Apart from that, a 20-inch wheel also offers great handling, maximum stability, excellent durability, and heavy-duty performance.

Pros and cons of 17 vs 20 inch wheel off-road:

17″ vs 20″ wheels are suitable for off-road vehicles for their professional performance. Both of the wheels have their own pros and cons when used for carrying heavier loads. Let’s check their advantages and limitations from the following.

17″ wheels

Advantages:

  • A 17-inch wheel comes in a cheaper price range.
  • It offers an extra sidewall for increased overall performance for off-road rides.
  • It provides tire flexibility for better stability and a smooth ride.
  • It is designed for off-road towing, hauling, and carrying heavier loads.
  • It comes with more wear and tear resistance.
  • Available for various tire options. 

Limitations:

  • It may come with a slightly difficult cornering ability.
  • It may not be suitable for paved surfaces.

20″ wheels:

Advantages:

  • A 20″ wheel comes with an attractive appearance.
  • It offers great cornering ability. 
  • It provides better traction and stability against off-roading objects.
  • It is suitable for hauling and carrying heavier loads.
  • It is designed for off-road vehicles.

Limitations:

  • It may not be suitable for towing performance.
  • It comes in an expensive price range.

Which one is better: 17 or 20 inch wheels for towing?

When it comes to choosing the right size wheels for towing, the following things you should consider for a satisfying purchase. First, consider your trailer’s weight before choosing wheel size. It is important to make sure that your desired wheels can support the weight of your trailer and its contents.

Then, consider the terrain you’ll be traveling on with your expected wheels. Larger wheels may be a better option for often off-roading. Here’s a quick rundown of 17 vs 20 inch wheel sizes for towing:

17-inch wheels: These are a good option if you’re looking for great towing performance. 17-inch wheels are strong enough to support most trailers and off-road vehicles. In addition, they are ideal for towing, hauling, and carrying heavier loads.

20-inch wheels: If you have a heavy trailer or will be doing a lot of off-roading, then 20-inch wheels may be a better choice. They are suitable for hauling, construction, and carrying heavier loads.

4 Runner 17 Vs 20” Wheels:

Consider the below-stated aspect to get the right wheel size for your 4Runner. One of the most crucial points is the size of the wheel. The debate between 17 vs 20 inch wheels depends on what you plan to use your 4Runner for.

For example, a 20″ wheel is great if you’re looking for an aggressive look. However, go for a 17″ wheel if you’re looking for better off-road performance. Look at the characteristics of each option for more details:

17-inch wheel:

It offers better ground clearance thanks to its smaller diameter. In addition, it comes with more tire options available in this size range. It comes with a wide selection of aftermarket wheels. However, it may have less cushioning between you and the road. It may not offer great grips on paved roads.  

20” Wheels:

Many people love its sleeker appearance. It is available with a wide selection of aftermarket wheel designs. However, they may not be suitable for challenging off-road obstacles. It comes with increased rolling resistance that impacts overall fuel efficiency.

Read Also: 17 or 18 inch wheels for 4×4 – Which One Better for You?

Frequently Asked Questions

Now it’s time to discuss some frequently asked questions for your better understanding. 

Are 20 inch wheels OK for off-road?

It depends on your vehicle and off-roading types. For example, a 20″ wheel is a smart option for you if you need to travel often. It can overcome challenging off-road obstacles with ease.

However, some prefer smaller wheels for off-road driving because of their increased traction and maneuverability. So, it depends on the individual drivers to decide their wheel size according to their needs.

Are 17-inch rims good for off-road?

15″-20″ are the most common wheel sizes for off-road vehicles. It would help if you kept in mind that the larger the wheel size you go, the less durable they will be for off-road.

However, there are other off-road wheel sizes available for off-road driving. A 17-inch wheel is the most durable option for your off-roading vehicle for its outstanding overall performance.

Can you replace a 17-inch wheel with a 20 inch?

Yes, you can replace a 17″ wheel with a 20″ for your off-roading vehicle. Make sure your desired wheel and its tire combo match your vehicle.

Stick to 17″ wheels if you want more stable wheels that will support and improve your vehicle’s overall performance. On the other hand, go for 20″ wheels for their fantastic look and increased space between you and the roads.

Are Bigger wheels better for off-roading?

In a word, the answer is no. Wheel size doesn’t matter if you have the right wheel and tire combo match for your vehicle. We all know the bigger wheels feature shorter sidewalls, which means less stability against off-roading objects.

On the contrary, smaller wheels offer increased sidewall, ensuring great traction and maneuverability against off-road terrains. 

Final verdict

There is a continuous debate when choosing wheel sizes between 17 vs 20 inch wheels for off-road vehicles. Which wheel size is right for your off-road vehicle depends on your vehicle type and the off-road types you will be driving on.

However, 17″ wheels are lighter than 20″ wheels and offer great stability and traction on off-road obstacles. On the other hand, 20″ wheels offer more ground clearance and better grip on wet surfaces. So, which wheel size is better depends on off-road drivers’ needs and preferences as well.

I am an engineer and the chief editor of tireslover.com, I am a passionate blogger as well. I am the person who can ensure a perfect, informative, honest, and helpful, guide with 10 years of work experience with different varieties of tires.

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