Almost any winter tire will be better than an all season. Winter tires are made of a different compound which allows them to remain soft at lower temperature. An all season tire significantly drops off performance below 7 degree C. All seasons are really 3 season tires as they were never designed to handle true winter conditions. Even the manufacturer of an all season tire will tell you that. Can you get by with them? Yes but you increase your chance of an accident by a large percentage.
Keep in mind the difference between winter tires varies greatly as well. The new generation of ice compound tires will stop considerable shorter than a conventional winter tire. Considering the cost, down time and devaluation of a car involved in an accident, I think winter tires are more than worth their cost. The difference in confidence and control when driving is HUGE.
When buying USED tires, you better make sure to check the build date code on the tire. Tires will harden regardless of use with age and that will be amplified if they were stored in the sun, outside etc. I would never recommend buying a tire older than 5 years old. I've seen tires with only a few miles on them that are cracked and rock hard because they sat on a car in the driveway under a tarp for 10 years. The owner was selling them "like new"
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