LAST UPDATED: August 3, 2019
Best Tires for Rain: The Top Tires for Navigating Wet Roads
Keep safe in the rain with a good set of wet-weather tires
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON August 3, 2019
One underappreciated car part is the tire. While we tend to pay a lot of attention to engines for performance and rims for style, we often forget about how essential the actual rubber is for performance and safety. The right traction can be the determining factor for a race car, give you the stopping power to keep you safe, and help protect you in extreme weather. Here are the top picks for the best tires in wet conditions.
This is an all-season radial tire that’s optimized for exceptional wet and dry traction, and enhanced ride comfort.
Delivers good wet weather traction even after the tread has worn out. Grip stays strong even in cold temperatures. Features a symmetrical tread pattern for even treadwear. Good fuel efficiency. Minimum road noise.
Can wear quicker than similar all-season tires. Poor performance on ice.
This all-season tire is a great option for wet weather traction and performance without breaking the bank. It inspires confidence when driving on wet and dry surfaces.
Long tread life of about 85,000 miles. It’s a direct OE replacement for worn out factory tires on most modern vehicles. Great responsiveness on wet and dry surfaces. Strong wet braking. Comfortable ride quality.
Not the quietest on the road. Doesn’t have the strongest sidewall.
Michelin offers the best tires for rainy weather with its Pilot Sport A/S 3 made for summer use.
These tires have a unique water channel design, increased traction with higher speeds, and high-density steel for tread protection.
The Pilot Sport tires are an expensive option, are for summer weather only, and have the shortest warranty.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Tires for Rain
- Avoid hydroplaning. One of the scariest things that can happen when you drive is hydroplaning. The best way to avoid it is to have a tire that can effectively clear out water from underneath your treads.
- Long-lasting. The best wet-weather tires are made to evenly wear across the whole tread, which means they will ultimately last longer.
- Less expensive. Since summer tires and all-season tires are in high demand, there is a much larger selection and availability for rain tires. This results in a less expensive product overall.
Types of Tires
Summer tires are specifically designed to handle the hottest temperatures. When you drive, your tires heat up from friction and even stretch due to the air expanding. Summer tires are made to withstand the extreme heat and prevent any unwanted wear and tear. These are the best option for driving in the rain in areas where it is warm year-round.
All-season tires can be great for wet roads. The reason they're considered all-season is that they can perform in both hot and cold temperatures. They are not, however, made for harsh winter conditions. Instead, these are the right choice if you live in an area that has seasonal weather and rainstorms on cold days.
Winter tires are made to tackle unplowed roads after a snowstorm. While they do a great job in winter conditions, they’re not as good on rainy days. The treads are made to cut through slippery conditions but are not optimized for clearing rain from your tires at high speeds.
Charles Goodyear discovered the process of making vulcanized rubber in 1839. In 1898, Frank Seiberling started the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in honor of the man who created the product. The company took off thanks to the bicycle industry, the introduction of automobiles, and its innovative products. Today, the company is well known for selling some of the most popular passenger tires.
Michelin got its start in the tire industry back in 1907 after purchasing the International Rubber Company in New Jersey. After losing too much business during the Great Depression, the company was reformed in New York in 1950. In its decades of operation, the company has expanded to 19 plants throughout North America and became a leader in the tire production industry. The company produces a wide range of tires including all-season and sport.
Hankook is a popular tire brand all around the world. Created in Korea in 1941, Hankook was initially named Chosun Tire Company. The company was renamed and reinvented after the Korean War and started to grow across multiple automotive markets. Its popularity in Asia and Europe helped with establishing its first US branch in 1981. Ten years later, it became a popular company worldwide thanks to its deal to make tires for Volkswagen.
Pricing for Rain Tires
- Under $120 (per tire): There are a lot of factors that affect tire prices. Inexpensive options include products that are rated for fewer miles before they need to be replaced and they are smaller-sized.
- $120-200 (per tire): Most new cars and smaller SUVs have 16- or 17-inch tires. A new set of all-season, brand-name tires this size will typically land in the $120-$200 per tire price range.
- Over $200 (per tire): Tire prices can get expensive if they are low profile, geared towards racing or off-roading, or have larger rim sizes. Large trucks and SUVs, and some sports cars will require these premium-priced tires.
The tread is one of the most important factors in how your vehicle performs. Snow tires are made explicitly with a tread that can get the best grip in snow and slush, and rain tires need a similar setup. For wet-weather performance, the tire's tread needs channels that will help keep the water out from under your tires while you drive.
On rainy days, your best tire option is either summer or all-season tires. Where you live can be the most significant factor in which is the best for you. Summer tires can be used year-round if you live in a warm climate area, and they tend to have excellent wet-weather traction. If you live in cooler regions, all-season tires perform well in colder temperatures and are your best choice.
If a tire only has good traction for the first month after purchase, then it's likely a waste of money. How long a tire lasts and how fast it wears down is crucial to finding the best tire for rain. You can sometimes judge a tire based on the length of its warranty, although the materials used to make the tire can also play an important role.
- Road Noise: You may not know that the loud noise cars sometimes produce when driving on the road is actually due to the type of tire they have. Tires have a big impact on the road noise you hear while driving.
- Comfort And Smoothness: Another factor to consider is how smooth of a ride you prefer. Tires can make for a comfortable ride or one that’s a little stiffer. This might be an important consideration depending on the shape of the roads near you and your type of car.
Best Tires for Rain Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Michelin Premier LTX is an advanced all-season tire that’s designed to handle the demands of highways in wet and dry conditions. The tire maintains great traction in heavy rains, all thanks to Michelin’s Evergrip technology featuring Expanding Rain Grooves around the circumference of the tire. The grooves widen as the tire wears to prolong wet weather traction throughout its service life.
Emerging grooves across the shoulder with an extreme silica compound increases the tires wet braking capabilities. The tread is made from an advanced light truck rubber compound to offer a smooth and low‐noise ride, and to also increase light snow traction. The tire sides feature two steel belts that are puncture resistant and, therefore, increase the tire’s durability. Michelin also includes its Stress Equilibrium Casing design to ensure stress is distributed evenly on the tire to promote even treadwear.
Unfortunately, the tire isn't as durable as most all-season tires in its price range. You may notice significant treadwear after using them for about 40,000 miles. Winter and snow performance is also relatively poor and you may be forced to change to winter tires to navigate through deep snow or ice.
This Falken tire is one of the most affordable grand touring tires with superb all-season performance. The price doesn't compromise on its treadlife figuring it has an impressive 80,000-mile treadwear warranty. Thanks to 3D Canyon sipe technology, the tire exhibits ample braking performance and resists hydroplaning enough to offer a safe ride during heavy rains. The technology involves interlocking the rubber that forms the treads to form a solid block for all weather traction.
The tire features Dynamic Range Technology, which increases its performance in cold and warm conditions. This means that the tire won’t wear out fast and will retain its performance capabilities even after being exposed to both extreme temperatures. With a symmetrical tread design, the tire will wear out evenly, and angled tread grooves on the tread ribs increases light snow traction.
A major drawback of the tire is that it can get really loud when you are driving on the highway at high speeds. The tire doesn’t have the strongest sidewall and may be damaged by frequent sharp cornering forces. It may also feel unstable during fast cornering.
The Michelin Pilot Sport is the best wet-weather tire on the market. This performance-optimized option gives you fantastic traction on asphalt and concrete, and it has one of the best-wet condition ratings possible. Michelin continually gets the highest rain tire reviews thanks to its products’ handling and long-lasting performance.
These touring tires are specially designed to give you the best traction even after thousands of miles of wear. The Sport A/S includes a unique design that channels more water out as your tires heat up, which means hydroplane resistance increases at high speeds. The materials incorporate pressure and temperature placement for performance and high-density steel to prevent treadwear.
Despite being the best tires for rain, the Pilot Sport A/S 3s are not ideal for everyone. The biggest downside to this option is the price. These tires are very costly, especially with larger sizes. They are also for summer-use only, which means they won't perform in winter temperatures. In addition, Michelin offers the shortest warranty of all the options on our list.
This all-season tire is designed with an aggressive directional design to give you the handling you want. The outer edge of the tire features reinforced shoulder blocks designed to resist wear. The tread pattern across the tire features a scalloped circumferential center groove to direct water away from the center of the tire. There are aggressive directional grooves to take the water out to the edge of the tire. This tire comes in size 275/45R20 and many other sizes.
The unique tread pattern will increase your acceleration and braking abilities. This is mostly thanks to the solid center curbed ribs on either side of the center groove. There’s also a perpetual contact patch that works to give you a smooth ride across a variety of road conditions by maintaining constant contact with the road.
Unfortunately, you may find this tire to be quite loud. The sound gets worse the faster you drive. It also tends to lose wet traction when the temperature gets colder. This means they may not work as well in winter rains as summer.
The tread pattern on this summer tire features two large center circumferential grooves to channel water away from the tire. Radiating out from the center grooves are aqua jet lateral grooves, 3D intermediate ribs, and notched shoulders. This forces the water out and away from the tire. This tire comes in size 215/45R17, but there are also several other sizes available.
One standout feature of this tire is the silica compound. It features an innovative functionalized styrene polymer. This gives the tire a lower rolling resistance that maintains the tire’s traction while also improving fuel economy. You’ll also appreciate the construction of this tire. There are two wide steel belts to reinforce the tire and prevent distortion at higher speeds.
The biggest drawback of this tire is that the tread wears extremely fast. This will require you to replace the tires quickly or you risk losing traction, especially at higher speeds. You’ll also need to keep an eye out for the tread block crumbling. Small chunks of the tires can break off while driving. In addition, this tire is not meant for driving in colder temperatures.
The unique tread pattern is immediately noticeable on this high performance tire from Firestone. Inspired by its racing heritage, this tire uses Proprietary Pulse Groove technology to evacuate the water from the tire. This reduces the risk of hydroplaning. There are two smooth circumferential grooves: one variable width-shaped center circumferential groove and one wave-shaped groove. This tire comes in size 275/40R20 and there are a small number of other sizes available since this is a high performance tire.
You’ll be happy with the improved rubber compound that can help you stop in 20 percent shorter distances on both wet and dry roads. It also has wide shoulder blocks to help you maintain stiffness and traction through even the sharpest of corners.
The biggest drawback of this tire is the noise. They can be quite loud. They also tend to feel a bit jumpy when driving on roads that aren’t perfectly smooth. This is because the tread pattern features only four aggressive circumferential grooves that can catch and pull the tire.
This all-season tire is designed for use on a touring or luxury car. They offer ride comfort and predictable handling. This tire has a rubber compound that is high-silica and low-oil. It’s then molded into an asymmetric tread design. There are four large circumferential grooves that channel the water. Then there are longitudinal and lateral sipes to increase the number of edges that can grip and create traction.
This tire comes in size 255/40R19, but there are also several other sizes available.
What makes this tire stand out is Pirelli’s EcoImpact program. They improve energy efficiency and are low-noise and clean-air. The tire’s weight is lower than comparable tires, which will improve the performance of your vehicle. The stability of the tire isn’t compromised for the light weight, though. There are twin steel belts to reinforce the tire.
Unfortunately, this tire lacks performance traction when cornering. They can also lose traction when accelerating, braking hard, or hitting standing water on the road. The tread can wear quickly as well.
This all-season tire features UltiGrip Technology. This means the tire has rigid tread blocks, squared off shoulders, and a high-silica compound. The tread pattern is a directional V-shaped angle with both lateral and longitudinal grooves. Internally, the tire has the Dynamic Suspension System reinforcing it. This increases the stability of the tire and the stiffness of the tire’s sidewall. This tire comes in a size 275/40ZR20/XL and there are several other sizes available.
The aggressive tread pattern of this tire is perfectly calibrated to channel water away from the tire’s contact patch. The water gets directed out of the side and back of the tire. All of the lateral grooves also mean there are plenty of edges to grip on both wet and dry roads. BFGoodrich states that you should be able to stop up to 15 feet shorter on wet roads and 5 feet shorter on dry roads.
The biggest drawback of this tire is that they have inflation and heat issues. This can cause them to wear faster than expected and create a bumpy ride. This can make both the ride and steering unpleasant.
This all-season tire delivers performance throughout the seasons, so you have traction and responsive handling on dry, wet, and snowy roads. It comes with Continental’s SportPlus Technology that gives you solid traction and a quiet ride on both dry and wet roads. This tire comes in a size 225/45ZR17, but it also comes in several other sizes to fit a range of vehicles.
You’ll love how smooth this tire feels. This is thanks to the unique tread pattern that features a multitude of cross sipes that crisscross across the surface of the tire. This effectively directs the water away from the tire while also maintaining a solid traction patch.
The downside of this tire is that it may not last very long. The solid contact patch can also decrease your fuel economy. The increased contact with the road means there’s more road drag. You may also not want to drive them in heavy snow, as traction can be noticeably reduced.
Not all rain happens in summer; sometimes, it’s the winter rainstorms that cause the most problems. These tires are designed to excel in the cold rain and slush. The Blizzak tire will give you reliable traction and handling, thanks to a heavily siped tread pattern. This tire is a size 215/55R17, but it also comes in a few other sizes that will fit larger vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs.
This tire stands out thanks to its Mighty Molecules Hydrophilic Coating that reacts to the elements for increased performance. It works on a molecular level to keep the tire pliable in the coldest of temperatures. It also uses a special construction that optimizes it for even weight distribution across the contact patch for secure traction and handling.
Unfortunately, the tires feel super soft, which can make them feel too soft and floaty while on the road. They also don’t have great traction when on dry roads. It’s also not the smoothest or most comfortable ride out there.
- If you ever hydroplane while driving, the best thing to do is let off the gas and coast to a slower speed. Jamming on the breaks or turning will only make handling your car more difficult.
- Before searching for tires, determine what size you need. The size can be found on the sidewall of your current tires.
- Many tires are specifically intended for cars or SUVs/trucks. Pay attention to the recommended type of vehicle and weight suggested by the manufacturer.
- Tire pressure can have a significant impact on wet-weather performance. Under-inflated tires can allow water to build up and create hydroplaning.
- All-season tires are not the best choice for winter. While all-weather or all-season would make you think they’re fine for winter driving, they typically have worse snow traction than snow/winter tires.
Q: Are summer tires good in the rain?
A: Yes. Summer tires often have the best wet-weather performance. While you might think that all-season tires are better, they actually compromise performance in the rain to have good snow traction.
Q: Does tire wear affect wet traction?
A: Yes. The longer you drive on a set of tires, the less effective they'll be in wet conditions. That's why one of the most important things to consider is how long the treads last.
Q: What do the different tire patterns mean?
A: The tread of your tire is researched and designed specifically for a particular purpose. A good set of rain tires have grooves and channels to move the water from the road surface and keep you from hydroplaning.
There's a lot to consider when you're looking for tires for your vehicle. The best tires for rain are the Michelin Premier LTX. They offer excellent traction and handling.
The Falken Sincera SN250 is the perfect option for customers who want wet-weather tires at a more affordable price point.