LAST UPDATED: December 19, 2019
Best Wet Weather Tires: Wheels That Make the Drive Safer in the Rain
These are the best tires to depend on while heading out in the rain
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019
When you drive frequently through the rain, the right set of tires will not only deliver a better driving experience but also enhance safety. While you can’t avoid the rain, you can invest in the right set of tires for better wet-surface traction. The special external grooves and the right rubber compounds make these tires ideal for tackling rainy weather. This buying guide will help you find the best wet weather tires on the market.
These tires offer impressive dry and wet weather performance The enhanced tread design provides good traction in the rain. The unique sound suppression technology delivers a quiet ride.
- Silica compound used in the tire reduces vibrations and adds to the comfort factor
- Low surface abrasion technology increases the tread lifespan
- Cold weather performance is not impressive
- Tires are not available in all sizes
These tires provide a good ride quality. Four circumferential grooves and a unique V-tread pattern enhances traction in the rain. The special carbon compound makes the tires last longer.
- Higher levels of silica in the tire provide better traction
- Offers good steering response
- Road noise is also kept under control
- Tire is not suited for rough winter weather
- Not ideal for drivers looking for top-class handling performance
These tires come with an asymmetric tread pattern to prevent hydroplaning. The special Helio technology provides superior traction over asphalt and concrete surfaces. It also improves tread life.
- Tire provides better cornering grip and high-speed stability
- Big rain grooves and 3D sipes help prevent hydroplaning
- Offer good performance in light snow conditions
- Ride comfort is not the best
- Comes with complicated warranty information
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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 Wet Weather Tires
- Traction. Tires that are specially made for wet weather have to channel in the rubber to better direct the water or snow away from the tire. This increases the amount of rubber that comes into contact with the road and thereby gives you better traction.
- Handling. When your tires have a better grip on the road, you will have better handling. This will enable you to react faster in the event of an emergency or when you need to avoid an obstacle.
- Fuel efficiency. Your fuel efficiency can suffer when you don’t use the right tires for the conditions you’re driving in. Summer and winter wet weather tires have different compounds for the extreme temperatures.
Types of Wet Weather Tires
These tires are optimized for performance during warmer weather conditions. They’ll grip the road during wet and dry conditions. You’ll see more solid contact patches and larger circumferential grooves.
These tires are going to give you decent handling and a comfortable ride throughout the seasons. Think of them as the do-it-all tire. They won’t outperform summer tires in rain or winter tires in the snow, but you’ll get reliable performance. They’ll have circumferential grooves and an asymmetrical tread pattern.
If you live in frigid conditions, then you’ll want to look at winter tires. These tires work best when temperatures fall below 45 degrees. They’ll have deep circumferential grooves to channel slush away and heavy siping to expel snow. You’ll see that these tires come studded or not studded. Studs provide better traction but increase noise and reduce comfort.
Founded in 1898, Goodyear is one of the leading tire manufacturers in the United States and the world. The company is based out of Akron, Ohio. It owns two other tire brands: Dunlop and Kelly. The Goodyear Eagle RS-A All-Season Radial Tire is a perfect example of why Goodyear is one of the most trusted tire companies on the market.
Founded in 1870 as a rubber company, it has grown to be one of the most well-known names in tires. In 1988, Michelin acquired the business and now markets the tires. The BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S Performance Radial Tire performs well in wet conditions.
Founded in 1891, Michelin is a global tire manufacturer based in Greenville, S.C. It’s credited with being the first to introduce the radial tire. It has continued to focus on innovation and development. The Michelin Premier A/S All-Season Radial Tire will perform well in wet weather.
As one of the biggest tire manufacturers in the world, Bridgestone is dedicated to producing quality tires. The company headquarters are located in Tokyo, but the American operations are based out of Nashville, Tennessee. If you’re looking for wet weather tires, the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza All-Season Tire will perform well.
Cooper has made a name for itself by being an independent tire manufacturer with roots going back to the early 20th century. Its smaller size puts it in the top 10 manufacturers in the world. From its headquarters in Findlay, Ohio, it markets the Cooper, Avon, Starfire, and Mastercraft brands. The Cooper Zeon RS3-S Summer Radial Tire is perfect for driving in the hot, rainy summers.
Founded in 1888, Dunlop is owned and marketed by Goodyear. It focuses on producing quality tires that can deliver performance to drivers and riders. The Dunlop Direzza DZ102 225/40R18 Tire can perform well in the wettest of conditions.
While Continental may not be as large as other brands on this list, it’s known as the highest quality. Based in Germany, it also manufactures braking systems and other vehicle components. The Continental ContiSportContact 5 Summer Performance Tire will give you traction and superior handling in wet weather.
Wet Weather Tires Pricing
- Under $100: These are cheap tires and will use rubber compounds that break down quickly. Don’t expect these tires to perform in extreme weather or last a long time.
- $100 to $200: The majority of tires fall within this range. The price will vary based on the tire’s brand, size, and rubber compound. This is a decent price range for your daily driver.
- $200 and up: These are typically high end and specialty tires. You’ll find tires in this range designed for extreme climates or specific purposes.
These are the main grooves that wrap longways around the tire. Their main function is to channel water away from the tire. The next time you drive in the rain, look at the rear tires of the car in front of you. If you see water radiating off of them, that’s circumferential grooves at work. Look for tires that have larger or more numerous grooves to channel more water away from the tire and increase your traction.
Not all tires use the same rubber compound. Summer or wet weather tires tend to use a softer rubber compound to create a better grip with the road. All-season tires will have a slightly harder rubber so they can function across several different driving conditions. Keep in mind that while softer rubber performs better, it also wears away faster.
This is the part of the tire that touches the road at any given time. Wet weather tires will have narrower contact patches than other types of tires to reduce your risk of hydroplaning. This is when your tires lose contact with the road, and there’s a layer of water that causes you to lose control of your car.
- Size. You need to buy the right-sized tire so that it will fit on your wheels. Too small and it won’t fit over the wheel rim. Too large, and it’ll be prone to slipping off. Look at the code printed on the sidewall of your current tires to know what size to buy.
- Speed Rating. The speed rating is a letter in the code printed on the tire. It’s the maximum speed the tire can handle while bearing a load. It is not telling you how fast you should drive. This is a safety rating. The rating is a letter that stands for a speed range.
- Tread Wear. This is a government-required rating that indicates how a tire’s tread is expected to wear away. The higher the number, the better the rating. A tire with a 300 grade will wear away three times better than one with a 100 grade. Keep in mind that they’re assigned by the tire manufacturers and not an independent third party.
Best Wet Weather Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This General Altimax tire gives an impressive performance in both wet and dry driving conditions. There’s an enhanced tread design to give improved traction and handling performance in the rain. It also has a sound suppression system to give you a quieter ride.
The rubber compound uses a silica element to reduce vibration through the rubber. This gives the tire exceptional ride comfort and reduced sound operation. It also has an extended tread lifespan thanks to the low surface abrasion technology.
Unfortunately, this tire’s performance tends to lag when temperatures drop. The rubber isn’t designed to perform in cold temperatures. It’s also limited in size availability.
These Hankook tires are designed to provide a high-quality ride on both dry and wet roads. They feature a grooved pattern that has four circumferential grooves and a unique V groove design. This enhances the tire’s traction in wet driving conditions. The rubber has a carbon compound added to it.
The higher levels of silica in the rubber compound not only gives the tire better traction, but also reduces the treadwear. This extends the useful life of the tire. The unique rubber compound also helps keep the road noise down by improving road noise suppression.
However, this tire won’t perform well in tough winter weather. It also doesn’t rank well when it comes to handling.
These Michelin all-season tires feature an asymmetrical tread design. This is to help prevent hydroplaning by more heavily directing water away on one side and providing a greater rubber traction surface area on the other.
If you’re looking for performance handling, this tire will perform to your expectations. It has superior high-speed handling and cornering grip. It’s ideal for an area that receives a high amount of rain, with its deep grooves and 3D sipes.
These aren’t the tires for you, though, if superior ride comfort is your priority. They also come with a quite complicated warranty policy that makes it difficult to successfully submit a claim.
The Cooper Discoverer All-Season Wet Weather Tire is built for more robust trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. It’s the kind of tire you’d expect for traveling through puddles and rain as it has an all-season design. Its symmetrical tread pattern allows it to more easily roll over difficult terrain and wet surfaces without much resistance. As for its load capacity, the tire sits comfortably with carrying up to 2,300 pounds. The extra weight also allows it to have more control when running through water, snow, and slick streets. It’s designed as a high-performance tire that can evacuate water away from the rubber so you get a smoother and more comfortable ride. It’s also M+S rated so it’s extra capable of performing well on slick terrain.
However, one complaint with the tires has to do with the amount of road noise it produces. While it may not be overpowering to your ears, it may be a bit louder than the stock tires on your vehicle. The tires are also priced on the higher side so you will pay more for a full set of four.
Goodyear is one of the best-known tire manufacturers around and the Goodyear Wrangler HP Radial Tire is a great wet weather tire. It is designed with a thick and deep symmetrical groove pattern for better stability and control on any terrain, especially wet surfaces. Plus, its wide design helps it expel water away from the tire while driving on wet streets. The tire is a perfect companion for large beefy trucks or SUVs and Jeeps as it is built to get over difficult surfaces. It is an all-season tire that offers plenty of grip and improved handling while on country roads or the highway. The tire is also capable of hefting a full load of around 2,535 pounds.
However, it is pricey. Just one will set you back a bit and a full set will end up costing you, too. It also may not be the longest-lasting of wet weather tires either. Another concern is the tire’s ride comfort. The tires may be rougher and stiffer.
The Continental ContiEcoContact EP Radial wet weather tire is a great budget choice for anyone looking to get more traction on wet roads. It works best as a tire for passenger vehicles, compact cars, and daily commuters. Classified as an economy tire, it is priced reasonably low and performs well on snow and ice. It features an asymmetrical tread pattern design for better response, control, and cornering. Best of all it is meant to reduce driving noise on both the highway and everyday road. It is capable of carrying around 800 pounds and includes a beefy and thick tread pattern that helps to reduce the amount of water that gets caught in the rubber.
There aren’t many negative things to say about the tire other than its size. Each one is rather narrow, so you don’t get a wide grip on the road. The tires aren’t great at carrying all that much weight as well.
The Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season Tire is built for speed and power enthusiasts. It is a premium wet weather tire that looks fantastic once mounted on the vehicle. Pirelli understands how to make a clever and high-performance tire for sports cars and supercars and this one is no exception. Each tire is developed with enhanced silica and carbon black tread compound for maximum grip and performance on wet and dry surfaces. The tire includes an asymmetrical tread pattern for more torque, control, and stability as well. Plus, even as a sports tire, it is capable of hauling around 2,095 pounds of weight. The tire is smooth, refined, and comfortable.
However, it is one of the most expensive wet weather tires we have seen. This, of course, has to do with its design and the Pirelli name. It may also wear down more quickly than other brands due to its thinner design.
What better tire to end on than the Bridgestone Blizzak Winter/Snow Tire. You can’t get much wetter than a road covered in slick snow and ice. This premium tire is large and robust, yet simple and elegant in its design and appearance. The tread pattern is also rather meaty and helps to improve the vehicle’s overall handling on wet roads. But one of the tire’s best aspects is its performance on snow-covered roads. Each tire is printed with a three-peaked mountain snowflake on it to show that it is more at home on slicker surfaces. It is also right at home when it comes to hauling a hefty load as it comes with a 2,405-pound weight capacity.
That all being said, the tire is quite expensive. While it may not be the highest priced tire around, it will still cost a lot for a set of four. The tire is also rather heavy and can be a pain when installing them yourself. You may also find the tire doesn’t have the best control during cornering due to its size.
- Summer tires are the best choice for wet conditions, but they get stiff in freezing temperatures and offer less traction. For cold and wet climates, all-season tires are a better choice.
- Tires with circumferential grooves will effectively channel the water away from the surface and offer better traction in rain. They will also prevent hydroplaning.
- Tires are generally specified for use in cars, SUVs, or trucks. Check the recommended vehicle type and the maximum weight limit of the tire before purchase.
Q: Do wet weather tires lose traction with use?
They do wear out with time and deliver less traction. If your location receives heavy rain throughout the year, it is best to change the tires before the recommended period to stay safe.
Q: What tire should I choose for driving through rain and snow?
For freezing conditions with wet snow, all-season tires are a good choice. In heavy snowfall, specially designed winter tires provide the best traction.
Q: Is it necessary to drive slowly in the rain?
Even with the best tires, heavy rain will reduce your vehicle’s traction, and stopping distances will be longer. Losing grip on the road can happen instantaneously in such situations. To be on the safe side, it is best to drive at lower speeds in the rain.
We have chosen the General Altimax Radial Tire as the best option for wet weather tires. They offer a unique tread design along with fast braking and acceleration capabilities.
For a good balance of price and quality, you can use the Hankook Ventus All-Season Radial Tire.