If it rains a lot where you live, you may want to pick a set of tires that excel in the wet.
The best wet weather tires are summer tires. This is because all-season tires force you to compromise with regards to wet and dry weather performance so that they can provide a certain degree of performance in the snow. Summer tires aren’t meant to be used in temperatures lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so the tread and compound can be tailored toward providing the utmost grip in the warmer months. That means they also provide more grip when the going gets wet.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the best summer tires for the wet and some of the best all-season tires for the wet. This will give you a good idea of what tires excel in the rain, whether you’re in the market for summer performance tires or standard all-seasons.
Updated 03/31/2020: Michelin is currently offering a promotion for a $70 Reward Card or Virtual Account with the purchase of any set of 4 tires. Goodyear is offering a $75 Prepaid Mastercard Card when you purchase a set of 4 tires.
1. Editor's Pick: Vredestein Quatrac 5 (All Season)
The Vredestein Quatrac 5 is a standard all-season tire that’s suitable for use on mass-market cars and crossovers.
This tire provides a soft, comfortable ride and doesn’t sacrifice wet weather handling or grip to do so. These tires provide plenty of grip in the wet and dry and are suitable for use in light snow as well. Due to their ability to soften up your car’s ride, these tires are also good if the roads are rough where you live.
TireRack also gives these tires the best-possible rating of ‘Excellent’ across the board – including in wet and dry grip, winter/snow performance and comfort performance.
With a very attractive price tag, good durability, comfortable ride, great grip in the wet and even strong performance in light snow, the Vredestein Quatrac 5 is a very good all season tire that we’d recommend to any car or crossover owner. It’s our Editor’s Pick.
2. Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Ultra High Performance Summer)
If cost is no object, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport is among the best wet weather tires you can buy — just make sure the correct sizes are available for your vehicle.
TireRack.com rates the Michelin Pilot Super Sport’s wet weather performance as ‘Excellent’. You’re not sacrificing any dry weather performance either – these are some of the grippiest tires on the market no whether it’s raining out or not.
Like all Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires, though, the Pilot Super Sport won’t perform when the temperatures dip below 45 degrees, so these should be used in the summer months only if you live in a four-season climate.
3. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (Ultra High Performance Summer)
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a newer tire from the French manufacturer that isn’t yet as proven as the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, but the company claims that it’s superior in many ways.
The Pilot Sport 4S will last longer than the Super Sport, Michelin claims, but they are also pricier.
TireRack rates the Pilot Sport 4S wet weather performance the same as the Super Sports, but with a longer tread life, these tires may be better suited to a daily driven vehicle. Like the Super Sports, they are a summer-only tire, so these will only deliver the desired wet weather performance if its above 45 degrees outside.
If you’re in the market for a tire with tons of grip, great wet weather performance and aren’t concerned about price, the Pilot Sport 4S won’t steer you wrong.
4. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ (Ultra High Performance All Season)
Another Michelin appears on our list in the way of the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+.
Unlike the summer-only Michelin Pilot Super Sport and Pilot Sport 4S, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is an all-season tire that’s better suited for use on a daily driven vehicle, rather than a performance car. These tires do place an emphasis on performance still, though, falling under the ‘Ultra High Performance All-Season’ category.
TireRack says the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ has comparable wet weather performance to the Pilot Sport 4S and Super Sport, which is impressive, seeing as these are also designed to be used in light snow. Some users report them being a bit loud at highway speeds, however, so there are tradeoffs for having good grip across all four seasons.
If you want good wet and dry weather grip but don’t find it snows enough where you live to justify getting a set of winter tires, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ may be well-suited to your needs. These are among the best all-season performance tires you can buy.
5. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady (All Season)
Like the Vredstein Quatrac 5, this is another true, non-performance all-season tire.
The Goodyear Assurance Weatheready is a little expensive for a normal all-season tire, but backs up its price tag with high levels of grip in both the wet and dry, a comfortable ride, good durability and even good winter/snow performance.
Users who drive with these tires describe them as confidence inspiring. They do ride a bit firm, but shouldn’t affect the comfort of your vehicle’s ride much. Overall, these are a great all-season tire that’s appropriate for use year-round, even in climates where snow falls often and comes down heavily.
6. Michelin Premier A/S (All Season)
The Michelin Premier A/S was designed specifically to provide good wet weather grip and to continue to deliver even after the tread has become worn.
Michelin says these tires use “an extreme silica and sunflower oil enhanced tread compound to increase traction in wet and cold temperatures.” They also have a specially designed tread pattern with ‘Expanding Rain Grooves’ that widen as the tire wears, ensuring your wet weather grip stays strong as the tire ages.
These tires have a near-perfect wet weather performance rating from TireRack. These tires are well suited to those who encounter rain and wet roads a lot, but there’s a tradeoff. They wear rather quickly compared to similarly priced all-seasons, so if you don’t place a large emphasis on wet weather performance, a more balanced all-season may be better suited to you.
7. Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus (All Season Truck)
The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is an all-season tire for trucks, SUVs and crossovers.
With ratings of ‘Excellent’ from TireRack in wet weather performance, this tire is perfectly suited for truck, SUV and crossover owners who frequently encounter wet roads, standing water and rain on their daily commute,
In addition, these tires also wear slowly, so you know they’ll last long. This is particularly important for drivers of pickups, SUVs and crossovers who may rack up the miles at work, going to and from work, or on family road trips.
While definitely on the pricey side, these are among the best all-season tires designed specifically for use on larger vehicles and offer superior wet weather performance to many competing sets of rubber.
8. Michelin Defender LTX M/S (All Season Truck)
The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is another all-season tire designed for trucks and SUVs.
Like the Bridgestone above, this tire provides near-perfect wet weather handling capabilities for a tire of its type. These tires were also designed for highway driving. If you travel long distances on the Interstate and also want good wet weather performance, this tire was made with customers like you in mind.
That highway performance also translates into good durability. These tires will last a very long time, so while the price is a bit high, you get what you pay for.
Users of these tires also report good road noise and comfort. The only real downside to these tires is the high price tag, in our opinion.
9. Cooper Zeon RS3-G1 (Ultra High Performance All Season)
The Cooper Zeon RS3-G1 is another tire of the ultra high performance all season variety.
These tires are a bit cheaper than the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+, but look to achieve the same goals: to provide good grip in the wet and dry while also providing a semblance of performance in light snow and in the cold.
With “Excellent” wet weather performance rating from TireRack, we felt it was worth including these tires on our list for budget-minded owners of performance focused cars, like a BMW 3 Series, for example.
These tires have good grip in both the wet and dry, a quiet and comfortable ride and a decent entry-level price, so they try their best to tick all the right boxes.
10. Continental ExtremeContact Sport (Ultra High Performance Summer)
Completing our list is the ultra high performance Continental ExtremeContact Sport.
These tires are less expensive than the UHP Michelins on this list and have similar wet weather grip and performance.
If you own a sporty car and want a set of summer tires with good wet weather performance but don’t want to break the bank, these are a perfect alternative to Pilot Sport 4S or Super Sports.
These tires are also predictable when on track or on spirited drives, making them confidence inspiring to drive on. They don’t experience a major shift in performance once they’ve gotten very hot, either.
What Makes a Good Rain Tire?
You might automatically assume that the best rain tires are all-seasons or winter tires due to their deep, aggressive tread.
The best wet weather tires actually aim to provide a good balance between contact patch and tread, however. The best wet weather tires, then, are usually ultra high performance summer tires, which have more tread than extreme performance summer tires but place an emphasis on outright grip and overall performance.
Due to summer tires sticky rubber compound and performance-oriented tread, these tires will wick away water while also providing high levels of grip. By comparison, all season tires will sacrifice wet weather and dry weather grip and performance in the name of mild snow and cold weather performance.
That doesn’t mean that all-season tires can’t be good in the wet, however. There are plenty of all-season tires with very good wet weather performance – they just won’t have as much grip and feel as a comparable summer tire.
What Other Factors Effect Wet Weather Performance?
Tread life and tire pressures are very important factors with regards to wet weather performance.
If your tires have low tread, they won’t perform well in the wet. Worn tires are at risk for hydroplaning and, crucially, will have much furhter stopping distances from highway speeds. If you want to keep you and your loved ones safe in the wet, you must ensure that your tires have adequate tread life. We suggest you always check your tire tread life before setting off a long journey – especially if you may encounter rain or wet roads.
Tire pressures also have a huge impact on your vehicle’s performance in the wet. If your tire pressures are too low, the centerportion of your tire may begin to form a ‘concave’ shape. This can allow water to pool up underneath the tire, leading to hydroplaning. If your tires are filled to the correct pressures, however, the conact patch of the center of the tire grows, giving you more grip.
In short, always ensure you have adequate tread life and that your tires are at the proper psi for ideal wet weather traction and performance.
Our Final Verdict
What tires you choose is largely dependant on what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live.
If the right tire sizes are available and you live in a climate that is warm year-round, we highly suggest investing in a set of good summer tires. These will provide superior grip and performance in the both the wet and dry, giving you added confidence behind the wheel. Summer tires have the best wet weather performance, so if you really care about staying safe on those rainy days, we’d go for it. Just ensure you take them off if the temperature dips below 45 degrees.
If it gets cold where you live, you may want to invest in a set of high-quality all-seasons, like the Vredestein Quatrac 5 or Michelin Premier A/S for three months out of the year and a set of snow tires for the winter months. Good all-seasons will ensure good grip in the wet and when it gets cold in the fall, and you won’t get caught out if it snows hard.
As always, ensure your tires have adequate tread life and are filled to the proper psi before setting off. Proper tread life and tire pressures are crucial to overall tire performance but are especially important in the wet.
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