Purchasing tires is never straightforward, as experiences are often divided between people, especially sales personnel. This is especially true for rain traction – I often hear people that never tested a product claim it provides “rain performance at the level of a premium tire but at a much lower price.”
Now, premium tires are almost always one step ahead of the competition, and the differences in performance are most apparent in rainy conditions. So, can a cheaper “budget” tire provide the same level of wet traction?
Well, this article should answer the question, as it includes only the best tires for rain on the market. I made sure that the list contained tires for various vehicle types, including all-season, summer, and winter tires. I even included performance tires, and you won’t find them on other lists often.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the matter and find the best rain tires for your daily driver!
- Top 10 Best Tires for Rain Available in 2022
- 1. Continental TrueContact Tour
- 2. Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack
- 3. Continental PureContact LS
- 4. Michelin CrossClimate 2
- 5. Continental CrossContact LX25
- 6. Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus
- 7. Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4
- 8. Continental ExtremeContact Sport
- 9. Pirelli P Zero (PZ4)
- 10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Top 10 Best Tires for Rain Available in 2022
1. Continental TrueContact Tour
Best Touring All-Season Tires for Rain
The TrueContact Tour is arguably the most accomplished standard touring all-season tire, but its best aspect is definitely the wet traction. Namely, thanks to the +Silane additives in the tread compound, the tire sticks better to the road’s surfaces in rainy conditions than other touring all-season tires.
Hence, the braking distances are among the shortest in the category, and you won’t have any issues with acceleration. The handling is even more impressive, as it feels balanced, and the TrueContact Tour is easy to handle at the limit. Finally, the hydroplaning resistance is exceptional, rounding off the outstanding rain performance.
Unfortunately, Continental sacrificed a bit of dry traction to make its touring tire perform that well in the rain. Still, I think most drivers won’t complain, as the TrueContact Tour still has sufficient grip and traction for daily driving. If you want a more engaging driving experience, though, look at other options in the category.
On a more positive note, this is an exceptionally comfortable tire, with very little tread noise and a smooth ride. It also works quite well in light snow, unlike most tires in its category, which is another big plus.
Finally, the Continental TrueContact Tour is one of the most durable touring tires, but also one of the longest-lasting ones, period. The treadlife is outstanding, and Continental covers the tire with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on T-speed, and H-speed rated tires, and a 70,000-mile warranty on V-speed rated tires, both exceptional.
2. Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack
Best Grand-Touring All-Season Tires for Rain
If you are looking to buy a balanced grand-touring all-season tire, look no further than the Turanza QuietTrack. Bridgestone’s latest in the category brings many advanced technologies and immediately launched itself on the top.
Notably, the Turanza QuietTrack is one of the best-rated grand-touring tires in rainy conditions. It is particularly easy to drive fast on wet tarmac, thanks to the responsive steering, surefooted handling, and safe behavior at the limit. With a set of these tires on your vehicle, you’ll feel like you are in complete control! The Turanza QuietTrack also provides excellent longitudinal traction, meaning it accelerates without slipping and provides very short braking distances.
Unlike other good rain tires, the Bridgestone also works very well in dry conditions, with balanced handling and strong braking. It is also fairly responsive, with linear steering.
What surprised me the most about the Turanza QuietTrack is the light-snow traction, which is better than most all-season tires, though it still can’t match the exceptional Michelin CrossClimate 2.
But, as the name suggests, the best thing about the Turanza QuietTrack is the comfort it provides; the ride quality is very good over most surfaces, and you’ll hardly hear any tread noise.
Finally, the Turanza QuietTrack has the longest treadwear warranty of any grand-touring all-season tire at 80,000 miles, which is a very impressive number.
3. Continental PureContact LS
Best Grand-Touring All-Season Tires for Rain
The PureContact LS is an excellent all-season rain tire for drivers that require good year-round traction, accompanied by long treadlife. Continental’s grand-touring product is especially good in rainy conditions, where it beats its closest premium rivals both measurably and subjectively.
Notably, the braking distances are among the shortest in the category, and there is ample traction for swift acceleration. The handling is equally impressive, with very high levels of lateral grip and balanced behavior at the limit. To top it all off, the PureContact LS has an exceptional hydroplaning resistance, meaning driving in very heavy rain won’t be an issue. It can be said that this is one of the best tires for wet roads.
But the PureContact LS is much more than just a rain tire; it also works very well on dry roads, with strong longitudinal traction and excellent lateral grip. It’s also fairly responsive for a grand-touring tire, and the steering is very linear.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the light-snow traction is also among the best in the category. Notably, the PureContact LS steers quite quickly into a corner and then provides balanced handling, making it very easy to drive on snow. The braking is also very good, as is the acceleration.
Unfortunately, Continental wasn’t able to round out the excellent all-season performance with comfort, as the PureContact LS is slightly noisier and less comfortable than its premium rivals. On the bright side, it has exceptional treadlife and comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty – one of the best in the category.
4. Michelin CrossClimate 2
Best All-Weather Tires for Rain
The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is an all-season/all-weather tire with a Severe Snow rating (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake), meaning it’s designed to offer higher longitudinal traction on snow than regular all-season tires.
And indeed, it does, providing the shortest stopping distances among its peers and excellent acceleration. But the CrossClimate 2 goes even further and gives the driver a lot of confidence in the corners, along with high levels of grip for an all-season tire.
Unlike the predecessor, though, the CrossClimate 2 also excels in rainy conditions. Notably, the braking is much better – the current model needs a few feet less to stop than the previous one. The tire also provides surefooted handling and is easy to control at the limit – great when you need to make evasive maneuvers.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of this tire is that it works excellently on dry tarmac, where it provides the driver with exceptional grip and traction. In the corners, it even feels like a summer tire while also providing very strong braking and acceleration.
Expect a few disadvantages when going for the CrossClimate 2, though. For instance, the ride can be choppy over bad pavement (it is quiet, though), and the 60,000-mile treadwear warranty is the lowest at its price.
Overall, though, the CrossClimate 2 is one of the most accomplished rain tires and one that easily deserves a place on this list.
5. Continental CrossContact LX25
Best Crossover/SUV All-Season Tires for Rain
The Continental CrossContact LX25 is specifically designed for owners of crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. It comes in sizes with larger sidewalls and performs better when towing trailers (though only smaller ones).
It’s also the best rain tire for crossovers and SUVs, providing exceptional performance throughout. Notably, the hydroplaning resistance is outstanding, accompanied by an easy-to-drive nature in the corners. The braking distances are also among the shortest in the category.
Like most Continental tires, the CrossContact LX25 also performs quite well in dry conditions, with balanced handling, strong braking, and good acceleration. The tire is also pretty responsive for the category, though at the expense of a somewhat harsh ride. Still, the noise is fortunately pretty low.
Furthermore, the CrossContact LX25 provides good light-snow traction, with solid braking and surefooted handling. It also comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty for H-speed and T-speed rated sizes and a 65,000-mile warranty for V-speed rated sizes, both the best in their respective category.
6. Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus
Best Performance All-Season Tires for Rain
Ultra-high-performance all-season tires provide even better rain traction than their touring/grand-touring counterparts, largely thanks to the stickier tread compound. And currently, there is no better UHP all-season tire in wet conditions than the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus.
A successor to the already excellent non-plus model, this tire provides very high levels of grip and traction in the rain. Hence, the braking distances are among the shortest in the category, and accelerating out of a corner never disturbs the driven wheels.
Moreover, the wet handling is very balanced, and the ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus behaves very positively at the limit, thanks to the gradual loss of traction. Lastly, the hydroplaning resistance is excellent for a UHP all-season tire.
Continental managed to combine the excellent wet traction with outstanding dry grip – this is one of the stickiest all-season tires I’ve ever driven. The cornering grip is closer to a summer UHP tire than it is to a grand-touring all-season one, and the longitudinal traction is exceptional. Still, it’s not perfect, as the ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus feels less responsive than its closest UHP all-season rivals.
Unlike its direct rivals, though, this tire provides very good light-snow traction, on-par with the best grand-touring tires. It’s also very comfortable – the ride is smooth, and the tread noise is minimal. Lastly, treadlife is among the best in the UHP all-season category, and the 50,000-mile treadwear warranty is a testament to that.
7. Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4
Best Performance All-Season Tires for Rain
The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is DWS 06 Plus’ closest competitor, and naturally, it closely matches that tire in most measurable tests. Thus, it provides similar wet traction, with excellent braking and acceleration and very balanced handling. The hydroplaning resistance is very good as well.
When it comes to dry surfaces, I actually prefer the more responsive nature of the Pilot Sport All Season 4 – the steering is very quick and linear. The cornering grip is also outstanding for a tire with an all-season tread compound, and the braking is equally as impressive.
Furthermore, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 works very well on light snow, with positive handling and good overall traction. The treadlife it provides is also similar to the Continental, though the 45,000-mile treadwear warranty is slightly lower.
Due to its responsive nature, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 is slightly less comfortable than its closest rivals, both in terms of ride and noise.
8. Continental ExtremeContact Sport
Best Performance Summer Tires for Rain
Much like its UHP all-season cousin, the ExtremeContact Sport is a tire with very few compromises. Notably, it’s perhaps the best max-performance summer tire in wet conditions, thanks to the best-in-class braking and exceptional cornering grip.
The ExtremeContact Sport continues to impress under braking on dry pavement, where it again provides the shortest distances. The handling is also akin to a racing tire, with responsive steering and outstanding lateral grip. The high-speed stability is exceptional as well, though that’s something that most premium max-performance summer tires excel at.
Much to my surprise, the ExtremeContact Sport is also very comfortable over bumps, though the tread noise can easily penetrate the cabin.
9. Pirelli P Zero (PZ4)
Best Performance Summer Tires for Rain
The Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) is another max-performance summer tire that provides an exceptional overall grip, so it’s no wonder that many supercars come equipped with it from the factory.
In wet conditions, the P Zero (PZ4) is slightly worse under braking than the ExtremeContact Sport (though still great) but runs circles around its competitors in terms of lateral grip. This tire is very easy to drive fast in the rain, thanks to the exceptional grip and very balanced handling.
Like most P Zero tires, this one also provides excellent dry grip and traction, with very linear steering that sadly feels dead on center. Still, the ride quality is very smooth for such a tire, and I was surprised at how little tread noise entered the cabin.
10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
Best Winter Tires for Rain
Let’s finish this list with my favorite winter tire for rain and slush – the Blizzak WS90! Bridgestone’s newest winter product is a step above the competition in terms of wet braking, with distances that rival some all-season tires. The handling is also very good, with a strong lateral grip and good behavior at the limit. Like most winter tires, the Blizzak WS90 also provides excellent hydroplaning resistance.
The WS90 is also one of the most impressive winter tires in slush and snow, where it steers and brakes without any issue. And unlike cheaper non-studdable winter tires, the Blizzak WS90 also provides very good traction and handling on ice.
Unfortunately, all those great performance traits come at the expense of a harsh ride and some noticeable tread growl at speed. Still, as far as traction goes, the Blizzak WS90 is the best tire on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What types of tires are best for rainy conditions?
Although most people think that all-season tires provide the best rain traction, that accolade actually goes to summer tires. Now, all-season tires do have a larger void area and combat large amounts of water more easily, but the summer tires’ stickier compound still reigns supreme. So, overall, a set of touring or performance summer tires will provide you with the best rain acceleration, braking, and handling.
However, summer tires start to lose traction as the temperature falls, and under 44 °F (7 °C), all-season tires take over. The reason is pretty straightforward – summer tires become too hard, almost plasticky, at lower temperatures, which is detrimental to traction. Meanwhile, all-season tires are made from a compound that stays pliable at lower temperatures, thus providing better traction.
Meanwhile, winter tires will provide the highest possible traction on slush, as they have very large grooves and sipes, which can channel large amounts of water, but also a compound that stays pliable at very low temperatures.
- Does rain traction degrade over time?
Absolutely! The reason is that any tire would lose tread depth over time, which is crucial in rainy conditions. More tread depth (deeper grooves) means the tire could channel more water out from the tread, helping with traction and grip. Moreover, the tire compound also loses its elasticity over time, which can also degrade the overall wet performance.
Thus, if your tires are older and worn out, you should drive more carefully when it rains and start thinking about replacing them with a new set.
- What’s the minimum tread depth for successful wet traction?
It is generally accepted that 2/32-inch is the minimum tread depth for successful rain traction. Hence, it’s illegal to drive with tires that have less than 2/32-inch tread depth in most countries on earth.
Furthermore, tire manufacturers employ tread wear indicators (TWIs), which are narrow rubber bars that sit in the circumferential grooves of the tire. When your tire reaches the minimum tread depth, these indicators will be flush with the rest of the tread.
Naturally, I’d recommend replacing your tires even sooner, especially if you live in an area where it rains frequently. Ask your mechanic to check the remaining tread depth (my recommendation is a 4/32-inch minimum for safe rain driving), or purchase a simple tread depth gauge and measure it yourself.
Driving in rainy conditions has its fair share of challenges, as the traction is much lower than on dry pavement. Hence, if you live in an area where it rains, even infrequently, you should wisely choose your tires.
In my years of experience in the industry, cheaper tires usually fall apart when it rains. I’m particularly talking about low-cost Chinese options, but also other tires that are more than 50% cheaper than the premium products. Going too cheap will always have a detrimental effect on safety; hence I’ll never recommend such tires.
You can find some good rain tires on budget, some of which might not have been included on this list. Browse our website for reviews and carefully read them, and I’m sure you’ll find a set that you can afford!