The best waterproof jacket

Adam Reeder

The primary function of any jacket is warmth. However, you can't really be warm if you're soaking wet. That's why a waterproof jacket, in many ways, is the ultimate in outerwear.

A waterproof jacket prevents water from permeating its outer shell, keeping you both warm and dry. Whether you need a waterproof jacket for a light stroll with your kids or you're looking for one to keep you dry while working in a torrential downpour, it's essential that you pick the right one for your needs.

To learn more, keep reading our buying guide, which includes reviews of some of our favorites at the end. Our top choice is from Wantdo. With a multitude of colors to choose from and a heavy-duty design, this jacket is a great all-around choice.

Considerations when choosing waterproof jackets


It's important to pay attention to the level of waterproofing incorporated in your jacket. Each jacket has a waterproof rating, specified in millimeters. This refers to the volume of water at which water starts to permeate the fabric of the jacket. The minimum for any waterproof jacket is around 5,000 millimeters, but some are rated as high as 20,000 millimeters. In general, a higher waterproof rating comes with a higher price tag.


Waterproof jackets should have a somewhat relaxed fit on your body. This allows you to add multiple layers of clothing underneath. However, make sure that the jacket is tight enough around the wrists and the waist that rain or snow can't seep in.


2 layers: Waterproof jackets with two layers consist of a layer of outer fabric that's sewn over a membrane. There is also an inner lining that is not attached to the outer shell. This space between the two layers makes the jacket breathable and insulated. Two-layer jackets are ideal for casual wear.

2.5 layers: Waterproof jackets that have 2.5 layers include an outer shell, a waterproof coating, and another protective layer on the inside. These are relatively lightweight and don't cost too much. Unfortunately, they're not as durable as three-layer jackets.

3 layers: For maximum waterproofing protection, opt for a three-layer waterproof jacket. They are the most expensive style but offer the greatest protection against inclimate weather. They incorporate an outer fabric liner that holds a waterproof membrane followed by an inner liner. These jackets are best suited for hiking and other rugged outdoor activities.


When you're trying to keep water out of your jacket, it's important that sweat and other moisture not collect on the inside as well, making you uncomfortable. Many waterproof jackets use microscopic holes to keep air flowing through the fabric layers.



Waterproof jackets are made from a number of different materials. Nylon, polyurethane, and polyester are the most common fabrics used to make waterproof jackets. However, many other synthetic fabrics are also used. Laminate coatings may also be used on some jackets to keep the moisture from permeating the outer shell.


Hood: Having a hood on your waterproof jacket is an important feature if you want to ensure your head stays as dry as the rest of your body. While some hoods are permanently affixed to waterproof jackets, others are connected with simple buttons or zippers and can be removed.

Vents: Vents can be a nice way to be sure that a waterproof jacket stays breathable and comfortable. In humid environments, a non-breathable waterproof jacket can be quite miserable.

Packable design: Some of waterproof jackets can be folded down into a small package for stowing and transport. If you travel often and want an easily stowable jacket, opt for a waterproof jacket with a packable design.


Most waterproof jackets cost between $20 and $300. A $20 waterproof jacket has a waterproof outer shell with little to no insulation. For $100, you can find a lightly-insulated waterproof jacket that has either two or 2.5 layers. In the $300 range, waterproof jackets are extremely breathable and waterproof. They are also highly durable and are usually three-layer in design.


Q. How do I dry a soaked waterproof jacket?

A. You should either hang it or place it on a flat surface. As with drying any wet piece of clothing, airflow is one of the most important factors.

Q. How do I clean my waterproof jacket?

A. While many waterproof jackets are in fact machine washable, some are not. Check the manufacturer's recommendation to find out whether you should handwash or machine wash your jacket.

Waterproof jackets we recommend

Best of the best: Wantdo's Mountain Men's Waterproof Ski Jacket

Our take: If you want to stay both warm and dry, this is the jacket you need.

What we like: This jacket features a fleece lining, multiple pockets, and headphone line fastening.

What we dislike: Some customers complained of zippers breaking.

Best bang for your buck: Portwest's Men's Classic Rain Jacket

Our take: If you want a serviceable waterproof jacket that won't hurt your wallet, this is the one for you.

What we like: Deep hood and solid waterproofing.

What we dislike: Not as durable as many other models.

Choice 3: Carhartt's Men's Rockford Rain Defender Jacket

Our take: This jacket looks as good as it feels.

What we like: Stylish cut, and multiple utility pockets.

What we dislike: Some users complained of ripped seams and broken zippers.

Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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