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15 October 2021

The best waterproof jackets – and those to avoid

From Berghaus to The North Face and Barbour, Which? readers rate waterproofs for their water resistance credentials, value for money, fit and more
LB
Lauren Bell

The UK isn’t best known for its reliable weather. A decent waterproof jacket should therefore be integral to your wardrobe, but be wary about which one you invest in. Just because a jacket claims to be waterproof, that doesn’t mean it necessarily is.

We asked 3,997 members to rate jacket brands for everything from water resistance to comfort and durability, and some of the most famous outdoor clothing companies were awarded just two out of five stars for water resistance. Other survey respondents bemoaned the lack of warmth or poor value for money so names aren’t everything. 

Despite not all hitting the mark, there are, however, some brilliant options out there. But results do reveal it’s often worth avoiding budget labels if you want to stay dry while out on a walk

Read on to learn what to look out for when choosing your waterproof jacket, and discover the best waterproof brands to invest in (along with those you should swerve). We’ve linked to the homepages of all brands (with an overall reader rating of 80% or above), or to a Which? Recommended Provider that sells the brand.

Best and worst waterproof jacket brands


Average price paid
Breathability
Comfort
Durability
Fit
Warmth
Water resistance
Value for money
Customer score
£204
90%
£170
89%
£180
87%
£142
85%
£221
84%
£127
83%
£85
-
-
-
-
83%
£150
83%
£151
83%
£124
83%
£131
81%
£90
81%
£83
80%
Mountain Warehouse
£72
79%
Sprayway
£94
79%
Helly Hansen
£93
78%
Musto
£153
78%
Cotton Traders
£56
77%
Tog 24
£89
76%
Peter Storm
£61
75%
Regatta
£60
75%
Karrimor
£61
74%
Columbia
£92
72%
Trespass
£69
70%
Decathlon
£60
-
-
-
69%

USING THE TABLE Survey (conducted in March and April 2021) is based on responses from 3,997 Which? members who own waterproof jackets bought since 2016. ‘-’ means there isn’t enough data to give a rating. Average price paid is based on the mean amount members paid. Customer score is based on satisfaction and whether members would recommend the brand.

Best waterproof jacket brands

man wearing a waterproof

Páramo

Páramo jackets aren’t cheap — prices range from £80 to £425 — but members think they’re worth it. The brand comes top of our waterproof jackets survey, with five-star ratings for breathability, comfort and water resistance. Plus, its waterproofs come with a lifetime guarantee.

Páramo, named after part of the Andes mountain range, retains strong links to the region. It produces 80% of its clothes in a charitable factory in Colombia, founded to provide training and employment for vulnerable women. It also donates to the World Land Trust to offset its carbon emissions.

Verdict: Fantastic jackets that are worth the high price

Shop Páramo jackets direct

Didriksons

There are two things you can expect when slipping into a Didriksons waterproof jacket: comfort and staying dry. The brand won members over and landed itself five stars in these categories, with a solid four out of five in every other. Once again though, a purchase from this label may leave your wallet feeling lighter, with jacket prices averaging at £170 apiece. 

Verdict: Pricey but effective

Shop Didriksons jackets direct

Shop Didriksons jackets at Cotswold Outdoor


Planning a walking holiday with your new waterproof? Check out the best-rated areas of outstanding natural beauty in the UK


Best cheap waterproof jackets

Marks & Spencer

When looking at overall score by survey respondents, Marks & Spencer was the cheapest brand to score over 80%, with great ratings for comfort and fit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also scored four stars for value for money. Not too many of our survey respondents rated the brand specifically for its water resistance so we were unable to produce a star rating – but as the brand appeared in the top 10 in our table, it’s reasonable to assume that those who shopped for waterproof jackets at Marks & Spencer were satisfied with their choice.

Verdict: Seems a decent brand for the price, but there’s not enough data to get a full picture.

Shop Marks & Spencer jackets direct

Lands’ End

If you want to spend less than £100, look no further. Lands’ End gets four and five-star ratings across every category — including water resistance — and was one of few that was rated well for warmth.

Its clothes are often on sale, so you can usually find a waterproof jacket for less than £50.

Verdict: An excellent, affordable alternative.

Shop Lands’ End jackets direct

Craghoppers 

Which? members spend £83 on Craghoppers’ jackets on average. But, they’re not just cheap, they’re good value for money. The brand was awarded four out of five stars in this category, as well as for water resistance, breathability, comfort and fit­­ — all handy components for active days spent exposed to the elements.

Verdict: A decent all-rounder for the price, but doesn’t offer the warmth of Lands’ End products.

Shop Craghoppers jackets direct

Shop Craghoppers jackets at Cotswold Outdoor

Other waterproof jacket brands that gained a customer score of 80% or more

Which? members awarded 13 of 26 brands with an overall score of 80% or higher, indicating they were generally quite happy with their waterproof jacket. Some scored highly for water resistance and value for money, while others performed superbly for warmth, breathability or comfort. These are the best of the rest that we've not already mentioned:

Waterproof jacket brands to avoid

Decathlon

Decathlon (which includes several in-house brands such as Forclaz, Quechua and Solognac) gets just two stars for water resistance. Too many owners felt its waterproof jackets didn’t stop them getting wet – hardly ideal if you’re heading out into the rain. That’s not the only reason to avoid Decathlon’s jackets. The brand gets just three stars for comfort and fit, so its jackets could still spoil your stroll on a dry day.

Verdict: Waterproof jackets that are anything but.

Decathlon’s aren’t the only waterproof jackets to fail at their core job: Helly Hansen, Peter Storm, Karrimor, Columbia and Trespass also get two stars for water resistance.


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Where to shop for waterproof jackets

person wearing a waterproof in the rain

When shopping online, always opt for a reputable retailer, and one with a decent returns policy and reviews. For all the brands we recommend, we’ve provided links to click through to shop directly, but many are also available via Which? recommended clothing retailers such as John Lewis and Cotswold Outdoor.

What to consider when buying a waterproof jacket

Choose a well-fitted hood

A snug hood will protect your face from the elements without restricting your view. Look for one with a stiffened peak, to prevent it from flapping in the wind. If you prefer a detachable hood, make sure there’s overlap between the hood and collar, so rain can’t trickle down your back.

Check the seams

Seams need to be sealed or taped for your jacket to be waterproof – otherwise water can seep through the small holes created during the manufacturing process. If you can see the seams, it means the jacket probably isn’t waterproof.

Choose a drop tail

Ensure the jacket is longer at the back than the front. It gives you added protection, which is particularly useful if wind whips up from behind. It also means the jacket is less likely to ride up as you walk.

Look for ventilation

While a waterproof jacket should be completely sealed for when it’s raining, it needs to be ventilated when the sun’s out. If it’s not, condensation from sweat can build up inside. Look for jackets with Velcro cuffs and pit zips to let moisture escape.


Looking for somewhere to wear your waterproof? Why not check out the best-rated walks near you in the UK as rated by Which? readers