A quick trip out in the wet today soaked my rain jacket through to my arms. It made me wonder about the difference between water resistant versus waterproof. So I did a little research. It turns out that waterproof clothing has an inner membrane to keep water out. Manufacturers tape or cover seams to make sure rain can't find a way in. These two factors alone make water proof garments more expensive.
Water resistant, on the other hand, means that the fabric has been treated externally so that initially moisture will bead up and slide off. The fabric will eventually become saturated in heavy or moderate rain, and thus my cold, damp arms in what I thought was my waterproof coat.
If you are still on the hunt for a great raincoat, here are a few waterproof favorites. I chose these because I feel a great raincoat should have a hood, I like a length that covers the upper leg, they were top-rated, and I give them bonus points for style. I threw in one sport version for the active among us.