Effective supply of reactants and product-water removal are the key issues in proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) from the performance view point. Reactant distribution pattern can be one of the potential solutions for the well known water management problem in PEMFC. To study the effect of different flow configurations on the cell performance, three different flow-distributors, namely, parallel, serpentine, and mixed are analyzed numerically. A three-dimensional, numerical study was carried out in the three distributors for the identical reaction area. The effect of operating parameters such as flow rate and temperature was studied. The mixed flow-distributor is found to exhibit the best electrochemical performance as well as moderate pressure drop compared with the parallel and serpentine flow-distributors. The observation was confirmed by appropriate experimental study involving similar distributor geometries. Better reactant accessibility to the catalyst layer and moderate product-water removal from the cathode without diluting the reactant is argued to be the reason behind the better performance for the mixed-distributor. Copyright © 2010 by ASME.