This study assesses the suitability of five popular satellite-based precipitation products in modeling water balance in a humid region of China during the period 1998–2012. The satellite-based precipitation products show similar spatial patterns with varying degrees of overestimation or underestimation, compared with the gauged precipitation. A distributed hydrological model is used to evaluate the suitability of satellite-based precipitation products in simulating streamflow, evapotranspiration and soil moisture. The simulations of streamflow and evapotranspiration forced by the MSWEP precipitation perform best among the five satellite-based precipitation products, where the Kling-Gupta efficiency (KGE) between the simulated and observed streamflow ranges from 0.75 to 0.91, and the KGE between the simulated and observed evapotranspiration ranges from 0.46 to 0.61. However, the KGE between the simulated and observed soil moisture is negative, indicating that the performance of soil moisture simulation forced by satellite-based precipitation is poor. In addition, this study finds the spatial pattern of simulated streamflow is dominated by the distribution of precipitation, whereas the distribution of evapotranspiration and soil moisture is controlled by the parameters of the hydrological model. This study is useful for the improvement of hydrological modeling based on remote sensing and the monitoring of regional water resources.