Best Rain Gauges Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Whether you're a weather fanatic or just need to know what's going on outside, rain gauges have come of age as functional, easy to use and conveniently assembled. So if you like gadgets if you're into knowing if, in fact, this has been the rainiest month in history we've got you covered with 10 of our favorites that will satisfy everyone from a casual lawn chair weather watcher to a wanna-be meteorologist.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 215 hrs of research
Water and heat resistant
Easy to assemble
10 Best Rain Gauges
Water and heat resistant
Easy to assemble
Must be suspended to work properly
Need Constant cleaning and emptying for more accurate results.
This rain gauge is user-friendly and a perfect tool to teach anyone, even kids how to measure rainfall. Made to last, with a UV tolerant polycarbonate material, it can virtually withstand harsh weather conditions and still maintain its quality. The mechanism has a funnel top that catches rain and leads it to a 1-inch tube with measurements. It can also accurately measure snow, sleet or even hail.
Strength and Durability
Made of a strong polycarbonate that is UV resistant and weather tolerant. It is also made of a non-metal material and this means that it is rust resistant. It can also withstand harsh sun rays and does not fade since it has a clear color.
Easy to Use
It is easy to set up the rain gauge on a post with a “quick connect” holder that can be removed easily. The funnel and measuring cylinder are then overlaid on top for measuring and can all be removed any time for cleaning or proper calibration.
Cost and Value
It is made of a tough material that is clear, rust free and easy to install. It is also multipurpose, meaning that it can be used to measure snow and hail as well. Therefore, with its affordable pricing range, it offers value for money since it is not only easy to use, but it is also made of a relatively strong material to withstand harsh weather conditions.
2. Toland 227200
Easy to read measurements
Universal perfect fit size for Toland Home gauges. (Exception applies to Mini Rain Gauge)
This product is easy to install, making it a favorable option.
Fragile as it is made of glass making it expensive to maintain.
This replacement udometer is ideal to maintain both functionality and outlook of the Toland garden stand. The rain gauge collection tube may be fragile but a necessity to complete its function in measuring rainfall. They come in both amber and clear glass finish to give you a range of choices in design.
The udometers are of standard sizes and all perfectly fit the Toland Home system, unless you order the mini rain gauges. They also have clear, easy to read measurements that are designed not to fade.
Easy to Install
They are convenient and easy to install because all it takes is to slide one in the holder and you are good to go. This saves both time and energy.
Cost and Value
The replacement udometers come with a standard design that fits perfectly on the Toland Home rain gauge products and one cannot go wrong with it after purchase. Therefore money is not lost because you get exactly what you purchase without the stress of being shortchanged.
3. Headwind Jumbo E-Z Read Rain Gauge
Easy to clean and drain
Mounting tools included
Measures only five inches
Sometimes a rain gauge needs to have a jumbo reading surface. Luckily, the Headwind Jumbo E-Z Read rain gauge provides that. The bright yellow numbers are easy to read from a distance of 50 feet.
The design is simple and brilliant. The seemingly simple device is very reliable. The three-inch opening is the same used by the national weather surface. Traditionalists like the old-fashioned, non-electronic, low-tech aspects of the rain gauge.
The gauge is 26 inches tall. It has a clear tube with a green, gray, and black background. The design of the entry funnel has a protective screen which prevents debris from getting into the gauge. Debris can hinder the measurement of heavy rainfall.
It catches water well. The gauge can be read from a distance of 50 feet. Claims of being able to read at 80 feet have been made. The gauge can be read form indoors. It is specially calibrated to ensure accuracy. The gauge is for anyone wanting accurate readings.
The gauge is easy to install. All mounting tools are included with the rain gauge. It can be staked in the ground with a stake that is included or mounted on a fence. The package includes the 26-inch classic jumbo rain gauge, a self-sealing plug that requires no o-ring, and Lexan tube.
Cost and Value
Many people have ordered a second, third, or fourth to replace one that lasted for years or as a gift. This is the ultimate product for the price. It is a good buy at a good price. Improvements would significantly impact the price. The gauge outlasts many of its competitors.
4. Evergreen Garden Frog
Eye-catchy and cute design
Large markings that are easy to read
Marked in metric and freedom measures
Sturdy, solid construction
Prone to rust
Rain gauges do not have to be boring and dull. The Frog Lover rain gauge is decorative and functional. This umbrella frog gauge is among the favorites of many customers. It is practical, fresh, and looks great in any garden.
This rain gauge is the answer for anyone looking for a frog theme. The frog rain gauge is made of glass, metal, and polystone. The well-made frog gauge will last a long time. It makes a beautiful gift and conversation piece. It adds flair to the garden, flower bed, deck, front landscape, planter, or rock garden.
Capture rain amusingly and artistically. The whimsical rain gauge makes people happy. It is a combination of attractiveness and functionality. The indicator is colorful and bright. Comments from those who purchased it include wonderful item, beautiful packaging, excellent craftsmanship, and beautiful. The weight of the gauge keeps it from blowing around in the wind. It stays in place during a rainstorm.
Cost and Value
It is more expensive than the standard rain gauge is to get an attention-catcher gauge. While this rain gauge is more expensive than others, it falls in the median range of gauges on this list. Customers say it is worth the price.
It measures rainfall up to five inches. There is an option to use a screw-in, stabilizing post. Moving from railing to flower pot is easy. The units are marked in metric and freedom units. It suits the needs of style and function.
5. Taylor Jumbo Jr.
Easy Set up
Can be mounted on wall or fence
Can be read from 50 ft away
Requires constant emptying and cleaning for an accurate reading
The best feature of this rain gauge is accuracy in measurement with a view diameter of 50 ft. It comes with a measuring cylinder capable of measuring up to 5 inches of rainfall and can be installed using the bracket that allows wall or fence fitting. The clear measurements coupled with its high-quality plastic finish makes the Jumbo Jr. one of the best rain gauges best suitable for outdoor rain measurement.
It has a plastic cylinder that holds the rainwater with easy-to-read measurements, which can be viewed from 50 ft away. Moreover, it is fitted with a lid, that is also a funnel to lead water in the cylinder, and this serves an additional purpose of minimizing debris that may interfere with the reading.
With a conveniently fitted spike to hold the cylinder in place, the Jumbo Jr can be easily placed on the ground, mounted on the fence or wall to get accurate readings. The measuring cylinder can also easily slide off the holding rack to be cleaned or emptied for a more accurate reading.
Cost and Value
The rain gauge is easy to install and can be read from a distance of up to 50 ft away. The fact that it is made out of material that can withstand heat and a stand that can help it withstand heavy rainfall, it can be used for a long time without the need to find a replacement. This makes it valuable and helps one save on any cost that may be needed to improve the reading process. Also, it does not need other accessories because it comes with all parts complete ready to install and use.
6. Outdoor Home 6
Millimeter and inch markings
First graduation is not marked in tenths
Meet your new best friend for your yard. Here is a rain gauge for those who love gardening or like measuring rainfall. This is the gauge if you are tired of having to replace gauges that get cloudy, become yellow, or crack.
Whether you have a watering system, farm, or home, the rain gauge saves on water and coincidental water bills. You have the information needed about watering the lawn and plants to keep them happy and healthy.
It can easily be mounted using the mountable plate that is included. The Outdoor Home rain gauge can be placed anywhere in a garden or yard. All that is needed is a fence post or deck it can call home. It can be placed on a wall or post.
Due to the small size, it does not get in the way. The measurements are easy to read, preventing any confusion. The raised graduation scale has large numbers. The Outdoor Home rain gauge is long-lasting and durable.
It provides a sturdy and dependable gauge that is reliable and easy to read. Rain is measured in inches and millimeters. The heavy-duty materials used to make the product reduce the chances of cracking under extreme weather conditions or yellowing in the sunlight. The gauge is frost resistant.
Cost and Value
It is ideal for the yard or garden. The gauge has a six-inch rain capacity. It is made of heavy-duty polycarbonate that is UV resistant. The rain gauge can handle sprinkling or torrential downpours. It comes with a warranty.
The high-quality materials used for the OutdoorHome rain gauge are designed to resist frost and the burning sun and still look good. There is no complicated, electronic or calibration set up.
7. SPI Home
Clear markings and easy to read
Easy to Clean
This product is easy to install.
Consumers favor the clear design.
Fragile as it is made of glass making it expensive to maintain.
The rain gauge support replacements that are broken or worn out and has clear markings to help get the readings. Despite it being easy to clean and install, the glass finish makes it fragile, hence expensive.
Easy to Install
Can be easily installed with ease since there is no additional part to be attached. It also fits perfectly and readily fitted in place to be used.
It is made of a clear glass material that has permanent markings that make the reading easier to read.
Cost and Value
The material used to make it is fragile and despite its cheap price, this makes it costly in the long run. One also has to take caution when cleaning or emptying it because it may break if not taken care of.
8. Bits and Pieces
Doubles up as a Decor
This rain gauge can hold up to 5 inches of water.
The design offers consumers perfect stability.
May have balancing problems if base not evenly finished
The hand-painted sculpted gnome provides that perfect accessory for garden or an outdoor décor on the front porch. Moreover, it has a plastic finish rain gauge that can measure up to 5 inches of rain.
The beautifully curved sculpture is weather resistant and can act as a perfect gift for gardeners since it blends well with nature. The material used in the structure of the whole sculpture is durable and can withstand harsh temperature changes.
Apart from the sculpture being a beautiful garden piece, the plastic gauge can hold up to 5 inches of water. Its height 8 inches tall and about 4 inches wide provides perfect stability.
Cost and Value
This décor is definitely worth the money because it not only functions as a rain gauge but also a garden décor. The hard material used in sculpting makes it durable and definitely worth the money.
9. AcuRite 00850A2
Easy to Use
Limited to 5 inches of rain measurement
Plastic may become cloudy, making the readings difficult to read
This highly-rated rain gauge is 12.5 inches in length and can be mounted or staked on the ground. The clear and easy-to-read measuring markings are capable of measuring up to 5 inches of the rainwater. It is made of acrylic, which makes it durable and weather resistant. The device is highly recommended for landscaping and small home garden use.
It is specifically designed to measure rainwater (up to 5 inches) and its markings account for this. Moreover, it is light in weight and design only suits its function, which limits it from any other use.
It is made of acrylic, which makes it stronger and water resistant, and this is suitable for outdoor use. Moreover, it has markings that are easy to read and clear. AcuRite comes with a hang hole and a stake that gives a user options of either mounting it or sticking it on the ground.
Cost and Value
This is a must-have for gardeners because it is not only easy to use and precise; it is also cheap and comes with an option of staking or mounting. It is also made of a strong material which makes it durable and resistant to rain.
10. Springfield 2-in-1 Sprinkler Rain Gauge
Easy to read markings
May crack in freezing temperatures if water is not removed
Spending a lot of money for a rain gauge is unnecessary when you can purchase the Springfield 2-in-1 gauge for less than ten dollars. It performs as accurately as more expensive varieties. Springfield manufacturing has more than 50 years of experience making gauges and thermometers.
At a reasonable price, you enjoy accurate measurements. The gauge has some advantages. You get two functions for the price of one. There are two gauges. One measures up to five inches of rainfall.
The other is ideal as a sprinkler distribution gauge. It has a 1.5-inch capacity. You can determine if your plants have had enough rainfall and can control the sprinkler to supply plants with enough water to keep them healthy.
People are amazed at how long it takes to add an inch of water when watering the lawn or garden. This gauge takes the guesswork out of the process. The removable gauge can be set when more than an inch of water is needed.
The yellow background of the gauge has bold black graphics that make it easy to read. It is legible from a reasonable distance. The smaller unit has a pointed end meant to be stuck in the ground. The larger unit has a lip that hands down with a cut-away part near the top. It is intended to drive a nail in a fence on which to hang the unit.
Cost and Value
This is an inexpensive rain gauge that is easy to read. The plastic will last for years. The mounting apparatus includes screw holds It can be staked in the ground. Watch as inches of rain come down. It is marked in centimeters and inches. Springfield measuring basics offer accuracy and quality at a value price.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
While some people buy a rain gauge for the sole purpose of measuring rainfall, others look at other added benefits or features that will be able to meet their specific needs and requirements. In this regard, it is important to understand personal needs first before buying a rain gauge.
The size matters a lot because one should consider the location where he or she is going to place the gadget. If the size of the instrument is to affect a purchase-decision, it is essential to shop around for the perfect size to avoid any inconvenience because rain gauges come in several different shapes and sizes.
Always check that it is suitable for the location or purpose you intend to use it for. Larger rain gauges have their own advantages and disadvantages, and this applies to smaller ones as well. If one is also looking for an art piece to place in the backyard or garden to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the home or garden, a large gauge may serve the purpose better.
With the improvements in technology, manufacturers of rain gauges continue to design and produce gauges of different shapes and designs. The availability of different designs out there can be very overwhelming, and finding the right one can prove to be a very difficult task.
With many confusing designs, many people become confused when faced with the difficult task of choosing what they want. Owing to the need to clean rain gauges properly, it is important to purchase designs considered easy to clean and handle.
The design is also important because some designs can handle multiple mounting mechanisms depending on the space the instrument is to be placed. The design is also of paramount importance because some gauges are designed for low rainfall areas while others are meant to measure higher amounts of rainfall in areas most frequented by rain.
In this regard, some have markings to measure rainfall up to 5 inches while others may handle more or less amount of rainfall. It is also important to consider whether the gauge will be hanging on a post or placed on a flat surface off the ground.
Note that some gauges are designed for mounting on other objects while others are better placed on a flat surface off the ground. If looking to mount on a post, consider instruments with mounting vessels in addition to the rain-collection vessels.
Minimalistic designs are best suited for smaller spaces, as they require a small amount of space to collect readings. Some designs with both water-collection and mounting vessels allow for the separation of the two vessels for easy cleaning. The person doing the cleaning simply slides off the mounting vessel for easy emptying and cleaning.
In addition, some are designed with large markings to allow for easy reading of measurements. On the other hand, others feature outstanding finish and designs that make them ideal pieces of art that can be used to beautify the garden. Therefore, users can choose designs based on their visual needs.
Some are made using materials like stainless steel, aluminum, and even polycarbonate. UV radiation is very important in rain gauges because the absence of which may cause water to evaporate when unable to obtain accurate readings. Others are made of acrylic material, which makes them strong, durable and water-resistant.
Such gadgets are best suited to the outdoor environment. When it comes to choosing a rain gauge, strength and durability are very important properties. Materials like polycarbonate have high levels of UV tolerance. Such materials are able to withstand a range of harsh weather conditions without compromising their quality.
On the other hand, rain gauges made of non-metallic material are generally more resistant to rust than their metallic counterparts. For instance, gauges made of materials containing iron may be more susceptible to rust while polycarbonate material is rust resistant. Users should consider this factor before making their purchase decision because it generally affects the durability of the gadget.
Gauges made of a strong material can also withstand harsh rays of the sun. The tough material may not fade easily, especially if it is of a clear color. Therefore, to easily view the contents of a rain gauge, it is perhaps advisable to go for transparent materials such as glass.
While glass may be cheap in most cases, it is also fragile and may turn out to be costly in the long run because of the constant replacement of broken gauges. Extreme care is also required when handling and cleaning glass gauges, as they may break due to carelessness.
However, glass seems brittle and is more prone to breaking than other materials like polycarbonate. Under extremely tough weather conditions, the glass may not last beyond a year. If the gauge will be used to measure hail as well, then the issue of material becomes of paramount importance because durability is largely determined by the material used.
Mounting Height and Location
Rain gauges should be placed 1.5 meters above the ground. When looking to purchase a rain gauge, it is important to consider the mounting height and ensure that the mounting location is flat to enable the effective collection and measurement of rainfall. Location is important when thinking of installing a rain gauge.
Choosing a rain gauge should be pegged on a specific location. It should be free of any obstacles that may prevent precipitation from being collected in the gauge, but structured in a way that strong winds will not interfere with the gadget. For instance, if the ideal location for a gauge is on a flat surface, it should be in an open space, such as an open meadow in the middle of the forest.
If the gauge is meant for the backyard, the ideal location should be some distance from trees and buildings. Therefore, the choice of a rain gauge should depend on where the user intends to mount the gadget. Purchasing a gauge with the mounting location in mind helps to choose the most ideal instrument for that prospective location, making it convenient for the user.
If the gauge is to be mounted on a post, it is perhaps recommended to consider a gauge with a mounting vessel. The post should also be 2-5 feet in height so that it is far off the ground to prevent bouncing water from splashing into the gauge.
Note that the gauge should extend some few inches above the mounting post so that the gauge is higher than the post. A slanted, rounded or sharp pointed mounting post prevents rainwater from splashing back upwards towards the top of the gauge. A post with a flattened top can easily splash rainwater upwards and into the gauge, causing erroneous measurement and collection of data.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You can get a rain gauge that has an app or is tied to a digital display and we're all for it if you decide to go that way. But if you're a minimalist or need an excuse to tiptoe out to the garden feel free to go old school and check your rain gauge yourself with a good old collector that you stick into the ground. It's all about your goals, but you be you and enjoy know that whichever way you go, we've got you covered.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is a rain gauge?
This is a specially designed and calibrated instrument that provides accurate measurements regarding the amount of rain received in an area over a certain period of time.
q: Why do I need a rain gauge?
While a rain gauge is not a basic requirement for every homeowner, having one means you do not need to rely on weather reports because you will have the opportunity to collect your own data and analyze it to make important decisions about garden shrubs, flowers, and plants. This simple yet powerful instrument can provide very useful information to help make key decisions about planting, gardening or any other farming-related decision.
q: I am not well-conversant with rain gauges, can I still use one?
You do not require any special training to be able to use a rain gauge. The instrument is easy to install and use. Some gauges are so simple to use that even amateurs and volunteer networks can record readings accurately and with ease.
q: What measurements are used to measure rainfall?
The amount of rainfall in a given area can be measured using millimeters or inches.
q: Must every farmer have a rain gauge?
No. You do not have to own one. However, with the useful data and information provided by a rain gauge, you will be better equipped with critical information that can help make intelligent decisions regarding crops, flowers, and virtually any other farm operation. Important decisions include when to plant, yield or harvest projection, when to harvest, what plants would thrive in a given area, and more.
q: I can get local weather reports, what do I need a rain gauge for?
Local weather reports are very useful in providing specific information about rainfall and other weather-related data. However, do not be fooled by a rain gauge’s simplicity. This instrument can offer more reliable data on rainfall than any other source available elsewhere.
The data obtained is very accurate because it is specific to the farm or area where the gauge was placed and measurements recorded. Note that weather reports are largely based on averages of data collected over a period of time and within a larger area.
The data do not represent accurate weather conditions of a specific garden, plot, land or even village. This is why it is common to hear weather reports of rainfall in your area while in essence no rainfall was experienced. For accurate and reliable weather data, it is recommended to measure and record personal data for intelligent decisions regarding farming and gardening.
q: How many types of rain gauges are available?
There are several different types of rain gauges. However, they can be broadly categorized into two: manual and automatic rain gauges. Beyond the simple manual and automatic classification, the other types of gauges include graduated cylinder, weighing gauges, optical gauges, and tipping bucket gauges. The graduated cylinder is the simplest of them all and is considered the most basic/ standard form of a gauge.
q: What is the difference between manual and automatic rain gauge?
A manual rain gauge applies the direct measurement technique, where it funnels rainfall into a collector funnel before measurements are taken manually and recorded for further action. For automatic rain gauges, measurements are recorded automatically using sensors.
q: How many parts does a rain gauge have?
There are two main components of a rain gauge, which include a collector funnel to channel rainwater for measurement and some mechanism to receive the rainwater and measure it.
q: Is splashing of water an issue when measuring the amount of rainfall?
To minimize splashing and wetting of a surface, the interior of the rain gauge funnel is coated with a special material. This coating prevents water from sticking to the surface of the funnel and affecting measurements. In addition, the funnel is deep enough to allow the inflow of water without the risk of splashing.
q: What if dirt drops inside the gauge, can I still get accurate readings?
To obtain accurate readings, nothing else besides rainwater should get inside the funnel. In fact, the mesh filter ensures that only liquid gets inside the gauge. Leaves, silt, foreign material, bird droppings and other forms of debris are kept off the gauge to prevent possible clogging that could distort readings and measurements.
q: Where do I place a rain gauge?
Rain collecting devices are designed differently to hang to surfaces or be placed on flat surfaces.
q: How far off the ground should a rain gauge be placed?
To obtain accurate readings and prevent groundwater from bouncing off the ground and entering the funnel, place the gauge about 1.5 meters or 3 feet above the ground. At a safe distance off the ground, no water or object can splash from the ground into the gauge, thereby ensuring accurate readings.
q: How do I install a rain gauge?
Rain gauge installation needs to follow certain guidelines in order to get the best results. Identify a safe location in an open place and erect a post on which you will mount your gauge. Ensure that the post is firm before attaching the instrument to it. The distance from a tall building/ tree to the post should be at least twice the height of that particular building/ tree.
q: Are rain gauges manual or automatic?
While they were originally manual, technological advancement has enabled the innovation of automatic gauges to supplement the manual ones.
q: Between a manual and automatic rain gauge, which one is more accurate?
Technological advancement has made it possible to collect and transmit accurate data from rain collecting devices. However, manual gauges have been ranked higher than automatic ones in terms of accuracy and reliability. Due to their ease of use, even amateurs and volunteers observers have no problem using manual gauges.