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Rain gauges are a tool used to measure and track the amount of rain that falls in a particular area. For this reason, they are commonly found outside on rooftops or on top of tall buildings. They come in different shapes and sizes, but all do the same thing: collect data about rainfall over time. Whether you’re looking for something high-tech such as an electronic gauge with remote monitoring capabilities or more simple options like a traditional barrel-style rain gauge made from plastic, we’ve got you covered! We’ll talk about what makes these gauges so great in detail below. This article reviews 5 of the best rain gauges on the market to help you make your selection process easier!
Stratus Precision Rain Gauge with Mounting Bracket (14″ All Weather)
Made of heavy-duty, UV-resistant polycarbonate, this high-quality rain gauge will last for years without corroding or fading. Heat and frost resistant – use it in your garden, yard, or even as a scientific instrument in a lab!
Jumbo EZRead Rain Gauge with Float 820-0002Each gauge features a unique funnel that prevents unwanted leaves, and debris from entering the tube and which can result in inaccurate readings and a clogged rainwater collector. The EZRead helps to measure rainfall by using a high visibility float and features water level magnification for the best and easiest readings. The Jumbo EZRead rain gauge also includes a plastic hanger for easy mounting.
AcuRite 5″ Capacity Easy-to-Read Magnifying Acrylic, Blue (00850A2)
The numbers are magnified by 35%, so you can easily see how much rain has fallen. The gauge is made from durable acrylic and features an integrated hang hole for easy mounting, or it can be staked into the ground.
La Crosse 704-1531
The magnifying acrylic ensures an easy-to-read design, while the black-blue with gray numbers and markings makes it dynamic and visually appealing. Additionally, the keyhole bracket fits onto a post or fence with screws (not included), or you can use it as a garden/yard stake.
AcuRite 02446M Wireless Rain Gauge with Indoor Digital Display, Black
The customizable alarm notifies you with an audible beep once your set rainfall total has been reached, making it easy to keep tabs on the weather. With a self-emptying rain collector, no daily maintenance is required – simply connect the collector to the display and start measuring rainfall totals!
What is the rain gauge used for?
There are many reasons why people would want to measure the amount of rain that falls on their property.
Some of these reasons include:
- Knowing whether or not you need to water your lawn/garden after a storm
- Determining how much rain your property received during a storm
- Measuring the amount of rainfall over time to track patterns
- Determining how much rain your property receives in a season (i.e., an annual rainfall amount)
- Collecting data for scientific purposes (i.e., reporting rainfall amounts for research)
The rain gauge is the perfect tool for collecting this data! It consists of two pieces:
- The funnel, which collects water from outside and funnels it to the bottom where there’s space for it to collect
- The outer tube, which collects the water from the funnel and measures it in inches
Let’s say that there were two storms: one on March 20th and another on May 18th. Each storm dropped 0.75 inches of rain on your property. If you only water your lawn/garden every time it rains 0.50 inches or more, then you would need to water your lawn/garden after the May 18th storm because that’s when your property received the most rainfall.
If you’re measuring rainfall over time to track patterns, it’s important to keep a record of the amount of rainfall you collect each time. This can be done by using a rain gauge with an outer tube that has markings on it to indicate how much water is in there, or by measuring and recording data manually for every storm (e.g., “March 20th: 0.75 inches”).
If you’re collecting data for scientific purposes, then you’ll need to find out how much rain your gauge collects per inch. This information can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or by contacting them directly. Once you have this information, you can then begin to collect data and report it!
Benefits of a Rain Gauge
A rain gauge can be calibrated in either inches or millimeters. There are many benefits to using a rain gauge, including:
- Accurate weather forecasting: Knowing how much rain has fallen is essential for predicting future weather patterns.
- Water conservation: A rain gauge can help you determine how much water your garden needs, and when to water it.
- Flood prevention: By measuring the amount of rainfall in an area, officials can better predict flooding risks and take necessary precautions.
- Agricultural purposes: Farmers use rain gauges to measure how much irrigation their fields need.
There are many more benefits to using a rain gauge, and they are essential tools for weather enthusiasts and professionals alike. If you’re looking for an accurate way to measure precipitation, be sure to invest in a good rain gauge.
Types of Rain Gauges
There are many different rain gauges out there, so how do you know which one is the best for you? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for.
There are four main types of rain gauges: tipping bucket, weighing gauge, displacement gauge, and orifice gauge. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
- Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge: The most common type of rain gauge, it is easy to use and reasonably accurate. It consists of a funnel with an attached, pivoting rod at the top. Each time it rains, some of the water in the funnel spills out through one or more small holes on its sides and into a graduated cylinder underneath by tilting this rod. However, they are prone to get clogged with debris.
- Weighing Gauge: Weighing gauges are less common than tipping bucket rain gauges, but they’re more accurate and can measure very small amounts of rainfall. A weighing gauge consists of a platform that is slowly weighed down by the water that accumulates on it as it rains. The more rain that falls, the heavier the platform becomes until it tips over and empties its contents into a graduated cylinder below. The main downside to using these gauges is their size; they can be quite large and cumbersome.
- Displacement Gauge: A displacement gauge measures how much water has been displaced by rainwater to calculate precipitation totals. This type of gauge usually consists of two cylinders connected vertically so that the bottom cylinder always contains a fixed amount of air. One side of this container is open, and water from rain or snow flows into it through an opening at its base. The main benefit to using these gauges is their ease of use; they can be quite accurate but need regular calibration to ensure accuracy over time.
- Orifice Gauge: An orifice gauge measures rainfall by measuring how much water passes through a small opening each second as if the entire area around it were being showered with raindrops all at once. It consists of two metal plates separated slightly enough for a narrow stream of falling rainwater to pass between them when wind speeds are low (less than five miles per hour). The main advantage to using orifice gauges is that they are unaffected by wind speeds and can be very accurate when used under the right conditions.
There are also manual and digital rain gauges that can be used for measuring rainfall.
- Manual Rain Gauge: It is an open container with markings on its sides and a drainage hole at the bottom, which records how much water has accumulated in it. It’s very easy to read and doesn’t require any batteries or power source to work – all you have to do is pour out the collected precipitation into another graduated cylinder so you know exactly how much has fallen.
The main benefit of using these gauges instead of other types is their cost; they’re usually inexpensive and don’t take up too much space either. They also need little maintenance apart from regular cleaning. However, having no way to record data automatically means that gathering information about weather conditions requires more effort on the part of the user.
- Digital Rain Gauge: A digital rain gauge is a battery-operated device that records precipitation totals over time and then stores this data for later retrieval. Most models also can transmit this data wirelessly so you can track rainfall amounts from anywhere in your yard or garden.
The main benefit of using these gauges is their accuracy; they’re very reliable and usually quite durable as well. They also take up relatively little space, making them a good choice for smaller yards or gardens. The downside is that they can be expensive, and some require regular calibration in order to maintain accuracy.
Which type of rain gauge is best for you depends on your specific needs. All four types have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which one to buy. No matter which type you choose, make sure you calibrate it regularly in order to ensure its accuracy.
How to Choose the Best Rain Gauge
Weather conditions can change quickly, whether it be rain or shine. The best way to stay on top of your local forecast is with a premium rain gauge so you always know if Mother Nature has something up her sleeve for the day ahead.
When choosing the best rain gauge, there are a few factors to consider. So let’s start by talking about the features of a few types of rain gauges.
What is the rain gauge used for?
Size is important – you want to make sure that the gauge can capture enough rainfall so that you get an accurate reading. Small size is important since it means you will be able to move your gauge around more easily, if necessary. If you plan on storing your rain gauge during very dry periods, then having one that can fit into tight spaces would also help.
If you plan to take your rain gauge with you, then it should be easy and quick to attach. If the opening in the top of the rain gauge is too small or narrow, it will make placing a funnel difficult; if there’s no way for air to escape while taking measurements, this could also lead to inaccurate readings. Gauges with a wide opening make it easy to place the funnel and take readings without having to worry about air pressure.
Another size-related consideration is how much rainfall your gauge can capture.
Usually, the storage capacity is the same as the collection rate, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you want to have more control over how much water your rain gauge can hold at one time, then choose a model with an overflow option so that it doesn’t get too full or spill out when it’s raining heavily.
The most common measuring capacity is 0.25 inches, but there are also rain gauges that measure in tenths or hundredths of an inch. Moreover, some gauges also have the capacity to measure snowfall accumulation.
The next consideration in choosing the best rain gauge is the material for which it’s made. It is important because some materials are more durable and weather-resistant than others. It’s also important because some types of material may be better suited for particular climates. There are two main materials: plastic and metal.
A metal rain gauge is very durable and can withstand heavy rainfall, but it’s heavier to carry from one location to another; however, the material may rust if left outside for a long period of time due to its vulnerability to moisture and harsh elements like salt spray or acid rain.
The best type of rainfall measurement device will be determined by your climate and location because each has different advantages and drawbacks depending on where you live. For example, plastic devices tend to work well in cold climates, while metal gauges do well in hot and humid climates.
Remember that you’re looking for a rain gauge that can accommodate the environment it’s going to be used in. If you live somewhere with very high winds, then choose one with an aluminum or stainless steel funnel since they’ll hold up better than plastic funnels under strong gusts of wind.
There are also rain gauges made of glass and ceramic. They’re very sturdy and durable, but they can be expensive.
Ceramic is a good choice for anyone living in an area where hail frequently falls from the sky because it’s unlikely to break with falling ice or frozen precipitation. Moreover, it doesn’t rust like metal and is less likely to warp in extreme heat.
Glass is made of sand so it’s naturally more susceptible to temperature changes which may cause cracks or breaks if the temperature suddenly changes. In addition, glass can be more expensive than other types of materials.
If your area is prone to heavy snowfalls and ice build-up, then you’ll want to find a rain gauge with a large collection area so that the snow and ice won’t block the funnel and prevent water from entering the gauge.
If you choose the wrong material, you may not get an accurate reading of the rainfall. Moreover, if you choose a material that’s not appropriate for your climate, then it may be more likely to break or corrode.
The best rain gauge is one made from the right material and designed for use in specific types of weather conditions. In other words, find something durable enough to withstand any elements thrown at it while also being accurate enough to measure the rainfall accurately.
One more thing to consider is the construction of your unit. Some have a design that protects them in harsh weather, while others are more exposed and can be susceptible to any elements. Think about where you live and what kind of climate you typically experience before choosing which one will work best for you!
Construction is also important because you want to make sure the gauge is sturdy. You don’t want it falling apart or blowing away in a storm! For example, if you live in an area with high winds, you’ll want to find a rain gauge that is well-constructed and able to withstand the gusts.
Another thing to think about with this decision is how visible or hidden you want your rain gauge to be. Some people prefer a more subtle option, while others love having a bright and colorful one that is easy to spot! Rain gauges come in a variety of colors and styles, so you’re sure to find one that fits your preferences.
Some units have an open-top design where the water simply falls into a container below. Others come with a lid or cover that allows for easier removal and draining after rainfall events without getting too messy! Having easy access is important because it will make it simpler to take readings and track rainfall totals.
You want to choose a rain gauge that is in the right size range for your yard. If you have a massive area, go with something large and accurate to make sure it can catch everything! However, if you only want an estimate of rainfall in your garden or other smaller space, choosing a small unit will suffice!
Another key consideration when purchasing a rain gauge is accuracy. Accuracy is important because you want your measurements to be as accurate as possible so you can compare one year’s rain total to the next. If you are measuring rainfall for a specific purpose, such as agricultural needs or meteorological research, accuracy is especially important.
You should check that any gauge you purchase states it has been tested and certified by an accredited agency before making a final purchase. It means that the gauge has been tested and confirmed as accurate within a specific margin of error.
Accuracy depends on several factors in the rain gauge itself. It is important that it is designed to be accurate with respect to rainfall measurements over a range of different precipitation intensities and sizes, including very light rains where many other instruments are not able to detect moisture at all.
It is also critical that the top of your rain gauge opening remains open during falling rain so individual raindrops can be accurately counted, and rain is not blocked by the sides or rim of the opening.
In addition, the gauge must be properly calibrated, which means adjusting it to measure rainfall at a certain location and elevation. Different locations can have different atmospheric pressures that will affect how rainfalls and are measured.
Typically, gauges that use weights to measure rainfall should be calibrated frequently (such as once per month), because they can become inaccurate due to frequent exposure to rain or other weather elements such as snow. Some gauges need calibration only twice a year. Others may never need calibration, but this should be checked before the purchase.
When it comes to gauges that use electronic sensors, the best ones are those that have been calibrated at the factory and have a certificate of accuracy from the manufacturer. These tend to be more accurate than those that must be calibrated by the user. However, there are many factors that can affect the accuracy of electronic sensors, such as exposure to direct sunlight, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how best to use and care for your gauge.
The most accurate rain gauges are the ones that use tipping buckets. These gauges measure the amount of water that tips the bucket, which is then translated into inches or millimeters of rainfall. Other types of rain gauges, such as those that rely on electronic sensors, may not be as accurate. Rainfalls measured by tipping bucket gauges with either plastic or stainless steel buckets are the most accurate.
Remember that if you are looking for rainfall measurements over a large area, such as your entire farm or the surrounding region, the accuracy of individual rain gauges is less important. You can simply use an average amount that is taken from many different sources to get an idea of the overall precipitation in that area.
The next step is installation. You should look for a rain gauge that is easy to mount on a pole or post. It should also be sturdy and able to withstand the elements of nature such as wind, snow, and heavy rainfall.
You can either install it on your roof or in your yard. If you choose to install it on your roof, make sure the location you pick will not interfere with airflow and that rain will not hit the sensor directly.
When installing your rain gauge, make sure the funnel is facing in the right direction. The opening of the funnel should be pointing down so that it will catch all the rain as it falls.
If you’re using a console-type rain gauge, make sure the display is in a visible location where you can easily read the measurements. The display should be able to withstand the elements as well.
We recommend choosing a rain gauge that comes with detailed installation instructions and all the necessary hardware you need to install it, including stakes for securing your pole/pole or posts if needed. In addition, some rain gauges come with a mounting plate that you can attach to your roof or yard.
We also recommend choosing an installation location away from any obstructions such as buildings, utility poles, power lines, etc. Make sure there are no overhead branches since this could interfere with the unit’s accuracy and function.
Do not forget that if you do not have a flat surface, you can still have your rain gauge installed. You just need to ensure that the installation includes an elevated position and some type of stand or mounting system.
If your rain gauge is not installed properly, you will not be able to get accurate measurements. You can choose to have a professional service place your rain gauge, which would include power installation if needed, or you could do it yourself.
The next step is a battery replacement for weather stations with batteries. Some of our units are solar-powered and don’t require any type of maintenance since the panels will generate all the power needed.
The last step is to choose a location for your weather station from an indoor or outdoor position, and then begin taking measurements! Selecting the right location will ensure that you get accurate reading results. Weather stations with solar sensors need direct sunlight in order to work properly so keep this in mind when choosing where/how to place your weather station.
If you choose a digital rain gauge, you should consider how you want to display the rain data. Some digital gauges have a wireless transmitter that sends the rainfall information directly to your computer or smartphone. Other options include a console that sits near your weather station and transmits the data wirelessly or a stand-alone receiver that can be placed anywhere in your yard.
Some people prefer an old-fashioned look, and a rain gauge with a traditional analog dial may fit the bill. Others prefer the convenience of using their smartphone to check rainfall data from any location or having that information directly uploaded into an app on their computer or tablet.
In addition to deciding how you’ll display your measurements, you need to decide whether you want the data to be easy for everyone in your household to read or just you. Some rain gauges have a large face with big numbers that are easy for many people to see from across the yard, but if you’re trying to catch every last drop of rainfall so you can tell what type of plants will need supplemental irrigation this year, small numbers that are tough to see from far away may be a better option.
Most digital gauges have sensors at the bottom of the tube, which means you’ll need to empty them out manually after they fill up with water. If it rains every day during your area’s monsoon season, this probably won’t be a big deal, but if your area only sees a shower every few weeks, you may not want to have to remember to empty the gauge on a regular basis.
Some displays are small and compact, while others are large enough to be read from a distance.
What size should a rain gauge be?
Typically, a rain gauge should be at least two inches tall and have the capacity to hold at least 0.05 gallons of water (or approximately 15 ml).
How do I read my rain gauge?
Rain gauges typically have a numbered scale that runs from 0 to 100 or 101. The higher the number on the scale, the more rain has fallen.
Can I use a rain gauge to measure snowfall?
In general, no. Snowflakes are generally too large and fall at too low of a velocity to be accurately measured by a rain gauge. However, if the snow is melting as it falls, you can use the water accumulation in your rain gauge to estimate how much snow has fallen.
What should I do if my rain gauge is full?
If your rain gauge is full, it means that the precipitation has exceeded the capacity of the gauge and you will need to empty it. This can be done by tipping it away from the house to avoid flooding and then using a turkey baster or a pitcher to gently remove any excess water.
What is daily rainfall?
Daily rainfall measures how much precipitation has fallen over one day in either millimeters or inches. A common standard for measuring this value is 0.25 centimeters (0.01 inches) of rainfall.
Where is the best place for a rain gauge?
The best place for a rain gauge is in an open area that is relatively free of obstructions and away from buildings, trees, or other objects that could impact the accuracy of the measurement. It is also important to make sure the rain gauge is placed in an area where it can remain undisturbed throughout the rainfall event.
Do rain gauges really work?
Yes! While there are some limitations, rain gauges do work and can be a great way to learn more about your local weather conditions.
Useful Video: 10 Best Rain Gauges 2020
Now you know how to choose the best rain gauge for your needs. Be sure to consider all of the factors mentioned in this article before making your purchase.
Remember, a good rain gauge will help you keep track of how much rainfall your area is receiving, so you can take necessary precautions and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
A final thought on the best rain gauges is that you should not be afraid to ask questions. Do your research and talk to people about their experiences with different models before making a decision. You might also want to check out this blog post, which covers some of the common questions related to rainfall measurements!
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Which one of these rain gauges do you think is the best for your needs? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!