Updated: November 2017

Rain Gauge Reviews:

Thousands of years ago, people used rudimentary rain gauges to record the rainfall so taxes could be assessed. Those with optimal amounts of rain (no drought, no flood), were taxed more because of larger projected crop yields. Today, thankfully for the people of Seattle and unfortunately for the people of Arizona, rain is not used to figure out how much you owe in taxes. But rain gauges can still be tremendously useful for farmers, landscapers, gardeners, meteorologists, teachers, and anyone else who needs or wants to know how much rain is falling in any one area. Today's options are much broader and technologically advanced, and it can be difficult to find just what you want. The following guide will take a look at the best rain gauges so you have a great starting point.
rain gauge

Choosing a Rain Gauge - There are different types of rain gauges with varying levels of sophistication. Important to consider are your use, your budget, and your need for the newest and the best. In general, though, you should make sure that your rain gauge is easy to read, convenient for your purposes, and most of all, rain-proof! Let's take a look at some of the best rain gauges on the market and what they have to offer you. You can browse the best selling rain gauges online here.

Best Rain Gauges:

If you're looking for the best and latest weather instruments, Hubpages recommends the Oregon Scientific RGR126 Cable Free Long Range Rain Gauge. One of the best aspects of the Oregon Scientific rain gauge, according to Hubpages, is that you'll make fewer rainy trips to the garden. That is the advantage of a wireless rain gauge. This gauge gives you a daily, 9-day, and total rainfall record display in inches or millimeters, as well as indoor and outdoor temperatures. You can place the rain gauge up to 300 feet away for rain or within 100 feet for temperature gauging. Another nice feature of the wireless rain gauge is the automatic self-emptying rain cup. It measures and then discards the rain it has collected. You can find this for under $50 on Amazon.

Another name in wireless rain gauges that you will see often is Chaney Acu Rite. Their wireless rain gauge is often viewed as a budget choice but one that is typically reliable. Amazon reviewers give it high marks, saying that it has an excellent design. The Acu Rite features an extra wide collection unit, 24-hour rainfall mode and 2 additional modes, rainfall monitor with alarm in increments of 0.5 inches, and enhanced wireless sensor transmission, and digital display. One reviewer noted that if you just want a simple rain gauge, this will do it for you. You can find the Accu Rite for $40.

If you prefer to be a little more old-fashioned, you can also get rain gauges that are not wireless - or wired for that matter. One of the very best is the Rg202 Stratus Long Term Professional Rain and Snow Gauge. WeatherSnob says that despite having all the best technological models, "nothing beats old school weather gauges." When the National Weather Service conducts their NWS Skywarn observer training programs, they use the Stratus. A funnel on the top catches the rain and sends it to the measuring tube. It has the capacity to measure up to 11 inches of rain, and it can measure snow as well. Simply take out the funnel and measuring tube. This rain gauge is made of heavy duty clear butyrate plastic so it is durable in all weather. Amazon reviewers call it a great precision instrument, easy to read, easy to use, and a "weatherman's product of choice." The Stratus is $35. Sometimes old-school, or traditional, is best. And you don't have to worry about the batteries.

If you're of the mind that low-tech just means there's less to break, you'll also like the Chaney Instrument 5-Inch Capacity Easy-Read Magnifying Rain Gauge. The name gives you all the salient details: you simply place the 13-inch cylinder (5-inch capacity for rain) into the ground. That's it. Then, after a rainfall, you can look at the gauge, which is very easy to read even in lower light. It has gradations and white digits to help make reading a breeze. Many people find it useful for their gardens to monitor rainfall in the summer or to keep track of how much their sprinklers have watered the garden or lawn. It is small and unobtrusive. So is the price. You can find this for $5. Perhaps not great for the pro or amateur meteorologist, but it's ideal for those who want to know how much water their lawns and gardens are getting.

One more interesting type of rain gauge is a tipping bucket rain gauge, and this name, too, gives us the salient details. Essentially, this is system made of a funnel, calibrated buckets, and pivot. There is a funnel on top which catches the rain. It channels it to one of the two smaller buckets (more like triangles than buckets). A magnet holds the first bucket in place while it is filled. When it is full, the magnet releases, and the bucket is tipped. The water is drained while the other bucket is held by the center magnet. This continues, and each time the bucket tips, it triggers a sensor. This sensor relays the information to a weather station so data can be recorded. You can see how this looks in this animation (http://z.about.com/d/weather/1/0/w/0/-/-/Rain-gauge-animation.gif). Tipping bucket rain gauges tend to be more expensive: you could spend $1700 on the deluxe CASELLA 103801D rain gauge at the high end. More affordable is the Rainew 111, which has an 8-inch collector unit, 60-foot cable, display, and restart button. You can find this for a far more budget-friendly $73.

Weather is a passion for some people and a matter of their livelihood for others. No matter why you want to track rainfall, you will find a host of great options, starting with the ones above. You can do it high-tech or old school, you spend a few dollars or a few hundred. In any case, you'll find the answers you want.