5 Best Rain Gauges for Weather Nerds

Best Rain Gauges for Weather Nerds

Whether you’re a gardener, lawn perfectionist, or just a weather nerd, there’s plenty of reasons to track rainfall at your home. Keeping on top of the rainfall amounts will help you maintain a healthy lawn and garden, preventing overwatering and drought stress. A rain gauge makes it easy, with affordable low-tech options or cool high-tech gadgets. Check out the comparison chart to see all of our favorites and then scroll down to read the reviews in the next section.

Best Rain Gauges Comparison Chart

NamePhotoRatingFeaturesBuy
AcuRite Easy Read
4.5 Star Rating5" Capacity, Mount or Ground Stake
Outback Blue
4 Star Rating11" Capacity, Easy to Mount
Decorative Frog
4.5 Star Rating5" Capacity, Cute Design
AcuRite Wireless
4.5 Star RatingSelf-emptying Collection Cup, Indoor LCD Display
ECOWITT Wireless
4.5 Star RatingSelf-emptying Collection Cup, Indoor Display


 

Best Rain Gauges Reviews

Acurite 5″ Capacity Easy Read Rain Gauge

If you are rain gauge curious or looking for an affordable option to help teach your kids about the weather, AcuRite offers this incredibly affordable rain gauge. Made from durable, weather-resistant acrylic, this simple rain gauge collects rainwater and displays the amount. It’s designed with both mounting holes and a stake for plenty of installation options.

This gauge is great for grandparents as well thanks to the easy-to-read numbers. When the gauge is filled with water, it magnifies the numbers by 35% making the measurement easier to read. This means you actually can read it from a distance, convenient if you just want to glance at it from the backdoor. We were able to read the numbers from about 10 feet away.

Two things of note with the Acurite rain gauge, it is not freeze-proof, so if you leave it outside full of water and it freezes, the gauge will crack. This is best used in summer and then put in storage for the winter months. Also, if you plan on mounting it on a fence, the gauge does not come with hardware. All you’ll need is two screws which are easy to purchase.

Capacity: 5″

Notable Features: Easy read numbers, mount on a fence or use as ground stake




Outback Blue Professional Rain Gauge

If you live in an area with large amounts of rainfall or are looking for a more professional style rain gauge, this is a great option. The 11″ rain capacity is more than double most home rain gauges. Made from durable UV-resistant polycarbonate plastic, it is durable against heat and frost (but needs to be stored indoors during winter).

The design is a little more complicated than other rain gauges. It has two tubes, a large outer collection tube and then a smaller inner tube that is used for measuring. After it rains, you need to take the rain gauge apart and pour the water from the larger tube into the smaller measurement tube. Many users find this step in the process annoying, so I really only recommend this model for people who need more than the standard 5″ of rain measurement.

This rain gauge needs to be mounted, the best locations are on a fence post or a deck railing, away from overhead structures and trees that may block rainfall. You can also install a post in your yard specifically to mount the Outback rain gauge.

Capacity: 11″

Notable Features: large rain capacity, easy to mount, no metal parts


Frog Rain Gauge

If you want a rain gauge that is more aesthetically pleasing, there are plenty of decorative rain gauges for your garden. This is one of my favorites. This 5″ capacity glass rain gauge is held by a frog holding an umbrella. Made from polystone and metal it’s painted with an antique rust finish that is a classic look for any flower garden.

It’s designed with a spike to insert in the soil. It can’t be mounted or sit out on a porch or deck. The frog rain gauge is perfect to tuck into a garden bed or planter to keep track of your local rainfall.

There are a few cons to the design. Since the rain collection tube is made of glass, it will crack if water freezes inside of it. It’s best to store indoors during winter. There’s also an issue with the part that holds the glass tube. Water can collect inside and cause rusting. Painting the inside can prevent the issue.

Capacity: 5″

Notable Features: Cute design, antique finish, spike for easy garden placement.


AcuRite Wireless Rain Gauge

If you want to go high-tech with your rain gauge, AcuRite offers an affordable option. Watch the rainfall measurement in real-time, while staying comfy and warm inside your home. This model comes with a self-emptying rain collector and an indoor display screen. Every 16 seconds the rain totals update wirelessly so you can monitor heavy rainfalls easily. The collection cup should be mounted somewhere in your yard–a fence or post works great–but we used it sitting on a deck railing without issue.

As a gardener, my favorite feature is the rainfall total tracking. It not only records the total for the current storm but also keeps records for total rainfall during the current day, the last 7 days, monthly, and yearly. That seven-day total is good to know to help keep plants and lawns properly watered during the heat of summer.

This model is not only great for gardeners but also if you have flooding concerns for your house or basement, it helps you keep on top of the precipitation totals. It also includes two alarms: one for when rainfall starts and another to warn when conditions could cause flooding.

There are two maintenance downsides with this unit. The first is that you will have to occasionally replace batteries in the collection cup and the LED screen occasionally. The second is that while the collection cup is great at self-emptying if anything non-rain falls inside it can cause a problem. You may want to check periodically to clear out leaves, flowers, and other bits that fall from the trees. Occasionally you may also have issues with spiders setting up house inside the drain holes on the bottom.

Notable Features: self-emptying collection cup, indoor LCD display, sensor transmits signal up to 100 feet, measurements update every 16 seconds


ECOWITT High Precision Wireless Digital Rain Gauge

Another wireless rain gauge option, the ECOWITT kicks it up a notch with their professional rain gauge. While many features are similar to what AcuRite offers, ECOWITT is worth the upgrade for their additional features. This model includes a self-emptying rain collector and an indoor screen that displays all your stats and data. The collector has all the hardware necessary for mounting or you can use the included stainless steel pole to install directly into the ground.

The screen no only display current rainfall and historical records (1 hour, 24 hours, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and 24 months), but also has sensors for indoor temperature and humidity. The display can be wall-mounted or use the stand on a table. If you want alerts, you can customize a rain rate alarm or use the built-in flood warning to track heavy rains.

The biggest pro for the ECOWIIT is its range: the wireless signal can transmit up to 300 feet. This is essential if you have a large property or have struggled with weak signals from other wireless rain gauges. The small drain holes on the bottom mean that no spiders can get inside, great for arachnophobes.

Notable Features: self-emptying collection cup, indoor screen, powered by AA batteries, historical rain data, indoor temperature and humidity stats,

Uses for Rain Gauges

There are tons of practical uses for rain gauges beyond just monitoring weather conditions in your area. If you’re not sure what you’d use a rain gauge for, check out these uses for rain gauges at home.

Track Sprinkler Amounts

If positioned properly, your rain gauge can also measure the amount of water put out by your sprinkler. This is helpful if you’re trying to meet certain watering depths while seeding grass, establishing sod, or just maintaining your current lawn during the heat of summer.

Keep Your Lawn Green in Summer

If you’re obsessed with keeping a pristine lawn, tracking summer rainfall will help you keep it green all summer long. Generally, an established lawn needs about 1.5 inches of water per week in order to soak the top 6-8 inches of soil. If you’re tracking local rainfall, you can easily see when your lawn has gotten enough water from rain and save money on watering your lawn.

Track the Water Your Garden Receives

Just like a lawn, a vegetable garden needs regular watering to maintain healthy plants that produce plenty of produce. Most gardens need about an inch of water a week (double that in dryer climates). If you have a rain gauge near your garden you can easily monitor the rainfall amounts and know when you need to supplement and how much additional water your vegetable garden needs.