The 10 Best Rain Gauges
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in May of 2018. Whether you grow your own plants, fruits, and vegetables, or simply take pride in your lawn, a rain gauge can be a useful tool to help you figure out when it's time to water your garden or flowerbeds. Our list includes both digital and analog options, ranked by accuracy, durability, and price, and some of them are even wireless, so you can monitor the readings from indoors. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 09, 2020:
To suit various needs, we've kept both simple gauges and more complex electronic models; although we looked for durability, it's important to note that most of the former will break if left full of water to freeze. As you likely already know, water expands as it does so, which can crack both plastic and glass. For this reason, it's usually a good idea to bring in or empty a rain gauge if you expect a sudden dip in temperatures after a rainfall. If you believe you'll forget, the Stratus Precision might be your best bet, as it is more resistant to weather-related damage than many. In fact, it's a top choice for several other reasons: it's extremely accurate, has no metal that can rust, and is easy enough to read. It's not for everyone, however, as it does require a little work to manually measure large amounts of rain that occur in a short period.
If you want an option that is more hands-off, the AcuRite Easy-Read, La Crosse Waterfall, or John Deere Tapered might be a better choice. They are simple and accurate enough for most general use. Or, if you'd like something decorative, consider the Boaer Frog. It's glass, so you should plan to treat it gently, but it's definitely a cute addition to any garden.
For something fancier, there's the AcuRite Wireless and the Ambient Weather Smart. The former is hit or miss for some, as it isn't exactly easy to calibrate, but it's inexpensive for an electronic model. If you have a bit more to spend, the Ambient Weather model will give you all the data you need from a weather station, including solar radiation, rainfall, temperature, and more. It isn't perfect, either, due to occasional connectivity issues, so you may find yourself needing a little extra patience.
Naturally Unique Personalized Every Naturally Unique Personalized is, indeed, completely unique, as each one boasts a rock hand-picked from the shore of Lake Superior with an initial sandblasted into it. The smooth gray of the stone is complemented by the copper tubing that holds the rain gauge in place, creating an eye-catching, rustic gift — whether for yourself or someone else. etsy.com
Conant Vermont Jeffersonian The Conant Vermont Jeffersonian is no average model, as it offers a float and lever design that's as much of an art piece as it is a rain gauge. The solid brass construction is handsome, and the numbers are big and easy to read, even at a distance. conantcollections.com
Davis Instruments Vantage Vue Although it's both more expensive and more complicated than plain rain gauges, the Davis Instruments Vantage Vue is perfect for those who want a range of data. A wireless choice, this weather station comes with an LCD console and outdoor sensor array, but the mounting pole must be purchased separately. davisinstruments.com