Rain Gauges Buying Guide
Do you know how much your last rainfall amounted to? Few people can accurately guess the amount of moisture those clouds deposit. Leave it to a rain gauge to do that for you.
Types of Rain Gauges
Do you hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on your rooftop? What does that translate to in terms of moisture for your lawn, flowers, trees, shrubs, and garden? The amount of rainfall is an important number to consider for every homeowner. It can affect not only how your plants do but the amount of work you have to put into your yard to keep it in prime condition. The easy, inexpensive way to record rainfall is with a rain gauge -- wedge, digital, cylindrical, or rain/sprinkler combo.
Rain gauges are typically differentiated by the openings at the top of the gauge, which determine how water is captured. Wedge rain gauges are wider at the top than at the base; these rain gauges must be read manually.
Digital rain gauges collect water outside and use an interior sensor to provide accurate readings of moisture accumulation. Some are able to track rainfall weekly, monthly, or yearly.
As with wedge rain gauges, cylindrical rain gauges must be read manually. However, these are shaped like a cylinder -- the same width at the top and bottom.
If you regularly water your lawn or flowerbeds and use irrigation to supplement rainfall, then a rain/sprinkler combo may be worthwhile. A small cylinder collects totals from the sprinkler system, while a larger cylinder measures natural rainfall.
A rain gauge isn't that complicated -- it's simply a container that measures water. But still, some factors can affect how this very small purchase works, how long it lasts, and how easy it is for you to take note of what it records. Those purchase considerations include mounting hardware/stem, outdoor durability, capacity, visibility, replacement pieces, and decorative elements. This quick overview should help you make the right purchase.
Many rain gauges stay upright with a pointed stem at the bottom that can be pushed into the ground. Others have a mounting bracket that attaches to a frame or pole.
Many rain gauges are made of inexpensive plastic, which may not be suitable for colder climates. If you intend to leave yours outside in all temperatures, you may want to invest in a version that's more weather-hardy.
Most rain gauges can measure several inches at once, which helps if your region regularly receives deluges. Make sure the capacity is adequate for your rainfall.
Rain gauges can be found in a variety of sizes; if you want to read yours from inside the house, you will need to find one with measurements large enough to be visible.
Accidents, weather, human nature: All of these factors sometimes result in broken rain gauges. If you have a glass gauge element, make sure it can be easily replaced.
Some rain gauges have decorative pieces -- leaves, frogs, etcetera -- that add pretty, naturalistic accents to the garden. Others are designed more as sculpture than simple tools.
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