The 7 Best Rain Gauges of 2023 to Keep Your Garden Thriving

Our top pick goes to Taylor Provisions Products for their model that’s easy to read and even easier to install and maintain.

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Best Rain Gauges

Better Homes & Gardens / David Hattan

If you’re in a climate that gets a lot of rainfall, it can be beneficial for your home and your plants to measure exactly how much rain you are getting at any given time and where it accumulates on your property. The best rain gauge will allow you to accurately keep track of how much precipitation falls, and you can use this data to keep your plants thriving or even catch the risk of water damage to your house before it happens.

A rain gauge records rainfall by collecting the water that precipitates and allows you to easily measure the amount that has fallen. The rain gauge’s measurement allows you to determine if your lawn or garden needs additional water–or is prone to getting too much water.

A rain gauge also determines how much rain has fallen during any given rainstorm, which helps to accurately record how much rain accumulates each season on your property across a day, a month, or even a rainy season. This is useful if you’re living in an area that is prone to flooding, or if you’re unsure if your house might be exposed to so much water or it might cause future damage.

According to Portia Cozzolino, owner and grower for Mike's Hothouse, a benefit to a rain gauge is a healthier, more thriving garden. “A rain gauge might help you to determine that a lot of water collects in one particular spot of the garden that you might not have realized otherwise,” says Cozzolino. “People think they don't have to water plants after it rains. Most of the time a short rainstorm doesn't even provide enough water to really saturate the ground and water your plants enough and you have to water anyway.”

To help you in your search, we rounded up the best rain gauges while considering size, capacity, digital capabilities, price, and more. Our top pick is the Taylor Precisions Rain Gauge for its simplicity and ease of use, but we have other options for lots of different needs below.

Best Overall

Taylor Precisions Products Jumbo Jr. 5-Inch Capacity Rain Gauge

Taylor Precisions Products Jumbo Jr. 5-Inch Capacity Rain Gauge


Why You Should Get It: Easy to read and able to hold up to five inches of water at a time, this is the best rain gauge we found for its high-quality, durable construction, and ease of use that still accurately records precipitation levels. 

Keep in Mind: This is a no-frills option that doesn’t have any bells and whistles, and if you place it in an area that gets a lot of sun, you might notice the numbers fading over the course of a few years.

If you’re looking to improve your garden, you need to understand if your plants do well in areas with heavy rain or thrive better without a lot of rain at all. This bright, simple model is our top pick because it should work for the majority of households, is relatively affordable, and is durable enough to have for years to come.

The yellow coloring makes it easy to read the numbers from up to 50 feet away, and a red floating indicator accurately records rainfall up to 5 inches. (There are also lines that indicate millimeters, if you prefer.)

The cylinder stands at 20 inches high and includes both a bracket (but no screws) and a stake, so you can mount it on a deck or stick it directly into the garden. There are similar models on the market to this one, but we prefer the Taylor Precision Products rain gauge because it can be seen from farther distances. Also, it opens from the top and the cylinder can be removed to clean and dispose of water. Cleaning is a cinch, too–just soap and water will do.

Price at time of publish: $16

Product Details: Type: Standard cylinder | Dimensions: 21 x 4 x 4 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.1 inches

Best Budget

AcuRite 5 in. Easy-Read Magnifying Rain Gauge

AcuRite 5 in. Easy-Read Magnifying Rain Gauge


Why You Should Get It: If you’re looking for something to use during the spring or summer rainy seasons, this is an affordable, accurate, and easy-to-read option for a low price.

Keep in Mind: It doesn’t perform well in the cold, so this might be something you buy annually or store away in the winter.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles for monitoring rainfall, the AcuRite rain gauge is a reliable, easy-to-read option. This acrylic measuring tool can be mounted–although the product does not come with screws–or placed directly into the ground, giving you some flexibility.

It’s recommended to bring this gauge inside during extreme weather conditions (freezing or very hot temperatures) as the plastic material may crack.

This model holds up to five inches of water and has magnification to accurately read numbers from farther distances (though not as far away as our top pick). While this is a more basic gauge, it’s easy to use, simple to read, and would be best suited for somebody who is trying to monitor a smaller space like a vegetable garden or flower bed. We like it because of the affordable price and its ability to measure how much rain accumulates after a short period of time.

Price at time of publish: $8

Product Details: Type: Standard cylinder | Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.8 x 12.4 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.1 inches

Best Splurge

WeatherFlow Tempest Weather System

WeatherFlow Tempest Weather System


Why You Should Get It: This high-tech option is great for anyone wanting to learn more about their area's climate and weather patterns.

Keep in Mind: If you are only looking to read how much rainfall is occurring in your backyard, this one has too many bells and whistles for you.

If you want to expand your weather tracking beyond just rain, this wireless and app-enabled device is a worthwhile splurge. Most importantly, it’s one of the best rain gauges that accurately measures rain by 0.1mm increments. The sensor also records the duration, start, and the intensity of the rain. The device–which you install in the ground or mount on a post, can transmit data from up to 1000 feet away and connects via the Tempest app. (Bonus, the Tempest works with Alexa, too.)

This highly detailed home weather station measures UV index, ambient light, solar radiation, barometric pressure, the direction and speed of wind, temperature, relative humidity, lighting strikes, and lightning distance to give you the most accurate overview of your local weather.

The Tempest was developed by atmospheric scientists and uses the same technology as the National Weather Service. The app is also monitored by in-house meteorologists and sends real time data and forecasts right to your phone–like if rain is coming or if lightning has struck within a close range of your property.

Again, this is for someone who wants to monitor multiple aspects of the weather, but it’s a great product if you’re looking for instant results and little maintenance, as this doesn’t require much upkeep.

Price at time of publish: $329

Product Details: Type: Sensor reading | Dimensions: 4.23 x 11.7 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.1 millimeter

Best Wireless

ECOWITT WH5360B Wireless Rain Gauge

ECOWITT WH5360B Wireless Rain Gauge


Why You Should Get It: While it doesn’t have all of the capabilities of the Tempest, if you’re looking to collect a little more data than just rainfall, this is a great (and more affordable) option.

Keep in Mind: This is wireless, but doesn’t have a connecting app.

If you’re interested in collecting other types of data in addition to precipitation but don’t want to spring for the expensive Tempest model, this is the best rain gauge for you. The Ecowitt’s best feature is how much rainfall data it can store–it measures precipitation levels up to 0.01 inch, but also tracks daily, monthly, and yearly levels while storing data up to 24 months at a time.

In addition to historical data, you can also get real-time updates as this wireless gauge sends a rain report to the digital console every 49 seconds. There’s also the option to set an alarm to let you know when there’s risk of flooding.

In addition to rain measurements, this wireless device has a date and time display, monitors indoor temperature and humidity, and also keeps track of record high and low temperatures.

The self-emptying tipping bucket requires one AA battery that typically needs to be changed once a year. Another benefit: The base to the bucket is closed with small drainage holes, which helps prevent insects or debris from getting stuck inside and potentially tampering with results.

Price at time of publish: $60

Product Details: Type: Tipping bucket | Dimensions: 5.63 x 3.54 x 1.1 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.01 inches

Best Digital

AcuRite Wireless Digital Rain Gauge

AcuRite Wireless Digital Rain Gauge


Why You Should Get It: If you’re looking for a little more data and want to focus on rain accumulation over time, or simply don’t want to worry about emptying the device, we recommend this pick.

Keep in Mind: While the AcuRite is a wireless option, it’s not nearly as fancy or technologically oriented as the Tempest or the Ecowitt, and the tipping bucket requires a battery to work.

This self-emptying tipping bucket option (which means the product empties out when it reaches a certain level of rainfall) is perfect for those looking for a little more information about the rain that accumulates on their property.

It’s not a weather station, so it will only report rain data, but it’s one of the best rain gauges available thanks to its slightly more advanced technology. However, it’s important to note that the AcuRite requires a battery, so those looking for something low-maintenance might want to reconsider this option.

Still, if you’re interested in more than the minimum amount of data, the AcuRite’s digital console records date and time, and updates outdoor rain totals every 60 seconds. It also features interesting extras, like an alarm that dings if the present conditions indicate there might be some flooding in your lawn or your garden.

It also records rainfall for the duration of a current storm, the last 24 hours, the last seven days, and two additional time periods you can set yourself. You can also set an alarm that lets you know when rain has started.

Price at time of publish: $44

Product Details: Type: Tipping bucket | Dimensions: 2.3 x 4.9 x 6 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.01 inches

Best for Rain and Snow

Stratus Precision Rain Gauge with Mounting Bracket

Stratus Precision Rain Gauge with Mounting Bracket


Why You Should Get It: A frost-resistant option, this model is the best rain gauge that can also measure snow.

Keep in Mind: This is made for both rain and snow, and because snow accumulates in a much higher volume than rain, this is a larger model than the other options.

Measuring snowmelt and rainfall is not a one to one comparison–it depends on factors such as how heavy the snow is (sleet is different from light powder, after all), and there are varying numbers you’ll find if you research. The NSSL reports that an inch of rain can equal anywhere from 2 to 13 inches of snowfall. That’s a lot of snow!

While this Stratus rain gauge also measures snowfall, you’d need a lot of it to fall in your area to see it collect in this standard cylinder model. There are snow gauges that are measuring sticks you can place in the ground to report precipitation right as the snow is happening, but if you’re curious and live in a particularly cold region, this is the rain gauge to purchase.

The most important factors that allow it to work in snow are its size and its materials. Unlike some of the best rain gauges we recommended above, the Stratus Precision rain gauge is made of frost-resistant polycarbonate that can stand up to all of the different elements. Additionally, it measures up to 11 inches of water, so it holds more than the standard rain gauge to make up for the difference between snow and rain levels.

Price at time of publish: $50

Product Details: Type: Standard Cylinder | Dimensions: 4.25 x 14 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.01 inches

Best Decorative

World’s Coolest Rain Gauge Company 24-Inch Copper Stake Rain Gauge

World's Coolest Rain Gauge Company 24-Inch Copper Stake Rain Gauge


Why You Should Get It: This copper option is an exception to the typical selection of rain gauges: It’s as gorgeous as it is functional.

Keep in Mind: You’ll pay for aesthetics: This is more than three times the amount of our best overall pick.

The acrylic rain gauges on our list might not look like something you’d want to keep in a well-kept garden. But if quality construction, aesthetics, or supporting a small business is on your checklist, this stake style rain gauge from the self-proclaimed World’s Coolest Rain Gauge Company checks all of those boxes.

The copper tube and polycarbonate base are incredibly durable and long-lasting, so while the price is higher, this gauge should last longer than more affordable models. It’s also frost-proof and safe to keep out all year long.

This standard cylinder model features an easy-to-read blue tube with large numbers that shows how much water has precipitated by slowly rising out of the copper tube as water accumulates. The tube is simple to remove and empty without having to pull the stake out of the ground. The brand notes that while this gauge works for rain accumulation, it can also be used as a way to test how accurate your sprinklers are working, which is a clever way to use any rain gauge.

The best part about this gauge is its aesthetic appeal, as the stake is as decorative as it is effective. For the money, this is the best rain gauge to give as a gift to a gardener.

Price at time of publish: $62

Product Details: Type: Standard Cylinder | Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 24 inches | Measurement Intervals: 0.1 inches

The Bottom Line

While there are plenty of rain gauges out there that have wireless capabilities and additional features, we think the simplest Taylor Precisions standard cylinder is the best pick for its price and durability. If you’re interested in learning a lot more about the weather in your area, we highly recommend the Tempest Weather System if you’re willing to splurge, and the attractive World’s Coolest Rain Gauge option also makes a great gift.

What to Know About Rain Gauges Before Shopping

Ease of Use 

Like most inventions, rain gauges have evolved over time. Choose between a simple model that utilizes multiple funnels or a more technologically advanced model that is wireless, digital, or analog. If you’re just looking to get an accurate and simple read, a straightforward cylindrical model will be the best rain gauge for you.

You can also find models that measure snow as well as rain, if you’re looking to track how much snow you get during the colder months. You will not be able to accurately measure snow with a standard rain gauge, and will have to find one that weighs the results.

Another factor when considering ease of use–digital and wireless options tend to be self-emptying, and while standard cylinders are not, they should be constructed in a way that makes it easy to remove the tube and empty out the water inside.

As to where to place one, Cozzolino writes: “It’s best to place a rain gauge in an area away from a large structure and not in an area prone to heavy winds. Some people say they should be placed at a distance twice as far as the height of your house or barn … but maybe that's not practical for a garden that's close to your house.”

In that case, Cozzolino notes that it’s still effective to keep a rain gauge anywhere you can for accurate results that will considerably help your garden.

Construction and Materials

The size of a rain gauge should depend on how often you want to check on rainfall. For instance, if you’re away for long stretches of time and aren’t able to physically record data with your rain gauge, a wireless option might work best.

If you’d like to keep it by your garden to check your data frequently, you could use a simpler model that stakes directly into the ground. You also want to choose sturdier materials that are heat- and UV-resistant, and if the climate calls for it, frost-resistant as well.

Measuring Capacity 

Wireless and digital rain gauges are best for easily collecting data over the course of a longer period of time, as many of them store data for months, seasons, or the whole year. If individual rainstorms are of interest to you, or you don’t mind collecting physical data, then you can choose gauges with smaller capacities or non-digital options.


If used correctly, a rain gauge can be accurate up to 1/100th of an inch, but proper maintenance and care are essential. According to this study from Cornell, a clogged rain gauge or extreme wind are often the culprits of inaccurate information.

To avoid this, check on your gauge to make sure it hasn’t tipped or has been tampered with by the elements in some way–and keep it where there’s air flow but it won’t be susceptible to a lot of wind. However, if a rainstorm is particularly windy, you may want to consider the possibility of slightly inaccurate data if you’re working with a standard cylinder that doesn’t log data the way some of the more sophisticated options do.

Your Questions, Answered

What are three types of rain gauges?

At its simplest, a rain gauge is essentially a large cylinder with a funnel on top that has a smaller cylinder inside and is referred to as a standard cylinder. The funnel ensures the water is accurately collected, and the design ensures complete accuracy should the funnel overflow. It will display data in either millimeters or inches, depending on the model.

The two other popular options available are a tipping bucket and a weighing precipitation gauge. A tipping bucket measures rainfall by collecting the precipitation up to a specific amount, and the rain will drain out of the bucket once that amount has been reached. This helps you figure out how much rain might fall in a short amount of time, for instance. A weighing precipitation gauge uses springs to accurately weigh rainfall or snowfall.

Does the diameter of a rain gauge matter?

If you choose a standard cylinder, you might want to go for one that’s 8 inches in diameter, which falls within the standards of the National Weather Service. An 8-inch rain gauge is the standard throughout the world when it comes to collecting and recording rainfall measurements and will ensure you’re achieving the most accurate and universal results.

Who We Are

Alida Nugent has been an expert in shopping round-ups for more than six years and specializes in both testing products and researching them. She has also written for HGTV and Food Network, and did extensive research for this piece, including speaking to the owner of Mike’s Hothouse, a gardening and landscaping business in New York.

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  1. Dunn, Peter. "Why do plastics get brittle when they get cold?". Ask an Engineer. 2009. MIT School of Engineering.

  2. Parvin, M. & Williams, J. G.. "The effect of temperature on the fracture of polycarbonate". Journal of Materials Science. 10 (11): 1883, 1975. doi:10.1007/BF00754478.

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