Wireless rain gauges are used by homeowners, schools, farmers, horticulturalists, government agencies, and more. Even for professionals, accurately measuring precipitation can be difficult. One factor that significantly affects measuring precipitation is the intensity level of it. Therefore, a good rain gauge should be able to measure not only light rain accurately, but heavy rain as well. In addition, one must consider a number of other factors when selecting a wireless rain gauge, which we will now examine.
What is the best rain gauge offered on the market today? There is no one answer to that question. In fact, the answer to that question depends on what you intend to use the rain gauge for. Wireless rain gauges are complex pieces of technology and the goal of this article is to help you simplify the process of selecting the best rain gauge for your specific needs and price range.
Choosing the Best Wireless Rain Gauge
Let's take a look at the different types of rain gauges.
The most straightforward rain gauge comes with a simple tube or cylinder with specific marking to measure raindrops over time.
Manual gauges, however, are still used as they provide reasonably accurate readings to users. But the new measures offered on the market today are always worth considering, especially if you need a more precise and convenient device to use in your gardening or lawn care needs.
You don’t need to spend too much just to get the ideal type of rain gauge you need. In fact, there are affordable options for you to chose. The following are the common types of rain gauges you will find on the market:
Manual - This product is the oldest and simplest type of rain gauge and is still widely used today. It consists of a vertical tube that catches raindrops as they fall. As rain collects in the tube, one can use the markings on the tube to determine the quantity of rainfall. The placement of these markings will vary depending on the diameter of the tube. The contents of a manual rain gauge need to be emptied after each time it rains.
Weighing - This type of rain gauge has a container that’s positioned on a scale and a data logger that records the amount of rainfall. As the name suggests, weighing rain gauges do not measure the volume of rainfall, but rather the weight of it. The volume is then calculated from the weight. What's good about this type of rain gauge is that it measures well in low intensity as well as high-intensity conditions.
Tipping bucket - This gauge is often used by professional meteorologists and serious weather enthusiasts. They can have a wide range of price and include many different features. Basically, these devices consists of a funnel that captures and directs the rain to a pair of buckets below it. The buckets are balanced on a pivot (like a seesaw) and tip each time they reach capacity. Each time this happens, the rain data is recorded by an onboard data logger. This type of rain gauge is ideal for recording precipitation data over long periods of time. Check out this video to see how they work.
Acoustic - Acoustic precipitation gauge measures rain by recording the number of drops that fall by using an piezoelectric sensor. Each drop of rain will generate an acoustic signal that varies depending on the raindrop’s size. The total number and size of signals picked up by the piezoelectric transducer per unit of time is then used to determine the amount of rainfall. By using this type, you can also determine hail from rain because of the acoustic signatures provided by the gauge. It is not ideal for measuring snow, however.
This article will review only weighing rain gauges as they are the most popular and practical for home use.
Advantages of Using a Wireless Rain Gauge
Accuracy – you will get more accurate measurements when you use a wireless rain gauge. Also, there’s no need to record data manually.
Convenience – wireless rain gauges are automated, so they save time and increase productivity. They come with self-emptying raindrop collectors that can wirelessly transmit data to their console units. You can also reset them manually if you want.
Timing – you don’t have to wait until the rain stops just to determine the exact measurements; you can monitor real-time data from the comfort of your home. Also, if you have other weather measuring devices, you can combine information, such as temperature and humidity, to check the overall trends.
Low maintenance – with a wireless rain gauge, you don’t need to constantly check on the rain container. Only simple maintenance is required from time to time to prevent the rain container for jamming or to change the batteries.
Wireless Rain Gauge Reviews
1. NETATMO Rain Gauge
The NETATMO rain gauge, designed specifically for the NETATMO weather station, is one of the best wireless rain gauges available today. It is one of the only rain gauges that you can pair with your smartphone. Wherever you are, you will know when the rain starts. Not only can you measure the rain, you can also determine the exact amount of the water you need for your plants if the rain doesn't suffice. The NETATMO wireless rain gauge comes with the NETATMO weather station, but it can also be bought separately. To help you understand the usefulness of this device, check out the pros and cons below:
2. Oregon Scientific Wireless Rain Gauge
This unit is a good option if you also need temperature readings. Oregon Scientific is also a trusted name that has been around for a while. This unit can measure rainfall with an accuracy of up to 1.02 millimeters or 0.04 inches. The wireless range is up to 300 feet for the rain gauge and 100 feet for the temperature sensor. Its advantages and disadvantages are as follows:
3. AcuRite 00899 Deluxe
Another fine choice, the AcuRite 00899 Deluxe provides the basics of rain monitoring with a few extras. While it is not as sophisticated as the Oregon Scientific model (above), it certainly holds its own and will suit the needs of most people. Check out the following pros and cons to help you decide if this is the wireless rain gauge you’re looking for:
4. La Crosse Technology 724-1409
The highly functional La Crosse technology 724-1409 wireless rain station is cheaper than the Acurite 00899, but ironically has some superior features. Although La Crosse Technology hasn't been around for quite as long as its competitors, they are quickly building a reputation for their excellent weather devices. See the pros and cons for this product below.
5. ECOWITT WH5360B High Precision Digital Rain Gauge
A popular choice from a lesser known brand, the ECOWITT WH5360B has managed to find its place among competitors. It is reasonably priced and has a variety of features that make it a respectable piece of equipment for weather enthusiasts and homeowners alike.
6. AcuRite 01021M Color Weather Station with Rain Gauge and Lightning Detector
Last but far from least, we have AcuRite's flagship wireless rain gauge device. This beauty has all the bells and whistles, plus it can detect lighting and predict the forecast. It has a vibrant color display with unique forecasting icons that you only see with top of the line AcuRite devices.
Based on sales, the most popular wireless rain gauge out of all these models is the Acurite 00899 Deluxe. It seems to encompass the best overall combination of price, quality and features that fit most people's needs. However, that is not to say that the Acurite 00899 Deluxe is definitely the best rain gauge for you. If it's not, then luckily you have plenty of choices.