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What are types of rain gauges?

What are types of rain gauges?


When it comes to what are types of rain gauges, let's review what rain gauges are first. Rainfall gauges are instruments used to measure the amount of precipitation in an area over a period of time. The rain gauge is a special instrument for collecting precipitation, and it is used to measure the precipitation in millimeters by means of the matching rain gauge cylinder. Snowfall measurement should use snowfall sensors. You may think that the rainfall recorder will be mostly used by meteorologists and hydrologists, but actually, it has a very wide range of applications that more than you can imagine.  It is important in meteorology, hydrology, agriculture, forestry, field monitoring stations and other industries. It is suitable for meteorological stations (stations), hydrological stations, environmental protection, flood control and drainage as well as agriculture, forestry and other related departments to measure precipitation. Let's see below to know more information on the different types of rain gauges.

The whole structure of the rain gauge is made of metal parts without rust, the inner wall should be smooth and round, the edge of the water bearing device should be free of burr or bruit and other defects, the shape is beautiful and elegant, the weather resistance is good, and the service life is longer. The shell of a common rain gauge is a metal cylinder, divided into two sections. The upper section is a water funnel with a diameter of 20 centimeters. In order to prevent rain splashing and maintain the area and shape of the container mouth, the mouth of the cylinder is made of hard copper with a blade shaped like straight inside and oblique outside. Place a water bottle in the lower section cylinder to collect rainwater. To measure, pour rainwater into a special rain cup to read the precipitation in millimeters. In the snowfall season, the storage bottle is taken out and replaced with a cylinder without funnel. The snowflakes can be collected directly in the rain-measuring cylinder and read after the snow melts. The snow can also be weighed and converted into millimeters according to the area of the cylinder.

Different Types of Rain Gauges:

1. Tipping bucket rain gauge

The tipping bucket rain gauge is a remote rainfall measuring instrument composed of a sensor and a signal recorder. The sensor is composed of a water-bearing device, an upper tipping hopper, a measuring tipping hopper, a counting tipping hopper, and a dry reed switch. The recorder consists of a counter, a recording pen, a self-recording clock, a control circuit board, etc. Its working principle is rainwater from the top of the water socket into the water socket, into the water funnel, through the funnel into the hopper, when the volume of water reached a certain height (such as 0.1 mm), the hopper lost balance and overturned. And each time the bucket dump, the switch is connected to the circuit, to the recorder transmission of a pulse signal, the recorder control from the pen will record the rainfall, so reciprocating can be measured down the rainfall process.

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2. Siphon type rain gauge

Siphon type rain gauge is an instrument that can record precipitation and precipitation time continuously. The upper water funnel is the same shape and size as the rain gauge. When the rainwater through the funnel into the measuring cylinder, the float in the cylinder will rise with the rise of the water level, driving the pen to draw a curve of the water level rise on the paper. When the water level in the measuring cylinder reaches 10 mm, the water is discharged quickly with the help of a siphon, and the nib falls back to zero to record again. The recording clock gives the accumulation of precipitation over time.

3. Ultrasonic rain gauge

Ultrasonic rain gauge is a kind of high precision rain gauge based on the principle of ultrasonic ranging. It has the advantages of stable data and high precision, and accuracy can reach 0.1mm. It is ideal equipment for a meteorological and hydrological measurement system to realize the automatic remote measurement of rainfall. The product is composed of a rainwater collector, a rain gauge, a measuring subsystem and a cleaning subsystem.

Ultrasonic rain gauge measurement time is short, one measurement can be completed in 2 seconds, the measurement frequency can reach once per minute, enhance the real-time data. The whole rain gauge has no mechanical transmission parts, which increases the service life of the rain gauge and realizes the requirements of large range, high precision and anti-harsh environment.

4. Radar rainfall sensor

A radar rainfall sensor is a sensor that uses radar wave technology to detect rainfall. It can distinguish the types and intensity of rain, snow, and hail. Compared with the traditional mechanical rain gauge, the detection is more sensitive and fast, and there is no need to worry about the influence of the cover of leaves and other objects on the surface of the detector for rainfall detection, and no need for a heating device to prevent icing. There are no moving parts inside the product, which are maintenance-free, small in size, and low in energy consumption. 

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Rika Sensors is a professional weather sensors manufacturer for more than 10 years, rain gain is one of the top-selling items in the global market, there are different types of rain gauges for option. Contact us!


Rain gauges are essential tools for accurately measuring and collecting rainfall data. There are various types of rain gauges available, each with its own unique design and functionality. One commonly used type is the standard rain gauge, which consists of a cylindrical container with a wide funnel-shaped top that collects rainwater. This traditional design allows for easy measurement by marking increments on the side of the cylinder to determine the amount of precipitation collected. Another innovative option is the tipping bucket rain gauge sensor, which employs two small buckets that collect water while maintaining balance. When one bucket fills up, it tips over, causing an electrical signal to be sent to a recording device indicating a certain amount of rainfall has been measured. Similarly, there are also weighing-type rain gauges that rely on load cells or strain gauges to measure changes in weight caused by accumulated precipitation in real-time. These sensors provide high precision measurements and can even differentiate between different forms of precipitation such as snow or drizzle due to their sensitivity levels. Additionally, modern advancements have led to wireless and remote sensing technologies being integrated into some contemporary rain gauge models allowing users to access rainfall data remotely through cloud-based platforms or mobile applications effortlessly. Whether utilizing traditional designs or cutting-edge technology, these diverse types of rain gauges ensure accurate collection and analysis of rainfall information vital for meteorological forecasts, hydrological studies, agriculture planning, and numerous other fields depending on reliable precipitation measurements.

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