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What is a tipping bucket rain gauge?

User:JXCTUpload time:Jan 18 2023

When you search for a weather station or rain gauge online, you may often come across the term “tip bucket rain gauge.” What does that mean?

“Tipping bucket” refers to the mechanism that certain rain sensors deploy to measure precipitation at any given time. A tipping bucket rain gauge is the most common type available and is known to produce accurate and reliable results. So how do they work?

tipping bucket rain gauge
The most basic tipping bucket rain gauges will consist of:

A funnel to direct the water into the buckets.

Two connected buckets

A pivot point between the buckets to enable them to tip

Calibration screws or stop sensors to record each dip; and Drainage holes to remove recorded rain.

rain gauges

(1)ABS, stainless steel two shells are available

The rain socket is made of stainless steel with high density, small error caused by stagnant water and accurate measurement. Stainless steel shell, corrosion resistant, high temperature resistant, durable.

The rain socket is made of ABS engineering plastic with high finish and small error caused by stagnant water. ABS shell, mechanical bistable structure, four core waterproof cable.

(2)Support active data reporting, accurate measurement, free cloud platform, high sensitive probe;

(3)Strong anti-interference ability, low power consumption products, a variety of transmission signals.

tipping bucket rain sensor
How they work

When it is raining, water will fall into the funnel located at the top of the rain gauge.

The funnel will direct the water into the top of the two tipping buckets.

The tipping bucket will have a water limit defined by the manufacturer or operator. Once the collected water reaches the predefined limit, the bucket will tip and hit the calibration/stop screw.

As this happens, the second bucket is lifted and starts to fill. The process of filling and tipping will continue as it rains.

As the buckets pivot and hit the stop/calibration screws, a switch is activated, and the rain information recorded electronically. The device will count the number of times the switch is triggered, and because it already knows how much rain is needed to fill each bucket, the sensor calculates and displays the correct amount of precipitation.


A tipping bucket rain gauge is a relatively simple mechanism used to measure rainfall. It is the most common variety of rain sensors due to its ease of use and reliability. Great for use in stable and unobscured locations.Find a tipping bucket rain gauge to suit your needs on the Instrument Choice Website.