Groundwater recharge indicates the existence of renewable groundwater resources and is therefore an important component in sustainability studies. However, recharge is also one of the least understood, largely because it varies in space and time and is difficult to measure directly. For most studies, only a relatively small number of measurements is available, which hampers a comprehensive understanding of processes driving recharge and the validation of hydrogeological model formulations for small- and large-scale applications. We present a new global recharge dataset encompassing >5000 locations. In order to gain insights into recharge processes, we provide a systematic analysis between the dataset and other global-scale datasets, such as climatic or soil-related parameters. Precipitation rates and seasonality in temperature and precipitation were identified as the most important variables in predicting recharge. The high dependency of recharge on climate indicates its sensitivity to climate change. We also show that vegetation and soil structure have an explanatory power for recharge. Since these conditions can be highly variable, recharge estimates based only on climatic parameters may be misleading. The freely available dataset offers diverse possibilities to study recharge processes from a variety of perspectives. By noting the existing gaps in understanding, we hope to encourage the community to initiate new research into recharge processes and subsequently make recharge data available to improve recharge predictions.