Weather Station Buying Guide
Whether you’re a weather aficionado, or simply a homeowner who would like to have more specific information about the weather in your own backyard, there is a weather station product for you. There are many companies operating in this niche, with varying degrees of success. Hours of researching and reviewing online weather station reviews will reveal which companies are clearly outperforming the competition. You can do that research yourself, or take advantage of the work we have done. We have sifted through the reviews and studied company product information to give you the information you need to make an informed decision about your next weather station.
For those who are new to the niche, weather stations are electronic devices that sense weather data and display it for the user. Some stations are very simple, only reading and displaying the outside ambient temperature. Others are more complex, professional devices. These weather stations gather everything including temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure, and rainfall, and either display it on a console, show it and store it on your home computer, or even allow you to upload the information to internet weather sites like Weather Underground.
The best weather station will come with numerous features. Here is a brief synopsis of some of the most popular.
- Atomic Clocks – these clocks synchronize with the United States atomic clock in Ft. Collins, Colorado. They are always accurate, and self-adjust for daylight savings.
- Sensors – these can be simple or complex. They gather the weather data and transmit it, by cable or wirelessly, to the receiver/console.
- Receiver/Console – this is the device that receives the information and displays it for the user. They can be simple displays of numeric data, or include 24 hour graphs and icons depicting weather forecasts.
- PC Software – some weather stations come with software for saving the gathered data on your computer or allowing the data to be uploaded to the internet.
- Rain gauge – collects and measures rainfall.
- Wind gauge – also known as an anemometer. Measures wind speed.
- Hygrometer – measures humidity.
Where to buy a weather station depends on the level of convenience you desire, and how quickly you want to start using your new station. Some weather stations are available at retail and electronics stores; however, the best place to buy a professional weather station is on sites like Amazon. Amazon in particular has a great track record for protecting its customers with a buyer friendly return policy. It also makes customer reviews available, and ranks products according to customer satisfaction ratings. All of this information helps you to make a better and more informed decision.
Weather Station Reviews
We have read the reviews and researched company product information. Our exhaustive research has resulted in the information you will see here. Specifically, we have determined which stations, according to online weather station reviews, are the best. What constitutes the best weather station depends much on what the user needs the station to do. Here, we have indicated which station has scored the best overall in regards to customer satisfaction weather station ratings. We have also determined which stations are best in their own categories, such as digital stations, wireless stations, and professional stations. Here are our findings.
#1 Overall Best Weather Station - Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue
The overall best weather station according to online weather station ratings is the Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue Wireless Weather Station. Weather station reviews for the 6250 show this station to be very accurate and reliable. It is easy to set up, and has an impressive 1000 ft. transmission range, meaning you can put the sensor far enough away from your home to get the most accurate data. Sensors transmit new data every 2.5 seconds. The console displays data on temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, rainfall, and dew point. The Weather Center button and WeatherLink data logger allow the user to drill down deeper for more information concerning the weather data. Davis Instruments is well known for producing quality, high-end weather stations, and the 6250 Vantage Vue does not disappoint. Please note that the Vantage Vue is also our best rated home and wireless weather station.
Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue Full Review
Top 3 Home Weather Stations
Top 3 Wireless Weather Stations
#1 Best Indoor Outdoor Weather Station - Ambient Weather WS-1171
For a much more affordable indoor/outdoor weather station, you can turn to the Ambient Weather WS-1171 Wireless Advanced Weather Station. Ambient Weather is another company with a great reputation for producing high quality stations. They also have a phenomenal customer service reputation as well. The WS-1171 is a fantastic digital weather station that displays temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and dew point. It is designed for use indoors as well as outdoors. Homeowners who need to monitor conditions in rooms like baby nurseries, cigar humidors, wine cellars, darkrooms, and greenhouses will find this to be the best weather station for their needs.
Ambient Weather WS-1171 Full Review
Top 3 Indoor Outdoor Weather Stations
#1 Best Portable Weather Station - Kestrel 2500 Pocket Weather Meter
A portable weather station is just that – one that you can take with you. The best portable weather station is undoubtedly the Kestrel 2500 Pocket Weather Meter. The Kestrel 2500 is great for lovers of the outdoors. Whether you are into hiking, climbing, or fishing, this device will suit your needs. It measures barometric pressure with use of an altimeter to help the user determine when fish or wildlife will be most active. For those who like to fish or explore at night, the Kestrel 2500NV is night vision friendly, meaning you can read it clearly while wearing your night vision equipment thanks to a unique backlight. The barometric pressure readings give users a warning when serious weather approaches. Customer weather station reviews for the Kestrel 2500 have been stellar.
Kestrel 2500 Pocket Weather Meter Full Review
Top 3 Portable Weather Stations
#1 Best Solar Weather Station - Oregon Scientific BAR332ES
If you are one of the growing numbers of people who are going green, then the Oregon Scientific BAR332ES Solar Charging Weather Station is the best choice for you. This digital weather station includes a detachable solar panel for capturing and storing solar energy. This energy can then be used by the rechargeable batteries. The BAR332ES can display the temperature for up to 3 remote sensors, so you can put one outside, one in the nursery, and one in the wine cellar. It also uses barometric pressure measurements to generate a weather forecast that is displayed with graphic icons.
Oregon Scientific BAR332ES Full Review
Top Solar Weather Stations
#1 Best Computer Weather Station - Netatmo Weather Station
The Netatmo Weather Station is one of the first of its kind. This small easy to install and use unit works with iPhones, iPads and Androids that are 4.0 and higher. It reads the temperature, humidity, noise levels, and barometric pressure in the surrounding areas and transmit it right to you phone or iPad. When set up inside it reads CO2 levels so you can ensure they never rise to a dangerous level. The Netatmo Weather Station includes a USB cable and USB wall adaptor, an outdoor wall mount kit and 4 AAA batteries, and retails for around $175.
Netatmo Weather Station Full Review
Top Computer Weather Stations
#1 Best Weather Station Software - Davis WeatherLink IP Software
For true weather aficionados, a professional weather station isn’t complete unless it allows them to share the information they collect with others online. The best weather station software program for logging and sharing weather information is Davis WeatherLink IP Software for Vantage Pro and Weather Envoy. This software automatically uploads data from the weather station to the internet without the use of a PC. It also sends email alerts for severe weather conditions. Weather station reviews state that this is the easiest software to use, and it works flawlessly. Note that this software is PC only, which means it is not Mac compatible.
Davis WeatherLink IP Software Full Review
Top Weather Station Programs
Weather Station Brands
While there are several players in this field, only a couple stand out as truly exceptional. Davis Instruments has an outstanding reputation for quality and accuracy. Their specialty is the higher end, professional quality weather stations. Ambient Weather not only makes superb products, but their customer service is second to none. A representative actually reads the Amazon weather station reviews and comments on them with helpful information or a phone number for follow up. Some brand names that are well known in other fields should be avoided when looking for a weather station. Sharp Electronics, Honeywell, and Taylor, although leaders in other fields, do not come close to the quality of the products offered by Davis and Ambient Weather.
Final Checklist - 10 Things To Consider Before You Buy A Weather Station
A weather station is a device that reads the weather in its surrounding area. It reads things like the temperature, humidity levels, barometric pressure, wind chill and wind speed and direction. Home weather stations range in price from under a hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Many models can be hooked to a computer or phone, and offer a variety of special features and alerts. Some have a longer range than others do, while some are quite ironically more weather resistant than others. When deciding which weather station to purchase you have to take into account many factors such as where you live, what features you would like and the type of weather station that suits your needs best. Here are the most important things to consider when deciding which home weather station to purchase.
Wired or Wireless
Generally, wireless is better than wired as wireless is easier to set up and move around. However, wireless can have problems with interference from high tension power lines, radio towers, and other similar things. Wireless is more susceptible to interference and more apt to go down than a wired system is. When deciding which type is best for you, take into account where you plan on putting the unit and if you have a lot of interference problems in your area.
Wireless weather stations are usually battery operated or solar operated. Battery operated units tend to be more reliable than solar units are. However, battery operated units cost more to run, and solar units are better for the environment.
Easy Set Up
Weather stations vary greatly in their complexity. A simple one piece unit that comes with a wall mount is generally a breeze to install. More advanced weather stations that come with multiple sensors require a little more work to set up. If the unit comes with a wind gauge, it may require set up in a high location. Wireless units are far easier to set up than wired units are. If you do not want to pay someone to set it up for you, look for a weather station that is simple to set up and includes all the needed mounts. Remembering when setting them up, if they are solar they will require a location where they get enough sun to recharge and if they are battery operated, you may want to put them in an easily accessible location so battery changing is not too difficult.
If you are buying a full weather station with sensors, look for one that has a good transmission range or offers repeaters so you can increase the distance of the sensors. Look for a station that has at least a 800 feet transmission range, more is better. Keep in mind when setting up the unit that transmission range is affected by outside interference and works best when in direct line of sight.
Different models of weather stations read different things. Almost all stations read the current temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. Some weather stations also read noise levels, rainfall levels, wind speed, windchill, dew point, wind direction, solar and UV levels, and current rainfall amounts. Some weather stations can be used indoors to monitor inside humidity and CO2 levels. Additionally, some weather stations read soil temperature and moisture, leaf wetness and other things that are important to farmers and those who work with the land.
Generally the more things that a weather station can do the more expensive it will be. Consider what weather variables you want to know about and purchase a unit that fits your needs. No need paying for a bunch of features you will never use or have no interest in.
Some weather stations take several minutes to update when the weather changes, while other weather stations literally update instantaneously. For some people a couple of minutes is not a big deal, but for others it is. If you need to know the weather now, not three minutes ago, look for a station that updates instantaneously. If you are a bit more laid back and don't need an exact temperature read out, then a slower models will work great.
Weather stations are made to be used outside so should be able to stand up to most weather conditions. However, some stations are better built than others. Look for one that is made of high quality sturdy parts and is built to last. Look for a weather station that has good customer reviews. Better to pay more for one that is going to last for years than get one that you have to dry out or simple stops working after the first rain. If you live somewhere where it gets extremely cold, it is best to ensure the weather station is safe to use during the winter time.
Most, but not all, weather stations are computer and/or phone compatible. Being computer/phone compatible is very important. It not only allows you to upload and store all the data that the weather station gathers to your computer, it also allows you to check the weather conditions at home while you are away. Some weather stations come with a phone app, online data storage and computer programs for weather tracking. Some weather stations hook up with a computer or phone wirelessly, while others use an USB cord.
Some weather stations come with a weather forecast feature. Most of the less expensive models simply use the barometric pressure reading to predict coming weather. Some more expensive models use the barometric pressure readings plus all its other readings such as the wind, rainfall, humidity levels and temperature to predict future weather. By using all the weather stations readings, it is able to give a more accurate weather predictions. If you are looking for the best weather predictions possible, look for a weather station that uses a variety of variables to make its weather forecasts.
Weather alarms are essential for those who need to know about changes in weather immediately. Many weather stations that are computer or cell phone compatible have a wide range of weather alarms that will let you know immediately if the weather suddenly changes. Some models come with as much as 65 different weather alarms. A weather station with multiple alarms may cost a bit more, but for someone whose livelihood or family's safety depends on them knowing changes in weather immediately, they are priceless.
The large majority of home weather stations come with a one year warranty; however, some come with a warranty for as short as 90 days, while others come with a two or three year warranty. Try to get one that comes with at least a one year warranty; anything less is simple inadequate to ensure the unit works properly and is a waste of money.