Everyone has their own morning routine. Some of us will run, others prepare the kids to go to school, others just want to know if the navigation will be fluid during rush hours. Time can throw a wrench in any of these plans.
Owning a personal weather station is one of the ways to stay at the top of nature. Yes, you can open an application, but the information comes from a remote station several miles apart and dating less than an hour. With a home weather station, you get up-to-the-minute information on what it's doing right outside your door.
We conducted extensive assessments on a number of domestic weather stations and selected our favorites. We will also discuss the features you should look for when shopping for one of these systems.
Best weather station platform
Just about every home weather station we've evaluated will meet the needs of casual weather observers, but the Osprey WS-2902 from Ambient Weather offers more sensors than you'll get with most other packages, and it offers a great excellent hook for home infrastructure such as IFTTT, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Highly recommended for anyone interested in monitoring the weather around their homes, especially fans who want their smart home to react to the weather.
The AcuRite Atlas is an excellent value for personal weather stations with a precision close to that of the professional. However, it still needs more smart home capabilities, and we hope that lightning detection is not as fleeting as some people claim.
The AcuRite Atlas incorporates a ton of options into its home weather station, which delivers extremely accurate results when installed according to best practices. You will need to pair its 5-in-1 sensor kit with the AcuRite touchscreen display (for local readings) or AcuRite Access (for remote access via the Internet), but you can also equip all three devices of a lightning detector. about $ 260 on Amazon. If AcuRite were to support more intelligent home systems, it could be that Ambient Weather no longer has a place among our best choices in this category.
How we tested
We test the weather stations over a period of at least a month to ensure we obtain the widest possible range of weather conditions to see the operation of the station. We paid particular attention to ease of use and installation, and also used the nearest national weather stations to assess their accuracy.
Weather conditions can vary considerably over a few kilometers only. We therefore estimated that the temperatures recorded were within plus or minus two degrees and that all other measurements, within a tolerance of 5% of the NWS station, were also accurate.
We also assessed each system's ability to connect and influence smart home systems. Which platforms are supported? Can you use voice commands? Did it work as planned?
Finally, we looked at sustainability. Since the instruments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this is a very important factor to take into account.
What to look for when buying
At a minimum, a basic weather station should report temperature and humidity, both inside and outside your home, as well as barometric pressure outside your home. . A mid-priced station will measure wind speed and direction, as well as precipitation. A high-end model should provide all of the above, as well as other specialized measures such as UV index, soil moisture and water temperature (think about your pool or koi pond, for example).
The Netatmo weather station comes with the base station and an indoor / outdoor temperature / humidity sensor, but you also need rain gauges and ventimeters to take full advantage of this station's capabilities.
As with any product, spending more money does not necessarily mean that you will get a great product, but we have not yet found a cheap weather station with real value. The vast majority of budget stations available in discount stores and hardware stores are inaccurate. Although the temperature is generally accurate to about one degree or less, the humidity is poorly measured and the readings can represent 10 to 15% of the actual values.
Mid-range and high-end weather stations are generally much better and, in my experience, there is never more than a 5% discount most of the time.
The wind and rain measurements are very useful, especially if you have activities affected by this type of weather. The upscale resorts are nice if you can afford it. They are usually the most accurate, but unless you need special measures (UV, soil moisture, etc.), do not spend money.
Here are some other features you can look for in a weather station:
Precision: By far the most important, accuracy is also the most difficult to evaluate. In this case, we recommend that you consult the data sheets and choose the stations with low margins of error. Also, check out user comments (or ours) for real-world testing. Not all weather stations are built the same way, and a high price does not always mean high quality.
Battery or solar energy? Nowadays, almost all weather stations operate wirelessly, so your instruments run on battery power or solar energy. Avoid stations that depend mainly or solely on solar energy, because a few lean days can prevent the instruments from storing energy to do their job. Battery powered or solar powered units are the best choice. You may need to change the batteries once a year.
Internet connectivity: If your weather station can connect to the Internet, you can not only access it in your absence, usually through a special application or website, but you can also share your data with the world via services. like Weather Underground. Meteorologists may need your data, especially if you are in a place where their weather stations are not!
Smart home support: Personal weather stations can make your smart home even smarter. If you already have a connected home system, look for a weather station that is compatible with your configuration. Some stations now support automation services such as IFTTT. So you can turn on your heating when the temperature gets too cold or your air conditioning if it's too hot. Others are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to request highly localized weather reports.
Extensibility: Your weather station may be right for you, but your needs may change later. Instead of going ahead with all the bells and whistles, save a little money and buy a mid – range product that can be expanded with newer different sensors later. In this way, you will never go beyond it.
Durability: The elements can be hard and your sensors will stay there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The inexpensive stations are made of inferior plastic that will deteriorate quickly. Look for a well-built station and avoid "all-in-one" units where all sensors are in one box. Sensors represent the bulk of the cost, and in case of failure, you will need to replace all of them, even if the others work very well.
The Oregon Scientific WMR89A comes with all the sensors you need, without having to buy anything for basic local weather reports.
A word on the placement of the sensor
Now that's where my meteorologist side appears. Please, please, Please choose carefully where you place your instruments. The temperature and humidity gauge should be placed in a shady and grassy area roughly above the ground (National Meteorological Service specifications indicate five feet), and protected from rain or snow. Do not place it near or over concrete, tarmac or other potential heat radiators. It also means the window of your room: the warm air that escapes from your home will spoil its readings.
For the rain gauge, the level at which you place it is not as important. What is important is that it is not placed too low, so that the splashing of the ground causes abnormally high readings or near high obstructions that can block precipitation in strong winds. The NWS generally recommends placing the rain gauge as far as possible from obstacles if it is high. It's hard to do, so put it as clearly as you can.
The anemometer (the fancy name of the wind indicator) is the most difficult instrument to place. Most people are surprised to learn that the readings of the wind speed you see on TV are taken at a height of 10 meters above the ground. This is not practical for most of us, but try to place it 10 feet above any nearby obstacle, if you can. You will also need a compass nearby: you will need it to steer the wind vane in the right direction. The station setup instructions will tell you how to align it correctly.
Our home weather station
Look below for the practical reviews of the weather stations we tested. We will be expanding our coverage in the coming months and adding new features to look for as they emerge.