Need to know if rain is going to, well, rain on your parade? There’s an app for that — but that little weather prediction tool can only tell you so much about the environment around you. For the most detailed information right at your fingertips, there’s another powerful tool you can add to your space: A home weather station.
Personal weather stations are handy gadgets for giving you an up-to-the-minute snapshot of what’s happening right outside your door — not wherever your local weather station is. Most use strategically placed sensors posted outside your home to capture readings, and may display everything from the outdoor temperature and humidity level to wind speeds and rainfall amounts. Though powerful, these gadgets are rather small. All are compact enough to sit on a tabletop, though you may choose to mount yours on a wall for easier viewing.
The Impressive Things regularly tests home weather stations with a range of functionality at both high and low price points. In tests, we evaluate everything from ease of setup — including placing sensors and programming local information like date and time — to accuracy. For weeks, we track both the time and the weather, comparing time against the U.S. atomic clock and meticulously recording the humidity and temperature in our lab using humidity and temperature meters, then comparing that to the temperature and humidity readings on the weather stations. We also look at durability (does the unit survive three-foot drops? Do they sensors hold up to driving rain?) and extra features, like comfort level indicators and additional sensors.
So how do you separate the best from the mediocre? And does price always equate to quality? Here, we’ve rounded up the standouts based on top Lab tested brands, highly reviewed models, and industry expertise. These picks are based on our comprehensive knowledge from testing, as well as supplemental road tests and reviewing newer versions of tried and tested favorites.
If you’re ready to become your family’s dedicated meteorologist, there are a few things you need to know when shopping:
Accuracy: By far the most important feature, but the hardest to measure. Consult product spec sheets for information on the machine’s margin of error, guides like ours that rely on rigorous real-time tests, and user reviews.
Connectivity: Some home weather stations can connect to the internet, which has a two-fold bonus. In many cases, this not only allows you to access weather data when away from home, but it also allows you to share data with crowd-sourced weather services and meteorologists.
Display: When choosing a display, consider where you’re going to be using your weather station. If you’re going to hang it in a corner, you want something that will be high visibility. Likewise if you plan on using it in a sunny room, a transflective display will reduce the amount of glare. Also consider how the display organizes information, and make sure it’s easy to read and understand.
Functions: Different home weather stations have different functions. Nearly all home weather stations tell you the temperature, precipitation, and humidity, but some include extra features such as the heat index, wind chill, moon phase, solar radiation, and sunrise and sunset times. Consider your priorities, and determine if you need your home weather station to have some extra bells and whistles.
Even if you don’t know anything about weather station, you can still make a smart buying decision with the right information in hand. At TheImpressiveThings, we perform extensive research in every product category. To avoid bias, we always decline offers from manufacturers for “free” samples. We want to be your go-to source for honest, thorough product reviews you can trust.