Have you ever wondered why the local weather report was predicting sunny and calm weather, and rain was knocking on your window. The main reason for that is that weather updates depend heavily on location and equipment. That’s why the meteorological conditions in your area can be quite different from the one presented in your local weather report.
The home weather station comparison table
If you have already made your mind and have a general idea about what type of features you are looking for, check out this side by side comparison table of reviewed stations.
|Model||AcuRite 01036 Pro Color||Vantage Pro 2||AcuRite 01500||Vantage Vue||Ambient Weather WS-2080||Oregon Scientific Wmr200A||Oregon Scientific WMR 300||RainWise MK-III-RTI|
|Ease of Intallation|
The 2016 Update
In our 2016 update we made two significant changes. The first one is the two new station added – the Netatmo, and the BloomSky. The second change is a short buying guide with more detailed overview of the weather station as instrument. You can read on topics like distance of transmission, update frequency, forecast, resolution, graphs, interface, and what to look for, to make the best choice.
What is Home Weather Station?
A personal home weather station (PWS) is a group of instruments that you can assemble at your business or home location, and use to acquire accurate wind, humidity, pressure, rain fall, temperature, wind speed and direction data. Most of the weather stations have 2 elements to them. The outdoor group of sensors also known as the ISS unit, and the indoor panel that displays the collected data.
In our research we have encountered different brands, types and sizes. Some of them more suitable for homes with backyards or other, like the indoor-outdoor residential types stations and home digital hygrometers, convenient for small city apartments. In recent years technological advancement put a mark on the Personal Weather Stations and now installation and maintenance of such instrument is easier than ever.
Who uses it?
It’s for people who are interested in local weather conditions — gardeners, farmers, golfers, fishermen, sailors and weather geeks. Sometimes your business, hobby, life or just convenience depends on accurate local temperature, wind, and humidity readings. In this cases a home weather station is the perfect tool. This instrument also makes a great gift for children interested in meteorology science or weather in general.
The weather station guide
This guide was made to help you find the best weather station for your home or business. Head down to learn more about these sensors.
Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 Weather Station (Wireless)
Davis Instruments AWSs are the market leader in their category, which is towards the high end of systems within budget reach of most amateur meteorologists. Vantage Pro2 is one of those gadgets you come to realize you need till you have one and then can’t live without.
The Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 can transmit and receive weather data from up to 1000 feet (300 meters) distance, but the typical range through walls under most conditions is 200′ to 400′ (60 to 120 m). This weather instrument has all the features of e high-end weather tool. Some of the upgraded main features are – button realignment; laser-calibrated rain collector for best accuracy possible; re-tooled Integrated Sensor Suite (with upgraded electronics), and accuracy and readings improved fifth radiation shield plate.
This model is equipped with console unit and an innovative integrated sensor package that includes a temperature and humidity sensors, rain collector with self-emptying bucket, and an anemometer. Placed inside a radiation shield the sensor suite is protected from radiation from the sun and additional local sources of heat.
In addition, Vantage Pro2 will track lows and highs (with totals and averages) for almost all weather variables for the past 24 days, months or years and track your local forecast!
For more detailed info check our Vantage Pro 2 review.
- solar-powered sensor array
- on-screen graphing
- forecasting using easy-to-read icons (sunny, cloudy, rain, snow)
- barometric pressure trend
- inside temperature
- dew point
- humidity information
- time and date
- and much more…
Model 6163 – w/Solar Radiation, UV & 24hr Fan
Great unit and for any weather hobbyist this home PWS (personal weather station) is in the professional category.
- Backlit 3.5′ x 6′ (9 x 15 cm) LCD screen
- Options available for UV/solar, soil moisture, short and long-range repeaters, and much more
- Faster updating of data – every 2.5 seconds
- Wireless transmission from station to console up to 1,000′ (300M)
Vantage Pro2 Plus with Uv & Solar Radiation Sensors
This model has – cable solar radiation sensor; UV sensor; mounting shelf and solar panel.
- Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus w/ UV & Solar Radiation Sensors
- Humidity = Yes | Remote Monitoring = NONE | Temperature = Yes
- Easy to assemble
- 5 second update
- Can extend wireless distance
- Excellent for NOAA, MADIS, Wunderground
- Excellent rain fall timing
- Excellent system display
- Very small systematic errors on air temperatures and barometric pressures
- More expensive
- Raingauge, with erratic dally precipitation measurements
- Gauge is prone to clogging
Vantage Pro2 is well suited for amateur weather observers and weather professionals alike. It is maybe
Davis VP2 is maybe one of the best weather stations available on the market and gives an excellent value for your money. If it is well cared and provided occasional maintenance there should be no problem for the station to provide at least 10 years of weather data.
Plan the day with confidence. The AcuRite Professional Weather Station has patented Self-Calibrating tech to provide you with personal local backyard forecast of 12 to 24 hour. The forecasting is calculated from weather data measured by a sensor in your measuring tool – giving you the most accurate information available for your exact spot.
AcuRite’s 01500 come 5 in 1 sensor package with – temperature, humidity, wind speed wind direction and rain fall. The station has some additional features such as bubble for easy mounting, solar panel, removable debris screen to get the debris out from the rain gauge.
The display unit have everything weather enthusiast needs. At the top you have your most views information with big and easy to see from the distance digits.
Display unit data:
- Wind speed peak
- Wind speed average
- Rosette for wind direction – with current wind direction and nice feature that gives you the last couple of readings as well. This is for windy situations when the wind direction gauge will wag around from gusty winds.
- Outdoor temperature
- Outdoor humidity
- Trend arrow which will indicate whether or not temperature is rising steady or falling. (same for humidity)
- Rain fall window with rain fall event – accurate reading for longer story events.
- Monthly and all time rain fall total
- Time and date info
- All time high record data
- Pressure (plain text – rising, steady or falling)
- Forecasting information
- Heat index
- Due point
- Wind chill
- Atomic clock with phases of the moon.
The AcuRite 01500 Wireless Weather Station is a good option for people targeting home weather tracker with more reasonable price that gets the job done right. The 01500 has Technology designed to give you accurate forecasts similar to weather channel updates.
The station provides instant data readouts for all the necessary weather data – rainfall, humidity, pressure, temperature, wind speed/direction, and forecasts. The rain catcher requires minimal maintenance because of the self emptying functionality. AcuRite 01500 is a genuine and quality product with affordable price.
- Adequate display with and nice backlight (readouts in dim light)
- Affordable price for the people on a budget
- Comes with a plug in so you don’t rely solely on batteries
- Good gift for weather enthusiast
- Uses a total of 10 AA batteries
- Not quite as accurate as the Davis Instruments model
- Backlight turns off very fast
Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue Wireless
If you are going for more advanced weather instrument, rather than an inexpensive toy, and. if you want continuous stream of all common weather measurements, the ability to store the records for later use, the ability to connect with Internet, and above all accuracy. Maybe we have found the right tool for you.
The Vantage Vue substitutes an earlier version of Davis station – the Weather Monitor II. This weather device delivers every result that a non-professional weather geek might want! It’s hard to see, how it could be further improved upon its functionality. The outdoor transducer unit provides for a very easy installation. The on-board solar power system means minimal power maintenance trips after installation. And the battery-supplied digital console can be moved around your house or apartment as needed. The Vue’s readings, when compared with professional airport AWOS, track local conditions very accurately and well.
Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) Features:
- Wireless: transmission up to 1,000 feet from suite to console.
- Solar-powered with energy backup: the panel gives energy to the panel during the course of the day and the power capacitor provides the power at night time
- Rain Collector: measures rain with 0.01-inch resolution.
- Anemometer:wind speed measurement up to 150 m/h.
- Wind Direction: measures wind in points or degrees.
- Temperature/Relative Humidity: Temperature readings from -40 to 150 degrees F (-40 to 65 degrees C). Humidity measurement from 0 to 100 percent.
- Weather Proof Cover: extremely durable shielding
- Radiation Shield:protects from solar radiation and other sources of radiated and reflected heat.
- Bubble Level: for more accurate installation and better data collection.
- flawless functional design.
- easy installation
- makes every measurement
- accurate readings
- expensive additional external data communications and storage
- monochrome LCD display
The Vantage Vue has a good amount of potential as an advanced home weather system. Over the long term it could prove to be very successful.
Ambient Weather WS-2080 Wireless
Ambient Weather WS-2080 comes with the functionality for measuring – rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, temperature and air pressure. The setup and installation of the outdoor unit is very straight forward, you basically mount, plug in the wires (RJ-11 telephone type connectors) and insert the batteries. The setup of the indoor panel is even easier – simply insert 2 AA batteries and within minutes you can start receiving data from the outside sensor array.
While the WS-2080 does not have the ability to directly push weather data to the internet, it does provide a USB port and easy to use software (Cumulus Software) to feed data to a computer which you can then use to connect to your favorite weather service (Weather Underground) and see near real time weather data from your own in-house weather station.
Ambient Weather WS-2080 features an specification:
- USB port for connection to your PC
- All the weather data from the base station can be recorded and uploaded to your PC
- Free PC software for transfer weather data to PC
- Rainfall data
- Wind chill and Dew point temperature display (°F or °C)
- Records min. and max. wind chill and Dew point
- Wind speed (mph, m/s, km/h, knots, Beaufort)
- Wind direction display with LCD compass
- Weather forecast tendency arrow
- Forecast icons based on changing barometric pressure
- Wireless outdoor and indoor humidity (% RH)
- Records min. and max. humidity with time and date stamp
- Wireless outdoor and indoor temperature (°F for °C)
- Records min. and max. temperature with time and date stamp
- Low power consumption (over 2 years battery life for transmitter)
Oregon Scientific Wmr200A
This Weather Center gives you all the weather data you’ll need! Wmr200A is equipped with a touch-panel device for quick weather data access, the system captures over 10 measurements, from up to 400 feet away. You’ll be able to see accurate Atomic time, humidity, wind speed and direction, indoor and outdoor temperature, dew point, heat index, barometric pressure, wind chill and rainfall data.
The unit can support up to 10 remote sensors (inc. optional UV monitor) for additional weather information. The onboard memory and free PC software with multi-language capability make this the only Weather Center you’ll ever need.
- Moon phase display
- Weather Forecast – Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Cloudy, Rainy or Snow
- Indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity measurements
- Measures temperature, humidity, wind chill, wind speed, wind direction, UV index (optional), barometric pressure and rainfall
- Displays dew point, wind chill and heat index readings
- On-board Data Logger Function stores data with a time stamp
- Long range transmission of 400 feet at 433MHz between the main unit and remote sensors
- Main console features touch-screen controls
- Multiple mounting options
- Low battery indicator
- Operating temperature range: -22°C to +70°C (-8°F to 158°F)
- good design.
- easy installation
- humidity index sometimes not accurate (needs calibration)
Oregon Scientific WMR 300
WMR 300 is well made unit with distinguishable quality rather than the typical residential 100$ range stations. This is a station you can put next to garden or al small crop for real time monitoring that you cannot get from the available web resources. The installation is pretty easy and everything needed to install it is included except mounting pipe.
The WMR 300 weather station collects and transmits accurate weather data straight to your computer. Customizable recording intervals allows users to gather and store information via the data logger at selected intervals for improved usability in research and study. The station is solar powered and it is equipped with wireless data transmitter capable of sending data from up to 1,000 feet away. The system can analyze and collect data in difficult terrain.
- weather forecast
- indoor barometer
- outdoor temperature
- indoor temperature
- humidity alarm for high and low
- wind speed and direction
- wind display modes: Gust/average wind speed & direction, wind speed alarm for hi gust speed,
- rainfall measure
- self-emptying rain collector
- rain alarm for hi rain rate and past 24 hr
- atomic clock, sunrise/sunset time and moon phase
- graphical display of history data up to 24 days
- data logger up to three years
- large touch screen LCD display with backlight
- 1000 foot sensor transmission range
- USB connection to PC
- large Screen
- self emptying rain collector
- 1000 feet wireless transmission
- bad manual
- difficult to read decimal points.
- touch screen not so sensitive.
- plastic not good
AcuRite 01036 Pro Color Weather Station
AcuRite professional digital weather station with PC connect access your virtual weather station, allowing you to remotely monitor your weather from nearly anywhere on the planet.
Setup is easy! Simply place the 5-in-1 Sensor outside to begin measuring your outdoor temperature, humidity wind and rain. The sensor wirelessly sends your weather data to an indoor display for quick access to your information.
The illuminated color display features has:
- Weather forecast
- Indoor outdoor temperature
- Wind speed
- Hat index
- Dew point
- Wind chill
- Barometric pressure
The PC connect feature allows you to view your weather information remotely via the Internet or smartphone. Simply plug the indoor display into a computer or laptop. PC Connect can transmit your data directly to AcuRite software, AcuRite app or WeatherUnderground.
- large Screen
- self emptying rain collector
- 1000 feet wireless transmission
- no internet bridge
- display’s backlight cannot shut off when powered by AC
Overall Pro Color is a good quality weather station, with very accurate measurements. The signal from the outside sensor is also acquired and it is resend every 5 seconds. The rain gauge seems to be very good also. It has easy to read back light display with wide viewing angle.
This is one of the top contestants for the title – The Best. RainWise OK III is seriously rugged solar powered home weather station. It is equipped with a huge solar panel which is very thin and light weight. The station can transmit data from about a mile away, which is much, much further for the other competing weather instruments, with most of them going 200 feet and the more expensive ones like Vantage Pro – 1000 feet.
MK III can measure and display:
- Wind Speed
- Wind Direction
- Temperature Inside
- Temperature Outside
- Barometric Pressure
- Relative Humidity
- Wind Chill
- Dew Point
- Temperature/Heat Index
- Clock and Calendar
The roof top sensor assembly is wireless and solar powered, allowing it to operate for many years without servicing. With the computer interface you can collect, analyze and build a database of your home location weather.
The MK III Sensor Assembly can broadcast the weather data to one or more receivers.
If you have chance, go and checkout MK III from Rain Wise, very sturdy reliable stations with a lot of great options.
- no assembly required – assembled out of the box
- transmits data form a mile away
- rain gauge close to temperature sensor
French company Netatmo decided to rethink the idea of urban weather station and at CES 2013 they presented their solution. The result is a well build stylish weather station with server-app connectivity with the addition of other useful features.
The first thing you will notice when you see Netatmo’s station is the exceptionally good design. It will fit perfectly in any home. If you are into Apple’s design, you’ll like this one.
The Netatmo weather station consists of two units the indoor units, and the outside sensor suite.
It has wind and rain gauge sensors, but they are sold separately as add-ons.
For communication the device uses Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n – This way it connects to your home router and it is always accessible through the web browser. This also removes the need to operate on 433 MHz, range which has lost of interference.
With the Urban Weather Station you don’t get the standard indoor console. Here the data is stored on build-in server accessible through a smartphone app.
The fundamental difference between this station and the other is that, here things happen way more natural and out of the box. With other competitors you need a bit of “dancing” around to set this kind of connection. Here it is all very simple, clear, and work from the first minute. The server has PRIVATE REST API if you are programmer and need the data for personal projects.
All the data is accessible from anywhere on web, you can check the air condition in your apartment, by simply accessing the build-in server and entering the username and password.
- The current weather in the form of a stylized icon;
- Outside carbon dioxide levels;
- The level of carbon dioxide in the room;
- Outside temperature with a small prediction about future developments;
- How current temperature will be “felt” – include humidity, wind and other factors;
- Relative humidity – outside;
- Quality of the air outside;
- The level of comfort inside the room with all the current settings;
- The temperature in the room;
- Indoor humidity;
- Noise and comfort to the human ear;
- Seven-day weather forecast.
- Anemometer – wind speed and direction
- Rain gauge – amount of liquid precipitation
Overall it is a simple, stylish weather station with all the necessary functionality. The best part is the super easy setup and the way you access the weather data. The app is well designed and works seamlessly. The bed part is the need to buy the wind and rain sensor ass add-ons.
Bloomsky is marketed as weather lab that you can purchase and put outdoors and pretty much collector every little bit of weather information that you want to.
Bloomsky uses Apps (iOS and Android) to display the data. It runs on 2.4 gig Wi-Fi , so it has to be in range of WiFi. When you put it outside make sure you get the Wi-Fi signal so it can communicate.
This is the only device that comes with build in weather camera that does time laps video of the sky. The camera has ultra wide fisheye lence that take photos on every 5 minutes with time laps video at the end of the day. You can move (tilt) the camera forward and backwards to set the desired position.
The other features are all standard weather sensors like temperature, precipitation, humidity, barometric pressure, and UV levels.
As with the Netatmo’s model the Bloomsky does not come with rang gauge and wind meter. But according to manufacturer they are coming soon. There is a rainfall sensor that can trigger rain notification when the rain starts to pore from the sky.
The station runs on batteries and an additional (optional) solar panel.
There is a mounting kit available to set the station on a fence or pole. This add-on is also optional.
Things to consider before buying a weather station (Short Guide)
Lots people ask us for additional info on what to look for when buying such instrument. We frequently get asked about – what range should I look for; do I get wired or wireless; what frequency of update is best; should I make the connection with computer, and so on. Actually we have some of this question answered in our weather station tips article, but nevertheless we decided to update this one also.
Because of the wide range of use cases, there are lots of variables that can affect your purchasing decision. In this guide we try to outline the most important ones.
Wired or Wireless
Choosing between these two types has to do primary with your surrounding environment. They both have pros and cons, but in the end, it depends on the environment, and some personal preferences. Choose wireless if you don’t want to manage wires and have direct view of the device. Choose wired if you desire the best possible signal.
The wireless models use radio waves to transmit the data. If you don’t like to maintain cables or drill holes in your walls this is the most logical choice. The problem with this option is that the radio waves are susceptible to interference that can mess with your connection. This kind of stations are also prone to signal loss when there is a obstruction (walls, threes, etc.) between the device and the display unit. Another thing you will notice while researching is that most of the time the wireless model is more expensive than the wired one.
On the other hand if you buy the wired model you don’t need to worry about RF or RFI interference. The communication form the station to the indoor unit will be stable and there will be no signal loss. The problem with the wired stations is that the system setup takes more time. You will need a couple of hours to drill the hole and run the cables.
Important issue with the wired model is that it can attract lightning strikes. Install lightning arrestors or talk with electrician the set one for you.
To summaries the last couple of paragraphs, lets list the pros and cons of the two options.
Pros of the wireless weather station:
- No lightning strike risk
- No loss of data from RFI or obstructions
- Ease of installation
- No cables to run and no holes to drill
- Higher operational distance
Cons of the wireless weather station
- More expensive
- Susceptible to RF interference and data loss when not properly installed
Pros of the cabled weather station
- Less expensive than similar wireless system
- Not subject to RF interference
Cons of the cabled weather station
- Difficult to install
- If not installed correctly there is a risk of lightning strike
What type of variables do they measure?
All of the station in this article, report the most important weather variables:
- Thermometer – measures temperature
- Wind (Anemometer) – records wind speed and direction
- Barometer – the barometer measures atmospheric pressure
- Dew Point – temperature of water saturation in the air
- Hygrometer – measures relative humidity
- Rain Gauge – liquid precipitation over a period of time.
Some have the option to include additional sensors:
- Leaf Wetness Sensor – detects water on the surface of a leaf
- Snow Gauge – detects and repot snow depth
- Soil Moisture Sensor – the amount of moisture or water in the soil.
- Soil Temperature Sensor – the temperature of the soil.
- Solar Radiation Sensor – the amount of solar energy radiating from the sun.
- Ultraviolet Sensor – the amount of ultraviolet light radiating from the sun.
- Water Temperature Sensor – the temperature of water or another liquid.
One of the most important parts when dealing with weather measuring devices is the process of installation.
You need to do a proper installation in order to collect accurate weather data. These are some of the important steps you have to follow when installing your new unit.
- Check the transmission distance
- Don’t mount the sensors next to trees or fences
- Look for empty “line of sight” between your station and your home
- Temperature sensor must be in shade and well ventilated; This will prevent false temperature readings
- Rain collector must be at large; close obstructions can create ran “shadows”
- Place the wind meter as high as possible
- If you installing you station on the roof move the sensor at least 5 feet above it
- Keep away or as high as possible from asphalt
In your home
- Aluminum roofs and aluminum constructions can block the signal; Wired station is much better choice in situations like this
- If your choice is wired device use electrical conduit.
- When wired, think about lightning arrestors
The refresh rate is the interval at which the sensor suite sends the data packets back to the console or data logger. Here the rule is the shorter the better. The best models can send back the data at 2.5 seconds interval. There are models with higher refresh rate – from 30 seconds to up to 3 minutes. Actually, with some of the devices in this article you will be able to choose from different pre-set intervals.
Historical highs and lows
This is the ability of the software to keep records, compare and then display the weather trends. This feature is supper useful for professional users and weather enthusiasts. Most of the high-end models can display this kind data for days, months, and years. The data is usually available on the display unit.
Here the general rule is – the one which has the best software and algorithm has the best forecast. Some of the manufacturers base their forecasting solely on the rise and fall of barometric pressure while others, use more sophisticated methods that take temperature, wind, and rain in their prediction.
Most of the time this prediction is displayed in the form of icon, flashing on the screen of your display.
Weather events and Alarms
What these alarms do is too inform you about changes in certain weather conditions. Let’s say you have small backyard garden and you wait for the temperature to rise to do maintenance – set the alarm and you are good to go. Or you are a fisherman interested in barometric pressure – the alarm will inform you if certain thresholds are reached.
Interfacing with your computer
If you need to log data for long period of times, you have to interface your weather station with some kind of logging device – computer or data logger. Most of the manufacturers offer these gadgets at additional price. They store the data daily and when needed they transfer this bits to your personal computer or to the cloud. You also have the option to record the data stream directly to your home computer, but this demand a 24/7 running PC.
If you want to upload you data to the cloud services like “Weather Underground” the meteobridge removes the need of constantly running PC or a data logger (additional cost).
This small device feeds you climate data to the cloud service of your choice. All you need is access to internet.
Accuracy and range
All stations have operational range and accuracy. Compare specifications before buying one. All the models in our article have very good accuracy for all the basic variables.
The Vantage Pro2 is defiantly the winner in this category. I bought mine last year and had no problem since. I was considering the RainWise model but I didn’t like the indoor unit.
Very helpful reviews of weather stations. I personally liked AcuRite 01036 Pro Color Weather Station. Thanks.
I have read that Davis has pitiful service and support. Am wanting to purchase a weather station but and having settled on the vantage view pro 2 but can’t pull the trigger. Any thoughts on support and service of Davis?
There are things to be desired with their tech support. But my experience is that most of the times they are OK.
I have had a Vantage Pro for the last 12 years. I have had no problems with tech support in resolving wind speed issues or /weatherlinkIP issues. Last month I had a system fail on the wireless unit. I returned the entire unit including the monitor and they repaired the unit and replace worn units and the fan aspirated fan and battery within a week. The cost was $200. I’m sticking with Davis.
I’m the owner of a VP2 by Davis. I see one of the cons for the RainWise is price. A better measure is ownership cost for which does not seem to get a lot of air play one these types of reviews. I’ve had two major sensor module failures in 17 months making my cost of ownership for Davis quite high.
I had the same issues with my VP2. Yes this kind of problems put the cost of ownership higher. But my next door neighbor’s RainWise also got damaged, and he is now even higher than me. Both VP and MK-III are excellent devices, but they are both prone to damage, this is just the reality.
I too have gone thru two RainWise weather stations in the past four years due to sensor damage from wasp nests!
My first rainwise was struck by lightning. No visible damage inside, but it was fried nonetheless. My second rainwise seems to have power problems after about 5 years. I’ll take it down and try replacing the battery.
As with all these reviews, what works well in snow country. What sensors deal best with multiple freeze thaw cycles. What happens when the temperature drops to -30. Which sensors deal best with 40cm of snow dumped on them.
I am interested in an Automatic Weather Station that can do weather forecast for agrometeorology use.