To find the best weather stations, our reviewers spent a week assembling, testing and comparing them. It even rained during our testing so we could test the rain gauges. The stations we tested varied in cost and complexity, but all incorporated an indoor unit and an outdoor sensor.
Best Overall Weather Station
Best Overall Weather Station: AcuRite Pro 5-in-1
The AcuRite Pro 5-in-1 is our pick for the best weather station because it’s extremely easy to set up and has tools to measure more than the temperature. We liked its well-lit and organized console, which made it easy to check temperature, wind and rainfall. The wireless transmitter has a long range and the sensor has a long battery life.
Best Weather Station Design
Best Weather Station Design: Netatmo
The sleek Netatmo has an appealing design and is easy to use. This weather station isn’t the typical outdoor sensor with a separate indoor console. Instead, the Netatmo is a silver cylinder that sends weather data to an app on your phone. You can check the weather from anywhere, and the app graphing trends is a nice touch. The basic model we tested doesn’t include a rain gauge or an anemometer, but those are available as add-ons.
Best Value Weather Station
Best Value Weather Station: La Crosse 308-146
If you just want a weather station to tell you what it feels like outside, the La Crosse 308-146 is the best basic model we tested. We had no problems getting the outdoor sensor to connect to the console, and it provided accurate measurements. The display is attractive and easy to read, and it even includes a USB charge port for additional versatility.
Best Heavy-Duty Weather Station
Best Heavy-Duty Weather Station: Tycon
Our pick for those who want a station that is built to last is the Tycon Power Professional weather station. Though it takes a while to put together, once you get going you’ll get highly accurate readings. This station placed high in our accuracy tests. The Tycon station is also one of the most durable, rated for the highest wind speeds and the hottest temperatures. Though the display isn’t visually appealing, it does provide more information than most others, including barometric pressure, dew point and UV levels.
What to Look For in a Weather Station
Perhaps the biggest question here is how much data you want. A simple station can give you accurate temperature information, localized to your own backyard. If you want more, there are stations with anemometers or wind meters, rain gauges, and tools for measuring light and UV levels. These tend to be more expensive but also provide more accurate measurements.
When looking at basic weather station, we liked those that had well lit, easy to read consoles. This may seem like a small, obvious thing, but some of the stations we tested were difficult to read, with poor layouts. An AC adapter was also handy, some don’t have a port to plug into the wall and could only be powered by batteries.
For a more advanced station, consider how much time you want to spend assembling one. Some are already assembled and just need to be mounted. Others need to be assembled, which can be time consuming – the longest took us about 45 minutes to put together. Still others come with separate modules which need to be powered individually and placed in different locations.
Where Do I Put My Weather Station?
We installed every station we tested in the backyard of one of our reviewers. Through this we discovered that where you put your outdoor sensor can affect the measurements you get. Stations with only an outdoor sensor need to be mounted somewhere out of the direct sun. A station with a wind meter needs to be put in an open space, to test these we mounted them on a wooden fencepost or used the provided tools to attach them to a metal pole.
As we tested we found that a shady spot may get some sun in the morning or afternoon, and this can affect the reading you get by several degrees. We recommend putting your outdoor sensor beneath your eaves, where it can be shaded and get accurate measurements.
Stations with larger, more complex arrays tended to be less susceptible to those kinds of fluctuations.
What We Tested and What We Found
Once we installed the stations, we turned to the task of testing each one. We gathered readings during testing, tracking the temperature in the morning, at noon and at night. We compared those results with the local reports from Weather Underground and Weather.com to see how they compared.
Another thing we found is that some of the sensors have trouble connecting to the indoor consoles. The Meade and Oregon Scientific stations we tested in particular had this problem. Where other stations could be set up in any order, these needed to have the batteries installed in the sensor before the console. Consult the instructions to see if you need to follow any specific procedures to ensure these pieces communicate with each other.
We were fortunate enough to get rain during our testing process so we could see how well the rain gauges worked. Some need to be calibrated and the consoles adjusted so they can register smaller amounts of rain.
We liked consoles that presented information in a visually appealing way. This may come down to personal preference – some consoles provide a lot of data but don’t have many frills. Some of the newer stations, such as the Netatmo, don’t have a display, but instead offer an app that allows you to check anytime. Several other stations, including the Ambient Weather and the Tycon Power, have software that allows you to gather weather data and analyze it later.
A weather station can be a simple thermometer that tells you how hot or cold it is outside, or it can give you detailed information about how much rain you’ve had and what direction the wind is coming from. The 10 best weather stations we tested range from simple to complex to suit a variety of users.