Weather Stations Review

Why Buy a Weather Station?

Dressing appropriately or taking shelter when storms arise makes having instantaneous weather reports valuable, and built-in warning alerts are important in areas with highly variable weather. Some weather station options include the Oregon Scientific Helios, Ambient Weather WS-11 and the AcuRite 02007.

Weather Stations: What to Look For

Personal weather stations vary according to available options and cost. Knowing what you want and learning whether a particular make or model provides it allows you to choose the right weather station for you. Most measure temperature, humidity and barometric pressure, while others add parameters such as wind speed and rainfall. Some important features to consider are the following.

Atmospheric Measurements
Weather stations measure parameters such as temperature, moisture and humidity. The ability to measure these attributes accurately varies according to the instrument's design. For instance, radiation shields may be necessary to obtain a precise temperature reading. Without a shield, your result may be falsely high if the temperature sensor is in direct sunlight.

A few digital home weather stations measure the absolute humidity, which is the total water vapor in the air by volume. Most measure the relative humidity, which is a function of temperature and water content expressed as a ratio. Measuring temperature and humidity makes it possible for the personal weather station to compute parameters such as the dew point.

Wind Speed & Rainfall
Propellers or spinning cups are attachments that measure wind speed. Unless black anemometers are used, these attachments may ice over. Sonic anemometers are an advanced way to measure wind speed by measuring sound traveling between transducers. They are unaffected by adverse environmental conditions, but birds landing on the transducers may alter results, causing higher than actual wind gust measurements. Getting accurate readings is a crucial factor in picking one wireless weather station over another.

The type of rain gauge varies. Consider the depth of the rain collection gauge if you live in an area with significant precipitation. Some devices have shallow gauges, which overflow in heavy rain.

Wireless Capability & Solar Power
A wireless weather station provides measurement transmission without fussing with wires. This makes installing and using the system easier. A few devices use solar power in lieu of batteries or AC current. However, solar power may require a backup battery for less sunny days or areas.

Battery life varies and some units include an alert for when the battery strength is low. Most systems use rechargeable AA or AAA batteries.

The types of personal weather station vary by cost and available options. Some systems are easier to set up, and the display may be in color or black and white. Wireless systems have a high usability score but might be more expensive, and finding a device that achieves the option level you need and fits your budget at the same time is paramount.