Best Weather Stations of 2018

Billy Bommer ·
Audio & Travel Writer
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We spent a week assembling, testing and comparing the best weather stations that cost less than $150. We believe the AcuRite Pro 5-in-1 is the best weather station because of its easy setup and accurate measurements. It is also one of the most durable units we tested, an important attribute in a weather station because it will be exposed to the elements.

Best Overall
AcuRite Pro 5-in-1
The AcuRite Pro 5-in-1 comes with a preassembled outdoor sensor and a colorful and user-friendly indoor console. The easy setup and accurate measurements make it a worthy investment for localized forecasts.
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Best Value
La Crosse 308-146
The La Crosse 308-146 is a simple weather station that costs less than $60. It doesn’t measure wind or rain, but the temperature readings are accurate and easy to read on the well-lit console.
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Best Heavy-Duty
Tycon Power Pro
The Tycon Power Pro is a good station for serious weather watchers. The setup process is lengthy, but the durable design is a good fit if you live in an extreme climate.
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Best Overall

AcuRite Pro 5-in-1

The AcuRite Pro 5-in-1 weather station perfectly combines accuracy and ease of use. The outdoor sensor comes preassembled, which can save time and eliminate user error that could result in inaccurate measurements. It simply needs to be attached to the mounting bracket and then fastened to a pole or screwed to a wooden post.
We had no problem syncing the outdoor sensor with the indoor console once the station was properly mounted to a fence post in our reviewer’s backyard. This was the easiest weather station to set up in our comparison. The AcuRite indoor console is one of the most user-friendly we reviewed. The screen presents weather information in an organized fashion, so you don’t need to hunt for the measurements. One of the interesting features of this weather station is its ability to create localized forecasts based on the measurements it gathers. Not only is this station easy to set up, it also produced some of the most accurate measurements in our tests. It can measure temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and rainfall. Luckily, it rained during our testing, so we could compare the results from this station against other weather stations that measure rainfall. The rain gauge on the AcuRite was sensitive to small amounts of precipitation and required no calibration. If you want to spend less than $100 on a weather station, this is your best bet.
  • Easy setup
  • Accurate measurements
  • Well-lit and organized indoor console
  • Expensive
  • Batteries sold separately
  • The indoor console is a bit bulky
Best Value

La Crosse 308-146

The La Crosse 308-146 doesn’t measure wind or rainfall, but it costs less than $60 and has a visually appealing display.
To test the accuracy of the outdoor sensor, we recorded its temperature measurements and compared them against local and national reporting services. The La Crosse produced the most accurate measurements off all the stations we tested that cost less than $80. We found the best placement location for the outdoor sensor was in a shaded area, to avoid skewed results from exposure to direct sunlight. We had no trouble syncing the outdoor sensor with the display module. Within seconds of plugging it into a wall socket, we received temperature measurements. This is one of the best indoor consoles we tested because of its well-lit and organized layout. It has animated forecast icons that give you a good idea of what the weather will be like outside. The outdoor sensor is powered by three AA batteries that aren’t included in the retail packaging. The manufacturer suggests replacing the batteries every two years. We tested the maximum wireless transmission range and found the sensor had no problem connecting to the console from 300 feet away. If you are looking for a basic weather station to tell you the outside temperature, the La Crosse is one of the best we tested.
  • Inexpensive
  • Colorful indoor console
  • Quick and easy setup
  • No wind or rain measurements
  • Consistently low temperature readings
  • Durability concerns
Best Heavy-Duty

Tycon Power Pro

The Tycon Power Pro has a lengthy and involved setup process, but it provides a plethora of accurate weather data. The setup process isn’t necessarily difficult, but it is much more time-consuming than other weather stations we tested.
Each measurement component is attached to the transmitter with cables. Once you have everything attached and ready to transmit, we suggest placing the Tycon weather station in an open area to accurately measure wind, rainfall and light levels. We attached the outdoor sensor to a fence post in our reviewer’s backyard and began receiving data to the console immediately. The indoor console isn’t as attractive and colorful as some of the stations we tested, but it gives you a wealth of data that can be customized to display the measurements you want most. The reason we identified the Tycon Power Pro as the best heavy-duty weather station is because of its durable design. Our reviewers identified the measurement components as the most durable in our test group, and although it costs a bit more than the other stations we tested, it will be a good long-term investment if you are a serious weather watcher. It is rated for temperatures of up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speed up to 112 mph. This is a good weather station for people who live in extreme climates.
  • Durable design
  • Accurate measurements
  • Reports barometric pressure, dew point and ultraviolet level
  • Lengthy setup process
  • Uninteresting display console
  • No internal fan for cooling the thermometer
Best Mobile App
Weather stations with accompanying mobile apps are rare, but Netatmo’s is the best one we saw.
The app lets you quickly check the weather at your home and sends you alerts when weather events like storms happen. It’s also one of the few stations that monitors air quality and gives you warnings when carbon monoxide levels get high. It has an appealing design but doesn’t have a console, so you need to use the app. Also, you need to use Wi-Fi to get readings from Netatmo, and it doesn’t include a wind gauge or rain gauge, though they are available as add-ons. The basic Netatmo station costs $150.
  • App sends you alerts about weather events and air quality
  • Rain and wind gauges aren’t included
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Most Accurate

Ambient Weather

If accuracy is important, the Ambient Weather 5300 is the standout choice.
We took readings for a week and compared them with readings from the National Weather Service. The Ambient Weather 5300 was the closest. This is in part because a fan regulates the internal temperature, so the midday sun doesn’t skew the readings as much as with other stations. This station also includes rain and wind measuring tools. It’s easy to install, but when we tested it, the transmitter only had a range of 100 feet – most of the other stations could transmit up to 300 feet with no problem. The Ambient Weather 5300 is an affordable station, costing only $64.
  • Internal fan helps ensure reliable measurements
  • Short transmission range

Why Trust Us?  

Our recommendations for the best weather stations were made based on our experiences while doing hands-on testing with 10 products. This category of products would be easy to compare features and make blind recommendations, but we prefer to test in real-world scenarios so that we can detect unique features and shortcomings that you won’t find in bullet-point marketing materials. For instance, we found that the placement location of outdoor sensors is dependent upon the metrics they are capable of measuring. A sensor that measures wind and rainfall should be placed in an open area. Sensors that measure only temperature and humidity are more accurate in shaded areas.

All the weather stations we tested were assembled and installed in one reviewer’s backyard. That allowed us to record measurements three times per day and compare them against reputable local and national weather reporting.

How We Tested 

We ordered all the weather stations in this comparison from authorized retailers and made note of the packaging and reported any shortcomings in the product reviews. We unboxed and assembled each product, and recorded our experience with the assembly process. We found most of the products that require batteries didn’t include them in the retail packaging, which is surprising considering the cost of some of the products.

Once we had all the modules assembled, we tried various mounting positions to find the most accurate placement positions. We mounted the outdoor sensors in the best possible locations and went inside the house to determine how easily each product’s outdoor sensor synced up to the accompanying indoor module. We found that some of the sensors had trouble connecting if the batteries weren’t installed in the sensor before the console was powered up.

We collected data from the stations and compared that to reputable local and national weather reporting services. We were lucky enough to have a couple of rainstorms roll through during our week of testing. That allowed us to test every measurement device on all 10 weather stations in our comparison.

How Much Does a Weather Station Cost?

You can drop as much a $1,000 on a weather station. However, you don’t need to spend more than a few hundred dollars. The stations we reviewed cost from $40 to $150. If you just want to know the temperature, you don’t need to spend more than $60. However, if you want to know wind speed, rain accumulation and other metrics, expect to spend $100 or more.

What Features to Look For When Buying a Weather Station
Wind and Rain Measurements
Most of the basic weather stations in our comparison have sensors that measure only outside temperature and barometric pressure. If you want to know how windy it is outside or to measure rainfall, choose a weather station that has an outdoor sensor capable of tracking those metrics.

Indoor Consoles
We found weather stations that include a well-lit and organized indoor reporting console were easy to read and allowed us to quickly check the important metrics without fumbling through menus. Also, some of the accompanying indoor consoles were powered by batteries, which we found to be an annoyance compared with consoles that are powered by an AC wall plug.

Weather stations that are rated for high winds and extreme temperatures can last longer in unforgiving climates. The products we tested that can measure wind and rainfall need to be placed in an open area. If you live in an extreme climate, you should consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure your weather station can withstand the harsh elements in your area.