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I just survived my fourth winter in Alaska, and one of the most fascinating things about living here is the weather. A few years ago, I bought myself a fancy home weather station with a rain gauge, wind sensor, and lightning detector so I could adequately obsess over my local weather patterns. The first thing I do every morning is check the weather and text my neighbors when there’s something noteworthy. Did the overnight wind speed top 25 mph? How many days have we been living below 0 degrees Fahrenheit? I love keeping up with Alaska’s riveting weather phenomenon, and you, too, can keep up with patterns in your area with one of the best home weather stations.
- Best Overall: AcuRite Iris Weather Station with High-Def Direct-to-Wi-Fi Display and Lightning Detection
- Most Comprehensive: Ambient Weather WS-2000 WiFi Osprey Solar Powered Wireless Weather Station
- Best Budget: Baldr Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Weather Station
- Best Minimalist: Eve Weather
How I Tested the Best Home Weather Stations
After researching at least 50 options online for personal weather stations, I honed in on the details to decide which to include in the test. There are only a few brands in the playing field, but each manufacturer has several models. And each model offers slightly varied settings and features. It can be overwhelming if you’re just getting started. I’ve vetted a wide variety of home weather stations to break down the best options for your personal needs.
I’ve owned a number of units over the years, but also tested a few new ones for this test. Whether you want comprehensive weather or just the bare minimum data, there is a home station for you. My testing took place during winter, so the temps ranged from -28 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit with wind speeds up to 25 mph. I couldn’t test the rainfall meters and lightning detection because Alaska only gets snow this time of year.
One of the key metrics I tested was useability. More features means more complexity in the setup, and there is sometimes a learning curve when interpreting the data on the screen and using the phone apps. Useability also includes how bright the screen is and how big the numbers are. While all stations were similarly accurate, I compared them to each other to verify an accuracy baseline. I found the weather forecasts on the displays to be unreliable (the apps are better for forecasts), but the graphics are fun to see.
Best Home Weather Stations: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: AcuRite Iris Weather Station with High-Def Direct-to-Wi-Fi Display and Lightning Detection
- High-definition 7.5 x 5.5-inch display with color and adjustable backlight
- Measures temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and rain
- Automatic self-emptying rain collection cup
- 2-year battery life
- Price: $250
- Simple and intuitive setup
- Labels on display for various weather parameters
- Solar cells operate fan for accurate temperature reading
- Not compatible with additional sensors
- No battery backup
- Only displays real-time conditions on screen
I’ve had—and loved—one of AcuRite’s outdoor weather stations for years. The Iris version is a serious upgrade to my 2012 model, which lasted for several years. There are key features that make AcuRite stand apart from others, which is why it is the overall best home weather station. It is extremely user-friendly while being comprehensive in delivering weather measurements. This weather station took less than an hour to master, including mounting.
While you can’t add additional sensors for other rooms or areas, this unit covers all the basic weather attributes for the recreational weather watcher. The parameters include indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction, wind chill, rainfall, lightning strikes, dew point, barometric pressure, and heat index. The lightning detector is scary, yet fascinating. In July 2022, my older AcuRite weather station detected more than 200 lightning strikes within 5 miles!
The outside station connects to an inside display and the AcuRite app, where you can check the weather while you are away from home, view historical records, and check the forecast. The one downside is that the indoor display screen does not archive historical records beyond 24 hours. It relies on an included 5V power adaptor, and there is no battery backup. My older model had a “weather ticker,” which automatically scrolled through data, like the highest wind speed recorded for the year. I liked that feature, but it’s not a huge inconvenience to check the app for this type of information.
The indoor display has adjustable dimming and the option for a white or black backlight, which makes it easy to read from a distance. The unit has labels for each of the numbers on the screen, which is actually very helpful. My older model did not label each data point and remembering what each number referred to was annoying. I had to refer back to the manual to see what was what for many months (and my husband was constantly asking for refreshers too).
The outdoor unit takes four AA batteries (recommended lithium-specific due to cold). It also relies on two solar panels to power the internal aspirating fan, which draws in ambient air for a more accurate temperature reading.
Most Comprehensive: Ambient Weather WS-2000 WiFi Osprey Solar Powered Wireless Weather Station
- High-definition 7 x 7.5-inch display with adjustable backlight and color
- Measures wind speed, direction, rainfall, temperature, humidity, UV and solar radiation
- Can add up to eight sensors
- Combines measured parameters with calculated data, such as wind chill, heat index, dew point, 10-minute wind speed and direction, sunrise, sunset, moon phase, forecast, and more
- Price: $300
- Widest variety of data
- Labels on display for various weather parameters
- Solar cells operate fan for accurate temperature reading
- Complex setup and learning curve
If you are as obsessed with weather-watching as I am, this model is the most feature-rich station in the test. The package comes with a wind vane and rain gauge, but you can upgrade by adding up to eight sensors (all sold separately). Besides the typical indoor/outdoor temperature monitors and lightning detector, you can add on more unique sensors like indoor air quality, soil moisture, leak detector, and a floating pool thermometer. This is the most versatile unit on the market. Of course, adding sensors means you’re investing more money into an already pricy unit.
The indoor tablet has adjustable dimming and a bright display. All of the weather parameters visible on the screen have labels. However, the screen is busy, so it’s harder to read from far away. The temperature is to the decimal point and the sunrise, sunset, and sun arc information is a rare detail not found in other units.
You can scroll through archived records on the home unit, but it also connects to the Ambient Weather app, where you can check on the status of all the weather parameters and historical data from anywhere with your phone. Both the app and the indoor display have a graph feature, which is a great visual when reviewing weather records.
The outdoor components only take two AA batteries (as opposed to more in others). I appreciate that you can check the life of the battery in the app, which is convenient since the unit is mounted very high. The manufacturer suggests you’ll have to change the batteries every two to three years. The outdoor contraption also draws on a single solar panel to operate the internal aspirating fan for more accurate ambient temperature reading. The indoor unit needs only the AC power plug (included).
I love this station for its comprehensiveness, but there are still a few downsides. It is complicated to set up and use, as evidenced by the 71-page instruction manual. It took me about an hour to follow the directions and actually put together the pieces and mount the station outside. While I am not naturally an engineer or handy, I can usually hold my own, but this was on the complex side.
The aluminum mounting kit is sold separately, and without it, you need to create your own wooden dowel to elevate the station above any obstacles. If you do use Ambient’s aluminum mounting kit, make sure you ground it.
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Best Budget: Baldr Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Weather Station
- LED 5×5-inch display with non-adjustable backlight and color
- Measures indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity levels
- Can add two sensors
- Price: $50
- Comprehensive yet inexpensive
- Easy setup
- Needs five batteries plus AC adaptor
- Not compatible with any apps
Baldr has a plethora of choices for weather stations, all within an affordable price range. This particular weather station is the one I keep by my bedside, since it has time, alarm, and snooze functions. I appreciate that the 5 x 5-inch display is bright and easy to read with a black or white backlight. I like the black backlight because it is less assaulting on the eyes in the middle of the night and not disruptive to my circadian rhythm. The weather graphics complete with mobile raindrops and pulsating sun are a little overkill. They take up one-quarter of the display, but some may find them fun.
This model displays indoor/outdoor temperatures, indoor/outdoor humidity levels, time/date with alarm capability, barometric pressure reading, moon phase picture, and a weather forecast. Plus, you can add on two remote temperature/humidity sensors for a greenhouse or another indoor room, although you have to toggle to the different channels on the display to see those readings. This is not compatible with any apps, meaning you can’t monitor the conditions while away from home.
The temperature is to the decimal point. When I first read over the Baldr directions, I was disappointed that the temperature range said the low would only read down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit. We spend many days below 0. However, our temps dipped to -28, and Baldr still delivered accuracy. So maybe the manufacturer test was more limited than my own.
Best Minimalist: Eve Weather
- Measures indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity
- IPX4 water resistance
- Included CR2450 battery
- 2.1×2.1-inch black and white display
- Sleek and minimalist design
- Easy setup
- App doesn’t work offsite
The Eve is a thread device meaning it is meant to be used in conjunction with other thread smart-house devices connected via an Apple TV, HomePod, or HomePod mini. If you connect with an Apple TV or HomePod using the same iCloud account as your iPhone, you can access the Eve Weather data from anywhere, but otherwise the app on its own cannot provide real-time data away from home. I do not have those accessories and was unable to test those functions.
I tested this station in a well house where I need to monitor the temperature to prevent pipes from freezing in the winter. The unit is water resistant, so if you wanted to place it outside on a patio or in a greenhouse, you can track the microclimate in those outdoor areas as well.
To use the station out of the box requires a simple push of a button to activate the included single lithium battery, which will last about a year. The display and the sensor are one in the same, but connect to the Eve app for you to track the temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure in a certain home area from your phone. The Eve app provides graphs with historical trends. These are the only three measurements this device is capable of, so it is bare-bones data.
Things to Consider Before Choosing the Best Home Weather Stations
The weather station that is right for you depends on your level of engagement. If you just want the numerical digits telling you the minimum essentials so you can dress accordingly for the outdoors, the budget and minimalist models on this list are sufficient. But if you are more of a weather hobbyist like myself, there are mid-range and advanced systems that can provide more comprehensive data. Keep in mind, the more bells and whistles, the higher the price tag. There are also add-on specialized sensors or multiple zone configurations for larger homes capable of feeding into a main display.
Given that some stations have more components and features, I was particularly interested in the assembly and ease of use. The most basic systems require no effort, but more deluxe units with multiple gadgets and sensors may require mounting and a learning curve for everyday monitoring.
Data display can vary, as some units provide a main screen with all the information, while others may require toggling through multiple screens to view records. More and more, weather stations are connected to apps, so you can access all the real-time data from your phone.
Q: How much does a home weather station cost?
The cost of personal weather stations varies greatly, depending on the number of weather attributes the system can track. The cheapest model we tested—which still displayed several weather parameters—cost $50. As you add on sensors and opt for more advanced models that are app-compatible, the cost trends into the hundreds.
Q: Is a home weather station worth the money?
You could just watch the news or look at the weather forecast on the Internet. I find varied reliability with different weather apps, so I prefer a hyper-local forecast, which is what home weather stations provide.
Q: Where should my home weather station be located?
In order to receive the most accurate recording, especially for wind measurements, it’s optimal to mount the station above trees and structures, which means some ladders and climbing is involved. At the very minimum, the unit should be at least 5 feet off the ground, but the higher the better. The National Weather Service actually recommends placing a unit 33 feet in the air.
All this to say, you wouldn’t want to just mount the units flat on your deck railing, but above it. Other things to consider would be the radiant heat that transfers from structures, so finding a spot at least 20 feet away from a structure is optimal. If you are mounting the unit on the roof of your house, you’ll want to think through how.
Instructions recommend placing any sensors on a north-facing wall in a shaded area or at least under an eave. The sensors are weatherproof, but a well-protected area will just improve the readings.
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If you nerd out on weather patterns, go for one of the best weather stations that archives wind speeds and lightning strikes around your home. But if you don’t want to deal with a bunch of data, and really only need a couple measurements go with a simpler model. Some of those models have larger displays with additional sensors for reasonable prices.