The best home weather stations are the ones that are the closest match to what you want them to do, and deliver a quality performance.
The market can be divided as follows:
- Best home weather stations under £50
A reasonable expectation at this price point is accurate measurement of inside and outside temperatures, air pressure, humidity and a weather forecast. Date, time and alarms are pretty standard features. The units use a base station and outside sensor.
- Best home weather stations from £50 to £200
In addition to the basic models above they come with additional kit to measure wind and rain. Ease of use, memory functions, ability to back up to PC, set measurement units and frequency amongst other features are added to these models. In short, these weather stations can be accurate mini-weather centres for a home enthusiast. Where as £50 and under weather stations are low involvement gadgets, this range of weather stations is for the hobbyist or home enthusiast.
- Best home weather stations Over £200
Expect to pay for robust build quality, long distance data transmission, large memory and even solar panels to charge outdoor sensors. Sensor quality should be more accurate, as are sensitivity and frequency of data collections and integration with weather monitoring software. Designed for the pro amateur.
Is your home suitable for a weather station
Before purchasing a weather station, and especially if you are planning a model that senses more than temperature and air pressure, it may be worth planning where you will put the equipment:
- The base station
This should go somewhere in your house that you pass by regularly - otherwise will you use it?. You may want to use your weather station as a bedtime clock, or have it mounted in the kitchen or living room.
- Temperature / air pressure / humidity sensor
Manufacturers often claim that their base stations and wireless sensors are able to communicate with each other at great distances. The reality is that cheaper models can be less good than more expensive models, especially if the signals need to travel through thick walls and the equipment is located on different sides of the house. In addition, outdoor temperature sensors should not be exposed to direct sunlight, and ideally would have a clear view of the sky.
- Rain sensors
These need to be placed in open space, on a completely flat surface and well secured so that they do not blow away.
- Wind sensors
These should be located where the wind is not disturbed by tall buildings and trees.
It may be obvious, but nevertheless worth saying, that there is little point buying a sophisticated expensive weather station if you are not able to locate the sensors in positions where they will give accurate readings.
Functionality on the Best Home Weather Stations
The following is a list of features that are available on the best home weather stations, with the more expensive models typically having a greater set of features. This may be useful to create a personal checklist of the functionality of the best home weather stations for your shortlist.
- Clear base station display
- Novel use of display (ie clock face, digital picture frame, insightful graphs)
- Easy to follow set up instructions
- Attractive design (the base station will become a feature in your home)
- Easy to change settings
- Flexibility to change units (imperial to metric etc.)
- Radio controlled clock (ie you do not need to set the time, the clock will be set by the device itself)
- Alarms (both for the clock, and for when the weather changes according to your preferences)
- Moon phase
- Sunrise / sunset times
- Due point (temperature that due forms depends on temperature and humidity)
- Data logging frequency (ie every minute / 5 minutes / hour etc.)
- Software (and whether PC/Mac etc.)
- Signal strength (distance between sensors)
- Longitude and latitude settings
- Weather resistance (the sensors will be outside and exposed)
- Memory size (will affect how much data can be stored before you need to make a back up)
- Sensitivity of sensors (your desired level of accuracy)
- Power consumption / battery types
- Solar panels for outside sensors
- Rain sensor
- Wind sensor
It is worth reading buyer reviews to get a sense of how well a manufacturer's claims are actually delivered. Issues include:
- Difficult set up
- Connectivity problems between base stations and sensors
- High power consumption of sensors
- Technical faults
Many users report being very happy with their weather stations, especially regarding accuracy that they test in comparison to local met offices statistics. Follow the link to see reviews of the best home weather stations: