I'm a secret weather nerd and the current heatwaves across the country has us hiding indoors with the AC cranked, so I figured now would be a good time to write an article about the best weather station to buy. That's right, when I'm not playing video games or ‘optimizing' my home network, I'm observing and studying the weather.
I was bitten by the weather bug while attending boarding school on Cape Cod, where I served as a deckhand on a 92′ 100-year-old schooner. While that experience deserves its own write-up, I bring it up because anyone who has spent time on the water knows the weather is to be respected. Being surprised by it can cost you your life.
The Best Weather Station
Ambient Weather WS-1001-WIFI Observer – available on Amazon
The Ambient Weather WS-1001-WIFI Observer is a very real weather station, for very serious weather nerds. The WS-1001 includes sensors to measure wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity, rainfall, UV radiation, and solar radiation. You can dig into this data using your iOS and Android devices or use the dedicated LCD display that provides near real-time updates directly from your outdoor weather station and the indoor temperature/barometric pressure sensor.
When you purchase the weather station, you'll be given access to a community of other semi-pro weatherpersons like yourself that share data from over 37,000 weather stations. These weather stations combine to make a massive data set of the weather, giving you the ability to accurately predict weather events taking place in your own backyard or across your country. The Ambient Weather WS-1001-WIFI Observer is easy enough to set up for any aspiring weather enthusiasts to get their start, while also pleasing the seasoned wannabe-meteorologists among us.
The Runner Up
Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP Observer – available on Amazon
Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP Observer is the little brother to the WS-1001-WIFI Observer. This station includes all of the same sensors and access to the community of weather enthusiasts, but it has a separate radio module to transmit its data to the web, which has a shorter range. It also lacks the dedicated LCD display, which means you'll have to pull the app up on your smartphone or tablet to check the status of your weather station.
These are not necessarily shortcomings depending on your needs, and if that's case, you should pick this one up instead of the WS-1001 so you can enjoy over $120 of savings.
Netatmo Weather Station for Smartphone – available on Amazon
The Netatmo Weather Station is a cool product, but it serves an entirely different audience of weather nerds. In fact, it may not be serving nerds at all. The Netatmo is meant to be a device that allows you to check the weather in your area, but it's not meant for weather observation and study. While the Ambient Weather Observer product line can be treated scientifically or just be an overkill weather-checking device, the Netatmo weather station is for people that just want some additional info about the weather before leaving the house or planning a barbecue. It also features CO2 sensors to tell you when the air is getting stale in your home, which again makes this more of a lifestyle gadget rather than a scientific instrument.
Don't get me wrong, I think this device is a worthy purchase, but it seems more like a designer product with a designer price tag that becomes more evident when you add up the additional cost to add sensors to capture wind speed and rain fall (yeah those aren't included).
Read other reviews of gadgets on TechCo.