A common question is ” what is the best home weather station for Weather Underground?”.
The better question maybe is “what is the best weather station for Weather Underground and me?”. Weather Underground is looking for somethings and you are looking for somethings too, but maybe not exactly the same things.
What is Weather Underground looking for?
Weather Underground is looking for weather data from home weather stations. The weather information they collect is:
- Outside temperature and humidity – From these figures calculated data like dew point, heat index, and other comfort factors can be charted.
- Wind speed and direction – These are interesting measurements to see over time intervals of hours, days, and over the months. Wind gusts are also charted.
- Rainfall – Rate of rain is reported along with accumulation over hours and up to yearly.
They also expect the data received from the Weather Underground network of weather stations to be:
- At least of average accuracy – WU has a personal weather station quality control system in place which compares your reported weather data with neighboring weather stations data. If your data is too far off it’s not shown. If the nearest weather station is miles away, their quality control algorithm doesn’t work well.
- To be updated at regular intervals – To measure changing conditions, the more data points the better. Stations that report only once an hour have charts that are only useful in the longer time frames.
- To be complete enough to be useful for their forecasting algorithm – WU uses your data and that of others in your area to come up with custom long range weather forecasts. They take the current measurements and include all of the past historical measurements to get an ever improving forecast. The more data the better forecasts!
What should you be looking for in a home weather station?
In addition to Weather Underground’s requirements, you’ll also have some requirements of your own.
The best weather stations for you and Weather Underground also need to:
- Be an internet weather station – only uses about 1Mb per day; no data cap problems.
- Have all 5 weather sensors or more – Few people have more than 5 sensors; if you do, send the data, it helps.
- Be durable, reliable, and accurate – I’ve listed some good ones for you to look at.
- Be relatively easy to install and maintain – Even the best weather station will require maintenance; keep ease and safety in mind.
- Have a competent and responsive help desk – With some companies this is a BIG issue.
- Not cost an arm and a leg – This is relative of course, so choose a highly rated weather station that fits your budget.
Some more commonly desired home weather station features:
- An easy to read indoor display
- The capability of remote access
- The possibility of installing additional sensors
That narrowed the range of choices down, didn’t it?
Three companies dominate the Weather Underground compatible weather station market.
- Ambient Weather has the best wireless home weather station
- Acurite has the best weather station for the money
- Davis Instruments has the best quality home weather station
There are others, but they don’t all measure up to the requirements mentioned above. Ambient, Acurite, and Davis are all leaders in the home weather station market. They all have excellent products have very high customer satisfaction.
Top 3 Best weather stations for Weather Underground
In my opinion, these are the best home weather stations for Weather Underground. Any of Ambient Weather’s and Acurite’s all in one sensor based personal weather stations are good. As for Davis Instruments, all of their weather stations very good.
The following list is a selection of the top weather station from each company with some of the different ways of connecting to Weather Underground represented.
- All 5 required weather instruments + 2 more, UV and solar radiation.
- Completely wireless connection to the internet right out of the box.
- Very easy to read indoor display
- High customer satisfaction with lots of positive comments; 87% 4 stars and up.
- Easy to setup and has a complete and very easy to follow manual.
- Help desk in Arizona
- Connecting to other weather networks requires additional WeatherBridge equipment.
- The indoor display has no battery backup to use in case of a power failure. A UPS unit could be useful here.
- From the #1 weather equipment seller in North America.
- All 5 weather sensors in one Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS).
- Everything you need to connect to the internet through your computer.
- Nice color indoor display.
- Easy to setup and includes “Best in Class” software.
- Help desk in Wisconsin
- Requires an ‘always on’ computer to upload data. I’ve been doing it this way for over a decade without issues, but this could be inconvenient for some.
- Not expandable without additional equipment. But that’s why it’s affordable…
- Widely acclaimed as the best precision weather instruments.
- Separable anemometer helps with weather data quality.
- Outdoor sensor transmit range of 1000 feet.
- Very expandable.
- Extensive documentation from Davis and has a large user community.
- Made in the USA
- Required WeatherLink hardware must be purchased separately
- Fairly high price
- Dated software
Another thing to consider is…
…How your home weather station gets the weather data online
All wireless outdoor sensors send a signal that is received indoors and from there the weather data is uploaded to the internet.
The way this weather data upload is achieved might affect your weather station choice.
This is usually done in one of three ways:
- wireless to your router
- cabled to your router
- connected through your computer’s usb port
I said usually because Davis Instruments has a cellular based professional weather system for use in remote areas. We are getting into the arm-and-a-leg range here so I’ll leave this for another post…
Ambient Weather has these choices:
Observer WIFI, in this case the indoor display transmits to the wireless router directly.
Observer IP, the Observer ip module receives the signal and sends it to the router by ethernet cable. The display receives the signal and only presents it.
Acurite offers these choices:
smartHUB, The smartHUB receives the signal from the outdoor sensor and connects to your router with an ethernet cable.
PC connect, with PCconnect, the display connects to your computer’s USB port and connects to the internet through the computer’s connection. PC connect is also available for Macs.
Davis Instruments internet options:
Weatherlink, connects the display by USB cable to your computer and from there to the internet.
Weatherlink IP, connects the indoor display directly to the router by cable.
Another choice, Meteobridge or Weatherbridge
Any personal weather station requiring a connection through a computer can be run through the Meteobridge instead. This device replaces your home computer with a small dedicated micro computer. The meteobridge can set up as a cabled or wireless connection to your router.
Ambient Weather has a licensed version called the Weatherbridge that is preloaded with all the weather software you’ll ever need. This includes the ability to publish your weather data to many other online weather information systems. Also has the capacity to use IFTTT and Amazon Alexa.
Ambient Weather also sells the Davis Vantage Pro2 with the weatherbridge included.To use the weatherbridge Davis’ data logger is required. To get around the weatherlink data logger requirement, Ambient Weather has a device called the Airbridge which receives the weather data directly from the outside sensor and then sends the data on to the Weatherbridge.
To wrap it up…
That’s my somewhat informed opinion of what the best weather stations for Weather Underground are. Any of the other complete home weather stations from the recommended companies will perform well for you and Weather Underground.
Just keep in mind your safety, how you plan to connect your weather station to the internet, and, of course, your budget.
Publish your weather data and enjoy using the Weather Underground features like your 10 day forecast, the amazing Wundermap, and, over time, see your data charted over weeks, months, and years!
I hope this has been helpful to you and that you get to have fun participating in the growing weather station network community.
PS, more great home weather stations discussed here.