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So what happens when a commercial weather station company enters the retail weather station market. Well, how about some high-end features at home weather station prices.
With all of the home weather stations for sale, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out. Well, the folks at WeatherFlow did it.
How about an advanced home weather station with NO moving parts.
Do you find this interesting? Read on…
- Features And Benefits Of The WeatherFlow Smart Home Weather Station
- A Closer Look at the components of the WeatherFlow Smart Weather Station
- WeatherFlow Sky Features and Review
- WeatherFlow Air Features and Review
- WeatherFlow Hub Features and Review
- WeatherFlow Sky Data Specifications
- WeatherFlow Air Data Specifications
This weather station is made up of three parts; Sky, Air, and the data receiving Hub. You can see them here on a clickable picture. No, you don’t get the phone, but you can see what the app looks like.
- No Moving Parts, Less To Fail
- 1000′ Range, Install Almost Anywhere
- Solar Powered Sky, No Battery Issues
- Weather Underground Integration
- Extensive Smart Home Features
- Continuous Learning, Data Gets Better
- Free App And Webpage
- Very Easy To Setup & Install
- Click To Check For Availability
Features And Benefits Of The WeatherFlow Smart Home Weather Station
No Moving Parts on the WeatherFlow Weather Station
No moving parts means the Weatherflow weather station has less to wear out, it is much easier to maintain, and there are fewer ways for Mother Nature to damaging anything.
On most of the common weather station models, the rain gauge needs to be watched for contamination by dirt, bugs, and bird crap, and the anemometer has bearings to wear out and is occasionally damaged by birds and flying debris in wind storms.
Another benefit of a sealed unit with no moving parts is you can use it in a marine environment without worrying about corrosion. Actually, the whole unit is constructed with high-quality marine grade plastic that will hold up to just about anything.
You can take a closer look at the WeatherFlow weather station over at Amazon.
Solar Powered WeatherFlow Sky
Solar Powered Sky component means no replacing batteries. This frees you to place the Sky up high enough to be free and clear of airflow obstructions. No worrying about how you’re going to replace the batteries.
This solar panel / rechargeable battery unit is designed to work for as long as 30 days without any sun. I don’t think anyone can touch that!
You also get a free webpage and app. The app is found at the Apple Store or Google Play. Look up “weatherflow” or “smart weather” and download the free app. The WeatherFlow has no indoor display, so the app is necessary to both do the initial setup of the weather station and also to see your weather data.
Not only can you see your weather station reports on your app but also on a free webpage accessed with your browser. For an example of how it appears take a look at this page. Your actual page will be private, of course, and require you to log in.
Both the app and the page present the information in the same way. You tap or click on the sensor you’re interested in and you will bring up a data graph that you can zoom in or out for different time scales. You can scroll back through a year’s worth of data if you want to.
If you upload your weather information to Weather Underground, you’ll be able to see that info online also.
1000′ Wireless Range for the WeatherFlow Sky and Air
1000 foot wireless range gives you a lot more freedom in placing your weather station in the perfect place. The normal 300-foot range can be quite limiting sometimes.
The transmission range for all wireless weather stations from the outdoor sensors to the indoor receiver is almost always less than advertised due to the signal being partially blocked by walls, windows, fences, trees, and other things. The 1000′ range is a big deal!
Easy To Mount And Install the WeatherFlow Weather Station
Easy to Mount, the Sky unit fits on top of a 1″ pipe, and the Air unit has keyhole slots on the bottom and back or can accept a camera mount style screw attachment. Weatherflow has a recommended outdoor camera mount.
Or you can also just set the Air down somewhere in the shade where it won’t be disturbed. That way you can move it around to find the ideal placement. As for the Hub, just keep it within the WiFi range of your router.
Built-In Weather Underground & WeatherFlow Smart Weather Network
Simple integration with Weather Underground and WeatherFlow’s Smart Weather Network. This is done with a simple and easy free app. You also get free webpages for your weather data on both the Smart Weather Network and Weather Underground.
Continuous Learning Algorithm
Continuous Learning Algorithm provides AI feedback from the Weatherflow cloud services to constantly monitor and improve the performance, making the weather station and forecast accuracy the best possible. This is all done automatically for you.
Smart Home Features With the WeatherFlow Weather Station
Lots of Smart Home Features like Alexa, Google Home, and use real-time weather data to automate the smart home functions using IFTTT. There are quite a few more smart home functions available, many I’ve never heard of before.
I’ve never used any Smart Home stuff, but I have read a lot about it. WeatherFlow has more integration options than anyone I’ve heard of. Have Fun!
Additional Data Options
Share your weather data with other online weather services by sending the data to your own computer for analysis or uploading with 3rd party weather station software.
WeatherFlow is very open with the data. You can access your weather information through the Weatherflow REST API, or the wireless UDP from the Hub, and also Bluetooth LE.
About the WeatherFlow Accuracy, Check out WeatherFlow vs Davis
All of this fancy hi-tech is neat, but is it accurate? See for yourself. A poster ‘vreihen’ over at http://www.wxforum.net/ is uploading the weather data from a Davis Pro 2 and a WeatherFlow Smart Weather Station on a single chart making data comparisons easy. See his site here.
Looks good to me!
The WeatherFlow smart home weather station is more popular than you might expect for such a new product. You can check on this WeatherFlow map for any WeatherFlow weather stations in your area.
There’s a lot of em.
A Closer Look at the components of the WeatherFlow Smart Weather Station
WeatherFlow Sky Features and Review
WeatherFlow Sky is a solar-powered instrument with a rain gauge, wind speed, wind direction, and 3 different light detectors all packaged together.
The Sky is equipped with a clamp on the bottom that is slipped over a 1″ (1.25″od to 1.32″od) mast. Your local hardware store can assist you with this. This mast is set up in an area clear of anything that might block the wind and Sun.
The Sky has an index mark on it that is pointed North with the solar panel pointing South.
You may want to take a look at my page on mounting and siting your weather station here.
Sensors Included With The WeatherFlow Sky
- Wind Speed – Average, Gusts, & Lulls
- Wind Direction
- Rain Intensity, in Past Hour, & Past 24 Hours
- Light – UV, Solar Radiation, & Brightness
Haptic Rain Sensor
The haptic rain sensor is the most amazing but also criticized instrument on the WeatherFlow weather station.
It works by detecting the pressure change from the rain hitting it and also the capacitive change from the amount of water on the gauge.
The whole weather station has a superhydrophobic coating to minimize water build-up which would otherwise throw the rain and wind measurements off. For fun, look up superhydrophobic on YouTube.
Unlike tipping bucket rain gauges, with a haptic rain sensor, you will know instantly when the first raindrop falls. This could be usefully paired with an IFTTT smart home function. Using a combination of pressure and capacitance, Sky can measure and count each falling raindrop.
If you want to dive into lots of detail about the WeatherFlow haptic rain sensor, check out this page.
Here is what the WeatherFlow rain gauge measures, WeatherFlow calls it the 5 dimensions of rain:
- Immediate Onset
- Relative Rain Intensity
- Rate of Fall
There are issues with the haptic rain sensor I’ll get to a little further down the page.
Under the rain gauge is a sonic anemometer that measures wind speed and direction. Instead of the usual wind vane and spinning cup anemometers, WeatherFlow uses multiple transducers that listen to each other’s sonic emissions.
By using the doppler shift between sensors, Sky can calculate the wind speed and direction. Pretty cool, eh?
3 Ways To Measure Light
The Sky unit also has three sensors for light measurements. UV, solar radiation, and brightness or solar intensity.
This covers a lot of bases. From sunburn concerns from UV to indicating whether sunglasses might be a good idea, check how well your solar panels are performing, and even helping with calculating soil evaporation rate for you gardeners.
Solar Power Details
Before May 2019 the Sky was powered by 8AA batteries. The Sky shipped from May 2019 onward with a new solar-powered battery pack that replaced the 8 AA batteries. If you have an older battery-powered Sky and would like to upgrade, you can find the solar unit here at the Weatherflow store.
The new solar panel is attached to the bottom of the Sky where the old battery cover used to be.
This is a great addition in that the built-in solar-charged battery pack is enough to power the weather station for up to 30 days in totally overcast conditions. Weatherflow claims that even on cloudy days, there will be sufficient charge to keep the battery pack going. The integrated rechargeable battery pack should last about 5 years.
For you number nerds out there, here are the specs on the solar unit: 1000mHh battery powering a 5.45mW transmitter on 915Mhz.
Pros And Cons of the WeatherFlow Sky
Pros: Some obvious things going for the Sky are the lack of moving parts, the 1000 foot range, and solar power with the 5-year built-in battery life.
Also, the Sky has a wider range of light detectors than other stations. The ability to detect a single drop of rain and wind down to 0.5 mph is nice. A lot of the sensors use continuous sampling so you won’t miss transient events.
Maintaining the Sky is easy. No cleaning bird crap, bugs, and other debris out of your rain gauge. No constant battery replacements. Climbing up on your roof to get to your weather station in the middle of winter is no fun.
Cons: While I don’t see too much going against the Sky, there is one issue that you might find significant.
The issue is that many people are reporting questionable rain data.
While most people are quite happy with the rain sensor, enough are talking about it that it is something you should know about. The folks at WeatherFlow claim that their rain gauge is as accurate as a large tipping bucket rain gauge.
Maybe this is the sort of problem you get if you have two thermometers that don’t perfectly agree. Which one is right?
The rain issue mostly concerns real-time measurements. What WeatherFlow does is auto-corrects the data with an algorithm they call “Rain Check”. Unfortunately, this is often not done until the next day possibly making the data posted online to Weather Underground incorrect. I’m not sure about this, but it is a concern.
Somewhere I heard that if you have an accurate manual rain gauge to compare to, like a Stratus, WeatherFlow can help you calibrate your haptic rain gauge.
WeatherFlow says their “Rain Check” and “Continuous Learning” algorithms, will make your data increasingly accurate over time. WeatherFlow also provides automatic firmware updates that improve various functions.
Anyway, if rainfall measurements are your primary interest, you might keep this in mind. Keep in mind that all rain measuring techniques have some limitations. –Tipping bucket rain gauges can only count one complete tip. Anything less is not counted. Even manual rain gauges like the Stratus loses accuracy if the wind blows the rain at an angle to the opening of the gauge.
Do you find this WeatherFlow weather station interesting? Take a closer look at the Amazon WeatherFlow listing.
WeatherFlow Air Features and Review
The WeatherFlow Air has sensors for temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and lightning strikes. From this information, the Air calculates the dew point, wind chill, heat index, and air density.
Sensors In The WeatherFlow Air
- Air Temperature (Dry Bulb & Wet Bulb)
- Delta-Temp. ( High & Low)
- Barometric Pressure ( Both Absolute & Relative)
- Humidity (Calculates Dew Point, Heat Index, Wind Chill, Feels Like, & Air Density)
- Lightning Strikes ( Time, Distance, & Last 3 Hours)
Where To Place The WeatherFlow Air
Air is a stand-alone unit that must be placed in the shade to prevent the sun from heating it up and then reporting temperatures that are much too high. Unfortunately, the Air does not come with a radiation shield to prevent overheating.
WeatherFlow says the Air works best just placed in a shady spot as it is. You’ll see that finding a place in your yard that the sun Never shines is more difficult than you might think.
Radiation Shield for the WeatherFlow Air
According to WeatherFlow, Ambient Weather sells a radiation shield the Air will fit into. This is an added expense but may be worth it to you for the convenience of being able to install the Air where you want to.
As for mounting the Air, there are keyhole slots on the bottom and back for you to slide it over a screw head, or you can use the 1/4-20 thread mount and screw it to a camera type mount. WeatherFlow suggests this one. Whichever way you decide to install the Air, just make sure it is in the upright position so the antenna for communicating with the Hub and the lightning sensor are in the right position.
WeatherFlow Air Is Battery Powered
4 AA batteries are needed for the Air. One year battery life is common but some are reporting 2+ years. I use lithium-ion batteries in my weather stations and always get a longer life from them than regular batteries.
If you live in an area that gets much below 0°F degrees you’ll need lithium batteries to keep the sensor working. If you’ve ever wondered why most weather stations will measure temperature to about -40°F but never lower, that is why. Alkaline batteries rapidly lose power below 0°F but lithium work to around -40°F.
Pros And Cons Of The WeatherFlow Air
Pros: Like the Sky, the Air has a 1000′ range giving you a lot of flexibility in where you mount it.
A lightning detector is built-in and is not a separate module you have to buy.
A barometer is included in the Air making it unusual for weather stations without indoor displays. Most weather stations have the barometer in the display and on their models without displays you get no barometer and thus no forecasting ability.
Cons: The WeatherFlow Air does not have a radiation shield, making the Air susceptible to overheating when the sun shines on it. Keep it in total shade and you’ll be fine. There is a radiation shield that the Air will fit into, but you’ll have to buy it separately.
WeatherFlow Hub Features and Review
The WiFi Hub receives the signals transmitted by the Sky and Air on 915Mhz and re-sends the data to your wireless router at 2.4Ghz. You can also pick up the signal on your phone using Bluetooth LE and a UDP signal you can receive with a wireless adapter on your computer.
Multiple Data Options With The Hub
Having the ability to pick up your weather data locally provides you with the option to upload your data to other weather services. Many people use the free WeeWX software on their computers to do this.
If you want to use a Weatherbridge hub, the WeatherFlow is compatible. The Weatherbridge by Ambient Weather is a universal server that comes preloaded with all the software you need to connect to many 3rd party weather services. It ain’t cheap though.
The Hub Must Be Plugged In
The Hub is powered with a plugged-in power supply. I guess that all that data transmission takes more juice than batteries can supply. If the power goes out, the Sky stores 2 hours of data and the Air can store 3 hours worth. When power is restored the Sky and Air will send their stored weather information to the Hub.
If you use a UPS for your Hub, router, and any computer you’re using you’ll have continuous uploads. (if your internet still works) If your internet does go down the Hub will store about a week of data. When the internet is restored the Hub will send the data.
Firmware updates are done automatically. Your weather data you send to WeatherFlow is analyzed and sometimes adjusted by A.I. machine learning using WeatherFlow Cloud services.
Smart Features like IFTTT. See the IFTTT integration with the WeatherFlow smart weather station here. You can link your Smart Weather account to Amazon Alexa and to Google Home / Google Assistant and many more.
Receive phone notifications on parameters of your choice.
Over All Pros And Cons of the WeatherFlow Air & Sky Weather Station
Pros: Lots of sensors, rapid weather data update cycle, much less to break and maintain, 1000′ range, excellent customer support, more data channels than anyone else, continuously improving accuracy through AI machine learning, lots of Smart Home integrations with more on the way,
Cons: Rainfall totals may need correction, cannot measure drizzle type precipitation (tipping bucket types aren’t much better), no radiation shield unless you buy one, no display (you really don’t need one, but it would be nice), WeatherFlow corrected data not fixed on 3rd party sites, (over time, the data should need less and less correction through using the Continuous Learning Algorithm)
If you run into an issue you don’t know how to deal with, there is a WeatherFlow community forum that might help.
Before you start asking questions, you may want to check on this page first.
WeatherFlow Smart Home Weather Station Review Wrap Up
To wrap this up, the WeatherFlow Air & Sky is a techie style next-generation weather station that has grabbed the attention of many weather geeks.
This station does have some shortcomings, but many of them are getting worked out through firmware updates and other continuous adjustments done with your data through your connection with WeatherFlow cloud services. Weatherflow can fix some of your individual weather station problems remotely from their end, like UV index reporting too high or too low for instance.
I like that the WeatherFlow weather station data can be received by the Ambient Weather Weatherbridge or the Meteobridge. I like to upload my weather data to other weather sites and these devices give you the ability to do that without using a home computer. If you are going to use a computer and the WeatherFlow Hub’s UDP signal, you’ll have to keep your computer on all of the time. I’m using an old Windows XP machine for my weather station and it works fine. It’s not good much of anything else!
So yes, I really like this weather station. WeatherFlow is working hard at working the bugs out but it’s fine just as it is, in my opinion. This is an exciting new direction for next-generation home weather stations.
You can check availability current pricing of the WeatherFlow station at Amazon.
Customer comments have been positive. Several people have commented that “WeatherFlow really stands behind their products.” People that have contacted WeatherFlow for help are impressed with their competence, helpfulness, and friendliness. Some people have said that the weather station is truly amazing and is the best station they have ever owned.
WeatherFlow Sky Data Specifications
|Wind Speed||0 to 100 mph||± 0.5 mph||Continuous Sampling|
|Wind Direction||0-359°||± 5°||Continuous Sampling|
|Ambient Light||1 to 128 kLUX||± 100 mLUX||1 min|
|UV Index||0 to 11+ index||1 min|
|Solar Radiance||0 to 1900 W/m2||± 5%||1 min|
|Rain Onset||First Raindrops||Instantly|
|Rain Intensity||Light to Torrential||± 0.2mm / hr||Instantly|
|Rain Duration||Daily Total||1 minute||1 minute|
|Rain Total||Daily Total||± 20%||1 min|
|Wireless||1000 Feet||915GHz telemetry|
|Mount||Adjustable pole mount|
WeatherFlow Air Data Specifications
|Air Temperature||-35°F to 140°F||± 0.7°F||1 min|
|Relative Humidity||0 to 100%||± 4%||1 min|
|Atmospheric Pressure||up to 1100 mbar||± 1 mbar ; station and sea-level||1 min|
|Lightning activity||0 to 40 km (25 miles)||varies by distance||Instantly|
|Wireless||1000 Feet||915Ghz telemetry|
|Battery||4 AA||Lithium Recommend|
|Mount||Keyhole or 1/4-20 thread|