A number of different lines of work hinge on accurate weather forecasting. Gardening, golfing, sailing, flying, travel, research or generally any job (or perhaps even a hobby, if you’re a weather geek) that requires access to information like wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, humidity, immediate local temperature firmly fall into that category.
Surely, you can simply rely on local weather reports. Right? Well, not quite. Local weather reports are limited to the locale the monitoring equipment is set up in, making them unreliable and inaccurate for some cases (think of when it’s raining outside and the weather report says it’ll be sunny all day). One of the solutions to getting hyperlocal weather forecasts is setting up your very own weather station.
Personal weather stations have evolved to become increasingly sophisticated and convenient to use. You can pick from a basic desktop station or a wireless station and everything in between. Depending on what you intend to use it for, a personal weather station can run you to $150-$2500. More often than not, you’ll find stations featuring sensor arrangments and an accompanying console that displays the detected weather variables.
Another factor universal to a good station is durability. You’d want your weather station to be reliable which means it should be able to take a beating from the weather and still keep forecasting accurately. In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll explore similar key factors that need your consideration before you take the plunge. We’ll conclude with a handy rundown of some of the best systems available in the market to save you wading through rough to find the gems.
Who can benefit from a weather station?
If you have a garden to maintain, you need to be aware of changing weather conditions so you can care for your plants better. If you know the prevailing weather variables, you can safeguard your plants against frost and wind damage and it will also help you figure out when to water them.
Further, a personal weather station feeding you accurate humidity information can help in avoiding mold and bacterial growth inside your home. Higher humidity levels almost always promote mold growth, but with this knowledge, you can take steps to effectively reduce the humidity levels in the air and remove mold that has already set in.
Another benefit that personalized weather stations offer to homeowners is the ability to prepare for the worst. And that doesn’t just mean dressing for the weather that particular day. It also means that a weather station will alert you if there is a storm expected in your locale or if there’s a fire nearby and you need to track the direction of the wind.
How to pick the right station?
First things first, you need to decide on the data you’ll be collecting. If you don’t require advanced data types such as UV measurements, wind speed, or precipitation data, a simple weather station that accounts for air pressure, temperature, and humidity should do the job. You’d want to pick an interface that is user intuitive. More often than not, your station will feed its reports to a computer interface where they can be viewed, saved, and shared online.
Next up, you have to the dimensions of the station and space it’ll be occupying. If you often find yourself hiking or camping, a portable station that can be carried with you would be a good bet. But if you’re only interested in receiving reports while you’re home, a basic stationary model would be perfect.
In the same vein, you’ll have to pick between wired or wireless options. Wireless stations relay their reports over WiFi hotspots while wired ones connect to your computer via a USB connection. As a rule of thumb, if ease of setup is a priority, wireless weather stations are a safe bet.
If you go with a wireless setup, you’ll need to consider its range as well. The range is essentially the distance between your computer and your station and it’s often affected by the obstacles the signal encounters while making its way to your computer.
As briefly touched on above, your weather station will reside outside your house and you’d want it to keep working like it is supposed to weather it’s scorching or raining outside. To make them sturdier, most machines come with a covering that saves them from foul weather and rust.
Speaking of accurate readings, if you want precision, a weather station that reports the variables in the increments of 0.5 is the way to go but if you won’t be using it for commercial purposes, a low-end station with 1.0 increments should suffice.
Last but not least, factor in the source that supplies the station with power. Weather stations are commonly powered by solar power, batteries, or just plain AC current from an outlet. Solar-powered stations tend to be more convenient because you don’t have to swap out used batteries for fresh ones every now and then. But if your station is battery-operated, it should at least have a battery life of 200 hours.
- Offers wireless connectivity
- Transmission range of up to 330 ft
- Can record indoor and outdoor temperatures
- Sports a TFT LCD display measuring 6.25 X 3.5 inches
- Features a humidity, temperature, and barometer sensor
- Solar-powered with support for a tripod
- Wireless connection with a range of up to 1000 ft
- Comes with 70 alarms
- Large LCD display
- Measures inside and outside temperature, pressure, humidity and wind speed
- Can be connected via USB cable as well
- Five-in-one sensor system featuring temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction
- Colored-display that can be dimmed
- USB tether connection via PC Connect
- Sends out alerts via e-mail
- AC-powered with a backup battery
- Sends out alerts for storms and warnings for wind, frost, and foggy conditions
- An atomic clock that self-adjusts for daylight savings
- A backlit large LCD display
- Moon phase data
- LED indicator for ice alerts
- Monitors indoor and outdoor temperature
- Colored display with dynamic icons and tendency readings
- A self-adjusting atomic clock that accounts for daylight savings
- Wireless connection
- Measures heat index and dew point
- Signal strength display
- Sends out alerts for humidity levels as well as temperature
To conclude, a personalized weather station can be a great tool if need to keep an eye on prevailing weather conditions but you don’t find local weather reports reliable enough. Most low-grade weather stations get the job done and they won’t break your bank. In any case, a personal weather station is a smart investment. They’re easy to set up, use, and maintain and they can help you prepare and stay one step ahead of foul weather.