A home weather station is very useful for keeping oneself updated with the weather. In areas where the weather can go to the extremes, a home weather station is a prudent thing to have, to ensure that you and your family are always prepared for whatever weather the day has in store for you.
But home weather stations don't come cheap. Although you can get one for less than $50, prices quickly rise as your home weather station increases in accuracy and number of features. It can easily reach $500.
How do you choose the best one to get for your own specific needs?
There are basically four types of home weather stations: traditional, wireless, professional, or digital.
Traditional home weather stations are the most popular ones bought for homes and small offices. Basically, a traditional home weather station is made up of several measuring instruments such as an anemometer, a barometer, and a rain gauge. The bundle also usually comes with a central unit that allows you to keep track of the measurements.
Wireless home weather stations are completely powered by batteries. This kind of weather station relies on sensors which are responsible for transmitting data to the central display and storage unit. The advantage of this type of home weather station over the traditional model is that it will not require you to organize several long wires around your home to make your home weather station operational. However, because the station requires 24-hour operation to maintain the accuracy of the readings, you might have to replace the batteries often.
Digital home weather stations are the latest in home weather station technology. These units provide the most detailed information possible to home weather station users. In fact, the readings obtained from digital home weather stations can be comparable to the readings obtained by meteorologists. Needless to say, this kind of home weather station is the most expensive, but it provides the best data to help in your preparation for upcoming weather.
What to look for
Mounting options. Home weather stations have different mounting options. Some mount their instruments on a tripod, which you just place on flat, solid ground. Others mount their instruments on walls. Before you buy your home weather station, check how it needs to be mounted, just to be sure that you have enough ground or wall space for it.
Update speeds. In monitoring the weather, the shorter the time is between updates, the better. Some high-end weather stations can update their information every few seconds. Most low-priced home weather stations, however, take roughly a minute to do so.
Distance of transmission. The distance of transmission for cabled home weather stations is limited by the length of the cables. For wireless home weather stations, the distance is limited by the range of the transmitter's signal. Before you buy your home weather station, take into consideration where you will be placing the measuring instruments and the central unit so that you can be sure the station you get will be able to cover the necessary distance between these main components.
Location limits. Weather stations can be finicky about position. Many will not work at elevations beyond 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Others have wind speed limitations. Some will stop recording data if the air temperature gets too hot or too cold. If you live in areas that are subjected to weather extremes, it is important for you to check whether your home weather station can withstand these conditions.
Durability. Remember that your home weather station will be under the sun, wind, and rain. It is important that it is able to withstand the elements for years (especially when you consider how much a home weather station costs).
Once you've found the basic weather station you need, you might still be interested in a few extras. Here are some that you might find useful.
Statistics recorder. Aside from measuring and displaying weather information, it would also be helpful to some of us if weather stations could also record this information for future reference. Some home weather stations have this ability to save information; some can even compare data from the present day with data from past days.
Expansion capability. Some weather stations allow for the expansion of their capabilities by the installation of other measuring instruments. This is especially helpful for professionals who need more information. Farmers, for instance, might like a soil moisture sensor.
Computer interface. Aside from the information displayed in the central unit of the home weather station, some models have a computer-based interface by which the data can be uploaded onto the Internet for storage and analysis.[A3]
Forecasting ability. Some weather stations not only tell you the weather today, they can also predict weather two days from now. If you're all that concerned about the weather, this feature may be worth your consideration.
There are four basic types of home weather stations: traditional, wireless, professional, and digital.
Traditional home weather stations are wired stations that collect the most basic data for weather prediction: wind speed, air pressure, rain volume.
Wireless home weather stations are similar to traditional home stations, except the units transmit data over a wireless network.
Digital home weather stations give professional-level readings - at a higher price, of course.
Before you pay for a unit, check its mounting options, update speed, transmission distance, location limits, and durability.
You may also want to get a unit that can record its readings for future reference, expand its features with additional measuring tools, upload data to the Internet, or forecast the weather as far as two days into the future.