Weather Station Buyers Guide and Test Results (Updated 2023)

By Ed Oswald

Published:

Reading time: 9 minutes

Welcome to our home weather station buyers guide! If you’re looking for tips on what to look for and the results of our real-world weather station tests, you’ve come to the right place. See our Best Home Weather Stations of 2023 rankings for our full reviews, which use the tests below to determine the “best” weather station available. This page will be regularly updated as we test (and sometimes retest) new weather stations.

Home Weather Station Buyers Guide

What are you looking for in a home weather station? Are you just interested in what the weather is like in your backyard? Need to monitor for outdoor activities or gardening? A gardener wanting to make sure your plants are growing in optimal conditions? A weather enthusiast that wants superior accuracy and reliability? Reading through our reviews will help you make a wise decision, and this weather station buyers guide will give you some insight into how we tested.

How you’ll use your station does matter (and will save you some time reading through these reviews!). At a minimum, choose one with the following features:

  • Indoor temperature
  • Outdoor temperature
  • Indoor and Outdoor humidity
  • Barometric pressure
  • Rain gauge

However, just these features aren’t enough in our opinion. When writing reviews, we also look for the following features in more advanced home weather stations and consider them equally important:

  • Wind speed and wind direction
  • Dew point
  • Heat index and wind chill measurements

The best home weather stations offer functionality above and beyond the basic measurements above. Some offer UV and light measurements, useful for outdoor activities, while others can detect lightning. Others offer sensors for other uses, including measuring soil moisture and water temperatures.

Home Weather Station Test Results

Jump to: Full Weather Station Buyers Guide Rankings | Accuracy | Affordability | Durability | Feature Set | Ease of Use

11 weather stations were considered for our weather station buyers guide. To determine the best weather station, we look at five areas: accuracy/performance, affordability, durability, feature set, and ease of use. We then compare them side by side, giving a rating in each area. The overall rating is weighted in the following manner:

  • Accuracy/Performance: 25%
  • Affordability: 25%
  • Durability: 20%
  • Feature set: 15%
  • Ease of use/usability: 15%

To decide which home weather station is the best, we’ve developed a 100-point scoring system to determine the five best that we will feature in our weather station buyers guide. Below, we’ve ranked our top stations in each area. Where the scores are the same, the weather station’s overall ranking breaks the tie. Generally, scores between 80-100 are considered the best, 70-80 good, 60-70 average, and 59 and below poor. Here are those scores for the 11 weather stations we tested.

Which weather station is the best overall?

Our Pick: WeatherFlow Tempest. The Tempest offers a full suite of sensors, including a well-performing lightning detector. While it is not the most accurate weather station we’ve reviewed, it generally performs well, and smart home compatibility is a big plus. The Ambient Weather WS-2902 is an excellent alternative, as is the WS-5000.

The WS-2902 scores well thanks to an expansive feature set, far more than most other stations at its price point. While it doesn’t include a lightning detector (you’ll have to top for the WS-5000 for that option), it does have UV and light sensors. While the high price of the WS-5000 weighs on its score, sensor accuracy is much better than the WS-2902, and you can add any of Ambient Weather’s optional sensors to your setup.

We are partial to the Davis Vantage Vue, however. It is the most accurate home weather station outside of the Davis Vantage Pro2, and Davis stations last for years. However, everything feels a bit dated, and there’s little expandability unless you also purchase WeatherLink Live, adding to its price.

WeatherFlow Tempest

Review Score: 86/100

Ambient Weather WS-2902

Review Score: 83/100

Ambient Weather WS-5000

Review Score: 82/100

Davis Vantage Vue

Review Score: 79/100

AcuRite Atlas

Review Score: 76/100

Ambient Weather WS-2000

Review Score: 75/100

AcuRite Iris

Review Score: 75/100

Davis Vantage Pro2

Review Score: 74/100

WeatherFlow Tempest sensor on pole
The WeatherFlow Tempest excelled in many areas and is reasonably priced, making it the Best Weather Station of 2022.

Three home weather stations on our list scored high in our scoring model but did not meet the minimum requirements to be included in our weather station buyers guide (they have a low rating in a category where a minimum rating is required). These are still good choices for certain types of users, however.

The Ambient Weather WS-1900A scores very high thanks to its low price and functionality that matches the WS-2902. However, the WS-1900A feels like it’s missing something without Wi-Fi connectivity. The Netatmo Weather Station does have Wi-Fi connectivity (in fact, it was the first “smart” weather station), but not much has changed in the half-decade since, and the base package only includes the temperature and humidity sensors.

Finally, the AcuRite Notos is the cheapest home weather station we considered. It’s quite small and is perfect for small yards. But it only measures wind, temperature, and humidity — you’ll need a separate rain gauge to get a complete picture of your backyard weather.

Ambient Weather WS-1900A

Review Score: 81/100

AcuRite Notos

Review Score: 69/100

Netatmo Weather Station

Review Score: 67/100

Which weather station is the most accurate?

Our Pick: Davis Vantage Pro2. The Davis Vantage Pro2 was our tests’ most accurate home weather station. These stations are used in scientific and commercial applications worldwide. However, the Davis Vantage Vue or the Ambient Weather WS-5000 are great alternatives and significantly cheaper.

You get what you pay for when it comes to accuracy in home weather stations. In our experience, price is often a good predictor of sensor quality and accuracy, although there are exceptions. One thing we don’t recommend is department store models, mainly because the vast majority are junk. These stations are built to be inexpensive, and the sensor quality is not there. I’ve found these stations to have the most issues in measuring temperature, humidity, and rainfall accurately.

We also find that higher-end stations offer far more reliable performance and don’t suffer from connectivity issues or maintenance problems as much.

Accuracy Ratings

Davis Vantage Pro2

5/5

Davis Vantage Vue

4.5/5

Ambient Weather WS-5000

4.5/5

WeatherFlow Tempest

4/5

Ambient Weather WS-2000

3.5/5

Ambient Weather WS-2902

3.5/5

AcuRite Atlas

3.5/5

AcuRite Iris

3/5

Which weather station is the most affordable?

Our Pick: Ambient Weather WS-2902. The WS-2902 is the most affordable home weather station on our list, but we strongly recommend the Ambient Weather WS-2000 or WeatherFlow Tempest, as they have far more functionality. Here, the Ambient Weather WS-2000 may be a good pick as it has expandability and is $30 cheaper (MSRP) than the WS-5000.

AcuRite’s stations also rank high in this category, as they are some of the cheapest stations on the market, with the Iris a bit cheaper than the WS-2902. However, we’d strongly recommend the AcuRite Atlas instead if you’re set on an AcuRite home weather station. It’s an overall better deal.

Regardless of your pick, expect to spend anywhere from $175 to $1,000. However, it’s more likely that you’ll pay somewhere in the middle of that range — given the best weather stations are often mid-range models. We recommend using our brand guides to start, as they represent a good range of stations at various price points to fit any budget. Start with the mid-range models first, and compare them with cheaper and more expensive models to ensure you’re getting the best station for your needs.

Affordability Ratings

Ambient Weather WS-2902

5/5

AcuRite Iris

5/5

AcuRite Atlas

4/5

Ambient Weather WS-2000

3.5/5

WeatherFlow Tempest

3.5/5

Davis Vantage Vue

3.5/5

Ambient Weather WS-5000

2.5/5

Davis Vantage Pro2

1/5

Which weather station is the most durable?

Our Pick: WeatherFlow Tempest. Our tests found the WeatherFlow Tempest to be the most durable home weather station. This station is built for the long haul with no moving parts and solid construction (and it operates entirely on solar power). The Ambient Weather WS-5000’s only moving parts are in the rain gauge, and the Davis weather stations are known to last up to a decade or longer.

AcuRite’s stations rank at the bottom, as we’ve found through experience (and user reviews) that they don’t seem to hold up as well as the other stations. The plastics used seem to be lower quality than other stations, and overall station life is shorter than others in our weather station buyers guide.

Regardless of your home weather station, all stations are made of plastic. The elements will do a number on your equipment, and the best weather stations will hold up for years (sometimes decades). However, cheaper models are built with less durable plastic and show their age quickly.

Durability Ratings

WeatherFlow Tempest

5/5

Ambient Weather WS-5000

5/5

Davis Vantage Vue

5/5

Davis Vantage Pro2

5/5

Ambient Weather WS-2000

4/5

Ambient Weather WS-2902

4/5

AcuRite Atlas

4/5

AcuRite Iris

3.5/5

Which weather station has the most features?

Our Pick: WeatherFlow Tempest. It’s close, but the WeatherFlow Tempest has the most features standard of any home weather station, although the Ambient Weather WS-5000 has the expandability that the Tempest doesn’t. We’re huge fans of the Tempest’s lightning detection, which has been the best of any weather station we’ve tested. The AcuRite Atlas’ solid feature set and expandability help that home weather station to rank high in this particular category.

But the Ambient Weather WS-5000 and WS-2000 aren’t far behind. You can add lightning detection via an optional sensor (but it isn’t as good in detection). However, the expandability is something the Tempest currently doesn’t have. The Davis Vantage Pro2 does have some optional sensors, but its high price might be a turn-off.

Everyone’s needs change, and you might need to add new sensors. We recommend that you always opt for expandability if you can afford it. Purchasing a weather station with this option will extend the useful life of your setup.

Functionality Ratings

WeatherFlow Tempest

5/5

Ambient Weather WS-5000

4.5/5

AcuRite Atlas

4/5

Ambient Weather WS-2000

4/5

Davis Vantage Pro2

4/5

Davis Vantage Vue

3.5/5

Ambient Weather WS-2902

3.5/5

AcuRite Iris

3/5

Which weather station is the easiest to use?

Our Pick: WeatherFlow Tempest and Ambient Weather WS-2902 (tie). The WeatherFlow Tempest and Ambient Weather WS-2902 are the easiest weather stations to use. Setup for either is straightforward, and the apps (and the console on the WS-2902) are easy to use.

While the WS-2000 and WS-5000 aren’t that hard to set up, we struggled to navigate the console’s UI in our tests, which knocked a bit off the final score. AcuRite’s stations are generally easy to use but with a few hiccups. Davis’s consoles are very dated, making them even more challenging to navigate, and setup takes some patience. All in all, none of the home weather stations we tested were too tricky to use.

Usability Ratings

WeatherFlow Tempest

5/5

Ambient Weather WS-2902

5/5

Ambient Weather WS-5000

4.5/5

Ambient Weather WS-2000

4.5/5

AcuRite Atlas

4.5/5

AcuRite Iris

4/5

4.5/5

Davis Vantage Vue

4/5

Davis Vantage Pro2

4/5

Weather Station Buyers Guide Bonus Tip

Look for connectivity and smart home support!

Nearly every home weather station is wireless these days, which helps give flexibility in weather station placement. They also are often Wi-Fi and smart home capable, which is important. We looked for internet connectivity when looking for stations to include in our weather station buyers guide.

You can view your data from anywhere through an app or web-based portal. You can also use your data to control your smart home devices. When your weather station detects rain, it could turn your sprinklers off to conserve water. While some weather enthusiasts might not have a use for smart home connectivity, many do.

Most of our recommendations also offer historical data storage. Some owners have decades of data stored; we’re into our sixth year ourselves. With years of use, you’ll build a useful historical weather record of your location — and be able to compare your records with nearby official stations.

We hope you’ve found our weather station buyers guide useful in your search.

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About the Author

Ed Oswald

Ed Oswald has nearly two decades of experience in technology and science journalism, and specializes in weather stations and smart home technology. He's written for Digital Trends, PC World, and TechHive. His work has also appeared in the New York Times. When he isn't writing about gadgets, he enjoys chasing severe weather and winter storms.

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