How We Test

In the interest of transparency, we want to disclose how we select weather stations and gadgets, how we test these devices and accept weather stations and gadgets for testing. Many review sites don’t test the products; they rely on customer reviews to form their opinions. We do things a bit differently.

How We Select What to Test

Weather stations and gadgets selected for testing meet our requirements for a standard feature set that we look for and often have standout features. We do accept devices offered for testing from manufacturers. We do not receive monetary compensation in exchange for reviews from manufacturers. From time to time, manufacturers might purchase advertising through our ad partners, Ezoic and Google AdSense, or through us. We do not actively solicit companies to advertise on their reviews, nor do any ad purchases affect the outcomes of those reviews.

Our privacy policy includes more information on our advertising policies.

How We Select Products for our Roundups

We must include products we have not had personal experience with from time to time, as it’s impossible to test every device. These frequently appear in our product roundups. When these products are included, we rely on reviews posted to retailer websites on Amazon and other sites. In some cases, we may write a review based on our knowledge of a similar model. For example, Ecowitt stations for the most part aren’t sold in the US. However, since Ambient Weather and Ecowitt use the same hardware, we can write a review with a high degree of accuracy even though the product isn’t actually in our hands.

Most sites mark actual customers with a “verified purchase,” which are the reviews we use to judge for selection in a product roundup. Non-verified reviews are not used in our product selections.

How We Test

Weather station testing is far from an exact science. However, we do follow a standard method to test our stations.

All stations tested are placed on the same mount in the same location at our testing site. Sensors are compared with analog instruments where possible, and when an analog instrument isn’t available, a nearby NOAA weather observing station is used.

The typical test lasts about 2-4 weeks, depending on the variability of the weather during the testing period. Select stations remain installed past the initial review period, allowing us to provide long-term reviews of these stations. For example, our Davis Vantage Vue has been continuously operating since our initial test in September 2016!

Our New Rating Formula

In the past, we have rated devices subjectively. However, we wanted to standardize our ratings to make them more objective. The result is a brand new rating formula, which took effect across our network on June 1, 2022. As a result, it’s become considerably harder to get a “five-star rating,” which should be only reserved for the truly top-tier devices in every category.

So how are our ratings determined? We weigh each part based on what we think is most important, with accuracy/performance and affordability making up half of the rating alone. Durability is another crucial factor in a highly rated device. Finally, we consider feature set and ease of use before calculating the overall rating, which is the star rating you see. 

Here is the current weighting:

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

We will regularly review our weighting, and adjust our model as necessary. Of course, if our weighting changes, we’ll let you know. However, right now accuracy/performance and cost are two areas in which we find a majority of our readers base their purchase decisions.

We soon plan to move to a scoring system (out of 100 points), which allows us to offer a more exact rating of the products we review. You’ll see that rolled out over the summer, but we needed to standardize our ratings so that all devices are tested and rated using the same scale first.

Accuracy (Or performance, as applicable) (25%)

Judged based on the accuracy or performance of the device. To score high here, we look for highly accurate or high-performing devices. A device must score average or better here to be eligible for our “best of” lists.

5 – Pro-grade accuracy or performance (generally suitable for scientific or mission-critical applications).
4 – Above average
3 – Average
2 – Below average 
1 – Poor accuracy or performance

Affordability (25%)

Judged based on the average price of the devices on our recommended list. The device must have a retail price well below the average to score high here, but no minimum score is needed to be eligible for our “best of” lists.

5 – Well below the average price
4 – Below the average price
3 – Average
2 – Above the average price
1 – Well above the average price

Durability (20%)

Most devices we accept for review, are extremely durable and well constructed, so devices will often score high in this category. However, a device can not score less than three stars to be included in our “best of” lists.

5 – Solid construction, appears very durable
4 –  Generally good construction
3 – Average durability
2 – Below average durability, weak construction in parts
1 – Poor or deficient construction

Feature Set (15%)

Among the various types of devices we review, there is typically a standard set of features most devices in that category share. Having more than the basic feature set helps a device score high here.

5 – Basic features + additional standard features, expandability
4 – Basic feature set but expandable
3 – Basic Feature Set (for weather stations, must have temp, humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall), but not expandable
2 – Some basic features missing
1 – Minimal feature set

Ease of Use/Usability (15%)

Simply put, how easy it is to use? We also call this a usability score.

5 – Best in class, intuitive, well-designed UI
4 – Easy to use with few UI issues
3 – Somewhat difficult to use but manageable
2 – Difficult to use
1 – Very difficult to use

The nice thing about our new rating system is that it also allows us to offer more specific ratings based on the factors we look for, which we’ve found our readers to consider when making a buying decision. We’ll add these analyses to our “best of” pages, making them even more helpful than before.

Affiliate Disclosure

While The Weather Station Experts does not solicit or accept monetary contributions for reviews, we may sometimes be compensated for purchases made through links on our site. This may occur through a relationship with a retailer offering the product or from the manufacturer directly.

This relationship does not influence how we test or affect our opinions on a product. For more, read our affiliate link policy.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission guidelines require us to disclose this relationship, and where such links are present, we include a disclosure in a prominent location visible to the reader.