Weather Stations: Which Should I Choose?
Purchasing a weather station is a great way to monitor the weather conditions inside and outside of your home.
Weather stations are used by amateurs who simply enjoy collecting atmospheric data all the way to professional meteorologists who analyze historical weather data and make forecasts.
As you can probably guess, there are many differences between the available stations.
But which should you choose? This guide will give you an idea of what to focus on to make sure you pick the perfect weather station.
Decide Which Features You Need
The first thing that you should do is break down which features your ideal weather station needs to have. Are you interested in measuring precipitation to make sure that your plants are getting enough water? Would you like to be alerted when weather conditions change? Would you like to share your weather data with an online network? AcuRite offers weather stations with a wide range of features. The Shopping Options panel on the left-hand side of the Weather Station product page adds convenience. Simply mark all the features of your ideal station and the AcuRite website will do the rest.
The top features of AcuRite weather stations are listed below. Deciding which weather measurement features you want will make your decision much easier.
- Temperature: Indoor/outdoor measurement of temperature
- Clock: Displays current time Forecast:12 to 24 hour self-calibrating weather predictions
- Humidity: Indoor/outdoor percentage measurement of Relative Humidity
- Barometric Pressure: A pressure graph tracks and displays the historical barometric pressure over an allotted amount of time up to the current time
- Wind Speed: Measures current, average, and peak wind speed
- Wind Direction: Measures which direction the wind is coming from
- Rainfall: Measures the amount of accumulated precipitation
- Moon Phase: Tracks the current phase of the lunar cycle
- Programmable Alarms: Set alerts to be triggered by changes in various weather conditions
- Weather Ticker: Scrolling real-time weather information
- What to Wear Character: On-screen character displays clothing recommendations for different weather conditions
- PC Connect: Weather station display uploads weather conditions to a computer. This data can then be broadcast to online communities such as WeatherUnderground
- AcuLink Compatible: Sensor beams current weather conditions to network adapter allowing for mobile, online viewing
Alternatively, if you choose to browse the website's selection manually, take note of which measurements you'll want recorded. This will determine which type of sensor must be included with your weather station. Each type of AcuRite sensor has differences in measuring capabilities. Making sure that your weather station includes the appropriate sensor will assure you that you'll receive the data that you want.
- Tower Sensors: Measure Temperature and Humidity (pictured above, left)
- 3-in-1 Sensors: Measure Temperature, Humidity, Wind Speed (pictured above, middle)
- 5-in-1 Sensors: Measure Temperature, Humidity, Rainfall, Wind Speed, Wind Direction (pictured above, right)
Determine Your Price Range
Typically, price is always a factor when deciding to purchase a weather station. Choosing how much you'd like to spend will make this decision even easier. AcuRite sells weather stations to a wide range of consumers. This means that there's going to be some variability in pricing depending on features offered. So, determining your weather station budget will allow you to cut out those that either aren't affordable, or do not have all of the features you're shopping for.
Determine Sensor Placement
Another area to consider when choosing a weather station is to determine the location where you will need to mount your sensor. To ensure accurate readings for various measurements, some sensors require special placement.
The AcuRite 5-in-1 Sensor includes a solar panel that should always be facing south to properly orient the weather vane and receive as much sun as possible. The solar panel powers an internal fan, cooling the unit to an optimal temperature, allowing for accurate readings. Be sure that there are no obstructions around or above the sensor, as this will also cause inaccurate readings for the wind and rainfall measurements. The higher you are able to mount the sensor, the more accurate your wind speed and direction readings will be. Level installation of the sensor (using the attached bubble level) also ensures that the rainfall, wind speed, and wind direction measurements will be as accurate as possible. A typical installation would involve mounting the bracket to a secured length of 2' x 4' or 4' x 4' wood.
The AcuRite 3-in-1 Sensor requires a placement similar to the 5-in-1 sensor. Mounting the sensor in an area with minimal obstructions will allow for proper wind speed measurement. As with the 5-in-1, the higher you are able to mount the sensor, the more accurate your wind speed measurements will be. Pick a location that will allow you to mount the sensor so that it is level. Making sure that the sensor is level will assure you that your wind speed measurements are as accurate as possible. A typical installation would involve securing the sensor to a fence post, a 2' x 4' length of wood, or a 3/4" pole.
AcuRite Tower Sensors are water-resistant but should be placed in an area out of direct weather elements, including sunlight. Placement out of direct sunlight is crucial for recording accurate temperature readings.
As with all weather measurement sensors, they should be placed at least 5 feet off the ground and away from sources of heat and humidity for accurate measurements. These would typically include air conditioners, heaters, chimneys, pools, or spas.