Best home weather station?
December 12, 2016 4:47 PM   Subscribe

I recently discovered that there are such things as home weather stations. I'm hoping people have recommendations for a really good one (that doesn't break the bank). Desired features inside.

--I'd like it to have a nice interface with iOS, say, with an app. It would be nice if other people (e.g., my parents in Illinois) could look at our weather on their phones too.
--I really want to know how cold it is. This means that I really want a weather station that can measure below -40F. This is apparently hard to find: some of the ones I've seen go down to -40F, and some only to -22F (which is -30C, apparently), which is useless. I presume, even with global climate change, that we will see temps below -40F again in the future (although not last year, and not so far this year).
--wind speed and rain accumulation would be nice, but not critical. I'd be happy to swap that for a good interface and ease of use.
--Probably max of $300 or so.
posted by leahwrenn to Technology (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
AcuRite makes one with wind speed and rain that is supposed to work down to -40F. I have a version of this, which doesn't have the wind and rain features but does a nice job with temperature and humidity and has worked down to the -20s (and says it's supposed to work to -40F). The batteries also last surprisingly well; I've only have to replace them every 2 years or so.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:58 PM on December 12, 2016

WeatherUnderground has compiled a list of WU compatible Personal Weather Stations which list I have just forwarded to Santa.
posted by notyou at 5:16 PM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

To clarify notyou, if you have a WU compatible station and choose to do so, anyone (including your parents) can observe the conditions at your station.

Here's an example from a user in Evanston, IL.

The readings also merge together with other stations to make more accurate local readings.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:08 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am ever so grateful to my neighbors that have WU compatible stations, especially with treacherous winter weather and microclimates.
posted by elmay at 7:56 PM on December 12, 2016

If you want something a bit low tech, check out CoCoRaHS - the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network. You can purchase a rain gauge, join the network, and start reporting.

Dr. Jeff Masters latest blog on Weather Underground has a holiday gift guide for the weather enthusiast, and about midway down the page he lists several weather stations in different price ranges.

I have a cheap-ish Acu-rite (I think this one: Pro 5-in-1 Weather Station) and reported as a PWS for years, but the latest software update from Acurite broke the bridge device I used to report to WU, and I haven't had the time to troubleshoot it or replace it yet.
posted by ralan at 5:07 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

Installing a weather station correctly is kind of challenging. I decided to cheap out and just use someone else's Personal Weather Station on the Weather Underground. You can find PWS on the wundermap. Turns out there were two excellent stations within a mile of my rural home.
posted by Nelson at 8:26 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Last July I bought an Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP. Ambient makes a range of different models which all use the same combined rain gauge/anemometer/radiation/temperature hardware. The WS-1400-IP is on the cheaper end of that range because it doesn't come with a dedicated LCD console, just a little box that plugs into an ethernet network to send data to the Weather Underground.

Since I like having access to my own data, I've reconfigured this little box to instead push data to a Raspberry Pi running WeeWx and Mathew Wall's interceptor driver and which records it locally before pushing it to the Weather Underground. Weewx also periodically regenerates some static html pages/graphs which I serve up on my local webserver.

So far the only problem I've had with the weather station was nuking an SD card on the Pi after three months of WeeWx writing new png images for all the plots every five minutes, but I've since learned to keep the output in a ramdisk.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:57 PM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Suggest you look at Onset Data Loggers and Temperature Sensors, MX2305 and MX2304. Their products are widely used by the scientific community for their accuracy and robustness. The low end of the temperature range doesn't meet your criteria, as the stated specs go down to -40F/C.

Suggest you contact them to ask them if they can record lower than -40, but accuracy isn't guaranteed.
posted by Gusaroo at 6:32 PM on December 13, 2016

We have a Davis Vantage Vue, which is one that's recommended by Weather Underground as "easy to connect" to them. That turns out not to be true on a Mac. They (Davis) apparently use some hinky USB serial dingus that requires a custom driver from the manufacturer ... and it doesn't work on any modern version of the system. I've completely given up getting it to work (it used to work quite reliably three or four years ago).

However, it is a great weather station if you don't care about connecting it to the net. Solid as a rock. We get a couple years out of each battery.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 5:56 PM on December 17, 2016

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