Weather stations for sale are available in many shapes, sizes, and prices. If you are interested in purchasing a personal weather station (PWS), it’s important to understand some common features found on these devices so that you can choose the best model for your needs.
The following is a list of considerations to keep in mind while shopping for PWS equipment:
What type of PWS do you want to purchase?
There are three main types of personal weather stations for sale: all-in-one, multi-piece combination, and separate sensors. All-in-one units consolidate the rain gauge, anemometer (wind speed sensor), barometer, thermometer, humidity sensor, and lightning detector in a single package. Multi-piece combinations offer those same features as an all-in-one unit, but some of them may be sold as separate components. These can make it easier if you want to upgrade some parts later on, or potentially save some money by buying a basic station and purchasing additional sensors individually for more data points. If you only plan on having a single station outdoors, you will not need to worry about this.
What features are important to you?
Think of what you want your PWS to measure and display, as well as how often you would like the data updated. There are many options for anemometer rotation speed, wind direction sensors, wireless transmission strength, and many other characteristics. It’s important to realize that you can’t have it all! Some factors are mutually exclusive, so choose the ones that are most important to you and prioritize them accordingly.
How often do you want your PWS to update?
PWS typically record weather information every minute, five minutes, or 10 minutes. If you want your data updated more frequently, make sure to look for a unit with a faster anemometer rotation speed. In general, you will not need minute-to-minute updates unless you are tracking phenomena such as tornadoes or dust devils.
Other factors to consider
In addition to the features listed above, there’s always other things to keep in mind:
Price: Yes, this is always a factor. Make sure to plan for the total cost of owning and operating your PWS. Look at the initial purchase price as well as any monthly service fees that might be required. For more information on how often you should expect to buy replacement batteries or other parts, check with your manufacturer.
Quality: How well does the device you’re considering hold up in severe weather? Is it waterproof? Do all of the parts/connections appear to be sturdy and well-made? You might not need a super high-end, expensive system if it will just be out in the elements unprotected.
Size: This will depend on how you plan to use your PWS. For example, are you setting it up in a sheltered location? Will you be permanently mounting the anemometer atop your house or other elevated spot? Make sure that all parts are within reach of where they will be installed. Troubleshooting: What happens if the sensor malfunctions, or one of the elements stops working? It’s always nice to know that the manufacturer of your device has good customer service and a support department.