There are some very important factors and considerations that one needs to have the knowledge of, before purchasing a weather station, as the weather stations come in a very wide variety of sizes, shapes, and prices. Here are some of the factors;
Weather station type
There are basically two types of weather stations, one is the wired weather station and the other is the wireless weather station;
- Wired weather station is the oldest type of weather station, in which the instruments are wired to each other in order to send information. Installation of a wired weather station needs a lot of time and hard work, as the wires are needed to be installed correctly and the placements should be correct, else the result will not be accurate.
- Wireless weather station is a modern type, as many new technologies are arising very fast. The wireless weather station is easy to install as no drilling or fixing of wires are required to connect the equipments and the data can collected easily, as this type of weather station has sensor or other new and advanced technologies.
These days, solar weather stations are also available in the market. The solar weather station run on solar energy and doesn’t require external electricity. For cloudy conditions or night time, the solar energy is stored in special rechargeable storage batteries and is later used to run the equipments throughout the situation. The wireless solar weather station is literally a very good choice.
The weather station must be easy to set up; as all the sensor devices are to be installed separately, it can be a mess. One must always look for a weather station in which the equipments are already assembled and ready to be mounted, with only some wiring needed to be done along with battery installation. One must select the weather station that is designed for easy set up, with flexibility in any way of mounting and numerous mounting options.
Maximum distance of transmission
Distance of Transmission is a very important feature of the weather station. The transmission distance varies depending on the physical surroundings and structures of the land, as well as on the interference of RF. Many weather stations not only offer wide range of transmission distance, but also come with wireless repeaters, that enable the user to extend the range of transmission further than the maximum offered range. One should always go for the weather station that has the maximum range of transmission distance possible, in one’s budget limit.
Types of weather conditions reported
Almost all the weather stations report all of the basic weather conditions like humidity, precipitation, barometric pressure, temperature, yearly and daily rainfall, wind direction, wind speed and wind chill. But there are some high quality advanced weather stations that also report any additional weather conditions like,
- Solar and UV radiation sensor that reports the amount of radiation, as nowadays the UV radiation has become a concerning condition for health.
- Additional rainfall and wind speed reports, in which the rainfall or wind speed is not reported only for yearly or a day, but many times in a day.
- Apparent temperature report, in which heat index is reported, that is calculated by combining the effects of humidity and temperature.
Many more additional sensors like soil temperature and moisture, wetness of leaf, evaporation and transpiration are also included in many high quality weather stations. One must select the weather station with as many sensors as possible.
Frequency of update
It is very important that the weather station updates the weather conditions frequently. One needs to be updated with the weather, as this is the reason why one requires a weather station for. Many good quality weather stations update the most frequently variable weather conditions like the wind speed and direction in every 2 to 3 seconds and other conditions that are not much variable, in 10 to 15 seconds. there are many weather stations that update the weather conditions in longer periods, some in 30 seconds or some even take 3 minutes or even more, which is not convenient as there can be sudden weather changes like rainfall or snowfall that would not look good if the outside weather is something and the display of the weather station is reflecting something else.
Highs and lows measurement
Most of the weather stations only display the current readings. Highs and lows measurements and recording are very limited. But some good quality weather stations measure and record the highs and lows as well as the average or total readings of maximum of 25 to 30 days, including the details of time, day, month and year. The reports are normally displayed numerically, but in some very high quality weather stations, the highs and lows measurements are also displayed graphically on the digital screen. The weather station that records the highs and lows is always a better choice.
Elevation is one important factor. The weather station can be used for both high and low level elevations. Some weather stations are not compatible for higher level elevation, as the transmission distance is affected by the elevation and the weather stations are not able to give any accuracy in the reports, because in the higher levels like mountain areas, there is too much pressure. Some good quality weather stations are compatible even for higher level elevation and can deliver undisturbed reports. So if one has to install the weather station at a very high level elevation, then one must always check out the elevation compatibility of the weather station. It is no use in buying a weather station that would not work at the required elevation.
Many weather stations generate the forecast depending strictly on the falling and rising of barometric pressure, which makes the report not very close to the accurate result. There are also many weather stations that generate the forecast depending on all the weather conditions like humidity, wind speed, rainfall, barometric pressure, latitude and longitude. The forecasts generated by these weather stations, though not perfect, but are more accurate. If one needs more accurate weather forecasting, then the weather station with this advanced forecasting technology is the best choice.
Normally the forecast is displayed in the weather station digital screen with icons. There are many advanced weather stations in which the screen has numerous icons and keys that show different reports when pressed. The weather stations having many key options are better, as different reports will be displayed differently without creating any confusion for the user and the reports can be understood easily.
Alarms are also very important part of the weather station. The alarms indicate the changes in weather conditions. The alarms can be set or also be automatic. You will find lots of weather stations that offer single, dual and multiple alarms. Though, some high quality weather stations offer different alarms for different weather conditions, which you can set for each weather variable. If you are not always checking out the display, then it is better to get the weather station with multiple alarm options.
Resolution, accuracy and range
The display resolution is also a very important factor. The reports can be viewed in the digital screen connected to the weather station. The display must be very clear for the user to understand. If the screen resolution is too low then it will be difficult for the user to get what is being displayed on the screen. Accuracy and range of the weather station must be good so that the reports displayed are more accurate. While buying a weather station, one must always remember to check the quality of the resolution; else it will be a waste of money. Some advanced weather station come with a software that can be installed in a personal computer and the reports can be directly displayed on the screen of the monitor.
Data and graphs
Most of the weather stations allow graphing and analysis of only the barometric pressure, just of the past 24 hour period and not older than that time period. there are some high quality weather stations that allow data graphing and analysis for almost all the weather variables, also including average highs and lows, not only for the past 24 hour period, but also for days, months and even years. In some weather stations, a software package must be bought, but some offer it for free. Graphing makes the study and forecasting very interesting and it also helps the user to understand more by looking and comparing the graphs. So the weather station that offers maximum graphing is a very good choice.
Some weather stations offer a very good and useful feature that allows the user to log the data and reports, which can later be transferred to the computer. For this technology, a software package of data logger can be bought along with the weather station. The data logger stores the data every day and it remains for 6 months until the data is transferred to the personal computer by the user or can be set for automatic transfer, in which the data gets automatically transferred. One can also upload the weather forecast or report in the internet and social media very easily. These weather stations are more expensive, but offer a great deal.
Weather stations come in wide variety of costs. It is important to keep in mind one’s budget while buying a weather station. A low cost weather station would not have that many features that one would desire for. With increasing price, the features of the weather station also increase. So the quality of a weather station is directly dependent on the cost of the weather station. In case of low budget, one must buy the best weather station with most features, available on that much budget. If one doesn’t have any budget limit, it is best to go for the costliest weather station with all the features, available in the market.
Features of a good weather station
The above was a list of the factors and conditions that must be researched and checked in the weather station before purchasing it. Overall, a good weather station must have the following features;
- Radiation shielded thermometer with large radiation shield
- High range of humidity sensor
- Anemometer of sound quality that is not susceptible to icing and which is not damaged easily
- Clear report of barometric pressure type
- Large rain gauge with funnel heater
- Easy and ready to set up installation quality
- Transmission distance with maximum range and repeaters as optional extension
- Reports numerous types of weather condition
- Frequently updating of reports
- Highs and lows record and measurement capability
- Higher level elevation compatibility
- Advanced technology in forecast generation
- Multiple keys and different display of reports
- Multiple alarms with automatic setting
- Excellent screen resolution, accuracy, and high range
- Unlimited graph analysis of all weather variables
- Auto logger option and data transfer compatibility
Buying a weather station is a tough task as it has so many instruments and features in it, which is more than enough to make a buyer confused and messed up. For more help, one can do a proper research on the reviews given by the experienced buyers, about what they feel and have experienced from the weather stations owned by them and can find out about the pros and cons of the particular weather station that one has in mind. It is also necessary to find out about the various weather station manufacturing brands, as it helps in knowing the type and quality that a particular brand uses while manufacturing the weather stations and also about the extra accessories the brand offers. Weather stations are expensive, but the features must be convincing and the weather station must deliver the most accurate forecasts and reports. So, a thorough check about all the possible features that a good weather station can have is essential while buying a weather station.